How to Generate Real Estate Leads Using Twitter

Dashing, invigorating and innovative are words you want used to describe your real estate ventures. Traditional methods of marketing that are well-seasoned help to target some members of your target audience, but no reason exists to ignore the changes that Twitter has birthed.

Using Twitter to generate real estate leads has the potential to increase your business if you use the tool properly.

Know Your Audience

Twitter is a powerful social media tool that reaches millions of people, but all of these individuals do not necessarily constitute your target audience.

While you want to promote activity from all types of people looking to purchase a home, niche marketing can help you to connect with more specific clients.

For example, you might gear your posts toward individuals who are looking for their first home or to long-term home owners who want a vacation house.

Incorporate Your Location

The members of your target audience want to know about specific properties, but they also want to have an idea of what the area is like.

You can use your account to let people know about some events or activities taking place in the community. Follow-up that announcement with a plug about how buying a house in the area can allow potential buyers to always enjoy these amenities.

Taking this step also shows that you know the market and are qualified to assist people when it comes to answering questions about this locale. The more knowledge you have, the more likely buyers are to trust you.

Promote Your Specific Listings

Having a general scope of the area is important, but you also want to let followers know what properties you have in-stock.

Ultimately, the goal is to rotate as many properties into your Twitter account as possible. Focusing on just a couple of them over a long period of time does not give you the opportunity to reach as many people as possible. Work to include houses that match with your audience for a specific method. For example, if you are advertising to first-time home buyers, include a ranch or other smaller home with the list.

Answer Questions in a Timely Fashion

Twitter is a platform for advertising, but it also allows you to connect with potential buyers.

When you have dozens of questions coming in on a regular basis, answering all of them might seem overwhelming. However, failure to address the concerns of possible clients means that you may very well lose their business.

This task does not have to be one that you deal with by yourself. Instead, consider hiring a social media expert to keep the Twitter account up-to-date in terms of answering user questions and concerns.

Don’t Lose Touch

In addition to actually answering the questions that your followers have, you want to maintain a regular presence on Twitter.

While you don’t need to post constantly throughout the day, you should try to log-in on a regular basis and give clients and future clients an update on what you are doing.

If a long period of time goes by and you do not post anything, individuals might assume that you have no new listings or information to share with them. Even worse, they might guess that your business has closed its doors.

When to Post

After a long day of conducting open houses and taking clients to visit properties, you might be tempted to post a listing in the middle of the night.

While this time period may work for you, chances are, most of your prospective buyers have already retired for the evening.

Think about to whom you are trying to speak. Let’s say that you have a five-bedroom home that would be perfect for a family with three children. Post your information at lunch-time or after dinner when parents would likely be on a break from work.

Incorporate Life Events

Twitter certainly helps you to connect with your audience on a personal level, and you don’t want to make interested parties feel anything else.

Many people look to buy homes after they are married or when they are expecting a baby for the first time or a second child.

Carefully weave these elements into your Twitter updates. You might want to pose a question asking if any of your followers are getting married this summer or expecting a baby when the spring comes. Then, you can follow-up with information about a home that would be just perfect.

In the 21st century, using Twitter to connect with people is practically a must for real estate professionals that want to have long-term success and to speak with as many people as possible.

Starting a Twitter account opens the door to many new marketing possibilities.

Open House Strategies for More Traffic & Leads

Holding an open house is still one of the best ways to lure potential buyers into the home buying process. It’s a no pressure way for home seekers to stroll through a property and image living there.

While real estate agents receive a lot of tips on holding open houses, many of them fall flat. I have learned some nontraditional techniques can really step up the impact of these valuable marketing events.

Get Online

Most modern house hunters search for open houses using the Internet or their smart phone. It means that tech savvy real estate agents have an edge over those still using old school methods. Listing your open houses on as many local websites as possible can help gain the maximum exposure. Some sites include the event on phone apps so you get wider exposure, especially to young, first-time home buyers.

Choose an Off Time

Most open houses are held on Sundays on Saturdays. They also typically run from early to mid-afternoon. If you carefully research open houses in your farming area and discover that your competitors are holding their open houses at identical times then consider choosing a time that is slightly longer or offset. For instance, if you find most open houses on a given day are scheduled to end at 4:00 p.m. then extend your event until 5 or 6:00 p.m.

Signs, Signs and More Signs

In order to get a large turnout, people have to know about it. Many real estate agents underestimate the number of signs that they need, placing only one or two at the end of the street. Instead, consider placing seven to eight signs around the neighborhood and strategically locate them at major roadways.

Tying balloons onto the sign makes it stand out from the others and lets potential buyers know that it’s new.

Another technique is add signage in the yard a week before the planned event. It can be as simple as adding a rider to the sale sign or placing a separate sign next to the sale sign. If posted a week in advance it gives passersby traffic plenty of time to notice it. Then on the day of the open house attach more balloons to the yard sign to help drivers identify it easily.

Prepare the Home

Don’t forget to speak with the homeowners one week before the event about the importance of cleaning.

Provide them with a printout of often missed areas of the home, such as baseboards and blinds.

In addition, make sure they know to be out of the house and to take their pets with them so that buyers can walk around in ease. Also, recommend that they remove highly personal items such as:

  • hunting trophies
  • political or religious symbols
  • children’s artwork
  • controversial books
  • valuables
  • medications

Have Guests Sign In

One of the biggest mistakes with open houses is not collecting information. I know it’s easier to make an excuse why you can’t collect it rather than making it the key to a successful open house.

Ask guests to fill in a sign in sheet with their full name, address and contact information as they enter the home. I’ve heard of some agents even require a photo I.D. to ensure they get accurate names. If you don’t collect their information how can you expect to stay in touch and generate leads? Isn’t that the purpose of holding an open house?

Quench Their Thirst

Providing cookies and snacks at an open house is always a good idea, but don’t forget about quenching your buyer’s thirst too. Have plenty of ice cold lemonade, soft drinks and bottled water on hand during the warm spring and summer months. During the cooler season offer hot chocolate and coffee.

Make Financing Easy

Some buyers may already be prequalified but others are just starting the home buying process. Inviting a lender to attend the open house and answer any questions is another way to generate leads.

But more importantly, if a buyer shows up at your open house you want the ability to leave with your new buyers so you can show more properties. You want to strike while the iron is hot, don’t you?

It’s only possible if you have someone you trust to host the remaining time at your open house. This is another great reason for a lender to participate with you when hosting open houses.

Follow Up Immediately

As soon as the open house ends start planning your follow up. Using the signup sheet, you can send thank you letters to each of the attendees that includes the website or MLS listing link for the home. You can insert another business card, a flyer from the lender and end with a note that it was great to meet them.

Holding a successful open house is really about all of the little details. Agents that take the time to carefully plan out an open house will have buyers that respond.

Staging With Glamor: Ensuring Your Listing Photos Shine!

staging

A listing for a home is a piece of art, and unless you are putting effort into the photographs you take, you’re sunk!

There are blogs on the Internet that are designed to mock real estate agent photos, and though you won’t likely end up on one, there is a huge difference between “not terrible” and “actually good.”

When staging photos for a listing, make sure that you consider the essential steps making the photos exciting and enticing!

Clean It Up

cleaning

Dirt shows. It’s always a little awkward asking the family in the home to clean up, but nothing turns off a buyer like a dirty house.

Clutter needs to be eliminated, but if there are years of cigarette smoke on the walls and dirt ground into the carpet, ask them to bring in a professional cleaner.

When you are starting with a clean foundation, all of your photos look much better!

Props

We all know that a real estate agent wears many hats when he or she is looking to move a property, but one hat that you might not have considered is that of a props manager.

Some homes are lucky enough to be well-decorated with plenty of interesting knickknacks to hold the attention. Many homes, however, are fairly bare or have nothing to offer in the way of interesting goods.

Give yourself a budget from 50 to 100 dollars, and head to a discount home goods store. Pick up things like shower curtains, cute baskets, soaps and utensils to give the home a pop of color and a point of interest.

As more and more real estate agents are looking to move vacant homes, this is a great investment for you and many of these props can be used over and over again!

Consider lifestyle staging, where you make the home look as if people live there. Towels on the racks, a sweet toy on a window sill, and a bit of swim equipment near a pool can draw in the eye and really put people in a buying mood!

Compose, Compose, Compose!

bathroom

You are not just taking a snapshot of the bathroom. You are giving a prospective buyer an idea of what it might be like to walk into that bathroom every morning.

Remember that you are going for shots that feel inviting, that say to the buyer that they could live there for years. Don’t just stand in the doorway and grab a quick two shots. Instead consider composition. Make sure that the photos you take are attractive and that they frame the excellent features that you are trying to sell. If you take these pictures quickly, it will show, so be patient and take good shots.

Take Lots of Shots

Real estate agents who have been in the game for years know that they can spend hours getting the house shots. Part of the reason why it takes so long is that you simply need to take a lot of shots.

A lot of these shots are going to be relatively identical, but you will still have the option of choosing when you are putting the listing together. Do not get stuck having to choose between a blurry shot of the home or no shot at all. When you take lots of shots, you will get the best of the best.

Taking the Shot

When you want to take a good shot of a room or feature, remember that you do not want to misrepresent the property and you do not want to distort the lines.

Even digital cameras can make this a little tough, so remember that to take a good shot, keep the camera’s sight line parallel to the floor. Shooting up at something or down at something is unavoidable sometimes, but in general, get on the same level with the thing that you are photographing. This gives the viewer a clear idea of what they are looking at without worrying about distortion.

Playing With Exposures

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When you are dealing with photography, exposure refers to the amount of light in a shot. You can try for different exposures by playing with the flash, by turning on or off a light or by simply waiting for a different time of day for the photography sessions.

When you want to really find the look that works best for the home you are trying to move, experiment with different exposures.

Sometimes it is hard to say whether a home will look wonderful in the fading light of a summer sunset or in the vivid crisp light of a winter afternoon. Vary the light settings, and be willing to experiment and spend some time with it.

Take some time to consider what your options are when it comes to properly staging your listing photos and taking the shot. This will all pay off in the end!

7 Secrets To Winning More Buyers

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The prospective home buyer of today is more prudent than ever before. These individuals are looking for great deals, ample background information and a greater level of guidance and support from real estate agents.

It is not enough to show homes and discuss the general perks of living in a specific neighborhood. As an agent, you must go above and beyond to show that you’ve done your research and to share with people the real benefits and drawbacks of investing in a particular home, joining the local community and choosing a specific property style.

1. Maintain An Online Presence

Your first order of business is to make sure that you have a good web presence. Your website should be accessible on various devices including tablets and mobile phones.

People are currently using these tools to limit their footwork, establish their buying goals, determine true ownership costs and learn their options. The more that you help consumers out with this process, the more trust you will invariably gain.

2. Know Your Territory

Many agents make the mistake of spreading themselves too thin. A small amount of success in a concentrated area inspires these individuals to branch out until they are covering numerous neighborhoods and even cities.

This limits the amount of specialized information that prospective buyers have access to and it also increases agents’ response times.

Rather than attempting to increase your revenue by taking on more territory, focus instead on being the best in a small but bustling region. This will fuel more word of mouth advertising, foster greater levels of trust and give you the ability to spout facts and statistics that will incite positive buying decisions.

3. Come With Visuals

Make sure to bring plenty of neighborhood-specific visuals to your open house. These can include handouts with photos of local schools, restaurants and other community features.

If any of these organizations have marketing brochures of their own, offer to distribute these at your open houses.

Appealing to the community-specific interests of your clients can increase the appeal of a property that has been slow to move. You can also stress that while nearly all property features can be improved upon, the location is the one feature that cannot be changed.

4. Appeal To The Nose

Many real estate agents and sellers are so concerned with how their properties look that they fail to consider how these properties smell upon entering them.

Those who have been living in these homes could find it difficult to identify foul odors, given that they have grown accustomed to them. Ask for second opinions before showing a house and always open units up and air them out before inviting people in. Not only do unpleasant odors indicate potential problems such as mold growth, plumbing issues and rot, but they also fail to put prospective investors in the right frame of mind for making positive buying decisions.

5. Provide Resources Unavailable on the Web

Go beyond simply printing out facts that anyone can gain through the use of a search engine.

Find out why local schools are appealing and whether or not special programs such International Baccalaureate programs or college readiness courses exist.

Print maps of alternative commute routes for accessing major city areas.

Offer buyers detailed price information for similar properties in the region and share the names of contractors that have performed work on the home in the past.

6. Simplify The Purchasing Process

The best real estate agents practice assuming the mindset of prospective buyers. They are able to step away from industry jargon and put things into layman’s terms.

They can assist in the creation of purchasing plans that are easy to understand for those who are new to this process. Their web pages offer tools for determining overall ownership costs.

These professionals are also capable of assisting buyers in the development of strong purchasing teams by networking with successful loan officers.

7. Stay With Buyers Until The Very End

Once people have decided to make offers on your properties, make sure that you stay with them through closing.

They will likely have a number of questions to ask during this time and shouldn’t have to fight to hunt you down simply because they’ve already made a commitment. Your continued support will ensure greater word of mouth advertising and this is the cheapest and most effective form of marketing out there.

Revamping the way you approach the sales process can have a significant impact on the results you’re getting.

By using these seven strategies you can develop a strong network of satisfied buyers and sellers who are willing to promote your services for you.

Tools You Can Use to Create Professional Video Tours

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If you’re a real estate agent that has decided to commit some time and effort to video marketing using YouTube, your own website and social networks, then you have already begun taking photos and videos of your property listings.

Getting them organized on your computer is the next step. But unless you went to film-making school, chances are you have no idea how to transform this hodgepodge of video clips and photos into a professional-looking video tour.

Easy-To-Use Video Editors

You could post to the Craigslist classifieds and hope to find a professional videographer that doesn’t charge higher fees than you can handle at this stage of your real estate career, which might be difficult. Or you could take advantage of an out-of-the box and easy-to-use video editor such as Sony’s Movie Studio, which you can try by downloading a free trial version.  If you like it, you can purchase for just $49.95. I recommend this product because hundreds of customers have given an overall 4.9 stars out of a possible 5-star rating.

The other reason is that if you find you have a knack for creating these videos, you will have many more options using a video editor program like Movie Studio than you will have using one of the automatic, self-service editing sites such as Animoto.

Editing On Automatic Pilot

However, if you haven’t the time, interest or technological savvy to sit down and edit your own video tours using a video editor, then Animoto is the way to go. This service is extremely easy to use. In fact, with a few clicks of your mouse you can take the photos you’ve shot of a property and transform them into a professional video presentation with special effects and even with royalty-free musical background.

But this comes at a price of about $20 a month, which is well worth the investment considering how it can elevate you and your brand. Animoto also offers instructive examples of how real estate agents use its product by showcasing the following type of promotional videos:

  1. An Agent Video Selfie

This is a short but cogent video where the agent briefly introduces herself and mentions her awards, includes customer testimonials and ends by giving her contact information.

2. Tours of Properties

The hook in this video is the mixing of quality video and photos with upbeat music and special effects provided by Animoto. It is designed to whet the appetites of potential homebuyers and make them want to see more.

3. Neighborhood Tours

In this video the agent, who represents a number of properties in the same neighborhood, highlights some of the parks, businesses, schools and listings in the area intertwining all of this with the latest relevant statistics about the area.

4. How-To Home Buying And Selling Basics

The agent uses this video to cover some of the basics of buying or selling a home in easy-to-understand terms. It’s the classic educate-to-sell strategy.

While we have only skimmed the surface of options a real estate agent can exercise to create a strong video presence, the purpose of this article is to get you motivated enough to explore and put into place your own video-marketing plan.

Movie Studio’s Features

You can add special effects like slow motion, and the program even has a green screen for superimposing yourself or your properties on various backgrounds, such as your logo.

The editor also allows you to manipulate images such as rotating them, or panning still images.

In addition, Movie Studio lets you easily drag and drop photos and videos across timelines, allowing you to arrange your presentation in the most effective and appealing manner.