Ten Have-To-Haves For A Real Estate Agent

#1 – Good contact management system
As a salesperson, you have to be able to keep in touch with prospects and clients easily and effectively. You have to be able to put your hands on names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses in an instant.You can track and keep your people and prospects the old fashion way (on 3×5 note cards), but you will outgrow that quickly. My advice is always to get a CRM software package. There are many available that are specifically designed for salespeople, like ACT, Goldmine, Shareware, and Salespeople.com. These are all made for anyone in sales.Another option is to buy something that is specific to the real estate industry. The programs that are specific to Real Estate Agents hold many advantages over the general sales programs. They are usually programmed with letter templates and correspondence an Agent could use. They also have pre-created lead follow-up and client follow-up plans already build in. Most have plans to apply when marketing a property. They also have plans you can launch once you have secured a buyer for your listing.I recommend a real estate specific software like Top Producer or Online Agent. With Top Producer, you can also just pay a small monthly fee per user for an internet access version. This saves you all the up-front costs of the software, and you gain the updates for free. You can also access your database from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a high speed internet connection.A good contact management system is a must for any serious minded Agent.#2 – Real estate calculator
An Agent must have the ability to help their client figure out the approximate mortgage payment, net proceeds after the sale, and down payment amount needed based on loan to value ratios.Most importantly, an Agent needs to be able to figure out their commission amount. When selecting a calculator, select one that has the features you want. Also, ensure that you can learn to use it easily. Some have so many different functions and keys that are unnecessary that it can take forever to learn how to use it.#3 – Professional Attire
Each real estate area or region has a level of professional dress. Your first impression to a prospect can carry a lot of weight. If you are dressed well, they will assume you are successful even if you are not. The public will make a judgment of you, fairly or unfairly, based on how you dress.For men, in most markets except resort or tropical markets, I still believe that a suit is the correct attire for a professional Real Estate Agent. It was rare for me not to wear a suit to work. You feel better and more powerful when you are dressed well in a suit. When buying clothes, buy classics that will never go out of style initially. Stay away from the ultra trendy colors and styles. By investing in classics, you can mix and match and expand your wardrobe. Blue shirts, black shirts, and white shirts with red and yellow ties are part of the classic look.For men, have your shirts professionally laundered. There is nothing as crisp, clean, and professional as a well starched shirt. It reeks of success. I would advise women to do the same thing with their blouses. When meeting clients or out in the public, make sure you portray the image of success.#4 – Personal website
With more than 85% of buyers using the internet to search for properties, your website has become an essential tool for lead generation and exposing your sellers’ homes.You don’t need the fanciest, most expensive website you can find. There are a lot of companies that make solid template, mass produced websites. These types of sites are extremely economical in the initial investment you have to make, as well as monthly hosting. Many of these companies build cost effective sites, so they can get the residual income they charge monthly from hosting your site.You want to work with a company that builds template sites as well as custom sites. You also want a company that has the ability to place you higher in the search engine rankings. This is where you will generate the traffic and leads. I would encourage you to check out ChampionRealtorWebsites.com. They build template and custom sites. They also have a program that generates high search engine placement.#5 – Professional business cards with your picture, note cards, and letterhead
These are all essential tools for a successful Agent. You want business cards with your picture on them to help create a quicker connection and recognition. My caution with a picture is, make sure it’s current. I have seen too many business cards handed to me by Agents that caused me to look three times at the card and person to detect any kind of resemblance. Too often, our old pictures can look like we just left the high school prom.Also, having note cards, letterhead, and envelopes that identify you is advisable. We need to ensure the professional image is carried through with every contact and correspondence with our clients and prospects.#6 – Clean, professional, reliable car
If you are a newer Agent, you will be working with more buyers than sellers in the early part of your career. By having a professional and reliable car, you can increase your probability of success.Ideally, you never want to meet prospects for an appointment at the home they called or e-mailed you on. You want to meet them at your office. By meeting at your office, you can suggest that you ride in one car. With the vast increase in gas prices, you can make this a benefit to them. You are better able to model the consultative relationship you want.Before taking them out in your car, it is better to conduct a buyer interview. It’s easier to draw them into your office for this type of meeting if you aren’t meeting them at the home. When they arrive at your office, if they want to go out to the home they are interested in without a buyer interview, if they ride in your car at least you will be able to conduct some of the interview in route to the home you will be showing them.That is why you need a professional and reliable car. You must also have a car that is clean both inside and out. You don’t need to drive a BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus, but you do need a car that demonstrates you are doing reasonably well. When you are a listing Agent, you can operate by other rules. I didn’t have a buyer in my car ever again midway through my third year in the business. The exterior of my six year old 7 Series BMW was perfect. The inside, to be truthful, was a trash can with papers, cups, bags, and clothes. It didn’t matter though, because the seller couldn’t see inside my car.My advice is, if you can’t afford a luxury brand of vehicle that is new or newer, buy one that is older with low mileage. Make sure it’s a classic in style and prestige. I drove my original real estate car for over eight years, and it still looked good when I sold it.#7 – A headset for your phone
You all know what a proponent of prospecting I am. A headset makes it easier for you to prospect effectively. It allows you to stand while you are doing the prospecting. Your hands are free to use to engage your body in your communication. A headset will improve your posture, position, energy, and enthusiasm.It will leave both hands free, so you can type notes directly into your contact manager while you are talking with the prospect or client. It’s the only way to do it.My caution is, don’t go the cheap route. You can get cheap headsets for $50, but they sound like cheap headsets. Make the investment of a couple of hundred dollars and get a good one. I prefer wireless headsets because I am completely free to walk my whole office when talking to someone.#8 – A number based business plan
Too few salespeople have a business plan to follow that encompasses the sales ratios and numbers of this business. They don’t know or calculate the number of contacts needed to generate a lead, the number of leads needed to generate an appointment, the number of appointments needed to create a committed client, or the number of committed clients needed to generate a commission check. Once you know that and your average commission check, you can calculate how to make any amount of money you desire to earn.#9 – Sales scripts
Knowing clearly what to say in every situation really separates the high earners from the low earners in real estate sales. Success leaves clues for anyone who is seeking. Ancient scripture says, “Seek, and you will find.”My best advice is find yourself some scripts that are proven and work. Invest hours weekly practicing them to perfection. A word of caution, practice does not make perfect as the old saying goes. Practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect. To achieve perfect delivery, be sure to have the right attitude, expectations or success, pauses, and enough repetition to master each script.Be sure that your role play partner is as committed to your success as you are. My best role play partner was my wife, Joan. I know there were times when, on the inside, she was thinking “not again”, but she never showed it.#10 – Support system
This is not a tool in the classic sense of the work, but we can use it as our most effective tool. In fact, this should probably have been first.I would never have had the success that I had in my real estate sales career had it not been for my wife, Joan. There were countless days I went home dejected, frustrated, and beaten up. There were even a few days that I wanted to quit. She would listen, care, and love me. Then she encouraged me that, even though it was a bad day, tomorrow would be better. She told me straight out that she believed in me and knew I was going to be successful. Her support role caused my success to happen. I think you will find that, with many successful people in life, there is a spouse, child, friend, parent, or significant partner that contributed mightily to their success.

Real Estate Website Promotion is Easy

If you are a Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker, or provide a Real Estate service you know how important effective real estate web promotion is to your business. The large number of people searching the internet for local, national and international real estate information can simply not be ignored.At the same time you may think effective real estate website promotion is too difficult to master, too expensive to afford, or just too mysterious to understand – an area reserved for experts in the field of search engine marketing.Like most practitioners of highly specialized skills, search engine marketing specialists have a vested interest in making their field seem mysterious and difficult to master. But it is not really that mysterious. It is possible for anyone to dominate the search engines in virtually any local market. All it takes is a bit of common sense and some hard work.The principles involved in getting good positioning for your real estate website are quite simple and straightforward. They are the same principles that apply to search engine marketing for any website and it is actually quite easy to apply these principles to real estate websites. Many real estate agents have simply given up trying to score well in the search engines for local real estate searches because they don’t properly understand the process.But think about it for a minute. When you do a search in Google for “real estate Phoenix” or “Banff real estate” or “Halifax real estate” or “Fort Lauderdale real estate”, and you see the same real estate agents or agencies coming up on the first page week after week, how do you think they got there? What magical real estate website promotion formula are they using or who have they paid to get this high position?Now before you answer that question, ask yourself how you think Google assigns these positions to different websites. Does their giant computer just pull names from a great big cyber-hat? Do they use secret rules that only a few insiders know about?Of course not. All the major search engines make it perfectly clear what they are looking for – and especially Google. If you want to score well for a term like “real estate Phoenix” or “real estate Ottawa”, really all you have to do is pack your site with good information about Phoenix (or Ottawa) and focus your home page in a very deliberate way on those search terms.The search engines like focused content. They assume if your site contains lots of content relevant to “real estate Phoenix” then it should be shown high in searches for that keyword.Of course the problem is that there are already a number of other real estate websites offering good content focused on your favorite search term, so you are going head to head with sites that have previously established position, and it will take a bit of time and a fair amount of work to get past them.That is fair enough. After all, if the real estate agent down the streat offers more focused and relevant information than you do about the market you are both chasing, she deserves to come up above you in the search engine rankings. It makes sense, doesn’t it?That does not mean you should not keep on trying. It simply means you should be patient and work harder. Take a close look at her site and outdo her by refocusing your site and creating more interesting and valuable content. Focus is the name of the game. Make it crystal clear that you are the “expert” on “Calgary real estate” by offering the kinds of things that an expert would offer.And please, do not hesitate to mention the search phrase you are trying to get positioning on. If it is “Kingston real estate” or “Sacramento real estate”, then use that term all over your home page. Say to yourself, “OK Google, so you are looking for real estate websites that have something to say about ‘Sacramento real estate’, well here I am. I breathe Sacramento Real Estate. I ooze Sacramento Real Estate. I AM Sacramento Real Estate.” This is called Search Engine Optimization.In the meantime, while you’re waiting for Google to come around on your primary search term, find some less competitive ones to focus on as well. For instance, if you want to service the entire Ottawa area, but most of your clientele is in Kanata or Nepean, focus some of your internet marketing efforts on those smaller markets. You have a much better chance of getting results in these significantly smaller and less competitive markets.

What Is Turn-Key Real Estate Investing?

This is a simple concept in which the investor buys, rehabilitates, and then resells a property at a profit. This is also known as “flipping” a home. This process usually happens remotely, because the investor remains in his or her own home, sometimes in a locale where flipping doesn’t make sense, and utilizes the Internet to find and invest in opportunities. The goal here is to make the process of investing in real estate as easy as possible, so all the investor has to do is flip a switch or “turn the key.”Typically, then, you’re purchasing a single-family home, fixing it up, in order to bring it in line with current codes as well as make it more appealing to buyers. Here’s how it works:

A turnkey retailer or company purchases the property.

One or more investors purchase a share in or all of the shares in the house.

The retailer or company “fixes up,” or rehabilitates, the property to make it current and appealing to buyers.

Once the property is rehabbed, it’s put back on the market for resale.

As soon as a sale is closed, the investor gets his or her money back plus whatever profit was earned, according to what share of the investment he or she owned.
If done properly, this can be a very sound investment strategy. You, as the investor, have earn a profit from flipping the home, and you can have as little or as much involvement as you wish. You can be as involved or uninvolved in the flipping process as you desire, helping to oversee the contractors rehabilitating the home or leaving the entire process up to the turnkey retailer.Why not just buy a house myself and flip/rent it?You might be thinking you can just eliminate the middleman, the turnkey retailer or company, and do all of the legwork yourself. While many investors do just that and succeed at it, there are some drawbacks. In most cases, you’ll end up undertaking much more work than you would as an investor. Here is what you would have to do if you became a flipper, rather than utilizing a turn-key solution and having the turnkey retailer handle the process for you.

Finding the property: First, you would have to locate a suitable property, which means knowing which neighborhoods are going to appeal to buyers or tenants.

Rehabilitating the property: Next, you would have to renovate and rehabilitate the property, making it adhere to current codes and also be an excellent single-family property. This requires proper budgeting and attention to contractors and laborers, something that requires an on-site presence.

Marketing the property for sale or rent: Once the house is move-in ready, you would have to find a buyer or a paying tenant to move into the location.
Should you decide to rent out the property, you would be entering a whole new dimension. For more information on turn-key real estate investment where you rent instead of resell, check out our outline of that investment strategy.If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. With turn-key real estate investing, as little or as much of that work can be taken off your shoulders and put on someone else’s. Let’s look at the advantages of turn-key real estate investment.The advantages of turn-key real estate investmentIn a full-fledged turn-key real estate investment situation, you are an investor, not a flipper or landlord. You’re hiring someone else to manage the property for you, so all you have to do is collect on the profit. Here are some of the primary advantages of turn-key real estate investment.Does not require your presence locallyWith turn-key real estate investment, you acquire single-family properties in remote locations. This allows you the freedom to remain living where you want, while still maintaining a cash flow from a location that has excellent real estate values. You can continue living in your gated community in Florida, for example, where flipping houses might not make sense, while investing in flippable or rentable properties in Seattle or anywhere else that has a strong demand for such properties.Easy diversification of your investment portfolioturn-key real estate investment can be a wise move, if done correctly. One aspect of correctly executing a turn-key real estate investment strategy is investing properly in multiple markets, something that is easy to do since it requires little to no time of your own. The benefits of investing in multiple markets is simple: it provides you with protection from an unexpected downturn in an economy. For example, an investment in single-family properties in Seattle might seem like a guaranteed cash flow scenario, but what happens if Boeing announces major layoffs? If that were to happen, home prices would fall and properties would be more difficult to sell, negatively affecting your profit.Since turn-key real estate investing makes it so easy to have multiple properties, this is a significant advantage of the investment strategy if you do it right. In other words, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.You don’t have to be a real estate expertWhen you deal with a reputable turn-key real estate retailer or company, that provider knows the real estate markets with much more precision than an outsider would. Sure, you could do some basic research on an area, checking out the local school ratings, crime reports, and price ranges, but a turn-key provider will know all of that and more; they’ll know the heart of an area, such as why people prefer one neighborhood over another.The disadvantages of turn-key real estate investmentIf turn-key real estate investing sounds like a sure-fire way to make money, you should be aware that there are disadvantages to the strategy. First and foremost, you will come across turnkey retailers that try to maximize their own returns at the expense of cutting corners, but beyond that there are other drawbacks.The “middle man” needs to make moneyThe turn-key company is a business, and that business needs to make money. This means buying property at a discount and then selling it to you at a higher amount, of “flipping” the property, often for a hefty profit margin. Following that, the turn-key company can make an additional profit by managing the sale or rental of the single-property property for you. One thing to remember about this drawback, though, is that turn-key companies often have a marketing machine running at all times and can find incredible deals in their market, allowing them to give you a great deal even as the company makes its profit.You gotta trust someoneThere are “shady” turn-key companies out there. These companies will encourage an out-of-state investor to buy a bad property in a bad location, meaning more money leaking out of the investor’s pockets than coming in. You have to rely on the turn-key operator’s knowledge, expertise, and credibility to actually make you a good deal. This means you have to be dealing with someone you can truly trust.ConclusionThere are serious benefits to turn-key real estate investment, and it can definitely be an attractive cash flow strategy. However, there are also drawbacks to take into account before you proceed with any deals. You will need to investigate the turn-key provider and make sure they are both reputable and profitable, and ensure that the cash flow opportunity they are offering you is actually feasible and realistic. turn-key real estate investment is a fantastic way to make money, as long as you are smart about it and take care of your own due diligence throughout the process.