October Home Care Checklist

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It’s Autumn!  As colorful leaves cover your yard, don’t forget to give your lawn some tender care before winter hits. Try out the tips below to get healthy, happy grass in the spring:

  • Rake leaves regularly to keep them from blocking light and trapping moisture—which can kill your lawn.

  • Add a final round of fertilizer to give grass roots a nice boost of energy that they can store for the spring.

  • Add seed to bare or thin spots. A thick lawn prevents weeds—and if you’re on a septic system, prevents soil erosion over your drain field.

  • Clean and store patio furniture, umbrellas, children’s summer toys.

  • Touch up paint on trim, railings and decks. Use a wire brush to remove flaking paint; prime bare wood first.

  • Check caulk around windows and doors. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations to re-caulk if needed.

  • Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping, door thresholds if needed.

  • Wash exterior windows.

  • Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. In hard-freeze areas, have sprinkler systems blown free of water.

  • Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary. In cold-weather areas, consider installing heating cable to prevent ice dams.

  • Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.

Fall is also the perfect time to make a real estate move! Buyer demand is still strong! Buyers are out in force looking for their dream homes and are often competing with one another for listings that are available.

If you are looking to make a move, contact your local HUFF agent or visit www.huff.com.

Improving relationships with end-of-summer pop-by gifts

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A quick pop-by gift can help real estate professionals maintain strong relationships with their clients and, potentially, foster additional leads going forward. The summer time provides the perfect opportunity for agents to do so.

One popular type of pop-by gift revolves around being outdoors, according to Fit Small Business. Gardening tools often prove to be quite popular with newer homeowners in particular, because they might not have had much in the way of lawn or garden care tools when they moved in. These gifts cost very little and really add that personal touch allowing agents stand out in the minds of their new client.

A nice potted plant may also do the trick – such as a cactus or flower, welcoming new homeowners to their neighborhood.

Pastry or Snack Items
Locally made baked goods or candies can also be a big hit with new owners. Especially at this time of year, when many people are hosting parties and attending cookouts, a sweet pop-by gift will go over well with recipients along with their friends and family.

Another great gift at this time of year – specifically because of those barbecues and other get-togethers – is a fancy bottle opener. This clever gift keeps the agent at the back of the clients mind every time they host a fun social event.

A little bit of branding
For agents who wish to go above and beyond, investing in some branded summer giveaway gifts, such as sunscreen bottles that come with the agent’s name and contact information affixed to them, according to LRE Social. This can be given out in addition to branded hand sanitizer bottles, but the idea is more or less the same: Every time these common items get used, they will be a quick reminder of the good work an agent did when helping homeowners through the real estate sales process.

This is also true of branded refillable insulated travel cups and mugs, which can be left in the freezer or fridge at this time of year, then used whenever a cold drink is needed. Plus, that insulation also serves a purpose when winter rolls around and people want to drink hot beverages as well.

When agents add a little extra creativity in selecting their pop-by gifts, not only does it make great impression, but it reminds their clients of that extra valued service which thoroughly guided them through the process of making one of the best and most important purchases of their lives. 

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click

www.hmsnational.com

Facebook Marketing Tips for Agents

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Despite its recent headlines, Facebook remains incredibly popular among consumers, and for this reason real estate professionals may wish to master this social media networking site, as a cost-effective means of effectively market themselves.

Facebook is mostly used on a daily basis and at during certain times of year, users often begin their home searches online, according to Easy Agent Pro. To that end, this creates the opportunity for agents to take advantage by leveraging their professional Facebook pages to boost engagement.

Where to begin 
Assuming agents have a long-established Facebook page in place already, a great starting point would be focusing on their target market or individuals who would connect with their posts, and the content they choose to post. For instance, agents that give some simple advice to would-be buyers, or try to entice current owners to sell, will be more likely to see those posts clicked on or even shared. Facebook videos are also great items to post – including live streams of events like open houses – to boost engagement.

Furthermore, those agents who have a little bit of graphic design expertise may choose to mix in an infographic or two. These are extremely useful as quickly and easily break down answers to common questions or provide interesting insight. Infographics are often popular “shares” on social media, as are memes – which don’t require as much expertise – pertaining to the real estate industry or local market.

Are ads worth it? 
Agents may also wish to invest a little money in targeted Facebook ads, which will make their best posts more likely to show up in the feeds of people who are on the lookout for an agent these days, according to WordStream. The first and easiest of these targeting filters is by ZIP code, which just allows agents to target would-be buyers or sellers within certain areas. After that, they can also whittle down their options to people who would be most likely to buy or sell (younger adults for buyers, older ones for sellers), and even target their ads by estimated household income.

Facebook now has targeting filters that will allow agents to specifically make their ads appear for people who are likely to be first-time buyers, homeowners or renters, as well as those considered “likely to move” based on their online histories.

Furthermore, Facebook allows for advertisers to post “Carousel ads” that allow users to click through a number of options. This provides a perfect opportunity for agents to show off pictures of their more attractive listings – also targeted by demographic groups – as a means of boosting engagement.

As with many other things in this busy industry, a little research into the best ways to engage with people on Facebook can go a long way toward establishing new relationships and, eventually, boosting real estate sales.

 Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

Make Beautiful Photography Part of a Real Estate Marketing Plan

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Beautiful photos are often the key to grabbing a browser’s attention via social media, listing sites and even newsletters. With this in mind, real estate professionals should always consider the benefits of going that extra mile with their pictures.

What is needed?
Agents who take the actual photos should always assess and stage the layout of a home before setting up any photography equipment. This allows them to determine the most flattering angles within each room and which area may provide the best exposure to natural lighting.

Photography experts also recommend that agents invest in the right equipment, such as flash and tripods, for the perfect positioning and stance. There is even a recommended height for shooting real estate photos – five feet off the floor – so that photos look natural and aren’t in any way distorted by unexpected perspectives, such as shooting too much of a room’s ceiling or floor if the camera is tilted.

What the pros look out for
It’s important for agents who are editing their own photos before posting them online to keep an eye on a few details that might escape their notice, but could impact how attractive each picture is, according to Improve Photography. For instance, shadows can be cast when a flash bulb goes off, and being able to spot them is key. They’re most often seen around ceiling fans and light fixtures, but are also known to appear behind furniture, railings, plants and the like.

Similarly, the flash of a bulb can be reflected back to the camera from windows and mirrors, but also white walls and other surfaces.

Photographers caution that, when trying to get level photos, it’s not always easy to tell what “level” actually is. To that end, carrying a small bubble level that can be used both horizontally and vertically will help to ensure photos are keeping their lines as closely as possible.

Should agents prefer to take their own photos, rather than hiring a professional photographer, it would be wise to do a little research on tips and guidelines for beginners. With the right equipment and knowledge, their photos will stand out from the crowd.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

How Agents Can Boost Engagement When Clients Have Multiple Offers

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With today’s market consisting of would-be buyers garnering multiple bids, real estate professionals have an obligation to clients to help determine the best path forward, especially if the homeowners are attempting to sell their home for the first time.

It’s not necessarily true that homes “sell themselves” in today’s market. However, owners who have newly renovated and eye-catching properties for sale in desirable areas, with the guidance from an agent, are almost certainly going to see a number of interested parties coming to the table with offers, according to Realtor.com. Receiving multiple offers ultimately puts them in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding the right deal.

The available choices
Agents can and should advise their clients about how to proceed when they receive multiple offers as inexperienced sellers often think it’s wise to take the highest dollar value right away. However, if agents believe the offers aren’t collectively reflective of the local market as a whole, they may inform their clients that it may be in their best interest to counter at least some of the more serious offers.

What about bidding wars?
Homeowners may be faced with two or more parties that are willing to continually increase the value of their offer, sparking a bidding war which can go back and forth for some time, according to Max Real Estate Exposure. It is in a seller’s best interest that they should never artificially wait too long to respond to bids, and certainly shouldn’t try to drag out the process or push prices to potentially unreasonable levels.

At this point in time an agent’s expertise becomes valuable, as they are able to advise sellers on exactly which bids are favorable based on the owner’s preference and financial goals. Knowing when to step in and say when a bidding war has reached its natural conclusion is vital for agents to bring to the table.

The more agents can do to impress upon their clients with their expertise and knowledge in dealing with conditions present in today’s market, the better off they will be when it comes to being seen as a trusted advisor. This trust will also strengthen working relationships which then may ultimately lead to great referrals. 

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

6 Important Discussions Real Estate Agents Should have with Clients

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Great real estate relationships are built on trust. Agents who demonstrate knowledge, insights, expertise, and efficiency draw rave reviews from home sellers and buyers.

One of the biggest areas where real estate agents can demonstrate their trustworthiness and knowledge comes early in the relationship with clients. By providing accurate and pragmatic information, real estate agents can help clients make great decisions.

Here are 6 important discussions real estate agents should have with clients.

  1. Why Lowballing Can Backfire

Buyers can get swept up in the thrill of negotiation. If they are eyeing a property that’s been on the market for a while, they are inclined to enter a very low bid. Agents should talk early with clients about why this can often be a bad approach. Be sure buyers understand the emotional attachments, financial investments, and dignity that homeowners want to maintain when it comes to reacting to a low-ball offer.

  1. What Happens During Inspections and Afterwards

While a home inspector will discuss the process used to determine the status of the home, other structures, systems, and appliances, it’s a good idea to walk through the process with clients early. Explain to buyers what information from a home inspection report is usually better to use to provide offer adjustments and which are unlikely to sway a potential seller. This is also a good time to bring up the idea of home warranty protection.

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  1. Your Network 

Real estate agents don’t leverage the resources they have enough when it comes to demonstrating value to clients. Be sure your buyers know that while you may not know the answers to some questions, such as how much a potential repair may cost, you do have a well-educated guess based on your experience. And if you don’t know the answer, or the buyers are looking for more specifics, let them know about your extensive network of repair people, designers, and other agents that can help get them the answers they seek.

  1.  How to Sequence Purchases

The excitement about buying a new home can prompt giddy spending sprees on the part of your buyers. Talk to them about how to pace themselves when it comes to buying furniture, a new car, or other big ticket items. The potential impact on credit scores and, as a result, their loan applications and terms, often means waiting a bit before making other big purchases.

  1. Being Reasonable

Buyers who are unreasonable with their offers, their post-inspection negotiations, their demands to see the home, and other requests can cause problems later. Talk with your clients about what’s reasonable and when there can be one too many, “I just want my dad/friend/coworker to see the new digs” requests.

  1. Protecting the Investment

It’s never too early to discuss the opportunities that can help protect the big investment. Help your buyers understand the differences between home insurance and home warranties.

 Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com