Why vendors will choose your Estate Agency over a competitor

Understand the strategies which will make you stand out above the competition

Real Estate is a booming business. With investors both locally internationally searching online and offline, the competition has never been more intense than it is now.  Because of this, real estate agencies need to re-evaluate their methodologies and strategies for bringing in new potential vendors as well as revisit some of the fundamentals of business which will ensure that you have a greater chance of being chosen.

In this post we look at the fundamental reasons vendors choose one estate agency over another.

1. The Property Valuation – How much can you sell my property for ?

Most vendors will have researched the local market to see what other houses are selling for in their area. Some will have already got a valuation from a different agent so they will always have a fair idea of what their home is worth.

A tactic most commonly used by some estate agents to win new instructions is to value properties above what they think they can achieve just to win the business.

This does a few things, it leaves an unrealistic expectation on what the vendor thinks he/she will get for the property.

It may also mean the property will lie on the market for a longer period not getting many enquiries or viewings.

If an when it does sell it will sell maybe at a reduced priced leaving the vendor with a bad service meaning you are unlikely to ever get a referral from the vendor.

In saying all this money does talk and an agent who convinces a vendor that they will achieve a better sale price because they recently sold a property in the town may well end up with the keys.

apt

2. How much does an agent charge for Selling

Most estate agents charge similar fees either from 1% -3% depending on the sale price of a property. If an agent has a 1% charge on all sales and a vendors property is only valued at £70K then charging £700 won’t be enough to cover the estate agents business costs.

Most agents will have a ceiling on their rates and in this case it may well be that they need at least 3% to cover their business costs.

Agencies need to give realistic but competitive estimations as to what they can achieve for the property. Fees need to be set in realistic terms. Where you may charge a 1 to 3% fee, you need to convert this in to a fixed price estimation for the client.

For example: if you sell for £100,000 with a 2% fee and a £500 Marketing fee, than you need to give the client an estimated fee of £2,500. In the end most vendors chose an estate agency upon their professionalism as well as their valuation of the property and fees. 

3. What are the upfront Marketing fees

Marketing costs help estate agents promote a vendors property both offline and online to new buyers or investors looking for good yielding investments.

A vendor may well be swayed to choose one agency over another if their fees are the same but the marketing fee is too high.

I know a vendor who recently got two local estate agents out to value his home with a view to selling it. Both where well-known local agents with the same fee but one charged £300 for marketing and the other £800.

Now my guess is that the estate agent with the £800 marketing spend didn’t sit down with the vendor and point out what the marketing spend will be used for and how it helps portray his home to a wider audience and get more viewings and potential offers bidding.

The vendor simply opted for the cheaper upfront agent because he didn’t have £800 floating around his bank account and this is what swayed his decision. In fact I would love to find out what the different marketing channels each agent is using. We will save that for another post.

BTW the house has only received 3 viewings in one month since listing and it is the cheapest 2 bed house in this area.

Where does the Property marketing budget go.

  4.  Does your Brand stand out from the competition

How is your agency portrayed visually? It may seem a bit redundant, but the visuals of your company greatly determine your priority position in a potential vendor’s line of agencies.

For sale signs have an impact on vendors as they follow the crowd.  Here are a few considerations that an agency needs to consider about their signs and branding in order to obtain more vendors.

  • Are you well invested in the area where the potential vendor is? If you have only one property in the area while your competitor has multiple properties listed in the area, the odds are not in your favor. Either get more properties or a larger sign. The more recognizable and memorable your sign, the higher the odds are that you will be the chosen agency.

 

  • Do you have a sign that says you are a modern company or are you using the same logos and fonts that were popular 30 years ago? Vendors want to choose a company which they feel is on the verge of modern trends and technologies. If your colors and fonts portray that you are outdated, than the vendor will go with a more trendy company. True, you want to show that you are well established, but at the same time you do not want to give off the vibe of being archaic.

 

  • How are you marketing your agency? If your agency is only putting out signs in yards and hoping for the best then you will be disappointed. A successful agency will not only have signs in yards, but also local printed marketing, a SEO saturated website, social integrations (be that a Facebook business page, YouTube videos, or the like), as well as business cards and car magnets and advertisements.

 

  • Who is the face of your company? Every agency has someone who is seen as the “face” of the company. Your agency needs to determine the face of the company. If the person is older, than pair the person with a younger agent. If the agent is young than pair the person with an older agent. Why? By pairing up in this manner you cater to the stereotypes of the industry. Older individuals are considered to be knowledgeable and more seasoned in the business. Younger individuals are considered to have the upper edge on technology and modern trends. Where this may or may not be the actual truth, the perceptions remain.

    5. Can your estate agency get Referrals

This should be the biggest engine growth for your estate agency. If you have done a good job of selling a property the vendor will have no problem recommending your agency to people for years to come.

If the vendor happens to be an investor with 10 properties then he is like the golden goose your estate agent needs. He has ten properties + 5 investor friends who are in the game for rental return or capital appreciation.

At some stage they will want to sell their properties and by doing a good job you have a good chance of selling all of the investor’s properties and getting an intro to his buddies.

Estate agency referral challenge.

If you take a step back from your business for a bit and ask your secretary to list all the properties you have sold and listed over the last 12 months and put them onto an excel sheet. Write down how you got that property on to your books.

  • Referral
  • Call in to office
  • Vendor walked in to office
  • Repeat client, investor or landlord.

If you don’t see referral mentioned at least 30% of the time then you need to address this fast. You are either not recording it correctly, your staff may not been doing such a wonderful job or you are not asking for a referral from the vendor.

If anything this exercise should be able to give you a clearer idea as to how you are getting your listings and where to spend your estate agency marketing budget.

 6. Do you promote your Buyers database to new vendors?

profiles dash

When reaching out to new vendors a lot of estate agents would use the old tactic of ‘Properties required for buyers on our books’ and use it on their website, marketing material and newspaper ads.

A lot of estate agents use this tactic by producing a flyer targeting the local area they just sold the home, with the aim of winning a new instruction in that area.

I am not sure if estate agents use this tactic at the valuation stage but I would strongly recommend it. Most estate agents have access to an IPAD and most of their technology is cloud based and can be accessed over an internet connection.

Simply add in the vendors property with a guide price of what you think you can achieve and you can demonstrate to the vendor the contacts and connections in your database.

Now considering the estate agent who lost the listing by charging £800 for marketing, if they could have demonstrated to the vendor on an IPAD or tablet the current database of leads which they can reach out to straight away they may have tipped it winning the instruction in their favour and won that £3000 – £4000 worth of business.

Conclusion

Potential vendors are looking for the best sale price, quickest sale, competitive fees and the most professional agencies to do so. Ensuring that your company has a spotless reputation, great branding both digitally as well as in printed and local advertisement, competitive rates, and a portfolio of success will greatly maximize the chances that you will become the chosen agency for potential vendors.

How estate agents win new vendor Instructions

Can Marketing Letters increase your estate agents portfolio ?

Marketing letters are becoming more prominent in the real estate profession. These simple printed letters have a great impact on potential clients, especially those which have a targeted area in which they want to acquire properties.

Yet, for a great deal of real estate agent which implements marketing letters, they find that their campaign does not yield the results that they want. Why is this? In most cases it is a matter of content and creativity.

Here are a few strategies which will help you have a great letter which conveys the proper information to your potential clientele.

marketing flyer

Marketing Flyer real estate agents

The packaging is everything

When you are sending a marketing letter, you have to make it look different from all other junk mail. One great strategy is to have your letter delivered in a greeting card format.

Ensure that you have the card in a card envelope with a hand written (or at least in a printed font that looks like it was hand written) address. Avoid using “current resident” as this has been shown to make people apprehensive to your content.

Another way to get people’s attention is to write a handwritten letter with no envelope attached as it will look like it was written specifically for the owner of the property. This should ensure you letter gets opened an viewed by the vendor.

Personalise your letter on a branded letter head

Once the letter has been opened, the potential client needs to see something which will jump out to them. If you sold a house recently just down the road from them, then you should include a large photo of the house with a Sale Agreed Sign. This should definitely get their attention to read more about your offer.

You should highlight your extensive database of buyers you current have looking for similar homes you might just get a new vendor interested in your services.

On the reverse of the letter you could also include the following

  • Main message such as Properties Sold by Emerald estates in your area.
  • Recent photo and addresses of houses sold locally
  • Include your fee if it is a good selling point
  • Picture of your office
  • Recent testimonials from clients
  • Contact details + out of office contact number

 

Highlight the recent sales prices achieved in the neighborhood

Potential clients which want to sell but unsure of the market may need a little bit of a nudge to get them interested. It is paramount that you put actual recent sale prices in your marketing letter.

However, this must be done tactfully. It is advised that you also include the number of potential buyers you already have to your potential vendors. Here is an example:

Dear Mrs. Robinson,

The housing market in your area is on the rise. Recently, houses on Green St. and Thompson St. sold for an average of £275,000. We currently have 3 more families looking to purchase homes within your area. If you or someone you know is looking to sell, please contact us.

Note that the market is specific to the area. You do not want to go too narrow or too large. If you are looking for a potential vendor in a highly populated city (such as London) you would want to narrow down the data to a few blocks. However, if you are aiming at a potential vendor in a smaller town (such as Donabate, Co Dublin) you would want to include the entire town or county.

By stating the number of potential buyers that you have, you are maximizing your potential for multiple vendors.

Alternatively, if a potential vendor does not want to sell but knows of people who want to buy, your margin for potential buyers which work with your company is expanded.

Offer a referrer fee

Where you may have a targeted campaign area with a great deal of potential vendors, you may find that those people are less apt to refer another person without some incentive, especially if your competitors are offering some form of compensation.

One useful strategy is to offer a monetary reward upon the sale of a property by a referred neighbor.

Most people in a neighborhood know one another and they might have an idea that their neighbor is planning on selling their home. This will most likely mean they will do a split on the referral fee but that means you have locked down the business.

Add a get to know you section

If you have current properties within the potential vendor’s area, offer a meet the agent section on your letter. Schedule a time PRIOR to your open house time to meet other potential vendors. This will work to your favour on multiple levels

  • By offering to meet you prior to an open house, you can show your potential vendors the quality and asking price of an actual home in the targeted area.
  • By offering a meet the agent you are putting a face with the name. This greatly increases that you will be chosen should the potential vendor decide to sell.

If you are selling 5 properties per month you have the capacity to replace these five properties within the areas you just sold in. Most agents hope the Sale Agreed Sign in the garden will help yield a potential lead from a vendor but I strongly think this tactic if implemented correctly will help estate agents win new instructions.

Don’t get so carried away that you forget the basics

Finally, ensure that you have the basics covered. I have seen it happen over and over again. A greatly constructed letter is made but lacking the basic contact information. Sure, the real estate’s name is mentioned, but there is no phone number or an address.

Potential vendors need to have this information.  If you really want to go the extra mile with your potential vendors add a personal phone number for out of office contacts.

This adds to the personal touch and lets the potential client know that you are serious about hearing from them.

Conclusion

Marketing letters are a growing strategy in the real estate profession. Ensuring that your letters do not look like junk mail, catering to the neighborhood in which the potential vendors are located, adding personal touches, and packaging the letter so that it is visually appealing as well as contextually sound will result in having a more responsive potential clientele base.

Keep an eye out for our next blog on Winning new instructions Online.

Business sales strategies for Estate Agents

Techniques which will maximize your business and fees

Managers and senior level professionals in the real estate business should spend a great deal of their time acquiring properties which to sell. The process is constant and the clients always want the lowest rates and the highest appraisal.

Unfortunately, more often than not a real estate executive will be told that their valuation of the property is too low and that the expected fees are too high.

By following the below formula, Estate Agents can present a more solid valuation to their potential clients, acquire properties which are worth the agencies resources (as marketing and advertisement of the property costs money), and maximize your profitability.

map old

  1. Know the local property Market

It may sound a bit redundant, but valuation of a potential property is most likely to be based upon the properties in the vicinity.

Where the overall market of a town or county may be in the 220s, a particular area may have homes that sell no more than 178k.

Simple research as to what properties actually sell for will provide you with a solid material to present to a potential client. Property portals such as Rightmove , Zoopla or Daft allow you to view recently sold properties or if you have an account with them they can provide you details of recent sale agreed.

It is a lot harder for a potential to claim that the valuation of the property is too low if you have the valuation of the nearby properties readily available.

The scope of your radius should be based upon the amount of properties within the area. The scarcer the homes are in a potential area the wider the radius needs to be.

  1. Do not jump straight into evaluating the property

Even if a property is ideal, you do not want to let the potential client know that you are excited that they want to be your client. An overzealous estate agent may quickly find that their fees are being negotiated and that they are taking fewer profits.

Instead, when you arrive at the property introduce yourself and ask for a place to sit and discuss the procedures for your particular agency. This does a few things:

  • It allows for the buyer and the client to take a step back and evaluate the realities of the potential client relationship.
  • Should your procedures be beyond the expectations of the client, you can move on to another potential client without losing precious productivity time.
  • By talking with the client prior to looking at the house, YOU keep the control

Think about this, an agent that visits a house and wants to immediately start looking at the house has flipped the roles of the real estate agent. The potential client will step in and start acting like a surrogate real estate agent in order to get you excited about representing the property.

In many cases they will show you the “best” qualities of a property with the hopes of raising the valuation of that property. Remember this rule listen 65% of the time and talk 35% of the time.

Be sure to use open ended questions while talking to your potential client such as “what key amenities do you see in your property which would help in the listing?”

Your mission in talking with the potential client is to ensure them that you are there to list the property, not to give an appraisal or for them to shop around. You want to seal the deal with the client. A great way to end a conversation would be to ask “When would you want me to list your property for you?”

http://colbertandco.ie/listings

Hawthorn Hill, Ballymaloe, Midleton, Cork

  1. The preliminary price assessment

Once the procedures have been discussed you will need to present the vicinity information to the potential client. This should be done with tact. Do not simply push a brochure to the client and say “These are some other properties which have sold in the area”.

Instead, look directly at the client and state that “Where the properties in the local town have been selling in the 220s, this particular neighborhood has had a max selling cap of 178k for the past 3 years.”

When you present the vicinity price information to the client you want to ensure that you are looking directly at that person. The reason is that you are looking for indicators. When you mention the price does your client’s face show surprise, disappointment, or excitement?

A face that shows excitement means that the client has probably greatly underestimated the value of his/her property and is excited about the potential to make more than what they anticipated. Of course, if your client shows disappointment or disgust, then they have probably overestimated the property.

At this point, you are ready to take a tour of the home. However, before you begin your tour you need to ask your client what their asking price is of the home.

Most potential clients have a set price in mind as to what they will sell the property for. Assure your client that you will work to get a price that they are comfortable with. Reiterate the vicinity prices stating that it will serve as a guide when determining a price for their property.

  1. Getting a tour from the vendor

The tour of the property is NOT for you to gain marketing pictures, take notes, or get the property ready for listing. You will do that all later. What you are looking to do is to get the potential client to agree with your assessment of the house.

Start at the top and work your way down. Each room should be addressed with comments such as “I love the natural lighting in this room”. Bring a measuring tape with you and measure smaller rooms.

Make comments which will assure your client that the property will sell. For example “This room would be a tight fit for a queen size bed, but it would be perfect for a kid’s room as they usually have full or twin size beds.” Again, you are looking for the potential client to agree with your comments.

Once you have toured the entire property including all connecting structures, garages, storage houses, etc., go back to where you first started. Ask again to sit down and talk with the potential client.

  1. Setting a price for the property

You need to assure your client that you can sell the property. You should not be idealistic in your approach, but address the highlights and the negatives of the property.

It is best that when addressing the positives and the negatives of a property that you state the best qualities such as “I really think that the spaciousness of the master bathroom will be something that potential buyers will enjoy”.

Let the client tell you the negatives by asking “are there any negative attributes that you think would affect the listing price?”

When dealing with the negatives of the property, let your client know that not all clients will see the negative in a negative light. Be careful with these assurances as there are some negatives that are just negative.

For example you can state “Not all families require a two car garage, first time home buyers often like the smaller space of a single garage” but you should not state “I do not think that the roots from the oak tree in the back yard will affect the foundation of the garden house.”

Once all of the positives and negatives have been addressed, it is time to give your gut price. This is you best guess on what the listing price should be. For example: “Based upon what I have seen and from the vicinity averages, my gut is saying that your home can sell for 175k.

We will still need to have a plan of action before we put your house on the market, and we will work diligently to get your house sold for the price that is closest to your desired listing price”

  1. Seal the deal and show the client your active database of buyers

One of the best ways to demonstrate your knowledge of the local property market is by knowing what budget buyers have for similar properties. If you have recently listed a property in this town you will have received emails and calls from buyers giving you a database of potential buyers to reach out to.

To demonstrate this to a vendor simply  bring an IPAD  or Tablet which is connected to your live database of buyers. You can upload the vendor’s property with the guide price and show all the matching buyers you have on your books.

If you tweak the valuation of the property you should get a varying amount of leads in your database depending on the buyer’s budget range. This shows the vendor that you can immediately begin to prospect potential leads to a viewing and help you win the new instruction.

 

So what other variables count

As you are a senior or an executive in the real estate business, you should know by now that the listing price is usually not the closing price. It is paramount that you relate this to your clients.

Tell your client “We have determined that you want to list your house for 175k. However, we need to discuss a few more details about the home.”

At this point explain to your client that usually there are one to two price drops offered on a property.

Your top price, or listing price, should not have a variable from the second drop price of more than 5k. You can present these drops to your client as what if variables. These questions can be:

  • What if no one asks about your listing within the first 15 days?
  • What if we get a great amount of lower bids, what would you be comfortable with?

From these two questions, you can generate three pricing options for the property. First, you will have the listing price.

If no one goes to see the property or asks about the listing then the price drops. This is the medium between the list price and the lower price. Since the margin will not be more than 5k, the drop will be 2.5k. Should the price reduction cause for a great deal of lower offers, the third and final drop can be given.

  1. How much do you charge for selling the property

If you get to this point in your pitch, than the client wants your services (or at minimum is greatly considering your services). You should let your client know definitively what your fees will be.

Do not expect to get a great smile and quick acceptance. More than likely the client will state that a competitor offers lower fees. Here are some guidelines for presenting your fees:

  • Offer a price amount and NOT a percentage. “I will sell your property for 3.5k” and not “I take a 1.5% fee from the sale of the property”
  • If and when the client offers you the competitor’s rates, specifically state what you will do for their money (not your money or your fees.)
  • Clearly break down what the Marketing budget fee will be spent on.
  • Explain what other extras will be required such an Energy rating certificate and the cost.

When all questions have been addressed, then you are ready to seal the deal. As if there are any more questions and then ask “Are we ready to go to market?”

Considerations

You are trying to acquire a contract; therefore you should have

  • The proper marketing and advertisement material available.
  • Use digital and social media as well as other strategies to help with the listing.
  • Bring an IPAD to the viewing and demonstrate your live database of leads.
  • Do a video tour of the property if you have the equipment with you or outsource to a professional video company.
  • If a client has objections about signing a contract then you need to think of creative but definitive ways to respond to any objections. Do not take no for an answer but do not be too zealous either.

Your professionalism will play a critical role in gaining your contract. By adhering to the steps above, you are more apt to have clients that are comfortable with signing a contract for your services.

By also addressing the vicinity properties, you can offer a higher listing and therefore collect greater fees.

Does your real estate agency do Property Video Tours?

micro drone

How property video tours are reshaping the real estate business.

With the growing number of people turning to digital media as their primary source of information, real estate agents are finding it more and more difficult to compete with mobile media marketing. Agencies which have implemented new technologies and methodologies into their business are more likely to have success with securing properties than those which do not.

One way in which real estate agents are moving forward in the social media age is through digital Property video tours. I believe that it is essential that any real estate business have some form of a virtual property video tour and here is why:

Digital Tours expand the potential clientele base indefinitely

In the past, agents greatly relied upon open houses and physical property showings in order to secure the interests of potential clientele. The problem with such methods in real estate marketing is that the potential clients are few, restricted by the demographics of the area in which the property is located. However, with a property video tour, the amounts of potential clients are limitless.

Due to the fact that the internet is a global community, your real estate business may see interests in the property from as close as the next town over or as far away as another country.

Once interest has been secured for the property, then the real estate agent can schedule a physical viewing of the property.

Digital Property Video Tours increase productivity and profitability

Real estate agents who use digital property video tours have to spend less time and money in promoting the property. Costs which are usually allocated to the print marketing can be re-focused to other aspects of the business.  Because the cost of producing a property video tour is relatively low, a real estate agent can use the extra money for point targeting in their marketing.

Real estate agents who use property video tours will also see an increase in productivity. The less time that an agent is required to spend on a property; the more properties the real estate agent can focus his or her attention on. By offering potential clients more properties, the margin for sales is increased the therefore your profitability will see increases.

How do property video tours work?

When creating a property video tour, a real estate agent should use the same techniques which he or she uses when showing the property physically. Ensure that you give ample time to each room, explaining the qualities which make the property worth investing in. As you will be showing the property physically later, do not focus too much on the negativities of the property. Such can be addressed on the physical showing. However, do not make a fixer upper sound like the Caesar’s palace.

Remember when you create your property video tour, the video will be offered worldwide once it is put on the internet. Try not to use terminology that limits your client base.

What a real estate agent should include in the property video tour?

Real estate agents should ensure that certain information is related to the potential buyer. Alongside the home, a real estate agent should:

  • Open and Close with the company’s name and contact information
  • Introduce him/herself at the beginning of the film and close with a thank you and by identifying him/herself.
  • State the city and town only. DO NOT give a physical street address. This is a safety issue. Promoting that a house is empty and ready to sell may promote vandalism and theft on the property. Those serious in investing in the property will be more than happy to talk about the details when they contact your agency.
  • Constantly present a contact number or email in which to contact your agency as a call to action for the buyer or renter.

Why should I make property video tours for my agency’s properties?

Making property video tours is a great marketing tool, but it is up to each agency as to whether or not this form or marketing would be best for their practice. However, here are a few statistics which should sway any agency to strongly consider producing a video tour for their properties.

Facebook reports that one out of every 7 internet users has an account. Videos can be shared easily and are daily shared through this platform. This is free advertisement.

YouTube has over 100,000 videos upload/downloaded daily. Again this maximizes your viewer base.

Unless really engaged in a television program, a television viewer will change the channel after 10 seconds from a commercial segment starting and return to the channel only after they feel that the commercials are over.

Posting a video tour cost only your time, print marketing materials can quickly get into the hundreds of pounds depending upon the marketing campaign.

The world has fused itself to the mobile and digital world. Agencies which recognize this fusion and change their practices and policies to best target potential clients within the digital world will see that their properties sell faster.

 What technology should I use to conduct my video tours?

canon camera iphone
canon camera iphone

Most of the time you can use your existing technology to conduct a video tour. A lot of agents have the latest smartphone such as the IPhone 6 which comes with the 8MP ISight camera which can be used to conduct a video tour of a property. A good investment for an estate agent is to purchase a more professional camera such as the Nikon D3200 which is £235 on amazon.

When editing your video when using an IPhone you can download IMovie from the app store which gives you all the functionality to edit a video without the knowledge required to produce a good video tour. Also check out the blog Using Imovie to Market Your Property. If you are more serious about learning the basics of video editing, I would recommend getting an account setup with adobe premier pro cc which is a brilliant tool for video editing.

I know for some agents it will be daunting to have to learn some new technology to edit their videos professionally but you can learn at your own pace with the online learning site lynda.com. There is some great tutors here who can show you how to use the premier pro cc video editing tool.

Technology used to produce, edit and host your video.

–          IPhone

–          Samsung

–          Nikon D3200 

–          Canon 700d

–          Editing tool

–          Drones

–          YouTube or Vimeo

What about drones should we use them to conduct video tours ?

I think drones technology is going to be used by most real estate agents in the not to distance future. I already know of a couple of agents who are trialing this technology on some of their more expensive properties. There are some things you may need to know about using drones in Ireland and the UK and you may need to check out with the aviation authority before you decide to purchase a drone and begin to fly it around the neighborhood. To give you an idea on drone technology check out this new drone getting developed by a UK Company who are building the Micro drone 3.0. 

 What hosting platform do I need to use and how does it work.

When you think of video you immediately type into google ‘YouTube’ which has become the de facto hosting platform used by a couple of billion people worldwide to view videos. It’s free and it’s also a great way to get SEO for your estate agency as they are owned by Google.

Another great platform for video is Vimeo which is a bit more professional and way better designed. You can sign up for a pro account which gives you lots of advantages and it is something you should check out if you are serious about conducting video tours.

So where is the current marketing budget spent?

Most estate agents charge vendors an upfront marketing fee with prices varying from £300 to £1500 depending on the Marketing plan for the property. Most of the time this is a key factor for the vendor in choosing your agency over your competitor. Now imagine explaining to the vendor that you will organise a professional video tour which is accessible online to hundreds of potential buyers who are can view the video rather than scrolling through the listings on the property portals.

Some of the Marketing budget spend:

–          Property portals advertising such as Daft.ie, Rightmove.co.uk and Zoopla.co.uk

–          Local newspapers

–          Full color flyers

–          Custom built websites

–          360 tours

–          Window ads

–          For sale signs

–          Industry magazines

So will your real estate agency embrace all the new technology available and reap the benefits of using property video tours.

Using iMovie to market your property

Marketing a property with iMovie

Recently I have been speaking with more and more agents who have asked me did our website support and allow agents to upload iMovie. As somebody who tries to keep ahead of the technology curve for property managers I was somewhat embarrassed to say “tell me more about iMovie” rather than say “whats iMovie”. And after finding out what iMovie was I scrambled to get the development team to implement iMovies into the websites we create for letting and estate agents. Now you can use iMovie to market your property with Rentview websites.

What is iMovie?

iMovie is an app available on the app store for iPhone and iPad at a cost of €4.99 and for those of you with a Mac its a little more costly at €14. The app allows you to easily create a professional looking movie (marketing video for property) from photos, video clip and audio clips through your device quickly and easily.

Using Video means

-you are 53 times more likely to appear on the 1st page of Google

-40% Higher click thorugh rate on search results

-Visitors stay three times longer on your website

-Expect to receive 5-7% of visitors coverting to leads

Dont believe me check this out

Here is a marketing iMovie I made on my first attempt
Why use video to market a property

I have covered this topic a number of times in previous blogs and here is a quick analysis;

Rental Property Marketing Strategy– by using video your tenant applicant enquiries are more qualified. This will decrease enquiries but increase the number of qualified viewers i.e they like location, price and property lay out.  

Video Content Marketing – By using keywords within your video title and descriptive text you can increase your agencies presence online through tenants search.    This is an excellent way to showcase your property on the first page of Google.

How to create a property marketing video using iMovie

I would recommend taking the pictures of the property prior to making your marketing iMovie. Once you do that the whole process for a beginner should take no longer then 30 minutes for your first marketing video. Once you become a little more comfortable with the app it can take only 15 minutes or less (and this is on an iPhone so I would imagine using the iPad is a lot quicker).

Creating an iMovie in 10 Steps

Step 1. Download the app from the app store

Step 2. Select a “New Project” and select “Movie”

Step 3. Select the Movie theme from the 8 themes and press create movie, I find modern and bright the best.

Step 4. Simply add your photos one by one as if you were walking through the property presenting it to a tenant.

Step 5. Once you add each photo from start to finish you can pinch the photo and decrease or increase its showing time within the clip. (it defaults at 6 seconds per image )

How to use iMovie to market a property editing your iMovie Rental marketing iMovie

Step 6. Insert text within the images, you can do this on any number of the images and its a great way to give information to your audience i.e price, location , features, agency branding etc. The text can be centered at the bottom of the screen and you can even edit its presentation.

Step 7. You can include audio clips and or backing music from the pre installed music or as you become more familiar with iMovie you can add it from your own iTunes library.

Step 8. Review and tweak, watch and edit any changes which need to be altered to the video. Once complete you simply click the back button on the top left hand side.

Step 9. Edit the movie title and Upload it to your email or directly to YouTube, Facebook , Vimeo etc

Step 10. Optimise your video for SEO if you upload it too Youtube or Vimeo

Step 11. Insert the url of your marketing movie into your website page that lists the corresponding property. This is only for agents who can list YouTube clips into their website or portal. This is an excellent way to increase traffic and SEO for your website if you can insert the clip. If you cant insert a video clip into your website and would like to we can certainly help with our property management website design.

iMovie to market your property

How a great Letting agency website can convert your landlord

Letting agency website design

A great letting agency website design is a must for any letting agency wishing to capture leads from landlords or vendors searching locally for the right company or individual to rent or sell their property. I would go as far as to say that this is pivotal for your letting agency because in some instances, it is the first time your potential client will have come across your services, team, testimonials, listings and story.

letting agency website design

40% of clients accessing your letting agency website will be from a mobile.

Since the launch of the iPhone 3 in 2007, accessing the internet from a Smartphone has become more and more popular. Our mobile internet usage statistics on letting agents or estate agents state that 40% of users will access your website via a mobile or smartphone. This is a significant amount of users searching for your letting agency or landing on your website checking out your services.

Mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales and mobile internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop usage by 2014 – meaning mobile searches will soon overtake desktop searches. This is why it is so important that your website is responsive and fits to every screen.

If you have a letting agency website which was designed over 3 years ago, then your website is most likely not designed for mobile access. This move to mobile has happened rapidly.

letting agency website design mobile iPhone

Letting agency website design needs to look good on mobile too!

So what is responsive website design?

Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices. In plain English, it makes it possible for your website to be viewed easily on any device. See the full Wiki on responsive web design here.

Since the world and its mother are now connected to their smartphones or tablets, it makes sense to design your website using a responsive design. Twitter bootstrap is a free front-end framework given to the web development community to use when developing a responsive design. See the history of twitter bootstrap here.

When developing a letting agency website it is important that you develop a responsive design to cater for access from other devices. A stat compiled by Hubspot states 46% of visitors are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn’t work properly during the last visit.

 Google Search Engine

Google dominate the search engine market with over 60 per cent share in the market. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration. They unsurprisingly refer to responsive web design as industry best practice.  When developing a well-structured letting agency website it is good to keep Google local search  and Google Places for business in mind. For more on these see here.

Letting agency Website Design needs to work well with Google for SEO

Simple minimalistic design is best

Although we now have access to more information than ever before, we seem to have less time to absorb information as our lives have also become busier. It is easy to believe that our attention span is getting so short it will be like a fish soon! Current statistics state that visitors to your website will spend an average of just 1 minute scanning your web pages for content and headline text which they are looking for.

Your website should act as your spanking clean virtual office with all the relevant things in place for when a landlord or vendor walks in enquiring about your services. Imagine a landlord walking into your high street office and the floors are dirty, desk untidy with disorganised staff unable to deal with a query.

Now imagine a landlord or vendor coming into your website and getting the same impression because there is too much content to shift through, too many clicks, no specific calls to actions and no visible testimonials endorsing your service or team.

Social Proof your website – positivity is infectious!

Your website should convey a positive vibrant message throughout. The best way to convey this message is not from the agency itself, but from other Landlords and Tenants who have used your service. The new landlord/tenant will identify with these people who have endorsed your Letting Agency and will develop a confidence in your service before even using it.  You can convey the positive feedback from your Landlords/Tenants by:

  • Displaying recent testimonials
  • Displaying happy tweets from happy customers
  • Displaying reviews on Google + from smiling landlords

Simply by showcasing your recent testimonials, reviews or tweets from landlords and vendors will influence new clients to enquire further about your services.

etting agency website design social proofing

Localised search for local services

Since Google updated its Penguin 2.1 search algorithm they have played a heavy focus on local search. Landlords searching online will be looking locally for the right letting agency to rent or sell their property. A great way to get your website ranked locally is to add your office to google places.

 

Some points about visitors to your website

–          Of the world’s 4 billion mobile phones in use, 1.08 billion are smartphones

–          Users will scan your website for relevant content

–          Average user will spend 30 seconds on a page

–          Strong call to actions are required

It is clear that good letting agency website design will stand to you and your business. If you are interested in our letting agency website design, click here.

Rental Property Inventory – Compile inspection reports & save hours of time

Why is it important to carry out Rental Property Inventories?

When managing a rental property, it is imperative to conduct a full condition property inventory report on the property rather than just writing down the items in the property. Previously, letting agents would conduct inventory reports at the property with a note pad; writing down each item in the room, itemising each item and taking photographs of the condition of the property.

property inventory

Modern technology has allowed letting agents, landlords and inventory clerks to do things quicker and more efficiently, helping reduce time, costs and potential disputes.

Most letting agents’ letting & management services will include a check-in rental property inventory report and optional check-out property inventory report (depending on the service which the Landlord opts for – an interim inspection may be required).

3 common solutions used by Letting agents and landlords when conducting the rental property inventory reports:

1. The mighty pen and paper and photo taking

Before the digital age and probably still common now, is the use of pen and paper and a trusted camera. Some letting agents will still use this method to conduct their property inventories, mainly because they are not aware of a better way of conducting a property inventory report or because they are stuck in their ways.

The agent or landlord will go through each room and inventory of items, writing down the quantity and condition of the item while taking some photographs. Armed with all this data it is back to the office to compile the report which is something a letting agent won’t be looking forward to. Out comes Microsoft word to start re-writing the property inventory report for the second time, resizing images and compiling the property inventory report.

Time is money and re-writing property inventory reports takes too long. The fact is, the pen and paper method takes too much time and taking a photograph with a camera, resizing the images and creating your own report will take even more time – up to three hours in some cases. I am sure there is better ways to utilise your time if you are a letting agent or landlord!

  • 90 minutes compiling the report with pen, paper and camera
  • 90 minutes preparing the final property inventory report when you return to the office

2. Hiring a professional Inventory Clerk or Company to compile the rental inventory report

Inventory clerks are professional companies or individuals who conduct an independent inventory report on a rental property. Some of these companies are members of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks and adhere to the member’s Code of Practice. The clerk will conduct a thorough check of the property items and condition producing a detailed report of the exact condition of each item, rooms and outside spaces.

Inventory Clerk – How much does it cost?

Like most industries, you can find a more cost effective service provider and the inventory clerk or company is no different. A quick search on www.google.co.uk for a property inventory clerk will yield hundreds of results for different services and associations. With prices starting from £50 for check in’s and up to £150.00 for check outs (depending on the size of the property).

Fee price from http://www.smart-inventory.co.uk/fee-rates/

 Inventory & Check In

 Unfurnished

Furnished

One Bedroom

£90

£100

Two Bedrooms

£100

£110

Three Bedrooms

£110

£120

Four Bedrooms

£120

£130

Five Bedrooms

£130

£140

 

Check Out

Unfurnished

Furnished

One Bedroom

£70

£90

Two Bedrooms

£80

£90

Three Bedrooms

£90

£100

Four Bedrooms

£100

£110

Five Bedrooms

£110

£120

 

3. Digital Inventory software 

Using rental inventory software from your Smartphone or Tablet

With the emergence of the Smartphone and tablet there is a new way for Letting Agents and Landlords to conduct their Rental Property Inventory Reports. With most people now owning a Smartphone anyone with access to a credit card and the right lettings knowledge and experience can produce an inventory report.

A quick search on the app store will bring up 7 results for ‘inventory rental’. Our own easy to use Inventory app ‘Rentview Inventory’ is available for download for free from the App store.

Once downloaded to your Smartphone or tablet, you quickly sync the  Rentview Inventory app to your Rentview account. Any data collected will be published to your online account for editing.

Users start collecting data by following the simple steps below:

  • Inputting the rental property address
  • Select a pre-defined template such as a one bed template
  • Select the rooms of the property + outside spaces
  • Take photos of the Floors, Ceilings, Walls, Windows, Furniture, Inventory
  • Use the voice notes to dictate the condition of the property. (notes transcribed 4hrs later)
  • Click ‘done’ and your report will be ready shortly fully branded to your agency

check out the video demonstration on the Rentview youtube channel

The most important benefit of using the Rentview Inventory app is the time saved conducting and generating the report with an average of two man hours shaved off the old process. The cost benefits versus employing an inventory clerk are plain to see below.

Admin time for a rental portfolio of 50 properties for a start-up letting agency

Porperty inventory Saving time

Comparison of your time and money

Inventory Method Time £
DIY Pen & paper 3 Hours 0
Outsourced Inventory clerk 0 50 to 150
DIY Digital inventory app 45 mins £5

Thankfully for both Landlords and Tenants as well as Industry Professionals, there is code of practice in place for all licensed estate agents who are responsible for ensuring any inventory inspection is carried (be it check-in, interim and final check-out). I have listed below a summary of the code relating to inspection inventory reports.  The provision in the code of practice protects both Landlord and Tenant and helps avoid any potential dispute in the future.

Code of practice for licensed estate agents from the NAEA

Drawing attention to the benefits of a properly prepared Property Inventory

2h: You must draw to a potential client’s attention the necessity and benefit of a properly prepared full Inventory/Schedule of Condition.

You must outline to the applicant any potential fee or charges

6f: Prior to an applicant’s offer being formally accepted, you must set out in written form any significant pre-conditions for the letting, including the circumstances in which the applicant may have any potential financial liability for fees, charges or penalties relevant to:

–          The processing of his/her application to rent the property

–          His/Her withdrawal, at any stage of their application for the tenancy or the clients rejection of it

–          The initial settling up of the tenancy including Inventory / Check in costs

–          Any ongoing or future liability for fees or charges payable to you for the applicant to extend, renew or terminate the proposed tenancy including Inventory Check-out costs

Make sure that you have a fully detailed and up to date property inventory report

8c: You should take care, upon appropriate instructions from the client, that – at the start of a tenancy – any Inventory/Schedule of Condition prepared for the client by you, or an appointed sub-contractor, is sufficiently detailed and up to date to allow it to be used as a fair measure at the end of the tenancy

You must give the tenants enough time to read and comment on the check-in report

8j: The tenant must be given sufficient time to read and comment upon the check-in report and inventory. The tenant should also be asked to sign a copy, which you should hold on file and the tenant must be given a copy to retain. You must make it clear to the tenant that their failure to sign and return the inventory can be taken as their agreement that it is accurate.

Property inventory check out report or end of tenancy reports

12b: The checkout should be done thoroughly and a sufficiently detailed report or summary prepared with specific reference back to the Inventory/Schedule of Condition prepared prior to the tenancy.

Click here to check out the full NAEA code of practice

How do you create your property inventories?

Property manager tasks

Do you need a task management system to deal with them?

Rentview have developed a complete property management task manager which is designed to allow letting agents, property managers, brokers and admin staff to manage multiple task management, in one easy to use property management software.

Letting Agency Administrators

With the Rentview task manager an office administrator who is manning the phone and generic email addresses can simply upload tasks which need attention to the correct property manager. By centralising all tasks within one system letting agencies will remove the chance of having tasks lost or forgotten about.

All property manager tasks are view able in either pipeline view or list view, allowing users to quickly track and complete property management tasks more efficiently.

Pipeline View

The pipeline view allows the user to see tasks assigned to themselves or to other property managers within the office. It also allows them to view the status of the task from ‘in progress’ to ‘complete’. Our drag and drop feature makes task management more interactive and is designed to lessen the time it takes property managers to complete tasks. Property manager tasks can be dragged from the ‘in progress’ status to ‘complete’ with ease.

List View

The list view will show all tasks assigned to property managers showing the address of the property, date due and status of the task. We have built some really cool alert buttons which illustrate to users the priority levels of each task with red illustrating late, orange; due today, white; due soon and green; complete.

And lastly, you can also see a list of all historic tasks associated with a property giving you better reports on which properties you are working harder on.

Property Manager Tasks

Property manager tasks can take up the majority of a letting agent’s day, but by using the task manager software from Rentview you can dramatically improve your your efficiency.

Tenancy agreement software

One of the most important tasks in renting a property which needs to be completed is the signing of a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant.  This is known as the “tenancy agreement”, “letting agreement” or “lease”. The objective of the contract is to highlight the rights and responsibilities of all parties – landlord, tenant and letting agent.

As a letting agent or property manager, generating a tenancy agreement is normally quite routine, yet time-consuming. The majority of the tenancy agreement remains the same,with the first couple of pages tailored to that of the property and majority of terms or clauses set in stone according to local law. 

Tenancy agreement software

Tenancy agreement software created here; at Rentview we have looked at how to save time for you, the letting agent, by streamlining the whole administration process around the letting of a property. Not only will the auto generation of the tenancy agreement save you time, but now all your documents can be stored securely online. Being cloud-based, your data is backed up every hour on multi-site servers, so your data is kept secure and up to date at all times. The tenancy agreement can be shared online with both landlord and tenant.

Through our letting agency software, each process within the cycle is streamlined to save you time when you arrive at your next task along the cycle. Take a look at the overview video on our tenancy agreement software to see exactly how easy Rentview makes this process.

tenancy agreement software rentview

 

If at this time you prefer not to use the tenancy agreement software and want to continue generating your own tenancy agreements, that is fine. Below we have provided a link to free blank tenancy agreements.

Tenancy agreement UK – AST Blank lease

Tenancy agreement Scotland – AT5 Blank lease

& Tenant information pack Scotland

Tenancy agreement Ireland –   Fixed Term blank residential lease

 

by Rentview

Tenancy agreement software

New feature roll outs

As always, the development team are busy at Rentview pushing out new feature roll outs and improvements on our property management software. As always, our users have a big part to play in our feature updates as it is our customers that request them.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwgwOb6yT6o?rel=0

Feature Updates

1) Deposit Receipts – are now generated and downloadable from the schedule and they can now also be downloaded when tenants login to access their account.

2) Agency Base Rate – will automatically be used to calculate the management fee when you are adding a new property or starting a new lease. This defaults to a % but can be changed to a figure. Each new property can have a different rate than the base rate.

3) Editing the Rent – if you need to change the rent amount during a lease you can do this now, select ‘Lease’, amend the rent amount, and all future rents will be updated on the remaining unpaid rents.

4) Editing the Management Fee –this change will also apply if you need to change the landlord’s management fee, Select ‘Lease’, amend the rent amount, and all future management fees will be updated on the statement.

5) Tenants’ details – we have also tidied up the tenant’s view page to our new bootstrap style and we will be rolling out a delete option next week here.

6) Total Properties – when checking out your property portfolio we now allow you to see how many properties you have under Management, Let-only or inactive. We also now display how much you charge for your management fee on each property and we will be developing better reports so you can forecast recurring fees.

7) Lease Terms – lastly in this update, when you are starting a lease, the end date will automatically calculate if you select the start date and term.

If there is something you would like to see on the platform, please let us know!

by Rentview