Best Places to Live in California

Best Places to Live in California

Approximately 40 million people live in “The Golden State”.

California ranks first in public health, fourth in higher education, and fourth happiest overall out of the 52 states. The population is constantly growing, the scenery is beautiful, and the amenities are endless. It is without a doubt one of the most attractive places to live in the whole country.

However, there are more people in California than there are in Canada. The state is over 163,000 square miles (third largest) and the quality of life varies depending on where you live. US News ranks Bakersfield (124th) as the second worst large metro area to live in America. Yet, their list also puts San Francisco (7th) and San Jose (14th) as appealing options.

The quality of life that makes California so desirable does come at a cost. The list of the 10 highest cost of living cities in the country includes five places in California—San Francisco (2nd), Oakland (6th), San Jose (7th), San Diego (8th), and Los Angeles (9th). 

If you can afford these areas, where exactly should you move?

California Real Estate Introduction

Before comparing neighborhoods, it is good to learn more about the market. 

The cost of houses here is high and increasing on a year-over-year basis. $549,000 is the median listing price and $502,600 is the median sale price. $2,800 is the median monthly rent. Seven years ago, the median house price was around $300,000 but the state’s growth has brought prices up tremendously. 

California Homes Sell Fast

Oakland and San Jose are experiencing strong growth. Homes come off the market in an average of 36 to 38 days. Vacancy rates and unsold inventory is dropping in most areas. Good deals are drying up with growing demand and constant immigration to the state’s most attractive cities. 

Some areas are seeing a slowdown in sales and an increase in inventory. Los Angeles as a whole is in a “cooling off” phase after many years of substantial growth. Housing prices are mostly flat and inching up incrementally. But, the best places to live in California are still very in-demand and are generally not following the stagnation trend. 

A cooling market in California isn’t like anywhere else…houses are still selling in an average of 32 days vs. 87 days in Chicago which is currently a hot seller’s market. 

Most Desirable Cities to Live in California

The best place to live will depend on your situation. Some areas are better for young adults or entrepreneurs, while others are more beneficial for families or retired people. The state has a lot to offer and it’s hard to rank the top cities. 

The list below contains some of the best places to live in California. Use your own judgment to decide which place best suits your needs and wants. There are many beautiful neighborhoods in each of these cities worthy of calling home.

San Francisco

San Francisco continuously ranks on the top of lists ranking the best places to live in the United States. According to Redfin, sales prices are $1.5 million on average (up 7.1% since last year) and sellers get 9.2% above their asking price. Inventory is moving after being on the market for only 19 days.

Some reasons to live in San Francisco include:

  • Home of the Golden State Warriors (NBA) and Giants (MLB)
  • Ranks 1st in the nation for startups and venture capital
  • Home of Stanford University, a top-3 university nationwide
  • A very accepting LGBT culture

Let’s not forget the beauty of the area:

  • Home of the enfamous Golden Gate Bridge
  • Home of the notorious Alcatraz Island
  • Lively waterfront at PIER 39
  • San Francisco Zoo (100 acres)
  • Golden Gate Park (1,000+ acres)

San Francisco is approximately 49 square miles in size. The population is nearing 1 million. The city’s planning department identifies 36 official neighborhoods. The amenities, cultural vibes, and lifestyle vary dramatically depending on where you live.

Learn more about neighborhoods in San Francisco and figure out which area is best for you to live. The city has a high cost of living but is a tremendous place for young adults, families, and retirees. 

Pasadena

Pasadena ranks on numerous lists as one of the top 100 places to live in the United States. This city is much smaller with less than 150,000 residents. The median home price is $829,200 which makes it more affordable than San Francisco. 

Some reasons to consider moving here:

  • 30 minutes from Los Angeles
  • Home of the Rose Bowl stadium
  • Home to the prestigious California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Near the beautiful Eaton Canyon Falls Trail
  • Ranks as one of the top 30 cities for young professionals
  • Busy nightlife scene that appeals to all crowds

Families will also enjoy living here. The Kidspace Children’s Museum sees 378,000 visitors annually and is located next to the Rose Bowl. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens are also all great places for families to visit with kids young and old.

Manhattan Beach

The median price for a home here is currently $2.4 million. The city is in a buyer’s market with properties listing as much as $400,000 above the median sales price. Back in 2013, the median price was only $1.4 million. The exponential growth and influx of people wanting to live in this small area is responsible for the rise in housing prices. While sales are stagnating, no one is rushing to move and experts forecast more price growth.

Roughly 35,000 people call this city home. The area is less than four square miles. It is a desirable place for retirees to live. The city has a median age of 44 which is much higher than the state average of 36 years old. People in the area take advantage of the beautiful scenery and regularly walk, bike, or play sports on the beach and waterfront. 

Not sure if this is the perfect retirement spot for you? Stay in the area at the Belamar Hotel, Best Western Plus, or Hotel Hermosa. Get a feel for the community and enjoy the area for a few days. Take a stroll down the coast as well. Hermosa Beach is direct to the south and provides a similar living experience.

Another plus: the LAX airport is only a five-mile drive away.

San Diego

San Diego has a median home price of $593,700 which makes it moderately affordable. The better parts of this city will come at a steeper cost. With a population of over 1.4 million people, there is no doubt that housing prices range dramatically from one neighborhood to the next. 

Here are some reasons to live in San Diego:

  • Home of the Padres (MLB)
  • Home to San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Seaworld
  • Historic sites at USS Midway Museum
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Swimming and scuba diving at La Jolla Cove

Check out this guide to San Diego neighborhoods to get an idea of what area is best for you to live. Torrey Hills, La Jolla, Kearny Mesa, and South Oceanside are some of the best places to live in the city. The lifestyle and amenities vary dramatically depending on where you choose. Visit these different neighborhoods in person to get a better feel for them before shopping for real estate.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect place to live in California takes a lot of work. The options are endless and the right choice depends on your lifestyle. You can find the perfect place for families, young entrepreneurs, retirees, LGBT acceptance, etc. 

Your first decision should be how much you wish to spend on a property. The cost of living will vary dramatically depending on the city (and neighborhood) where you buy your home. You will need a fair-sized budget and strong income to afford the nicer parts unless you decide to live further away from the main metro areas. 

Be selective when making your investment. Going for the cheapest areas will put you and your family in a bad situation. Crime and safety is an issue in many of the impoverished areas in this state. The financially stable regions come at a cost but can guarantee a better quality of life and security for you and your loved ones. 

If you want to find a great deal, try for a foreclosure. You can get free trial access to ProspectNow and check for properties in a specific neighborhood. This tool will help you find places that are either in foreclosure or are likely to foreclose in the near future. You will also be able to find places that are likely to sell soon—before the owner lists them.

About the Author

I have a lot of real estates investing knowledge. I am an avid reader on the Bigger Pockets forum and regularly analyze various Canadian markets. I understand the mortgage side and have expert-level experience writing on home loans & personal finance.

Jason S is a freelance writer who writes about business.

A typical day in the life of a Listing Agent

Listing Agent

The role of a Listing Agent comes with many responsibilities. 

Your job is to provide the services that your sellers and buyers need. You must have marketing and research skills to consistently bring new clientele. It is an overwhelming job in many ways. But, it is a very rewarding profession if the initiative is there. 

It is important to remember that not every day will be the same. 

Your journey will be full of surprises. Much of this job is about doing and thinking “on the fly”. Your ability to be creative and adapt to any situation is what will differentiate you from the amateurs.

Ultimately, the duties of an agent will perform on any given day fall into one of these three categories…

1. Dealing with Sellers

2. Dealing with Buyers

3. Marketing & Research

For a better idea, check out the list below covers many of the tasks that a listing agent handles on a day-to-day basis. 

Dealing with Sellers

You need a property to sell to make money. The real estate company you work at might be large enough to naturally attract sellers. If not, you must do the legwork and locate owners that are looking to sell. This process takes a combination of marketing and research expertise. 

Identifying Targeted Leads

Running a general marketing campaign is not cost-effective. You do not need to pay for billboard space or radio ads. The best way to market your services is by finding those that actually need it. From there, tailor your marketing efforts toward those individuals. 

How do you find targeted leads?

  • Buy a list

This post goes over some of the many types of real estate lead lists that exist. Many services are available for agents looking to purchase leads. Here are six lead gen services that listing agents regularly use. You can expect to pay approximately $20-60 per lead or $300-600 a month. 

  • Generate a list

ProspectNow provides the research tools to find targeted leads. The software includes a built-in residential and commercial database, detailed property records, and more. Agents can search and find likely sellers and refinances in any area. Reaching out to the lead is easy as their contact information and some marketing tools are built into the software.

  • Door knocking

You have nothing to lose by going door-to-door to promote yourself. Many listing agents use this marketing technique. The frequent rejection is disappointing but it will pay off. The big appeal of the door knocking strategy is that you can limit your services to one area.

Figure out what the market is like in the neighborhood before you start. Have a business card or pamphlet to leave the homeowner. Reference any properties nearby that you sold for clients in the past. Have sales comps ready. Make it known to the prospect that you are serious and ready to make it a stress-free experience.

Read here for more advice on how to do this successfully.

  • Direct mail

You should have a good idea of what neighborhood you want to target. You can advertise through direct mail based on the recipient’s street, zip code, etc. You will pay a bit more since your conversion rate will be lower. But, you can always limit your direct mail marketing to your targeted leads. For example, send out your mailers after building or buying a list.

Many lead generation tools—including ProspectNow—provide a direct mailing feature. You will be able to easily promote your services to your targeted leads. Check out these six direct mailing services if you prefer a standalone tool with extra functionality.

  • Networking

Many real estate-related professionals have more insight than you. The city and county inspectors are two great examples. These people often know when a property is likely to sell and stands a good chance of going far below market value. For example, it’s a “likely sell” (highly targeted lead) if the owner’s property has liens and needs repairs.

Local attorneys can also help you out. Deal with lawyers that practice family, real estate, or bankruptcy law. Also, work with estate/probate attorneys. These professionals know when a property needs to be sold. Whether it’s due to a divorce, death, or otherwise—a property needs to be sold and the attorney will want to act fast.

You stand a good chance to find lucrative investment opportunities through your networking efforts. You might profit more from wholesaling the property because of the margin between market value and asking price. 

Want more ideas? Read “Ten Best Practices to Find Find Motivated Sellers Now” 

Closing on a Lead 

You find your leads, you market your service, and now you must close the deal. The last piece of business in your negotiation is figuring out an appropriate listing price. After that, you can work on making the arrangement official. 

Setting a Price

You are responsible for determining a fair listing price and getting the approval from the seller. Your recommendation is made after completing a comparative analysis of similar properties. Some variables you need to consider include recent sales prices, location, and how fast properties are selling in the area.

You need to suggest a price that is fair for both the buyer and the seller.  

The health of your city’s real estate market will also be a factor. How fast are places selling in your area? How are the prices trending on a year-to-year basis? Did anything change in the area to increase or decrease demand? 

All these factors, and more should be brought into consideration.

More tips on setting an asking price.

Getting under Contract

You and your client need to work through the terms of sale together. This information will play a fundamental role in how your lawyer writes your listing agreement. Your agreement conditions will not vary too much from client to client.

Some common variables in a listing agreement include:

  • Commission charge
  • Exclusive right to sell
  • Duration of contract
  • Duties of the agent
  • Sales clauses

Check out this article for more info on what a listing agreement might include.

Marketing the Property

You are responsible for marketing the property to potential buyers. The two most important steps here are photographing the property and creating the listing. You will want to look for alternative means of getting attention to the property as well. 

For example, you might promote it on Facebook Marketplace or a local classifieds website. You may also want to run a PPC ad campaign to your website and target buyers by their desired neighborhood. 

Want more ideas? Check out “35 Easy & Effective Real Estate Marketing Ideas”.

Photographing the Property

You should enlist the help of a professional photographer in your area. Quality pictures make a major difference. The camera plays a big role but an expert photographer will know what angles to take. The cost of paying an expert will vary by location. For example, photographers in Georgia start at $100 but the entry level cost is $250 in Miami.

The only argument against hiring a photographer is if it impacts your bottom line. A property in an undesirable market might sell for $30,000 which pockets you a $1,800 at a 6% commission rate. Your expenses are taken off of this amount. In this situation, you might prefer doing the photography work yourself. But, leave it to the professionals when you are selling a $500,000 home and stand to earn $30,000 in commissions.

List the Property

You need to list the property where potential buyers are likely to find it. Some of the most popular real estate websites include Zillow, Reatlor.com, Redfin, and Trulia. View this list of real estate websites to get a few more ideas. You will need to create an MLS listing as well. Read this page you want to learn more about how the MLS works and why it matters. 

Build Awareness

You need to put up a yard sign on the front lawn of any property you are trying to sell. You might want to put some signs up on a busy nearby street to direct traffic toward the property. Standard signs indicating a house for sale down the road are fine. But, you should also put up “Open House” signs for the week leading up to an open house viewing. 

You should also be active over social media. Build a Facebook page and promote your new listings. Provide general insight into the local market and new developments in your city. Tailor your page to the neighborhood you work in if you are specific to one area. Post new listings and encourage others to share. You can always offer a “finder’s fee” of $250-500 if the buyer is referred by one of your followers.

Dealing with Customers

You spend a fair bit of time working with the seller. After that, you focus on promoting the property. Some of that effort will translate to buyers approaching you. But, it’s important to be proactive and try to find buyers as well.

Building a Buyer List

A buyer list takes time to build but it’s incredibly valuable for your business. Your list should consist of both retail buyers and investors. Your best case scenario is having a range of potential buyers that are interested in one specific neighborhood. You can approach sellers and confidently say that “I might already have a buyer for your asking price”. 

Your retail buyers are one-off investors. These people might bring more sales through word-of-mouth but that’s rarely the case. You should be automated with how you bring in potential buyers. For example, running ads like “Planning to move here? Get first dibs on fresh listings!” Your goal is to get these prospects onto your mailing list so you can promote properties that suit their needs when they go up for sale.

Your investors are long-term partners. These people could be looking for homes in despair to renovate and flip. Many investors are looking to accumulate properties that have positive cash flow so they can increase their net holdings. You should read about building a buyer list to better understand this subject.

You might also have selling agents in your list. What’s the difference between a listing and selling agent? The listing agent helps the seller while the selling agent helps the buyer. Both parties are charging their clients a fee. Networking with selling agents makes sense because both of you have the same ultimate goal.

Showing the Home

Listing agents are responsible for showing their properties to prospective buyers. Private viewings are common but so are open houses. You need to schedule 1-2 hours for this viewing. Your MLS sheet needs to be on-hand and you must be fully prepared to answer any question. Your competence can make or break the deal. 

You will find yourself bouncing between properties on the weekends. These viewings are time-consuming, especially when you have a handful of properties up for sale. You should be selective about which listings you promote this way. Your highest value deals should get priority. An open house serves as a great way to stir up competitiveness in a seller’s market—and get a bidding war started if interest is skyhigh.

Closing the Sale

You need to be enthusiastic and confident when closing on a sale. Many buyers let go after initially committing to a deal. You need to be supportive and happy for their choice. This level of positivity should be the same whether it’s a mansion or a property that needs a lot of repairs. This post focuses on the psychology factor when closing on a deal. 

You must help finalize the transaction. The purchasing agreement is the last step in closing the deal. Some buyers fall through after this contract is done up. If this happens, it’s back to trying to sell the property. If the sale goes through, you will receive your commission. 

How ProspectNow Helps Listing Agents

ProspectNow offers listing agents a platform built on machine learning that helps to find properties that are likely to sell or refinance. This software contains information for over 100 million homes, 40 million commercial properties, and 30 million companies. The predict analytics is proven to work and provides dependable results. This tool also provides the contact info for the property owners which helps to further streamline the lead generation process.

You will find more helpful features too. ProspectNow provides listing agents with more than just the lead generation components. In the same tool, you can manage both your digital marketing campaigns and your sales comparison analysis. 

Get started with our free trial to see how beneficial our product is for you!

How to Research Property History

Property History

If you know the history of a property, you will be able to understand its value and make informed decisions about it. You can find basic details about a property on sites, such as Zillow. Legal documents, such as the property’s title report, may also provide you with some useful information. However, if you want to know beyond the basics, you may have to dig a little deeper and use new tools and methods.

The Importance of Property History

When you assess a property, every bit of information is helpful, especially if the property owner does not know something or does not disclose it. Property history research can reveal many details, ranging from past owners to the latest sale price to records of unpaid taxes.

Types of information: It can bring up historical facts, such as the original owner and subsequent residents or any interesting happenings about the land or the buildings on it. You may also get to know architectural details, including when the building was built, the materials used, the architect’s name, and whether any alterations were made to it.

Uses: Learning property history will help you save money, identify potential buyers (and sellers), and detect any problems. Even minor things, such as when a part of the property was restored or when an appliance was installed in it, help determine its value.

  • If you know the property’s sales history, you would be able to create comparables or comps for commercial assets. Comps are assets quite similar in type, size, and value to that of the subject asset. They are also usually in a similar environment, market, or area.
  • The sales history shows what the owner paid for the property and when they purchased it. This can help you gauge what price he/she would expect.
  • Also, if the property has been sold recently, the people who bought and sold it can both be potential buyers. The property’s buyer may be looking to further expand their portfolio, whereas its seller could be searching for a good opportunity to reinvest the money they received.
  • If the owner has been holding property for long, he/she may be quite flexible in price negotiations. Conversely, frequent transactions of the property in a short period could indicate potential problems.
  • A property’s mortgage history reveals the most recent debt positions on it, as well as the past loans taken on it. Likewise, property tax history shows its assessed and market values and its annual tax rate.

All these details help estimate the property’s value.

Ways to Research Property History

You can research a property’s history using a combination of the following methods.

Public records: Property deeds, utility records, encumbrances, census records, maps, photographs, architectural plans, etc. may be available at the local library, historical society, local government offices, and in private collections. You can locate them by checking at the genealogy library or genealogical society.

Property records are usually maintained at either the county courthouse, county recorder, county tax assessor’s office, or the city hall. Tax records would contain the owner’s name, their tax ID number or parcel number, and the current tax status. The local building inspections offices, such as the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, provide you access to records of building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits related to a property.

The zoning office records indicate how the property is and was used. Your local library and the city Department of Building and Safety are good places to check the names of the building contractor or architect.

You can to find out if an owner is involved in litigation, such as bankruptcy or divorce, from federal court records. This may reveal the reason for the property’s sale.

In case of residential property, probate court records will have information on births, deaths, marriages, and such other events, which constitute the history of the previous residents. Estate inventory records and wills can reveal the history of some items you may find on the property.

Online records: There are many government land records online. Some private websites, such as realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow, also offer property history information. Many websites, such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), let you search for a property by area.

Researching owners: Another way to know the property history is to contact its owners. You would know the names of the original owners and some of the previous occupants from the chain of title, the property’s official ownership record.

Old phone books and city directories, which you can find at local libraries and historical societies, will yield a list of former occupants. Remember that the street number or name where the property is could have been different in the past. You can find these numbers and names in such phone books, directories, and old maps. Local bookstores might have books and literature written on specific cities or areas. 

Newspapers and local church and parish records could have birth, marriage, and death dates of the former owners. The U.S. Newspaper Directory provides you information on the newspapers published throughout the country at any given period since the year 1690 and the institutions that have copies of them.

Other methods: You can also learn about a property’s history by looking at features, such as the type of construction, the materials used, the roofline shape, and window placement. Check for alterations or additions, fences, paths, trees, etc. Observe the buildings nearby for similar architectural features. All this will help you to identify its architectural style and, thus, its construction date.

Also, talk to the owner’s relatives, friends, neighbors, employees, etc. They might know interesting facts about the property, including who constructed the buildings on it and when, what existed there prior to that, and much more.

While researching the history of residential properties, diaries, photo albums, family letters, and scrapbooks can provide valuable information. A thorough search of such properties may produce an original deed or even a blueprint, lying forgotten in attics, under floorboards, or between walls.

Whether you buy or sell a property or mediate its buying or selling, researching its history will give you a detailed insight into it and its owner. This will help you make smart, sound decisions. If such detailed research seems tedious, use a complete property and owner database, such as ProspectNow. Not only does ProspectNow have information about millions of commercial and residential properties, but it also predicts which among them will potentially sell or refinance.

About the Author

My name is Jason and I’ve been writing for online and offline publications for more than a decade. I love writing on technology and business. Anything else is fine too unless it doesn’t skip me completely. Social media is not my cup of tea, but I find online messaging services extremely handy. My pastimes include reading books and magazines, and also watching movies and sports with my favorite people.

Jason T is a freelance writer who writes about lifestyle and travel.

Why You Must Have an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement

Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement

Whether you are a seller or a listing agent, it is always a good idea to push for an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement. This contract gives the sellers peace of mind that they are working with a motivated listing agent. It also ensures that the listing agent will get a commission for all their hard work.

“I’ve been doing this for about 15 years and I would only do an exclusive; I would never do an open listing – an open listing will languish on the market. The house will languish on the market because no one broker is representing it.” -Cee Scott Brown, Senior Vice President for The Corcoran Group

What is an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement?

An Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement is a type of listing agreement for selling a home. It gives the broker the right to earn a commission. During the sale, the broker will represent the owners. They will bring a buyer directly or through another brokerage.

Through this type of agreement, the owner will cover the listing and selling broker fees. Once the agreement has been signed, the homeowner cannot sell the property without paying the broker’s commission. The Exclusive Right to Sell contract will award the commission to the broker regardless of who sells the house. This gives protection to the brokers in case they aren’t the ones who bring the buyer.

An exception can be written into the contract to allow the owners to sell the house. This can be done if a friend or family member expresses interest in your house. The broker may give the seller a number of days to produce a contract without owning a commission.

Why You Need an Exclusive Right to Sell Contract

An exclusive right to sell agreement protects the listing agent’s interests as well as the seller’s interests. It guarantees the listing broker a commission if they sell within the time frame. This protects them from putting in a lot of work only to have another person sell the house and earn the commission. An “Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement” gives listing agents a financial motivation to sell the home.

For sellers, an Exclusive Right to Sell agreement ensures that they are working with a motivated listing agent. Sellers can find another agent if their home doesn’t sell within a specified time frame. Sellers can rest assured that their listing agents are working hard to make a sale within their time frame.

When is an Exclusive Right to Sell Necessary?

An Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement should be in place when you don’t have a buyer lined up for your house. Most homeowners do not know how to go about finding home buyers. Unless a neighbor or family member has expressed interest in the house, it is unlikely that homeowners will be able to sell their own home.

The other time an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement is a great idea when there is a time-sensitive goal for selling the home. The exclusive right to sell provides the realtor with the motivation to get it done as quickly as possible or they lose the right to sell. They will lose their commission.

Benefits to the Seller

Pushing prospects to sign an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement can be difficult if you don’t understand the benefits to the seller. The seller may be turned off initially by the commission or focused on being in an agreement that they don’t understand. Listing agents should point out the benefits of an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement.

Sellers receive the following benefits from an Exclusive Right to Sell:

  • Representation during the sale
  • MLS listing.
  • Faster sales
  • Ensures proper pricing.
  • Marketing is done for them
  • Sellers don’t have to find out zoning restrictions

The Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement gives the seller representation during the sale. The listing agent will help them price the home properly, stage the house for buyers, list it on the MLS with a comprehensive description of the property, and facilitate home showings. Buyers are also guided through the negotiation process as well.

The seller doesn’t have to do any marketing whatsoever on their house. Getting a house sold requires listing it on the MLS, beautiful photographs, and excellent description. The seller doesn’t have to worry about finding interested buyers and showing it to them. The listing agent may even be having an open house to show it to multiple people. The listing agent takes care of all this work when the homeowner enters into an Exclusive Right to Sell contract.

62% of agents spend at least one hour every day on marketing. They place ads for homes on Facebook, network with buyers and generate leads of people who are currently in the market to buy homes. This is something that the average home owner doesn’t know how to do effectively.

An Exclusive Right to Sell agreement puts a deadline on the sale of a home, which can speed up the process. A delayed home sale can be very costly for a home owner. Homeowners who don’t sell before their move face paying the mortgage on two homes at a time, which may no be affordable for many people. According to Zillow, the average time it takes to sell a home is about 68 days. The Exclusive Right to Sell agreement motivates the listing agent to get it sold as quickly as possible or face losing their commission.

Buyers are often not aware of the zoning restrictions when selling a home. Listing agents know that they must find out what can be done with the property and the structures. For example, a buyer may be interested in a pool placement or expanding the home. Listing agents with an exclusive right to sell will find out every question from a zoning perspective so they can answer buyers questions. Most homeowners may not even think about finding out about the zoning restrictions on their properties.

Exclusive Right to Sell vs. Exclusive Agency

An Exclusive Agency agreement sometimes is used by homeowners that feel that they will be able to sell their homes by themselves. It is often a backup done by For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sellers when they think they may not be able to sell their homes.

The Exclusive Agency agreement gives the seller the right to sell the home and avoid paying a commission. This is not necessarily beneficial to the seller. If that happens, the seller does not have representation from a brokerage. Most likely the buyer and the seller are unrepresented in that sale. Their interests are not protected.

Losing a commission when a seller brings the buyer is a huge drawback. It is the reason that most mainstream brokerages demand the protection of an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement.

Exclusive Right to Sell vs. Open Listing

An open listing will theoretically benefit the sellers the most. In this type of listing, sellers can use multiple brokers. The seller isn’t under any obligation to pay any of them if he sells the property without the broker’s help.

The Exclusive Right to Sell eliminates having multiple brokers competing to sell the home. It ensures that the broker will receive a commission for the sale regardless of who brings the buyer. This gives the listing agent the assurance that they will get paid for their efforts. Listing agents will prioritize these contracts over the ones where they are competing for a commission.

According to Cee Brown of the Corcoran Group, open listings tend to sit on the market. The brokers aren’t motivated to sell the property with the chance that they may not receive a commission. They don’t spend their time and energy marketing a product when they may not get paid for their efforts.

Conclusion: Always Opt for the Exclusive Right to Sell

There may be some rare instances where an Open listing or Exclusive Agency listing is best, but they are few and far between. Typically, the best option for both the listing agent and the seller is an Exclusive Right to Sell.

The benefits are fair for both parties. It provides the seller with a motivated listing agent who will accurately price the home, market it to the right buyers and get it sold as quickly as possible.

Listing agents who don’t push for an Exclusive Right to Sell risk working for free. They may spend a lot of time listing a property, marketing it, showing it, only to have the homeowner find a buyer.

Prime Seller Leads (Review)

Prime Seller Leads

If you’re a real estate agent who represents sellers, you need to consistently bring new listings and clients in in order to sustain and grow your business. There are many ways to generated real estate leads, and some of them require a lot of hustle on the part of the agent. While these techniques can be good for your networking skills and ability to build your reputation in your area (like going to networking events, handing out business cards, doing cold calling, etc.), they can take time and energy that could be devoted to other aspects of your business (like your current clients. Luckily, however, there are other tools for bringing in leads as an agent, and some of the most efficient and effective are online lead generation services.

Online lead generation services do work to collect qualified leads for you. When you pay for the service, you can more easily collect a list of leads who have somehow indicated that they may be selling their property and may be needing a seller’s agent soon. There are many real estate lead generation services available today, and it can be hard to know which one to choose. Before you pick one and invest in it, make sure you do some research about which ones are available. By picking one you know a lot about, you can help ensure you’re choosing a service that best fits your needs and budget, and one that provides you leads who will want to sell with you and help your business grow.

Things to Consider before Signing Up for a Real Estate Lead Generation Service

Real estate lead services provide you with potential clients who have somehow indicated that they may need representation when selling their property. This means that you will end up with a list of people who are more likely to become your client than if you were simply advertising to the general public. Some lead generation services simply hand over a list of leads. Prime Seller Leads is different because it gives you access to a lead generating advertising system, where you generate landing pages that attract potential sellers, and these landing pages both help you collect their contact information, and direct them to more of your content online, so they become interested in what you have to offer. Consider the reason you are hoping to use an online lead generation service. If you are looking for a pre-formed list of leads or need a ready-to-go collection of contacts to start nurturing, there is a lead generation service for you. If you need to the tools to attract the right kind of leads more easily so you can build your own list, there are also great online services that can help. Because there are so many real estate lead generation services available, make sure you get clear on your needs before you select the best option.

Prime Seller Leads: A Real Estate Seller Lead Generation Service

Prime Seller Leads is the type of seller lead generation service that provides agents with a host of tools that help them bring in more leads on their own. Located in Bonita Springs, FL, Prime Seller Leads doesn’t have over lead lists. Instead, it lets agents create attractive, effective landing pages where potential seller clients will hand over their contacts and want to delve deeper in the content a sellers’ agent has to offer. Prime Seller Leads does not require customers to sign contracts or commit to any amount of time using the service. They also do not charge any seller fees. Instead, real estate agents pay a subscription package that is cancelable at any time. Prime Seller Leads provides the agent with the ability to set up landing pages, widgets to direct people to your landing page from a range of social media sites, and a system to set up drip email campaigns. There are also a host of tools that help if you have multiple agents on your team or want to give lenders easier access to seller info.

Prime Seller Leads Pros

  • Different subscriptions with different costs allow agents to choose the level of functionality they need and cost they can afford.
  • Targeted markets let real estate agents get really specific about the seller they are trying to attract.
  • Completely customizable landing pages with changeable backgrounds let agents stay consistent with their branding efforts and build a reputation.

Prime Seller Leads Cons

  • The tools to create landing pages do not guarantee that qualified leads are going to find the landing pages.
  • Prime Seller Leads is only for sellers agents and is not a product that will help real estate agents if they work for buyers or both sellers and buyers.
  • Limited support hours, since the team at Prime Seller Leads only works and communicates during their own business hours Monday to Friday.

Prime Seller Leads Alternative: ProspectNow

ProspectNow is another service real estate agents can choose for gathering qualified leads. Based in Los Altos, CA, ProspectNow offers lead generation tools to both residential and commercial real estate agents who are looking for sellers to become clients. In contrast to Prime Seller Leads, ProspectNow doesn’t only offer tools to help agents create an online presence that attracts leads. instead, the platform is a database of commercial and residential properties that are predicted to sell, which agents can contact and offer to represent as their agent.

In addition to the database of qualified leads that ProspectNow offers, the service also has digital marketing tools that can help agents get the word out about their own businesses. They have a service that lets agents display their online ads using IP targeting, so you can be sure it’s being seen by the right people. ProspectNow also offers agents the ability to use direct mail as a strategy, so that they can send real snail mail with the simple click of a button.

ProspectNow offers different tiers of subscription so agents can pay for the service that fits their needs. The Local and Metro subscriptions include 1 user; the National subscription lets you have team access so that multiple agents can rely on the services that ProspectNow provides.

ProspectNow Pros

  • Created for sellers agents who work with both commercial and residential properties, so good for a wide range of agents and agencies.
  • Has predictive tools that can also predict properties that are likely to be sold, so agents can get ahead of the competition.
  • Offers a free trial for $0 so that agents can make sure it’s the right service for them to use to bring in more leads.

ProspectNowCons

  • Customers say the interface is a bit outdated and while it provides great services, it can be a little slow or counterintuitive to use.
  • Some lead phone numbers are old and no longer in service, which can mean calls don’t go through.
  • Marketing services cost extra on ProspectNow, so if you want to use it for digital marketing, you have to pay for more than just the lead lists.

Features and Customer Reviews of Prime Seller Leads

Different Features for Different Prices

Customers writing about Prime Seller Leads online report that you can take advantage of the tier of Prime Seller Leads’ services that work for you. You can pay less for just the platform and the ability to create landing pages. If you want to place PPC ads through the site, you can pay more monthly.

Excellent Customer Service

Customer Charlene Weston touts the customer service provided by Prime Seller Leads. So you know how to use the product, the team at Prime Seller Leads will walk you through all of the features and functions. You can ensure that you make the most of your investment, and that someone is there to help you if you encounter a snag.

Add Listings to Your Customer Pipeline

Customers report that it is a successful and reliable tool for adding customers to your pipeline, and not just leads.

Features and Customer Reviews of ProspectNow

Guided Search

ProspectNow has guided search features that help you find exactly the leads you’re looking for. This means you can zero in on the right leads, whether they’re commercial sellers, residential sellers, industrial sellers, and more. Customer Amy Nichol Smith explains that not only does the search allow you to find potential sellers, but the results also help you to contact the potential leads and offer your services as an agent.

In-Depth Analytics

Customers rave about ProspectNow’s analytics capabilities. Agents can get data on people who are likely to sell property in the area, and how smart it is to invest marketing dollars to appeal to those potential sellers. This can save agents tons of marketing in the long run.

Mailing Campaigns

With PropsectNow, agents can manage mailing campaigns easily. Customer Trevor Probandt explains that using ProspectNow, he can print manage a contact CRM, print labels, do a mail merge, and more. He also lauds the platform’s ability for you to hone in on specific areas, like counties and towns.

Choose a Real Estate Lead Generation Service to Boost Your Real Estate Business

If you want to use a real estate seller lead generation service, make sure you decide what you want to get out of the service. Then pick the platform that’s right for you. If you want help marketing to bring in more leads, Prime Seller Leads might be an option to choose from. However, if you want to save time and money by getting access to a list of leads and contacts that are likely to want to work with you, choose ProspectNow. Get in touch with ProspectNow today to learn how their services can benefit you as a seller agents, and how you may be able to expect to grow your business with the help of their pre-collected list of qualified, potential sellers.

5 Real Estate Sales Techniques to Help You Close Your First Lead

Real Estate Sales Techniques

If you’re just starting your real estate career, getting your first client will be exciting. It will be even more exciting when that client is someone you met as a prospect and turned into a client. You’ll need to learn how to use the right sales techniques to achieve that goal. Those skills will serve you well throughout your career.

Sales and the Real Estate Agent

Traditionally, sales skills aren’t included in real estate training. The lack of that training causes problems for many agents when they first start out. You won’t need to worry about selling properties until you have clients. Therefore, your first sales challenge will be selling yourself to your prospects.

Selling in real estate bears no relationship to stereotypical used car sales. In real estate, you need to use consultative selling skills to help your clients make informed decisions. But, there are still sales techniques that will help you succeed.

Identify Qualified Leads

There’s a difference between a lead and a qualified lead. A lead could be someone who registers on your website’s MLS search. But they only wanted to see the photos of the interior of their neighbors’ homes. You could spend time talking to a lead like that one, and you’d just be wasting your time and theirs. Qualifying leads is important to help you focus your efforts on working with leads that have a strong potential for turning into clients.

In real estate, a qualified lead is different whether it’s a buyer or seller lead. A qualified buyer lead must meet a variety of criteria. They must be serious about buying a property and have money for a down payment for example.

Seller leads need to be in the right location, and they need to be serious about selling their property. Typically, you’ll want to work in your target market area. If you have listing clients in many widespread areas, you’ll spend most of your time in the car shuttling between properties you have listed.

In today’s digital world, the technology exists to let you get property owner information for a particular geographic area. In addition, the latest technology offers predictive analytics to identify property owners who are most likely to sell. Taking advantage of this type of software makes the time you devote to selling as effective as it can be.

Stand Out From the Crowd

 As you know, real estate is a very competitive industry. You need to explain to leads why they should work with you as opposed to any other agent. That will be easy to do when you have a personal brand that makes you unique in your marketplace.

Some people think that branding is all about the design and color of your logo. You should promote your brand consistently with a meaningful logo. But, you need to start by identifying what that logo stands for.  Other people in the industry think that the broker’s brand is all they need. But, you don’t want to be just one of your broker’s agents.

Creating a personal brand will give you a competitive advantage. You’ll go through a process of thinking about the unique things you offer your clients. And then you’ll be able to highlight your competitive advantages when talking to a new lead.

Use Consultative Selling Techniques

You really can’t sell ice cubes to Eskimos, but some people still try. They rely on high-pressure sales techniques that don’t work in today’s marketplace. Today you need to understand your client and help them make the best decisions for their situation. This technique goes by many names, one of which is consultative selling.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a consultant as “one who gives professional advice or services.” And, that’s exactly what real estate agents and brokers do. However, to do that successfully, you need to understand your prospect or client.

The overall goal of consultative selling is to establish a relationship with clients. To do that, you need to listen more than you talk. You need to know the right questions to ask. You need to the right advice that will create happy clients. And, happy clients will give you excellent reviews that will help you grow your business.

Answer Objections

Have you ever asked a friend to dinner and gotten a response something like “I’m sorry I can’t. I’ve got too much work to do for an 8 a.m. meeting tomorrow.” You have two choices at that point. You could say, “Okay, maybe next week.” In that situation, you lose your friend’s companionship at dinner.

Or, you could say “You need to eat to get yourself through the night. What if we just grab something quick at Joe’s Restaurant?” In reply, your friend might say, “Oh, well, I could do that. How about 6:00?”

On the other hand, your friend might say “I really won’t have any time and I’ve got food at home I can eat while I work.”

Without thinking about it, people raise objections in conversation all the time. And, if you don’t answer their objections, you lose. If you do answer their objections, you may find that you’ve offered a perspective they hadn’t thought of. On the other hand, the objection may be real and the new idea won’t make any difference.

You’ll run into objections when you consult with your clients and when you’re closing your first lead. You need the right sales techniques to answer those objections effectively. These seller objections will give you some ideas on the best ways to respond.

Use Scripts the Right Way

Sales scripts describe talking points you’ll use when you’re talking to leads and clients. You may have scripts for introducing yourself to new leads, answering objections, and more.

Sales scripts have gotten a bad reputation because too many people use them the wrong way. If you write down what you want to say and then read it from a piece of paper, you’re never going to close your first lead. You’ll sound like a telemarketer. Your speech may sound awkward and you may trip over your words trying to say exactly what’s on the page.

The right way to use a script is as a tool to prepare for interaction with others. Let’s assume that you identified some outstanding reasons why someone should work with you and created a brand. What do you think will happen the first time someone asks what you can do for them?

If you’re like most people, you won’t come up with a professional, concise, and compelling explanation off the top of your head. But, if you write a script for it, practice it, and even memorize it, you’ve set yourself up for success. You don’t need to speak the script exactly as you wrote it. You’ll have all the information you need to sound like you’ve been in the business for years.

ProspectNow Can Help You Close that First Lead

When you’re looking for qualified leads, ProspectNow can help. We offer a database with over 140 million residential and commercial properties. And, our system predicts which commercial or residential properties have the best chance of selling within a 12-month timeframe.

Get your real estate career off to a great start by using qualified leads to grow your business. Contact us for more information.

 

How to Get Listings Quickly and Efficiently

How to Get Listings

When you’re a real estate agent, it’s important to continually grow and maintain your list of potential client leads. Working to attract leads can help you build your reputation as an agent. It can also help ensure the financial health of your business.

There are many ways that real estate agents can attract leads. Many of these strategies are human-driven, and they require hustle. Networking with business owners in your area, handing out business cards at parties and gatherings, and placing ads in local publications are some of the tangible ways that real estate agents grow their lead lists.

While consistently hitting the ground to attract new clients is an important part of being a real estate agent, the process of working to find your own leads can be slow, grueling, and inefficient. While meeting a potential client in person and convincing them to work with you can end up with a solid, fulfilling relationship for both parties, getting to the point of connection and commitment can take a while.

Because the process of manually building a lead list can be slow for a real estate agent, there are other strategies they can use to find listings to represent. Many of these methods rely on technology or pre-curated lists of potential clients. When agents get their hands on these pre-formed lists, they start with a leg up. That is, since these potential clients have already indicated they’re in some position to sell, there’s a better chance that they’ll be willing and ready to sign up to work with a real estate professional.

If you’re a real estate professional who’s gotten down the grind of attracting your own leads, but you want to get more listings more quickly, the following strategies can help. Using these resources and techniques allows you to be efficient in your lead generation and nurturing process, and it can help you do more business and bring in more income quickly. It can also help you close more deals so you can quickly grow your reputation in your area—making the process of bringing in your own leads easier.

Join the Lead Gathering Program of an Online Real Estate Listings Site

There are lots of real estate sites on the web that people use to find listings in their area or to do research about their local market or home price. Some of the most popular of these sites include ZillowTrulia, and Realtor.com. Most of these sites offer a resource where property owners can type in the address of their property to see an estimated value for it. The sites gather the contact information of these property owners. Real estate agents can then sign up for a paid service offered by the sites to get access to these lists of contact information. While there is no way of knowing why a person was specifically looking up the value of their property, there is a good chance that some of these people sought out the value because they were at least thinking about selling. By reaching out to the people who’ve looked up their properties, you can get in touch with people who have at least indicated in some way that they may be interested in exchanging what they own for money (selling).

Pay Attention to For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Listings

Many people decide that they want to try to sell their residential property without a real estate agent. These properties are called FSBO. (Some commercial property owners also try to sell their properties FSBO, as well).Pay attention to FSBO properties, and when you see one listen, reach out with your contact information and an offer to help if the sellers ever need it. While many hopeful and idealistic sellers want to sell without the help of a real estate professional, in reality, studies show that 92% of all homes in the U.S. are sold with the help of a broker or an agent. So, if you are able to reach out and contact FSBO sellers quickly, you can make your name the first one that they think to reach out to once they decide that they need help selling their property after all.

You can use a digital resource to access a list of FSBO sellers in order to make this process even quicker and more efficient. One good resource for FSBO listings is REDX. REDX guarantees that you can get the contact information of FSBO owners the day properties hit the market, so that you can be the first real estate agent to contact them during the process.

Stay on Top of Probate and Vacant House/Property Listings

Probate properties are ones that are sold when an owner dies, bequeathing property to someone who doesn’t actually want to own it. Stay on top of probate properties in your area by visiting the local courthouse and getting a list of homes that will be for sale in probate court. Once you have a list of probate properties, reach out to the owners of the properties who may be highly motivated to sell the homes fast. Probate owners usually live out of state and don’t have the time to come to where the property is to help facilitate a sale. You can offer to list and represent the probate property to help make the entire process easier for the seller.

The owners of vacant properties are often similarly motivated to sell. While there’s usually no concrete list of vacant buildings in an area, you can keep a list of ones you see as you spend time in town. Then, research and contact owners to see if you can help them get the property off their hands. Some vacant property owners may simply be grateful for the offer of help to sell the property, and it can be an easy way to get a listing.

Pair with a Home Stager

While this technique is not as fast or efficient as getting a list of pre-qualified leads, pairing with a home stager is a great way to get leads that won’t take your time or energy. Pair with a home stager, and then when they are contacted about a job staging a home, the stager can recommend you as a seller’s agent. This can be a very useful way to get motivated seller listings, if the clients do not already have an agent. You can return the favor by recommending that home stager when you have seller clients who haven’t yet found someone to help them stage their home during the sale process.

Pair with Home Flippers

Another good partnership to establish for any sellers’ agent is a home flipper. If there is someone who is known for buying homes and renovating them to sell, partner with them, and have them use you as your sellers’ agent each time they are done with a renovation and ready to sell a home. These clients will use you again and again and be easy, steady business. You may also pair with a real estate investor who regularly buys and sells properties to make money. You can represent them each time they are ready to sell.

Use Facebook Ads

With Facebook ads, you can get your information out in front of very targeted audiences: be it people in your area or those who exhibit online behaviors of people who may be wanting to sell their home (looking up its value, browsing listings, researching stagers, etc). Facebook’s ability to get very specific with who they target (and the amount of data they’re able to collect on users) makes it one of the most effective and efficient ways to actually get connected with the right leads. Facebook’s algorithms make their ad audiences scarily accurate. This means that you can get your information out in front of the very specific audience who may just be looking to sell and need a seller’s agent.

Contact Owners of Expired Listings

Access current real estate listings via your MLS or an online real estate database. Search current listings by date, and scroll to the oldest listings. Look at properties that have been on the market for a long time, or ones that seem to have old/not updated/few photos. Reach out to the owners of these properties to see if they need help relisting their property, or if they’d like the guidance of a new agent to help them refresh their listing. Checking nearly-expired listings every day is a good, fast source of potential leads that may be looking for some help getting their property sold.

At the end of the day, there is no exact science to getting listings for real estate agents. Instead, attracting potential clients is more like an art, where agents combine both their own efforts to connect with the people who might become their clients and the usage of pre-gathered or pre-generated lists. By combining the two strategies and using them both wisely, real estate agents can solidify a reputation as a sought-after, successful professional to work with—and bring in the amount of income necessary to sustain and grow a real estate business.

Rely on Internet Data Providers

There are Internet-based real estate data services that can provide you with a list of motivated sellers that may be great potential clients. These data services mine public records to find potential property owners who seem like they could be ready to get rid of their property. These lists are curated by a variety of factors, including owners who have encountered financial hardship or foreclosure; those who have experienced divorces or who have college-aged children who may be becoming empty-nesters; and more. Data providers can also give you lists of commercial properties and property owners you can contact to see if they’d be willing to sell. Many of these sites also have predictive analytics capabilities, which can analyze factors about properties and their owners and let you know how likely they will be to be ready to sell. These sites, thus, can ensure you focus in on leads who are likely to become your client, and to avoid nurturing potential leads who are not actually ready to sell.

Create Your Own Home Valuation Page

Rather than rely on another real estate site to buy lead lists, create your own home valuation landing page where people can type in their information to find out the value of their property. Optimize this home valuation page for search, using the right keywords for your area and the type of properties you are looking to represent. Once you start getting traffic to your page and people are handing over their contact information, you can reach out to them to see if they are looking to sell and if they would want your services as their seller’s agent. Setting up a home or property valuation page that just sits on the web will naturally attract potentially interested clients and will be a low-effort way to gather a list of qualified leads.

To learn more about one effective strategy for finding qualified leads who might want to become real estate clients, check out ProspectNow. ProspectNow is the most complete property and owner database on the web. It offers both commercial and residential real estate agents the chance to access qualified leads who may be ready to work with them to sell property. The database currently has 102,984,952 residential properties, 38,871,625 commercial properties, and 23,442,332 properties predicted to sell. It also contains helpful information like property owner contact information (including phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing address) and predictive analytics that can help you gauge how likely it is an owner is ready or willing to sell their property. This is a huge resource of potential clients who can ultimately help you grow your business. By relying on a tool like ProspectNow, real estate agents can tackle one side of lead generation quickly and efficiently so they can focus on doing great work for their clients and helping to establish their reputation in their market.

15 Real Estate Prospecting Tips That Will Help Get You New Clients

real estate prospecting

We know you want to close real estate deals faster and at a higher price. You want to find homes for listing. But connecting with homeowners who are likely to sell seems like a mountain to climb. Real estate prospecting has never been straightforward, yet some of us excel in it. So, what are the secrets to prospecting?

A decade ago, one of our current team members set foot on the real estate industry doubling as a broker and agent. Like many other rookies entering the realm of prospecting, he was eager to generate and convert leads. But, he didn’t know-how. Leads were hard to come by, and butting heads with rival brokers was common.

We can summarize his first few months of prospecting as a catastrophe. Not even cold mails, warm calls or residential visits could work for him. When he met a veteran in the industry, (also, our team member) it was his turning point. He was taught the art of prospecting offline and online – warm and cold.

Today, he closes up several real estate deals on a month. The most vital skill a real estate person will ever master is to prospect. Prospecting is an art. An art honed through time.

We have been in this industry for decades, and we want to share vital prospecting tips with you today.

Technologies change, people change, but ingredients to ultimate prospecting remain the same. Have a quick look at these real estate prospecting tips to gear up your selling touchpoints. 

1. Leverage Technological Tools

If you are a broker, lender, or an agent lurking in the shadows of traditional prospecting methods, you deny yourself a raft of opportunities. 

Think of how much change the real estate sector has undergone over the past ten years. Then, imagine how it could be in the next five years. Mindboggling, right?

To remain relevant, you need to use tools that propel your lead acquisition process. Tech tools ease the process of collecting key facts about real estate markets. They give you better visibility of the market.

For instance, ProspectNow uses an algorithm that enables you to see which houses are likely to sell. The tool considers historical data to map out a homeowner’s selling or buying behavior.

Also, count on digital marketing to give you an edge over your rivals. Digital tools give you the power to search thousands of property records and retrieve accurate contact details.

2. Create a Plan and Stick to It

With years of experience, few things in the real estate industry surprise us. But the number of people entering the market without a business plan is quite a shocker. A plan is a roadmap that guides your prospecting goals.

It is easy to put a plan but following it is often challenging. As an agent or a broker, you have to incorporate prospecting into your daily routine. And that means you need a schedule, calendar, and objectives to follow.

Your plan should include:

  • Daily prospecting schedule which should be approximately 60-90 minutes
  • Your target market and associated demographics
  • Market segmentation strategies
  • Competitive advantage strategies
  • The strategic lead acquisition process
  • Daily, weekly and monthly goals

Note that performing a SWOT analysis could also help you create a plan whose goals are easy to actualize. Proper planning provides you with a chance to outline KPIs that align with your ROI.

3. Dictate Your Market through Events

Trying to chase on every lead sounds like a good idea. However, it may prove to be daunting and unyielding. You should find the market to delve in, create a scope within which you will concentrate your marketing and exert your prospecting efforts.

Organizing weekly social media live shows or offering free coffee for your prospects can payoff. Take advantage of local events, take part in charitable activities and do not miss trade shows. Such events give you a lifetime chance to meet prospects in person.

Events make the process of establishing your brand seamless. Use them as tools for building and strengthening your database. If you do not want to put off prospects, avoid direct sales pitches. Focus on building relationships and widening your networks.

No one wants snobby realtors. Property owners get to trust you when you have an extensive network and significant knowledge of the industry. Dictate your market by showing that you have what it takes to get listings to fetch high prices.

Once you dictate your market, create data for it and start prospecting. List potential sellers and/or buyers and their contacts and try to match their needs with properties that excite them.

4. Know More about Your Market

It might be an uphill task exhausting opportunities in a market you have no clue about. You need to research, master the rates, understand the market culture and identify real estate dynamics in your area.

Get to know the movers and shakers in the market and how they affect your prospecting channels and goals. Know what you can, and keep learning while adjusting to the changing market needs.

At times, physical boundaries act like the determinants of your market. But they do not have to limit you in any way. You can choose a certain caliber of people; for example, high earning entertainers or a given income class and make them your chosen market.

5. Focus on Data

No more guesswork. Collect, analyze and use prospecting data to your benefit. Tools such as ProspectNow have millions of real estate concrete data that facilitate the creation of accurate reports. Use such tools to gather data.

Data is indispensable in understanding your clients. It assists in knowing things like zoning, building regulations, and upcoming government projects in your area. Data not only helps in knowing more about leads but also informs your prospecting decisions.

Undoubtedly, data enhances your understanding of the prospects across the marketing funnel. Sellers will go for agents and realtors who have bespoke knowledge of trends, laws and real estate economic outlook.

6. Be Quick To Grab FSBO Opportunities

Contrary to your belief, most for-sale-by-owner properties end up in the hands of professional agents and brokers.

Try to find out owners who have listings that have overstayed in the market. Approach them and give them tips that would make them sell fast.

Oft-dreaded cold calls have low conversions. So, do not bother cold emailing or calling a prospect. Use FSBO service or tools such as ProspectNow. Also, leverage your networks to engage FSBO owners.

7. Create a Sphere of Influence

We have relied so much on social media and digital channels that we have forgotten the importance of face-to-face conversations. Be active out there. Attend community events and use every prospecting opportunity to create relationships.

Create great relationships with the people around you. These are past clients, friends, and family who form your sphere of influence. They can act as a reliable source of referrals. If possible, always offer discounts or gifts to them when processing their real estate deals. Also, add your sphere to your social media handles, and create marketing pieces tailored for them.

8. Social Media Strategy

It goes without saying that social media is a pivotal network for acquiring prospects. Most brokers do not have a robust social strategy. With proper strategy, you can achieve quick engagement, brand reinforcement and establish a solid CRM (customer relationship management) funnel.

You need a strategy that works for your goals – one that harmonizes well with your business plan. Present yourself as a professional expert and entice your audience with news, trends, and happenings in your area. Use stories and polls to engage your audience. If you are still struggling to find an audience, consider using influencer marketers.

When finding potential home buyers, you can consider brand exposure tools such as the Zillow premier agent. Facebook and Instagram are useful social handles for marketing. But don’t forget that the likes of YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest are vital as well.

9. Categorize Your Leads

Uncluttering your sales pipeline by classifying your leads will help reduce churn rates. Potential property sellers have different needs. So, why would you add every prospect to a same email drip campaign?

You can classify leads as cold, warm and hot depending on core questions driving prospects to buy or sell. Consider questions such as: why are they selling or buying? What kind of property are they selling? When do they expect a closing? How do they want to sell or buy?

Such classifications will assist you in scheduling processes and customizing marketing campaigns. It will enable you to organize meetings with leads who have similar desires.

10. Use Content Marketing to Fuel Your Campaigns

Do not push ads to your prospects aimlessly. Take time to craft insightful how-to videos and blog articles that can help them make sound investment decisions.

Content can help you win the hearts of prospects. Look for anything from funny posts to memes that can strike an emotional chord with your audience.

The effect of content marketing is cumulative. So, be consistent with your tone and message.

11. Take Advantage of Scripts

Some say scripts make you sound like a bot. That might be true, especially for those who do not know how to customize scripts to suit prospect needs. The idea is, when prospecting, don’t talk too much but focus on customers’ pain points.

Scripts allow you to stay on track, focus on your prospecting goals and maintain consistency. Qualifying leads is a continuous process, and the message you deliver should be the same all through. 

Scripts are useful in building rapport, creating a positive perception and leaving a lasting impression.

12. Consider Postcards and Door Hangers

Joshua Smith was voted the 30th real estate agent in the country in 2013. He revealed that the secret for closing 463 listings in a year is relentless use of postcards and door hangers. This was an eye-opener for many agents and brokers.

If you want to get sellers that would have never considered agents or brokers, postcards and door hangers are essential. By informing potential prospects that some houses in the neighborhood are selling way above their asking prices, they might consider selling their homes.

ProspectNow offers templates for postcards to enable you to create and send direct mails to prospects in a whim.

13. Outline Your Value

Why should prospects consider you instead of dozens of agents out there? Why should they trust you? Anchoring your lead generation, lead qualification and lead acquisition campaigns on your value proposition give you an edge.

Concentrate on your strengths and skills while building on areas of your weakness. As stated earlier, collect enough data to guide you on areas that demand your skills.

Like top agents such as Aida Younis and Jade Mills, develop your own brand to enhance authenticity. Create your website and post testimonials to build credibility. This might take some time, but the results are long-lasting.

14. Create a Thoughtful Pre-listing Presentation

Qualifying leads and landing referrals isn’t that easy. No matter how you get your appointments, persistence, knowledge, and talent always come into play.

A listing presentation can help you outline your experience, contacts, knowledge, and expertise. Consider it as the pedestal for creating engagement opportunities with your prospects.

Some of the things you can include in your pre-listing package include:

  • Your goals and experience
  • Affiliated real estate agencies and experience
  • Your sphere of influence with their contacts
  • Comparative market analysis report (CMA
  • Marketing real estate tips
  • Tips on how homeowners could sell homes faster and a higher price
  • Pre-inspection and appraisal benefits
  • Real estate trends

Also, include HD images, floor plans and everything else you might think it can interest your prospects.

15. Personalize Your Offline and Online Campaigns

Everyone wants to feel unique and special. Personalization enhances engagement, drives leads and improves customer’s satisfaction.

When you do it right, your lead conversion rate skyrockets and you will make several listings in a month. Consider using geofencing to understand your prospects better. The good thing is that you can get as granular as you want – down from the city to the zip code and the block.  

Understand the demographics of your social media audience and take time to craft personalized materials. Personalization draws you closer to your prospect acquisition goals.

Bottom Line

Real estate prospecting is a journey that is unique for everyone. There are no rules of thumb or special guidelines to follow. Some can take years to master the art of prospecting; some can achieve their prospecting goals in a matter of months.

As an agent or a broker, ProspectNow helps you develop the roadmap for success. You can look around on our site to discover our premium services for prospectors. We help agents perform market segmentation by providing them with accurate historical data. Moreover, we conduct analytics that maps out a homeowner’s real estate journey enabling you to identify which prospects are likely to sell or buy homes.

Door Knocking: Can It Help You Find Property Sellers?

Door Knocking

Door knocking is an old school technique used by residential real estate professionals. Some agents get outstanding results from door knocking, while others never generate a lead. What makes the difference? How you prepare, and the tools you use will determine whether you’re successful or not. Done well, door knocking does help you find property sellers.

Why Does Door Knocking Work?

You may think that sending emails is as effective as meeting prospects in person, but you’d be wrong. The Harvard Business Review published some insightful research. They found that a request made face-to-face was 34 times more effective than using email.

Whether you’re contacting prospects via email or in person, you are making a request. You’re asking them to listen to you, trust you, and consider what you have to say. Door knocking is something to consider because it is the most effective way to ask for a favor.

Why Does Door Knocking Fail?

People fail at door knocking for a couple of reasons:

·  They feel like a traveling salesperson or an overgrown Girl Scout

· They have a fear of rejection

You aren’t selling anything when you door knock. The purpose of door knocking is to help you meet homeowners in your target area. Your goal is to develop a relationship. So, you should never feel like you’re annoying people.

Selling has come a long way since the days when old-school used car salesmen techniques worked. And, door knocking has come a long way since the days when the best approach was to ask the homeowner if they want to sell their home.

Besides that, rejection is part of the sales process. It’s easy to deal with the rejection when someone doesn’t answer your email. You have a much different reaction when someone slams the door in your face.

Learning how to door knock will help you reduce the times when someone is rude. You’ll also get lots of positive reinforcement when you start seeing friendly smiles.

Why Should You Try Door Knocking?

Door knocking has several advantages over other types of marketing:

·        It’s a low-cost marketing option. Consider what you’d need to pay out of pocket for SEO or direct mail. Compare that to door knocking, which requires little more than your time.

·        You’re on the road anyway. If you’re in one of your target areas, you can make that trip even more worthwhile by doing some door knocking while you’re there.

·        You can make a personal impression. Email is very impersonal, even if you include your photo in your signature. Meeting people face-to-face leaves a more lasting impression.

·        You’ll be unique. Many agents reject the idea of knocking on doors, so your effort will make you stand out.

How to Succeed at Door Knocking

If you decide to try door knocking, don’t skip the preparation steps. If you dive in with no planning, you’ll fail miserably. You’ll also become convinced that door-knocking is a waste of time. Follow these guidelines to make your effort produce results.

Get In the Right Frame of Mind

If you start door knocking with the idea that it’s embarrassing, that’s what it will be. When you meet people at a community event and tell them you’re a real estate professional, do you feel ashamed of yourself? Of course not. And, it’s all because at a community picnic, for example, you’re just out meeting your neighbors. You’re not trying to sell them anything. Although if you’re smart, you do take the opportunity to let people know what you do for a living.

In a social situation, if someone doesn’t seem interested in talking to you what happens? You just drift off and find someone who’s friendlier. You can do the same thing with door knocking.

Pick a Target Area

Most successful real estate agents pick an area to farm. Farming is the process of becoming an expert in a specific geographic territory. It also allows you to become very visible to residents there. Being top of mind helps generate referrals and builds your business.

Use marketing tools with predictive analytics to make your efforts more effective. For example, you can get information about expired listings in your target area. You can also identify owners that are most likely to sell. Having this insight will give you an edge in finding and focusing all your marketing efforts, not just door knocking.

When you do go door-knocking, plan your route to start with the high-potential homeowners then move to other homes in that area.

Set Goals

Especially when you’re starting something new, setting goals is critical. Your goals may include completing a defined number of door knocks per day, week, or month. Having a goal gives you the motivation you need to be successful.

Prepare Leave-Behind Materials

You should always leave something of value when you’re meeting new people. You should already know the market statistics for your target area. If you don’t, make sure to gather that information for a defined period such as a quarter or year. Here are some examples:

·        Number of homes sold

·        Number of Days on the Market

·        Current inventory level

·        Listing vs. Sales Price Ratio

·        Median Sales Price

·        Home appreciation rates

Once you have the most current information, you can create a brief market report. Include statistics and your interpretation of what they mean for home sellers in the area. You don’t need to explain the market in detail. A one-page flyer will work. Offer enough information to prove your expertise. And, put your photo on the report to help people recognize you the next time you meet.

Get Comfortable with What to Say

Some people think that writing a script is the quickest way of sounding like a robot. The opposite is true. When you memorize a script and practice using it, you’re giving yourself a powerful tool for several reasons:

·        You can plan what to say without the pressure of meeting a stranger for the first time

·        You’ll feel more confident because you won’t struggle for what to say when someone opens the door

·        You don’t need to follow the script word for word, but you’ll have that memorized script to fall back on if you feel tense

·        You’re training your brain and making it easier to find the right words within the structure you learned

Think about any movie you’ve ever seen. Did it sound like the actors were reading from a script? It doesn’t sound that way, but they have memorized their lines. Sometimes they deliver the lines exactly as written. Other times, actors may improvise. Either way, once the actor has internalized what they’re supposed to say, they put real meaning in the words to tell a story. You can do the same thing.

Create different scripts for different purposes, like these examples.

If you have recently sold a home: You could create a “just sold” flyer that also includes some market data. Write a script similar to this one.

·        I only have a minute, but I wanted to let you know that I just sold the home down the street from you. It sold in five days, and the sales price has appreciated X percent over last year. As a result, lots of neighbors want to know what their home is worth in this market. If you’re interested, I can do a comparative market analysis on your home when I do theirs.  

Notice that the agent isn’t trying to sell anything. They’re offering information and service. If the homeowner isn’t interested, they can drop off the just sold flyer and leave. It’s the start of building a relationship with that homeowner.

If you’re having an open house: It’s a great excuse to do some door-knocking in the surrounding area. Some agents write a script that emphasizes their commitment to let the neighbors know about the home for sale. Some homeowners would love to pick their neighbors and will be glad to let you know if a friend is looking for a home in the area.

Other Door Knocking Tips

People will want to know who you are, why you’re there, and how much of their time you want. Always start your script with your name and the company you represent. Mentioning that you only have a minute will let the homeowner know that you won’t be taking up a lot of their time.

You can reduce the homeowner’s anxiety when opening their door to a stranger by standing a few feet back and off to the side of the door. You’ll look intimidating if the homeowner opens the door and finds you standing almost toe to toe with them.

Use ProspectNow to Find Property Sellers

If you do door knocking consistently, it will help you build relationships with potential sellers in your farm area. They may not have much to say the first time you stop by. But, you’ll typically find them opening up more as you continue to show your commitment to them with monthly market reports.

ProspectNow offers a database with over 140 million residential and commercial properties, including 23 million predicted to sell. If you want to get the most from your door knocking efforts, contact us for more information.

Buying Real Estate Leads vs. Finding Them Yourself

Buying Real Estate Leads vs. Finding them Yourself

If you are a real estate agent, it is essential for you to continuously find clients in order to build your business and thrive. Leads are prospective clients who may be interested in selling their property, and they may need a real estate agent to help them with the sale in the future.

With the power of the Internet today, there are countless ways for you to generate and gather leads. One way to gather leads as an agent to is to gather them for yourself. This can require a fair amount of hustle and relying on strategies to connect with people who are thinking about selling their property.

Another popular way is to buy real estate leads from a source. When you buy leads, you purchase a list of people who are likely going to be selling and need and agent.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to both strategies, and it can help to understand both in order for you to determine the best way for you to grow, run, and maintain your business. Read on to understand more about the difference between buying real estate leads and finding them on your own, and which route can benefit you more.

What does it mean to buy real estate leads?

If you are an agent looking for leads, one possible option for you is to purchase a list of leads from a resource that has compiled or collected them. There are many, many sources available that has compiled lists of qualified or verified leads, which agents can then connect with and offer to represent.

When you buy real estate leads, you are purchasing a list of prospective clients that have in some way indicated that they are likely going to need to sell. This list can have a wide range of clients that are in a variety of situations. Some of these can include:

  • Owners who are divorcing
  • Owners in pre-forecluse
  • Property owners who have announced relocation
  • Homeowners who are about to become empty nesters
  • Homeowners who just had a child
  • Homeowners who just got married
  • Probate leads (people who just inherited property that are like to turn that property around via a a sale)
  • People who have applied for or looked into home loans
  • People who have clicked on Pay-per-Click ads regarding selling property
  • Internet users who have searched for the value of their home or property
  • People who search for home listing on search engines (and are then targeted with PPC advertising campaigns
  • Homeowners or commercial property owners that have responded to surveys about selling their home or property
  • Homeowners of a certain age, who are likely to have equity or are in positions to sell or invest
  • And more.

You can choose the type of qualified lead that makes the most sense for your market and your business, then purchase from a source that provides that types of lead list.

The Benefits of Buying Real Estate Leads

There are many benefits to buying real estate leads in order to find potential customers. Some of the best benefits include the following.

Save Yourself Time and Energy

Being a real estate agent is hard work. You have to constantly work for your clients and work to gain new clients. You can reduce some of your workload and save yourself time by buying qualified leads. Instead of having to work to build your customer base, you can be handed a list of potential clients that you know are in some way interested in selling. That way you can devote your time and energy to working hard for your clients and making them happy with your service, and not to hustling to drum up people who may or may not want to work with you to sell.

Make Contact First

When you buy a list of leads, it is likely that you are going to be the first agent to make contact with them. This is especially true if you are purchasing a list of leads that has simply expressed some interest in selling their home, but hasn’t necessarily made any decision about doing it. When you are the first agent to reach out to a potential seller, you are likely to nab them as a client, since you have made the process easy and convenient for them, and you have displayed your enthusiasm and eagerness to work with them.

Long List of Clients

When you generate your own leads, you constantly have to work to keep feeing up your list of potential clients. When you purchase a list, you have a long steady stream of people to check in with about possibly represeting them during a sale.

Get Established and Build Your Reputation

When you buy a list of leads, you may be able to make sales quickly, since you’ll likely be working with people ready and motivated to sell. When you make these customers happy, you can help generate a great reputation and positive word-of-mouth marketing for yourself, which will help you naturally grow your business. This can be especially helpful if you are new to an area or a market and need help getting established.

What Does it Mean to Find Your Own Real Estate Leads?

If you choose not to buy a list of real estate leads from any resource, it is up to you as an agent to compile your own list of potential sellers. This can take some hustling on your part, but there are a wide variety of methods for finding good clients. Here are some of the most popular ways that seller agents find their own leads.

  • Referrals: Referrals can be a great source of leads. Ask happy and satisfied customers and clients to recommend you to other sellers.
  • Partnerships: Partner with relevant organizations or businesses in your area to help bring you people that are looking to sell property. Some business that make sense are cleaning services, home staging companies, moving companies, and more. When people inquire with a relevant company about moving or selling their home, you can have them recommend you as a seller’s agent. In exchange you can also recommend these businesses to your clients.
  • Building strong relationships: Keep up relationships with old customers. Send regular holiday cards or check-in emails. By keeping strong ties with people you work with, they may become repeat customers down the line or refer you on when people they know need a seller’s agent.
  • Advertisements: Place ads for your services or business with local newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and more. Consider advertising in other relevant publications like local real estate listings or magazines. Also, social media is a powerful and popular place to market today. So don’t overlook the power of social media ads
  • Social media channels: Social media in general is an effective technique for establishing your business, thanks to the popularity of social channels today. Create your own social media pages and post relevant, interesting content. You should have a Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter (and more, if you’d like). If you use relevant hashtags, you can bring in the business of people who were looking on social media for an agent like you.
  • Place sold signs on properties you sold: When you successfully sell a property for a client, make sure to put a sold sign on that property, in addition to your name and contact. People thinking about selling will see that you’ve been sucessful there and consider getting in contact with you.
  • Nurture, nurture, nurture: Don’t give up on old leads. Even if a person didn’t get in back in touch with you about selling or dropped out of contact, it can’t help to keep in touch with anyone who once indicated that they may need your help with a sale. Gently and politely nurture your leads by checking in with them and providing them with helpful, relevant information. This can keep you at the forefront of their mind in case they change their mind again and decide that they do want to sell their property.
  • Get in touch with people with properties that are currently “For Sale By Owner”: Some people choose to go their own route of representing and selling their own property. This can be a tough route, and many people, if they don’t succeed, will turn to a seller’s agent to help. Get in touch with FSBO property owners with your contact information, and let them know that you are there to assist them should they need it. They’ll know that they can turn to you if they decide they need some support or guidacne in the sales process.
  • Search for foreclosures and vacant properties yourself: Pay attention around town and in the newspaper for foreclosed and vacant properties. Get in touch with the owners yourself. You can nab the client by offering to help them sellf the property and get into a better financial situation. They will appreciate the initiative you took and the help you are offering to handle a challenging situation.
  • Have a great website: Build a website as a seller’s agent and optimize it for search. Make sure you’ve used the right keywors so you come up high in Google search results. That way, people can find you and your services when they are looking for an agent like you to help them

The Benefits of Finding Your Own Real Estate Leads

As you can see above, there are many, many routes to finding your own real estate leads. Going this route has benefits including the following.

It can be cheaper.

Some methods of finding your own real estate leads is free. It can be expensive to buy leads. So, if you are looking for cost effective lead generation, this can be a good option.

Connecting with the community.

Real estate is all about who you know in your market. By doing the work to generate your own leads and get yourself and your name out there, you can get to know more people and establish yourself as a more well-known name in your area.

Be sure your leads are interested.

Buying qualified leads is a smart way to connect with interested sellers. But not everyone on your lead list is actually interested in selling. If you do the work yourself, you can have a good gauge of where potential customers are and whether they’re actaully worth investing time and energy into nurturing.

At the end of the day, there are benefits to finding your own real estate leads—but it takes a ton of work. If you don’t have extra energy or time to expend, solely focusing on your own lead generation can be risky and lead to burn out (or a lack of clients and income).

Buying or Finding Leads: Building the Business that’s Right For You

As an agent, it’s important to regularly take steps to bring leads into your business. Take some time to learn what it means to buy leads, and what it means to find your own leads. Then, consider the nature of your business, the time you have to spend, and which avenue makes the most sense for you as an agnet. Once you’ve determined which method will help bring your more potential clients, devote your time to pursuing that avenue. When you bring in more potential clients to your business, you can help more and more people sell their residential or commercial property. Not only will you help more people reach their real estate goals, you’ll also develop a reputation for being a reliable and effective agent. This is another way to help build your busines via word-of-mouth, and to become an even more trusted, relied upon agent if your market.

If you want to rely on a tool that can provide you with qualified leads to help your business grow, check out ProspectNow. ProspectNow is a tool that connects residential real estate agents with people who are likely to be selling their homes. It also has a database of commercial leads, so that commercial agents can build their base of potential sellers. This database also helps other people who have a hand in the commercial sales process, including commercial mortgage lenders, building management service companies, real estate investors, tax professionals, insurance agents, and roofing companies (and more).