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December 29, 2007

Cream Rises to the Top

Filed under: Real Estate Agents — sunnydayz @ 8:50 am

And so it does in the world of active Real Estate agents. As the market turns and the number of closed sales begins to dwindle, so does the number of active real estate agents. For the past 10 years, agents throughout the country have had continuous success in real estate sales by listing property, holding open houses, occupying “floor time” at the office, and lastly working their referral base. With prices beginning to settle, rates holding still, and inventory levels rising, that “continuous success” is a little more difficult to come by.

Agents are having to step outside of there daily routine and come up with new and improved ways to rise above the rest. Whether its developing an new website, hiring a marketing firm to flood the market with advertising, or joining partnerships with real estate related websites in hopes of generating internet leads, you, as an agent, must adjust accordingly to the prevailing market. According to the National Association of Realtors, state membership in the Realtor group is expected to decrease from 210,000 in 2006 to 185,000 this year. What are you doing to rise to the top?

Earn Instant Rapport at Your Open House

Filed under: Real Estate Agents — sunnydayz @ 8:50 am

As agents, we all know the importance of holding open houses on a weekly basis. Whether you’re representing the seller, or facilitating an open with the goal of generating buyer business, there are a few extra steps that can be taken to ensure you get the most out of your time. First and foremost, you must keep an open mind with an “It’s my pleasure” attitude throughout the entire shift. You never know when your next qualified buyer will walk through the door.

To begin, I would like to address the “set-up” of the open. While most agents specialize in a particular area, it helps to familiarize you with the neighborhood prior to discussing the inventory with potential buyers. I suggest pulling all of the active/pending/ and sold listings in the area. Buyers, even nosey neighbors are notorious for visiting the same area ever weekend in hopes of a new open house. When you begin conversation with a prospect, and the game, stump the agent rolls into play, it helps to be aware of the competition. Preview the comparable homes in the area so when you’re asked about similar floor plans around the corner, you can intelligently answer and earn instant bonus points. Know the current interest rates, know the average sold price, and lastly make sure you are aware of why the seller is selling. BUILD BUYER CONFIDENCE WITH KNOWLEDGE.

When it comes to being prepared with literature for the clients, the last thing you want to do, is give it all away upfront. Bring the following items with you, but make sure they don’t grow legs and walk out the door:

  1. Full property listing including completed disclosure packet. Should you have a party excited about the home, it always helps to disclose any negatives about the property while the adrenaline is still running high rather then later once the enthusiasm wears off.
  2. Comparable listings in the area/inventory

  3. Current rate sheet from a preferred lender

  4. Neighborhood/HOA information

  5. Homebuyer Booklet

As for the handouts, ALWAYS print the property flyer in color, set them in a flyer box, and place them in the best room of the house. In the same area, keep you clipboard with the Open House Roster along with a nice/new pen in reach. Offer bottled water and a crumb-free snack so the visitor feels more “at home”. Once they complete a walk through of the house, offer your assistance in answering any questions and then lastly ask “What may I do to earn your business today? Great, thank you for the opportunity. It was my pleasure.”

Working with Buyer’s on an Exclusive Basis…….

Filed under: Real Estate Agents,Working with Buyer's — susanlutz @ 8:50 am

As a Buyer’s Specialist, there is nothing more discouraging then receiving that Monday morning voicemail from a client you’ve been working with for the past few months, stating, “Oh my gosh, Bob and I found a home over the weekend from an open house that we drove by, and we placed an offer.The agent who was there, said that if we wrote the offer through him, he’d be able to get us a great deal.Isn’t that awesome?Aren’t you happy for us?”Am I happy for you??Not so much…..

This has happened to me one too many times, shortly after being burned, I began taking the advice of my manager and insisted on only representing buyer’s who would make a commitment in writing to working with me and only me.Our time as agents is too valuable to be considered a “weekend tour guide” who is tossed aside the second the buyer gets wrapped-up in finding a deal.I’ve been utilizing the Buyer Broker Agreement for the past 4 years now, and let me tell you, my peace of mind alone is worth every objection I get thrown when pitching the concept.

Here’s how it works, I prompt the buyer on the phone prior to them coming into the office for the initial consultation.I simply state, “I work with a selective group of no more then 5 buyers at a time.Last week, I opened escrow with one and so in turn I’m looking to fill that opening.Why don’t we schedule a time to come down to my office so we can talk about how the home buying process works as well as how I work.”Offer weekdays or weekends? Days or nights? And two specific days?Always give 2 options, this will eliminate the opportunity for the buyer to reply with a “No” response.

During your appointment, after reviewing the buyer’s wants and needs, before you go into the home buying process, it is time to pitch your interest in working together on a committed level. I’ll share the script I use, take what you like, and leave the rest…..

“I believe I mentioned to you on the phone that I limit myself to working with no more then 5 buyer’s at a time on a committed level so that I’m not spread to thin and can give each one of them my undivided attention.

Why don’t I tell you how I work, and then you can make a determination if that works for you.I’m a Buyer’s Specialist, meaning I only work with buyers.I don’t list homes for sale, I don’t do loans, and I never represent the seller.I’ve focused for years on toning my skills when searching and locating property of interest, negotiating the best possible price and terms, and lastly keeping continuous contact once the escrow has closed in hopes of referral business.With that said, there are two things I ask of the buyer’s I work with:

Number one, while we work together, we only work together, and make a commitment to that.Typically, we don’t like to make a commitment for more then 60-90 days.This gives us a chance to see if we both feel comfortable in working together.I’ll be more then happy to schedule a half-day of showings, prior to making a commitment, so we know we’re on the same page, if you’d like.

Number two, as we view homes, I need you to be as specific as possible regarding the things you like and dislike about the properties (For example….).This enables me to narrow down the properties that won’t work, and forward you the properties that will work based on the feedback you’ve given me.

Does that sound fair to you?

Based on the information I’ve provided you, would you feel comfortable working together on a trial basis for 60-90 days?”

That’s it.It’s as simple as internalizing the script, practicing over and over again, and then slowly but surely begin implementing it in your business….Trust me, once you have the option of taking a day off without worrying if it will not result in loosing a buyer to another agent, you’ll never leave the office with out it.Good luck.

Will there be Success in Discount Real Estate Brokers??

Filed under: Internet News,Real Estate Agents — sunnydayz @ 8:50 am

As the housing market fluctuates, so does the number of discount brokers who have come and gone over the last few years. Lending Tree recently released a statement notifying the community of 440 company lay-offs. With this spokeswomen Rebecca Anderson stated, “This decision was a proactive move to adapt to the current market.”

Anderson declines to break down how many employees will lose their jobs in each city. Affected employees will receive severance packages and outplacement services, she says. The layoffs come in the wake of Tom Reddin’s departure as chief executive of the business. Reddin surprised even his corporate superiors last month, announcing he would retire effective May 7 to spend more time with his family.

In recent months, we have also seen a Southern California Brokerage, I-Pay-One float in and out of bankruptcy, another discount broker who facilitates real estate transactions for no more than 1% commission. Help-U-Sell assists home buyers in For Sale By Owner type transactions at a reduced commission. In the heat of the market Help-U-Sell flooded the country with office grand-openings all over and now it seems like the doors are closing quicker then opening.

To the newly established Redfin, a discount brokerage based strictly on buying and selling via the internet, I wish you the best. Based on the track record of similar business models, you have a tough road ahead of you.

In a transitioning market, creativity is a MUST!

Filed under: Real Estate Agents — sunnydayz @ 8:50 am

Do the creative real estate financing techniques you hear about really work? Yes and no. They likely have all worked somewhere for someone at least once. The important point is to understand the principles involved, so you can find your own creative ways to invest in real estate. Here are ten methods to get you thinking.

1. Use hard money lenders. Ask around or find these online. These lenders specialize in short-term loans at high interest. Typically, you use this type of financing for a “fix and flip.” You can get the money fast, and if you make $30,000 on a project, who cares if you paid $10,000 interest in six months?

2. No-doc or low-doc loans. With these loans, no (or low) documentation of your income or credit is required. You can find banks that do these online now. You’ll only be able to borrow 70% to 80% of the purchase price or property value. However, if you have 10% in cash, you might be able to borrow the other 10% or 20% from a friend or the seller.

3. Seller financing help. Sometimes a bank will loan you 90%, and allow the seller to take back a second mortgage from you for 5%, leaving you needing only 5% for a downpayment.

4. Land contract or “contract for sale.” Called other names as well, this just means the seller lets you make payments, and delivers the title upon payment in full.


5. Credit card advances. Suppose a seller will take $10,000 down on a fixer-upper that you expect to make $20,000 on. Why not use credit cards? If your card limits allow for repair money too, this is a true 0-down deal for you, and if you turn the project in six months, you will have paid maybe $1,000 or $2,000 in interest on an 18% credit card. Don’t let $1,000 get in the way of making $20,000.

6. Use your retirement accounts. The laws are pretty complex in this area, but you can check with a tax attorney to see how you might borrow from your own retirement account to finance real estate investments.

7. Borrow from friends and family. If you go this route, keep it all business. In any cae, loaning you money at 7% isn’t a gift if their money is getting 2% in the bank.

8. Use real estate note buyers. Suppose the seller needs cash. He raises the price, and sells to you for $100,000 with no money down, taking back two mortgages from you for $90,000 and $10,000. He arranged (or you did) for a note buyer to pay him $80,000 cash for the first mortgage at closing, getting him the cash he wanted. You pay two payments now, one to each note holder, but you got in with no money down.

9. Borrow on another property. If you take out a home equity loan for a vacation, and then forget to use it for that, you can later use the money for the downpayment on an investment property, without violating the rules of the bank that gives you the primary mortgage. In other words, you got in with no cash of your own.

10. Start partnerships. For bigger projects, you could arrange for five investors to each put money into a partnership, with your share being the management responsibility instead of cash.

Are home-builders listening to the market??

Filed under: Home Builders,New Constuction,Real Estate Agents — sunnydayz @ 8:50 am

You better believe it! Keeping in mind, Frogman’s posting regarding the possibility of home-builders facing bankruptcy….. With inventory levels rising, and interest rates staying consistent, new home builders are pulling out all of the stops in hopes of “un-loading” their remaining inventory.

Builder’s are offering different buyer loan incentives as an appeal to set themselves aside from the competition. They offer covering costs to “Buy-Down” the rate and lower the buyer’s monthly mortgage. Builder’s are also offering to cover any non-recurring and/or recurring closing costs for a certain length of time. This includes paying months or even years of HOA fee’s and taxes, upon lender approval.

Some builder’s are beginning to again roll-out the popular “Builder Trade-In” programs. Developed in the early 90’s, this program assists builders with the sale of their new homes or condos by arranging for them to take the buyers’ existing homes in trade. In a marketplace where houses are slow to sell, builders’ contingent buyers are sometimes unable to close escrow on new homes. This program creates a device to turn the builders’ contingent sales into non-contingent sales.

Realizing time is of the essence; home builders are becoming more and more willing to color outside of the purchase agreement lines. With this said, as a buyer, it is essential to have your own representation when buying a new home. Someone who is familiar with the different incentives and what each has to offer, someone who can provide you with all of the facts and figures so you can make a wise decision. As an agent, it is crucial to be aware of the pros and cons for each offering, and be able to read between the lines in order to represents your client’s best interest.

Overcoming Objections in Sales

Filed under: Real Estate Agents — sunnydayz @ 8:50 am

Anyone in sales can relate to this….. We’ve all heard the objection, “I’m interested in what you have to offer, but I think I’d like to wait for awhile before making a decision.” In the real estate world, “I’d like to wait” can mean a matter of not closing a potential buyer for weeks, months, or even years. How do we as sales-agents create urgency in our buyers so they don’t have the inclination to drag there feet in making a commitment???

Lets brainstorm and come up with a few ideas of how to address potential objections and create urgency for our buyers to push up the process. First and foremost, we need to uncover what the real objection is. Why do you feel they need to wait? There’s a sales tactic used to do just this, it’s referred to as “going 3-deep”. So often buyer’s have hidden doubts or concerns when it comes to making a financial decision and without prying the challenge out of them, you won’t know what you’re really up against. So we take the tactic of asking three questions or “going 3-deep” to begin unraveling the real issue:

~ What is it that’s holding you back from making a decision on this home or condo

?

Simply ask what the deal is. Buyers will appreciate the fact that you acknowledge there’s a challenge and most will share it with you.

~ Really……why is that?

You now know the objection, so we need to establish how it came about. The majority of the time, the objection is a misunderstanding that can be clarified with a few simple facts and/or figures given to the buyer.

~ Okay…….so how can we overcome that?

Should the objection be more complicated then a misunderstanding, ask the buyer what “we” can do to overcome the challenge. I express “we”, because it will give the buyer a sense of comfort, they will realize you on their side and not the sellers.

Once you’ve addressed any hidden concerns, if the buyer is still not willing to move forward, it’s time to start creating urgency. Depending on the product you’re selling, establish at least 3 reasons why it would be a benefit to the buyer if they buy now vs. later. What’s the “You-Benefit”? This is how my product will benefit you…. Can you see how this would benefit you and your family? The buyer may not have taken into consideration one or two of the benefits you bring to there attention, which may in turn motivate them to move forward.

“Going 3-deep” and establishing the “You-benefit” are just two proven sales tactics that assist agents in closing the deal. Take what you like, and leave the rest. Let’s sell some condos!

Find An Agent Launches!!

Filed under: Real Estate Agents — FISH @ 8:50 am

The long awaited “Find An Agent” Launched today on www.newcondosonline.com. Check it out here: http://www.newcondosonline.com/agents/

Sponsored by our Partner Transunion, this new section of our website allows real estate agents to get free exposure for themselves and their listings. Ther service will be free for the next few months, so sign up while you can. TransUnion will be helping us to spread the word about this new section to millions across the country and we thank them for their support in this effort. A Special thanks goes out to Stephen Walker of TransUnion. www.newcondosonline.com continues to be the largest and most visited website in the new condo advertising industry and we now welcome real estate agents to participate in our community. More features are still to come so stay tuned!

Offering Foreclosure Info to Spark Interest

Filed under: Foreclosures,Home Buyers,Real Estate Agents — sunnydayz @ 8:50 am

In a housing market of rising foreclosure rates, brokers are beginning to utilize the “foreclosure hype” as a tactic to generate and capture new buyers.This morning I was reading the San Diego Union Tribune (Homes section), when I noticed a banner reading “San Diego Foreclosures” and “How to get started”.In my paperless environment, I clicked on the “How to get started” option and I was directed to a screen which advised the following:

In a housing market of rising foreclosure rates, brokers are beginning to utilize the “foreclosure hype” as a tactic to generate and capture new buyers.This morning I was reading the San Diego Union Tribune (Homes section), when I noticed a banner reading “San Diego Foreclosures” and “How to get started”.In my paperless environment, I clicked on the “How to get started” option and I was directed to a screen which advised the following:

Distress Sales resulting from bank foreclosures often represent a great way to get a fantastic deal on a home. It’s not easy for the average homeowner to find these deals, because you have to keep scouring the paper to see when one comes up.

If you’re the type of person who recognizes what a great deal some of these properties could represent, you will be interested to know about a new free computerized service which automatically searches out and downloads a current list of all such properties day in and day out. When you receive this free, no obligation service, you’re automatically plugged in to the most current list of Foreclosure Properties on the market, in the price range and area that interests you. This FREE service every week will save you a lot of research and running around.

Sounds great right?A no-brainer??If you have ever experienced the process of purchasing a distressed property, you know this is no walk in the park.To begin, once a property reaches the state of “foreclosure” it is a bank-owned asset.All negotiations are made with a representative whom has a black and white protocol of what to offer, what to accept, and what to walk away from.Along those same lines, most foreclosures are sold “as-is”, meaning what you see is what you get, no repairs will be made to the property.Plain and simple, there is no negotiating with the bank.

If you are interested in finding a similar deal, you’re best bet is to find a home in process of foreclosure, but that hasn’t actually foreclosed.This is referred to as, Notice of Default, it is the step prior to bank repossession.By obtaining a list of NOD’s, you can make an attempt to save a seller from the disaster of repossession and more importantly negotiate price, terms, and repairs in your behalf.It’s a much safer way to stay on top of the market and proceed with everyone’s interest in mind.You can obtain a Notice of Default list from any real estate agent who has a relationship with a title company.

****Information in Para 2,3 provided by San Diego Union Tribune, June 6, 2007Distress Sales resulting from bank foreclosures often represent a great way to get a fantastic deal on a home. It’s not easy for the average homeowner to find these deals, because you have to keep scouring the paper to see when one comes up.

If you’re the type of person who recognizes what a great deal some of these properties could represent, you will be interested to know about a new free computerized service which automatically searches out and downloads a current list of all such properties day in and day out. When you receive this free, no obligation service, you’re automatically plugged in to the most current list of Foreclosure Properties on the market, in the price range and area that interests you. This FREE service every week will save you a lot of research and running around.

> Sounds great right?A no-brainer?If you have ever experienced the process of purchasing a distressed property, you know this is no walk in the park.To begin, once a property reaches the state of “foreclosure” it is a bank-owned asset.All negotiations are made with a representative whom has a black and white protocol of what to offer, what to accept, and what to walk away from.Along those same lines, most foreclosures are sold “as-is”, meaning what you see is what you get, no repairs will be made to the property.Plain and simple, there is no negotiating with the bank.

If you are interested in finding a similar deal, you’re best bet is to find a home in process of foreclosure, but that hasn’t actually foreclosed.This is referred to as, Notice of Default, it is the step prior to bank repossession.By obtaining a list of NOD’s, you can make an attempt to save a seller from the disaster of repossession and more importantly negotiate price, terms, and repairs in your behalf.It’s a much safer way to stay on top of the market and proceed with everyone’s interest in mind.You can obtain a Notice of Default list from any real estate agent who has a relationship with a title company.

****Information in Para 2,3 provided by San Diego Union Tribune, June 6, 2007

100 Agents for Find an Agent and Growing

Filed under: Real Estate Agents — FISH @ 8:50 am

Find an Agent has only been active a few days and already over 100 agents have signed up. We already had 3 calls yesterday from agents thanking us for the service because they already secured new clients from their ad. Go sign up now or search for an agent.

http://www.newcondosonline.com/agents/


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