All posts for the month May, 2019

Effective Approaches for Contacting FSBO (For Sale by Owner) Homeowners

Published May 27, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Despite what many realtors will say, there’s no reason that a home that is well-maintained, in a desirable neighbourhood, and priced accurately can be sold by the homeowners without the services of a realtor. Will it be sold as quickly and for the maximum amount possible (independent of the listing price?) That’s not so certain, and while the majority of homeowners will be aware of that fact there are going to be some ‘FSBOs’ who will continue to believe otherwise.

Contacting homeowners selling their home on their own is fairly standard practice for realtors in the business, and it’s true that a good many of these sellers will be persuaded to list with a realtor. But which one? You can count on these homeowners being contacted by more than one realtor, so what makes one successful while others don’t get the listing?

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an excellent way to give you an inside track on being first to be in touch with homeowners looking to sell their home and buyers looking to buy a home. As far as the first type of prospective client there is concerned, this fast-tracking of the meeting between you and them means you have the opportunity to sell them on the advisability of a realtor’s professional services BEFORE they make any such decision about becoming a FSBO.

That said, it’s helpful to have some tested-and-true approaches to contacting a FSBO and making a favourable impression on them. Here they are.

  1. Focus on Relationship Building

The long and short is that prospecting for FSBO listings is a numbers game, and even the best agents shouldn’t expect to list more than 20% of the FSBO sellers contacted. It’s essential to get past the initial contact formalities and get right to establishing the tone of your conversation. Don’t attempt to aggressively close an appointment within 5 or 10 minutes of speaking to the homeowner for the first time.

They may never intend to list with an agent, or they may be obligated to use an agent that is a family member of friend if they ever do decide to list their home through a realtor. If you take a no-pressure and more of a ‘I’m here to help if you think that’s something you’d like’ approach goes a long way and usually fosters a favourable opinion of you as a real estate professional.

  1. Systemize Your Follow Ups

FSBOs tend to be listed when the realtor’s approach is consistent, and systematic with their follow-up if that’s what is needed (and nine times out of 10 it is). Experienced realtors will know that many FSBO sellers won’t be ready to make a decision until at least the fifth or sixth contact. With repeated contact opportunities comes the chance for you to add value. This can be neighborhood data, a comparative market analysis, property profile information or even a pre-listing presentation.

It’s always best to call and let them know when other homes come up for sale, go under contract, and sell in their area. Have something of real value ready to be shared with them each time a follow-up contact is suitable.

  1. Ask Smart Qualifying Questions

These are opportunities that you most certainly don’t want to squander, so it pays to be able to ask the right questions, and ask them at the right time. It’s also important to pose them in the best manner, and never be clearly angling for the listing as part of your own interests. Here are 3 excellent questions to ask, and in the same or much the same language.

  • “If I brought you a qualified buyer, would you be willing to pay me a 3% commission?” – If the answer to that is yes, you’re set up perfectly to continue to the next question.
  • “How long are you prepared to try selling your home on your own before you look into other options, including listing with a real estate agent?” – As an industry tip, it’s common to cut their answer here in half. If they say 2 months, work with the understanding that they’ll be ready to list in a month. If their answer is 6 months or less, continue on to the next question.
  • “If you don’t sell your home by (indicated time), what other options will you be willing to consider to sell your home?” – One of the benefits of this question is that it ensures that they don’t have a personal or family friend as a realtor and you don’t waste too much time and effort. If this prospective client is open to the possibility of interviewing agents in the future, enter them in your lead follow-up campaigns and move on to contacting the next FSBO if there is one.

Turning a FSBO into a home seller clients is a very rewarding feeling for a realtor, and once you done it for the first time it’s quite common to be very enthusiastic about taking successive cracks at it. Again, the most important part of doing this is to take an entirely ‘no pressure / here to help if you want it’ approach when discussing the matter with the homeowners.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively and for a region of any city or town in Canada that is yours alone as long as you registered with us. It’s an excellent way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and it’s nearly impossible to see it as anything else that money well spent as part of your marketing budget.

CMHC: Canadian Housing Market No Longer Overly Vulnerable After Prices Ease

Published May 21, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

For some time we’ve heard that while the Canadian housing market is flat, the market itself and the value homeowners have in their homes in relation to it have been perched precariously over the last little while for a number of different reasons. It goes without saying that there are many people and livelihoods that have a vested interest in the well being of the housing market, and of course realtors like you are certainly one of them.

It’s for this reason that no matter where and how your interest in the health of the housing market is found, it’s good news these days as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is saying it no longer has the country’s housing market being ‘highly vulnerable’ after an overall easing of price acceleration has been seen across the country.

While that isn’t going to necessarily equate more homes being sold, it will mean a greater number of prospective homebuyers being further empowered within the overall sphere of business, and that bodes well for a realtor’s prospecting efforts as he or she seeks to drum up more business for themselves. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an excellent way to get more out of your efforts in this regard, and it comes highly recommended from many real estate agents who are already onboard.

Moderate Market Now

The CHMC’s report from Thursday of last week states that it rates the overall market at ‘moderate’ after 10 consecutive quarters of being rated ‘highly vulnerable.’This with the disclaimer that some cities remain at an elevated risk. A spokesperson said “the state of the national housing market has improved to moderate vulnerability.”

The consensus is that though moderate evidence of overvaluation continues for Canada as a whole, improved overall alignment between house prices and housing market fundamentals has been seen as of late.

The inflation-adjusted average price for a home in Canada went down 5.4% in the last quarter of 2018 from the same period in the year previous.

Vancouver Remains Vulnerable

The CMHC also reported that while house prices in Vancouver, Toronto, Victoria, and Hamilton moved towards more market sustainability, a high degree of vulnerability was still being seen in those markets. Further, Vancouver remains highly vulnerable, and in particular in response to overvaluation of homes there.

The largest cities in the Prairies are staying at a moderate degree of vulnerability. Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, St. John’s, Quebec City, and Moncton are all seeing little to no risk of vulnerability.

The report determined vulnerability via several criteria; price acceleration, overvaluation, overbuilding, overheating, and others.

Relatedly, price acceleration has eased nationally, and in large part because of the federal government’s mortgage stress test regulations of 2018. They raised the bar as to what’s required to be able to qualify for a mortgage, and the entirety of tighter mortgage rules made for less demand for housing, as well as contributing to the seen decline of house prices.

The report concluded by noting that inflation resulted in personal disposable income dropping by 1.2 per cent, and this corresponding with a reduction in buying power. This was partially offset by a young-adult population that increased by 1.9 per cent and added to the pool of would-be (hopeful) first-time homebuyers by a small amount.

Sign up for 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 similarly-exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a nearly guaranteed way to be put in touch with genuine people who are genuinely looking to buy or sell a home in the area of the country where you hang your professional hat. Try it out, and we’re certain you’ll quickly come to see it as money well spent when it comes to advancing your real estate business.

7 Best Customer Service Practices for Realtors

Published May 13, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

We imagine there’s not even one practicing real estate agent who needs to be convinced of the importance of superior customer services when it comes to advancing their business. Further, the vast majority of realtors will already be providing their clients with good customer service, but it’s entirely fair to say there’s always room for improvement. As is the case with nearly everything, getting right down to the absolute truth of a matter often involves going beyond conventional thinking, and this is entirely accurate in the real estate business.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system for Canadian realtors is an excellent way to augment a realtor’s client prospecting efforts. More leads equals more opportunities, and the best realtors will know that turning a prospect into a client often isn’t as much of a challenge as retaining that client for future business opportunities as well. Enjoying repeat business from a client who decides to buy or sell a home again in the future is dependent on your being every bit the knowledgeable and reputable professional they hope you to be.

That, and meeting their every expectation when it comes to your role as their realtor. Obviously, customer service is going to be a big part of that and so our focus here to day will be on a handful of proven-effective customer service practices for realtors.

There’s no industry where customer service (client service, if you prefer) is more essential than it is in real estate–an opinion I’ve found support for even as the list of industries and professional services niches for which I’m a customer service consultant and speaker has climbed above a dozen. In real estate, empathetic, patient customer service from a dedicated agent, supported by a skilled, polished, and motivated office staff, is a prerequisite for success. If you work in real estate, the principles and best practices I offer below will put you on your way to building a superior level of client service, thereby creating loyal customers, generating word of mouth marketing, and building passionate brand ambassadorship.

  1. Always be Quick to Respond

Real estate clients in today’s world expect speedy service, and now more so than ever before. The saying that an hour represents a year in internet time is pretty appropriate when it comes to what they considerable to be reasonable in as far as response times are concerned. A prospective client who doesn’t hear back from you before the end of the day (at the very latest) may very well move on, or at the very least be starting to develop an unfavourable opinion of you.

Smartphones make it entirely possible to respond to any manner of digital communication quickly. You have one, so be sure to use it and always respond to client communications as promptly as possible.

  1. Anticipate Client Wishes to the Best of Your Ability

It’s a fact that when a client’s wishes are met before they’ve needed to be expressed, that client is going to be plenty pleased with their realtor. Making yourself better equipped to do this requires aligning your systems and your people to anticipate what your clients – and well in advance of the point where they feel they need to ask for it.

It’s true that much of this foreword thinking is the type that only comes with experience working as a realtor, but it’s also true that you can go a long way in this regard simply by thinking about what your wishes would be if YOU were the home buyer or home seller. aligning your systems to focus on what clients really want from your processes is really a key, and make sure to understand that each and every client is going to be different from the next in this regard.

  1. Take Initiative to Share Information with Clients

Clients that feel empowered tend to be satisfied ones, and that comes from the satisfaction of being possession of all the facts they deem to be important. For you, the focus should be on explaining what they need to know and why – before they need it. You can start by NOT assuming that ANYTHING is common knowledge between you and the client. Even if they do, you’re not going to be disadvantaging yourself by sharing it with them, and if anything they’ll see it as evidence of the fact that you’re making entirely sure they’re sufficiently in the know.

  1. Choose Wisely When Building a Real Estate Team

Every real estate firm will have measures in place to promote their clients receiving superb service, and if you’re a realtor who’s become successful to the point that you need to start building a team then you should choose those team members very judiciously – keeping in mind the importance of great customer service in real estate. It’s true that a single disagreeable or unresponsive team member can severely diminish client loyalty. You can and should aim to become an expert at recruiting, selecting, training, evaluating and reinforcing the efforts of service personnel.

  1. Master your Greetings and Farewells

Industry research has indicated that clients that the parts of an encounter they remember most vividly are the first and last minutes of them. It’s for this reason that you should focus on ensuring you have the interaction skills and moxie to make sure these parts of the conversation / interaction are most to the clients’ liking. Yes, that often means engineering them, and while that many not be ‘natural’ it’s perfectly fine to have scripts in place for these parts of your discourse and meetings with clients.

Practice them so that they are natural, but do make sure that you have them in place to make certain that you start and end on the right notes with clients.

  1. Acknowledge Returning Clients in a Personal Manner

You stand to benefit immensely from being able to speak to a returning clients with the kind of ease, naturalness, and personability that indicates you both remember them and know of their individuality. This goes a LONG way in creating the impression that your excellent customer service is paired with a continuing degree of genuine interest in these clients as distinct people.

Some realtors have expressly strong memories that serve well for this purpose. For those of you who don’t, it’s advisable to make notes in your digital files on clients where you jot down little things you catch onto about them. Keeping a notes file in your phone so you can add to it immediately after meeting with them is the best idea, and you then transfer those notes to a master file on your computer once back at the office or at home.

  1. Don’t Measure Yourself Against Prevailing or Conventional Standards

This one is fairly self-explanatory; you shouldn’t be resting on your laurels based on the fact you’re meeting or exceeding what’s seen as the minimum for customer service in real estate. Instead, benchmark yourself against the best practices you can find throughout a variety of service-intensive industries, and do so because that’s going to provide your with a more realistic interpretation of what clients ACTUALLY expect from ANY service provider – their realtor included.

Every client interaction with you is judged based on expectations set by the most receptive and in-tune providers in hospitality, the financial services industry, and other areas those who’ve mastered customer service best practices have reaped the rewards for their efforts.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively, for any area of a city of town in Canada that’s protected for you exclusively within our system. The region is yours and yours alone, and you’ll be the only realtor who’ll receive leads for it. It’s a proven-effective way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and you’ll have more in the way of opportunities to showcase your real estate excellence – including exceptional customer service.

Potential for Higher Development Costs Affecting Greater Toronto High-Density Land Prices

Published May 6, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

It’s a well-established fact that the only way to realistically address the housing shortages in cities like Vancouver and Toronto is for the city councils to amend zoning regulations for higher-density building development. It goes without saying that this is no easy task, as if it were then we would already see these changes in place. It’s certainly not as easy as just going ahead with it, and that these changes are slow to get off the ground is an unfortunate reality.

It’s also a fact that many homeowners – and especially those who own their properties outright – are often not in favour of these types of prospective zoning changes. This is often said to be in large part attributable to the fact that increasing housing stock means their property values will go down. Interestingly, there have been studies done that show that there’s no truth to this, and that’s a fact that realtors – among others – will be quick to point out anytime the opportunity presents itself.

Yes, of course that’s in something of a self-serving interest, but it’s important that the lack of affordable housing in major urban areas of Canada be addressed effectively. What it would mean for realtors is more properties, more clients, and ultimately more business. That’s a big plus, but the current depressed state of the housing market in Canada and the ratio of supply and demand being drastically titled towards demand at this time makes it so that realtors needs to work harder than ever to gain their share of the pie.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an excellent way to gain an advantage when prospecting clients, and the way it’s been so well received by ever-greater numbers of professionals across the country makes it one of the best online resources for realtors in Canada. Given the state of the business nationwide at this time it’s something that makes a lot of sense.

There’s yet another factor that’s threatening to depress new home construction starts even further in Canada’s most populous city – Toronto. Specifically, it’s the increased development costs that developers have to take on in conjunction with already sky-high values attached to the land they need to build them on.

Price Growth Rates Finally Stabilizing

The rate of price growth for new condominium apartments in the Greater Toronto Area has finally started to calm down after a good many years of rapid appreciation. Unsold new condo prices jumped by some 50% in 2018, and are progressing along much the same trajectory so far this year. In many GTA submarkets this year, price growth is actually well below double-digits.

However, the average price-per-foot for a new condo in the M5A postal code area – including the East Bayfront, Corktown and Regent Park areas most notably – went up by 32% year-over-year to $1,176 per square foot. In M5V, encompassing the Entertainment District, prices leaped 33% annually to $1,301 per square foot.

The deduction that land owners and their brokers are coming to when weighing residual value of the lands based on $1,300-per-square-foot pricing is the land being worth $250 to $300 per buildable square foot. That in itself is workable for developers, but when they then must factor major increase in costs, the whole thing becomes far less workable in a hurry.

Dramatic Rises in Construction Costs

A well-known Toronto developer was heard to say recently that in 2015 he had hard construction costs of $190 per square foot. Fast forward to 2017 and his construction costs were $275 per square foot. Today, he reports that he’s dealing with construction costs at $315 per square foot – over some 65% higher from four years ago.

That’s not all that’s dissuading developers from starting new builds in certain ares of the city where they’re very much needed. They also have to take on development charges. The development charge for smaller suites in Toronto is nearly $26,000 per unit, an increase of 34% annually. Larger units have a charge of nearly $38,000 per unit, an increase of 40% annually.

The long story short of this is that when costs rise, developers will pay less for land to maintain their margins. But when there’s only so much leeway with the cost of the land, in many instances these potential developments end up dying on the proposal table. That means fewer building starts, fewer new homes, and less for the homebuyers and the realtors who serve them.

Land Prices Escalating

And land prices are escalating, in a big way. This is natural, and something that’s an inherent part of the realities of supply and demand in the real estate and property development businesses. As a result of it, competition for development sites is fierce and if a developer doesn’t pay above-market for land, more often than not they won’t get it and the entire process goes back to square one.

Longer approval timelines, higher financing costs, higher development costs, higher construction costs, and greater built form and interior use requirements with the new TOCore planning framework will continue to put upward pressure on costs. It’s not a recipe for building the affordable housing Toronto needs.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively – meaning you receive them and no other realtor is able to access any of the ones that are generated for your exclusive area of any city or town in Canada. It’s yours, and yours alone, and with each and every one of these leads comes an opportunity to add another customer to your base in an ever-growing and thus successful personal real estate corporation.

Make the move today and get the client prospecting results you want.