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.

Creating social media images for your letting agency

If you want to create professional looking graphics for your letting agencies social media without using a designer I would highly recommend checking out Canva. Canva is a free online tool which allows the average letting agent create professional graphics for Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, infographics etc with ease.

Signing up is easy and free to use once you provide your own images, if however you wish to use some of the high quality images in Canva’s Stock you are charged about $1 per image.

Creating Unique Content on Social Media

Many letting agents struggle to use engaging and unique content within their social media. By using Canva you can easily create visual content that is unique and appealing on the eye.

Using the platform is simple and within minutes of signing up you can create professional graphics. Once signed up you will see a section which allows you create “Real estate flyers”, this is  a great way for beginners to use templates designed for letting agents and estate agents to show off properties in a graphic.

Highlight a property

Here is a flyer I created for a high end property which is showing this weekend.

Show a property

 

Let your fans know about your viewings

To highlight the fact that the letting agency is conducting showings over the weekend I created this template to showcase a number of properties which are being shown. 

Using Canva for your letting agency

Its important to remember that your fans on your social media pages do not want to be just given links to properties you have (they look at portals or your website to see this) they want to see something unique.

Struggling to update your Brand on Social Media?

Its not only great at creating flyers for your agency but also a really great way of creating Facebook covers, twitter headers etc. Try it out now and you wont be disappointed.

 

How to save time showing property

It is a very interesting title and one which most if not all agents reading this would love to do. How to save time showing property? How I hear you say? Well it is all about qualification of your customer (the tenant or the buyer), the very first step in any sales process should be qualification. If you are trying to sell ( or rent) anything to somebody they need to qualify to be a prospect.

Strategies

In a previous post I discussed Strategies agencies use when marketing a property , a really quick overview of this blog would be the more information given on a property will result in a smaller number of enquiries. That’s bad isn’t it? Well its only bad if you don’t value your time or your agents employed within your agencies time.

The feedback on the blog above was significant with many agents agreeing and arguing the strategies they use and why. So rather than just go by assumptions I conducted a case study on a property. I contacted a number of agents who use the Rentview software and asked would they take part in a case study on How to save time showing property. I found one who had two similar properties to rent and about to come on to the market.

The strategy I am going to show you will decrease the number of viewings that you will do on a property but increase the % of viewings to offers. 

Using Video Marketing Tours Case Study

In this case study I advertised two very similar properties to rent in the same building. The first property was advertised with images and description, the second property in the exact same way but when an enquiry came in I responded by giving a link to a property video tour. The only difference in the study was the time of year in which the units were advertised**, the findings were very interesting.**The first unit was advertised in March and the available stock levels in the area were 30% less then the second unit being advertised in June.With this information it could be argued that a vacant unit may be on the market slightly longer.

Case Study 1 – No Video being used.

The property was listed and it received 1806 ad views through the portal it was displayed on over 13 days. From this 35 enquiries were received and viewings took place within 48 hours of an enquiry, a total of 5 separate viewings took place before a tenant was secured.

Ad views Enquiries Showings  Vacant Month Viewing Time Total Cost
1806 35 5 13 days March 7hrs €225*

*Cost of showing for an average agency based at €25 for an agent per hour along with €10 in travel expenses.

Case Study 2- Marketing Video being used.

The property was listed and received 3600 ad views and generated 43 enquiries through the portal. The difference from the above scenario was that the enquiry was then emailed across a link to view the property through a video  tour. (The tour was a simple video which took no more then 2 minutes to record and a further 10 minutes to edit and upload to YouTube and you can see how to do this in my previous blog). The property was shown 2 times in total and took 21 days to rent out.

Ad views Enquiries Showings Vacant Month Viewing Time Total Cost
3621 43 2 21 days June 2.5hrs €90.00

Here is the property video tour which I provided as you can see is very basic


Case Study Findings

By using property video tours after an initial enquiry was made it saved the agency 60% of agents viewing times and costs associated with showing a unit. It did take a further 8 days to find a tenant but this could be argued by the fact that there was 30% more stock on the market along with the time of year.

There is also a number of other benefits. 

  • It saved tenants time in viewing units which was greatly appreciated (see image below)
  • It provides an excellent opportunity to leverage the videos for SEO of your agency.
  • Increases the offering to landlords or vendors as an additional marketing service being provided

 Your thoughts

So after reviewing the stats what are your thoughts on video marketing? Is this something that you have not provided to date but would now consider? It would be great to get your feedback and thoughts as a professional in the industry.

tenant viewing

A tenants text after viewing a marketing video

 

 

How to attract Tenants

How to attract tenants to your letting agency website

Some letting agencies may not be as lucky as our tenant rich cousins in major cities like London , Dublin etc.

how to attract tenants

How do tenants find your listings

In my previous blog post “using Google keyword planner effectively”,  I discussed how letting agencies can drive more landlords to their site. But if you’re an agency that is on the other end of the scale and you are looking at how to attract tenants to your website well then the approach is a little different.

What are the search terms that tenants use

Tenants search terms tend to be a lot simpler as they don’t tend to normally be bothered if they rent from a property management company, letting agency or landlord. They tend to mainly search through the portals and use terms such as “flats to rent in Fulham” . The search results that tenants normally use tend to be dominated by portals and dependent on location and if the search is generic  your letting agency website most likely will only ever get listed in the bottom half of the first page of results. This isn’t great as the stats will show 70% of clicks will be on the top half of the page.

How to improve your search return

You can improve your search return by being a little more specific in your listings and to use different sources of marketing. For example if your tenants search term is a little more specific you have a greater chance of returning on the first page. We can target these searches through long tail keywords  (In my previous blog I illustrated what long tail keywords were)  By listing your property on your own website with a full street or complex address in the page title, keywords etc its more likely to come up in the top half of search results.

Long tail property management keywords

Long Tail keywords a more detailed searcher

If your tenant was to look for a property within a specific complex or road within an area you are much more likely to appear on the top half if not 1st of the search returns. 

Example

Lets say a tenant was looking for an apartment on “Manchester Ave”, they may conduct a search such as “Manchester Ave apartment to let”. This gives you a much higher chance and ability to rank on the top half of search results.

How can you rank on top of the search terms

I would first of all recommend to use YouTube when advertising your properties. By recording a quick and informative property overview, uploading it and listing the property on your letting agency YouTube station with the location name in the video title, descriptive text and keywords you are much more likely to get to the top of search returns.

If fact type in “Manchester Ave apartment to let” into Google and you will see how I have done this with a very simple post. Not only does it come to the top half of the page but a video box displays showing that a video is there. As a result the searcher (tenant) will be drawn to the image.

attracting tenants to your agency

Tenants Database

If attracting tenants to your property management company is what you looking to do then its vital you store the tenants details in a database to use as more suitable properties come on the books. If you want a cutting edge tenants database for free I would be delighted to give you access to one just click here.

 

Landlord Marketing

Landlord Marketing with email drip campaigns

What percentage of your landlord website visitors today will contact you asking for information on your services? If you are not sure about a % I will make it simple how many landlords contact you daily looking for advice or inquiring about your services?

If the answer is 0% or more like 1 enquiry every couple of weeks you need to continue reading.

In my previous blog post on property management marketing trends I discussed how by blogging and educating your target market you can increase traffic to your site.

I discussed two types of visitors, landlords who want to educated themselves and landlords who want to employ your service.

landlord marketing

Thanks for the image ell-r-brown
The first landlord is the researcher

The majority of these visitors want education they are not YET looking to employ your services. In order to capture there contact information we need to give them something and as they are currently educating themselves the best thing I have learnt to give them so far is more educational resources. Much like you are on my blog now educating yourself on landlord marketing, landlords will hopefully be on your site educating themselves on the rental property industry.

The Second landlord is the employer

The other visitors to your website are most likely either researching companies to use now or in the future to let and or manage their property. You should already have call to actions within the site to capture there contact details. However some landlords may just browse now and come back later when they are ready to employ your services. This is a problem as in an ideal world you do not want to let any landlord leave without getting there details. So once again as above lets give them some free education on the property industry to confirm you are the agent to use and allowing you capture there contact details to market to them.

Email Drip Campaigns

Unsure what an email drip campaign is? Well you most likely have read it here first, drip email campaigns are a fabulous way to build trust with you or your agency. Drip marketing is a communication strategy that sends, or “drips,” a pre-written set of messages to customers or prospects over time.

If you look to the bottom right hand side of this page you will see my own email drip campaign which gathers 6% of all my website visitors.  If you want to see what happens once you sign up put in your email address 😉

Go on I guarantee you will be happy with what you get.

Your Website Stats

Look at your website stats and calculate if you converted 6% of your website visitors how many new landlords would that be weekly?

Lets say you get 100 landlords visiting your website weekly and you got 6% of them. That is 300 new landlords contact details in your landlord marketing funnel annually. If you only got 20% of them into a customer that’s 60 new properties on per year.

 

More Landlords = More Revenue

100 visitors a week -> 6% Sign up to Campaign -> x 52 weeks -> 312 New landlords in your marketing funnel -> Convert 20% as a customer ->62 new units -> Average fee £500 -> £31,000 New annual Revenue.

Benefits of Drip Campaigns

Marketing to landlords is a very targeted market and it’s difficult at times to market directly to them.

There is all the standard ways to conduct landlord marketing through direct marketing, cold calling landlords, email marketing to landlords, leaflet drops, landlord shows, property exhibitions, property auctions etc.

So are you still thinking of where to market to landlords?

If I can help in any way on setting up your landlord marketing email drip campaign please let me know as this is a service we provide.

Property Management Marketing Trends for 2014

Property management Marketing Trends

If your like most property management companies your most likely strategising on how you can reach the targets you have set your property management company this year.

If you are not and your looking to increase your profit on last year you should start to put targets in place now. The best way to increase your property management companies profits is through marketing.

Here is my 4 property management marketing trends that will help you increase your profit in 2014.

Property management marketing

1. Content Marketing

Your website visitors

This is the number one way potential landlords can find your property management business. There are two types of visitors you can attract to your website. The first is a customer who knows they want to employ your services to either let or manage their property. They normally enter search such as “ Property Management company in Dublin”. You should have your website already optimised for keywords in order to have some of these searches land on your website. If not learn more about letting agency SEO here. This type of search short tail keywords

Your second visitor is somebody who is looking to research a topic in order to get help. They are typically looking for an expert who can help them with a problem they have. In order to reach these potential customers you need to understand their problems, their pain points and write articles on how to best deal with these problems. Really what you are looking to show here is your domain knowledge and show them that they are better off employing you to resolve their issues. A typical search term may be “ finding tenants in Dublin”. The type of search term here is called a long tail Keyword.

What content to write about?

A really good starting point for understanding pain points being searched is by using Google Tools such as keyword planner. Here you can research how many times a month a short tail keyword or long tail keywords are being searched for. In order to write about this content and deliver it on your property management website you should install a blog. But do not get frightened by the thought, you have the knowledge in your head you just need to put in writing, Check out this guide to writing a property blog

 google property management

2. Google Apps

Last year I talked and blogged about this quiet frequently but I see that using Google tools will help your website visitors grow hugely this year. If your not using Google apps yet start immediately as I see these being key in property management marketing trends in 2014.

 Google Places

If you don’t have your Letting agency on Google Places put it on there right away, its quick and easy and you can have it up live in a couple of minutes.  Here is a post on set up your Property management company on Google Places

Google Local

Google places is the Yellow Pages of the internet. Once a visitor to Google searches a term such as “letting agent” and their IP is visible Google will automatically return local companies to the search. This is only possible by activating Google Places. Below is a typical local search return result

Local property management marketing

Google Reviews

Once you have listed Google places I would highly recommend asking customers to leave a brief review of your services. To see how to do this you can look at this post “Requesting a Google review”.

By requesting and building your reviews it will really help build the trust you will receive from new visitors to your site. I spoke about showing your domain knowledge with reviews you reinforce this knowledge. So now when you create content your visitors will see you know what you are talking about. Here is a previous blog post I wrote on Building Landlords trust

Google Authorship

Ever wonder when you do a search on Google why certain search returns show thumbnail images to the left? These images are avatars of the author of the article, by setting up Google Authorship on your content you are verifying with Google who the author is and that it is not spam. Google will show your posts higher within a search result once Google Authorship is set up. By including the image more visitors will be drawn into clicking on your webpage as it will stand out from that of other search results.

Google Authorship

3. Video

This should also appear under the Google Apps if you are going to use YouTube which is owned by Google, you will automatically use the same login for your apps as you will for YouTube.

Video Content Management

Video is fast becoming a major marketing force and if you are not going to use video you are going to get left behind. As above when I discussed becoming a domain expert video is the best way to come across as this expert.

If you have a Google account you can then set up your channel and link it through to your website. This is important in all of the Google apps and doesn’t change here. You are effectively telling Google that you are using this app for your website and in turn Google will improve your search ranking.

If you haven’t set up your channel yet see how to do it here Setting up your property management YouTube Station.

Property Marketing Video

Depending on your strategy in marketing properties you may want to look at video tours. Promoting a property through video is a great way to rank high for certain search terms for properties. And similar to above using video for certain keywords will return a video play screen within Google search results, this is the top way in getting instant clicks. Here you can see how to edit a property marketing video.

4. Call to Actions

Include steps 1 – 3 on to your website and I guarantee you will see a huge spike in your website traffic. The last piece in property management marketing trends is having an effective call to action.

The content on your property management website needs to confirm your domain knowledge as an industry expert in the property management field. Now that you have them on your site having reviews linked in as discussed will build trust so now you just need these landlords to contact you. All you need is their contact details to make a website visitor a high end lead.

Landlord Call to action

You can take a look this blog on letting agency website design for more ideas

Entry Forms

A simple and easy contact form which only requires name, email and phone number works best. Take a look at competitors sites and your own and if you have anything more than the above I am sure you are losing possible customers. You want to create as least friction as possible in order to get the landlords details. Expecting a potential landlord to copy and paste an email address into his email is not acceptable and only showing a landline number is the same. I personally am not a fan of  Captcha as so many people get them wrong and end up leaving in frustration. As the KISS acronym states Keep it Simple Stupid.

Analysis

Implement these property management marketing trends into your business today. The team at Rentview are happy to help and you can find more information on some of its property management software services here

How to show a property in 5 simple steps

show a property One question a letting agent or landlord may ask themselves is how to show property successfully. In an ideal world, the letting agent would simply open the door to a rental property and the features of the property would speak for themselves, thus leading to a successful letting.

However in reality, the letting market is flooded with properties, all with perceived positives and negatives. In short, the letting agent must put the ground work in to set the property on view apart from the competition!

I have listed below five key rules on how to show a property. These will ensure the tenant gets the best impression of the property, and also of the professional service the letting agent provides. Please read the rules below and put them into practice because as the great Roy Keane says, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

1. Be punctual for the viewing – arrive early!

When you are showing your rental property it is important that you arrive early for the viewing to make sure the place is presentable and to allow you to find your bearings in the property. There is nothing worse than arriving at the same time as the prospective tenant or worse, arriving late for an appointment.

If you are conducting viewings in the colder months, try to arrive a little early to put the heating and lights on so they are coming into a cosy well-lit property. Meet and greet your prospective tenants in a calm friendly manner, as this will put the tenants at ease when viewing. You may be under pressure for time, but remain calm! Remember first impressions last!

2. Clean and tidy property is essential!

Make sure the property is clean and tidy as first impressions of the property will most likely sway your tenant’s decision. Your prospective tenant must be able to visualise living in the property and with clutter lying around, it won’t feel like a blank canvas for the tenant to make their mark.

A good cleaning company can provide a deep clean of the property which is something your tenants will expect before moving in so get this sorted before you conduct your viewings to maximise the letting potential.

how to show a property

3. Know your property inside out!

It is so important to know the property inside out. Would you buy a car off a garage if the salesperson couldn’t tell you what size engine the car had, or what fuel it uses? All too often agents don’t familiarise themselves with the property leading to poor communication of the features and benefits.

Your tenants will have lots of different questions and if you are well prepared, you will be able to answer them there and then. This could be the difference between the tenant renting your property or the next one on their list.

Some questions tenants will ask:

  •  Is the cooker electric or gas operated?
  • What type of TV connection is available and can I bring my own satellite dish?
  • How much is the average electricity and gas bill?
  • What is the energy rating for the property?
  • How much for water charges, waste collection and council taxes?
  • Is the shower an electric shower and what is the pressure like?

4. Know the area  – local amenities

Some letting agents or landlords may not live in the locality or be too familiar with the local area. It is good practice to familiarise yourself with the local amenities including local schools, shops, sports and social clubs, transport routes or motorways etc.

Depending on the age group of the tenants, you can tailor your pitch to the relevant resources they may be interested in, e.g. information relevant to families would be schools and local clubs.

5. Have important documents at hand

Make sure you have all the relevant documents at hand for your prospective tenants to read or take away with them. This will speed up the decision of the potential applicant and prompt the tenant to accept your property as their new home.

Relevant Documents

  • Deposit receipt book
  • Application form
  • Copy of house rules (If the property is in an apartment complex)
  • Terms of rental and additional charges
  • Copy of Inventory

This blog is from my experience within the letting industry of how to show a property, from conducting thousands of showings. I hope you find it useful. This is the best way, in my opinion, of how to show a property. Please let me know if it makes your life easier!

 

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