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4-Steps To Stage A Home For A Fast Sale

Would you like to know how experts stage homes to get them sold fast and for top dollar?

Today I’m going to show you a step-by-step process for staging both the inside and outside of homes you list.  Now I know you’re probably experienced in staging, but the ideas below will probably shed some light on important areas you may regularly miss – so at worst it’ll be a great reinforcement for you.

But before I share the steps for staging success, there are 3 rules you should know about dressing homes for sale:

Rule 1:  Most buyers are very literal.  They only know what they see.  They have very little imagination.  You must create their imagination for them (via staging) to sell effectively.

Rule 2:  First impressions are lasting with buyers.  Buyers decide whether they like or dislike a home within seconds of entering.  It either hits them or it doesn’t.  You must enhance the first impressions of the home.

Rule 3:  Your home will sell because of emotion, not logic.  The only way to stimulate emotion is to make your home a place where people can really “FEEL” at home.  Make it warm and inviting.  Emphasize the special benefits of the home and lot.

Remember not to talk about dressing the home with sellers, or improving home deficiencies until AFTER you have taken the listing.  People can be very sensitive about their personal belongings or how their home looks prior to staging.  So let’s begin…

How To Stage A Home For a Fast Sale

STEP #1:  Assess the Current Situation

Be honest with sellers about what needs improving.  You’re a team now.  If a floor is marred or a room needs painting, say so.

Also, let your clients know that there’s a difference between how they live in a home, and how we show it for sale.  They may need to change their home and lifestyle for a short time to accommodate this rule.

For the outside, take a walk across the street from the home.  Examine the curb appeal of the home.  Make notes of items that are unsatisfactory from a buyer’s perspective.  Remember, buyers are very literal.

You can even tell your sellers to get into their car and start driving away from their home.  As they do so, ask them to take a look back at their home.  Make notes about what looks good, and what needs improvement.

STEP #2:  Eliminate Clutter

The key to showing homes effectively is getting rid of clutter.  Make counters clear, get rid of pictures on the wall and tables, store excess furniture if necessary, put books in boxes.  Your clients are doing this anyhow for their move, they just need to do it a little early.  Here are other household items to put away:

  • Clear away kitchen and bathroom counters.  These are areas where you need to show the most space and neatness.  So put appliances and kitchen-items away.
  • Re-arrange furniture so rooms look larger.  Store old furniture or cluttered items in another location — at least while the home is for sale.
  • Get rid of as many “personal” things as you can.  Buyers have a hard time visualizing “their” new home with the seller’s personal belongings everywhere.  Try to make the home look neutral, as if you don’t know who lives there.

And just like the interior, you need to get all the clutter out of the yard.  Put hoses away, store garbage cans, put away the sprinkler and kids’ toys.  The neater the area looks, the better the first impression.

STEP #3:  Spruce the Home Up Before Showing

Make improvements to the home, but only where it will make the biggest difference to the sales price.  Getting the biggest bang for your clients buck usually means getting a fresh coat of paint on strategic walls and areas.  New paint is an inexpensive way to show a home.

Check the paint condition of the INTERIOR of a home by removing pictures off walls.  It will probably need painting.  Remember to get inside painting done first, before any cleaning.

Check the paint condition of the entire EXTERIOR of the home.  If it’s pealing or worn, the buyer will notice it immediately.  Don’t devalue your home by trying to sell it in poor paint condition.  Pay particular attention to the front door, mailbox, garage doors, and walkway areas.  These are where the buyers will be walking and noticing problems.  You should also consider the following items with sellers:

  • Professional Cleaning.  Get a professional firm in to CLEAN the entire home.  Floors, ceilings, windows, fireplace, carpet, drapes — everything!  Also, check for ODORS.  If the owners have a pet, they’re home probably needs to have carpets cleaned or deodorized.  Any odors make a home less attractive.
  • Home Inspection.  Check for termites and functional obsolescence.  Many homeowners actually have their home inspected prior to putting it on the market.  It makes a good impression to the buyers when you have your own inspection completed by an independent company.  It will also save embarrassing situations with buyers who discover problems.
  • Landscaping.  The landscaping should look immaculate.  Make sure the lawn is groomed, flower beds are clean, leaves are removed, and weeds are pulled.  Check the bushes and trees for grooming also.

STEP #4:  Show the Home In the Best Light

Always turn on the LIGHTS when showing.  Tell your clients to turn on all lights around the home before a buyer gets there.  If you show the home, make sure you turn on as many lights as you can for the buyers.

These include the mailbox light, front door, entry (especially if the entry is dark), and dark hallways.  Make your home alive, by being inviting and bright.  Bright homes sell better than dark homes.

Leave all front area curtains and drapes open.  Have you ever seen model homes?  The drapes are always open at night, and the lights are on.  Why?  Because it shows the home better.  Also, when you keep drapes open during the day, people touring through the home will experience more natural light.

BONUS TIPS:  After you complete the dressing of the seller’s home, you need to make 2 statements that will help set the stage for your relationship.  You want to say the following:

  1. You may get some agents not showing your home because of the listing price.  At this time, don’t worry about it.  But if we get too many, we’ll need to revisit the issue.
  2. You will get offers all across the board.  There are those who just make low offers to see if a seller will bite.  Some may be as low as 20% below your listing price.  Regardless of the price or terms of the offer, let’s make sure we examine and discuss all offers that come in, OK?

You may want to type up a list of home-staging items for your sellers to address.  You can use this 4-step process as an outline to work with sellers, get more offers, and sell your listings faster.

 

How To Get Referrals 24 Hours A Day

Would you like to have a unique system that produces referrals 24-hours a day?

Who wouldn’t, right?

You can give your House List (past clients, friends, family and acquaintances) and others 24/7 Access to send you referrals by setting up a simple “Referral Hotline System.”

What is a “Referral Hotline System (RHS)?”

It’s a dedicated voice-mail system created exclusively for people to easily and conveniently send you referrals.  It’s cheap to set-up and folks can easily send you referrals anytime they so desire.

Why is this important?

Well, a past client, friend, family member or acquaintance may think of someone needing your services, and then forget about it if they have to wait for a convenient time to call or email.

With an “always-on” hotline system, they can call immediately 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

And here’s the most important point: The sheer fact that you’re promoting your “24-hour Dedicated Referral Hotline” subtly reminds people that you work by referral in a way they’ll remember.

Plus it’s so unique from what other agents do, it will set you apart in a very positive way.

Here’s how to set-up your referral hotline…

STEP 1: Rent a HOTLINE with a Dedicated Voice-Mail System

You should already have a hotline to capture new leads that come in from your promotions, but if you don’t have one, you can find one online (try this company).

STEP 2: Record a Simple SCRIPT for Callers

Here’s a suggestion:

“Hello, this is _____, and thanks for calling my dedicated referral hotline.  I created my hotline to help your friends and family save time and money when buying or selling real estate. My exclusive marketing systems and personal attention make buying or selling real estate easy and convenient.  At the tone, please leave the name and phone number of your referral, and also leave your name and number so I can keep you updated on our progress.  Thanks for thinking of me with your referrals!”

STEP 3: PROMOTE Your Referral Hotline

Keep in mind this service will be best received by people who know you, or know “of” you – I call this your House List.   But it can be promoted in lots of different areas, by simply mentioning your “Free 24-Hour Referral Hotline.”  Let’s face it, if you don’t ASK for referrals (in a professional way) you’ll never get them.

Here are a few ideas (plus see some prepared copy you can use below):

  • Use it with ALL your correspondence, such as in a “P.S.” of a letter…
  • Create a slogan around your RHS and place it everywhere…
  • Promote it with any Print or Email newsletters you send monthly – such as your Service For Life!® newsletter (www.serviceforlife.com)…
  • Put a snippet on the back of your Business Card…
  • Use a snippet with any social media sights you use, or your blog…
  • Make sure you place a message on your web site or any emails you send…
  • Place a RHS message anytime you run homes ads – whether online or print…
  • Use with any farming promotions you send…

The places to promote your RHS are really limitless. And you’ll be amazed – people WILL call it.  The more places you use your benefit-rich message, the more referrals you will get.

Here are a few benefit-rich messages, or “slogans” to help in creating your promotions for your RHS…

  • Help a friend save time and money when buying or selling a home…Call my Dedicated Referral Hotline 24 hours at 999-9999, ext 1234.
  • My business is built on referrals from people like you.  If you know a friend or family member thinking of buying or selling real estate, I’d like to help.  Simply call my 24-hour “Dedicated Referral Hotline” at 888-8888, ext 1234.
  • Introduce a friend or family member to my Free Report, “Sell Your Home For All It’s Worth, NOW!” simply by calling my 24 hour Referral Hotline at 888-8888, ext 2222.  I’ll rush their report out to them.

Bottom line: Every agent should have a referral hotline – if for no other reason than the process of promoting it makes you unique and puts you top-of-mind for referrals.

Plus, I frequently tell agents that the more “marketing systems” you have working in your business, the more clients you’ll generate, and the greater your production.

Look at your business as a wagon wheel and spokes:  The more spokes you have, the stronger your wheel.   Your RHS is a powerful “spoke” that will pay for itself many, many times over, and help you create a lasting, ever-growing production in real estate.

Oh…and do I REALLY need to say this?  Yes I do (well, for some agents at least)…

Don’t forget to, CHECK your hotline regularly, immediately CALL the referrals you get, AND to reinforce the “referral behavior” of those who send you referrals by:

  1. Keeping them posted on the status of the transaction,
  2. Showing your sincere appreciation for their confidence in you, and…
  3. Finding a way to reciprocate the behavior.

Promise me you’ll get yours created today, and that you’ll Promote it, OK?

You’ll be glad you did!

 

How To Create Real Estate Clients For Life

Learn how knowing the “lifetime value” of your clients can boost your income, how to recognize special events in your house list and how to tap the value of your top 20% “Power Player” clients.

1.  How Knowing The “Lifetime Value” of Your Clients Can Double Your Production. Most agents are so “single-transaction oriented” the lifetime value of their clients is whatever the original commission totaled.

Smart agents realize that, by having a client or a listing, they now have an asset to help generate more business for them in the form of buyer and seller attraction (magnet), referrals, word of mouth and repeat business.

Do business with someone once, and you make $5,000. Employ the strategies for maximizing Lifetime Value, and that $5,000 could turn into $20,000. Multiply that by the number of transactions you’ll do this year, and it adds up to some pretty big money.

The secret is understanding the 4 “values” every client brings to you.

The first value is the single transaction value – the commission you make from completing one transaction.

The second value is the “Transaction Multiplier™”. For example, taking a listing should bring you at least 2 buyers, when you use the appropriate sign tags, info tube flyers, “800 call capture” recorded messages, the “right” direct response advertising, and other “buyer and listing magnet” strategies (many you can find in our 3-Steps Program by clicking here).

The third and fourth values are the “Repeat Business” value and “Referral and Word of Mouth” capacity each client can bring you – IF you understand how to cultivate the relationship.

The average home ownership in the country is about 7 years. If you have a true back-end system to deepen your relationship, continue bringing value month-in and month-out, and position yourself as a true professional, who do you think will get your client’s business when it’s time to buy or sell?

And who do you think they’ll refer for real estate services when their friends, family, co-workers or acquaintances need a competent agent?

That’s why we created Service For Life – to create a ready-to-use marketing tool that acts as 7 tools in 1 to work to maximize the Lifetime Value of every client and every contact you make in your business.

Most agents are “single transaction oriented,” forgetting about their clients after a deal closes. They let their “next” deal walk out with their “last” deal.

Smart agents know the value of cultivating relationships, and rather than playing the stressed-out, feast-famine, “where’s my next deal” mentality, they have a long-term profit strategy that “steady’s the ship” and brings them consistent business year after year.

Build the backend of your business with these house list strategies, and you could triple the value of each and every client you get.

And here’s one more bonus: Working with your house list and their referrals is easy, the clients tend to be very high quality, and you work much less to make more money.

2.  Recognize Special Events in Your House List. Here’s a quick one, but it’s very powerful. People are “recognition and appreciation starved”.

It sounds trite, but when you send birthday cards, anniversary cards, home purchase anniversary cards, you make a BIG impact on the relationship.

Start capturing birthday, anniversary, and home purchase anniversary information on your database and recognize these events. Your production will rise with very little extra work.

3.  Recognize Holidays. I’ve got several agents who send something to their house list for a holiday every month.

They even find strange or unknown holidays, like “all saints day” or “rose appreciation month” as an opportunity to send something special and unique.

Every contact has an offer for his clients, and subtly programs them to think of him for referrals, word of mouth and repeat business. By the way, their production is HUGE.

4.  Treat the Top 20% of Your House List (your “Power Players) Special. There will be about 20% of your house list who will be “hyper-responsive.” That means they constantly send you referrals and talk about you to other people.

You treat these people special – very special! We have agents who hold golf tournaments, comedy club shows, exclusive movie premiers and other events just to recognize their very best clients/advocates. The impact is amazing!

One agent old me that, after hosting a comedy club party (for which other services she uses paid the cost), she generated over $60,000 worth of GCI business either directly from attendees or by referral.

Something you might want to consider doing yourself!

10 Ways to Build a Money-Making Email List

Do you have an email list of clients, friends and acquaintances with whom you make contact on a regular basis? One of the most effective ways to increase sales is to build an email list and have a regular, value-oriented contact program. How profitable can an email (or even offline database) be for you?

Do the simple math: If you grew a list of 300 homeowners who, on average, own their homes for 10 years each, then 30 transactions will come from that group each and every year – not including referrals they could send you.

Question: Who will get those 30 transactions?

Answer: The agent who’s made regular, welcomed contact with information they’ll value and use… the agent who’s demonstrated their professionalism, competence and follow-through… the agent who’s built the deepest relationship.

In my Free course, “The Ultimate Real Estate Success Secret™” (download for free at ServiceForLife.com/ultimate/) I call this your “Personal Market Share™”.  So how do you build an email list? Same way you eat an elephant… one bite at a time. Here are 10 easy ways to get you started…

1. Design Your Site or Landing Pages Around Capturing Visitor Contact Information. First and foremost, if your site isn’t designed to motivate visitors to volunteer their contact information, all other efforts will be in vain. How do you get people to give you their information? By offering them access to something of value in their eyes… something that appeals to their self-interests. You can start with a simple “sign-in” book. Or better yet, offer access to special consumer reports revealing helpful tips on buying, selling and financing. Or you could offer to send them your Free Service For Life!™ newsletter each month (www.ServiceForLife.com). Or you could even create a “squeeze page” where a visitor must give you their contact information to receive their information or make a public search on MLS.

Important Note: Remember, if you don’t have (at minimum) a monthly contact program – with contact that’s helpful and welcomed by them – chances are they’ll forget about you, and your list will be worthless. There’s a marketing axiom that says, “for every month that you neglect to contact your list, you lose 10% of them.” Ten months of no contact, and you’re starting from scratch.

2. Get The Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Basics Down. The most valuable way to drive traffic to your site (and thus capture visitor information) is by having a high ranking with your “preferred words” with major search engines. This includes focusing on your page title, meta tags, key words in your header language, 1st paragraph key words, and putting raw informational content on your site. Your site(s) and any content you create on them should be regularly submitted to the major search engines and key directories. Some agents can handle this task themselves, while others hire specialized SEO companies to do the work for them. Search your local online directories for SEO companies in your area.

3. Make Sure Your Website Address is Everywhere. Put it on your letterhead, advertising, listing signs, listing info tube flyers,stationery, listing sign-in area and around your open houses, business cards, home and personal brochures, your car sign (if you use one), the return address of every email and on everything you pass out to clients (coffee mugs, key chains, free reports, etc.).

4. Give People a REASON to Visit Your Site – If you simply put your web URL everywhere, don’t be surprised if no one visits. No one acts without a self-serving reason, and no one will visit your site without a meaningful reason for doing so. Reveal the benefit of visiting your site along with your web address. Want some examples? OK, how about: “Find Your Perfect Home by Searching The MLS at [www.YourWebSite.com]. Or, “Free Home Seller Consumer Reports at [www.YourWebSite.com]. Or, “Learn 40 Ways to Get Top Dollar For Your Home at [www.YourWebSite.com].” When they get to your site, you can then capture their contact information.

5. Use a Benefit-Rich URL, or Special URL for Each Listing You Take. Benefit-rich URLs do 2 things: 1) they imply a reason why someone may want to visit, and 2) they are generally easier to remember. Want a few examples? How about: [www.HomeSellingSecrets.com], [www.BuyMoreHomeForLess.com], and [www.PreferredBuyerFinancing.com] (NOTE: These URLs are examples only). Some agents actually register their listing home address as the URL (for example, [www.123MainStreet.com]). The site is dedicated to giving specific information about the listing, but also offers special reports and MLS access once a visitor registers and provides contact info.

6. Submit Articles about Real Estate to Local Publications. What most agents don’t understand is this: Media publications and outlets are starving for content. You’re an expert in real estate, aren’t you? Then it would be a snap to create simple 250 or 500 word articles about buying or selling and submit them to local publications: community magazines, newspapers and news outlets. Make sure your web site is on everything, including your author bio.

7. Place a Promotional Signature on All Your Emails. Every email you send should have signature language that drives people to your site (or, better yet, a link to your site). List out all the reasons why someone should visit your site, then craft a simple, short paragraph for your email signature. Here’s sample language you could use: “Helpful Resources For Buyers and Sellers: Get Free consumer reports on buying, selling and financing, search the MLS, get a Free valuation of Your Home and More at [www.YourWebSite.com].

8. Create Reciprocal Promotions with Compatible Businesses. One of the most powerful ways to generate traffic to your site, and create a strong client surge, is to create promotions through suppliers and compatible businesses. Simply ask yourself, “what suppliers do I know who already have a strong relationship with clients who could be mine?” List those suppliers/contacts, then approach them with a proposal to promote each other’s business. For example, you may find a remodeler who sends a simple email to his/her list that offers resources from your site, and vice versa. You can even create reciprocal links to each other’s sites. It’s very easy to do once you get started.

9. Submit Online and Offline Press Releases. Anytime the news reports a trend or event in real estate, you have an opportunity to generate huge publicity and traffic to your site. Simply tie a selection of resources at your site (such as consumer reports) as news to your press release, or write a brief article tied to the current news trend, and include your web site URL.

10. Buy a Banner or Text Ad in a Community Email Publication. More and more local publications are now offering their news and content online. And if the audience they target is the same as yours, you now have an opportunity to create targeted banner and text ads in those publications. Simply create a short banner or text ad (with a valuable offer), then have a link that terminates to your site. It’s that simple.