Executives Blog

 

March 5, 2019

Realty Executives Of Cape County Broker Associate Recently Awarded Good Neighbor Award

Congrats to Raelenna Ferguson, Broker Associate at Realty Executives of Cape Country, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri who was recently awarded the Good Neighbor Award from the the Missouri Association of Realtors.

 

The Good Neighbor Award recognizes and rewards REALTORS® across the state of Missouri for their dedication to local communities and volunteer service. The winner of the annual Missouri Good Neighbor Award receives $2,500 for his or her charity, as well as statewide recognition.

 

Ferguson was honored for her local non-profit One City, an organization that works to better racial reconciliation and socio-economic divides. Its mission is to create space and opportunities that unite the community through community gatherings and development, job training and employment, and child enrichment opportunities.

 

Beyond One City, Ferguson and her family have a passion for international mission work, traveling to Haiti and Africa. Ferguson strives to enhance One City and spread the message of unity throughout Missouri and internationally.

 

Along with her charitable work Ferguson continues to build her real estate business and real estate team concept. Ferguson received her real estate license in 2004 and developed her own team in 2015. Her hope is to continue to provide exceptional service and build a team that is truly excited and thankful to be in the real estate industry. 

Posted in Agents, REALTOR
Feb. 28, 2019

How Real Estate Law Benefits And Protects Homeowners

Very few things in life can make you feel safe, proud and happy at the same time. Being a homeowner gives you these and more. You may not think about it this way, but owning a home is a great achievement. With today’s real estate prices, to afford a house is no easy feat.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand the advantages of buying a house over renting, so long as your finances can handle it. With real estate value getting higher and higher by the day, homeownership is an investment that builds equity and grows with time.

The amount of money you put into that piece of real estate property is not a joke. That said, you must do everything in your power to protect it. How, you ask? Well, learning your rights as a homeowner is a pretty good place to start.

 

What are your rights as a homeowner?

As the titleholder, you are afforded by the law with a set of legal rights known as the “bundle of rights.” As with everything else, however, these rights are not absolute. To fully exercise them, you – as the homeowner – have to satisfy the requirements of your ownership and abide by the limits as imposed by the law.

The right of possession awards the “legal owner” status to whoever holds the title to the property.

The right of control gives you the power to use the property in whatever way you desire as long as the law allows it.

The right of exclusion prevents other people from entering your land without your permission unless mandated by a law enforcement agency.

The right of enjoyment allows you to indulge in the use of your property for any activity that offers you delight and happiness.

Lastly, through the right of disposition, you have the freedom to rent, lease, transfer ownership, or sell your home at will, given that your tax and legal obligations are settled and in order.

How to protect your property from disputes

Knowing and understanding your fundamental homeownership rights are a valuable guide in exercising your liberties as a homeowner. In times of real estate dispute, however, your awareness of the fundamentals won’t be enough. Whether it’s a lien on your home, a zoning problem, or an issue with the title, you can’t solve real estate-related predicaments on your own. You need a real estate attorney by your side to help you get past the complexities.

If you are yet to buy a house – or any real estate property for that matter, have a real estate lawyer check the title first before finalizing the purchase. Additionally, you can purchase title insurance to protect you from damages in case of defects in the title.

When it comes to real estate transactions, never throw caution to the wind. A grain of precaution now may save you from a world of headaches in the future.

About the Author

Kristin Keller is the Marketing Manager of Provident Law, a full service business and real estate firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Aside from writing, she enjoys volunteering and running with her friends.

Feb. 26, 2019

Get Connected With New Realty Executives Technology

Realty Executives strives to provide our brokers and agents with the top technology to help keep you connected to your clients and create a seamless experience. In our comprehensive suite, we have several tools that will set you up for success and enhance your productivity. Take a look below for a breakdown of each of our new technology tools.

 

PrimeAgent

PrimeAgent is our proprietary intranet dashboard created to provide quick access to business tools, marketing collateral, news and resources all in one portal. For brokers and agents, it is less expensive and everything works seamlessly together in one place to meet your business and marketing needs, offering agents personalized and local websites, lead management, contact management, automated email campaigns and broadcast emails, and listing automation materials and videos.

Websites

Realty Executives Agent Websites offer modern, easy-to-navigate, map-based property search features with Realty Executive listings and an agent’s own listings uniquely identified among search results. Multiple lead capture points, our proprietary lead notification system along with blog and integrated social sharing features, easily connect you with site visitors.

On-Demand Mobile

PrimeAgent On-Demand, our in-house mobile marketing solution, is built right in and included with each agent website subscription. With a simple and effective text feature, you reach serious buyers instantly as they tour neighborhoods and drive by listings.

CRM Suite

Our CRM suite consists of three main tools: PrimeAgent Contact Manager, PrimeAgent Broadcast and PrimeAgent Campaign (includes eNewsletter features). These systems integrate and work together to help you manage your contacts, communications and email marketing. You can easily stay in touch with your clients- simply add them to a campaign and the system will take care of the rest.

Listing Automation

We found that Executives were spending hours in front of the computer creating flyers and postcards for listings, taking away time that could be spent with clients. We built a program that simplifies your time spent on marketing and increases your business. Our system automatically takes photos and listings details from the MLS and plugs them into several varieties of templates branded to the agent. Now, a project that used to take 60+ minutes is done automatically and professionally.

Video Automation

We wanted our Executives to have the ability to maximize the exposure of their listings with little cost and effort. Our free video automation program allows agents to creating a listing video, using up to 30 photos. It is published on YouTube, appears on the listing on Realty Executives websites, and can be shared anywhere. It’s an easy way to have a property appear towards the top of Google search results when searching by an address.

All of these tools can be found through our PrimeAgent website or with the help of our responsive concierge team.

Posted in Listing Advice
Feb. 22, 2019

What Today's Real Estate Agents Want

When communicating with agents, it can be hard to create the right messaging and provide the right tools for different work forces. As a brokerage looking to recruit the agents, you must keep in mind your audience, as different generations prefer varying methods of communication and work culture.

Millennials value flexibility and culture fit over commission splits, in comparison to Gen X and Baby Boomers ranking it at the top. Agents across all generations (70% avg.), feel it is important for brokerages to provide them with technology tools, as the tools continue to be a critical part of the transaction.

In today’s real estate industry, millennials have a tremendous impact. They make up the largest (56 million) workforce in the U.S. and brokerages are having to change their ways of recruiting.

All generations bring different values and needs to the real estate industry, which can be difficult and frustrating to navigate.  Check out the infographic to help break down what brokerages should focus on today to recruit the agents they want.

Originally published on dotloop.com

 

Posted in REALTOR, Statistics
Feb. 15, 2019

Three Steps To Improving Your Reputation With Homebuyers And Sellers

In a competitive market, customers are looking for a specialist who can give them the advantage with cutting edge real estate knowledge and insight of a true industry expert.

You don’t need 15 years of real estate behind you to become a real estate expert. If you’re relatively new to the profession, you’ll certainly want to draw from the experience of more tenured agents. But time alone does not guarantee expertise.

Here are three top tips to help position yourself as an expert and gain the upper edge in the marketplace.

 

1. Focus on a Specialty

Rather than try and be all things to everyone, a better business strategy may be to specialize in a specific community or type of property. Such an approach may mean saying “no” to properties and locations outside of your focus.

Once you’ve chosen a focus, learn everything there is to know about that area or property type. While this may require a steep learning curve initially, start with anything a buyer or seller will encounter in the short-term and then broaden your focus from there.

An experienced agent will learn from what she encounters. An expert agent will purposely hunt down what she needs to know.

2. Master Your Client’s Real Estate Needs

It sounds like a tall order, but an expert real estate agent will know more about the true real estate needs of his or her client better than anyone else.

A good CPA probably won’t know what her clients like to eat, but she will be so well informed about their financial situation, that they would not think of getting tax advice from anyone else.

Likewise, a real estate agent who has taken the time to thoroughly know their clients will be able to predict the kinds of properties they like before they’ve seen them.

In fact, an agent who knows a client’s likes and dislikes so well should be able to anticipate their needs and say, “I know this property is outside the parameters that we discussed, but here’s why I think it will be perfect for you.” Clients can only receive that kind of valuable advice from a true expert

 

3. Network With Problem-Solving Pros

The reason that recommendation platforms like Yelp, HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List are growing in popularity is because people seeking professional help don’t want to just call the first result on Google. They want to know what kind of experience other people have had in similar situations, preferably in the form of personal recommendations.

An expert agent will know other professionals who can solve his or her clients’ problems.

The expert’s database of problem solvers should be both wide and deep, with first-hand connections and knowledge of specialists for every kind of problem.

Ideally, an expert agent will be such an effective source for home service professionals that his or her clients will stay in touch. Agents spend many hours and lots of money on ways to touch base with former clients. Being a resource they want to stay in touch with is the best way to continue the relationship.

Posted in Listing Advice, Sellers
Feb. 5, 2019

Five Common Home Seller Misconceptions

The real estate world is full of misconceptions about the home selling process. After all, selling a home can be complicated with lots of details that are easy to get wrong.

In this post, we’ll look at five common home seller misconceptions and we’ll set the record straight on each!

1. Pricing high will leave room for negotiation.

Overpricing your house is always a bad idea.

Buyer’s agents know the market, and they can spot an overpriced listing from a mile away. When buyer’s agents see an overpriced listing, they assume the seller is either 1) unreasonable, or 2) not serious about selling. Either way, agents don’t want to waste their time, or their buyers’ time, touring the house and making an offer they think will be rejected.

So an overpriced house will sit on the market until the price is reduced. And by that time, the excitement over the new listing has worn off. Even worse, buyers might see the reduction and think the price had to be reduced because of a problem with the house.

Always price your house fairly and let the market do its job.

 

2. The real estate agent that recommends the highest list price is the best agent.

Savvy sellers interview multiple real estate agents before choosing which agent will list their house. And the savviest sellers select the agent they feel can actually get the house sold; not just the agent that recommends the highest list price.

Unscrupulous agents may exaggerate the list price in the hopes of winning your listing. But as we just discussed, overpricing is never a good idea.

Instead of hiring a real estate agent that promises you the moon, hire an agent with the integrity to be honest with you.

3. You should get an offer from the open house.

Here’s an open industry secret: open houses aren’t as effective as most people think.

Agents hold open houses because sellers expect them to. And because it’s an opportunity for the agent to meet more people and pass out business cards.

But open houses mostly bring out curious neighbors and bored lookers. Serious buyers make appointments to see houses.

So don’t be discouraged if the open house doesn’t produce an offer. Your agent is actively marketing the house in other ways so serious buyers can schedule a time to tour it.

4. Buyers will look past the clutter.

Buyers should be looking for good bones, right? Why would they be concerned about your furniture, your knick-knacks, or your paint colors?

While that’s a logical point of view, buyers use just as much emotion as logic in their home buying decision. They are more drawn to homes that feel good.

Clutter and too much furniture can make the house feel small and cramped. And unexpected paint colors distract from the good bones.

Make the buyer’s decision easier by decluttering, deep cleaning, and painting if necessary so the house feels fresh and inviting.

5. You can save money by cutting out the real estate agent.

It may be tempting to cut out the real estate agent to avoid paying the commission, but study after study has shown this to be a big mistake.

First, if your buyers have an agent, you’ll still need to pay the real estate agent fees for that agent (and why wouldn’t they want an agent when it costs them nothing?). So you only stand to save 2-3 percent by cutting out the listing agent and what will skipping out on the listing agent cost you?  

Sure, you can list the house for sale online yourself. But that’s only reaching a small percentage of serious buyers. Real estate agents list your home in multiple locations, actively promote your house via industry channels, and market your house to buyer’s agents, who get excited to show their clients the listing.

And how much is your time worth? Do you want to spend countless hours marketing your home, arranging showings, reading up on real estate law, navigating the mountain of paperwork, and dealing with the escrow officers and title reps?

But more than any of that, studies have proven that homes listed by professional real estate agents sell for more money that those listed by owner. You might save on the agent’s commission, but you’ll lose when your house sells for less.

Don’t give in to these common home seller misconceptions. Hire a real estate agent to guide you smoothly through the home selling process.

This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. This post was written by Michelle Clardie. Michelle is a professional real estate blogger, specializing in ghostwriting Realtor® blogs. Her engaging content helps real estate agents become more visible online, generate more qualified leads, and increase their revenues. You can learn more at www.michelleclardie.com.

Posted in Listing Advice, Sellers
Feb. 4, 2019

What Sellers Need To Know About The Closing Process

That 30-60 day period between accepting a buyer’s offer and closing the deal is a busy time for both parties.

While the buyers are focused securing financing and making sure the house is as it appears to be, sellers are mainly concerned with 1) proving that they have the right to sell the property, and 2) making sure the buyers are aware of the true condition of the property.

Here’s an outline of what sellers can expect during the closing process.

 

Disclosure and Clear Title

First, you’ll probably need to disclose any material facts about the property to the buyers. The requirements vary by state, but often include items like known water damage, structural issues and liens.

You will also need to address any clouds on title. If the title company finds any discrepancy in ownership or encumbrance that could invalidate your clear title, these will need to be removed before title can transfer to the buyer. Common title issues include things like foreclosure proceedings, liens from contractors who have not received payment for their work on the property, and probate issues when the owner of record has passed away and the house is being sold by the deceased’s estate.

Appraisal and Inspections

An appraisal will be completed (at the buyer’s expense) to assure the buyer’s lender that the property is worth the sales price. Sellers typically don’t need to do anything except make the property available to the appraiser.

The buyers will also probably want a home inspection, so the property will need to be made available to the inspector. Inspections often uncover maintenance issues in the home that may require repairs. The buyers will notify you shortly after the inspection to make any requests for repairs or to ask for a price reduction to account for the cost of the required repairs.

These requests are entirely negotiable. You can agree to some, or all, of the requests. Or you can refuse and risk losing your buyer. A good real estate agent is invaluable at this stage of the transaction. They know industry standards regarding who typically pays for what, they can offer practical advice, free from the emotion that goes with being the homeowner, and they can often save a deal threatened by the results of an inspection.

Waiting

At this point, you have a bit of waiting to do, typically a couple weeks while the seller works with their lender to secure financing. But you’ll probably be so busy packing you won’t miss the hustle of the transaction!

Signing the Paperwork

Just a few days before the closing date, you’ll get to sign the small mountain of paperwork that accompanies every real estate transaction.

It’s generally helpful to request a copy of the documents before your signing appointment so you can read everything through in your spare time. That way you won’t be rushed through while the notary waits for you to read the docs at the signing appointment.

Moving Out

That’s it! Now you just need to leave a few things for the buyers: keys, garage door remotes, appliance and system manuals and warranties, etc.

Then you can turn off the lights, lock the doors, and embrace a new chapter in your life!

This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. The point of view and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Realty Executives International. This post was written by Michelle Clardie. Michelle is a professional real estate blogger, specializing in ghostwriting Realtor® blogs. Her engaging content helps real estate agents become more visible online, generate more qualified leads, and increase their revenues. You can learn more at www.michelleclardie.com

Posted in Closing, Sellers
Jan. 23, 2019

Financing Basics For First-Time Home Buyers

The world of mortgage financing can be a little overwhelming for first-time home buyers.  

The good news is that there are professionals to guide you through the process of qualifying for a home loan. Lenders are happy to educate buyers on the different mortgage options. You just need to know a few basics so you can have a productive conversation with your lender.   

Here are finance basics for first-time buyers:

 

What’s included in my mortgage payment?

Your mortgage payment is more than just payments to repay the loan (that amount is called principal). Your mortgage payment also includes:

  • Interest
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurance premiums
  • Any mortgage insurance premiums (if your down payment is less than 20%, you will need a mortgage insurance policy)

Lenders usually wrap all these expenses into one simple mortgage payment. It makes your life easier, and it assures the lender that your taxes and insurance are kept current.  

How do I qualify for a home loan?

Qualifying for a home loan might be easier than you think. You just need to prove to your lender that you’re able to repay the loan.  

Requirements vary slightly from one lender to the next, but here are the general home loan requirements:

  • A down payment. You’ll need to pay a percentage of the purchase price upfront. Twenty percent is the old standard, but most first time buyers are qualifying for FHA Loans with as little as 3.5% down.
  • Fairly good credit. Aim for a minimum credit score of 620. But if you have at least a 580, you could still qualify for an FHA Loan.
  • Enough income to comfortably cover the mortgage payment. Lenders like to see your total mortgage payment stay under 28% of your gross income. And they like to see the mortgage plus all your other debts stay around 35% (or less) of your gross income.

To meet these requirements, you’ll need to provide financial documents like pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns.

Do I need to be pre-approved before starting my home search?

Sorting out your financing is actually step one in the house hunting process. There’s no point in spending weeks or months searching for a home if you don’t qualify for a mortgage loan. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage helps you understand how much of a loan you can qualify for so you know what price ranges to explore.

Plus, when you’re ready to make an offer on a home, your offer will be stronger if you’re pre-approved. The sellers will be able to accept your offer, knowing that you’ll be able to secure financing to close the deal.

It only takes minutes to get pre-approved online, and it will help your house hunting process go more smoothly.

What is the importance of interest rates?

Interest rates have an enormous impact on your mortgage loan. Lower interest rates mean your monthly payment will be lower, and you’ll pay less over the term of the loan.

Here’s how to get a low interest rate:

  • Get your credit score up. First, check your report for simple mistakes and contact the credit bureaus to correct them. Then, if you have negative marks on your credit report, contact those lenders to see what you can do to remove those marks.
  • Put more money down. A bigger down payment means a lower interest rate.
  • Take a shorter loan term. A 15-year loan will have a lower interest rate than a 30-year loan.
  • Shop around. Lenders offer different rates, so be sure to compare multiple lenders before making your final decision.

Financing your home doesn’t have to be difficult. Lenders are happy to explain the different finance options available to first-time buyers. So don’t hesitate to reach out to a lender and start the conversation today.

This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. This post was written by Michelle Clardie. Michelle is a professional real estate blogger, specializing in ghostwriting Realtor® blogs. Her engaging content helps real estate agents become more visible online, generate more qualified leads, and increase their revenues. You can learn more at www.michelleclardie.com.

Jan. 18, 2019

Best Ways To Stay Connected To Your Referrals

After a successful sale, it’s always a good idea to keep in contact with that client. But when is the best time to follow-up and when does your outreach become too much or not enough? Real estate agents grow a large portion of their business from existing clients giving referrals, whether it’s a friend telling a friend or a client posting your name on social media next to their new home. It can be tricky, but here are a few tips on how you can keep in contact with your referral network without becoming a pushy salesperson.

Keep it relevant

No one likes letters, postcards or emails that are not going to help or inform them in any way. Don’t just send something to get your name in front of them, send material that the consumer will open and use. Price updates, housing trends or holiday greetings are all examples of emails or mailings that your client can appreciate and/or find useful.

 

Social Media

Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are just a few social media platforms that are a great way to remind your referrals about your business without having to directly message them. You can share content about the real estate industry, tips and tricks to selling a home or your current listings. These topics keep you on brand but also encourage engagement from your clients to like, share or comment. You can share parts of your personal life to social media but remember to keep it simple. Business accomplishments, business announcements or family celebrations are great things to share that let your clients get to know you a bit more without being intrusive.

Events

Client appreciation events or just a small get-together to say thank you to your clients is a great way to stay in touch. This puts the control in the consumer’s hands, but also shows you care enough to invite them to a special event. These functions are also a great way to network and discuss potential business with those who are able to make it.

Be Unique

All agents want to be remembered by their customers, but not all succeed. Make sure your follow-up is unique to your brand and business. Make it personal to each client and not a generic message you send out every year. You can also do small gifts as a thank you for their business. If they have a dog, send dog treats with their thank you card! People appreciate the effort and are more likely to remember something that was personalized to their family or buying/selling experience, than a card that they’ve seen a thousand times.

Write it, don’t type it

The art of a handwritten note goes a long way. When sending “Thank You” or “Just Sold” cards, consider writing it by hand. This gives a personal touch to any mailing and shows that you took the extra time for that client. If you’re worried about your messy writing, don’t worry, most of us have that problem! In that case, just write the sign-off by hand and include the body of the message as text.

Posted in REALTOR, Sellers
Jan. 3, 2019

Four Strategies To Create And Engage A Motivated Real Estate Team

For new and experienced agents alike, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the housing market, whether that’s by achieving your monthly goals or perhaps even falling short. If it’s the latter, it’s especially important to foster a positive, uplifting and inspiring company culture for your fellow agents.

Establishing an entrepreneurial environment driven by collaboration and innovation is just one of the many steps required for success and high performance in the real estate industry. Incorporating these four skills and motivational techniques into your daily routine and monthly/annual goals can help shape a team player into a real estate superstar.

 

1. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

One of the most powerful tools in your arsenal is taking the time to set S.M.A.R.T goals. This means identifying specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound objectives. Our firm establishes goals like “generate 20% more listings in a specific region” or “increase new seller leads by 10%,” as opposed to the more general “generate more listings.” You can even add another layer to your goals by providing a deadline and tracking them on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. This can help improve engagement and productivity and boost team morale. Additionally, agents who take accountability for hard-to-sell properties will often match those challenges with extra effort.

Be intentional and disciplined in your execution. Use your best judgment to determine how your team can set realistic goals and manage their expectations. By building concurrent personal and team goals, your firm can strike a balance that leads to overall business success.

2. Establish A Formula For Success

Develop an internal support system designed to enrich your business from within. Rather than relying on one person to get the job done, build a team of specialists with their own areas of expertise and strengths. One person may be an expert on mortgages, while another may know everything about the newest real estate technologies. Finding avenues to supplement, complement and leverage one another’s skills is a great way to build up a team environment that organically balances the firm.

We strive to provide an environment that surrounds agents with innovation, integrity and association among a group of talented and experienced real estate experts. Even the most successful agents need a team they can fall back on for support. From the top down, foster a family-like work environment.

3. Utilize Company Resources

Beyond your team, it’s equally important to explore the resources your firm has made available. Not sure what is offered? Ask! Opportunities like company training programs, online educational materials, professional development classes and mentorship programs are all great places to start. For example, we created a mastermind group to cultivate an ongoing dialogue between sales executives and provide a platform to learn from the most seasoned professionals while encouraging new voices to share fresh perspectives.

With the help of continuing education opportunities and comprehensive training resources, you will be equipped with the backing you need to confidently sell your next property. Use this arsenal to further refine your industry skills and enrich your team and business as a whole, especially during high-stress times.

4. Celebrate Wins

Rushing from one closing to the next can lead to burnout — we’ve all been there. From small successes to national award recognitions, take the time to celebrate growth on both an individual and firm level. This goes back to the value of setting S.M.A.R.T goals. Recognizing achievements creates a company culture that bolsters productivity while energizing recruitment efforts and maintaining retention. Enjoy the moments to stop and reflect on the achievements of your team, no matter how big or small.

The sky is the limit when it comes to victories in the real estate world. Taking the time to implement realistic and achievable goals, offer self-development opportunities and foster an encouraging environment will go a long way when boosting team performance and motivation.

 

By Dale Schaechterle, founding Partner and CEO at Metro Milwaukee-based Realty Executives IntegrityOriginally published in Forbes.com