Prospects aren't Human Rescources Professionals, so... - 01/31/11 03:52 AM
Prospects aren't human resources professionals, so why should they be treated as if they were?
I spent a little time today looking at real estate websites, and agent bios. I know I'm just a little bit fanatic about them, because I think they play an important role in helping prospects choose between agents.
What I noticed today were quite a few bios that looked more like resume's - They listed education and experience, but didn't let the readers know the answer to that most important question: "So what?"
Human resources professionals are trained to know what education and experience means
Could this small thing make a difference to your business? - 01/30/11 02:31 AM
Today on my way home from a trip to visit my son, I was driving up the highway, traveling at the speed limit, as was the car ahead of me.
As I came around a corner and hit a straight patch of road, a car flew around me.
This isn't unusual, because the "out-of-staters" seem to have an attitude that when they get to Idaho they own the road. In the summer it can be dangerous to pull out onto that highway without stopping to listen first - to see if someone doing 90 is about to appear.
Most residents harbor
How To Market Yourself In a "Behind The Times" Town - 01/29/11 01:36 AM
When I got this email I had to look twice to make sure the lady wasn't writing from my own home town... because we're always ten or fifteen years behind times.
Here's what she asked...
I’m a real estate sales person in a small town that hasn’t caught up to the current century. Instead of searching the Internet for homes and agents, residents still read the local weekly newspaper and call on the phone or just walk into our offices.
I get a few leads from my website, but they are from out of town buyers.
I mail a
When in Doubt, Pick up the phone - 01/28/11 04:29 PM
Last night my friend Susan called to ask me if I knew anything about a little brown dog that she had seen running on Eastside Road. She had seen it last night and the night before and was worried because it looked to be a dog who belonged in the house.
After all, night-time temperatures are down near 20 degrees, so a tiny short haired dog doesn't belong outside.
I didn't know anything about the dog, so this morning she called Animal Rescue to see if a small brown dog had been reported missing - and it had!
Who Needs a Real Estate Copywriter? - 01/28/11 04:25 AM
Today I had a conversation with a gentleman who wanted a drip marketing campaign.
We discussed who would be getting the letters, how long each message should be, and what he wanted to convey to people. Then he asked me "Do you have some kind of special tricks you use in your letters?"
When I asked what he meant, he explained that he was highly educated and could write very well. He wanted to know if there was something special I could do that he could not.
He said "Why can't I do this myself?"
I told him no, there were
Why No Bios and Profiles? - 01/25/11 06:25 PM
In her blog post about how out of state buyers choose an agent, Kelle Sparta mentions the fact that so many agents fail to fill out their profiles or enter bios, even when it's free to do so.
These agents are turning their backs on opportunity.
Like Kelle, if I were going into an area and wanted an agent, that's one of the first things I'd look at. Then I'd look at their blogs to see if I could get an even better idea of their personality and outlook on life.
Agents without profiles and bios are effectively shutting the
"Shamed Into Altering a Mortgage" - 01/22/11 01:49 PM
This situation needs to be broadcast everywhere - if shame is going to have any influence on banks and lawmaker's behavior.
I'm going to disable comments here, because everyone should go read the original post and the comments there. Lots and lots of food for thought.
As long as the banks get to use taxpayer money to keep their executives in big bonuses, I don't see much hope of change. But perhaps if enough taxpayers scream about it, Congress will decide to make the banks accountable for their actions.
Thanks for this Kimberly.
Via Kimberly A Norgard (Devlin McNiff
Strange Email Behavior - Is it Just Me? - 01/22/11 02:45 AM
This week I've noticed something really odd with my email, and with email from Active Rain in particular.
Mail is being delivered late. Not just a few minutes late, but a whole lot late.
I'd noticed several weeks ago that some email from a friend was being sent in the morning and arriving in the afternoon. I thought maybe it was because he was forwarding things, or because he was mailing the same thing to a large number of people.
Now, this week I'm getting notices of new comments on Active Rain - more than a day after I've read the
In Defense of Investors - 01/21/11 02:45 AM
Just a reminder...
So many times here on Active Rain we see agents talking about real estate investors as if they were ALL scummy people – out to take advantage of poor defenseless sellers, or out to do shoddy remodel jobs that cover problems rather than repair them.
We know some of them are like that. There's plenty of evidence of that. A great example is in Jay Markanich's hilarious tale of meeting his neighbor, Mr. Flipper.
But... I do know some who are honest and do a fine job rehabbing the fixer-upper houses they buy. Sometimes they end up losing
Tell Your Clients - Read Before You Believe - 01/20/11 04:10 AM
This week I've been working on some web pages and blog posts for a San Diego website - so I started doing some research. I was looking for statistics about foreclosures, short sales, pricing, etc.
Imagine my surprise when I found these two results on Google - one above the other:
I was even more surprised when I read the two posts and found that they were both correct!
One writer focused on the difference between 2nd and 3rd quarter 2010. The other focused on the difference between 3rd quarter
Time to Help The Critters Once Again - 01/18/11 03:38 AM
The Animal Rescue Site didn't waste much time between contests this time! A new one is underway, and we all have the opportunity to vote once a day for our favorite animal rescue organization. If we have favorites in different states, we can alternate our votes between them.
Last time around my votes - and possibly yours - helped Conrad Strays in Middleton, Idaho win $1,000 to help care for rescued cats. They're getting my votes again this time, because I know how hard Teresa Conrad works to raise the funds to operate her no-kill rescue.
So, go to the
How To Choose a Real Estate Listing Agent - 01/17/11 12:28 AM
F irst - I am no longer a real estate sales person - but because I write for active professionals and write about real estate a lot, I do get questions from consumers as well as from real estate agents wondering how to build their businesses.
Today I got the following: The subject line said "About your article"
Thanks...helpful....one question not addressed....smaller private realtor with all the bells and whistles or Major National company??? Home I am selling is in 600K range...your non partial insight will be helpful!
The gentleman didn't give me much information to go on - not even
Are Foreign Homebuyers Coming to Your Town? - 01/16/11 03:26 AM
I’ve been reading about foreign investment in real estate and seeing that the trend has shifted from commercial real estate to residential real estate.
That means you could very well have foreign buyers browsing the listings on your website.
Their primary areas of interest are Florida, Southern California, the upper East Coast, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest. Some also predict a large influx into the Washington D.C. area. However, these are not the only places they’re buying. A NAR report stated that agents in 39 different states reported selling to foreign buyers during the year ending in April 2010.
The Fear That Prevents Success - 01/15/11 04:00 AM
We hear people talk a lot about fear of failure and even fear of success. But after listening to some people talk today I think maybe the one that holds people back the most is fear of disappointment.
Maybe that's tied to fear of failure, but I think it's something bigger - and sadder.
If you study the law of attraction, you know that whatever you think about most is what you're going to get. If you think about failure, you're going to get failure. So the best thing to do if you want success is to think about it, talk
Does Your Agent Bio Help You Attract Clients? - 01/14/11 01:22 AM
Which school of thought do you belong to when it comes to bios? The one that says it should be purely professional / statistical - or the one that says it should give your website visitors a glimpse of who you are?
I know some other copywriters disagree with me, but I'm on the side that says it should be a bit more personal.
I see the bio as your opportunity to let people find some way to see that you are "like" them - so they'll have a subconscious reason to like and trust you.
One of the first things
Does this bother you like it bothers me? - 01/12/11 05:30 PM
I've been reading the Daily Drop, as I do every day. However, one post with an interesting title comes up with the following message:
Now I'm really bugged.
Why was that post removed? Was it too controversial? Did it contain bad language? Was it defamatory?If it was so bad, how did it get into the Daily Drop in the first place?
What did I miss? It had to be something interesting, didn't it?Or did someone just enter a link incorrectly and there's no mystery at all?
I've tried it several times and all the other post links come up just
About those Active Rain Writers... - 01/12/11 04:32 PM
This afternoon I'm doing research for a couple of real estate related articles... and it is frustrating!
You know how it is - you type in some keywords and Google gives you sites that may or may not be related to what you're looking for. Or maybe they are, but it's buried so far in the site that it would take an hour to find it.
Today I'm being led to blogs and articles on "Internet magazines," as well as to those dreaded link farms.
What I'm finding is a whole lot of really bad writing. Some of the sentences are
Will You See A Return To Seller Financing? - 01/12/11 01:55 AM
Seller financing is something I've thought a lot about lately. I've been working on an information e-book for a client with a website about it, so I've been remembering my first years in real estate.
You don't hear a lot of people talking about it any more, but when I first started in real estate in 1985, it was the norm.
Interest rates were extremely high, conventional financing required 20% down, and most of the homes for sale in our community wouldn't qualify for FHA or VA financing. We had a lot of issues such as wood to earth contact,
Where this all started... - 01/10/11 06:51 PM
Last night I was cleaning old papers out of my desk and came across an interesting print-out.
It was a September 30, 1999 article from the New York Times, explaining that Fannie Mae was easing credit to aid mortgage lending.
The article cites pressure from the Clinton administration as one of the reasons for a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets. The program would encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose poor credit would not allow them to to qualify for a conventional loan.They hoped to take it nation-wide by early 2000.
When Cash is No Good - 01/09/11 06:54 PM
When Reading Jim Braun's post entitled Yes They Will Put a Hold on that Check, I was reminded of a similar problem with cash.
When a buyer comes into a purchase with a wad of cash as down payment funds, or if that buyer deposits a large sum of cash into his or her bank account just prior to closing, his or her lender will demand to know where it came from.
They want "seasoned funds," or they want an explanation.
And they don't just look at the borrower. If the borrower happens to have a gift letter from Mom
More of My Favorite Clients - Connective Realty - 01/09/11 01:23 AM
Once again, I've reached into my file box to find a favorite client - and today it's Jody Keating, owner / broker of Connective Realty.
I met Jody because she posted a need for a real estate writer. I missed the post, but Len Harley saw it and suggested she contact me. Pretty cool, since Len and I had only communicated via comments on each other's blogs. I've said it before, but... Thanks, Len!
Since then I've written most of the pages on Jody's website, including her agent bios - and I've had fun with every bit of it. I've
You thought that piece of information was private? Think again! - 01/08/11 02:21 PM
Virginia has provided some valuable information here - including links to learn more about the information "the world" knows about both you and your home.
It appears that every buyer should request a CLUE report before closing on a purchase.
Kind of scary that we have no privacy left in America.
Via Virginia Gardner, Realtor Charlottesville and Earlysville VA Homes (Roy Wheeler Realty Co.):
I started this post with the intention of writing about CLUE reports, and I will be writing about CLUE, but I will also be writing about much more than CLUE. As I started researching CLUE reports, I discovered a
Be Careful of the Emotions Triggered by the Words You Choose - 01/07/11 07:56 PM
Do you ever think about the emotional effect your words carry?
Some are obvious - like love, hate, anger, etc. But some are not so obvious.
Sometimes words that seem to convey your meaning actually cause an emotional effect on others that you don't intend or want.
For instance, consider the word "anxious."
You might say "I'm anxious to meet you," or "I'm anxious to tour your home," or "I'm anxious to begin marketing your home."
And when you say it, you mean that you are looking forward to it. In fact, you can hardly wait!
Unfortunately, the hidden emotion
Your Mental Attitude Will Determine Your Success - 01/07/11 01:46 AM
At risk of being accused of spouting psycho-babble or being a Polyanna, I have to say what I've seen over and over to be true... It doesn't matter what the economy is doing or what others around you are doing. We each control out own outcome. It's the Law of Attraction in action.
You can’t control the market. You can’t control the banks and their decision-making as it affects your buyers and sellers. You can’t even control how the agents on the other side of your transactions will behave.
But you can determine your own success by managing the one factor
What to Say to Homeowners With Expired Listings - 01/05/11 06:32 PM
Because so many real estate agents set their listings to expire on December 31, right now is prime time to go after expired listings.
But what should you say?
That seems to be a question that is uppermost on many agents’ minds right now.
But first let's talk about what you should NOT say. You should NOT say “Your last agent was an idiot.” You should also not go on about the job they didn’t do, even if you can clearly see that they didn’t do the job.
Why? Because bad-mouthing other people makes you look like a jerk.
How to create urgency with your buyers... - 01/05/11 05:59 PM
Chris is so absolutely right on target with this message!
One of the first things we learn as copywriters is that people buy with their emotions and justify their decisions with logic. Feelings are everything.
Using questions such as those Chris suggests will help you tap into the emotions and sell to them. Once you've shown the emotional benefits, then you can point out the more practical features of the home.
Great job, Chris. This is one of the best posts I've read in a long time!
Via Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California):
As real estate agents, we spend so much
Balloon Decor in Madison, Wisconsin - 01/04/11 05:16 PM
If I had ever seen balloon decor, I hadn't paid attention until last winter. That's when I spent some time working with Steve Paynter of Balloons by Design, in Madison, Wisconsin.
We see balloons used at grand openings, marking the way to yard sales and receptions, and falling from the ceiling during political conventions. But I had never thought about how they're used to decorate.
Balloons can be a relatively inexpensive way to turn a bland and boring meeting room into something unusual and beautiful. For brides, they can replace most those expensive flowers and make an even bigger splash. The
My Favorite Clients: New England's Pope of Realty - 01/03/11 01:49 AM
Before Christmas, when everyone was talking about writing localism posts, I kept thinking about what I could do that was similar. Since I'm not a real estate agent, and none of my clients come from the town where I live, actual localism posts didn't seem like the way to go.
So... I decided to start writing posts about some of my favorite clients and their businesses - even though they live far from me. I wasn't sure where to start, so I just stuck my hand in my file drawer and pulled out a folder.
And that's why I'm starting with
A Bit of Trivia I Had To Share - 01/01/11 07:04 PM
One of the tasks for the new year is always to clean the file folders out of the drawer, put them in the "tax prep spot" and make room for new folders.
Today I got a bit side-tracked from that task when I came across two manila envelopes filled with scrapbook type mementos.
One of those clippings was from the "Looking Back" column in the January 10, 1996 Priest River Times. The entry was from the want ads dated January, 1916:
"For Sale: 100 acre ranch, level, 3 miles from town, 7 acres cleared, house barn and outbuildings. $1,200. Half
A Sticky Situation - How do YOU handle it? - 01/01/11 04:54 PM
Here’s a question new real estate agents struggle with, especially if they’ve gotten it wrong once or twice.
So… I’m giving my opinion, but since you’re still out there every day and I’m not, yours is more important.
My request is that you seasoned agents chime in with your opinions and experience and help those new agents decide how to handle the question:
Should you tell buyers that there's already an offer on a home they're viewing?
I believe this is a double edged sword. The answer lies in the personality of your buyers and the trust level you've
Dont forget your ABC's for 2011 !!! - 01/01/11 01:37 PM
Sheldon has created a cost-effective system for staying in touch with past clients. A similar system for sphere of influence would be good too.
Perhaps for sphere of influence just use A and C. A for those people who haven't needed real estate services, but are friends who like to refer others to you. C for people you know who have never referred to you, but just might if you keep your name in front of them.
Via Sheldon Neal ~ That British Agent ~ Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited):
As we all put
31 Days of December Challenge - Day 31 - 01/01/11 02:31 AM
This 31 days certainly did go quickly! It's hard to believe that in less than an hour it will be 2011 here in Idaho... and strange to think that on the East coast it already is.
Today I spent a good deal of time getting those last articles written for the HAHD challenge. The tough part of that one is that all articles had to be 400 words or more, and when I expand on a subject enough to get to 400 words, I usually have to keep going to 500 or 600.
It's much easier to choose a subject and