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

 

 

10 Blog Topics For Letting Agents

What can I write on my letting agents blog?

This is a question which I get asked from my letting agency clients and visitors to my blog nearly on a daily basis. A lot of letting & estate agents are terrified by the thoughts of blogging,  but ask them to pitch a landlord over the phone and they are only falling over themselves to do it. So in this blog I will share some blog topics for letting agents to discuss.

What benefits can your agency get from blogging

Let me first of all start by saying that by blogging regularly you are going to increase the number of inbound enquiries from landlords significantly. This will result in your pitching to more landlords over the phone significantly 😉

How often Should you blog?

When I say regularly I’m not saying daily but I would highly recommend blogging at least every fortnight but preferably weekly.

What can letting agents can blog about

This is often the argument given when I suggest blogging to increase traffic to your letting agency website. So in an effort to encourage you to start blogging or blog more frequently. I have now put  together 10 subjects to blog about for letting agents;

Blog Topics for Letting Agents

1.  Businesses within the community – Any big employers coming to town? Why not write a blog topic on the employer with a spin for landlords to get excited about as it may push up yields. Also then put a spin on the most convenient living locations for tenants if they are relocating for employment to this company.  The number of employees that will search for rental property close to a work place is huge so this is also an excellent post for tenants.

letting agency blog topics

2. How you are currently ranking on portals– Here you could give a quarterly update on where your letting agency is ranking against local competition. Always look for an angel and make something positive out of what you are displaying. Most portals display rankings V’s other agents. Use screen shots etc here

Events happening within your target market – Discuss an upcoming event, visit an event take photos and discuss it. It is good to add additional content to your blog based on your target market area rather then just property, property, property. You can include property related content within the post also.

4. Location A v Location B (yields) – Look at two locations with similar listed for sale properties and look for units with similar prices in these areas. Now discuss the reason why one property achieves a higher rental and yield etc. This is good at targeting investor landlords searching for best yields etc. *Remember to use are keywords. You can find a good example of this type of blog post on Christopher Watkins blog.

5. Cover a charity event or sponsorship your company or staff are involved with – This is a great way to personalise the business , make sure to include photos of staff members.

6. Local News– Keep an eye out for local news that could be relevant to property. Its always good to have an opinion on something and linking back to a news article. I wouldn’t just copy and paste news as people do not want this. By all means research and take quotes etc but make the majority of the content in your own words (Google Love this)

local news sto

7. A funny property story – Why not write about something funny and or  strange that happened at a property viewing, during tenancy, move out etc. Maybe listing the top 5 funniest items left after a tenancy etc. Riskier content may get shared more and discussed online.

8. Educational piece – This is a good way to show your knowledge of the industry. Perhaps talk about taxation,  returns of deposit procedure etc. Make sure that you are not biased in your content directly towards landlords or tenants.

9. Local issues – Is there any campaign in place for a certain approval , planning etc? Whats your opinion on this and how will it affect the community etc. Always think of how it will affect the property market.

10. Recent local market trends – Rather then discussing the general markets being up, down etc talk about your local market. By using keywords of the areas you cover within your blog you are much more likely to attract organic search traffic.

Links to some relevant blogs on how to improve your property blog

Here is an excellent Webinar that Ian Cleary of RazorSocial held. The topis is on “How to get tons of traffic to your blog” I would highly recommend watching it and also checking out RazorSocials site for lots of other great content.

When your blogging its always worthwhile to use blog topics for letting agents that your target market is searching for. Check out this post on how to find out what your target market are searching for.

You might also find these external posts useful;

How to get traffic to your blog

Mistakes real estate agents make when blogging

 

How to use social media for your letting agency

Letting agency social Media

As you can read in lots of my blog topics both here and on my how to set up a letting agency blog I talk about social media a lot. There are many forms of social media and if used correctly it can help your letting agency or property management company create awareness with a very small budget.
Letting agency social media
I looked through a number of my own contacts within my social media circles for a good example of a letting agency who did exactly that and I think an excellent example is Domino Letting in Glasgow.
Introduction to Domino Letting
Established in 2010 by James Callaghan they have quickly risen up the rankings to become a recognised name within the letting and property management industry in Glasgow.
Not being based in Glasgow I can only say this from my knowledge of agents online in Glasgow and lets be real about it online is where its at…isnt it?

Interview with James Callaghan

james Callaghan
How long has Domino Lettings been in business?

– Formed in December 2010

How many units are you currently managing?

– Mid level sized agency

You have 7 tenant and landlord pledges which is definitely unique, it certainly personalises the site and makes your agency stand out. Is this something that your landlords and or tenants ever mention to you as the reason they choose to work with you or rent from you?

– Very much so. For landlords they’re not the sole reasons. Our reputation and 3 landlord guarantees lead that. For tenants though they provide a solid wall of assurance in an industry much maligned (sometimes fairly, sometimes not)

Your agency is one of the best agencies I have come across in the UK who uses social media well. Did you always plan on using social media?

– Certainly. I’m actually from a Technology background so very comfortable with new media and the power it holds. We’re also advocates of Inbound Marketing techniques and social media is an integral part of that. Didn’t we meet on such a medium ourselves?!?

 
What is your favourite social media you platform and why?

– Horses for courses. Twitter for pulse info, Pinterest for aesthetics, Facebook for consumers, G+ for the future. Of all though I would say LinkedIn is the medium that is most suited to my own role of company growth.

 
Your blogs and video blogs are very informative. Is your strategy in blogging to educate firstly and showcase your knowledge in the industry secondly?

– Exactly that. There’s a lot of mis-information in the Property world so Whiteboard Wednesdays helps scotch myths and empower landlords and tenants to make informed decisions. That this shows us as experts in our field is important, but secondary.

For you in terms of return on investment and that investment may be time as much as money what form of social media or marketing has been the best?

– I’m from a direct sales background so do prefer to see tangible and immediate results. For that reason, LinkedIn seems to yield the best return through my network and groups. However, we have signed business in the last few months with clients commenting that they first saw us on twitter, heard us on the radio, saw a To Let sign and then on an organic google search. All these contact points increased our brand awareness and brought the client to our door.

 
With regards to your blogging, after how long did you start seeing a return on investment?

– I find blogging to be more ambient rather than a direct lead generator. Clients seeing our blogs acts as one of the reasons they come with us as opposed to being the sole catalyst for an enquiry. It has definitely brought us indirect leads with the client being referred from someone who read a blog/saw a video.

What are your thoughts on Google apps and in particular Google Reviews?

– Controversial! Google reviews are excellent and powerful (in SEO terms) but unpoliced and wrongly weighted (a negative review gives positive SEO lift). We’re not a Google house so don’t use too many of their apps. Google+ may come to be something in the future but it’s hard to find the need for it at present.

 

Do you request reviews or do you allow landlords and tenants find this themselves?

– We soft request reviews on our email signatures but do ask clients to tell others if they’ve had a good experience with us. Word of mouth generated 74% of our business last year.

 
If there was one piece of advice that you would offer to another agency what would it be?

–          Don’t do it. The market is oversaturated…;-) The advice would be to be the best at what you do and then educate your market with any information you have that would help them to make an informed decision on buying you.

-End of interview

A big thanks to James for his time in sharing his knowledge, experience and success with us. If you are about to frantically go off and set up a Google places account, YouTube or facebook account then you should get knowledge from my blog posts.

How letting agents should use Facebook

Many letting agents and property management companies use Facebook but they do not use it correctly in my opinion. In a previous blog post on how letting agents should not use Facebook I discussed this and there reach. So now lets look at how letting agents should use Facebook.

Facebook Reach

To quickly summorise what Facebook reach is ” The total number of unique people who saw your content in their News Feed, ticker or on your Page” , this is really important for your account because lets face it your posting content to be seen.

Here are 5 ways how letting agents should use Facebook

1. Engage with your tenants.

I must admit I love how the guys over at Walton Robinson engage with tenants on their Facebook page. They take a picture of new tenants who collect keys for a property with their company logo and then tag them in the image. They are actually building their audience through their new tenants by asking them to like them. Then once they are tagged their friends congratulate them on the move etc. It appears their main tenant market is students, so by the students friends viewing the image they can see that the agency are student rental friendly.

TOP MARKS

Including tenants in your facebook pag

 2. Engage with your landlords

There is a couple of ways to do this and there is many companies that are good at it, I haven’t come across many letting agencies that do it great. (if your agency is on Facebook why not like our page and I can check you guys out) One company which I am a fan of is The City Bin Company.  They post testimonials on their website which promotes their main message as having excellent customer service. My opinion on this is that it encourages others to send similar positive messages. As more people like the posts the higher the reach of the post will become which feeds to more testimonials etc… Nice trend going 😉 Top Marks

Facebook testimonials letting agents

There is also a star rating widget that Facebook allow page visitors to rank. As your page fans or customers rank you with stars you get to show off your star ranking… Aim for 5 Stars.

Testimonials left from landlords on your Facebook page for your letting agency is a great way to build your portfolio.

Letting agents facebook stars

3. Engage through comedy

Facebook posts which hold an image is much more likely to get a thumbs up in the form of a like, a share or a comment etc and guess what this builds your reach. I must admit the guys over at The City Bin Co do this really well.

This particular post had over 100 shares and 150 likes so you could imagine what the reach is. Any coincidence they have over 7,000 fans.. I think not

funny property management facebook post

4. Ask questions through postings

Rather then just posting a status update and expect a like, post a question and expect a comment. By doing this you are engaging with your fans and opening up the possibility to conversation. Remember its called social media so make sure your social. If you want to bring the possibility of engagement up further include an image and post a question, this really works well once its original. Many property companies and portals post unusual and luxury images with a question to open engagement. Below is an image from the UK’s property portal NeedAProperty facebook page, as you can see this simple question got over 200 likes, over 20 shares and multiple comments.

Engaging letting agent Facebook comments

NB. Its very important to be creative here and looking up “luxury properties” on Google and posting them to your Facebook is not the most creative so don’t expect miracles.

TIP. I would highly recommend that once you are out taking marketing snaps of a property look for something quirky, unique or luxurious at your property. Take a picture, think of a witty comment along with a question and post it. This way you are opening engagement and listing a property.

Remember don’t just list every property you are marketing as your fans wont engage and your post reach will reduce.

5. Engage with other local businesses

If your in property your more then likely dealing with a specific locality, within this locality are a lot of other businesses. A high percentage of this population at some point will either be personally looking or have a close friend who is looking to rent or rent out a property. By engaging with other businesses in your locality your brand will start to be recognized by the community in your locality.

your letting community

NB. So its quite simple the more of a contributor you are to social media the more you will get from social media.

TIP. Look for other local businesses with a Facebook page, like the page and start engaging.

PLEASE don’t spam as its the quickest way your community will hesitate in connecting with you.

Facebook and social media should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Dont expect to receive a flood of calls over night but do expect if you things correctly to do more business in the near future.

How to use Google Keyword Planner for your property management company

Google Keyword planner for your property management company

Using Google keyword planner is an excellent way to start off your SEO strategy. Google Keyword planner allows you to see what search terms are being searched for on a monthly average. You can be very specific and break this down by regions such as country and county.

Generic property management Keywords

Image credit Michael Wolf
Who is your target market

The very first step in your SEO or SEM plan is to understand who your target market is.

If you are like most letting agents or property managers in any town or city you are most likely struggling to find new landlords and rental properties and have ample tenants on your tenant database. So if this is the case your target market should be landlords. Your content marketing within the site should be aimed at landlords

What are the search terms that landlords use?

Put yourself in the landlord’s shoes and type into Google what you think they would search for in order to employ a letting agency or property management company. As you do this make sure to localise it to a particular market so for example use “property Management London”, this is the type of term that a landlord would normally only search for. These search terms are called long tail keywords search terms and by using these within your site you are more likely to attract your target market.

Examples of Search terms

Below is a graph which illustrates search terms.

Property = 165,000 monthly searches. High volume monthly searches which can generate non qualified visitors. While this will look good on your Google analytics it wont look good when it comes to converting traffic to customers.

Property Management = 60,500 monthly searches. The visitor should be more interested in your service but if the visitor has a property in Newcastle and you operate in London then its not so good

Property Management London = 720 monthly searches. The visitor is most likely looking for a property management company in London and if this is the area you cover your visitor can convert into a customer.

Long tail property management keywords

 Examples of long tail keywords landlords use
  • Property management company in London
  • Management agent in London

If you wish to receive a full list of landlord search terms for your area please email andreas@rentview.com

TIP

In  a previous blog post I discussed writing content for your pocket not your ego, what I mean by this is do not try to write content just because it gets 165,000 searches a month.

Google Keyword Planner

Using Google keyword planner is an excellent way to start off your SEO strategy. Google Keyword planner allows you to monthly search volume of specific search terms. You can be very specific and break this down by regions such as country city, town etc.

Multiply Keywords

A really nice feature I am very fond of using is the multiply keywords section, here you can insert multiple keywords and include multiple areas. Google will then give you a return of average monthly search history assorted by volume, by having this detail you can then plan what content your property management or letting agency website should have in order to attract your target market.

Google Keyword planner

So if you are like most property management companies and letting agencies looking to make their letting agency website convert more landlords from visitors look at your long tail keywords.