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Selling Homes

4 Ways to Market Your Listing to Sell

For sale sign in front of home

Regardless of the type of business you're running or even the industry that you're operating in, marketing is all about getting the right message in front of the right person at exactly the right time.

Regardless of the type of business you're running or even the industry that you're operating in, marketing is all about getting the right message in front of the right person at exactly the right time. This is especially true with regards to the real estate industry, where listings need to do everything they can to differentiate themselves from every other house available on the market in an effort to move as quickly as possible. Once you've put in the hard work of collecting all information about the property you're trying to sell, taking stunning photographs and putting together that perfect listing, you then need to pull out all the stops to make sure that people actually see it. Therefore, if you really want to craft the perfect marketing campaign to make sure your listing moves quickly, there are a number of factors you'll want to take into consideration. 1. Take Full Advantage of the MLS The first step you should take when marketing a new real estate listing involves using a multiple listing service, also commonly referred to as an MLS, to get the word out about your property. This is a database built by cooperating real estate brokers to provide data about homes for sale in a particular area. This lets agents see each other's listings of properties for sale, commission and agent details, all in the name of connecting buyers to sellers as efficiently as possible. Important Note: The MLS and Zillow are not equal Note that an MLS and a site like Zillow are NOT the same thing and should never be treated as such. That's not to say that sites like Zillow won't be effective for getting the word out about your property, because they will be. Buyers can visit Zillow on their own and see great information and pictures of homes currently for sale, all without ever leaving their computer chairs, but also direct them to use www.realtor.com. This provides access to the MLS database on a user side. 2. Get Active on Social Media - Connect with Your Audience Another important step you'll want to take involves harnessing the full power of social media sites to your advantage. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter don't just connect you to countless potential buyers - you can also use social media to target your efforts to specific geographic areas and even towards precise demographics to help get your message in front of as many of the RIGHT potential clients as you can. Be sure to include an overview of the property and as many of your standout photos as possible. Even if someone sees your information on Facebook and isn't ready to buy a home, they may know someone who is - thus allowing them to share the post and get people to contact you as well. 3. Send Emails to Past and Current Clients Along the same lines, you should also send out email blasts to both current and past clients, as well as to all real estate contacts you've established. Again, you never know who is ready to buy a home and you shouldn't write anybody off at any point. By making people aware of the property, you could end up motivating someone who was "thinking of maybe moving in the next year or so" to get excited about doing so sooner rather than later. 4. Send Postcards to Your Real Estate Farm Finally, be sure to send postcards to farm the area to drum up as much attention for the listing as possible. In real estate, farming is when you pick a particular geographic area and establish yourself as the local market authority. By bringing this new listing to everyone's attention, you'll likely increase the chances of selling it as quickly as you can. If nothing else, this is a way to stay in contact with those current and past clients to show them how active you are in their community. So from that perspective, it's killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. You're not only selling your listing quickly, but you're further cementing yourself as the authority that people in the area can trust. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

Selling a Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Real estate agent showing a home for sale during covid 19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed just about every industry you can think of dramatically over the last year, but that's especially true in the world of real estate. Gone are the days where

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed just about every industry you can think of dramatically over the last year, but that's especially true in the world of real estate. Gone are the days where you could comfortably hold massive open houses on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, gathering everyone together in a confined space to try to drum up as much attention as possible. Thanks to COVID-19, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone enthusiastic about drawing that many people together - to the point where some might not feel comfortable stepping into a stranger's home at all. However, all hope is not lost. As savvy real estate professionals have shown, it is entirely possible to manage a successful listing during COVID-19. You just have to keep a few key things in mind to help people stay as safe as possible before, during and after the period in which your listing goes live. Be Prepared and Purchase Personal Protection Products: Hand Sanitizer, Face Masks and More At a bare minimum, real estate agents should purchase general hygiene and other personal protection products when both pulling together the information needed for a listing, as well as when showing off the home at a later date. This means bringing along hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, for example. Likewise, face masks and other coverings should be worn for all in-person activities. Experts also agree that you should bring along plastic bags for the disposal of all personal protective equipment and related items that you have brought onto a property. Best Practices to Follow if an Inspection is Needed When it comes to the listing appointments themselves, keep in mind that any initial listing interviews need to take place remotely for the foreseeable future. If any type of inspection needs to be done of the property to guarantee accurate pricing or to assess safety issues, you should keep all of the following best practices in mind: Limit the number of people who will be present for the in-person listing appointment as much as possible. Generally speaking, there should be no more than three people: the agent and the two parties involved in the sale of the home, if applicable. Anyone who lives in the home but who is not directly related to the sale should be asked to leave until the appointment has been completed. If that isn't possible, adequate social distancing rules (staying at least six feet apart at all times) should be followed. Anyone who is going to be at the listing appointment should be prepared to complete a verbal health screening prior to it beginning. All people at the listing appointment need to use hand sanitizer and wear face masks. How to Hold an Open House During COVID-19 With regards to actually showing off the property to potential buyers once the listing has gone live, it is recommended that you encourage the use of virtual showings whenever possible. Yes, this is a significant change from the way things are typically done. But to look on the bright side, virtual showings could attract the attention of a wider range of potential buyers who may not have otherwise been able to see the property. This is especially true for any buyer who may be out of state but who can't travel right now for obvious reasons. Finally, all showings must be held by appointment only and you should schedule at least 30 minutes in between showings for proper sanitization of the environment. If possible, you may want to consider limiting potential showings to only people who have been pre-approved by a mortgage lender. Or, you could do so for people who demonstrate that they have the money and/or financing available to actually buy the property. Doing so isn't just a great way to maximize the use of your time - it can also help significantly cut down on the risk by making sure that you're only showing to people who are actually interested buyers in the first place. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

Who pays for closing costs?

Real estate agent calculating closing costs with client

In any real estate transaction, there are closing costs that are to be paid by both the buyer and the seller, and it's important to remember that these can vary from state to state and transaction to transaction.

In any real estate transaction, there are closing costs that are to be paid by both the buyer and the seller, and it's important to remember that these can vary from state to state and transaction to transaction. I wanted to give you a quick run down from both a buyer and a seller perspective for California. Typical Closing Costs Paid by the Seller Let’s start with closing costs that are typically paid by the seller. A back of the envelope estimate would reveal that it would cost most sellers between 6 and 8 percent of the sales price to sell their home. The majority of the this is going to be wrapped up in real estate commissions as the seller generally pays between 4 and 6 percent of the sales price to sell it. The other 1 to 3 percent may be in other closing costs like back property taxes that are owed by the seller that will have to be paid at the close of escrow. Even if the property taxes are not delinquent, these taxes are a seller responsibility until the escrow closes. For example, if the transaction were to close on April 10th, the property taxes up until April 10th would the responsibility of the seller. Anything after that date would be passed to the buyer side of the closing. Sellers will also have to pay their share of escrow fees and any back homeowner association dues until the date that the escrow closes. The seller will also pay for any repairs that the buyer successfully negotiates during the escrow process. A home inspection, for example, might reveal that a roof is leaking and instead of the seller fixing the roof, the buyer may ask for a $7,000 credit to fix the roof in lieu of the actual repair. This would be deducted from the seller's proceeds at the close of escrow. The industry standard in California is also that the seller will pay for a title insurance policy protecting the buyer. Common Closing Costs Paid by the Buyer As it relates to the buyer, a quick estimate of their costs would reveal a range between 1-3 percent of the sales price, with most of this is going to go to fees charged by the lender. A lender may charge a fee, known as a point that is equal to one percent of the loan amount. The point could be categorized as either a discount point or an origination point. The difference between the two is that a discount point is a point paid to the lender to lower the interest rate on the loan. An origination point, on the other hand, is a fee that is paid to the lender to compensate them for actually doing the loan. Generally, buyers will also pay the lender a credit report fee and are also responsible for their share of prorated property taxes. Generally, buyers will also pay for a title insurance policy covering the lender. This is different than the owner's title insurance policy that I described above that the seller paid for to protect the buyer. What this means is that there’s two policies of title insurance in connection with a real estate transaction on which there is a loan. First, there is an owner’s policy to protect the buyer as well as a lender policy covering the lender. Buyers will also pay for their share of any escrow fees which are negotiable in California. Speaking of escrow fees, it’s important to note that there’s usually a base escrow fee of between $200 and $400 and then the escrow fees themselves are often $2-$3 per thousand per side. Larger real estate transactions of several million dollars might have a lower per thousand escrow fee. It's also helpful to remember that many of these fees are negotiable. Certainly real estate commissions are negotiable but an often overlooked point is escrow fees can also be negotiated with the escrow holder. How to Calculate Closing Costs – A Simple Example As an example on a $600,000 purchase the base escrow fee might be: $300 + $2/$1,000 = 600 x $2 = $1,200 $1,200 + $300 base fee = $1,500 for each side of the deal. Buyers also generally pay for an appraisal on the property as required by their lender and a home inspection and other inspections as part of their due diligence. Before you get your real estate license in California, it's important to familiarize yourself at some level with the typical closing costs, so you can properly inform your client. Often, real estate agents will produce something called a net sheet which estimates the costs to complete a transaction. Your broker should train you on how to properly fill these out so you can demonstrate that you're as informed as possible. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

Why You Should Hire a Realtor to Help Sell Your House

Realtor shaking hands with a client

"Why do I need a Realtor, anyway? My house is beautiful and it should be easy to get the best price for my home. How hard can that really be?” Many people pondering selling their home ask themselves

"Why do I need a Realtor, anyway? My house is beautiful and it should be easy to get the best price for my home. How hard can that really be?” Many people pondering selling their home ask themselves some variation of those questions early in the process. On the one hand, it's natural to wonder why you need help during a process that seems fairly simple with the help of the Internet. But at the same time, selling a home is so much more than just another transaction. It can be a long, complicated and precise process that is unfortunately easy to "get wrong" - which is why partnering with a Realtor isn’t only a recommendation these days. For most people it's become a requirement for a lot of reasons that I wanted to outline below. Why Realtors Matter: Breaking Things Down 1. A Realtor’s Experience is Invaluable Maybe the most important reason to bring in a Realtor is that the process of successfully selling a home isn't just lengthy - it can also be inherently complicated. A Realtor brings with him or her a wealth of experience that you simply won't be able to match on your own. Think about all of the forms, reports, disclosures and other documents that you'll need to complete as a part of this process. Typically these number in the dozens - all of which are filled with reams of technical jargon that can be difficult to understand. Unless you're prepared to become a master in the field while also devoting as much of your attention as possible on getting the best deal for yourself, the chances are high that you may be looking at unfortunate delays (or worse - costly mistakes) if you get this part of the process “wrong." A Realtor, on the other hand, can help you avoid all of these issues so that you can focus on the big picture piece that matters most: the sale itself. Indeed, they're a partner in the best sense of the term - one that is every bit as vested in your own success as you are. 2. A Realtor Possesses Market Expertise Another one of the major reasons why working with a Realtor is a good idea is because they're true experts in the state of the market. Active real estate professionals study the market intently. Not just from behind a desk, but also in the field. They are out there each and every day looking at homes and properties just like yours. They really have their finger on the pulse of the market. An overpriced listing is one of the main reasons that property doesn’t sell. A solid Comparative Market Analysis done by an active Realtor can help ensure that your property is priced realistically and competitively. Everyone wants to get the best deal when selling their home, but everyone has a different definition of the term "best". By providing you with access to objective information rooted in the study of the local real estate market, a Realtor can make sure that everything about your deal proceeds properly. Note that oftentimes the peace-of-mind that comes with this alone is more than worth the decision for most people. 3. A Realtor Knows How to Market At the end of the day, one of the most important reasons why consumers hire a Realtor has to do with getting your property in front of as many eyes as possible, all in the name of building anticipation and excitement through all marketing channels. One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make when trying to sell a home on their own involves the assumption that properties sell based largely on advertising alone. "All I have to do is take some incredible pictures and create listing on all of the popular sites like Redfin and Zillow", they tell themselves. "At that point, my house will pretty much sell itself!” Wrong. A lot of people don't realize that a significant portion of real estate sales actually come from the contacts that a Realtor brings with them. This includes relationships with past clients who may be in the market for a home again, renters looking to buy, and their own personal network of friends, family members and other associates. Because of this, a Realtor can expose your property to a wider audience than ever - something that you would again be hard-pressed to replicate on your own. 4. A Realtor Brings Negotiating Power to the Table But overall, maybe the biggest advantage of working with a Realtor ties directly into the negotiation power and knowledge that they've spent their careers honing and perfecting. All of this is to say that yes - it is entirely possible in 2020 to sell your home on your own. Some people even find success in it. But at the same time... is this actually something you want to do alone, especially if you've never done it before? When the stakes are this high, would you really want to turn down the opportunity to bring someone into the conversation who has been in this situation many times in the past? In the vast majority of all situations, the answers to those questions are "no" - which is why partnering with a Realtor you trust is and will always be a good idea. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

4 Easy Tips to Hosting a Successful Open House

Open house sign in front of a home for sale

For most real estate agents, a cornerstone of their business is conducting successful open houses. Because of this, I wanted to write a quick article about how to have a successful one. Open houses

For most real estate agents, a cornerstone of their business is conducting successful open houses. Because of this, I wanted to write a quick article about how to have a successful one. Open houses are a good way to get business because it's a marketing tool that is completely free. An open house is akin to a popup retail store without actually having to pay rent. Think about it - You’re able to set up shop and have potential buyers and sellers meet you, give you their information and walk through a property that you or your company are representing. It's a great way to get business without spending any money. There are a few things that we can do to maximize our efforts conducting open houses and making sure that we have a positive return on our time. Tip 1: Make sure you are choosing the right property to hold open This means the property should be easy to find as well as be priced properly. When I say easy to find, I mean that a great listing at the top of a mountain might be a good listing to have, but it might not be such a great listing to do an open house on. If it takes two GPS systems and a satellite to find the open houses, it's probably not the one that's going to get a lot of traffic. Having the property priced right is also important. The more fairly a property is priced, the more interest it will garner and the more traffic you're likely to have at your open house. Tip 2: Check out other homes in the area It's pretty likely that on a sunny weekend your house is going to have a ton of competition from other agents looking to attract buyers. For this reason, it's important to understand what the competition is. If a buyer comes into your open house and asks you about the house around the corner, an easy way to establish your credibility as a real estate agent is to be familiar with all the homes in the area. For example, it would be nice to say something like, "Yes. I've seen that property. It's a four bedroom, three bathroom for $800,000. Ours is also a four bedroom, three bathroom for $780,000 and has an upgraded kitchen." This is a great way to show a buyer that you know the market well and that your product offering is superior to any alternative. Tip 3: Make sure you market the open house properly This means lots of signs, lots of exposure on social media, inputting it in the MLS and advertising it on other websites. You may even want to consider dropping flyers on the doorsteps of some of the neighbors, inviting them to an open house. Consider sending mail to downstream markets that might have buyers for the house you're holding open. For example, if you're holding a house open for $800,000, it would be great to send a postcard a couple of weeks before your open house to a $600,000 neighborhood. The marketing piece will inquire whether those $600,000 owners might want to list their house and upgrade to your listing. Remember that the more traffic you have, the more lead opportunities you are going to get to pick up other buyers and listings for the open house and even other homes. Tip 4: Follow up strong on walk in leads The last step to a productive open house comes after the open house is completed. You'll want to follow up strong on all the leads that walk through your open house that day. This does not mean calling them two days later or even the next day. As an agent, if I hold an open house from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, at 4:00 PM I'll go take down all my signs, come back in the home, make sure it's clean and presentable. Next, I'll leave a handwritten note to the seller of the house I just held open. It might say something like, "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seller, thank you for sneaking away for a few hours so I could conduct the open house. We had 22 people come through and I'm going to follow up with them aggressively. Thank you again for sneaking away for a few hours." Put yourself in the shoes of the seller - I would want to know how much traffic walked through my home and an update from the agent will help accomplish that. Before I leave the open house and lock up, I’ll make phone calls to all 22 of those people, thanking them for coming and asking them for any feedback they might have on the property. The reason I don't want to wait until the next day is that I know that my competitors are making those same calls later. I want to be top of mind and I want to be the first person those buyers think of when considering buying or selling a home. Following up quickly and aggressively is something that will help achieve that desired outcome. Remember that holding open house is still a great way to meet potential buyers and sellers while exposing your listing to potential clients. Open houses also please the seller of the home because it indicates marketing activity. The internet will never replace face-to-face contact and holding open house is a great way to capitalize on a time honored tradition. Best of all, it's free. Good luck with your open houses. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

5 Steps to Selling a House for First-Time Sellers

Modern living room staged for open house

Maybe you’re considering getting your real estate license because it’s time to sell your house. If you are grappling with the prospect of selling a property for the first time the process can seem

Maybe you’re considering getting your real estate license because it’s time to sell your house. If you are grappling with the prospect of selling a property for the first time the process can seem downright overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. With a bit of information and the right support, you can sell your home for a fair deal with minimal hassles. Here are some best practices to keep in mind. Step 1: Choosing The Right Real Estate Agent When I get calls from folks that consider selling their house, one of the first questions most people ask is about real estate agents. While there is no law that says you have to use a real estate agent, there are some advantages and costs to consider. One of the most basic advantages to using a real estate agent is that they have access to the MLS, a system that compiles all data about the property and gets it in front of other agents and their buyers. Being on the MLS is a huge win because it means more people are likely to see your home. Another key benefit of working with an agent is that their service is all-inclusive. That means they will handle the marketing, negotiations, and contracts for you. While there is no legal minimum or maximum commission in California, most real estate agents are going to charge between 4 and 7 percent of the home’s sale price to get your deal done. Typically, that amount is divided to cover both the buyer’s and the seller’s real estate agent fees. This is paid by the seller. Do you really need an agent? The answer to this question really depends on what you want. Here are a few things to keep in mind: Do you have the tools and funds to market your home on your own? If you’re in a competitive market, you may benefit from an agent’s ability to negotiate terms and potentially increase what you get for your home. You’ll need to meet with prospective buyers, show them your home, and deal with push back over the property. Some buyers may not wish to work without their real estate agent. That means, if you want to sell to them, you’ll probably need to cover the costs of their agent. Agents have access to the legal contracts and tools necessary for this transaction. You may need to hire an attorney to help you with the process if you don’t use an agent. Since most people don’t want to do the above, real estate agents are engaged. Step 2: Pricing Your Home The next step is to price your home properly. This is another task that a knowledgable real estate agent can help with. Clearly, the value of your home is dependent on what buyers will pay for it. It is not dependent on what you’ve put into it or how much you think it is worth. There are websites like Zillow which provide you with an estimate for your home. These websites use data from recent sales in your area to determine the value. Yet, they don’t come into your home to create an accurate assessment of the true worth they only use the broad data available. These site can be a good starting point for knowing what homes like yours are selling for but not the complete picture. Your agent, if you choose to use one, will help you by creating a comparative market analysis. This provides insight into your home’s true attributes and features along with data on homes like yours that have sold recently. Step 3: Listing Your House with Confidence The next step in the process is to get your home listed on the market to be sold. As noted, you can do this with your real estate agent but before you list, it’s important to ensure your home is sell-ready. Here are a few things to keep in mind: When to Sell You can sell your home at any time during the year. The spring and summer markets tend to have more buyers, which can mean faster sales and, in some cases, better pricing. However, in the winter, there’s less competition, which can help your home stand out in a desirable market. Prepare Your Home For Sale Take the time to walk around your home and create a list of what needs to be updated, repaired, or cleaned. Work to remove as much clutter or extra furniture from your home as possible. This will help to make your home look larger, organized, and clean, making it attractive to buyers. Tackle any types of problems with the home that could lessen the value or throw red flags during a home inspection. Photos and Videos Also important is to capture beautiful, professional photos to showcase your home. That’s critical in today’s home buying process. Homebuyers shop online first. If you don’t have photos, they’ll wonder why. If the photos are not professional, that may create the wrong first impression. Professional videos provide clear information to prospective buyers. That means you’re not wasting your time on buyers who won’t fit your home’s specs. Step 4: Managing Offers and Making Decisions Ultimately, you do not have to sell your home for anything less than you want, but most of the time, there will be negotiations in the process. When someone comes to your home and places an offer on it, that is an opportunity for you to either agree to the offer or to make changes to it. You can also reject the offer outright. It tends to be best to counter their offer with one that fits your needs. Key things to consider include: The sale price Who is paying what closing costs Any stated repairs or conditions you’re willing or not willing to make The timeline for closing on the home Home inspection and repair requests After you come to an agreement with a prospective buyer, a home inspection will likely be ordered by and paid for by the buyer. Nearly all contracts will be contingent (or dependent) on the home being inspected by a professional. This is a time for the buyer to walk around the home with the inspector to learn about any concerns. They will likely examine the major systems in your home, such as the roof, HVAC, and appliances. If there are concerns, the home buyer may ask you to make adjustments to the contract or to make the repairs necessary. You don’t have to do this, but that may mean your home goes back on the market if the buyer pulls out during their contingency period. Step 5: Handling the Legal Aspects Once you and the buyer are ready to move forward, your real estate agent will work with you throughout the escrow process. There are multiple steps involved, including waiting for the buyer’s lender to obtain an appraisal and formally approve the loan and and to close on it. This can take some time, usually 30-60 days. Once the home is ready to close, you’ll need to work with the title and escrow companies to sign the deed and other requirements. This will involve transferring money to you from the buyer or the lender to complete the sale. I could literally write a 50 page guide on selling real estate, but I wanted to keep this somewhat short. If you are obtaining your real estate license in the hopes of selling your own property and saving the commission this is totally possible. Let us know how we can help. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

How to Be the Best Agent for First-Time Home Buyers

Real estate agents showing house to first time home buyers

First-time home buyers need all the help they can get. That's not a derogatory statement; it's the absolute truth. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Making a decision to spend several hundred thousand

First-time home buyers need all the help they can get. That's not a derogatory statement; it's the absolute truth. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Making a decision to spend several hundred thousand dollars is not one that should be taken lightly. Because of this, some real estate professionals specialize in working with new buyers and have come to understand the unique challenges they face.  Whether first-time home buyers are your specialty or not, at some point in your career you're bound to deal with newer buyers. There are even continuing education real estate classes you can take to learn the intricacies of working with this unique group of buyers. If you find yourself with a client who has never purchased a home before, keep the following points in mind so you can do your very best for them from day-one until after closing: House-hunting: You should help the buyer find the right location, type of home and price range of homes that fit their budget. This means taking into consideration what they want in terms of school district, nearby social amenities, prices, and much more. What comes naturally to you, as a real estate agent, is a brand-new universe to first-time buyers. Help them hunt for the ideal home. Pre-approval: Explain the key difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval to your clients. The former is not nearly as important as the latter. Pre-approval will let them know what they can afford, and it will guide you as you begin to show them homes that fit their budget. It's equally important that you advise the buyers not to do anything that will change their financial situation between now and closing. They should understand that now is not a good time to buy a car or apply for other loans. Doing so can really jeopardize their chances of being approved as their debt-to-income ratio will be skewed. Inspections: Help your new buyers choose a competent inspector. Remember, they haven't a clue about any of these issues. In a state like California this is extra important because there is no licensing or regulatory oversight of home inspectors in our state. Perhaps they know about having to get an inspection, but you can guide them to a professional with relevant experience on the kinds of homes they're looking at. It is also essential that you attend the home inspection. Your presence will give vital first-hand knowledge about any issues that come up. Plus, you can walk your buyers through the process of how to use inspection report data to negotiate their position if needed. This is one area where first-time home buyers often lose their way by hiring so-so inspectors and failing to use the report to tweak their offer. Negotiation: Experienced real estate professionals know how to get the upper hand in a negotiation. First-time buyers often believe that the asking price is carved in stone. You need to show them how to make an offer based on what the house is really worth based on objective criteria. Many buyers report that when they purchased their first home, the real estate agent helped them get a significantly lower price than what the seller was originally asking. Use the tactics you learned in real estate school along with your real-world experience to get the best possible deal for your buyers. Communication: You, the agent, are solely responsible for keeping the lines of communication open among the parties. All the parties look to you as the quarterback because you are essentially speaking for the very people who will ultimately come up with the funds to make the deal happen. Don't let anything slip through the cracks. Touch base with everyone on regularly. Being a reliable communicator is one of the things you sign up for when you get a real estate license. Loose ends: Follow up on all the loose ends that crop up just before and after closing, and stay in touch with your buyers after they move in. As an agent, you know there are lots of little things that can slow things down on closing day. Do they have all the ID they'll need for the notarizations, for example? Remember, the buyers will think of you as a friend and mentor long after the deal is done. Maintaining this relationship can mean referrals and lasting relationships with people you enjoy spending time with. Think of it as long-term networking. After you get a real estate license and work for a few years in the industry, you'll learn that some home buyers are much more experienced than others. People setting out to purchase their very first home need all the encouragement and support you can give them. Agents learn a lot from their real estate course about different kinds of buyers, but it takes "on the ground" experience to fully comprehend the many ways you can put your knowledge to work for special first-time ones. Call us at 888 768 5285 for more info on how to get a real estate license. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

Why Mentoring is Important in Real Estate Sales

Real estate mentor showing mentee something on laptop

The truth is that becoming a real estate agent is a lot easier than becoming a successful one. Taking real estate classes online and passing the real estate exam is the easy part. After you get your

The truth is that becoming a real estate agent is a lot easier than becoming a successful one. Taking real estate classes online and passing the real estate exam is the easy part. After you get your real estate license, the next step is to get connected with a brokerage and jump into production as quickly as you can. One way that newer Realtors accelerate their chances of making it in the business is by getting paired up with a mentor. There are many reasons why mentors work and can bend the learning curve for a newer agent. I wanted to share a few of these so you know that you aren’t going to be thrown to the wolves in most real estate offices. You’ll have help in the form of a mentor. Mentors Increase Your Chances of Actually Staying in the Business Ask any big broker and they will tell you that the biggest burden they face in their business isn’t actually getting sued by an angry client. It’s actually recruitment and retention. The burnout rate for newer agents is so high that most companies have a stated goal of hiring 5-10 new agents per month because so many new agents don’t end up making it. This in turn means that the broker has to put resources into recruitment leaving them less time to train their newer sales staff. It’s a vicious cycle. A great mentor can give 1:1 advice to a mentee and help them work through concerns which helps retain great salespeople. By keeping agent turnover low, the broker can build a strong network of experienced and qualified agents rather than dealing with the constant task of recruiting newer agents to replace the ones that leave. Time Savings for The Broker Imagine large real estate brokerages. I define a “large” real estate company as one with at least 100 agents. There is really no effective way that one man or woman can be there to answer questions, coach and train a staff that large and do it consistently. For this reason, a well thought out mentorship program is an easy way to save the broker time and hassle. By leveraging mentors, newer agents with questions can look to their mentor for help as opposed to hunting down an already stretched-too-thin broker/owner. This frees the broker up to only answer those high-level questions that stump even the best of mentors. Additionally, mentors also play a vital role in reducing the “on-the-job” training necessary for newer agents working on their first escrow. In effect, the mentor can act as a ‘project-based’ sounding board for help on a deal-by-deal basis. This will allow the broker to invest more time working on higher level training rather than putting out deal specific fires. Mentors Offer Encouragement and Act as a Cheerleader Great mentors should help us see those things that we would not otherwise recognize. For newer agents this means that their mentor is able to realize what you are capable of achieving and will put you on the track to realize your potential. This is especially true in the real estate business where there are several ups and downs in the course of a day and that every deal is on life support at some point in the escrow process. Helping a newer agent manage their emotions and keep their eye on the finish line is a critical aspect of the business. A great mentor can give a boost to the confidence that a newer agent needs. Mentors Have Experience That They Can Pass On Every veteran real estate agent has had a buyer buy from someone else or a seller who didn’t give them the listing. Understanding how to navigate these emotional ups and downs is critical. A mentor who is transparent about their experience has likely been where you are, and has made the same mistakes you might have made or are about to make. A good mentor will share their own mistakes, so they aren’t repeated by a newer agent. Before you get a real estate mentor, I’m guessing that you need to sign up for online real estate classes. Please call me at 888 768 5285 and I would be happy to discuss your career and help you get started in our great business of listing and selling real estate. Love, Kartik
Selling Homes

6 Things Home Buyers Should Consider When Buying a Historic Home

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While historic homes don’t make up the bulk of sales for most Realtors, there are some agents who specialize in historic home sales. Still, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't venture into this great

While historic homes don’t make up the bulk of sales for most Realtors, there are some agents who specialize in historic home sales. Still, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't venture into this great market, or that you should defer to a local agent that has more experience with historic properties. Historic homes can be an amazing acquisition for the right buyer. But there are some things specific to these types of properties that you should be aware of in order to best serve your clients. Why Historic Homes Can Be an Amazing Purchase Historic homes and properties within historic districts have amazing features that many buyers prize. For the home buyer who loves classic architecture or enjoys the history behind their residence, no new construction could ever compare. You may have a client who just falls in love with a historic property or you may have a client who is specifically looking for something with historic significance.  Each geographic location has their own historical homes that bring some flavor of past residents to life. The amazing thing with many historic homes is that they've gone through numerous generations and the history of each family is often present in the home itself. You can see this through additions made to the original architecture and a layering of the original design with more modern elements added over time. The architectural and historic appeal is often the biggest benefit that your clients might be looking at in making their decision. But there are some other benefits that might be available that you should research and point out when applicable. 6 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Historic Property While many home buyers fall in love with the romance and history of historic properties, there are some things to consider which are unique to these types of property. Unlike new construction or homes built in recent years, historic homes have some quirks that can at times be costly to maintain. They've weathered many seasons and, depending on the local weather and type of construction, they may be in need of some extra TLC in regular maintenance. Here are some things to make sure that your clients are aware of when purchasing a historic home: 1. Does the Property Include Elements Besides the Home? Some historic properties are larger than a typical home lot and may include other structures which may also be historical in nature. They also often include great gems in landscaping, such as very large, beautiful trees, carefully planned gardens and hedges, greenhouses, gazebos, and even ponds. 2. Is There A Mass Appeal to this Home's History? In cases where the property of someone with great local or national significance or where the architect was someone of note, the home might be used for touring or parts of the property might be useful to rent for events. If you're not interested in opening up your private residence in this manner, you might still find this a major perk just to own a home of this value and showcase it for your own purposes. 3. Possible Tax Incentives and Funding In many areas, there are available funds and lower interest loans available for people who buy historical homes and wish to renovate them. These loans do come with some strings attached. The renovations often need to be done to certain specifications in order to maintain the home's integrity as a historic place. 4. Higher Than Average Renovation Costs Each property is different. If your client is looking at a historic home that has already been completely renovated, they may not need to worry over renovation costs. However, in a case where there is major renovation work, it can often be more costly than renovating a newer home. This is because you'll often need to replace pieces that are no longer made or commonly used in newer construction. To maintain the historic significance, you may need to hire specialty contractors or preservationists to work on the home, which can be way higher in cost than a do it yourself project. 5. There May Be Restrictions In many places, there are restrictions on the types of changes you can make to a historic property. This might include rigid restrictions on the outside aesthetic, such as paint color schemes and landscaping. It also might mean that you're prohibited from enhancing the property with new additions. It's important that buyers know these parameters in advance because they may need to live in a home where the architecture and design is less convenient for today's lifestyle than it was for the generation who built it. In most cases, those historic differences will add to the charm of the place. 6. More Likely to Have Hazards Than Newer Properties Older properties were often built with materials that are no longer in use because they were found to be hazardous, such as asbestos. They also may be more prone to issues like mold because of the age of the home itself. It's important to have the home thoroughly inspected by a professional before purchasing. They can tell you if there are any issues in advance.  Historic homes provide a wonderful glimpse into past generations and can often be a dream residence for the right buyer. If you want more information about the historic properties in your area, contact the National Register of Historic Places.  As always, the first place to start your real estate journey is with a great online real estate course like ours. Call us today at 888 768 5285 if we can be of service. Love, Kartik