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How to Create Better Facebook Ads for Real Estate

July 3, 2015

Do you create Facebook ads to promote your brand, your listings and your real estate services? facebook marketing

With Facebook pages continuing to see a decrease in organic reach, Facebook ads are an easy way to target your market and get your content in front of the right audience.

Here are our 5 best tips to help you create Facebook advertising that delivers more leads:

1. Define your goal before creating your ad.

What do want to achieve? Are you trying to get people to visit your real estate website? Like your Facebook page? Claim a special offer? Facebook ads can help you do all that and measure your results, you just have to first identify your objective.

If your goal is to send people to your website, be sure your ad directs to the landing page that has the most value to your selected audience, so you have the best chance of keeping and converting your new visitor. No one likes a high bounce rate!

2. Create a Custom Audience to target your existing prospects.

Do you have a list of prospect and client emails or phone numbers? Advertise to this already-warm group of leads by creating a custom audience. Just upload your contact list to create a campaign that will be seen by users who already know, like and trust you.

Even if you don’t have an email list you want to target, you can use Custom Audiences to target people who have visited your website. This is called remarketing. It’s a little more complicated, but people who have visited your site will suddenly see your ads in their feed. How neat is that?

3. Highlight a single listing with quality photos.

You can advertise a single listing to a local audience. Everyone likes to see what is for sale in their neighborhood, whether they are on the market or not.

You should always upload two or more high quality photos to pair with your ad. Facebook will automatically create two ads, and you’ll be able to assess which image performs better. You can use this information to help you choose more engaging photos for Facebook ads going forward.

4. Include a question and call to action.

Be sure to include a Call-to-Action Button under your ad that tells viewers which action you want them to take. Facebook has a predefined list that includes options like “Learn More” and “Sign Up.” Including a question in your ad copy is another good way to engage readers and get them to click your call to action.

5. Skip the ad – and boost your post!

If you have a post that is performing well, even a fairly old one, and it aligns with your goals, try spending a little money to boost its reach. If that post was getting good engagement before, or seeing a high rate of click throughs, it can be just as cost effective as and more time efficient than creating a new ad.

These tips should help you focus your advertising efforts on Facebook so you can reach your goals. You should continually monitor your ads to see how they are performing. When a campaign is finished, compare it to your previous campaigns to see what worked and what didn’t. Then you will be able to optimize your ads going forward.

Point2 Agent is a comprehensive marketing toolkit used by real estate professionals all over the world to capture more traffic and generate more leads. For more information and to begin your free trial, visit Point2Agent.com.

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at info@connectrealty.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Text Me, Maybe?

July 2, 2015

With consumers constantly on the move, having our mobile devices attached to our palms has become essential. In 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, keeping them constantly connected to the world around them. Reliance on mobile devices is heavy, and texting is a no-brainer; it takes only a few seconds to send a quick text. Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing, can be an invaluable tool for marketers because of its appeal to consumers, and the fact that it is embedded in our daily routines.

Texts are normally read within minutes of delivery making them extremely beneficial for marketers struggling to reach consumers. Conversational Advertising found statistically that 90 percent of all SMS is read within 3 minutes. There is no other channel as urgent as this for connecting and converting customers. We are in an age where everything is fast-paced, and constantly moving. It is important that marketers adapt to the ever-changing world so that their messages are in sync with the way their consumers live. Furthermore, no one today ever leaves a text unread, as opposed to emails which continue to fill up your inbox, go left unread, or get sent to spam where they never get seen. According to a Direct Marketing Association survey, 70 percent of the sample revealed that they had responded to a marketing text message. In contrast to that, the percentage that responded to a marketing email was a low 30 percent. This is because texts are engaging as they are immediate and compel consumers to read them as soon as they receive them.

In today’s marketing world, it is all about having an engaging conversation with your consumers. Texts are very personal, tailored to each individual consumer, allowing businesses to build relationships with each and every one. Many companies today are turning to common short code (CSC) mobile marketing as it delivers personal messages which generate action from its consumers. CSC is a mutually beneficial process, as it allows for a two-way street of communication between the brand and the consumer. Text messaging and CSC have been successful in stimulating action and interaction by initiating conversation with consumers.

For instance, Starbucks recently sent out daily SMS reminders to its consumers to promote its Frappuccino Happy Hour. Consumers were encouraged to text the word “HAPPY” to a short code which then allowed customers to opt-in to remain in the loop on the company’s happy hour, as well as other ongoing promotions. This gives the brand a way to instantaneously reach its target audience. In relation to real estate, texting in to a CSC would immediately give a consumer an agent’s branded listing directly on their mobile device, as well as the agent’s contact information. In-store or out-of-home signage with an SMS keyword and short code is an optimal way to hone in on new customers and leads.

Texting is a direct form of marketing, both a simple and guaranteed way to have consumers see your message. No other type of mobile marketing can match the reach that text messaging provides. With consumers having their mobile devices within reach at all times wherever they may be, SMS marketing is an excellent step for any company or agent to take. Text messages present an exciting, efficient way to capture new consumers. With mobile marketing quickly growing in importance, and millions of individuals out there waiting to receive your company’s message, why not start today?

For more information, visit www.mobilerealestateid.com.

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at info@connectrealty.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Generate More Seller Leads in Three Easy Steps

July 1, 2015

Finding new prospects is the lifeblood of any real estate practice. Along with converting prospects to clients, lead generation is probably the most profitable task you can factor into your schedule. It’s not an understatement to say that strong lead House Computergeneration skills mean the difference between success and failure in the real estate market — just ask the hundreds of thousands of former real estate agents who fell by the wayside in recent years.

A solid lead generation program can help you increase your marketing power and create a steady stream of clients who convert into satisfied customers. Think of lead generation as a continuous cycle that should be planned and adjusted, rather than a single event. Here are three proven strategies you can implement to add potential sellers to your sphere of influence.

 

1. Mine Your Database
Keeping in touch with past clients is essential to a strong lead generation program. Are your past clients going through a life change that will affect their housing situation? Are any of them looking to downsize? Have they welcomed a new addition to their family? Reach out to let them know that you’re available to help with their housing needs. Stay in touch by creating direct mail with simple calls to action like, “How much is your home worth?” While we’re often bombarded with online messaging, direct mail can help you stand out to consumers. Receiving one or two inquiries from these pieces could cover your marketing costs while connecting you with new clients. Even though consumers have access to many online tools to help determine their home value, it’s important to show them that only a real estate professional can provide accurate pricing data.

 

2. Farm Your Niche
Whether your niche is based on geography or your expertise, it’s important to identify your ideal “farm.” When you’re looking for the best area to farm, focus on one market from which you solicit the majority of your business. You’ll be able to establish brand identity in this particular area and develop relationships with those living in the community. Before you begin “farming,” it’s important to select the right location. If you’re looking to farm by geography, map your previously sold properties so you visually see where you’ve made a real impact. In doing so, you’ve created a wonderful marketing tool to share, as well. If you’re trying to work a niche, look for homes that would fit within your expertise — “beachfront properties,” “luxury real estate,” etc. Knowing people in your target community gives you an “in” with similar potential prospects. If they know you’ve successfully sold property in their area, they’ll have more confidence in you. Additionally, it’s a good idea to select a territory where the annual turnover is more than 6 percent. If the turnover is lower than 6 percent, you’ll probably have a difficult time finding enough listings to market. Finally, consistent marketing is key. Be present in the community, whether geographic or niche, and make a commitment to it. Brand yourself in your farm so your target market recognizes you as their real estate expert.

If you have difficulty prospecting, hosting a “home preview” creates a situation where people can come to you for information. Rather than immediately posting a new listing in the MLS, wait a few extra days and invite the neighbors for a private event to preview the home before opening it to the general public. In doing so, you’ll be able to establish a relationship with other homeowners in the neighborhood, while showing them your familiarity with their location. While attending this home preview, neighbors will be curious to find out how much their own home is worth. Create cards with messages like “how much is your home worth” or “knowledge is power” and distribute them to guests to direct the communication toward selling opportunities. Hosting a home preview is an ideal way to connect with potential sellers in a specific market, all while branding yourself as their neighborhood expert.

 

3. Offer Useful Information
Create a customer for life by providing valuable insight on the local housing market. When meeting with sellers, most agents will be able to tell their clients how much their home is worth. Take it a step further and provide your clients with a CMA and the most recent Local Market Report for their area. Keep in mind that the key thing sellers are interested in is the value of their home. Tailor your marketing to this point and you’ll catch your prospect’s attention by responding to what they want to know.

Top-producing agents and brokers know they must have a strong branding presence in their local market to consistently achieve results. Although the market is constantly changing, the need for a solid lead generation and branding program remains a necessity. Through Homes.com’s Local Ads, you can brand yourself as the local expert in your market area, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your neighborhood influence to potential buyer and sellers in your community.

For more information, visit http://connect.homes.com.

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at info@connectrealty.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

10 Steps to Prepare for a Remodel

June 30, 2015

Although National Home Improvement Month is behind us, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) advises homeowners of the 10 most important steps to take before the remodeling project starts.

home remodel“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,” says Judy Moze, CR, GCP, NARI National president and president of Handcrafted Homes, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia. “The more knowledgeable and prepared a homeowner is, the more they protect themselves.”

What can a homeowner do to prepare for a remodel? NARI provides a top 10 list of steps homeowners should take before breaking ground on their next remodel.

1. Research your project. Taking time to research projects on the Internet and NARI.org will provide a good sense of what is involved such as price, scope of work, return on investment and new product/material options. Also, research property values in your neighborhood to make sure your project is in line with other homes in the area.

2. Plan project around the long-term. How long do you plan to stay in your home? How might your family structure change over time? Life can change quickly—these questions should be answered early on to ensure your project will fit your lifestyle long after it’s complete.

3. Set your budget. Deciding on a realistic budget and arranging finances to support your project are essential. This number needs to include everything—the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it.

4. Use advanced search for professionals. The online world makes it easy to gather information about strangers. Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals and then spend time researching that person online. Professional remodelers take their reputation seriously and hold credentials beyond licensing, such as certifications, memberships in trade associations and additional training. Look for examples of press coverage or involvement in industry presentations or events. Check online reviews and social media to see how they interact with past clients and peers.

5. Ask the right questions. Time and cost are important, but getting the right information requires the right questions. Ask your professional remodeler about his educational background, training, specialties or past issues with clients. Ask about how the remodeling process will work.

6. Verify your remodeler. Don’t take their word for it. Check the information given to you such as references, license numbers, insurance information and certifications by calling providers to verify. Request a visit to an active client’s job site. Make it known that you are checking on him—a true professional considers that as a positive sign to working with a homeowner.

7. Review contracts word-by-word. A remodeling contract protects you and your remodeler. Homeowners should review this carefully. Professional remodelers have done this before, and know what should go in a contract. Homeowners are not as familiar with remodeling and should ask about terms if they don’t understand. Pay attention to details about change orders, payment, additional fees, timeline and responsibilities. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.

8. Keep design in mind. Your design guides the entire project. Think about what you dislike about your current space and the intended use of the new space. Use Websites such as Pinterest.com and Houzz.com to gather design ideas. Make sure you can articulate specifically what you like about that design when talking to your designer. Professionals don’t recreate a photo—they incorporate accessibility, functionality, ease of modification, style and value into your design.

9. Make your selections. Deciding on products and materials is a larger process than most imagine. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to get extended. Base decisions on quality, function, price, style and availability. Include selections in the contract to lock down pricing and keep your budget intact.

10. Create a communication plan. A common downfall in remodeling is lack of communication between homeowners and remodelers. Your remodeler should lay out a communication plan at the beginning of the project. If not, ask them to do so. This plan should clarify roles of everyone involved, communication methods, availability, and frequency of communication that is expected.

As an industry that struggles with a persistent negative perception of remodeling contractors, these tips serve both the industry and consumers in elevating real professionals from the pack.

For more information, visit www.NARI.org.

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at info@connectrealty.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Periscope: Three Ways it Can Grow Your Real Estate Business

June 26, 2015

periscope iconThe demand for video in real estate has never been higher. According to NAR, eighty-five percent of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video. While some agents have started using video to connect with their clients, a new technology is gaining popularity, changing the way real estate does video and social marketing.

Owned by Twitter, Periscope was released to the public in late March as a way for people to connect in real time. The app (available for Apple and Android) allows you to stream live videos from anywhere. When you create a broadcast or “scope,” you’ll be able to show viewers what’s happening around you in real time. Viewers who tune in can follow you, comment in your live stream and “heart” your scope. Hearts in Periscope are equivalent to favorites on Twitter or likes on Facebook—they measure your popularity. While your scope is live, anyone can tune in to see what’s going on. You and your viewers can also share your live scope through Twitter to reach an even wider audience. After you end your stream, your scope will be available for the next 24 hours in the app. However, you also have the option to save your broadcasts and publish them on YouTube. While this technology is still new, those who have become more familiar with the app suggest creating a new scope every 24 hours.

In real estate, there are a number of ways you can connect with potential and current clients with this new tool. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Stream Open Houses
Probably one of the most popular ideas for using Periscope in real estate is creating live home tours or open houses. By live broadcasting an open house, agents will be able to reach a wider audience since your video will be viewable to anyone on Periscope. This could allow you to reach potential buyers who can’t travel to the area multiple times or take the time off work. While you’ll probably pull in viewers who live on a different continent and have no interest in buying, they could potentially ask some good questions that are relevant to viewers who are actively searching for a home in your area. A large number of viewers can also boost your popularity as a “scoper.” More viewers means you’re likely to receive more “hearts” on your video.

Another option is to do a walk-through of the listing to give your viewers a chance to see a live stream of everything the home has to offer. Viewers can type questions while watching your scope which will be visible to everyone watching the stream. This allows you to answer in real-time. Also, viewers will likely feel comfortable asking more authentic questions since they aren’t face-to-face. At the end of your broadcast, you’ll be able to see everyone who attended your scope and can follow up with them through Twitter.

2. Share Local Knowledge
In addition showing off your listings, give viewers a closer look at your community. Do you have weekly farmer’s markets or funky festivals in your town? Attend these events and broadcast live to share the feel of your community with potential buyers. If you have a drone, you could use it to give viewers a bird’s eye view of your town. After all, buyers aren’t just looking at listings; they want to know everything about their potential hometown. The benefit of streaming live is that viewers are able to ask you questions while you’re broadcasting, giving you the opportunity the answer them in real time and branding you as the local expert. You’re also able to create a more personal, authentic connection with your followers since they can see your face and get a feel for your personality. If they choose you to be their agent, they’ll know exactly who they’re working with.

3. Host Q&A Sessions
Another way to help viewers on Periscope is by hosting a Q&A session. You can focus on a particular topic like “top tips for better staging” or “what to expect when selling your first house.” If you’re looking to focus on drawing in potential buyers, you could host a scope about the perks of your local community, allowing viewers to ask questions about the best local restaurant or your favorite bike trail. No matter what topic you choose, you’ll be able to show viewers that you can provide useful information to help them make more informed decisions, which will help to grow your audience.

Social media is a two-way street and the communication should be going both ways. Periscope allows you to create a more authentic connection with your viewers. Because followers can see your face and your personality, it can help humanize both yourself and your personal brand. Viewers will get a better idea of who you are so they can feel comfortable working with you in the future. Are you using Periscope to connect with clients in your area? Share some of your strategies and you could win $1500!

You can also connect with more potential buyers and sellers by advertising your listings on Homes.com. With prominent placement and branding in search results, prospective buyers will know that you’re a leading agent in your area. If you’re saving your scopes, you can keep sharing them with other viewers by including them in your enhanced listings, showing buyers what they want to see in your area.

For more information, visit www.connect.homes.com.

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at info@connectrealty.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

9 Ways to Color Your Summer at Home

June 25, 2015

Featuring hues reminiscent of languid summer days and breezy seaside vacations, this summer’s hottest color trends run the gamut of eye-catching bolds to grounding neutrals, say Ace Design Experts Katie Reynolds, Julie Richard and Nathan Fisch.

All three Design Experts recommend implementing this season’s color palette in small ways to avoid an overly-trendy look. For example:

• Paint your kitchen island for an updated look that’s easier than repainting your cabinets. A classic neutral, like a subtle gray, will pair nicely with most woods and finishes.

• Classic stripes continue to be a staple in many homes. Try painting them on a pair of oversized outdoor planters in a sunset-inspired combination of apricot orange and shrimp pink.

• If you’d like to incorporate one of this season’s pastel trends, such as peach, but are afraid of pulling it off, try balancing it with a complementary hue like classic navy.

• Graphic patterns and details are an easy way to make a big change. Add a pop of color stenciled in a chevron stripe on drawers of a basic white dresser with a Camellia blossom pink.

• Layered warm neutrals never go out of style and work equally as well in open floor plans or cozy nooks. Try using a darker neutral on the walls and ceiling, such as vanilla, and furnishing with a paler hue, like linen, for a fresh feel.

• Try a fun color pairing for a guest or kids room by painting a focal window wall in a brighter green (think green tomatoes) and then adding a muted green (think moss) on the window base.

• Deep blues and indigos like navy and blueberry are great go-to colors for a monochromatic color scheme inspired by the ocean. Simple and natural accents like stone top tables, linen or woven window coverings polish the look for a clean aesthetic that won’t fade over time.

• Combine a warm neutral, like honey, with a blush pink in a nursery or girl’s room for a soft look reminiscent of the flowers blooming outdoors.

• Shiplap wall paneling, featuring horizontal, overlapping wooden boards covering the walls is the perfect way to bring a nautical feel to any space. Try painting the wood in a crisp, snow white to make this architectural detail the feature focus.

Source: Ace Hardware

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at info@connectrealty.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

For Sale by Owner: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

April 16, 2015

Many sellers weigh the option of whether to use a Realtor, or take on the daunting task of selling their property on their own. Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. With a small upside cost and a large downside risk, it is foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a Realtor.

While some homeowners decide to list their home “For Sale by Owner” in an attempt to save money, many actually end up spending more than they would have paying the 3% commission to a listing agent. After all, on average, an agent spends $1,000 on marketing initiatives for each listing alone. Aside from the marketing expense, they also are familiar with the most effective platforms to market their listings so that they sell at their most profitable price as quickly as possible. In addition, sellers lack the expertise required to effectively price the home and negotiate with buyers, which could be even more costly.

In summary, real estate professionals assist sellers with the pricing, marketing, security, negotiating/renegotiating, and the closing of their home. If you are considering listing your home “For Sale by Owner”, it is imperative that you are aware of the pros and cons and understand all that you are potentially sacrificing by forgoing representation of a seasoned professional.


Pricing:

In all honesty, pricing a home is probably THE most important marketing strategy, as it is essentially the most critical factor that draws in buyers or turns them away. A home that is not priced competitively may result in a longer time on the market, price reductions, and a lower selling price than it would have had if it were priced correctly in the first place.

Real estate professionals guide clients to make the right pricing choice based on the key factors in selling the property. They know the most current sales information in your neighborhood, including current listing prices, physical property conditions, financing terms, and other relevant data. In addition, they provide the average square foot costs of similar homes, median and average sale prices in the area, the average days spent on the market, and the ratios of list-to-sold prices in order to price your home at its most competitive price. Homeowners who choose to list their home themselves do not have the tools, knowledge or experience to know what price will move the home quickly, which can be more costly than anything else.

 

Marketing:

Real estate professionals also help market your home to other real estate agents and to the public. The choice of media and the frequency of advertising depend a lot on the home and specific market. A qualified real estate professional will know when, where, and how to advertise your property effectively. Plus, their industry contacts and networks provide a marketing outlet that sellers simply don’t have.

Aesthetically improving a home is another marketing tactic that real estate agents bring to the table. Often times, listing agents also work with buyers, so they know what features buyers are looking for in their home! This is a huge benefit to sellers, as listing agents will often recommend specific improvements, updates, etc. that will make the home more “marketable” and ensure it is more appealing to prospective buyers.

Staging a home is another important aspect of marketing a home. A real estate agent knows how to make the rooms look bigger, create an inviting ambience, enhance curb appeal, and highlight the most desirable qualities so that your home leaves a lasting impression after showings and open houses! Not to mention, the same staging techniques can be executed for listing photographs, videos, etc. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, so displaying high quality, eye-catching photos online is one of the most powerful, if not THE most powerful, component to marketing a home!

 

Security:

The power of the internet can be a blessing and a curse to home sellers. Sure, you have a platform to maximize exposure of your property and reach more buyers (most of which start their home search online), but it also puts you at risk for the growing number of threats and scams circulating the internet, many of which target “For Sale by Owner” listings or rental properties.

Realtors help keep sellers secure. Real estate professionals are committed to treat all parties of a transaction with honesty and subscribe to a strict code of ethics. In addition, they are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the buying and selling process, which includes identifying potential threats and handling them accordingly before their client ever becomes aware of the problem.

Keeping your family and home physically safe is probably the utmost concern to home sellers. After all, countless strangers will enter your home and explore its rooms, amenities, and features during open houses and showings. Without the proper training, knowledge, experience, and tools, you are not only more likely to unknowingly allow the wrong person into your home, but also to be ill-prepared in handling a threatening situation if it presents itself.   However, real estate agents who are trained on safety know the necessary precautions to take to keep themselves, your home and family safe. Not only do they manage open houses and showings, but they also prescreen prospects and filter phone calls to eliminate potential danger. As a result, homes that are advertised as “for sale by owner” are more susceptible to both being targeted by – and falling victim to – these criminals.

 

Negotiating:

The power of effective negotiation skills can make all the difference in the world to delivering the most favorable outcome!   A Realtor objectively evaluates every buyer’s proposal without compromising your market position. If bid proposals are outside of the listed price, the real estate agent will devise an in depth analysis of the current market, advise their client on how to proceed based on what choices are available in the market, and mediate on the seller’s behalf until they are satisfied with the terms of the contract.

Keep in mind, the initial agreement is only the beginning to a long process of appraisals, inspections, and financing. A Realtor can help write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

 

Closing:

Between the initial sales agreement and the closing agreement, questions may arise. Unexpected repairs are sometimes required to obtain financing, or a concern with the title could potentially be uncovered. A real estate professional is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to settlement.

In addition, a real estate professional will coordinate the process of inspections, appraisals, and financing. They stay on top of contingency dates, process the required paperwork and documents, scrutinize every file, and most importantly, make sure their client is protected at all costs. All of these combine to prevent closing delays and ensure a smooth, pleasant experience from beginning to end!

 

If you are still considering listing your home without the help of an experienced Realtor, there are a few recommendations that will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that most sellers make. Hire an attorney to review all documents before you sign them, invest some time and money into marketing your home, research your current market prior to determining the listing price, pay someone to come stage your home, hire a professional photographer, and contact your local police department for safety tips!

For Sale by Owner: Tips for a Favorable Outcome

February 17, 2015

Selling your home is one of the largest financial transactions you will encounter in your lifetime. Real Estate transactions can be taxing even for the most seasoned professional, as numerous issues can erupt throughout the many stages of the selling process that cause delays.  If not handled properly and effectively, these setbacks not only produce unnecessary stress to the sellers, but they also can be detrimental to outcome.

Owners who sell their home by themselves are especially vulnerable to these  pitfalls, as they lack the expertise and market knowledge that a real estate agent possesses that ensures that they develop an effective pricing and marketing strategy; address the appropriate legal issues; prepare and finalize the necessary paperwork and documents; maintain industry compliance; etc. throughout every phase of the process. Plus, these sellers also lack the industry contacts that real estate agents rely on to overcome obstacles and ensure a smooth and efficient closing. However, if you are contemplating listing your home as “For Sale by Owner”, implement the following considerations to optimize your experience and results.

 

1. Research:

  • It is crucial to understand the ins-and-outs of real estate transactions. You can find information in books or even study the documents you have from buying your current home.
  • Gather all of the paperwork and forms you will need for the closing, (i.e. copies of property records for appraisers, the title company, and others, as well as insurance documents, disclosures and legal documents).
  • Line up a real estate attorney, appraiser and title company.

 

2. Stage Your Home:

  • Fix any cosmetic problems or functional issues before trying to sell your home. Things that you cannot fix should be addressed in the home’s pricing.
  • Paint your walls a neutral color, replace the carpeting, refinish floors, inspect appliances, heating/air conditioner, the roof, etc.
  • Make sure your home is cosmetically clean and perfect. Your home should be immaculate for any listing photos and scheduled tours!
  • Trim your trees, wash the windows, box up any clutter, and let in natural light.

 

3. Price Your Home Effectively:

  • The number one mistake for owners who sell their own home is pricing the home too high. This will scare away potential buyers and cause it to sit on the market for a longer period of time.
  • Pricing a home effectively helps a home sell faster.
  • Check out home sales within your neighborhood for the last six months. Attend open houses and check out your competition.
  • Hire an appraiser.

 

4. Utilize Multiple Platforms to Market Your Home:

  • Eighty percent of home buyers begin their search on the internet, so homes that don’t sell in a timely manner are normally the result of poor internet marketing.
  • Spend a good portion of the 3% you saved from a real estate agent’s commission on marketing efforts. A real estate agent spends roughly $1,000 and countless hours on extensive marketing for each listing, but homeowners who do not have access to the same tools and systems as licensed professionals can expect that number to triple.
  • Hire a professional photographer to take quality photos of the front, back and interior of your home. Remember to remove dishes from the sink, empty the trash cans, close toilet lids, etc. Pictures of an unkempt house will turn off prospective buyers.
  • Invest time and money creating, printing and distributing appropriate marketing and advertising materials, such as flyers, brochures, and postcards. Pay brokers for mailing lists so that you can distribute these pieces.
  • Pay a fee to list your home on the MLS to get similar exposure as a real estate agent.
  • Advertise on social media sites, local newspapers, Craigslist, and other websites that cater to home-sales-by-owner.

 

5. Perfect Your Negotiation Skills:

  • If you have a firm bottom-line, make sure it is justified with strong research.
  • Consider bringing in a real estate attorney to facilitate the process.

 

6.  Avoid Closing Delays:

  • Many problems can arise throughout the negotiating and closing process that are hard to avoid without a seasoned professional.
  • It is imperative that you are familiar with any paperwork required by your state.
  • Be prepared for delays, and make the turnover and move flexible to these delays.
  • Hire a title company to handle the last minute details, and come to the closing table with everything mandated by state and federal law.

 

There are a number of other pitfalls that “For Sale by Owners” face throughout the selling process, such as safety hazards and real estate scams.  Real estate agents receive proper training to secure their safety and protect their clients from falling victim to these scams, so it is wise to consider hiring a professional to at least host your open houses and showings. However, if you choose to do so yourself, contact your local authorities for safety precautions and tips.

 

Feng Shui Tips For Your Home

February 16, 2015

In Feng Shui, your home is viewed as a whole being where each part is intricately connected to the other with a constant energy exchange. By placing an emphasis on this energy exchange, Feng Shui is able to provide an analysis of what makes your home appealing and inviting. These simple suggestions will help you create a home that is welcoming, inspiring and balanced!

 

  1. In general, you should care for your home the same way that you care for yourself.
  • According to Feng Shui, your home is a metaphor of your life and reflects your balance.
  • Execute necessary repairs efficiently, including mold, cracks, broken items, dull paint, etc. that convey a negative image of your life.

 

  1. Once your home is back to its prime state, focus on the entry way.
  • This is considered the mouth of opportunity, where it enters and leaves your home.
  • Enhance your home’s entry with a fresh doormat, or place colorful plants on each side of the door. Clean it up by eliminating bug nests and cob webs. Paint a dull door, and keep it well lit.
  • By implementing each of these suggestions, the entrance of your home will be inspiring and create positive energy.

 

  1. After you transform your entry way, focus on decluttering the home’s interior.
  • According to Feng Shui, we are energetically connected to each of our belongings. Therefore, too much clutter will deplete our energy level.
  • Remove the items that don’t inspire you and keep only the items that you love. Remember, your home is a reflection of who you are today, not who you were 10 years ago.
  • Consider removing any furniture that could be hazardous. This includes any piece that blocks pathways that you can bump into, pieces with sharp corners, certain shelving, etc. Anything that can prevent your subconscious from feeling safe should be discarded.

 

  1. You can incorporate Feng Shui in every room of your house by arranging furniture in an empowering position.
  • The pieces of furniture where you spend the majority of your time should face the entry of that room, including your desk, bed, and couch.
  • Not only will this ensure that you are aware of your surroundings, but it also creates a more welcoming and inviting atmosphere when the guest enters your room.

 

  1. Incorporate nature into your home.
  • Living things bring vital energy into the home and can help realign its energy. Place plants in the corners of the room. If  you have pets, bring them into your home.
  • This also applies to air and light.  Allow as much natural light as possible to illuminate every room. Open windows for fresh air, or buy air purifiers.
  • Moving water circulates prosperity throughout your home, so strategically place flowing water elements in the southeast corner of your home.

 

  1. Finally, implement the concept of Yin and Yang.
  • Incorporating both Yin and Yang components in every room is crucial in creating a balanced, supportive environment throughout the home.
  • Yin is considered to be a more passive or restful energy, so incorporate more Yin features in areas meant for rest, such as your bedroom or bathroom. Some Yin features include dark colors, soft paint, or circular décor.
  • Yang qualities should be more apparent in the active rooms of your home, including the office, kitchen, exercise room, or den. Brighter colors and lighting, less details, straight lines, and simple prints are associated with the Yang element.
  • Keep in mind, your body’s response to certain colors will vary depending on your stage of life, so monitor how colors make you feel and accommodate its usage accordingly.

 

 

Whether selling your home or updating it so that it is more accommodating for you and your family, incorporating Feng Shui into each room of your home is a cost effective way to enhance its appearance and reinforce positive energy!

 

Preparing Your Home for Thanksgiving

November 21, 2014

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, many families are using the next few days to clean their home for guests, gather their recipes, and purchase ingredients. However, when hosting family and friends for Thanksgiving, it is crucial to be prepared for an assortment of issues that may arise. After all, there’s more to the holiday than just eating turkey and watching Football, and taking the necessary precautions can alleviate stress and ensure that guests have a memorable Thanksgiving holiday!

 

Before Guests Arrive:

 

  1. Evaluate All Appliances:
  • Make sure that all appliances you are planning to use on Thanksgiving are in working order to avoid any malfunctions when preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Research the life expectancy of your most used appliances. Replace or fix any that may pose a threat.
  • Don’t use your oven’s self-clean cycle in the week before Thanksgiving, as it can be stressful on the appliance. Instead, use damp cloths to clean it to avoid a last minute break down.
  • Check your oven’s temperature gauge. Place a thermometer on the middle rack, set the oven temperature, and when it heats up, verify that the temperatures match. If they don’t, make necessary repairs.
  • Put less stress on yourself and your oven by using alternative appliances for side dishes, such as a microwave, toaster oven, crock pot, or grill. If there are no alternative options, ask your guests to bring a side with them.

 

  1. Perform Basic Cleaning and Maintenance:
  • Refrigerator:   Clean condenser coils in the fridge with a coil brush, wipe down interior and door gaskets with baking soda and water, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to gasket at hinge, clean the water and ice dispenser and soak the spill shelf in vinegar. Clear out old food to make room for leftovers.
  • Dishwasher: For stainless steel tubs, run potscrubber cycle without dishes or detergent for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, interrupt the cycle and pour two cups of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. Close the dishwasher, and complete the wash.  For plastic tubs, fill the detergent cup with three to four ounces of citric acid crystals and run the normal wash cycle. Follow up with a second wash cycle and include detergent.
  • Microwave: Heat up one cup of water for three minutes on full power, and let it stand for five minutes after it is finished to allow the steam to soften the food. Then, wipe up the caked on food!
  • Pantry: Organize and remove old food, spices, etc. not only to make sure you have enough room to store ingredients for the meal and other miscellaneous supplies, but also so that you don’t ruin the food with outdated, poor tasting spices.
  • Overall: Tidy up bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas that will accommodate your guests. In addition, make sure your home, especially your kitchen, is safe. Put household cleaners, sharp objects, lighters, and other harmful objects where they belong. Unplug appliances that aren’t being used, and wrap up the cord. If children are present, use backburners of the stove as much as possible, cover electrical outlets, or invest in a child safety gate to keep them out of harm’s way if necessary.

 

  1. Take Inventory and Create a Detailed Grocery List:
  • Food: Organize the recipes that you plan to use in one book, and write a detailed list of ingredients you will need for each recipe. Look through your pantry, fridge, and freezer, and cross the items that you already have off your grocery list. Remember to check the expiration dates of all food products and spices, and replace expired items as needed.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Make sure to have a full supply of cleaning products on hand in case any accidents occur. This includes laundry detergent, carpet cleaner, dish soap, kitchen and bathroom cleaner, etc., baking soda, non bleach detergent, ammonia, bleach, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, club soda, lemon juice, etc.
  • Cookware and Utensils: Look through your cabinets and determine if you have enough Tupperware containers, plates, spoons, forks, knives, bowls, pots, and pans necessary to cook each meal, store leftovers, and accommodate each guest. Repair or replace any broken items that you need to use, retrieve items that you loaned out but were never returned, and sharpen dull knives.
  • Seating and Eating Space: As soon as you have a head count on the number of guests you can expect on Thanksgiving, inventory your tables and chairs to make sure that they all have a place to sit and eat! If necessary, rent or buy tables and chairs, and repair defected items. Also, consider other tables, chairs, and household items throughout your home, and see if there is a way to convert them to temporary eating spaces.
  • Storage: Before guests arrive, make sure any large scale projects in the kitchen are complete and do not occupy needed space. If applicable, create more room by adding temporary storage, such as a rolling island or mini fridge, or improvise with what you have, and use spaces such as the laundry room to store food and supplies.
  • Prepare a Detailed Grocery List: Aside from food, spices, cleaning supplies, cookware and utensils, etc. there are other essential items that you don’t want to forget at the store, including garbage bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, coffee filters, batteries, etc.

 

Thanksgiving Day Cleaning Tips:

 

  1. Garbage Disposal:
  • Remove build up in your garbage disposal by grinding harder items, such as fruit pits, ice, or small bones, that scrape the inside of the disposal and pipes before grinding any other foods.
  • Flush food waste through the plumbing system and prevent debris from settling in pipes by running cold water for 30 seconds before and after each use.
  • Throw away non-food items, grease, and fat that can clog the disposal.
  • Take your time when cleaning up.

 

  1. Dishes:
  • Set up stations of plastic tubs, and fill them with soapy, lukewarm water. When you run out of room in the dishwasher, place dishes in the tubs until you can clean them or run another cycle through the dishwasher.
  • Line baking dishes and pans with foil before you start preparing the food. Then, when you are finished and remove the foil, the dish will be nearly spotless and require minimal cleaning!

 

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