Thursday, 9 March 2017

Tips to prepare for your property photo shoot

Open curtains and lights on throughout the house create an inviting, ambient feel to your DFW real estate photo shoot.
If you have wisely decided to book a professional real estate photographer to shoot your property this is your opportunity to show the house in its best light. Although professional real estate photographers in Dallas/Fort Worth know how to get the best results, they are not miracle workers.

Here are some tips to make sure your property meets the high expectations of today’s buyers:
  • Clean: This is an obvious step to take when you have a DFW real estate photographer coming, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to miss some obvious eye sores. Go over every detail and don’t forget to check the kitchen sink for empty coffee mugs and to give the tubs and bathroom sinks a good rinse and dry.
  • Garbage: Take the time to remove things such as garbage bins and hide them away in the garage. This should be done for all rooms, and don’t forget outside. Consider making a trip to the dump so your property is garbage (and odor) free!
  • Declutter: It is in your best interest to declutter as much as possible. All counters, desk tops, and surfaces such as coffee tables should appear as neat and tidy as possible. This allows people to see the room and its space as well as show off counter space. Remember that clutter is usually associated with limited storage.  
  • Pets: Make sure pets are placed in a secure area or not home if possible. This is especially important if the real estate photographer will be entering the home alone, as your pet might react less friendly if a stranger enters your home unaccompanied by a family member.
  • Views: Keep in mind that some photos will also show views outside. Make sure anything that might ruin the view (that is in your power) is removed. Even simple things such as your vehicle in the driveway or parked on the street out front can ruin a shot.
  • Light: Open all blinds and turn on all your lights to add a soft ambient glow to the photos. The real estate photographer will turn them off as they make their way through each room. Also, make sure you do not have any burned out light bulbs!
  • Exterior: Have the exterior of the house neat and tidy by removing stray garbage and leaves that tends to get caught in bushes or around the foundation of the house. Make sure the lawn is mowed and that you have some pretty flowers to add punches of color. Investing in an urn or two for the front is always a nice touch. However, if you have empty urns, remove them if you don’t have time to fill them! In the back yard remove toys and any sign of pets. Remove clutter, neaten your outdoor furniture and seating areas. You want to show the property is well maintained and the backyard offers an inviting oasis even if it is small and simple.
  • Pool: Make sure your pool is free of leaves and debris and remove the vacuum cleaner/hose. Also, make sure there aren’t any towels or swim suits hanging about!

Some other details requiring attention include:
  • Close the door to your breaker panel if it is in a room to be shot such as the kitchen or laundry room
  • Make sure your laundry room does not have laundry hanging, ironing boards out, detergent on the washer, etc.
  • Straighten wall art
  • Remove awkward small area rugs, especially if you have hardwood
  • Declutter beds of stuffed toys or too many pillows
  • Check window treatments to make sure they are not coming off the wall or are crooked, especially blinds
  • Use a broom to remove cobwebs that can collect unnoticed on the ceiling corners as well as outside at the entry of the home and porch
  • Clean baseboards when you are doing the floors
  • Look for obvious dirty marks around light switches, door knobs, etc. and give them a good scrub
  • Close the garage door
  • Remove all signs of moving boxes and packing materials

Using these tips will make sure you get the best possible pictures and that your DFW property photo shoot goes smoothly. You can find Dallas-Fort Worth photographers in your area here



Wednesday, 8 March 2017

How to build on those fast sales

If the market is so hot you are selling homes as soon as they are listed, you want to invest in marketing that will help you get more listings. It is easy to decide not to market a home if you think (or know) it will sell with multiple offers. However, in a market this hot you have to be out there investing your marketing dollars in self-promotion instead.

SOI Newsletters

Reaching out to your SOI is important in a hot market. It allows you to keep in touch with people who might be thinking of selling as well as remind them you are ready for their referrals. Share relevant information that is either seasonal tips, DIY tips, selling tips, etc. and make sure you add your own message offering insights about the market in the area. Look for a newsletter service that offers ready to send newsletters as often as you wish, custom branding and most importantly the option to incorporate your own personal message. Another great feature is a newsletter product that allows you to post and share your newsletters on social media to provide useful information followers will enjoy.

Farming 

Getting your postcards out there after each sale will help build your profile as a trusted and effective real estate agent in your area. When homes are selling fast and even better yet, above asking, your postcards will reach people in the area who might be enticed to sell, or contact you to find out what is happening in the market.

Flyers and Brochures

If you even need to book an open house, make sure you have flyers or brochures about the area and yourself to hand out. Keep in mind curios neighbors might spot your open house and want to come in and snoop. Handouts can arouse interest in selling when people see quick sales and excellent prices which can translate into more listings in the area for you.

Listing Presentations

Investing in a reusable listing presentation will allow you to have quick access to an on demand sales tool you can adapt for your meetings with new clients. Look for a product that allows you to add important information such as comps, marketing plans, what sets you apart, and testimonials. You also want an adaptable format so you can provide a printed hand out, or even email a link for people to view online.


The take away here is that a hot market is not the time to stop marketing. Instead it is the time to focus on marketing yourself so you can share in the wealth. A Realtour account offers the branded marketing tools you need to reach your SOI as well as entice new clients. 

Friday, 3 March 2017

How to edit your free virtual tour

You receive a free virtual tour with both your eflyers and your photography orders. To edit your free Realtour virtual tours, log onto your account and click the Virtual Tour icon on your dashboard:


Click the Manage Photos tab and you will find your images ready to go. For an eflyer order you will only see the images you have uploaded for your eflyer. You can add more images by clicking the upload images and find the images on your computer. 


You can click and drag your images to place them in the order you wish them to appear in the tour. To add captions, just click the add/edit captions link below each image. Just click the text field to add headings and descriptions.



You can add music to your tour by clicking the Music Selector. Sample the music and then select the music you wish to use.


For your eflyer you will have a free Bronze tour and your tour will be complete with these simple steps. For a photography order your tour is a premium Platinum tour and you will have further options including adding SEO, Floor Plans, Agent and Double Agent branding and the ability to add your print flyer.

You will receive a confirmation email once your tour is generated. 

Friday, 24 February 2017

What your listing presentations might NOT be telling people

Your listing presentation is often your first and last chance to shine. That is why it is important to be aware of the things your listing presentation might NOT be telling potential clients. It is not enough to include just the basics. You want to add the extra details that will paint a clear picture of how effective you are as an agent and why you are the best choice to sell their home.

Back up your Marketing Strategy

It is easy to say that you have a marketing plan that works, but it is even better if you can back that statement up with some proof. The best way to demonstrate you are prepared to invest in selling their home is to not only outline the plan you will use, but to also show them the materials you have used in the past. Share some stats to back up what you are saying. Using marketing tools that provide you with tracking and statistics such as email marketing campaigns and trackable virtual tours can help them see you mean business and that you are using proven marketing tactics to sell their home. As well, have a portfolio of the photos you have used for marketing materials so they a) get a feel for the types of homes you have sold in the past and b) see you are willing to invest in high end marketing materials that will showcase their home in the best possible light. Last but not least, consider providing an overview of the most likely home buyers for the property with ideas on how the home should be prepped to appeal to that target.

Justify your Price

It is one thing to throw out high numbers to entice them to list with you, but if you don’t have proof that homes are selling for that price in the area, your recommendation will lack credibility. Make sure you include comps in your listing presentation so they understand why you are recommending the listing price you have in mind. This also helps to soften the blow if the numbers aren’t as high as they had hoped. Include days on the market to help illustrate how the higher or over priced homes are staying on the market longer compared to the median priced homes.

Show them the Money

Many home owners today are not shy about asking what share you get of the sale. You have to be prepared to explain why your commission is set at a certain rate and what you are doing for them so they understand what is included in that cost. The details of what you do are often “behind the curtain” tasks they don’t necessarily see you perform. Let them know how your skills have helped others in the past, such as negotiating, proper pricing, aggressive or effective marketing, support of your brokerage, etc. Do you offer additional services that help you stand out such as staging expertise? Do your homes sell quicker or above asking? All of these details draw a clearer picture for the home owners so they see why you are worth the investment and worthy of their trust.

Dig Deeper

The questions you ask can be as telling as the answers you give. Make sure they see that you want to learn more about them and their home to make it easier for you to sell it. Find out about their happiest memories in the home. Ask them what sold them on the home to begin with. Ask them what they love the most about their home other than the obvious things such as a gorgeous new kitchen or newly remodeled master bathroom. These personal insights into the home provide you with details you can share with viewers at open houses, while showing potential clients your approach is on a deeper, more personal level.

Finding an online listing presentation you can share with your clients in a number of different formats is also a great idea. You want an adaptable presentation you can share online, that can be changed for each new client and that can be printed as a leave behind to cover all the bases.







Wednesday, 8 February 2017

How to access a Free* New Property Marketing Tool

As a real estate agent, getting the best bang for your marketing buck is always top of mind. You want to use all the weapons in your marketing arsenal to present your listings to as many people as possible. A new free property marketing tool is now available when you use Realtour virtual tours, elfyers and photography services to provide better exposure for your listings.

Realtour has recently launched its latest marketing tool designed to assist clients with their advertising. The new lead generation tool, househunt.biz, provides a property search engine you can share with your clients with your own personal URL.

How to access House Hunt

When you create your free Realtour account, you will have the option to post your listings on househunt.biz whenever you purchase a photo shoot, virtual tour or eflyer. Marketing materials that work with House Hunt will offer you the option to post your listing on House Hunt with a scheduled date.

House Hunt then automatically collects all of your active Realtour listings with five or more images and places them on a Google Map. This also generates a unique URL for you to post and share. The minimum five images provides a basic virtual tour that appears with each listing.

Your House Hunt URL only features your listings. However, a Show All tab as well as a Search Listings button also allows visitors to see all Realtour listings. This means your listings can get more exposure through your fellow agents’ accounts and allows House Hunt to help generate leads.

Your House Hunt URL features your listings* on a Google map with your tour and info.

Features of House Hunt

The House Hunt search tool provides an email collection tool for lead generation. As well, visitors can see listing details, price, your Realtour virtual tours and your email address so they can contact you to get more information.

A neighborhood amenities feature tool allows visitors to find schools, shopping, restaurants and more by simply clicking the amenities that are important to them.  These amenities will appear on the map along with your listings.

Integrated Marketing

Your unique House Hunt URL works in combination with Realtour virtual tours and email signatures.
Your tours will feature the House Hunt icon to link to the location of your property as well as all the nearby amenities that make your listing special. You can also add your House Hunt link to your Realtour email signature to instantly share all of your listings with every email you send and even add it to your eflyers, social media pages and websites.

Your free Realtour account is the first step to accessing this free tool. You can then select to have listings posted as you purchase your Realtour photo shoots, virtual tours or eflyers. It makes more sense than ever to use Realtour as your one stop real estate marketing experts with this new, free and seamless marketing tool.

Visit househunt.biz to see how it works or realtour.biz for more information. 
*Listings must have a Realtour photo shoot, virtual tour or eflyer with a minimum of five images.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Some Interesting Statistics about “Aging in Place”

Aging in place has become the preferred way to live for many baby boomers who have come to love their homes, their neighborhoods and their close proximity to family and friends. The term refers to empty nesters that have chosen to live their lives out as long as possible in their family homes. However, many are concerned this could have an impact on the housing market with lower turnover of single family homes.

Two Thirds Not Planning Moves

According to a survey by the Demand Institute close to two thirds of Baby Boomers are not planning to move any time soon. Instead they have decided it is better to age in place and continue to enjoy the life and community they have lived in for much of their married or adult lives.

For many, the Great Recession can be blamed for their decision to remain in their current homes. Boomer net worth fell drastically during the Great Recession, to $140,000 and this is where it currently stands. It is estimated had it not been for the recession, their net worth would be closer to $370,000. This has reduced the options Boomers might feel they have if they wish to live comfortably once they retire.

67% want their Current Community

Of Baby Boomers who do wish to move, 67 percent wish to remain close to their current communities as opposed to moving to a retirement community. In fact, remaining closer to family and their community, has become more desirable than seeking a new life in a warmer climate.

When seeking a new home, many Boomers are hoping to find their dream home. That means that 46 percent of boomers will actually be hunting for a larger home, or a home that is comparable to their current home size as opposed to the traditional move to a smaller home. This means more competition for the larger single family homes traditionally sought by younger couples and families.

Finding a Dream Home

The reason behind this change is that many Boomers have rented and/or compromised on the home they currently own. Now that they are in a position to purchase the type of home they always wanted, they are acting on their dreams.

The remaining 54 percent are still looking to downsize, either in square footage or mortgage size if possible. Boomers who are living in their dream home or one that meets most of their needs are looking for a home that will allow them to live independently with less maintenance. However, they are now looking for higher end finishes to add to their overall comfort and the same communities with amenities usually sought by younger home buyers.

Unlike the downsizers of the past, Boomers are now likely to spend more on their next home with an average price of $200,000 compared to upsizers at $180,000.

Demand for Renovation Services

As turnover of single family homes decrease, there will also be a rise in the demand for renovation services. Boomers will be remodeling their homes to accommodate their changing needs. By 2025 baby boomers will be in their 70’s and face more health and mobility issues that will make it more difficult to live independently. 

According to homeadvisor.com renovations for Boomers are in high demand. However, the renovations in which they are investing are not necessarily age related. In fact, their findings show that of the 61 percent who intend to age in place, 65 percent feel they do not require aging-related improvement, and 78 percent have never completed an aging-related remodel, upgrade or renovation.
Instead, the new mind set for remodeling should be based on logical improvements to the functionality of the home which in turn often translates into safer living and accessibility such as smart technology, more open spaces, less steps, and better lighting. This can also help keep the home appealing to younger home buyers when it finally does come time to sell.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

How to use the Add Email My Contacts Tool

This tool is found in eflyers and newletters. When you select this mode of distribution you have a number of options. First, you can add a single email address, or as many as you wish in the white text box provided. Just click the box and type in or copy email addresses into the field. This can work well if you have an existing list that consists of just email addresses as you can copy them all at once and paste them into the field. You can then name and save your list. Your lists will appear beneath the text box and MUST BE CHECKED to be included in your eblast. 



The other options include uploading a CVS file or importing your Yahoo or Gmail contacts list. Just click the choice you wish to use.


CVS: This selection will lead you to your computer so you can locate the file and select it to be uploaded.


Gmail: This option will show you your Gmail contact lists. Just click the box to choose the lists you wish to upload:


Yahoo: This option will lead you to your Yahoo account. You can follow the steps as they appear:



Once you have uploaded contacts you can then click the check box for the lists you wish to include.
You can edit your lists by clicking the edit option and save them to keep them up to date conveniently in your Realtour account.