Search – Select – Connect

By Dana Larsen


Credit: Stokkete/Shutterstock

To keep up in the real estate industry these days, agents have to be well-versed in technology. In fact, in June 2014, Google’s Consumer Survey reported that mobile phones accounted for 27 percent of total searches related to buying a home, which is up 19 percent from the prior year. And mobile and tablet consumer usage continues to grow as America evolves technologically.

Tapping into technology and into the heads of consumers in the real estate conversion funnel, through newsletters, websites, social and more, is important for real estate success in 2016 and beyond. And being technologically savvy in today’s Information Age isn’t as hard as you may think.

How Agents Use Technology to Reach Potential Homebuyers

So how exactly can real estate agents leverage technology to boost their marketing and business success? It’s obvious that having a solid online presence (that is also mobile friendly) is crucial for a real estate agent’s success. But there are technology tips you can utilize as a real estate agent to improve business and help with your client networking and marketing.

Here are six ways agents can use technology to grow their business:

1. Be optimized for mobile.

So far into 2015, Google reports that, “one-quarter of Google searches for mortgages have been on mobile devices and tablets have seen a huge spike in searches.” This research confirms that that mobile is clearly becoming the leading source of information for homebuyers—and tablets are following—so agents need to be thinking mobile and optimizing their information for mobile, in addition to desktop.

To be optimized for mobile, agents need to download necessary real estate apps, and be savvy at updating their websites and their listings for desktop and mobile. Here are a couple rules to follow:

  • Use responsive design. Many real estate companies and agents can capture more leads by targeting mobile users with responsive and optimized versions of websites.
  • Be succinct. The mobile/tablet screen is small and consumers scan the information. Only provide the most important and necessary information for your website and listings to encourage consumers to contact you for more detailed information.

2. Use mobile apps and software to maximize productivity.

Real estate agents have helpful apps, software and optimization tools at their fingertips these days. From Premier Home Services by, a technology platform that offers help with client marketing, personalized website resources and analytics to track customer information, to the myriad of optimization tools available to agents these days; there are many tools to easily improve customer reach and conversion.

Mobile apps can also offer customized experiences as agents can connect with clients by staying in touch throughout the home search process through email, private messages, push notifications and personalized listings. Apps offer easy price and property comparisons to make the search much easier for both agent and client. Here are the 10 best apps for real estate agents, according to Forbes.

3. Use email and newsletters to market yourself.

Sending email every few days to potential and/or new clients, in addition to a weekly newsletter, keeps homebuyers educated and informed of listings and the market. The constant contact also helps with relationship building, trust and proving that you, the agent, is an expert. Think of the communication as a branding effort.

Premier Home Services can offer assistance with the email and newsletter endeavor, or agents can download software or use programs to create their own email marketing and newsletters. According to National Association of REALTORS®, two-thirds of marketers rated email marketing as having “excellent” or “good” ROI, so this type of marketing makes sense.

Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

4. Hyperlapse your photos.

Photos sell clients. It is the photos that will intrigue potential homebuyers to tour a listing. Hyperlapse is a new app that Instagram launched that uses time-lapse photography and technology in addition to impressive image stabilization software that puts a few thousand dollars worth of equipment on a single app on your phone for free. This photo app sharpens, enhances and improves photos to make your listings more visually appealing, thus bringing more potential clients.

5. Boost your social media.

Keeping up with social media helps brand your online business. If you have a website or a blog, you can post articles or listings on your page, in addition to the latest market information, to keep potential clients informed and impressed by your market knowledge and dedication. Social media posts can also improve your website and blogs through the eyes of Google and get your postings into the various social channel news feeds (which are prime for sharing and networking!).

6. Perfect plugins.

If your website is on WordPress or other CMS systems, real estate plugins can help you get information, analytics and enhancements for your site. From adding a professional listing feed to mortgage rate widgets and calculators, plugins are a great technology resource for the savvy agent.

According to Google’s Consumer Survey, “There is a need to act on listings quickly if you are looking to buy, and the immediacy of mobile helps people stay on top of the market in real time.” Because consumers are online, keeping up with technology helps inform them of the marketplace, which in turn, networks your business. Let technology work for you and use the available resources to help make your job easier.

Dana Larsen is a writer for, an on-demand home service with a mission to simplify the home renovation process, including the up-front research before a project begins. Find home services professionals with the right qualifications and work ethic without the hassle of back-and-forth phone calls, scheduling and getting the work done. Read more home improvement tips on their blog.


By Terri Engels


Graduation is time to celebrate and contemplate. Photo by abodftyh.

You’ve packed up your dorm room, thrown your Frisbee into storage, and have bid adieu to those cumbersome textbooks. College has culminated, so what now? This exciting time in a young person’s life is ruled by one question: what’s next? For many, that answer takes quite a while to define.

Many millennials are open to moving back to their parents’ houses after college. But for some, moving home may not be a viable option or, at the very least, seems an undesirable path post-college. This is leading recent college grads to a fork in the road: should I rent or should I buy? With renting costs continuing to rise, many recent graduates are deciding on the latter.

So, as a recent college graduate, what do you need to know when buying your first home?

What does the future hold?

It can be very daunting to map out the next ten years of your life just as your tassel has been moved to the left. Impulsive decisions should be left in the dorm room and recent grads need to plan where and what they will be doing before considering buying property. Thinking like a real estate investor rather than making emotional or rash decisions can help guide the thought process.

“Before college grads think about buying a home, they should have both a stable job and firm plans to live in the neighborhood for at least the next five years,” says Brian Davis, VP of ezLandlordForms. “If a recent grad is cemented and secure in their current location then they should talk to several mortgage lenders (starting with their bank) about their loan qualifications.”

What should recent college grads see as red flags in their future? For example, do you plan to go back to school? If so, then buying a home right after undergraduate studies isn’t smart. Another factor is where you want to live. Many recent college graduates will gravitate to hip, chic areas where property values are through the roof. You have to ask yourself if you can afford an area like that and if not, whether you would be happy in a less desirable part of town.

Buying your first home is a huge decision, so all the factors together can become overwhelming. However, if you are mentally prepared to take the journey then you need to be certain that your wallet can handle the weight as well.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Before you even think of picking up a pen and inking a deal for a mortgage, it’s important to be aware of your financial standing. With technology essentially being ingrained in a young person’s DNA, budgeting has never been easier. There are a slew of apps for smart phones that are tailor-made for budgeting and planning your finances. These can enable you to see what you may be able to afford and when.

In addition to knowing the precise state of your finances, it is important to know your credit score. Just hearing these words alone can send people into a panic, but for an easy way to check it visit This is the only site that’s federally mandated and an authorized source for a free credit report. Be wary of any other sites that promise to run your credit for free.

Once you know your score you can decide what next steps to take. If it’s too low to even apply for a home loan (anything below 580), it’s time to get your credit in order. You should open up a credit card and pay it on time, stay on top of your student loans, and make sure you don’t have any lingering past due debt.

Many new buyers also don’t factor in the hidden costs of buying their first home. As well as the down payment on the property (which has proven tricky for recent grads to raise due to student loans), there are also appraisal charges, closing costs, taxes, insurance and property inspection fees.

Much like school itself, the best thing a recent college graduate can do is their homework. Thankfully, you can get a hand by partnering up with a team of professionals. As long as you think with a clear head and have a healthy financial standing, you could soon be hanging that fancy diploma in your very own home.

Cheerful couple inviting people to enter in homeWho doesn’t love a small token of appreciation? Pop-Bys are small gifts you give to your clients to express gratitude for their business and referrals. They’re a fun surprise, and offer an excuse to get in front of your clients and say, “Hello, remember me, your REALTOR…” and discover new ways to serve them. Make your Pop-Bys stand out with the following tips.

1. Put a clever tag on it.

A witty tag makes you stand out from your competition and puts you at the top of your clients’ minds. Be sure to download our fall tags for your Pop-By gifts before you set out to deliver them. Also, remember to include your business card as well; that way, they have it handy if a friend or loved one mentions they’re in the market to buy or sell a home.

2. Prepare ahead of time.

Although it seems as if the Pop-By is spontaneous, in reality it takes some planning. While many agents purchase items at discount stores, it’s also a good idea to take advantage of sales. Although the best time to pick up Pop-By gifts is at the after-Christmas sales, many retailers offer sales before the holidays on items that are usually expensive to buy in bulk.

Also, it helps to keep a few Pop-By items in the trunk of your car. You never know when you’ll be out showing a house and find yourself in the neighborhood of one of your favorite clients. Having Pop-By items in your car gives you the chance to connect with a client and plant the seed for future business.

3. Keep it short.

Pop-Bys are intended to be brief visits, not all-afternoon stays. Think three to five minutes, not thirty minutes. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your car running. You’ll be less inclined to stay longer if your car is idling in the driveway.
  • Don’t go inside, even if your clients invite you. And, if you do go inside, stay standing.
  • Be the one who ends the conversation first.

4. Don’t forget to write a personal note.

Following up with a handwritten personal note is not only good form, it also gives you another opportunity to say how much you enjoyed seeing them, let them know that you’re there to serve them and remind them you’re never too busy for any of their referrals.

5. Have fun!

If you’re having fun, it’ll show in your face, voice and overall energy. Keep your energy high when you deliver your Pop-Bys and keep it light. The more you enjoy seeing your clients the more fun you’ll have.

Take advantage of the social nature of the holiday season to reconnect with your clients and surprise them with a thoughtful gift of appreciation. If dropping in on your clients makes you nervous, start with your favorite clients first; once you’re on a roll, delivering Pop-Bys becomes easier. Although the visit only takes a few minutes of your time, you’ll enjoy the results into next year.

Four businesspeople having lunch in a restaurant.When you work by referral, your relationships drive your business. In order to build lasting relationships with your clients, it’s important to maintain consistent contact with them. How can you do this? Get face-to-face and voice-to-voice with them! However, communication goes beyond a few phone calls and a Pop-By a month; client parties are a fun way to catch up with several of your favorite clients at once, thank them for their business and ask for referrals.

Show your appreciation
Everyone wants to feel appreciated and your clients are no different. After all, their business and referrals keep you in business! While saying “thank you” is certainly an effective way to express gratitude, it’s important to show them how much they mean to you.

Client parties are an opportunity to express gratitude beyond the spoken word. They help show appreciation to existing clients while they grow their database.

Don’t forget to ask for referrals
While you’re thanking your clients for their business, remember to ask them for referrals. When is the best time to ask? When you’re chatting with them, of course! Ask for business, ask them to connect you with people that they love and care for. The more you receive, the more you can give away, and that’s what it’s about.

What if you’re an introvert?
Do large groups of people make you break out in hives? You can still host a client party; the key is to keep it small. If you’re more introverted, you may prefer to connect with people one-on-one. Small parties allow you to focus your attention on your clients, while avoiding the noise and distractions that come with large parties. So, while your extroverted peers are hosting a 500-person bash, invite a few of your top referrers over for an intimate dinner party. You’ll enjoy all of the benefits of a larger party without the stress of entertaining a big group of people.

Now is the time to start planning
Inspired to start planning your next client party? Plan a hayride with your favorite clients and their families, an afternoon at a winery with your A+ clients or go all-out with a themed party. It doesn’t matter what you do; just make sure it’s fun!

An all-purpose instrument - Tablet Technology

The demand for video in real estate has never been higher. According to NAR, eighty-five percent of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video. While some agents have started using video to connect with their clients, a new technology is gaining popularity, changing the way real estate does video and social marketing.

Owned by Twitter, Periscope was released to the public in late March as a way for people to connect in real time. The app (available for Apple and Android) allows you to stream live videos from anywhere. When you create a broadcast or “scope,” you’ll be able to show viewers what’s happening around you in real time. Viewers who tune in can follow you, comment in your live stream and “heart” your scope. Hearts in Periscope are equivalent to likes on Twitter or Facebook — they measure your popularity. While your scope is live, anyone can tune in to see what’s going on. You and your viewers can also share your live scope through Twitter to reach an even wider audience. After you end your stream, your scope will be available for the next 24 hours in the app. However, you also have the option to save your broadcasts and publish them on YouTube. While this technology is steadily gaining popularity, those who are most familiar with the app suggest creating a new scope every 24 hours.

In real estate, there are a number of ways you can connect with potential and current clients using this new tool. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Stream Open Houses

Probably one of the most popular ideas for using Periscope in real estate is creating live home tours or open houses. By live broadcasting an open house, agents will be able to reach a wider audience since your video will be viewable to anyone on Periscope. This could allow you to reach potential buyers who can’t travel to the area or take the time off work. While you’ll probably pull in viewers who live on a different continent and have no interest in buying, they could potentially ask some good questions that are relevant to viewers who are actively searching for a home in your area. A large number of viewers can also boost your popularity as a “scoper.” More viewers means you’re likely to receive more “hearts” on your video.

Another option is to do a walk-through of the listing to give your viewers a chance to see a live stream of everything the home has to offer. Viewers can ask questions while watching your scope, which will be visible to everyone seeing the stream. This allows you to answer in real-time. Also, viewers will likely feel comfortable asking more authentic questions since they aren’t face-to-face. At the end of your broadcast, you’ll be able to see everyone who attended your scope and can follow up with them through Twitter.

2. Share Local Knowledge

In addition showing off your listings, give viewers a closer look at your community. Do you have weekly farmer’s markets or fun festivals in your town? Attend these events and broadcast live to share the feel of your community with potential buyers. If you have a drone, you could use it to give your audience a bird’s eye view of your town. After all, buyers aren’t just looking at listings; they want to know everything about their potential hometown.

The benefit of streaming live is that viewers are able to ask you questions while you’re broadcasting, giving you the opportunity the answer them in real time and branding you as the local expert. You’re also able to create a more personal, authentic connection with your followers since they can see your face and get a feel for your personality. If they choose you to be their agent, they’ll know exactly who they’re working with.

3. Host Q&A Sessions

Another way to help viewers on Periscope is by hosting a Q&A session. You can focus on a particular topic like “staging during the holidays” or “what to expect when selling your first house.” If you’re looking to focus on drawing in potential buyers, you could host a scope about the perks of your local community, allowing viewers to ask questions about the best local restaurant or your favorite ski trail. No matter what topic you choose, you’ll be able to show viewers that you can provide useful information to help them make more informed decisions, which will help to grow your audience.

Social media is a two-way street and the communication should be going both ways. Periscope allows you to create a more authentic connection with your viewers. Because followers can see your face and your personality, it can help humanize both yourself and your personal brand. Viewers will get a better idea of who you are so they can feel comfortable working with you in the future.

Because basements are environments unlike other rooms of a house, it’s important to make the right decisions when remodeling these often damp or dark spaces. Here are a few tips you can pass along to your clients who are considering a basement remodeling project:

Basement walls have important functions they must do well, such as supporting the home, protecting from water intrusion, and resisting mold growth. In a basement remodel, you cannot simply “cover up” the basement walls. Instead, you need to be diligent in selecting the right materials and construction technique to ensure success. One available option is pre-insulated wall panels designed just for use in basements’ damp air. Materials that give mold something to feed on, such as paper backing on drywall, should be avoided. An experienced contractor can guide you in the right direction.

Moisture is the main concern here, as well, and both the subfloor and finish floor materials should be selected accordingly. Subfloorings that can be installed include polystyrene, plywood or rubber underlayment. Hard, non-porous materials are right for the finish floor, while wood and carpet should be avoided altogether.

Local building codes should be checked before installing ceiling materials because there may be height limits and required access to electrical lines, plumbing or ductwork. A general or basement finishing contractor can work with your clients to develop a plan that uses soffits or boxes around existing utilities, allowing higher ceiling heights in other areas.

Properly planning a basement remodeling project is critical, and selecting a qualified contractor is an important first step. Making the right selection by engaging a credentialed general contractor who provides a three-year workmanship warranty will pay off in the long-term with a new living space your clients will enjoy for years to come.


Furnished living Room in Luxury Home

It’s no secret staging has become synonymous with selling a home. A staged home can boost perceived value by as much as 10 percent, according to listing agents surveyed in the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Staging. Staging is so effective, in fact, it may influence a buyer to bid above asking price.

It can be challenging keep up appearances once staging is complete, but when your home is for sale, it’s important to be prepared for a parade of discerning buyers. There will be households that encounter some difficulty living in staged conditions, so planning is a must, says Lottie Kendall of Today Sotheby’s International Realty in San Carlos, Calif.

“We need to find out what is causing the difficulty in properly preparing the home for each and every showing,” Kendall explains. “Small children or teenagers living there? Pre-teens and teens can often be incentivized with gifts or gift cards, and generally respond favorably when they feel included in the process and understand the importance of tidiness and how it benefits them and their parents. Toddlers and infants? Perhaps showings need to be lumped together at pre-set times. Frail, sick or elderly residents? Again, find out set times that work for them and plan accordingly. In some circumstances, top dollar isn’t as important as minimizing disruption.”

Once you and your agent have coordinated a showing schedule, cordon off rooms you can go without entering while your home is on the market. Limit use to one bathroom, if possible, and shut the door to any guest rooms and the dining room – according to the NAR profile, REALTORS® dub the dining room a definite for staging, so do your best to preserve its picture-perfect state.

REALTORS® also prioritize the kitchen, but paring down activities in the heart of your home is impractical. To avoid pre-showing stress, remember the see-and-sniff rule: buyers don’t want to see last night’s half-eaten dinner on a plate, and they don’t want to sniff last night’s dinner upon entering the kitchen. “Too often [sellers] overlook odors – cooking odors and pet odors both. They simply aren’t aware of them,” Kendall says. “We can help by gently pointing out the situation and offering suggestions.”

At minimum, place dirty dishes in the dishwasher before vacating your home for a showing. Another, and perhaps better, solution is to pack and store your dinnerware and use disposable plates and utensils for meals instead.

One task you should never skimp on is making the beds each morning, especially in the master bedroom, which REALTORS® also green lit for staging in NAR’s profile. Aside from indirectly establishing a good habit, a freshly made bed, plumped pillows and all, recreates the staged effect and helps buyers visualize concepts like comfort and safety.

The bathroom is another room that will benefit most from staging, the NAR profile reports. To prolong the staged look, store toiletries in an inexpensive caddy and leave towels purposed as props in place. Before a showing, remove the caddy and any wet towels. Place the latter in the dryer for half an hour, and they’ll be fresh for use when the showing appointment is finished.

As Kendall points out, always complete the task sellers neglect most. “Ready for this? Flush the toilet and put down the lid. At first this might seem incredibly sloppy, but in drought-stricken California, not flushing every time is common. Flushing before leaving for a showing is essential!”

Taking these steps while you live in staged surroundings can make the difference between a speedy sale and “that home I toured once.” When buyers come knocking, do a sweep in these key rooms to get the most bang for your staging buck. Happy selling!


millennial home buyers recently delivered an ambitious study on millennials and their intentions about buying homes. The site’s inaugural Apartment List Renter Confidence Survey drew on data from nearly 6,000 millennial renters (age 18 to 34) at a time when homeownership for Americans under 35 years old is at its lowest point in the history of Census recorded data dating back to 1984.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • 53 percent of millennials who expect to buy homes plan to wait until after 2018, but age and marital status play a big role

  • 74 percent of millennials (respondents ages 18 to 34) plan to purchase a home in the future. Only 9 percent of millennials expect to always rent, and 17 percent are unsure

  • While a large proportion of millennials plan to buy, only 25 percent expect to do so in the next two years and the majority (53 percent) plan to buy after 2018.

  • Renters over age 35 plan to purchase much sooner than millennials, with 50 percent planning to do so within the next two years

  • Within millennials, it was found that older millennials (age 25 to 34) plan to buy sooner than younger millennials (age 18 to 24) by a large margin: 54 percent of older millennials plan to buy within the next 3 years, versus only 37 percent for younger millennials

  • Marital status correlates strongly with timing to buy: 52 percent of married millennials plan to buy within the next 3 years versus only 41 percent for unmarried millennials.

  • Older, married millennials expect to buy the soonest, with 58 percent planning to own within the next 3 years, which is nearly twice the rate of younger, unmarried millennials (30 percent)

  • Homeownership aspirations are strongly tied to education levels: more than 77 percent of millennial renters who have a college degree (2 year degrees, 4 years degrees, and technical degrees) plan to buy homes, versus 67 percent for those with high school / GED degrees, and 63 percent for those who did not complete high school.

  • Millennials with graduate degrees have lower plans to buy than those with 2 or 4 years degrees (72 percent vs 77 percent) This outcome may be driven by the burden of student debt.


Remote home control system on a digital tablet.Real estate, like many other industries, is founded on an age-old principle—buy low, sell high. Home sellers want to price their home for its highest value, and buyers want to find a dream home that will appreciate value.

There are a number of ways that your clients can add additional value to their home to drive up the selling price. These can be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint, to something more complicated like building a backyard patio. However, as new technology trends emerge, homeowners should begin looking into more tech-savvy updates. With environmentally friendly issues rising to the forefront, installing smart, efficient home technology can help add more value to your bottom line and get your listings off the market more quickly.

The smart-tech research

A recent survey from Coldwell Banker polled more than 500 real estate agents to get an idea of what homebuyers wanted when it came to smart tech. According to the results, nearly two in three agents reported that today’s buyers are more interested in smart homes than they were two to five years ago. Because it provides peace of mind, 59 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 said they would be willing to pay more for a home that has already been upgraded with smart tech. Even those without children are interested in smart homes, as 47 percent stated they would be willing to settle on a higher price, especially when it could save them money on their utility bills and household expenses in the long run. Agents are also seeing these properties sell more quickly.

When it comes to the specifics, 65 percent of buyers were most interested in smart-home technology for security. Following this were temperature control, safety, lighting, entertainment and, finally, appliances. Moreover, 62 percent of buyers also reported they wanted to be able to control these home devices from their smartphones or tablets. Looking at this, the take-away for agents is that smart-home technology is clearly on the rise, especially with Millennial and Generation X buyers.

Promoting your upgraded listings

Smart homes are advantageous for buyers when considering energy efficiency and environmental consciousness, but also when looking at the convenience of easily operating security, comfort and entertainment tech. Because of this, it’s important to advertise all the features of a smart home. Be sure to share each of the upgrades and the features available through them.

While, individually, each piece of tech may not hugely increase the price of the listing, it shows buyers that, when they purchase a smart home, they’re paying for the bigger picture—modernity, convenience, and safety. The upgrades have already been installed so the labor has been taken care of, which means one less thing new homeowners have to worry about.

The take-away

What it comes down to is, do these upgrades really help move properties more quickly? According to the survey, yes. From the agents interviewed, 33 percent said that homes with smart features and technology sold faster than homes without them. And the target market may not be exactly what you expected. While Millennials are interested in all things tech, Generation X (ages 35-49) is the top buying group interested in these smart upgrades with 57 percent looking for upgraded features.

While some buyers may need to be educated about the benefits of purchasing a smart home, most will already be aware of the advantages afforded by these upgrades. To get your smart listings the attention they deserve, check out’s new Local Ads. By providing real estate professionals direct access to engaged consumers in their target city, listings are just one click from Google. Featuring a gigantic banner ad at the top of search results, Local Ads is designed to capture active consumers searching for properties in your target city.

RealtorSelling your home can seem a daunting task. When you close that deal, you want to make sure that your home goes to the best buyer for the best price. It may seem cheaper to sell your home yourself, and many do; however, there are a lot of details to work through.

“Selling your home through a REALTOR® can help you make sure you get the best value overall,” says Kimberly Nicole, a REALTOR® based in The Woodlands/Houston, Texas metro area who caters to luxury homes and their clientele.

Nicole offers seven reasons why you should use a REALTOR® instead of selling your home yourself:

1. REALTORS® Know How to Navigate the Process A REALTOR® is the manager of your home buying process. Nicole explains that you and your REALTOR® will begin with extensive discussions to head off any road blocks later on. Your REALTOR® is aware of your concerns, needs and priorities. They are there from the beginning to end, navigating each step of the way with you. Selling real estate can be a tricky business, full of regulations and involved steps. Your REALTOR® works for you, staying on top of the latest regulations and helping you meet them.

2. REALTORS® Know How to Professionally List the Property – In the age of web 2.0, it’s not enough to upload your phone photos to a few random sites. Buyers expect professional photos, videos and flawless online presentation. To get the most exposure, you also need to manage your listing across multiple channels. REALTORS® will do all this for you, including coordinating with photographers and videographers to make sure your listing is top-notch. “Hitting the right emotional and responsive chords with buyers is the goal,” says Nicole. “Determine who the likely audience is, and market directly to that audience.”

3. REALTORS® Know How to Prepare SellersBefore you sell, your home must be in the best condition possible. Your REALTOR® can advise you on what repairs need to be done, and they frequently know good contractors. You may have to have inspections done before you sell, and will probably have to do repairs. A REALTOR® can set up any required inspections and instruct you on how to prepare. Sometimes homeowners will take out a loan against the house to finance costly repairs, but this can’t be done while the house is on the market. A REALTOR® may help assess the situation, and then wait to list it until the repairs are completed.

4. REALTORS® Can Help Sellers Prepare for Showings“Staging is extremely important,” says Nicole. “That first impression is vital.” Not only do all of the repairs need to be done, but if you still live there, the place must be kept clean and staged. This means everything from maintaining curbside appeal to the little details, like placing out a plate of cookies or laying out your best dishes in a table setting. She advises that a home must be open and inviting, and that smells, pets and lighting must all be taken into consideration. “We don’t want a home not selling because a buyer can’t see their own furniture in the home.” Your REALTOR® may also advise you to de-clutter certain closets and rearrange rooms. They may explain which personal touches add a “homey” look and which things detract from a potential buyer envisioning their own decor.

5. REALTORS® Can Help Get Buyers through the Doors – REALTORS® not only get the traffic in, they know how to manage it. They can arrange and hold open houses in a way that gets as many visitors as possible. They also work with buyers so that showings are more convenient for you. This is especially important if you still live in the house. REALTORS® may also help weed through potential candidates so that you don’t waste your time with no-shows or non-serious buyers. “If a person needs to sell a house before buying another, the seller needs to know this,” says Nicole. This all factors in to final decisions and net proceeds.

6. REALTORS® Know How to Objectively Negotiate You may think preparing and showing your home may be stressful, but receiving offers can be difficult. “The goal is to get the most money as the seller, and as the buyer the goal is to look at market value and if it’s priced appropriately. You don’t want to present an offer that’s an insult to the seller,” says Nicole. A REALTOR® can help you stay reasonable, without letting you take a lowball offer either. They will also be there to navigate a multi-bid and renegotiations. “Renegotiations fall apart all the time, and deals frequently don’t come through,” she says. “Each side has different concerns, and each party needs to know where the other stands.” Closing can be a confusing process, and there is a lot of paperwork to sign. Your REALTOR® has been through this many times and can explain everything you are signing and why. If you have any questions on anything, your REALTOR® is right there.

7. REALTORS® Know the Area “The key to a good agent is knowing the area,” says Nicole. They know what the property values are, and have a good idea of future market fluctuations. They also know where and how to list your property for best results. Having a home listed on MLS is not enough. A good REALTOR® that is knowledgeable of the area is essential to getting the best deal on your home.

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