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All posts for the month April, 2018

5 Tips for Offering Better Customers Service as a Real Estate Agent

Published April 23, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_165061039Anyone who chooses real estate as a career will quickly come to find that the business isn’t unlike nearly every other one when it comes to one standard, fundamental truth. That truth is that customer service is of paramount importance for every aspect of what makes you, your business, and your brand successful in the market. Learn to to do it well and you’ll thrive. Fail to do it well and you’ll struggle extensively. It’s as simple as that.

Here at Real Estate Leads, it’s been very enjoyable for us to watch our online real estate lead generations system be so helpful for realtors in Canada. It allows those who are newer to the industry to get so much more out of the resources they put into prospecting, and it’s designed to target prospective clients right where you’re focusing your efforts.

While such technologies are great, they won’t go far in helping create actual customers if your customer service isn’t what it needs to be. In real estate, however, good customer service is a little bit different, as the customer doesn’t directly pay for your services. Determining where the line is between service provider and customer can be a little trickier.

Despite the additional challenge, developing strong customer service habits is important. Here’s what we suggest to make sure your clients see you as a service-first and accountable real estate agent right from the get go.

  1. Amp Up Your Friendliness

A pay scale that separates good agents from mediocre ones is non-existent. That’s accomplished through sheer skill and positive personality traits. Want to attract higher-income clients? You’ll need to offer a higher level of service.

Being extremely friendly is a great place to start, but make sure you keep it natural. People want a realtor they can trust, which isn’t surprising they are making one of the biggest purchases of their lives. Coming across as genuinely friendly and sincere goes a long way towards sending the message that you can be that trustworthy source.

  1. Communicate with Real Clarity

Anyone with a paralyzing fear of picking up the phone is going to find that real estate agent isn’t the career for them. You must be able to communicate confidently, clearly, and frequently if you’re going to be well regarded as a realtor. Make sure you’re also proficient with sending professionally worded emails, checking in frequently, and connecting / promoting via social media.

Further it’s important to be able to get your point across in every message you send. Use clear, concise language and be very direct and to the point, even if it’s not what they client is going to want to hear. ‘Sugar coating’ anything is NEVER a good idea, and you should also avoid wordiness while leaving room for questions at the end.

Clear, objective communication is huge for realtors

  1. Connect Where Your Customers Are

Realtors these days need to establish an online presence, and this doesn’t only mean having your listings posted online. You need to connect with your clients where they are, and in today’s increasingly digital world that’s often on social media.

Don’t evaluate posting you listings on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as being an optional move. See it as being necessary, as in today’s world customers like to know they can connect with you with all the immediacy, and intimacy, of doing so through social media.

  1. Build Strong Relationships

As suggested above, you really are a key player in some of the biggest moments of your clients’ lives. Proving that you’re trustworthy and reliable enough to do business with is essential. Take the time to build relationships and you and become that trusted advisor and source of knowledge and expertise.

Start by showing a passion for your chosen field. Ask customers non-prying questions about their personal lives and refer to their answers later. Reward long-term clients with gratitude and gift baskets. These are only a couple of ideas for solidifying relationships that can last for years, and once you start trying a few of them they tend to continue to come to you quite naturally – as long as you continue to put a sufficient amount of effort into the process!

  1. Listen & Be Receptive to Client Needs

Avoid doing all the talking, and in fact avoid doing most of the talking even. Allowing clients plenty of time to share their concerns, needs, and demands during the entire home buying and selling process is very conducive to them seeing you as a service-first realtor. And be an active listener, one that weighs the information given in full and then works to anticipate that client’s current and projected needs in finding them their right home.

Other good guidelines include not interrupting the client when he or she is talking, giving them a little more open space during conversations to finish what they have to say in full, and asking questions that promote feedback directly.

Our last tip for today harkens to our blog post from 2 weeks backl listen to more than just words. Watching and understanding their body language can be very effective for understanding and accommodating your clients more thoroughly. Naturally, that’s a huge plus for the way they’ll associate you with great customer service from a realtor.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads for buyers and / or sellers living nearby to where you practice real estate in Canada. You’re nearly guaranteed to have more in the way of opportunities to create clients for yourself, and who’s not going to like the sound of that? Try us out, you’ll be glad you made the investment in your business!

Record Low Detached Home Sales in Vancouver – But Prices Continue Rising  

Published April 17, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_96438578Vancouver is definitely a phenomenon all its own when it comes to Canadian real estate, and as a realtor working in Canada’s big West Coast hub that’s both a blessing and a curse. Same goes for your clients living and buying there, however, and so there’s much to read into given recent (but ongoing) developments in the city. Detached real estate there has now seen some of the worst sales numbers ever, but that didn’t stop prices from rising.

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) March numbers show prices climbed close to the all-time high. And all of this occurred in spite of sales dropping much faster than inventory levels.

One of the immediate ramifications of trends like these is the elimination of certain demographics of prospective buyers. As a realtor that’s never a benefit, but it also does necessitate changes to how you approach your prospecting efforts. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system can open more doors for you and help you get in touch with greater numbers of buyers who are qualified despite the difficulty of doing that in Vancouver.

Less Than A Point From High

The benchmark price of a detached home hasn’t stopped climbing in Greater Vancouver. The benchmark reached $1,608,500, a 0.4% increase from the previous month. This represents a 7.4% increase compared to the same time last year. This brings the detached benchmark within 0.5% of the all-time high, which was seen in September of 2017.

What’s happening with the annual detached increase in Greater Vancouver is quite indicative. This is the first time since 2013 we’ve seen annual growth shrink from February to March. Prices were in negative territory throughout that year.

Prices aren’t up as much in Vancouver itself, but they’re not down that much either. The detached benchmark in Vancouver East is now $1,553,100, which is down 0.5% from the month before. This brings prices to 6.9% higher than the same time last year. Go to the very-desirable Vancouver West, however, and the detached benchmark reached $3,449,000. That’s a 1.5% decline from the month before. This represents a 0.4% decline from the same month last year.

It’s worth noting that Vancouver West is the only REBGV region where the detached benchmark is negative in comparison to the year previous.

Detached Sales Are Down 37% in Lotusland

Detached sales are down substantially compared to previous years, with REBGV reporting 717 sales being up 15.6% from February but a decline of 37.73% from this time last year. This decline in detached sales is particularly interesting, and quite unique.

As mentioned, Vancouver had the worst first quarter for detached sales seen in the last 27 years. The overarching belief is that demand has dried up in that segment, particularly with regards to offshore investment. Further, listings of detached homes are also down over 6%, and part of a 6.44% decline compared to the same time last year. This decline in sales had a minimal impact on prices, however, and that’s something that goes agains standard market predominances.

Detached prices are climbing towards their all-time high, despite sales dropping significantly faster than inventory. Normally real estate prices are slow to fall as sales decline, but they usually don’t rise when sales are falling faster than inventory. Interesting stuff to be sure, and equally interesting terrain for real estate professionals to negotiate.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively and for your equally-exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. It makes it easier for new realtors – or established ones – to get more results out of the time and effort they put into prospecting new real estate clients.

Learning to Read Body Language with Clients and Buyers

Published April 10, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_106884961Any time a person is making a major decision that has a whole host of factors weighing into it, there’s much in the way of non-spoken communication that can play into the way people interact each other in any sales environment. That’s especially true of real estate, and the best agents are able to make educated assumptions about a person’s intentions, priorities, and prerogatives based on how they move and react. The opposite is true; clients and potential buyers can read your body language.

Understanding what someone’s movements say about their thoughts can help you identify genuine buyers, and learning about this is all a part of becoming a better real estate agent. That’s just as true of learning how to build your client base and reputation, and our online real estate lead generation system continues to be well received by new realtors who want to hit the ground running.

Here are some points to think about for ‘reading’ clients and presenting yourself in the best light through approachable body language.

  1. The Look Down

Any time a human is anxious to end an interaction and leave as quickly as possible, they’ll look down and often directly at their feet while being spoken to. A more interested and genuine potential home buyer will direct both feet towards you or even cross one leg over the other as they chat wit you. This demonstrates that they’re not in a rush to leave, and they’re legitimately listening to you and evaluating the information.

  1. Visual Signs

Who hasn’t said yes when they really meant no, and vice versa? Many buyers will be polite, even though they lack real interest. Look for those saying something positive about the property, but moving atypically as they make the comment. If so, they are likely not being completely honest.

Also, don’t assume that the classic folded arms means someone is not interested is always true. Human behavioural experts agree it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to engage with you.

Last but not least, be on the lookout for their having a genuine smile. Positive facial expressions are the long standing cue that someone is genuinely interacting with you.

  1. In the Eyes

Buyers with eyes that are darting all over the place, and not looking at you with any type of focus are probably not serious about the home, and unlikely that they’ll ever make an offer.

Oppositely, if they look directly at you when you’re speaking you can take it to be a positive indicator of their interest. This allows you to tailor your approach as you move forward in establishing these people as buyers.

Now let’s look at it from the other perspective; what you can do to make the right non-direct impression on people.

  1. Stand tall

Good posture connotes confidence in an individual. Slouch and you will appear as though you have something to hide or you’re not sure of what you’re presenting. Show customers that you’re confident and believe in your clients and their property as priced by standing tall and confidently in front of them. And of course this goes for both men and women.

  1. No Obstruction

Avoid standing behind anything when interacting with a client, and particularly when meeting and / or speaking with them for the first time. This is an instinctive method of self-protection, but it’s also innately regarded as that by other people. Remove barriers between yourself and the client, such as benches or furniture, to indicate that you feel comfortable and confident around them.

  1. Composure is Big

Be composed in front of clients, and in particular avoid being way to active with your hands. Fidgeting with a pen or mobile phone or straightening your tie or cuffs repeatedly shows them that you’d rather be elsewhere or – more damagingly – that you’re not confident and assured in your position as the client’s realtor. It’s behaviour that is very off-putting for potential customers.

Send stronger, better, and confidence message by engaging in the classic rules of body language:

  • Keep an open stance
  • Don’t fold arms
    • Have a happy and inviting smile
    • Maintain consistent but natural eye contact

One more – don’t forget to nod when you speak. Nodding works to generate a positive feeling in others, and when it’s combined with a genuine conversation and you’re presenting yourself with authority then you’re well on your way to being ALL-OVER convincing in working with buyers and prospective clients and knowing more about where they’re at in the buying process – if they’re in it at all.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively and for your protected region of any city or town in Canada. It expands your client generation efforts in a big way and there’s so many realtors across the country who’ve been benefitting from it.

Value, Scarcity, and Massification in Canadian City Centres

Published April 3, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Land is a finite resource, and beyond that big picture perspective we know that real estate is inherently scarce in the world, and increasingly so. This scarcity is augmented by increasing numbers of urbanized countries, with the fact society dictates that people need to be close to a major city in order to work. Add municipal controls, land restrictions, and more and things are what they are today, and particularly so in large urban centres in Canada and the United States.

The relevance of this and how it permeates the way real estate agents must both compete and prioritize when prospecting clients will need no explanation for any of you who’ve been in the business for any amount of time. Our online real estate lead generator helps you be even more competitive in this regard. There’s only so much of the pie to go around, for both home buyers and real estate professionals.

This explains why Canadian real estate continues to hold value so well. Most of the livable, tradeable stuff, is in urban centres and is fairly scarce. Those that owned, sold, and built real estate were able to acquire a solid amount of private wealth, but this of course made possible by deteriorating public wealth. Most often this is balanced by an oversupply, which enables the local economy to ‘catch up.’

Going back a while, prices across Canada (not just in major markets), increased 69.31% from 2001 to 2008, which was one of the speediest rises in history. This was followed by a three year stagnated-prices period in real terms. From 2012 to 2017, Canadians saw prices climb another 39%, another massive upswing and definitely indicative of an unappealing trend. Developers will argue this is due to under-building that’s caused by supply constraints and lack of changed city zoning bylaws for new housing.

That’s just simply not the case. It’s more that they began burning supply.

Burning Up Supply

Consider Toronto. It’s a place with huge immigration inflows, and other factors that many would have you believe that the city has a scarce supply of housing. Yes, it does feel that way. the city added 188,450 new households between 2006 and 2011. During that time, however, the CMHC only tracked 160,195 new completions. Since more homes were formed than built, upward pressure on prices is expected. A good amount of the previously un-utilized housing was now being used, making vacancies more scarce.

Looking at the same numbers from 2011 to 2016, a very different trend becomes clear. According to Statistics Canada, 146,200 homes formed during that period but CMHC data shows 175,825 new completions. Almost 30,000 more homes were created than homes formed, which of course added to the housing supply. That wouldn’t make you think that pricing pressure would actually increase, and inventory available become more scarce, but that’s exactly what happened.

What we can understand from this is that the construction of extra supply had almost no impact on easing prices, nor was it even sold for predatory increases. It just simply wasn’t available.

Foreign Buyers And Vacant Homes

Two interesting trends occurred right around this same time frame – the rise of foreign buyers, and an increase in vacant homes. According to the CMHC, non-residents owned 2.7% of all homes in 2017, which worked out to a 35% jump from 2014. According to the CMHC, 8.48% of new condos were sold to non-residents between 2011 and 2015. From 2016 to 2017, that increased to 11.65% of new Toronto condos.

This process where developers increase their offerings overseas, despite significant domestic demand, is known as massification, and it’s a method employed by luxury brands to create artificial scarcity. Here again we see evidence of the need for the Federal Government to enact legislation similar to that in Australia and New Zealand that puts constraints on the mass-purchasing power of non-resident buyers.

It’s in the best interests of Canadians and those of us who have invested in careers putting those peoples in homes for families.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively and for you similarly exclusive region of any city or town in Canada.