You need to make sure the home is priced right at the start

Proper pricing of a home to sell is critical if you hope to have success as a listing agent. The following is a candid look at why the obligation falls upon you to obtain the reduction.

You should check your active listings at a minimum of every thirty days and identify those that have had a reduction in price. Work with your sellers and give them the dialog and strategies to help them understand why they need a price adjustment. It is your responsibility to help your Sellers understand why they need to reduce their prices. If their homes are not selling, then the market is telling us and them that there are better values elsewhere. That’s the simple truth.

When you are preparing for the listing presentation you need to focus on pricing AT OR BELOW what has actually sold, not what is active. Active prices mean nothing in a market with limited buyers and an over supply of available homes. Your success and/or failure are pretty much determined during the listing presentation itself. Either you are in control of the pricing process and have structured the listing agreement so that the odds of selling are favorable, or the Seller has taken control and dictated to you what the price of the property will be. You need to be prepared to WALK AWAY from overpriced listings where the Seller wants to dictate terms and conditions. 

Sellers who did not listen to you at the listing presentation regarding price, who will not reduce their asking prices nor invest in upgrading their properties to make them show room ready, are the listings I would encourage you to withdraw because they aren’t going to sell. No amount of internet exposure, no amount of bulk mail, no amount of advertisement, no amount of open houses and no amount of wishful thinking is going to sell an overpriced home in today’s market. As the true professionals your continued success regardless of market conditions will be determined by your ability to get the appointment and provide the customer with a sound pricing and marketing strategy that increases their chances of selling of the home.

Presenting the offer to the home seller

You receive a call from your office or another agent letting you know that they have an offer for you on one of your listings. What you do next may help you when presenting the offer to the seller.

You need to present the offer in person to your seller. Either have them meet you at your office or arrange to meet them at the home. Presenting an offer over the phone leaves limited choices for you and your seller. Yes or No. When you present an offer on the phone the seller will rarely hear more than the offering price. If the offered price is less than the asking price, the seller may not hear another word you say.

When presenting face to face you will have a better opportunity to highlight the pros and the cons of the offer. You have a better chance of getting your seller to at the very least counter the offer in writing, keeping the deal alive.

So resist the urge to present offers to your sellers until you are face to face with them. You will find more success by doing so.

Open houses offer many prospecting opportunities

You may wish to take advantage of the additional prospecting opportunities an open house provides.

Many real estate agents are trained, early in their careers, on different ways to maximize their prospecting effort when holding an open house. One suggestion is the 10-10-10 method, which refers to contacting 10 neighbors on each side of the home and 10 neighbors across the street prior to the open house. This is a great way to increase your chances of having visitors at your open house, add to your contact list and possibly pick up a new customer. 

Here is a tip you may wish to us that takes the method one step further. Why not make plans to revisit those 10-10-10 neighbors immediately after your open house with feedback on how the open house went? While your first meeting was centered on asking them to do something for you, attend your open house, the second step is about you doing something for them. The feedback you have from the potential buyers who visited your open house is important to the entire neighborhood and community. What the potential home buyers thought of the price of the home, the community and the neighborhood is valuable information to each and every neighboring homeowner. Your taking the time to update the neighboring homeowners after an open house will be appreciated, presents you as an expert in the neighborhood and may result in future business.

Give it a try.

Ask for the price reduction immediately if the home is not selling

If you have a listing that is not selling and you have already spent more time on the market than the average days on the market for your area indicate, you need to contact your seller immediately about lowering the price.

Why real estate agents wait so long to begin discussions with their sellers about lowering the price is a mystery. At the beginning of the listing an agent should have already discussed the plan B if an offer is not forthcoming, plan B being the price reduction.

Agents who fail to address pricing with their sellers early and often will no doubt be missing out on a sale. Once the listing expires, you can bet that the next Realtor is calling the seller explaining that the market has changed and if the seller really wants to sell, they will need to lower their price.

I will often ask my agents to research the MLS to find out what happen to that unsalable listing they previously held that expired. Often they find that the listing in fact were salable, it just took a lower price that the second or third Realtor was able to obtain to get the job done.

Stop missing out on an opportunity to earn more commissions, LOWER THAT PRICE.

When a seller objects to an open house

Here is a suggestion to objection handling. In this case the seller does not want to have an open house.

Seller: We are not having any more Open Houses; it is non-productive, as was the case on the last one. These people are not pre-qualified; they just want to see what is there or how the place is decorated; it is just like people who go to a used car lot and kick tires for fun. These people would not even tell you their names, sign the book or even talk to you at all.

Agent: I hear you about open houses, and am sorry that you feel this way as selling your home is a numbers game, and we need to get you as much exposure as possible. Of course we have walk ins, ‘nosey Nellies’ who just want to see how you decorate, but also qualified people who see the ad and signs and come by as well. I wish that you would reconsider so that we can let as many people as possible see your lovely home. This will increase the chances of you receiving an offer on your home. I hope that you trust me and my experience in selling homes. My ultimate goal is to help you sell your home as soon as possible and at a good price. But to do that requires that you trust me and work with me to make this happen.

Providing the best customer experience when on floor

How can you increase your productivity while handling floor shifts?

Our goal is to provide our customers with the very best customer experience possible. As floor agents we are often the first impression the customer will have of our real estate firm. A customer that calls or walks in to visit us should rightfully expect to be treated and viewed as the number one priority to us at that moment in time. We would expect no less when seeking professional services for ourselves.

Imagine how we might feel if our lawyer of physician decided to visit with us in the waiting room or at the front desk instead of taking us back to the privacy of their office or examination room where we could discuss our personal situation with them, enjoying the privacy and one on one attention we expect. 

The same holds true for us when a customer walks in on our floor shift. As professionals, we should invite them to join us in one of our conference rooms before qualifying and providing them with listing information. I understand there might be times when you are alone on floor and this simply will not be possible, however when we have staff available to attend to the front desk a floor agent should never be at the front desk with a customer standing/sitting for any length of time.

List to last. Successfully working with home sellers.

List to last. As long as there have been real estate professionals, that has been a phrase in real estate offices spoken by management and veteran agents, if you want to be successful in the real estate sales profession, you must be proficient at working with home sellers and listing real estate.

Finding sellers has become increasingly more difficult as the market continues on its downward course. Don’t misunderstand, listings are still fairly easy to come by and with over 35,000 listings in my 5 county market area, you don’t have to look any further for proof. The problem is agents are discovering that there is a BIG difference between having a listing and having a seller.

A listing is often recognizable by what the homeowner says. If you have heard “I am not going to give the home away” or that “I need to get a certain amount or I am not going to sell”, then chances are you only have a listing and not a seller.

Sellers on the other hand are those home owners who take our advice and suggestions about their home’s market position. They are not as price driven as they are driven by the desire to sell their home. Perhaps this drive is a result of a employment opportunity or personal matter that creates a need to sell. What the homeowner could have received for their home last year or the year before has no bearing to a real seller as they understand that market has moved on.

Finding a true home seller requires confidence and patience on the agents part. Successfully qualifying the homeowner each time to determine motivation, need and desire will eliminate the agent having to do a lot of work with no hope of ever realizing an income.

You can’t sell real estate sitting in an office, or can you?

Real estate sales are a “people contact” business and traditionally-successful agents understand this. New agents are instructed to get out of the office and meet people. For most agents, having their rears tied to their desk chairs is not a recipe for success. There can be exceptions to this rule however.

Floor time. An agent who understands that they are more than an information provider for customers can do very well sitting in the office and taking floor shifts. The goal of everyone who agrees to take a floor shift is to obtain the name, phone number, email address and specifics from the customer on what they are interested in buying, or selling. Too often agents do all the giving on the phone, with no taking. If you want an opportunity to obtain a customer while sitting in the office, practice, practice and practice your telephone skills.

Broker referrals. Your Broker, throughout the course of the day/week/month, will receive referrals from Realtors outside your market area. Each office may have guidelines for how these are distributed and criteria for who receives these referrals but nothing should stop you from asking. Once a day as you swing past your Broker’s office to say good morning or goodbye, you should follow up with “oh, by the way, do you have any referrals?” Your Broker will appreciate your focus and drive which will increase your chances of receiving a referral lead.

Other agents. A) The facts are that some agents will not reach the success level necessary to stay in the real estate sales field. These same agents will, however, come across someone who wants to buy and/or sell real estate and when they think of whom they should refer this person to, make sure they think of you. By simply being kind and helpful to newer agents you will make a business friend for life. B) Top producers need help. Ask them if you can be that help. Open houses, buyer leads, listings that are outside of the top producers market area can often be obtained from a top producer if you would simply ask them to remember you if they need assistance. The Top Producer ought to pay the agent a referral for the assistance, thus increasing your income

Affiliates. Lenders, title representatives, closing agents, home inspectors, home warranty specialists, surveyors, appraisers, builders, lawn companies, stagers and more all visit real estate offices on a regular basis seeking business or promoting a new product. Get to know them, use their services when possible but above all else, let them know you would appreciate any and all referrals they may send your way.

There you have it. 4 simple suggestions that when used daily will increase your chances of being to sell real estate while sitting in your office. If you don’t already, give them a try.

Follow up with direct mail to increase your success

The use of bulk mail or direct mail marketing is an marketing easy task that new and experienced agents will often include as part of their marketing and prospecting plan. Few real estate agents are realizing the maximum benefit from their efforts simply because they do not follow up after they send out their direct mail.

We all have received a post card, letter or flyer in the mail as part of a car salesman, insurance agent or tax preparer direct mail campaign and maybe we glanced at the message before throwing it into the trash can. How many times after we received the mailing did we receive a call from the sender following up on their postal message? Not very often if ever, right?

The facts are following up on the direct mail you send out to your farm or center of influence with a phone call asking the recipient if they received the card or letter, and if they have any questions or comments about the topic of the message and if you can be of any help with regards to real estate increases your chances of securing them as your customers and clients. Because you plan on following up with a phone call or visit after your mailing, you will want to spend extra effort on the message or content of the piece you are mailing so that it catches the interest of the home owner.

The next time you send out direct mail, try following up. You direct mail will result in more sales, more contacts and more chances for success that your competitor.

Asking for the referral will equal more sales

Real estate is a contact career, the more contacts you make the more chances you have of finding a buyer or seller. You have to get out there and touch someone, make contact  in person, by phone, by direct mail, by using the Internet, by smoke signal or whatever it takes to put yourself in the path of a buyer or seller.

A key element often missed by agents is when they have made contact and the person is not interested in buying or selling, the agent walks away feeling that there is nothing more to be gained with that person.

WRONG.

Ask for them for a referral, any referral. Before parting company or hanging up the phone ask them;

“Who do you know that may be buying or selling real estate in the near future? You don’t know of anyone, well then who do you know that I can contact to say hello and introduce myself?”

How easy is that?  They can help make your next contact so much easier by providing you a referral!

Even when a contact is not ready to buy or sell a home, you can still realize a possible payoff from your efforts if you ask for them for a referral.

Orlando & Kissimmee