Tech Savvy

The online open house

Where did all the open houses go?

Open house attendance has decreased  and there’s a good reason why.

Once upon a time when buyers would want to view the inside of the home they would contact the listing agent and the listing agent would meet him at the property and show them the house.

Today, if you see a for sale sign, you Google the address and you can see what the house looks like inside through the online listing.

I am noticing more and more that people will disqualify homes based on what they see on the Internet. Therefore, I believe it is critical that a home be displayed with excellence.

If your home is a masterpiece  then it should be presented as such.

The Floor Plan

How many times have you looked at a listing online and wondered what the floor plan was like? Do you find yourself trying to piece together the floor plan as you go through the photos? How would you like it if when you looked at a listing you would get a quick overview of each floor in a traditional top-down perspective? Better yet, what if those rooms were labeled?

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The Dollhouse View

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how the different floors relate to each other? What’s directly below the master bedroom? Imagine if you could see a dollhouse view like this when you viewed a listing.

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Or like this.  This incomparable Dollhouse View gives a completely unique sense for the place. See all floors at once!

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The Walkthrough- A Five Star Experience*****

Wouldnt it be great if you could be inside this photo an look up and see the ceiling and light fixtures or look down and get a good look at the flooring? Would you like to turn around to see whether that is the entrance behind you or the kitchen? Click on this photo to see what you will find. But come back after for the closing message. I have got exciting news to share!

*This home is not for sale. It is a sample.

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All 3 in 1

A 3-D showcase is an online experience that lets homebuyers move through a property and see it from any angle, as if they were there.

Tina Plett/Eniko Crozier of Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate came back from the National  Association of Realtors Conference and Expo with a new tool called The Matterport. With this tool, we can display our listings as a 360° Virtual Tour, as a floor plan image as well as in a Dollhouse View.

Can you see the benefit of using this tool when listing?

Most showings happen online. The internet is the open house of today. 

MATTERPORT 3D IS THE MOST REALISTIC, IMMERSIVE WAY TO EXPERIENCE A PROPERTY ONLINE.

 

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The Huge Real Estate Referral Source You’re Not Using

image They say word of mouth is the best source of new clients. I’ve said it too. And it’s true… to a point. But here’s the thing. Everyone gets referrals. Even the most unreliable, unprofessional business person will occasionally satisfy a client. Those satisfied clients will gladly recommend them, because their experience was pleasant. Try this – put out a call on Facebook or Twitter for a professional they’d recommend. (It will be more interesting if you experiment with a trade or industry where you know some of the professionals and their reputations.) You’ll get all kinds of names. The funny thing is, you won’t know any more about those businesses than before you asked. You’ll still need to look them up, do your research, and make a decision. As a business person, how will referrals set you apart then?

Let me share a story. I recently hosted an open house in Niverville, when this young couple came in. We had never met, but as soon as they slapped eyes on me, they said, “You’re Tina!”
It’s a weird feeling when people do that by the way. For a half second I feel like I might be in trouble. I said something clever like, “Yeah…?” and tried not to look too confused.

She smiled and continued, “You sold the house adjacent to our back yard. We see your name and face everywhere – and you blog too!” They were complete and total strangers, and are not on my list of Facebook friends. I wondered how they’d seen my blog posts. She said a friend of hers had shared a post on her Facebook page. “Do you remember the subject?” I asked.
“Yup – For Those Who Smoke After” she smirked.
At this point her husband piped up, “What?”
“I’ll tell you after…” she leaned over to him, and winked at me before continuing, “In one of the last posts you talked about working with crazy people
The husband joined in, “I’ve seen your ads in the Property Guide. It seems like your advertising is more… upper class.” I thought about a recent ad I’d put out that had this picture of a shrub mooning a neighbor. The caption read, “Time to Move?” I wondered if he had seen it.
“Ah, thanks. It looks professional because I hire professionals to help me with my marketing.”

This couple was considering hiring me before we ever met, and it was not because someone referred them. It was because of what they’d seen in my marketing, and on my site.  And this happens all the time.  People come over from China and choose me. When I ask other clients – complete strangers who hired me out of the blue, “How did you get my name?”, they often answer, “I did a Google search.”

Here’s the deal – whether or not people are given recommendations, 68% research real estate agents online. When your potential client arrives at your site – and they will come – what will they find? What they hope to find is who you are. They don’t care about salesy photos and impersonal how-to tips. Tips, tricks and hacks can be found anywhere. They want to know about YOU.  Are you trustworthy. Are you successful. Are you professional. Are you real. Will you treat them with respect. And they want to find this out online.

The most overlooked source of referrals is a real estate agent’s website. Most don’t have one, and of those who do, few blog. Nearly three quarters of potential clients research agents online. You need to be as personable and friendly and professional there as you would be in person.

Whether they’re coming to your site because of word-of-mouth, or because of Google rankings, potential clients are looking for you.  …Are you there?

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4 Ipad Apps Essential to my Business (or The Mobile Office Advantage)

imageDon’t let the zebra print fool you. This ipad is no toy. This is my office.

Some think that the brick and mortar office has an advantage in the marketplace. And that certainly was true a decade or two ago. Once upon a time, establishing one’s business in a solid building implied a solid place in the market. But times have changed.

Digital offices are the new way. They’re efficient, mobile, and accessible. Everything is online, and consumers expect to be able to find you there. I market tested this theory even back in my first years when I worked with a brick and mortar type of office. For a year, every single client I met with, I asked the same question. “Would you like to meet at… a) my (brick and mortar) office, b) in your home, or c) in a coffee shop or your favorite restaurant?” Know what happened? Not one single person EVER requested to meet me in the big building in which I worked.

Not one.  

I soon moved to an autonomous mobile agent situation (for several reasons), and continued to build a solid business. Mine is not built with concrete, but on solid, consistent, highly personalized service.

But. To have a mobile office requires tech savvy.  Heck, whether one has brick and mortar or not, one needs to still be tech savvy. If you are not online (where your clients are!), you’re missing out on over 60% of the market!  

One great way to start is to introduce your business to the ipad. You won’t believe what you can do with it, and how quickly.  I was asked recently how I use my ipad for business, so thought I’d share here too.

The 4 Ipad Apps Essential To My Business

Scanner Pro is my preferred app for scanning. I can scan documents, signatures and all, and send them instantly.

PDF Expert is my favorite app for typing or writing on a document.

Evernote is my favorite app for buyer files.

Dropbox or Google Drive are online file storages,  that are accessible from anywhere. This is where offers and all other documents related to a deal are stored in perfectly organized files.

In Real Estate, we have to respond to someone in a timely matter – immediately at times. Sending an offer in a hurry is a breeze with these apps. I can get my client’s signature right there in the restaurant, scan the document with the in app camera and it automatically converts to pdf right there. The PDF can email directly and on time, so we can close the deal.

What is keeping you from mobilizing your business online?

If you are already online, what is your favorite digital business tool? (and why?)

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ADVERTISING Is the responsibility of the agent!

Experience in real estate has allowed me to observe a variety of thoughts from many agents on the subject of advertising. Before I share, allow me to say that each thought has a point. Just because I think differently and make my choices differently from other agents, does not mean that I don’t see their point of view.

Here are some statements that I have heard from competing agents:
* The house will sell regardless, so why spend money on advertising?
* I put an ad in there once and I did not get any calls, therefore it is useless
* It’s too costly!

Here are a few reasons I choose to advertise:
* My seller has entrusted me to work on their behalf to market their property. I have access to advertising opportunities that a private seller does not have. Any agent can put a listing on MLS and put a sign on their property! I want to give my seller’s home maximum exposure!
* The seller does not just want a sale. The seller wants the sale to bring them maximum profits in the least amount of time! I don’t want to sit back and wait for someone to call, I want to entice the buyer to call!
* Well over 90% of buyers are beginning their home shopping on line! That statistic is reason enough to be strategically searching for the maximum online presence! If that’s where the buyer is, then that’s where I will go to attract the buyer!
* The age group that buys the most houses is 25-34 year olds! This young generation is tech savvy! I absolutely love working with first time home buyers and young people. This was motivation for me to become tech savvy and speak the language of the young. It can be a quick step to get more information on the house I am marketing! The mobile generation appreciates that I am a mobile friendly agent. I make myself accessible through social media and I am willing to respond in a timely manner.
* Complacency is offensive to me! It is upsetting to me when a seller is paying 5% or more of the sale price to an agent to market their home and they get no marketing exposure in return!
* I am grateful for the business!
* I want my sellers to be completely satisfied so that they will refer me to other sellers!
* MARKETING IS MY JOB! I chose this profession because I enjoy serving people and marketing is one of my skills!

My methods bring results!

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate