Agent Advisor Blog


Read about the latest market trends, see unique listings, and get tips and advice for selling Australian real estate.

5 ways to protect your business from hackers

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5 ways to protect your business from hackers

Recent global ransomware attacks and the hacking of a Perth real estate agency, show just how damaging online hackers can be for businesses and are a timely reminder of the importance of effective cyber security.

The Perth hacking incident resulted in online scammers flooding the market with fake rental ads for properties below market value, where they would scam unwitting renters for personal and financial details via the listing email address.

While it is not possible to 100 per cent protect yourself from hackers, you can take practical steps to reduce your chances of being targeted.

Here are five ways to minimise the risk of your company being vulnerable to hackers and to better protect your data.

Keep up to date

Regularly updating or setting up automatic updates for operating systems (OS) and apps on all your home and office computers and mobile devices is one of the best lines of defence against cyber-attacks. Malicious software and hackers typically exploit vulnerabilities in outdated OS and programs, so be vigilant in checking for updates so you have the latest and greatest software defence in place. 

Password safeguards

Extra precautions with your passwords to improve cyber safety include:

1. Regularly changing your passwords.

2. Not using the same password more than once or across multiple accounts. Use a password manager such as LastPass and 1Password to keep tabs on all your different passwords.

3. Creating strong and unique passwords that cannot be easily guessed. Include numbers, symbols, and lower and upper case letters to create a strong password.

4. Never send login details via email or save them to a document.

5. Protect your wifi network with an encrypted password.

6. Always have a passcode enabled on your phone and tablet. The longer it is the better.

Up authentication

Enable two-step authentication to your email, social media and any other online accounts that support it. This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a username, password as well as an additional piece of information (like a SMS security code or one from a code generating app) that only you can access before you can login, making an attack even more difficult for a hacker.

Get protection

Install and keep anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware software up to date. Take your cyber security to the next level by installing a web application firewall, which blocks hacking attempts and filters out spammers and malicious bots from entering your server. 

Back up often

Last but not least, in case something does slip through the net, give yourself and your business peace of mind by backing up all your data frequently on a server or external hard drive. 

At the end of the day protecting yourself from hackers comes down to a bit of common sense. If you receive a suspicious email or email attachment and are unsure where it has come from just don’t open it. It’s not worth the risk.

Happy selling!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Doreen real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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4 rules to generate more referral business

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4 rules to generate more referral business

With the popularity of websites such as Zomato, TripAdvisor and Product Review there’s no doubt that consumers these days are taking a lot of stock in other people’s opinions and recommendations.

Quick stats:

So, one of the best walking and talking advocates and advertisements you can have for your business are all of your satisfied clients and everyone they tell about you. Here are four rules to follow to drum up referral business.

Rule #1: Give them reason to refer you.

If a client is going to refer you to their family, friends and associates you will need to give them full confidence in their endorsement of you.

Build this confidence by working hard to disprove vendors’ common held top three pet peeves with agents. Deliver exceptional customer service through sharing data and knowledge transparently, keep clients in the loop throughout the entire buying/selling process and follow through efficiently on all promises.

If something does go wrong apologise, respond quickly and work hard to resolve the issue keeping the client informed every step of the way. This will go a long way to proving your dedication to customer satisfaction and increase their willingness to recommend you to others.

Rule #2: Ask and remind at the right time.

When it comes to building up a strong referral business you need to be proactive and persistent with requesting referrals.

The best moment to ask for referrals is any time you deliver excellent service or you exceed a client’s expectations, as they’ll be more receptive and open to helping you.

For example, ask for referrals from sellers just before the home sale goes through while you’re still actively engaged with them and they’ll be at their most enthusiastic and positive about the experience.

Delight clients by sending a simple housewarming gift after they move in to their new home with a card thanking them for their business and requesting referral business if they know anyone in need of your services.

You also need to regularly follow up with past clients as they may not have known anyone when you worked with them in need of an agent, but it’s more than likely they will a few months or years down the track.

Rule #3: Make it super easy.

Make sending you a referral for present and future clients as simple and easy as possible, otherwise even your most satisfied clients won't be bothered.

Start by creating a template on your website for clients to fill out and submit their testimonials to you with the capability to share it out on their social networks.

Leave a couple of business cards and fridge magnets with your clients for them to pass on to others who may need your service in the future.

Have a downloadable ‘What do I do?’ PDF on your website outlining your specialties and the reasons why people should work with you that people can easily pass along.

Link to your Premier Agent showcase in your email signature so that current clients can see examples of other reviews to get ideas for how they can also go about describing their positive experiences with you to others.

Rule #4: Show appreciation to referrers.

Showing appreciation for customer reviews and referrals is key to getting your referral business to snowball.

A savvy roundabout way to get clients into a referral mindset for yourself is if you know they run a business of their own to send a referral their way. They will surely appreciate the gesture and be likely to reciprocate.

A simple thank you card or phone call is good to aim for per referral to acknowledge and reward the referrer. If you have one specifically loyal client that sends you several referrals over the years you may want to show your gratitude with a small gift.

For more advice on how to ask for referrals look at these example scripts as a guide for what to say and when to say it.

Happy selling!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Doreen real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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4 tips to get more leads from your website

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4 tips to get more leads from your website

The appearance, content and features of your website will have a direct impact on the amount of leads you get out of it.

You should think of your website as a digital office that’s always open and working for you 24/7 to represent your success and grow your business.

Here are our top tips towards turning your website into one of your best lead generation tools.

Frequent updates

A lot of agents make the mistake of viewing their website as a marketing tool you can just set and forget. But one of the best ways to draw more traffic and new clients to your website is by frequently updating it with new and relevant content for your target audience.

One of the simplest ways of doing this is by starting up a blog. Whether this involves reviewing your favourite local brunch spots or doing an in-depth analysis of local house prices, constantly putting up fresh content about your service areas will go a long way to ensuring your website pops up nearer the top of search engine results.

A well written and considered blog is also a great opportunity to illustrate your areas of expertise, passion and knowledge of your local market. Think about what kinds of information your target buyers might benefit from i.e. community events, your top 5 streets for families or upcoming planned development for the area. Cater to sellers by publishing a monthly or bi-monthly recently sold report or a step-by-step guide to preparing your home for sale.

Make your listings the star

Typically, buyers and sellers visiting your website are in search of listings. So, you should make it especially easy for them to gain access to them, get the info they need and leave an enquiry for when they’re ready to move forward.

Feature listings front and centre on your homepage in a rotating gallery with the address, hero image, price guide and general home specs prominent. Better yet, have different galleries for brand new listings, recently sold and the latest upcoming open for inspections and auctions, so users can find what they need at a glance.

Image: Ray White City Precinct Brisbane Homepage

Image: Ray White City Precinct Brisbane Homepage

You should also have an easy to use search feature for clients looking for a specific listing. Once they do go through to your listing page be sure to include well-written and detailed listing descriptions, high quality images and video tours to showcase the professionalism you provide sellers when advertising their home. Don’t forget the all-important enquiry or request appraisal form or button so motivated seller and buyer leads can easily get in touch.

Keep them coming back

In marketing, it is often a case of persistence pays off. Explore options to remarket your business, such as Adwerx, to target people who have previously visited your site by advertising yourself or your listings on other popular websites they subsequently use. Remarketing is a great way to reinforce your brand and become known by locals and people thinking about moving to or selling in your neighbourhood as the go-to agent.

Also offer special insights to people that register to create an account on your website. Give them incentives to sign up such as opting in to receive your newsletter, to get customised property alerts and local market reports exclusively for VIPs. From their alerts, search habits and saved listings you’ll have loads of valuable information to use to convert these people into clients. They’ll be especially impressed when you follow up with personalised and relevant communications based on their search criteria and pages viewed on your site.

Image: LJ Hooker Tully

Image: LJ Hooker Tully

Sell yourself

Today’s consumers put a lot of faith in online reviews and ratings before trying any new product or service, and selecting a real estate agent to work with is no exception. So, it’s very important to provide potential clients with evidence of your special skills and exactly what you can do for them in the form of client testimonials and reviews on your website.

Use the client testimonial section of your site to show potential clients exactly why you’re the best fit for their real estate needs. Seller testimonials are particularly important to show future clients why and how your client-focused service is different from the next agent.

To up the lead generating potential of your website you need to embrace new technology and have user centred design and needs in mind. A great example would be Homely Ads, a disruptive new advertising platform for Australian real estate agents.

For more ways to improve your business take a look at these 20 ways to get more leads and grow your business, your 3 step lead conversion strategy and 10 ways to generate more leads in autumn.

Happy selling!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Doreen real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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How to delight clients & keep them coming back

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How to delight clients & keep them coming back

We all know that return business and referrals are the lifeblood of the most successful real estate agents and businesses.

It’s always good to remind ourselves that during your career buyers will eventually become sellers and sellers will become buyers in a continuous loop. So why not take every opportunity you can to impress and leave a lasting impression on all your clients to encourage return business.

Be responsive

It’s so important not to leave any potential clients hanging. While I was house hunting, I lost count of the number of times I would fill in an online enquiry form for a property and hear nothing back from the agent or they’d get back to me with a brief email a week later. This really isn’t a good look for their time management and customer service skills, especially when time is of the essence and buyers are trying to plan their weekend inspections and auction itinerary.

Set yourself a timeframe for which you aim to get back to all new leads and online enquiries by. This may be within 30 minutes, an hour or maybe even 12 hours of receiving the lead, you probably have a realistic idea of what will be achievable for you and your workload.

It’s a good idea to set up auto replies to your emails, so even if you’re really busy the new client will receive confirmation that their message has been received and you’ll get back to them shortly.

Taking the time to make a phone call for enquiries is the best way to introduce yourself to potential clients and start building up rapport and trust. Another advantage of the phone call follow up is you’ll be able to qualify them so much more easily from their tone of voice and willingness to have a chat compared to email and text message conversations.

Be helpful

One great way to leave a strong impression on clients is to assist them in every way you possibly can from the beginning right through to the end of your business transaction.

Show off your local market knowledge and willingness to be helpful early on at open for inspections by putting together and sharing a property report with clients. Include suburb demographics, an amenities map, comparable recent sales and median prices, basically anything that will help a buyer feel better informed and more confident to buy the property.

Assist vendors with presenting their home at its best by introducing them to a home staging, Feng Shui or decluttering professionals. They'll be impressed by not only your industry connections, but how you have their best interests in mind to achieve the best outcome possible.

Help both vendors and buyers with their moving arrangements by endorsing a reputable local moving company that you have worked with in the past. You could even negotiate a special rate for your clients with a local mover in exchange for referring them a lot of business.

For buyers planning on renovating their new purchase or sellers wanting to renovate before selling, you should have a contact list of local tradies to assist them with organising the reno.

Be appreciative

One of the most valuable ways to delight clients is to show your gratitude for their business in the form of a thoughtful gift. This doesn’t have to be anything spectacular or too expensive for your business. The more customised the gift the better, but a card and a bottle of bubbly is always nice if you’re unsure what to get.

Perhaps the clients mentioned they will be renovating their new home, so a Bunnings voucher would be greatly appreciated. Maybe they talked about their love of gardening so a nice plant or tree seedling would be a nice present for their new garden. Better yet, go above and beyond the call of duty and show up on moving day with a pizza and the gift in hand.

A week after I moved into my new place it was so nice to find a beautiful housewarming party starter pack hamper with a personalised thank you card on my front doorstep from Chisholm & Gamon congratulating us on our purchase. It contained locally sourced yummy nibbles, a timber cheese platter and a bottle of champagne. So classy! It’s unexpected surprises like this that people will remember and tell others about when they're in need a real estate agent.

Don’t forget to nurture existing emotional connections with your client base to incite long term return business. Fun ways to follow up and keep in touch with old clients is to send them birthday or Christmas cards, Easter eggs or an anniversary gift of the purchase/sale date.

Having consistent and responsive communication, going out of your way to be extra helpful and surprising clients with a closing gift will put you on the right path to teeing up return business for years to come.

Happy selling!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Sandgate real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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What makes a good real estate CRM?

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What makes a good real estate CRM?

Real estate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a must-have for any agency that wants to compete in the modern world. The benefits go far beyond quick and easy access to your client data. Now, CRMs have become so brainy they can automate plenty of the administrative grunt work, foster better follow-up, track KPIs, manage financials and commissions, boost your prospecting reach - the list goes on. Think of them as less of a database, and more of a personal assistant.

But as fantastic as CRMs are, it can be hard to decide on the right one for your agency. There are now around half a billion fractionally different models out there, with another two or three million being launched every week. Personally, I struggle to decide which variety of toothpaste I want, let alone pluck the right CRM to run my entire business out of this almost infinite hat. So how do you make the right decision?

There are a few factors you can look for to separate the wheat from the chaff. While most CRMs usually have similar standard sets of identical functionality, not all will help take your real estate agency to the next level. Here are three things you need to take into consideration before you decide on which CRM is going to help boost your business now and in the future.

Mobility

A lot of agents think of CRMs as stuffy old relics from the Windows 95 era. Software that does nothing but anchor them to their desk. Fair enough. A lot of CRMs are exactly that and that lack of mobility can really get in the way of your agency’s productivity.

In fact, we surveyed 400 agents about their working habits outside of the office, and some of the results were pretty surprising. Turns out agents spend, on average, 60 per cent of their time out of the office. Yet only 27 per cent are really happy with how efficient they are when working remotely. ‘Why’, you ask? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that when we asked agents what information tools they take into the field, the most popular response was a ‘notepad and pen’.

If you're paying the big bucks for a great CRM to power your agency, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s accessible to agents for their full working day. The most valuable data is going to come from the interactions they have when they’re out and about - not sitting at their desks. Make sure the CRM you choose is cloud based, and has a mobile application.  

Integrations

Integrations allow software tools to ‘talk’ with one another. This is hugely beneficial. Let’s say you use something like Open House ID to register OFI attendances, for example. You don’t want to have to manually re-enter all those names and phone numbers into your database at the end of the day, do you?

Image: Open House ID

Image: Open House ID

Instead, choose a CRM that can integrate with other software tools. That way, it’ll be able to automate the tedious data entry for you.

Information from all the software tools you use every day - payroll tools, contract auto-fillers, CoreLogic, etc - can be shared back and forth with your database to seriously lighten the administration load you need to carry. Forms and contracts can be automatically filled out with the right information. Historical property data can be pulled into your CRM directly from PriceFinder or CoreLogic. The possibilities are endless.

Computers are supposed to make our lives easier, after all and what’s the point of a database if you can’t use the data in it easily? Make sure the CRM you choose can integrate with the other tools you already use.

Great user experience

While it might not be the first thing on your mind, the look and feel of the CRM you decide to go with is just as important as what it can do.

‘User experience’ is a new school of design spearheaded by the likes of Facebook and Google. Basically, it refers to the challenge of making sure the software’s interface is as easy and intuitive for the user as possible. After all, if people don't enjoy using your software - or find it difficult to understand - they’re quite frankly not going to bother at all. That’s a problem no amount of office memos is going to fix.

A great user experience is doubly important in a service industry like real estate. If you want to foster the best relationships with all your clients, you need to store a lot of data. If agents aren’t bothering to track their interactions with clients and leads because their database is confusing or ugly, invaluable insights are lost for good - and with them, potential business.

When you’re choosing your real estate CRM, you’re looking for a cross between Google and Helen of Troy. Make sure it’s something you’ll want to use everyday - not another chore.

For more tips and tools to boost your productivity take a look at the best CRMs for agents, what's new in real estate tech and seven handy apps for agents

Author bio:

Jackson Hills works for Rex; a real estate software company based in Brisbane. He writes about real estate technology, and how new tools can help agents stay relevant in a changing world. You can read more of his work on their blog.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Corinda real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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The best CRMs for real estate agents

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The best CRMs for real estate agents

Every agent knows a good customer relationship management system (CRM) is an invaluable and powerful tool for managing and growing their business.

By allowing agents to streamline the running of their client database, the best CRMs save agents time by taking the headache out of listing uploads and client communication, and hopefully in the process improve client satisfaction and sales productivity.

Using a CRM is essential to implementing your marketing strategy, systematically staying on top off potential clients you meet and most importantly prospecting.

As a foundation of day-to-day management and long term business development it is crucial to select the best CRM for you. When comparing CRMs for real estate there are four critical pillars to look at, including:

  1. Interface
  2. Features
  3. Training and support
  4. Security

If you feel as though your current CRM isn’t cutting it or you’re wanting to upgrade to a new system, here’s our comparison of five functional CRMs for real estate agents to help inform your choice.

LockedOn

Interface-

  • Cloud and web based software
  • Mobile capabilities (iPad app)
  • Easy to navigate dashboard
Image: garydavidhall.com

Image: garydavidhall.com

Features-

  • One click listing submission (to real estate portals, social media and agency website)
  • Vendor reporting & vendor portal
  • Pre-loaded follow up action plans
  • Appointment and task management
  • Lead tracking
  • SMS and email marketing
  • Sales and marketing templates customised for agents
  • Interactive listing presentations
  • Record open house attendee details

Training and support-

  • Online training webinars or paid on-site training available
  • Phone and email support
  • Support team to import and export data
  • Offer a 30-day free trial

Security-

  • Secure military-grade servers based in Sydney
  • Take care of backups
  • Automatic updates

Agentbox

Interface-

  • Web based
  • Mobile capabilities
  • Designed by real estate agents for real estate agents

Features-

  • Portal listing uploads
  • Prospecting tools
  • Appointment and task management
  • Automatic property alerts for buyers
  • Transaction management (vendor marketing contributions, sales deposits etc.)
  • Vendor reporting
  • SMS and email marketing
  • Brochure, SMS, email and window card templates
  • Google mapping
  • Capture leads directly from property portals
  • Property stocklists

Training and support-

  • Email and phone support
  • Online training materials
  • On-site training available

Security-

  • ‘to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online’

ListOnce

Interface-

  • Web based
  • Intuitive, fast and easy to use 'Contacts Database'
Image: ListOnce

Image: ListOnce

Features-

  • Single listing data entry unlimited portal multi-loading
  • Contacts database
  • Automated contacts communication
  • Email marketing
  • SEO analysis- Monthly SEO summary report including Google analytics and keyword analysis
  • Brochure, email and ad templates
  • Individual property websites
  • Individual agent websites

Training and support-

  • Email and Australian-based phone support
  • 2-hour SEO review available with issue identification and recommendations
  • Free online demo available

Security-

  • Described as ‘bullet-proof speed, reliability and security at competitive rates’
  • For large accounts option for Virtual Private Server and dedicated server solutions

Rex

Interface-

  • Web based
  • Easy to navigate interface, inspired by Google and Facebook
Image: Rex

Image: Rex

Features-

  • Portal listing uploads
  • Listing management
  • Prospecting tools
  • Financial and transaction management
  • Contact management and follow-up reminders
  • Sales management
  • Automatic SMS updates
  • Email marketing and reports
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Newsletter and print marketing templates

Training and support-

  • 160 how-to online videos
  • Library of help articles
  • Regular webinars
  • Full time in-house support team- average response time of 20 minutes
  • Free 30-minute demo on offer

Security-

  • Monthly updates
  • Backup provided

Eagle Agent by Eagle Software

Interface-

  • Simple, clean sidebar navigation, smart filters and intuitive design
  • PC, mobile and tablet compatible
Image: Eagle Software

Image: Eagle Software

Features-

  • Portal listing uploads
  • Automated buyer matching
  • Create and manage property listings
  • Document upload
  • Email marketing and SMS campaigns
  • Enquiry tracking
  • Property list templates

Training and support-

  • Free hour long demo
  • Local email and phone support

If you're considering making a CRM switch don't forget to make sure you can migrate data from your current database into your new one, so that you don't lose years of hard work and long term prospects.

This is by no means a definitive list, undoubtedly there are plenty of other great CRMs out there that offer different advantages to suit the specific needs of different agents and agencies.

Do you have a CRM to recommend that we missed? How satisfied are you with the capabilities of your current CRM? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Happy selling!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Springfield Lakes real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

 

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What successful agents do every open house

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What successful agents do every open house

A lot of agents may not realise it, but open houses are one of the most (if not the most) important avenues for expanding their CRM database of potential clients and generating buyer and seller leads.

Here are four key things savvy agents are doing every weekend to get the most out of their open for inspections.

Arrive early

Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time before the start of the inspection to set up. Start by unlocking all the doors, switching all the lights on, opening windows, curtains and blinds, putting out brochures, a blank copy of the contract and your business cards. Then for the finishing touches light some scented candles, put out complimentary mints or lollies, ensure the toilet seat is down, put out directional signage and flags, and a last check that the house is looking its best.

The best agents take pride in presenting their listings and creating the greatest first impression possible to achieve pleasing results for vendors and landlords. We’re not suggesting you do anything too crazy, don’t feel the need to scrub the shower, hose down the deck or wash windows (plus your vendors or tenants should have already done this), but a spray and wipe of a fresh citrusy cleaner on the kitchen bench is a nice touch before people start coming through.

Remember, the way you present and set up your opens is a great way to showcase your brand, professionalism and hardworking attitude to potential clients, who may be on the lookout for an agent to sell their own home in the same expert manner. So, it’s hugely important to go that extra mile and take the time to prepare properly on inspection day.

Register details

As people enter the open make sure you have a quick system to take down as much info as you can for ease of qualifying and jogging your memory when you revisit the list later. Note down a name, contact number, email address and the type of buyer they are for a good start. Whether this is on a clipboard and piece of paper or an iPad app that adds the leads directly to your database, use the method you're most confident and comfortable with.

This way, if someone is not looking to buy or rent this very minute, at the very least you’ll get an email address for your database to keep in touch with and you won’t have wasted your Saturday morning. Who knows maybe two, six or even twelve months down the track they’ll come back to you when they’re ready to buy, sell or rent.

If you’ve had a lot of enquiry before the open, you may want to organise to run the inspection with a colleague to divide and conquer. Have one of you taking down potential client’s details upon arrival, while the other chats with people on their way out to better gauge interest and start to qualify the new leads.

Quickly qualify leads

The most successful agents utilise every minute of their 15 minute open to qualify and build rapport with potential clients. As people head for the door take a few minutes to engage in conversation and qualify their readiness to make a purchase. Discuss what they’re looking for, where they're looking, what they thought of the property and how long they’ve been looking to get an indication of next steps and how you can best assist them.

Good ways to quickly qualify a lead is to ask if they want a copy of the contract sent to them, if they want to be notified when similar properties come onto the market and if they have pre-approval organised.

Take notes during or straight after the inspection while your conversations are still fresh in your mind. This way you can record whether they require urgent follow up or not, and most importantly to ensure you follow through on what you promised at the inspection.

Just a few hours after their inspections, the best agents will have a list of qualified (hot, warm or cold) prospective clients and the actions they need to take in the coming days to best serve and convert these new leads.

Follow up & follow up again

The most successful agents surprise and impress their prospective clients after their first meeting. One way they do this is by utilising their customer relationship management (CRM) database to streamline and automate their initial follow ups.

For every new qualified seller or buyer you meet at your open add them into your CRM database. Set up an automated text message or email to go out hours after the inspection thanking them for attending. Include your contact details so if they have any questions or require more info about the property they can easily contact you.

In your welcome email, you could even consider including a comparable sales and suburb profile report for the property. This way buyers will be impressed by your willingness to share your local knowledge, they’ll have a realistic idea of the sales price, they’ll feel better informed about the suburb and more confident making an offer.

Next comes the all important follow up phone call the following Monday. This is when you’ll get a good read on their level of motivation and timeframe to do something. Check in to see if they saw any other properties over the weekend, were they considering making an offer on any, was there any more information about the property or suburb they needed and whether they plan on bidding at the upcoming auction.

Lastly, add notes from your phone conversation into your CRM and if necessary create a follow up reminder of the next tasks you need to do to best service that client.

For more tips to put you on the path to open house success take a look at our guide to good open house signage and five simple ways to draw more traffic to your opens.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Sans Souci real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Home staging tips for speedy, top-price outcomes

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Home staging tips for speedy, top-price outcomes

Assisting clients to dress their homes for success is a crucial role for agents and property managers alike to ensure the best possible results from their marketing campaigns.

Staging is all about maximising the value of a home. It’s about presenting the property in the best possible light using furnishings and accessories to appeal to as many prospective renters or buyers as possible.

While there isn’t a lot of data on the benefits of home staging in Australian real estate, a survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals showed that on average staged homes sell for 17 per cent more than non-staged homes.

Not only do staged homes sell for more, they also sell more quickly. A 2016 report by the Real Estate Staging Association in the US reported pre-listed staged homes spent 90 per cent less time on the market than their non-staged counterparts. So staging is a win-win for agents and their clients, in terms of the payoff and time investment required.

Home staging plays a vital part in attracting clients to inspections, showing them the purposes of different spaces of the property and ultimately getting more competitive offers. Here are our home staging tips to achieve speedy and top-price outcomes.

Embrace greenery

With Greenery named Pantone’s colour of year for 2017, expect to see home staging embracing green in all shapes and forms this year. Introduce fresh rejuvenating hues of green into your client’s home using vases of Granny Smith apples, throws, artwork, rugs, cushions and kitchen utensils. Even suggest clients treat the front door to a refreshing coat of paint in a dark forest green to welcome clients to the home with a bold eyecatching statement.

Take a more literal interpretation of the greenery theme by introducing lush houseplants, foliage and green walls to bring colour and life to dull or neutral spaces around the home. For vacant properties consider using fake plants in your staging to eliminate maintenance issues, so they’re always looking happy and vibrant for inspections.

Less is more

Some clients, especially ones that have lived in their home for many years, will have understandably accumulated a lot of furniture and clutter over the years. Your best advice for clients like these is that they cut down and put non-vital furniture pieces and décor into storage to make spaces feel larger and more open, to allow the house to truly shine in listing photos and inspections.

If sellers are reluctant to remove some items explain that furnishing the home with the right amount of furniture will help buyers more easily connect with and fall in love with the property. Explain that without being distracted by excess furniture and personal decor potential buyers or renters will be better able to understand how they would use each room and start to picture themselves living there, a key first step towards them making an offer or submitting an application.

Styling options

If you’re uncertain whether to play up an industrial, contemporary or country feel in your listing presentation, the results of Brosa designer furniture’s nation-wide survey on Australia’s favourite furniture styles can help shed some light and guide your styling choices.

The survey revealed that what determines effective and appealing home staging will tend to differ from state to state. Results showed that modern and contemporary interior styles were the first preference of respondents in six (VIC, NSW, QLD, NT, ACT and SA) out of the eight states surveyed. Where country decor was the favoured style in WA and TAS.

It’s also important to think about the geographic location of the property when it comes to effective styling. Brosa's survey suggests that city dwellers love industrial styles but people in rural areas prefer country and cottage decor.

When staging any home think about who your most likely buyer is and how you can best appeal to them. For example, if you’re aiming to appeal to a younger demographic of renters or first home buyers, the survey suggests younger people prefer Scandi and industrial furnishings. Whereas, if your target audience is an older demographic (65 years plus) cottage style is the preferred interior look.

Bring in a pro

If you feel a bit out of your depth when it comes to home staging and you’d prefer less hassle when it comes to preparing your client’s home for inspections and listing photography, why not hire a pro to take over the job for you. That way you can focus on running a killer marketing campaign, prospecting and getting the best result for your client.

A professional home stager can take care of hiring furniture and accessories for both vacant and occupied properties, provide consultation for decluttering and improved traffic flow, and stage homes to maximise space, highlight its best features, add personality and enhance the overall ambiance. They typically will be able to view the home, consult, quote and stage it within a week or so depending on the scale of the job.

We hope these tips guide your approach to the staging of your next listing. For more ways to maximise the presentation of your listings take a look at this agent's guide to Fen Shui, 7 staging techniques to prep for an inspection, reasons to include people and pets in listing photos and how to stage an entryway.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parkdale real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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How to get welcome emails right

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How to get welcome emails right

Your welcome emails play a key role in setting the tone for future interaction and communication with past, present and future clients in your database. They’re one of the first important steps towards long term success in email marketing and enduring client loyalty.

Studies show the average open rate for welcome emails is 50 per cent, making them 86 per cent more effective than the average newsletter or promotional email.

So, whether you’re subscribing a client to receive weekly listing updates, your quarterly market update or your monthly e-newsletter, you’ll be more likely to keep them engaged and stop them from hitting unsubscribe if you have an effective onboarding procedure.

Here are four important steps to getting your welcome emails right.

Step 1. Timeliness.

When it comes to the timing of your welcome email it is a case of ‘time is of the essence’. Studies show the most effective welcome emails are ones sent promptly on the same day the person subscribed.

The reason welcome emails work so well is because they arrive when the subscriber’s interest in your service is peaked and front of mind, where if you wait a few days their interest is likely to diminish resulting in lower open rates and less eagerness to engage with the content you’re sending.

So, you should have an immediate automated welcome message set up confirming their subscription to your blog updates or whenever you add a client to your new listings or just sold email list.

Step 2. A ‘read me’ subject line.

Welcome emails work best when they have an engaging and succinct subject line. It’s also wise to use ‘welcome’ up front so the intro email doesn’t get lost in a crowded inbox.

Using personalised subject lines in your welcome emails is an easy way to increase the likelihood of your subscribers opening and interacting with your content.

Studies have shown using a recipient’s first name in the subject line increases the chance of the email being opened by 14.68 per cent. Catch their eye by working their name, and/or a specific location or type of property they’ve shown interest in into the subject line and watch those open rates rise.

For example:

‘Welcome Tim. Here are 6 new pet-friendly rentals in Carnegie.’

‘Welcome Christina! Could this be the perfect 3-bedroom family-friendly house in Caulfield?’

Step 3. Set expectations.

From the get go let new subscribers know exactly what they’re in for in terms of the content and frequency of the emails they’ve signed up for. It can be especially frustrating for clients to get inundated with emails every second day when they weren’t informed they would be.

For instance, when I was searching to buy a home as a first home buyer after attending a weekend inspection I received six emails over the course of the next seven days. Worse yet, they weren’t relevant to me as a buyer. I received emails asking ‘What’s your nest egg worth?’ and offering me free appraisals. As a renter, this had me seeking the unsubscribe button quick smart.

A proven way to increase readership and reduce unsubscribes is to let subscribers know how frequently you’ll be touching base and what valuable and relevant content you’ll be providing them in due course.

For example:

‘Hi Alex, thank you for subscribing to our blog. We look forward to sending you weekly property news and helpful tips. Here are some popular blog articles that may be of interest to you…’

It’s a good idea to add in a request for your subscribers to start following you on social media in your welcome email. This way if they unsubscribe from your email list down the track you’ll still have another channel of communication and a presence in their life.

Step 4. Value add.

Welcome emails are a good opportunity to talk about the benefits and insights clients will get from being on your mail list, and provide links to free renter, buyer and seller resources (like your blog and sold data). This shows your subscribers they’ve made a good decision by signing up and makes them feel like they’re a part of a special club.

Let buyers and renters know they’ll get first look at new listings in your weekly updates. It’s also worthwhile to add a call to action like ‘Find a new place to call home’ to drive customers back to all your website listings.

Always ensure your reply email address is linked up properly so your VIPs can easily get in touch. It’s not a good look to send out a welcome email from a no reply email address, as it sends a subtle message to people that you don’t want to hear back from them. Don’t forget to add in your contact number and personal email address in the signature to make getting in contact as easy as possible.

Don’t get too bogged down in formulating the perfect welcome email. At the end of the day the most important thing is new subscribers feel welcomed and valued to lay the foundation for a long term mutually beneficial professional relationship.

For more email marketing advice check out our guide to writing winning subject lines and four ways to stay in touch with past clients.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parkdale real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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4 great goal setting apps for agents

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4 great goal setting apps for agents

Do you ever find that you enter a fresh year at work full of hope, motivation and excitement, only to realise you didn’t achieve what you set out to the previous year?

If this sounds all too familiar we’ve found some of the best goal setting and tracking apps to enlist the support of when setting your professional goals and resolutions for 2017.

Smartphone apps are often the best way to set and track career related goals because you have access to them on the go and you can constantly review and adjust them as required.

These handy apps will help make sure your goals have the best chance of being managed, followed through on and accomplished come 2018.

Google Calendar

The good thing about this tool is that you’re probably already familiar with how to use it from using Gmail's calendar and the smartphone app. Google Calendar’s new goals feature is a great way to manage both professional and personal resolutions.

It allows you to set different types of goals you may want to accomplish including exercise, new skills, friends and family time, me time and organisation. Best of all, you can plan and dedicate time every week, day or month to achieve your short and long term goals. When you set a goal, you select how often you need to work on it, for how long and when, and get smart notifications (before and after your session) to help you prepare and track your progress.

GoalsonTrack

If you struggle to achieve your broader goals because of procrastination or you often don't know where to start, GoalsOnTrack could be the right app for you. This robust app helps you break down larger goals into smaller easily-achievable sub-goals using SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goal-setting criteria.

To keep your goals on course and organised you can add in different categories, create action plans, schedule deadlines, make notes in the built-in goal journal and even add motivational images. You can track your progress in real time which is great for staying motivated whenever you complete a sub-goal on the road towards your long-term goals.

irunurun

If you're looking for something a bit out of the ordinary and fun, this app 'gamifies' building new habits, goal setting and the achievement process. It's more geared towards the day-to-day and weekly tasks you need to do to work towards larger goals.

You start by adding an action or habit you need to track and assigning it a point value out of 100. Once you've entered all the actions you want to track for the next week the game begins. You have zero points at the start of the week and then work through your actions to gain points every day. If you complete each action at the scheduled time you would get a perfect score of 100 points at the end of the week.

If you want a bit of friendly competition, encouragement or accountability, you can invite family, friends or colleagues to any action you create. There are three versions of the app- personal, team and enterprise- so why not get your whole office on board!

stickK

If you really have a lot of trouble sticking to your goals, why not introduce an extra financial incentive to push yourself across the line this year? Enter stickK. The app was developed by Yale University behavioural economists and is based on motivating people to achieve a goal or it will cost them real money. Stickk says 'you're up to 3X more likely to achieve a goal if you put money on the line'.

The app uses a 'commitment contract' to bind you to your goal. You choose your goal, when you need to achieve it by, how much money is on the line and where you want the money to go should you fail (e.g. to a friend, charity or family member). For accountability, you can choose a referee to monitor your progress or you can go it alone. So bet on yourself this year and use stickK to up your motivation and accomplish your most critical goals.

We hope these apps allow you to become more productive, fulfil your goals and grow your business this year and beyond. For advice on setting attainable goals check out our tips for setting SMART professional goals.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Tarneit real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Marketing ideas to get ahead this holiday season

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Marketing ideas to get ahead this holiday season

When December rolls around and the property market begins to wind down a lot of agents see it as the perfect opportunity to take time off and go an extended holiday. For this reason, December and January are great times of year for planning and prospecting to get ahead of your competition while they’re sunning themselves on a beach somewhere.

Here are nine marketing ideas to make the most of real estate’s off season and get a leg up on your competition in 2017.

1. This time of year everyone loves getting into the giving spirit and who doesn’t love a freebie? Try hosting a contest across your social media channels encouraging people to share their Christmas home decorations to enter the draw to win a Christmas hamper or something similar. This is a fun way to get to know, reward and grow your fans and followers.

2. Prepare and print a handout and/or blog posts on why summer is a great time to buy/sell a home. Share this with your email subscribers, social media fans and followers and local households. Focus on advantages like lower stock, less competition, faster transactions and sellers/buyers that are generally more motivated than other times of year.

3. Write up case studies of your best sales of 2016 to add to your website, share on social media and send to your email database. If you get into the habit of doing this every December eventually you’ll have an amazing library of all your years of hard work and dedication to getting the best results for vendors for past, present and prospective clients to see.

4. Become a Premier Agent. In a slower-market you need to explore every marketing avenue you can to capture as many leads as possible. Premier Agent gives you 10X more exposure among motivated buyers and sellers in your market. It gives you priority positioning in Agent Finder and showcases agent controlled reviews, your neighbourhood knowledge and performance stats.

5. The good thing about the summer holidays is that many of your current and past clients will have taken time off and have the time to chat over the phone or fill out customer testimonial forms. Better yet, touch base with current and past clients and drop off festive treats, like mini Christmas puddings, cookies or candy canes for the kids. See how they’re going and whether they know of anyone interested in buying or selling in the area.

6. Put together an infographic or market wrap-up for 2016 to be used in a direct mail campaign in your service suburbs. Provide information that someone considering selling in the next year or so would want to know about their local property market. Include data on house price growth, record sales from the past year and your own personal analysis and forecasts for the year ahead.

7. Send out fridge magnet calendars with your contact details as well as postcards to locals, and past and present clients with a holiday greeting. For your extra special clients send a hand-written Christmas card to make them feel appreciated and thank them for their business.

8. Get active on homely.com.au’s Questions pages. Over the festive season and summer our Questions pages run hot with people looking for school holiday activities, the best beaches in their city and New Years events, just to name a few. If you know of a great Christmas lights display in your neighbourhood or a rooftop bar worth checking out be sure to market yourself as the local expert by answering locals’ questions or starting your own topics. Not only does it get your name out there, it’s also a valuable tool and way to gain insight into what the important issues are in your community right now.

9. Get in the festive spirit. Upload Christmassy videos/photos to your professional Facebook and Instagram accounts of shots or your local community. Think Christmas decorations down the main street, local Xmas light displays or even a pic with Santa at the local shopping centre. Festive snaps and fun videos are always a winner on social media and an easy way to engage with clients, colleagues and people from your service suburbs.

If you work hard at marketing your services over the festive season to maintain your pipeline of new clients, you’ll be all set for a prosperous and successful 2017.

Having said that don’t forget to take a break. Even the very best agents need time away from work to unwind and recharge. So, unplug the tech, turn off the smartphone, put away the laptop and do something just for you over the summer. You’ve earned it!

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Brookwater real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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 What agents need to know about millennials

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What agents need to know about millennials

Millennials also known as Generation Y (adults aged between 18 and 35) make up about one fifth of Australia’s population consisting of over 4 million people. In a few years, they’ll make up about 40 per cent of home buyers in Australia and hence play a major part in the real estate market.

As such a large portion of the Australian population and future renters, buyers and sellers, to continue to thrive in the real estate industry it’s crucial that agents glean a decent understanding of millennials’ property wants and needs and know how to best service them.

Here are four essential things you need to know about Australian millennials. 

Affordability

With house prices surging in Australia’s capital cities and a lot of younger buyers burdened with higher education debt and personal loans, affordability is a primary concern for millennials. For these reasons, many millennials will look to become rentvestors and buy an investment property in a more affordable area and continue to rent where they want to live but can’t afford to buy to break onto the property ladder. We recommend prepping a rentvestor fact sheet with frequently asked questions, a glossary of useful terms and reputable property data websites to visit for further information to help the millennial rentvestor feel better informed and prepared.

Facts and figures

As it’s so hard to get onto the property ladder in the first place, millennial buyers are very concerned with the hard facts and stats when buying a property with their hard-saved deposits. Whether they’re looking to owner occupy or invest, they’ll want to have peace of mind that their purchase is a sound investment and it will appreciate setting them up for future financial stability. Reassure millennials clients they’re making a good call by providing suburb profiles including annual capital growth, rental yield rates, and recent sales data for comparable properties.

The wish list

When appealing to millennial buyers there are some ‘wish list’ items that are common within this demographic when house hunting. So be sure to include any of the following features in prime position in your property ad to grab their attention and win millennial enquiries:

  • Proximity to work, walkability and public transport- A lot of younger buyers want to keep their daily commute time and travel costs down when searching for somewhere to live. They’ll even compromise on the size and condition of the property so long as it’s conveniently located within their desired suburb.
  • High speed internet and home office space- A lot of millennials work from home part or full time so internet access and a second bedroom or comfortable study space in their new home is paramount.
  • Low maintenance- Younger buyers prefer homes with low-upkeep requirements. They opt for timber floors over carpeting, stone benchtops over laminate and decking or paved outdoor areas over a lawn and high maintenance garden.
  • Green features- Millennials are keen on sustainable and energy efficient property features. Be sure to highlight things like water saving fixtures, double glazing, energy efficient appliances, solar panels, rainwater tanks and passive design to attract millennials in droves.
  • Design- Millennials love the sociable nature and visual appeal of open floor plans, where they can still chat with guests while cooking. They are also keen on clean lines, contemporary design, updated kitchens and bathrooms.

Tech savviness

Millennials practically live on Facebook and are on their smartphones 24/7, so if they can’t find you on Google or engage with you instantly via social media they’ll be quick to seek help elsewhere. They’re happiest communicating by text message and email and browsing property listings on property apps.

It’s important to millennials that their agent is up to date with technology and that they’re active online. Millennials are likely to research you before even meeting you or putting in an enquiry, so it’s essential that you maintain an active online presence and your website is attractive, easy to use and kept up to date. They’re also heavily influenced by family referrals, peer opinions and online reviews, so it’s crucial to monitor your online profile and deal with any negative comments or feedback swiftly.

They also love to see agents sharing helpful first home buyer guides, tips for bidding at an auction and market updates on social media to help them feel well informed and get an edge over other buyers. This type of content sharing acts as an indicator of your real estate expertise, your tech savviness and your capacity to guide them through the unchartered and daunting waters of purchasing a home.

For more information about better serving different valuable customer segments here are five things you need to know about first home buyers, tips for working with investors and how to convert baby boomer leads.

 

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Springfield Lakes real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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What Australia’s best real estate agencies are doing socially

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What Australia’s best real estate agencies are doing socially

Recently the digital media ranking system BrandData ranked the top 40 Australian real estate brands and franchises online presences by studying follower and engagement measures across various digital platforms (including Twitter, Facebook, website, Instagram and Youtube).

The top 10 BrandData rankings of property agent brands as of November 22 2016 are:

1. LJ Hooker

2. Ray White Group

3. Harcourts

4. Century 21

5. McGrath Agents

6. Elders Real Estate

7. Raine & Horne

8. Nelson Alexander Real Estate

9. Barry Plant Real Estate

10. Hocking Stuart

To help inspire and improve your social media strategy and online engagement here are four social media content lessons from some of Australia’s top performing agencies.  

Educate and inform

Many agents approach their social media with the mindset that ‘if you throw enough mud eventually some will stick’ by continually selling and pushing their listings on their followers. Maybe you’ll get one or two leads out of this technique but a much more engaging and valuable strategy is to provide helpful, interesting and educational content that will build up trust and credibility with your followers and see clients coming back to you for years to come.

If you have questions that keep cropping up over and over with vendors, buyers, prospective tenants and landlords, do yourself and your followers a favour and have the answers to these frequently asked questions at the ready. This could be in the form of a blog hosted on your website or a quick 90 second YouTube video that you share out on your Facebook and Twitter accounts weekly.

Here are a couple examples of highly engaging and informative topics shared by the number one performer in real estate for Facebook engagement, Ray White Group.

To develop your own engaging content topics, think strategically about the largest segment of potential clients that are most likely to be following you (Millennials, investors, second home buyers or downsizers). Check your emails and text messages for patterns in requests and questions that come up often from this segment to base your blog topic or video on. In next to know time you’ll have a library of informative blogs and/or videos you can call upon when required and clients can use and revisit in their own time.

The occasional CTA

While sharing educational and interesting content is all well and good, to make the most of your social media accounts and up engagement it’s wise to integrate the occasional call to action (CTA) into your content strategy. That way when your followers are looking to take the next step or engage with you in real life they easily have an avenue to do so.

McGrath came in at second for Twitter engagement in BrandData’s rankings. What they do really well on Twitter is the balance of business development, shout outs, informative and helpful content they share. They’re not constantly SELL SELL SELL. They include a great mix of property news blogs, conference updates, retweets, live auction results, podcasts, videos, tips and advice as well as the occasional CTA for listings, email subscriptions and webinars.

Whether it be signing up to your monthly newsletter, registering for a seminar, to enter a competition or the details of an upcoming inspection or auction, CTAs are the best way to get your followers to engage with you beyond your original social media post.

Hashtagging is essential

In 2015 BrandData’s ranking of the Australian property services showed that for property professionals the average engagement percentage was 3.7 per cent, with the highest average engagement percentage of any social media channel found to be on Instagram. These results stress the importance of agents being active and engaged with followers on Instagram.

In BrandData’s most recent ranking Marshall White came in at third place for engagement on Instagram. The takeaway from Marshall White’s stellar Instagram account is their consistent and thorough use of hashtagging. Hashtagging is a great way to grow your followers, connect with other users in your area, make your posts discoverable and get the conversation flowing with other users on relevant topics. Better yet Marshall White add all their hashtags (you can use up to 30) in the comments section of their posts as to not disrupt the flow of their descriptive captions.

Personalised videos

The most successful real estate brands have recognised the significance of video in not only effectively marketing listings online but for efficiently humanising and conveying the personality of their brand and agents.

If you haven’t already, start up a YouTube channel to build up a library of your listing videos, interviews with yourself and other team members, agent video profiles, Q&A sessions and auction videos to showcase exactly what you and your team are all about in easy to digest 60 to 120 second videos. If you sign up to Premier Agent you can add a YouTube video into your agent showcase to show off your unique talents and work ethic on homely.com.au.

Nelson Alexander Real Estate came in at third place in BrandData’s ranking for YouTube engagement. With a YouTube channel consisting of 3,165 videos, Nelson Alexander are very good at cataloguing their auctioneer and office profile videos. The best thing about videos like these is they can be used many times and they’ll always be relevant to new clients when they’re searching for an agent, real estate brand or auctioneer to work with. They are also highly shareable, memorable and engaging when posted to channels Facebook and Twitter.

We hope these four ideas assist you to further build up your followers, foster online relationships and spur lead generation through social media. If you're curious to see how your social status stacks up, find out your social media report card on BrandData here.

For more tips and tricks for social media check out our guide to become an Instagram pro, how to build a social media content plan and 21 social media ideas for agents.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Windsor real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

Don't forget to download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Vendors' top 3 pet peeves with real estate agents

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Vendors' top 3 pet peeves with real estate agents

Last year CoreLogic released a report on Consumer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents from the perspective of vendors, the first survey to specifically examine satisfaction levels of different vendors’ experiences with agents (download the full report here).

Of the 300 people surveyed, 31 per cent rated their experience as ‘excellent’ and a further 35 per cent rated theirs as ‘good’. Unsurprisingly, agents with strong communication, negotiation and customer service skills were most likely to be rated as ‘excellent’ by vendors.

We’re going to focus on the 20 per cent that rated their experience as ‘average’ and the 14 per cent that rated their encounter as ‘poor’ to see what specific behaviours or interactions drove these lower ratings and customer dissatisfaction.

The ratings and comments from less satisfied vendors can teach us some valuable lessons in regards to the most common mistakes agents are making and what can be done to improve them. Here are the surveyed vendors pet peeves when it came to their experiences with their real estate agents.

#1. Lack of data sharing & transparency.

Agents who set out to keep their vendors in the dark by showing them little or no data were the most likely to be rated as ‘poor’ or ‘disastrous’ experiences.

Shockingly only 54 per cent of agents showed their vendor recent comparable sales data, only 28 per cent of agents showed vendors time on the market info, only 55 per cent presented suburb market data (i.e. median prices and price growth) and just 11 per cent of agents talked about auction clearance rates.

These results are alarming seeing as the above information is essential for vendors to feel confident in making an informed decision and forming a realistic understanding of a fair sale price. In fact, when asked what they would do differently next time they were selling a number of vendors cited ‘more research’ as their priority.

This highlights the importance for agents to take the time to share information and explain the current market conditions to vendors using data-based insights, not just their own anecdotal experiences and opinions.

Really go out of your way to be open and transparent by explaining how you came up with the price estimate you did with the data on hand to back it up. Delight your vendors by guiding them through the property data with easy-to-understand graphs, charts and comparable recent sales info. Send them links to reputable property data sites that provide trustworthy and clear insights into the local market if they want to conduct further research of their own.

#2. Poor communication & unfulfilled promises.

The agent skills the survey identified as needing the most work were ‘providing regular feedback about progress’ and ‘keeping me up to date with what to expect’, with 13 per cent of agents rated as poor in these 2 categories respectively.

A vendor commented, ‘Agents need to communicate with the seller. Keep the seller continually informed with what’s going on and what needs to be done’. Several other vendors flagged communication as a key area in need of improvement also.

This highlights that communication, regular contact and follow ups are essential attributes of a great agent in vendors’ eyes.

One vendor reported, ‘Our agent offered to arrange storage to help us declutter, which we thought was a fantastic service. But then he didn’t deliver!’. We don’t think that agent will be getting a very good client testimonial or any return or referral business from that particular client.

It's of the utmost importance if you promise to do something that you follow through to develop trust and be seen as reliable by clients. If you promised to provide a status update straight after every inspection, make sure you follow through with that update straight after each open. If you said you’d email the client recent comparable sales tomorrow, make sure you email them comparable sales ASAP.

#3. No follow through.

Many vendors noted that once the contract was signed they felt as though they were unceremoniously dumped by their agent. While the vendors who had further contact with their agents were more likely to recommend them to friends, where 68 per cent of the respondents said they’d refer their agent to a friend.

It’s valuable to note that 36 per cent of the vendors surveyed said they based their choice of agent on the recommendation of a friend, the second highest influencer over agent choice, showing just how valuable word of mouth is for agents.

It’s so important in terms of customer satisfaction, return business and for building a stellar referral business to keep in touch with past clients even after the sale is complete. 

Remember, thoughtfulness and understanding goes a long way with clients. Consider sending a thank you card and gift at the conclusion of a sale to show your clients how much you valued their business.

One lucky vendor reported that her ‘agent organised a dinner voucher for my husband at a local restaurant while I was away during a weekend of inspections – I was touched by their thoughtfulness as it was a stressful time’.

The results of the survey reveal the three areas agents need to be mindful of for increased vendor satisfaction: greater transparency, open communication and following through after contracts are signed.

One particularly useful takeaway for agents from this research is that the more info agents shared with their vendor the more satisfied the vendor was likely to be with the end result and recommend that agent to others. So, greater data transparency is key to satisfied vendors and building a great referral network.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Windsor real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

Don't forget to download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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What’s new in real estate tech

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What’s new in real estate tech

Agents and property managers (PM) alike are adopting all kinds of new technologies to get the edge over their competitors and streamline the way real estate is bought and leased in Australia.

New technologies are freeing up agents and PM from a lot of repetitive paperwork and less than exciting admin work, allowing them to focus on more important tasks like prospecting and face-to-face relationship building.

Here are some of the latest emerging tech advancements that may be worth investing in and exploring in the real estate industry of the not too distant future.

Virtual reality inspections

The next logical step in advancement from 2D listing video tours is immersive 3D virtual reality (VR) property tours. Thanks to amazing VR technology like Scann3d’s Matterport camera which can scan a house in 3D and convert it into a VR tour within an hour, homebuyers and renters can get a feel for the size and layout of a home without having to attend a physical inspection.

Think of the potential benefits VR tours can offer clients. VR would give buyers greater reassurance when buying off-the-plan property and give overseas and interstate buyers and renters the chance to ‘walk around’ a home when they can’t make it to the physical inspections. Consumers only need a smartphone, a VR headset and they’re free to tour the space at their leisure as many times as they want. 

Image: Laurent Villeseche, Herald Sun

Image: Laurent Villeseche, Herald Sun

Virtual staging

Most agents and PM are probably savvy to the struggles of drumming up interest for dull, unfurnished properties. Rather than hiring a costly home stager to bring in furniture or if you don’t have time to stage the home before listing photography is due, professional photographers can now dress vacant homes with virtual furniture to make the home more appealing in marketing materials.

The photographer shoots the property as usual and then cleverly uses 3D images of furniture to stage the home. They can even add reflections and shadows from furniture for heightened authenticity.

Adding furniture to a vacant home will heighten its appeal to buyers and renters in advertisements by showing them the scale and functionality of each room. It can also be beneficial to have a home virtually staged to draw in interest if a property has run down or out of date furniture that detracts from the home and may put off some buyers.

Image: Property Digital

Image: Property Digital

Online rental applications

The technology saving PM loads of time and headaches are free online rental application forms (such as tApp and 1form). Online application platforms like these streamline the process of finding suitable tenants by allowing you to compare applicant details side by side and notify successful/unsuccessful applicants in bulk.

Gone are the days of trawling through piles of paper rental applications on your desk and manually entering the details of every successful tenant into your property management system. These handy platforms allow you to import new tenants’ details straight into your property management software and you’re good to go.

Digital signboards

Show your clients and passers-by that you’re at the forefront of real estate technology by installing an HD digital signboard. Ideal for premium listings, busy foot traffic areas and slow car speed zones, you can deliver all the information buyers need about your listing in an eye-catching visual and audio display.

Best of all you can update your property sign remotely (i.e. auction date, upcoming inspection times and sale outcomes), they’re weather and vandal proof, and surprisingly they come at only a slightly higher price than a regular static sale board.

Image: Campaign Track

Image: Campaign Track

Drone videos

It’s becoming increasingly popular for agents to showcase the best aspects of their listings via drone shot video and photography. Not only is drone captured imagery very cool, it can be used to immediately show buyers where the home sits on the block, unique property features (i.e. swimming pool, tennis court, garden etc.), the size of the land, proximity to neighbours and neighbourhood amenities.

Before booking in a licensed drone operator check out samples of their work, make sure there are no visual obstructions directly over the property that would prevent good footage and ensure you’re clear on what you want to capture from aerial shots of the property and its surrounds that can’t be achieved with standard photography.

Live streamed auctions

Many agents are increasing their auction audiences and getting more bidders by live streaming their auctions online. This gives curious, shy and international buyers the ability to tune in and bid from anywhere in the world.

For example, Ray White have been running professionally produced live auction streams since 2014, which allow for live online bidding through a PC or iPhone using the AuctionEar app. According to the Australian Financial Review Ray White have streamed over 700 auctions online where 17,000 buyers have bid from all over the world, for properties ranging from $265,000 to $5.45 million.

Inspection apps

Put away your clipboards, pens and paper this weekend, and let free open for inspection apps (like Open House ID and RealtyMate) streamline the whole process for you. With these apps you can enter or scan in visitors details (bonus: it will auto fill people you’ve met before), export visitor details in a CSV file, SMS or email visitors and vendors post inspection updates and sync new clients with your CRM.

Think of the time you’ll save from not having to laboriously take down contact details, freeing up more opportunity for engaging and useful conversations to qualify potential buyers at inspections.

Early adopters of these kinds of technologies will reap the rewards in not only the time they save, but through the new business they'll attract from being ahead of the curve in new real estate tech.

For more ways to save time at work check out these eight productivity boosting tools for agents.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Guildford real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

Download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Premier Agent Masterclass, Chapter 5: The value of video

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Premier Agent Masterclass, Chapter 5: The value of video

Now that Angela Agent has learnt how to build a competitive showcase in Chapter 4, she is looking for more opportunities to engage with clients and effectively promote herself.

To get more from her showcase Angela realises the value of sharing her Success Wrap video and adding in a personal YouTube video to connect with clients on a more emotional level. Here are the steps Angela took to make the most of the videos on her showcase.

Watch Angela Agent's Success Wrap video here.

Watch Angela Agent's Success Wrap video here.

Step 1: Promote your monthly progress.

Angela knows that many people remember information better when it's conveyed in an audio/visual format compared to a written one. So rather than writing out a lengthy progress report about her past month to share with clients and followers, Angela simply shares out her Success Wrap video. This saves her a lot of time so she can focus her attention on more high priority tasks, like follow up calls and lead generation.

The Success Wrap video automatically generates a brief 60 second video monthly that outlines all of Angela's latest real estate wins. It includes her Performance Stats, her recent sales locations and highlights from her newest client reviews.

Step 2: Touch base with clients and followers.

Angela recognises the Success Wrap is a great touch point to use with past and present clients and a perfect method to engage her fans and followers in a rapid, easy to digest visual snippet. Angela knows that in this day and age people are hungry for information and instant gratification, so her clients would be more open to watching a brief 60 second video rather than clicking through to read a blog for a few minutes summarising her KPIs.

There are several ways Angela utilises her Success Wrap to promote herself and her sales results:

1. Angela shares out her Success Wrap video to her professional Facebook and Twitter pages. This way when potential clients are researching her on social media, they can easily see her consistent track record of monthly achievements and satisfied customer reviews.

2. Angela adds the Success Wrap video into her monthly customer newsletter to reengage past clients and update them on her latest sales results and client reviews.

3. Angela plays her Success Wrap on loop on her iPad or a TV screen during her open for inspections, so that potential clients can quickly get a picture of her Performance Stats, her specialty suburbs, recent sales locations and latest client feedback highlights.

To share out your Success Wrap video, right click on the video, select ‘Save Video As…’, save it to your desktop, go to your social media page, add the video, type a description and hit ‘Publish’.

Step 3: Bring your skills to life.

Angela knows that adding a YouTube video to her showcase will illustrate her skills and personality in a way the words in her 'About You' simply cannot. Angela opted to include a well-produced YouTube video tour where she walks you through her latest luxury listing to highlight her professional demeanour, her specialty for promoting luxury homes and her stellar marketing capabilities to clients.

Alternatively, you may choose to add an auction video, a video profile, a glowing client testimonial, an interview or a market review from your YouTube channel. Add in whatever video best showcases the special talents you bring to the table and really shows you in your element.

Add in your YouTube video under ‘Edit Profile’, select ‘Agent Settings’ and add in the YouTube video URL or email us at help@homely.com.au and we’ll put it in for you. 

Happy selling!

The homely.com.au Team

 

About Homely Premier Agent™:

Premier Agent is the best Agent Showcase in Australia and brings together your listings, performance statistics, agent controlled reviews, and suburbs knowledge to win you new business.

If you have any questions or suggestions about Premier Agent, don't hesitate to contact us at help@homely.com.au

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Footscray real estate for sale and properties for rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

Download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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How to build your personal brand

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How to build your personal brand

There are thousands of real estate agents all around Australia, competing for the same listings, deals and business opportunities. The question is, what makes you different from other agents and why would clients chose to work with you over your competitors?

This is where branding comes in. A common misconception is that branding strategy consists of a catchy motto, the type of car you drive, attractive business cards and a fancy logo, but branding is so much more than this. 

Successful branding is about having control over the identity and messages you convey to your audience. Think of your personal branding in terms of what consumers think of you and how you’re perceived publicly (both in-person and online).

Your brand is an invaluable asset that if fostered right will mean past clients will be loyal to you regardless of which agency you work at, so you’ll never have to start your client base from scratch again.

Building, maintaining and marketing your personal brand requires unwavering commitment and consistent attention. After all, the better you’re perceived by your clients and potential clients the more business you’ll gain and success you’ll achieve.

The aim when building your brand is to enhance your credibility, trustworthiness and authority as a real estate professional with new, current and old clientele. Focus on the following areas to develop and demonstrate your personal brand.

Keeping up appearances

The first cues clients will use to judge your competence as an agent when they first meet you or view your profile online will be based on your appearance. Being professionally dressed and well-groomed instantly enhances your authority and credibility by indicating to clients you’re ready for business and that you take your role seriously. 

Taking the time and money to hire a professional photographer or videographer to shoot promotional images and videos of you for marketing materials makes you look reputable in your audiences eyes, shows that you're extremely serious about your business and that you're willing to go to extra lengths to achieve the best results. 

So, whether you’re showing clients through a home on a public holiday as a favour or holding an open for inspection on a Saturday morning, you should always be looking neat, professional and clean cut.

Image: Kate Strickland, Marshall White Brighton

Image: Kate Strickland, Marshall White Brighton

Define your specialty

As the old saying goes ‘a jack of all trades is a master of none’, and it’s important to keep this in mind when it comes to your branding strategy. While you’re skilled in many aspects of your job, when it comes to branding it pays to hone in on one specific specialty area to stand out from your competition.

When deciding on your specialty think about not only what makes you unique as an agent but as a person. Different specialty areas to choose from could include:

1. Your expert local knowledge: It’s all good and well to say you have ‘extensive local knowledge of areas X, Y and Z’ but that’s probably the same thing every other agent in the area is claiming too. So, this does you no favours in terms of personal branding or getting leads.

Instead actually demonstrate why and how you’ve acquired this extensive local knowledge. For example, if a lot of your client’s value high quality dining close to home brand yourself as a foodie by posting and sharing reviews of your favourite local restaurants and cafes on your social media accounts and your Premier Agent Showcase (this can also work wonders for acquiring commercial leads too).

Image: Ben Munro Smith @balmainagent, McGrath Balmain

Image: Ben Munro Smith @balmainagent, McGrath Balmain

2. A particular life stage: Use your own authentic real world experience as a new parent, a professional single, a property investor, an empty nester or a renovator to your advantage to attract new clients by allowing them to relate to the real you. Clients will be eager to work with the agent that shares and understands their priorities at their particular stage of life.

For instance, branding yourself as the best agent for growing families looking to be close to childcare, parks and good schools is an easy way to stand out as the go-to family oriented agent in your area. Post images of you supporting the kids at Auskick to Instagram, get involved/ sponsor a stall at your children’s school carnival and refer to your family in your professional profiles.

Image: Homely Premier Agent Michael Kalinovski, LJ Hooker Hurstville

Image: Homely Premier Agent Michael Kalinovski, LJ Hooker Hurstville

3. Home type or location: If you specialise in selling a particular type of home (Victorian houses, off the plan apartments, beach houses, luxury townhouses etc.) or in a certain area (Bayside, the CBD or a rural town) this is a great and unique way to frame your professional brand.

Make it clear across your social media channels, your newsletter, your website, YouTube channel and professional bio the particular type of residence/s or location/s you specialise in. Achieve this by having a section of client testimonials on your website for all of the clients you have sold townhouses for with accompanying images. Alternatively, add an album of all the high end apartments you’ve sold to your Facebook page.

4. Hobbies: Use your unique set of interests (cycling, music, pets, crocheting, antiquing, wine tasting, beekeeping etc.) to make a personal branding statement. If you think about it every potential client has their own different hobbies and they’ll be drawn to agents with interests that align with their own.

Talking about and sharing your story and passions on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages and in your website bio provides a subtle statement that generates empathy and trust in a future clients’ minds, and can even act as the deciding factor that you’re the right agent for them. At the very least you’ll give the client a talking point to get the discussion flowing, help them get to know you better and build up a rapport before you’ve even met.

Image: Michael Clarke, Clarke and Humel Manly

Image: Michael Clarke, Clarke and Humel Manly

Be authentic

It’s ok to draw inspiration from and emulate other top agent’s brands and branding strategies, but when it comes to personal branding remember the words of Oscar Wilde ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken’.

It’s extremely hard work pretending to be somebody that you’re not and clients can easily identify a disingenuous sales person when they see one. Building a powerful brand is all about showcasing your unique set of experiences and talents, your personality and the special energy you bring to each and every job to set yourself apart from the crowd.

At the end of the day developing your brand requires patience and persistence. Once you find your own unique brand that draws in customers and establishes trust, you and your business will reap the rewards.

Did you know that Homely Premier Agent is a powerful way to build your brand by incorporating the tips we’ve mentioned in this post all in the one place? With Australia’s number one Agent Showcase you have the ability to connect with over 550K community members via Questions and Suburb Reviews, share your bio with My Story, and highlight your Performance Stats on your Success Map.

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team.

 

About Homely:

Homely is a new way to search for Kellyville real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, Homely is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

Download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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A star agent’s weekly routine

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A star agent’s weekly routine

The star real estate agent has time management strategies and routines in place to efficiently prioritise tasks, maximise appointments and get the most from their CRM each and every day.

Do you ever feel as though you’re easily side tracked? Do you occasionally get through a day feeling like you achieved nothing? Follow these tips to reconstruct your weekly routine and get your time management and lead conversion strategy back on track.

Mornings-

Get your day off on the right foot by using the first 15 minutes to plan out and time block all the tasks you need to complete that day. Start by breaking up the day into hourly segments and jotting down or typing in tasks that are a high priority and what you’ll specifically focus on each hour.

Don’t forget to factor in a couple of 15-minute mental break times for a walk, coffee run, Facebook perusing, internet browsing or a game of solitaire. Use your phone’s timer to make sure you stay on schedule. If you’re into apps, try Rescue TimeFocus Booster and Remember the Milk to manage your hourly segments and to-do lists more efficiently.

Image: Rescue Time

Image: Rescue Time

Use the first one to two hours of your morning when you’re fresh and at your most alert to be proactive and follow up your hottest prospects. Aim to generate between 8 to 15 (whatever is realistic for you) new conversations within this time that will either lead to an appointment or a follow up conversation another day. During these calls, we recommend shutting off your web browser, TV, radio, email and voicemail, to keep procrastination, interruptions and distractions at bay.

The rest of the day-

Once you meet your new conversations quota, follow through on the calls you made that morning (send off emails of contracts and section 32s, text message appointment confirmations, make notes, follow up tasks and re-qualify leads in your CRM, add warm and cold leads to your drip campaign EDM list etc.), check and respond to emails, online enquiries and voicemails, and prepare for imminent appointments.

Have 30 minutes set aside at the end of the day for your professional social networking. Schedule your posts for the following day, check your messages, ad performance and notifications. It’s important to strictly limit your use of social networking by having a content plan otherwise it can easily chew up hours of valuable time you could use more productively elsewhere.

Wednesday nights-

Set aside an hour or two on Wednesday evenings to make outbound calls. Wednesday nights are a good time to check in with clients as you’ll be less likely to go to voicemail and they’ll be more open to having a conversation than they would be during business hours, on a Friday night or a weekend.

Your goal here is to re-engage and re-qualify your warm and cold leads, build upon your rapport with them and arrange follow up steps if necessary. This will lead to booking in more appointments, shore up future business and improve your conversion rate long term.

Weekends-

Your weekends should be dedicated to prospecting, relationship building and in-person meetings. During your weekly morning and Wednesday evening calls aim to set up between 4 and 6 meetings with your hot and warm prospects for the upcoming weekend. Arrange in person consultations and valuations with sellers, schedule inspections with buyers and collect and qualify new leads at open for inspections.

On a Saturday or Sunday evening it pays to get into the habit of adding new client details, detailed notes from your appointments and prioritised follow up tasks into your client relationship management system (CRM) while the information is still fresh in your mind. That way you’ll be ready to hit the phones first thing Monday morning to follow up your hottest leads.

We realise an agent's time is highly variable and you'll inevitably have to respond to unexpected tasks and requests that naturally crop up throughout the day, so this planner isn’t set it stone. But, through trial and error you'll quickly realise what strategies work best for you and find your time management groove. Once you do it's important to stick with it and chip away at your prospects and goals one day at a time.

For more ideas for efficiently and effectively manage your time check out these eight productivity boosting apps.

 

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team.

 

About Homely:

Homely is a new way to search for Kellyville real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, Homely is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

Download our new iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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5 questions to quickly qualify leads

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5 questions to quickly qualify leads

When leads are coming at you from all directions (phone messages, online listings, emails, open for inspections, text messages etc.) it’s important when meeting potential clients, following up and having that initial conversation to quickly be able to discern the hot from the lukewarm and cold leads by using qualifying questions.

The purpose of asking open-ended qualifying questions is to understand the buyer/seller’s situation better so you can tailor the next steps of your service to suit their scenario.

You definitely wouldn’t treat a lead who is still saving for a deposit and looking to buy in a year’s time the same as one with pre-approval looking to buy in a hurry before their lease ends. So it’s important that you don’t waste your time and talent following up long term or ‘tyre-kicker’ leads that simply aren’t qualified or motivated to act anytime soon.

Use the following five questions to efficiently separate the motivated buyers and sellers from the time-wasters, ‘just lookings’ and dreamers.

1. Have you spoken with another agent?

Get this question out of the way early in your initial conversation. You don’t want to spend hours answering all of someone’s questions and getting pumped for information only to find out they’re already working with another agent who’ll get the deal at the end of the day.

However, if they’re working with another agent don’t be too hasty to discount them. Try to find out why they decided to get in contact with you and what their biggest challenges are in their home search. Maybe they aren’t happy with their current agent or they’re considering different areas or types of properties beyond their current agent’s expertise. This way you’ll know how best to approach them, if you can assist them and whether giving them your time is worthwhile.

2. Why are you looking to buy (or sell)?

This question will give you a clear picture of two vital qualifiers: timeframe and motivation. Strongly motivated clients will usually reveal why and when they need to have bought or sold a place, giving you a good idea of how and if you can help them.

If the client is looking to relocate interstate for work within 3 months, they’ll be highly motivated to sell and a hot lead. If a client is thinking about downsizing as all their kids are grown up and moved out, there’s no fixed timeframe (unless specified). Here you’re probably looking at a lukewarm but equally valuable prospect as the first one, as someone who’s selling will typically be looking to buy in due course also.

Those who aren’t serious about buying/selling may struggle to answer this question on the spot and give vague answers like ‘we’ve just started looking’ and ‘we’re just getting a feel for prices in the area’. Add these leads to the long term list in your CRM and your email database and move on.

3. What sort of property are you after?

This is another great question for gauging how serious a particular lead is and what their goals are. If they have a clear and more importantly realistic wish list of requirements (location, size, number of bedrooms and property features) you can tell they are driven and strongly motivated buyers. If they’re wishy-washy on what they’re looking for, have unrealistic expectations or say they hadn’t really thought about it yet, they’re probably not all that serious right now.

At this point show that you're proactive and prove your value by letting the client know you’ll add them to your new listings updates list and let warm and hot leads know you’ll be in touch as soon as anything else that meets their criteria comes onto the market.

4. Have you spoken to a lender?

This is a sure fire way to identify highly motivated buyers from the pack. Highly motivated buyers will reveal that they’ve spoken to a lender and may even already have pre-approval. At this point suss out if their loan amount/price range is realistic for the property type and area they’re interested in. If it is, that’s probably the best thing you can hear as it goes to show they’re serious buyers with realistic expectations who’ll be looking to act soon.

This is also your chance to impress and build relationships with clients that haven’t met with a lender yet. Recommend a preferred mortgage broker and give out their business card. Better yet ask the client if they’d be ok with you passing on their details to the broker to get in touch and set up an appointment. How they respond to this will give you an idea of their timeframe and urgency level.

5. When can we meet to discuss this in-person?

This last question is a quick test of how ready the client is to do something and will solidify whether they’re just a lukewarm or hot prospect. For a seller you could offer to come by for a valuation and for a buyer offer to walk them through a listing they're interested in. 

If they say they’d rather get in touch with you, don’t push to lock in an appointment as this means they’re not ready to take the next step yet. If they’re happy to book an appointment then and there you know they’re a serious prospect worth adding to your hot leads pile.

Classifying leads as hot, warm or cold is a fundamental step in the lead conversion process and working efficiently as an agent. Ease these five questions into the conversation to get a good read and understanding of a potential client's motivation, timeframe and goals when looking to buy or sell. Effectively qualifying leads from the outset will save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team.

 

About Homely:

Homely is a new way to search for Bondi Beach real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, Homely is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

 

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Premier Agent Masterclass, Chapter 4: Building a competitive showcase

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Premier Agent Masterclass, Chapter 4: Building a competitive showcase

After discovering how to share her success with Premier Agent in Chapter 3, Angela Agent is looking for more ways to differentiate her profile and get the edge over her competitors.

Angela recognises that taking steps to distinguish herself is key to building her own unique brand and influencing consumers to choose her over other local agents. Here are the three steps she took to establish a competitive showcase.

Step 1: Add a professional motto.

To build out her brand and let customers know more about her, Angela added in her own personal professional motto. The motto is a great way for her to connect with potential customers and convey her work ethic within one or two easy to read sentences. Angela wanted to come up with the perfect motto to demonstrate her dedication to customer service, and show potential clients what she is like to work with.

Some examples of professional mottos:

 'Understanding the psychology behind negotiating is my forte. I combine this with integrity for the best results, this job is my passion.' – Maria Cassarino

'Successful people are those with successful habits.' –Monique Holgye

'Our strong results are not random occurrences; they are based on expertise, energy and persistence.' – Jon Snead

'In order to be a trusted advisor, it’s important to define what success looks like for the client, then come up with a solution that resonates with them.' – Alex Myers

Once you have your own personal motto in mind, show it to a colleague or friend to check that it is clear, grammatically correct, concise and conveys the right message for your professional image.

To add your own motto into your showcase, go into ‘settings’ and add the motto and hit ‘update settings’.

Step 2: Show your track record.

Angela recognises that the key to driving consistent online leads is building a strong profile and exhibiting her stellar sales record. To prove her extensive market knowledge and local sales experience Angela ensures the information in her Performance Stats is kept up to date by making sure each new listing and recent sales results are added in.

Her impressive Performance Stats on current properties for sale, properties sold, the total value of properties sold and highest sold price, gives her clients a quick numeric snapshot of her success and an easy means for customers to compare her results with other local agents.

Check that your transactions in your Performance Stats are up to date, if anything is missing email help@homely.com.au to have your stats amended.

Step 3: Map your success.

Angela makes sure her Success Map is up to date because it’s a great visual tool for future and returning clients to view and compare the extent of her current and sold listings to other agents from her region.

For clients looking for a listing agent the map and list clearly display the locations and types of properties Angela specialises in selling. It also conveys the magnitude of all her sales from the past 36 months.

If your Success Map is missing any sold or leased data from the past 3 years let us know at help@homely.com.au.

 

Happy selling!

The Homely Team

 

About Homely Premier Agent™:

Premier Agent is the best Agent Showcase in Australia and brings together your listings, performance statistics, agent controlled reviews, and suburbs knowledge to win you new business.

If you have any questions or suggestions about Premier Agent, don't hesitate to contact us at help@homely.com.au

About Homely:

Homely is a new way to search for Bald Hills real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, Homely is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

 

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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