It’s All About Converting Real Estate Leads

Real estate agents must always be prospecting for new leads and then turning them into sales in order to stay in business. Capturing leads is just one part of the process. Once you get the lead, you must act upon it so you don’t lose the prospect to another agent. The most efficient way of converting leads is to use a client management system to organize your buyer leads and seller leads. Following up on leads as soon as you get them is also important. People want to work with agents who deliver good customer service and get them results. You must constantly be marketing yourself and your brand so that people remember you when they are ready to buy or sell.

Jennifer Baughn © by / // /\

Finding Real Estate Leads
Real estate prospects can come from multiple sources including the following:

  • Referrals from current and past clients
  • Website
  • Internet and social media websites
  • Newspaper and magazines ads, flyers and brochures
  • Open houses
  • Signage
  • Other brokers
  • Mailers
  • Business cards
  • Networking
  • Social farming

Successful real estate agents have their own website and are always marketing themselves and their client’s properties talking about real estate wherever they go, blogging and keeping up on market trends. They pass out their cards at business and social events. Agents advertise their name and company brand in the community, sponsoring events, ads in newspaper and other print media and on the Internet. Letting people know you are a Realtor, providing valuable information and constantly reminding them you are there when they need to buy or sell will help you capture more leads and convert them to sales.

Realtors also establish business relationships with vendors and other people they do business with constantly referring business back and forth to each other. This may include mortgage brokers, home inspectors, contractors, movers and other people in the real estate industry. They forge alliances and friendships with other real estate agents inside and outside of their area. Since most real estate agents specialize in one or two areas, when they have clients that want to buy or sell in areas that they do not work, they refer the business to another agent. Referral fees generated from other Realtors are a great source of increasing revenues and generating sales.

Many times Realtors from the same company who work different neighborhoods will team up to list a home. For example, if Realtor A works an area where Realtor B does not, and Realtor B has a client who wants to sell their home located in Realtor A’s area, Realtor B may ask Realtor A to either co-list the house or may simply refer Realtor A to the seller and ask Realtor A for a referral fee when the house sells. This way, the lead is not lost, the client gets an experienced local Realtor to sell their home and each Realtor also makes money.

How to Convert Real Estate Leads?
In order to capture leads, you need to respond within 24 hours or less. Otherwise, the lead may contact another agent. People tend to work with the agents that respond the quickest to their inquiries. Good customer service is essential to capturing new clients, keeping your existing clients happy and growing your business with repeat sales and referrals. People will want to work with you if they know they can count on you to respond to them.

When you contact a lead, screen them to find out their motivation and time table. If they need to buy or sell now or within the next month or two, then you know they are a hot lead. Warm leads are clients who are interested in entering into a real estate transaction within the next six months. Leads that have no specific motivation or time table are cold leads. Hot and warm leads should be pursued first because those will most likely turn into sales quicker. However, it is a good idea to keep in touch with cold leads, sending them information on an ongoing basis because eventually they may turn into a hot or warm lead.

When working with buyers, be sure to find out all the buyer’s criteria including price, number of bedrooms and baths, amenities and upgrades they want and home style preferences. When working with sellers, ask why they want to sell and if they need help purchasing a new home. Even if they are moving out of the area, you should offer to find them a Realtor. This way, you can also collect a referral fee and grow your business by just sitting back and waiting for a check to arrive after they buy. By screening your leads carefully, you will save time and money.

Real estate is a numbers game. The more leads you capture, the more sales and income you will generate. Your business will grow and your hard work and efforts will pay off. You should never stop prospecting and turning leads into sales, or you may find yourself looking for another line of work.

The key thing to remember is to maintain an honest approach to your work, and this extends to your approach to gathering and converting leads. Professionalism and a genuine transparency is everything.

What Makes A Good Real Estate Agent?

Finding a good real estate agent who you trust and who is knowledgeable about a particular neighborhood or area is important when buying or selling real estate. A local real estate agent is familiar with the properties in that agent’s area. Choosing a company that has name recognition in the area is also important. There are usually a couple dominate brokerage agencies in most areas.

The difference between an average and above average agent is the above average agent makes a point of seeing all the new listings in the area and also makes relationships with for sale by owners. The agent will preview properties for buyers and also keep track of properties that are in competition with their own client’s listings. Being able to discuss and compare the different homes on the market and their features in order to overcome buyer’s objections and help sellers price their homes is what makes a great agent.

Real Estate BarCamp 2010 © by Nick Bastian Tempe, AZ

Agents also meet other buyers when they conduct open houses so that they always have a pool of buyers who are ready and able to purchase homes in the area when a new listing comes up. An agent who is on top of the market in their area is always one of the first agents to show a home when it hits the market. The best agents network with other agents in their company and with other brokerage firms to share information and help sell each other’s properties. Being able to match buyer’s needs with the inventory in the neighborhood and being able to price homes to sell is what sets good agents apart from the rest.

Choosing a Good Real Estate Agent

One of the best ways of selecting an agent is through a referral from a friend or family member. Or if you have had a positive experience with an agent in the past, you may want to contact use them again. Data taken from the NAR shows that 39% of sellers rely on a referral to choose their agents, while 22% of buyers used a Realtor that they had a used before. Out of sellers, 16% interviewed at least two agents and 18% spoke with three or more agents before making their decisions.

Other places to find a real estate agent include the local newspaper, Sunday open houses, driving around the neighborhood looking for signs, walking into the local real estate office, searching the Internet and using employer relocation company services.

Qualities of a Good Agent

  • Knowledge of the local market and market trends.
  • Does their own showings or uses an assistant.
  • Uses the latest technology.
  • Holds professional designations and specialties. What this means is the agent has taken extra education and training.
  • What type of technology do they use?
  • What professional designations or specialties do they hold? This means they have taken additional training.
  • Are they members of the National Association of Realtors? NAR members are held to a higher standard and a code of ethics.

When you have a good real estate agent, they are always putting their client’s needs before their own. A good negotiator is crucial and someone who is outgoing, social, has a great reputation and works for a reputable company are other characteristics to look for when choosing an agent. Also being able to overcome obstacles that may arise and being a good problem solver is a must.

Having the right agent representing you can make a huge difference in your real estate transaction experience. A good real estate agent will help save you money and time and make sure your real estate experience is a positive one. Above all, it is important to choose someone that you like and trust because you will probably be working together for at least a few months. If you feel confident that you can rely on your agent’s advice and that the agent is providing you with current information about market conditions, new listings, comparable homes that have sold and real estate trends in your area, then you know you have chosen the right person for your real estate needs.

Why Rising Real Estate Prices Are Not On Everyone’s Wish list

Why rising real estate prices are not on everyone’s wish list

I read a lot of real estate related material – articles, blogs, research and reports – and all seem to have this underlying assumption that I have a hard time with. Most cheer when prices of real estate go up and seem to want to jump off the nearest precipice when they drop. I don’t understand this, especially from professionals in the industry.

Sure, there are people who want the value of their home to rise so that they can sell it, pay off the mortgage and maybe have a little to spare. But most people who own real estate are not in that position – especially real estate agents, brokers and other industry professionals and investors.

Houses going down © by Images_of_Money

Real estate industry professionals – you’re first

If you make a living selling or leasing real estate, you’d have to be nuts to want prices to rise. If you look at increased prices and you see dollar signs because of higher commissions, then you need to get better at your job.

Lower prices mean that buyers are out there and will sign on the dotted line to secure a property. The problem is that you need to get better at your job – get listings in an environment where prices are generally lower. Sure, low inventory is an issue, but get creative. If you sit in your office and await a property owner to walk through the door to sign you up as a listing agent you’re dreaming. Same applies to waiting for the phone to ring.

Get out there and talk to people – honestly. Don’t promise the world, be an honest real estate professional and you’ll be surprised at the reputation you get around the place. It’s a good thing. If the going is tough, get creative – that doesn’t mean get gimmicky either, get real.

Real estate investors – you’re next

So you’re a real estate investor, that’s great – but if you are and you rely on prices to go up to make money you’re in the wrong game. Seriously. If your business and income is reliant on asset appreciation, you’re in trouble. You’re essentially gambling, because capital gains are not something that you can control.

So your real estate investment business plan has to include some cash flow properties so earn that all important income. Honestly, if you have structure your property well enough, then property values should almost be irrelevant.

So please forget the fascination with real estate values – they are largely a subjective figment of the valuer’s imagination anyway. Concentrate on making your business independent from fickle market fluctuations.

The Single Biggest Mistake That Real Estate Agents Make

The single biggest mistake that real estate agents make has the potential to ruin their reputation and their business. The funny thing is that they probably don’t even know they are doing it. The reason they don’t see it is that they are looking at their business wrong, and as a result they are missing a bunch of business (and a chunk of money).

What I’d like to do is be open and honest about the mistakes I see real estate agents in my local area making. First, a couple of caveats: I’m no agent, realtor or broker. I don’t work with any companies in the industry and am a commentator on it. I’m writing from the perspective of a client, and want to share my experiences in the hope that what I see happening to the detriment to the local market stops.

Price Drop Ahead © by gtquast

The biggest mistake that real estate professionals make
One of the biggest errors that I see time and time again jumps out at me almost every time I see real estate marketing material. The irony is that the mistake is almost always made in an attempt to make more money for the listing agent – but it achieves the reverse. Instead of making sales, potential property buyers are actually driven away from anything that the agency has to offer.

I’m talking about price. The listing price is everything, a very important number. Let’s be clear though that this price is not altogether linked to the actual value of the property. The listing price is something different, but that’s for another article.

With the reduction of property values, inventories are lower and sellers who are actually in the market now really want to sell. So putting properties on the market at prices which don’t reflect the drop in values is completely counter-productive. It’s not half obvious either, as properties listed by other agencies in the area are listed at obviously lower prices, which are realistic and reflect current values.

Higher listing prices drives business away
As a potential buyer I will do everything I can to avoid an agent who has high listing prices. I’m not saying that I want bargain prices, everyone knows that the final price paid for the property will be subject to negotiation. What I want to see when I see a property listed is a price that reflects a fair appraisal – not a generous appraisal designed to make the seller happy to list with that particular agent.

Real estate agents need to think carefully when coming up with a listing price. Remember that that you want to attract buyers, sell properties and earn commissions – that’s your core business. If you do this well and efficiently then you will earn more referral business, make more money and have a successful business.

If, however, you choose to list properties at inflated prices that do not reflect the fair current market value, but rather a wishful thinking type figure – you’re doing yourself a dis-service. Be honest with your clients, the people that list with you. Tell them the truth about current market conditions and the list price that will attract potential buyers.

Finally, remember that every listing is a reflection of your business, your morals, and your skills. If your listings don’t reflect positively on your business, your business will suffer. Simple really isn’t it?

2 Key Tips for Creative Marketing in Real Estate

Creative marketing is not something you see too much in the real estate business – at least not in my experience. The reliance has always been on the tried tested and true method of hammering a sign in the front lawn of a property and wait for a phone call from an interested buyer. With the significant change in the real estate marketplace though, things have changed in the way that agents are marketing their properties too.

The general stereotype of the intrusive real estate professional who pushes the hard sell and wants all of your contact details so that they can badger you about your intentions is not accurate. At least not all the time. Sure there are some annoying agents who are pushy and cross the line, but there’s a bad one or two in every bunch, that’s business. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff and find a true professional who not only knows what they’re talking about, but who walks the walk and talks the talk.

Frame of mind © by kevin dooley

Think outside the box

A good way to recognise an imaginative real estate agent is by how they do their marketing. As he passed the proverbial torch to me, Jonathan was telling me about Carra Riley and her creative marketing efforts. In order to attract a bit of a buzz around a land release she was selling, Carra threw in a very interesting incentive to buyers- a red Ferrari. This seemed to me to be a little gimmicky at first – but the more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed. First, a red Ferrari is very rarely gimmicky – especially when it is given away. Second, it is a genuine incentive for real people to buy real land and grab a real bonus. It takes more than a ‘reduced sale price’ to get people interested these days.

It’s obvious that real estate is a little slow at the moment – and it is in times like this that creative marketing efforts usually come to the fore. ‘New low price’ will only get you so far in this market, and this sort of pitch is (to be absolutely honest) is old and lazy. Agents and brokers out there need to do something different to attract attention in the marketplace.

Be professional and approachable

Many professionals will tell you that the best form of marketing is word of mouth – it’s been that way for a long time and it’s still true today. If you have a good name in your industry, then people will not only come to you more often to do business, but because of the way they have found you, they will trust you more. This is a kind of vicarious trust. You are recommended by someone whose opinion they trust enough to seek it out – and you are the result of that query – that’s a very solid start to a business relationship.

How do you get business through word of mouth? It’s simple – be approachable and professional. Have standards and stick to them. Over time (it’s not instant, it takes a little time to build this type of a reputation) you will build a name for yourself as a decent human being as well as a good real estate professional. Do it well and people will recommend you to friends and family without even being asked. If you are patient, respectful and professional, you will do well in real estate.

If you are looking only for the sale and don’t focus on the relationship, then your business will fail. It may take a little while, particularly if you’re especially slick, but it’ll happen. Creative marketing in the real estate business is an absolute must, and it begins and ends with the listing agent.

Why ‘Setup’ Properties Erode Consumer Confidence

Earlier, I read an article by Kenneth Harney about ‘setup’ properties or ‘pinball’ homes that I felt compelled to write a response to. I found the article through Barry Cunningham, who posted a link to it over on Google+ (thanks Barry). The original article I read can be found here on the LA times site, and here if you prefer the Boston Herald. Although I promptly shared the article I still don’t feel that I said enough about this practice, there’s more to get off my chest.

Along with all the talk about what’s happening with property prices, and when values will start to go up again, there’s a real need to infuse some confidence in the industry in order for it to properly recover. IF the industry is to kick off again, we need people to buy houses – and not just investors and other businesses either – but actual home owners, owner occupiers. These buyers are the real key to the housing market, and they are the true barometer of where the industry is in terms of its recovery or otherwise.

Display Lounge © by mikecogh

So when I read about agents who have a property listed at an unrealistic price, and then use it to make the prices of other homes in the area seem reasonable (or even low), it smacks of bad business practice. It’s bad because it’s dishonest. It’s dishonest to the owner of the ‘setup’ property, to the prospective buyers, and the owners of other properties in the area. For the industry to regain its reputation and success, this practice must stop.

What matters here is the conduct of the agent. It’s the need for real estate professionals to look beyond the immediate sale, and take a longer term view of their profession, of their industry. They need to be prepared to do the morally correct thing and assign the correct price to start with. Naturally there will always be difficult clients who will insist on an over-inflated listing price – but that is their issue, not the agent’s. Why accept the listing to begin with if you are not going to try and sell it? If the plan is to use the property to hold up as a property not to buy, are you really fulfilling your obligations to the owner of that property?

I would really like to see listing agents be more careful in what properties they list – and the prices at which they are listed. Consumer confidence is a fickle thing, and is what will drive any recovery in the future. Using one over-priced property as a ‘pinball’ property in order to sell others in the neighbourhood at a similar price is not only unprofessional – it may also go against your obligations as an agent, depending on the jurisdiction. This practice is most certainly morally wrong – and is damaging to the industry as a whole.

How To Find A Real Estate Agent That Specializes In Working With Veterans?

Military families who are looking to buy real estate will often have needs and requirements that set them apart from other buyers. This is especially true for veterans, and it is best to concentrate on working with a real estate agent that specializes in working with veterans and military families. In most parts of the country you should be able to find real estate professionals with the appropriate training, knowledge and understanding to serve military families well.

How To Find A Real Estate Agent That Specializes In Working With Veterans?
old army housing © by jumpyjodes

This post came out of a question asked on Google+ by Chris Birk, a guy that is in the mortgage industry, in the capacity of helping veterans get loans. After a bit of asking around, it became apparent to me that while I couldn’t find any real estate agents that specialized in working with veterans exactly, there were a bunch of knowledgeable agents out there. These agents are often veterans or from military families themselves, so have personal experience to draw from when helping you find a home.

3 steps to finding a veteran friendly real estate agent

You cannot rely on the Yellow Pages to deliver up a great real estate agent that will understand your requirements – it takes more than a listing and a glossy business card for that. Depending on where you are looking to buy, there may not be much military activity around, so agents in that area may not have the expertise, but don’t worry – here are a few things you can do to find a real estate agent that specializes in working with veterans.

  1. Ask around – You’ll never know till you ask right? If there is a military installation nearby then ask there – they will be able to point you towards a particular agent or two – or at least tell you about someone who can. If there is no military facility nearby then consider approaching a real estate agent and asking them point blank if they have any experience.
  2. Research online – Most agents these days have an online presence. So look up the agents in the area you are buying into and see what they are all about. Remember that it’s not all about websites any more – there are thousands of real estate agents on Google+ who use the platform to communicate with each other as well as prospective clients.
  3. Contact veterans’ organizations – Contacting one of the local veterans organizations is a great way to get some good local contacts. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the Marine Corps League are great places to start. Remember that it doesn’t matter what branch of the forces you served with – you will get advice and a helping hand if you ask for it.

Having a real estate agent who specializes in working with veterans and military families can make the difference in your real estate search. This is particularly true when you are looking to buy a home to live in, as opposed to an investment property. Considerations such as accessing a good mortgage program, the pros and cons of off base living and other unique factors all play a part.

Do you know of any real estate agents that specialize in working with veterans? We’d be very interested to hear from you – and so would a lot of other people too!

Why Real Estate Professionals Should Forget About SEO

Breathe easy, SEO for real estate websites just got a whole lot easier… These days, almost all real estate professionals will recognise the importance of the internet in their business. Having a website of your own is meant to not only showcase you as a person, and your business as a brand, but also showcase your listings and be a marketing mouth-piece. In a lot of ways, social networking became a shouting match too, a bad habit among a lot of realtors.

The idea of SEO was also to rank well in the search engines (especially in Google’s results) so as to maximize the exposure of the site, and therefore increase the web traffic that flows through to the site. The way to do this was through SEO – and plenty of people pay good money to firms and consultants to do it right. But that’s all about to change in a big way, and we need to change with it.

seo punishment © by Sean MacEntee

SEO for dinosaurs

SEO used to be as simple as ‘the site with the most links wins’ – then it evolved to a hotchpotch of different factors, including keyword use, authority links, alt tags on images, meta tags and riding high on a social networking buzz. That’s all over – dead and all but buried.

Gone are the days of paying a bunch of people to write hundreds of backlinking articles to post on different article hosting websites like Ezine Articles and Squidoo. It’s just not worth it. Your site does not get any benefit from it at all. Stop paying people for links to your website too – not only is the benefit questionable, but you’re likely to be hit with a penalty which will see your site vanish from the search engine results.

Just like in the real world, you have to make it in the real estate industry on your own terms – by hard, consistent work, a good character and a sunny disposition. I’ll explain why later – but first: why is SEO changing to a point where it is almost unrecognisable from what it was?

SEO reborn

Google has been constantly changing its search algorithm since its inception, and last year’s ‘tweaks’ (called Panda) caused massive earthquakes and near panic in the SEO community. The changes were implemented progressively – and are not over yet. In fact just recently, another upcoming algorithm update was announce in which Google said it would be penalizing sites that were ‘over-optimized’.

The point of this is to apparently to level the playing field – to even things out between the big companies that spent a whole lot on SEO type activities and produced content of little value, and the little guys and gals that produce great stuff but don’t allocate much to SEO beyond simple on-page stuff.

That’s great news really… it means that we will see better, more relevant stuff come up to the higher results when we search. This is important, because as most will know, around 40% of the clicks on a search result go through to the first listing. There’s a way of improving that figure – but we’ll get to that in a minute.

So everything’s changing and SEO for real estate websites will never be the same again… but what will the new world of SEO look like and how can we have our sites rank well?

The brave new world of SEO

In a word – the way to succeed in SEO for your websites these days and into the future is… (drum roll) Google.

It doesn’t matter if you like Google or hate them – totally irrelevant. Remember you are running a business, and your own emotions really have no place in business decision making. Make  smart business decision to play along – because that is the way to get solid results for your site.

Google’s release of Google+ last year changed everything. What I will say is that you need to go and sign up for Google+. It is a watershed for the way that Google looks at the internet and the way we see what’s there.

The most important part of all is the release of what’s called the ‘rel=author’ tag. This is something that is written into the coding of a web page that tells Google who the author of a post or article is. The thing about this tag is that it will point Google to the G+ profile of the author – which tells Google a lot about both the author and the page their content is on.

The more people that have the author in their circles (or are following them), the higher that author’s credibility – and the higher the post will rank. This has been borne out in tests (links to come). The amount of +1 (or plusses) that your site’s content receives will also result in a rise in the rankings.

New Google Plus Logo © by AJC1

If your mind’s not boggling right now with the possibilities of it all, give it a minute… By contributing to the Google+ community in a constructive and honest way, you will raise the number of people that have you in circles – and if you implement the ‘rel=author’ tag, then you will also raise the position your content occupies in the search engine results.

What does this mean for real estate sites and SEO?

What this whole shift means is that we’re essentially going back to the old days of marketing – where reputation is everything. Be honest, approachable, constructive and above all trust-worthy. Like some are saying, you won’t rank well if the community does not perceive you as being trustworthy, and Google is fast becoming a search engine where reputation ranks well.

Another interesting thing is that G+ profiles and posts are starting to appear in search results. In fact on of my posts which received a whole bunch of +1s outranks my most popular post on Real Estate Mad! I’m not for one second saying to abandon your websites because they are archaic (but there are some who say that G+ alone will be enough in the future for an online presence). Be aware that your G+ posts will show in search results.

Get started today

Get yourself a Google+ profile, circle at least 300 people to get some content flowing in your stream (you’ll know what I mean), and take part in the conversation. Comment on other people’s posts, +1 things you like and contribute your own posts that mean something. Don’t use G+ as just another marketing mouthpiece (read my open letter for more on that), but rather be a positive person, part of the community – and there’s a good variety of great real estate people around.

All you need is a G+ profile linked to your website, and an ability to post regularly on both. Ideally you’ll do this every day – but that’s not always possible, and that’s fine. I do suggest being more active on G+ though – as the more active you are, the more people will circle you, and the more circlers you have, the better you will rank.

The secret to becoming a successful real estate agent with a good online presence these days is not shrouded in secrecy, and you don’t need to be a web whiz or SEO super-geek to succeed. You can’t avoid these changes – they are already happening – and it’s always better to ride the wave than be pounded by it. Embrace change.

Too technical for you? Need more? Read this…

If you need a little bit of extra help:

  • If you can’t get your head around how Google+ works, read Guy Kawasaki’s book ‘What the Plus‘ – it’s invaluable and a steal at only $2.99.
  • For a nice, easy way to implement the rel=author tag on WordPress sites, with support for multiple authors, check out this awesome plugin from Fraser Cain.

This post was very much a stream of consciousness effort – and I have likely missed a few key points I wanted to make – so I’ll probably make some edits. All comments and contributions welcomed!

6 Key Tips To Help You Sell Your Property Quickly

When we sell a property, we generally go through an agent, but it’s best not to rely on the agent to make all the decisions. It’s important to take control and make the necessary changes to ensure a quick sale. There are some things that you can do to help sell your property quickly – and not all of them can be done by an agent. Remember that your realtor is busy, and you are one of many property owners whose properties they are showing to prospective buyers. Take the initiative!

6 key points to help you sell your property quickly
Frankford, Delaware © by Lee Cannon

Research your local market

It still surprises me to find that many owners don’t research the local market beyond listening to property related rumours. When you are selling a property, take a look at what similar properties are also for sale in the same area, and for the same rice. Doing this will allow you to see what you are in competition with in terms of other properties in the same area and price bracket – and more importantly should also indicate areas in which you can improve your property to help get a sale quickly. What do the other properties in the same price range offer that you don’t?

Look at your property from a buyer’s perspective

While not an easy thing to do (and you may want to enlist the help of an impartial friend or random passer-by), this is crucial. Ideally your listing agent will do this, but sometimesit helps to hear it from someone else. So, do a walkthrough of your property with the person as a prospective buyer, and then ask for their honest opinion. It can be hard to really see problem areas with a property when you are emotionally attached to it, so a fresh look can underline areas for improvement.

Co-operate with your realtor

Since you have the property on the market, I assume that you actually want it to sell, right? To do that you need the listing agent to do their job – and that means providing access to the property whenever possible (within reason). We’ve seen many possible sales fall through because the agent could not get the owner to agree to a showing.

Commit to making improvements to the property

This ties in to the first two points, and really involves making the improvements to the propety that those steps identified as being desirable. They may be minor changes, such as replacing light fittings, or more substantial ones, like repainting, or installing a new kitchen or bathroom. Whatever improvements you make, you are improving the chances of a sale going through… but remember to be a little conservative and not over capitalize.

Staging is a winning proposition

There’s a very good reason that home staging is such a popular part of the modern real estate industry – it works! By getting rid of tired old furniture that just doesn’t fit a space, you are opening up your property for a better look, and more offers. Professional stagers do everything for you – the whole property made picture perfect to really improve your sales chances; but you can take a few tips to staging a home and do it yourself if you are a little disciplined.

Be open to offers

This is a very important point that a good many property owners fail in. While it is great to achieve your asking price, it is rare to do so. As a result, you need to be open to offers. A lot of owners will say that they ae – but in the same breath say “but I won’t go a cent under $X’. Really, that’s shooting yourself in the foot. In a buyer’s market you need to be flexible, and if I need to decide whether to accept an offer for $1,000 or so below my psychological minimum sale price, or to have the property sit on the market for another six months or more, I know what I’d choose.

As a property owner, selling real estate isn’t that hard – provided you are honest with yourself about your property and you trust the realtor you’ve assigned. These are just six quick tips to help you sell your property quicker – they are simple steps to take, but unfortunately so many owners miss out on selling quickly because they don’t do those simple things.

Do you have any tips to sell a property quickly? We’d love to hear them!

Property Renovators: Don’t Forget That The Garden Needs Attention Too

When you’re renovating a property, it’s easy to pay attention to the bathroom and kitchen – but the gardens are often a missed opportunity. Think about it – you’re a potential buyer driving up to a property which has been advertised as being renovated, but you see a house bordered by a garden that obviously needs some care and attention. I will always keep driving. It’s like displaying the most beautiful roses in a vase along with a bouquet of thistles – the effect is lost.

Whether you’re a professional real estate investor flipping houses for profits, or doing up an old property for re-sale as a kind of hobby, ignore the garden at your peril. The old adage around first impressions leave a lasting impression is true – especially for real estate. If first impressions don’t impress at all, then buyers and prospective tenants alike will keep on walking and take their money with them.

Suburban Garden Grass © by IainBuchanan

Simple, cheap and quick ways to do up a garden

Like a good real estate enthusiast and home owner (combined) you will want to add as much value as possible to the property while spending as little money as possible. Traditionally, we’ve been willing to spend money on new furnishings inside our homes, like upgrading kitchens and bathrooms – and we’ve even come to realise that even minor, more cosmetic changes make a huge difference.

Things like painting the walls, adding a little colour, changing light fittings and door handles all have a definite effect on improving the impression that the property makes. In the past, home makeovers have really started at the front door. We’d like to extend that starting point a little further to the property’s perimeter – the garden.

Firstly – get the lawn and weeds under control. This may involve ripping up ordinary grass and replacing it with a nice, healthy lawn with colour and vitality. If you have time, then sowing grass seeds are cheaper, but require a fair amount of care and time. Alternatively, you can roll out some turf and water it in for instant wow factor. Pull weeds out of garden beds and prune trees and shrubs to finish off this task. Now step back and admire the immediate improvement to the property.

Second – take a good long hard look at the boundaries of the property. Is there any fencing – and if so, what condition is it in? Most fencing could do with replacing – or at the very least, some patching up or painting, depending on the style of fencing. If you have a wooden fence, a coat of paint will do wonders. Before you get all enthusiastic and tear down fencing between properties – it’s best to check with both local authorities and neighbours to make sure that you don’t do anything drastic.

Third – lighting and paving are in the accessories department of garden makeovers. While not every part of the garden will need lighting (the front will not necessarily need any, but it can be nice in the back) – some paving is always a nice feature in a garden. Whether as a paved section of the garden, or as a a walkway with paving stones, they can really add a nice touch to a re-done garden.

These garden ideas will not cost the earth to implement, but they will add value to your property, and draw in prospective buyers or tenants. Your investment property is not just the house, it includes the area of land on which the building stands. If you can do a few simple things to improve the first impression of the front yard, then you will also draw in more prospective buyers so you can impress them with your interior makeover.

Don’t be one of those real estate investors that owns a beautiful rose surrounded by a field of thistles – it doesn’t make any sense!