How working from home can boost your Real Estate business

Real estate agents and brokers still like to argue about whether we work more effectively out of our homes or at a real estate brokerage office.

Some say they’re most productive in an office environment. Buyers and sellers may perceive that agents who work out of real estate offices are more “professional” than those who do not.

There are some jobs where it is really important to go into work. I have never heard of a heart surgeon who telecommutes or a bus driver who works from a home office.

Some agents work with clients who are impressed with opulent offices and dark suites. But I’ve had plenty of clients express relief when I offer to come to their home or office to meet with them, or in a coffee shop that is close to their home.

What others call “unprofessional” I call personalized service.

Where we work should really be a personal choice. We should focus on what we can accomplish, instead of where it is being accomplished.

Home office

When I work with clients, I work all over town. I go in and out of houses all day, and spend a lot of time in my car. Much of my work in marketing homes happens on the Internet, as does most of my prospecting for new business.

Where we work should really be a personal choice. We should focus on what we can accomplish, instead of where it is being accomplished.

Most of the time, I’m too busy to go in to an office to work. I do most of my office-type work in my well-appointed, but modest, home office. No one ever has trouble finding me if they have a question or need some help.

There are people who do not have a place to work at home. I know of a couple of agents who live in smaller condos and who have young children at home. They need places to go to work. For them a real estate office is where they are the most productive.

My children are adults and I don’t have any more interruptions at home than I would have in an office. Most of my interruptions come in the form of phone calls, text messages, emails and the occasional tweet. I can be interrupted anywhere, and I don’t find working at home at all distracting.

If I’m working at home, I do take care to confine my work to my office, and out of other parts of the house. When I don’t want to work in my home office, I go to a coffee shop or a co-working collaborative I belong to, CoCoMSP.

As a CoCo member, I can drink the coffee and use the space to meet with clients. I occasionally use conference rooms for meetings or presentations. I spend my days in the community. As a result, I know a lot of people. Sometimes they ask me to help them buy or sell real estate.

There are collaboratives that are just for real estate professionals, but I don’t understand why anyone who is a real estate agent would want to spend their days with other real estate agents. Opportunities to network and to socialize with other agents are plentiful both online and off. There are so many other people to network with, it’s hard to find the time.

Real estate agents from the same office rarely collaborate with each other. We collaborate with clients and with agents who are representing the other party in a real estate transaction. We may work together for hours and days or even weeks and never see each other or meet in person. We share information electronically and sometimes resolve problems via telephone.

Office meetings are important, but only if you work in an office. The rest of us do just fine without ever going to a meeting. We get our news on the street and through the associations and over the Internet.

If I were running a real estate office, I would focus on making it a comfortable place to work for the agents who need a place to work. I would not provide a lot of space because most productive agents don’t sit in offices all day.

My comfortable workspace would include strong Wi-Fi, great coffee and an assortment of stand-up desks, a large table, a wall of white boards or glass, and perhaps a treadmill desk or two. There would be some meeting spaces with tables and chairs, and a comfy chair or two with some decent lighting for reading. I would provide at least one large flat-screen TV with Chromecast and an Apple TV.

Having special spaces for teams would be a great way to pay for the rest of the space. There would be parking and 24-hour access, because real estate is not a 9-to-5 kind of job.

The most important factor for me in choosing a workplace is that I have everything that I need to be productive.

Some days I’m not productive no matter where I go. Other days I get massive amounts of work done while everyone else is in bed or driving to work.

Sure I could step away from my computer and reach out to people in a more personal way — if I liked people, and if I could get them to look up from their phones long enough to have a conversation.

If I worked in a real estate office, I would probably have less contact with the general public than I do working from home.

Author: Teresa Boardman – Inman News

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

3 steps to start using a CRM in Your Vallarta Real Estate Company

Better client management equals more transactions and more commission

 by John Blom   www.inman.com

Takeaways:

  • The National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Buyers and Sellers says that 73 percent of homebuyers would use their agent again, and another 15 percent said they probably would — but only 12 percent did.
  • Any agent that’s not using a customer relationship management system is losing tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars each year; it’s even more if they are buying leads.
  • The three must-haves for an effective CRM are a database for contact information, a calendar and a way to add notes or tags to the contacts.

A few weeks ago, I received a message on LinkedIn. It went something like this: “Hey John, I don’t think we have actually met in person, so I wanted to see if we could get together and see if we can’t help each other’s businesses.”

Indeed, the message contained nothing special that made me eager to set a meeting, but it’s not unlike most of the email and social media marketing we get on a regular basis.

So what made this message stand out?  The sender and I had met — three times.

I was initially slightly offended, but that quickly turned into shock. How could anyone serious about building a business not use a CRM to track their contacts?

Buyer and seller behavior seemingly indicates that most agents do a poor job of staying in touch with their clients after closing.

The NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers says that 73 percent of homebuyers would use their agent again, and another 15 percent said they probably would.

However, only 12 percent of homebuyers actually did use the agent they had used previously. The numbers are almost identical for sellers.

Any agent that’s not using a CRM system is losing tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars each year. To compound that, many turn around and spend money for fresh leads rather than put in a little time each week into cultivating their own database.

Perhaps the most maddening of all is how simple it is to increase your production just by using a CRM. Because CRMs are vital to our business, and clearly, not everyone is using one, here are three steps to help get you started.

1. Choose a CRM program and get your database uploaded

There are some great systems out there you can subscribe to, and I have used these before, but I know top agents that do fine using Outlook or Google Contacts.

I use my company’s in-house CRM software. The three must-haves for an effective CRM are a database for contact information, a calendar and a way to add notes or tags to the contacts.

 The simplest system you use is infinitely more productive than the most robust system you don’t.

Although it’s not an absolute requirement, it’s more than helpful if you can access the CRM from multiple devices or via the cloud.

2. Develop a client engagement plan for staying in touch with your database

The most effective strategy will be a combination of phone calls, handwritten notes, postcards and email over the course of the year. But you should have some contact with every client at least once a month, if not more often.

 The more often you have meaningful interactions or provide something of value, the more likely your customers are to not only use you for their next transaction but also refer you to their sphere.

Like choosing a CRM system, the particular form of a client engagement plan you choose is not nearly as important as following through with the execution.

You should, however, track the responses you get. Then, you should focus on the activities that provide the highest return.

3. Set a goal to build your database

That could be adding two names a week or reaching 300 names by the end of the year. If you regularly look for opportunities to add names, you will find yourself connecting with more people while doing the same activities you usually do.

By changing your focus, you will change your results.

These are three quick tips that will not only help you organize your business but also help you rake in all that extra cash from repeat and referral clients.

Face it, without a CRM in your vallarta real estate company you would have otherwise lost touch with your previous customers and, therefore, lost business from them as well.

John Blom is a managing broker for The Hasson Company. You can follow him on Twitter (@johndblom) or LinkedIn.



AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy and efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4000 Mexican real estate associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

Before and After Interiors

From www.designsponge.com

When Giulia Doyle of Audrey’s 74 moved to Ottawa, Canada from Switzerland over a decade ago, she didn’t expect to find a carved antique armchair from her great-grandfather’s hotel for sale in her new city. The vintage piece now takes pride of place in a home she shares with husband Bruno and their two small children, along with endless refreshed details that brought the residence from “a big sea of brown” to a contemporary home for a vibrant young family. The 1,400-square-foot sidesplit was built in 1958, and when the Doyle family purchased it almost six years ago, they sought to undo the shoddy renovation work it had seen throughout the years in order to uncover its full period potential.

In the living room, a previous owner had installed an efficient wood-burning fireplace insert, but had unfortunately also added floor tiles to the walls and hearth. The Doyles knew from an earlier real estate listing that a white brick surround was hiding underneath, and they set out to restore its condition. They chipped away the tile and then the messy, dirty grout and mortar. The dust from this process permeated every room. Hours and hours of work finally revealed the storied white brick. Giulia has been debating painting the door’s brass edge, but has recently grown to like it. The couple searched far and wide for the perfect piece of artwork to hang above their masterpiece until Giulia’s grandparents gave her the 1960s Jean Le Beut landscape painting displayed there now. The frame features brass detailing, so its age and finish tie into the other elements of the space.

Updating creature comforts in a home of this age turned out to be more challenging than the couple anticipated. They hired professionals right after closing to swap out the oil furnace for a gas model, and to install ducting throughout most of the house for forced air heat and AC. The resulting obsolete wall-inserted radiators took years for them to remove because of all the patching, painting, and baseboard replacement needed (they sadly could not find a match for its original profile). The pair have been tackling one large project every year, and have many more ideas on the list.

But for now, Giulia is happy to have created a bright and friendly house that is safe, comfortable, and not too precious for kids. There are no “no-touch” zones here, and the four residents live in the whole house. They share every meal at the dining table, and Giulia uses that same room for her photography because of its great light. The space flows directly into the home’s living room, where the combination of its 10-foot-long windows with those across the way offer enveloping north, south, and west-facing views of the scenic neighborhood. —Annie


See Local Puerto Vallarta / Riviera Nayarit Property Listings Here!


AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy and efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4000 Mexican real estate associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

Everything In Real Estate Is Negotiable

Everything — absolutely everything in Real Estate — is negotiable.

Recent economic reports indicate that real estate sales are on the increase, especially since mortage interest rates are still very low. But it still is a “buyer’s market”.

 

Everything In Real Estate Is Negotiable

Potential buyers should not hesitate to make low offers on a house they are considering to buy. The real estate broker/agent has a duty to submit any offer — no matter how ridiculously low it may seem — to the owner of the house.

A seller has three options when an offer is received. She can reject it out of hand, can accept it as presented, or she can counter-offer.

If your offer is rejected, you can always present another offer which is closer to the seller’s asking price. Or, if price is a concern, you can keep looking for something else.

If the seller counter-offers (which is the usual practice) then you can slowly begin to narrow the difference between the two prices until hopefully you both reach that happy medium.

Once you have a signed contract to purchase, the negotiations should not cease. First, you have to determine what kind of mortgage loan you want. Do you want the security of a fixed 30 year loan, where your monthly payments will remain the same? Do you think you will be selling the house within the next 5-7 years, in which case you may want a 5 year adjustable rate?

Incidentally, I do not recommend a 15 year mortgage. True, the rate will be less than a fixed 30. But your monthly mortgage payments will be higher. With a fixed 30, you have the right – but not the obligation – to make larger monthly payments, as if you had a 15 year loan. And if you need that extra money – or if a better investment comes your way – you can always go back to your regular 30 year payment.

You should shop around and compare mortgage interest rates with a number of mortgage lenders in your area. Presumably the real estate agent will give you a name or two of potential lenders. Certainly you should contact them. But don’t stop there. Check out at least five lenders to try to get the best rate for your purchase. Then make your decision.

After you select your lender, once again the negotiations should continue. Your contract should contain a provision that the contract is contingent on your obtaining a satisfactory inspection by a professional home inspector. Typically, there are two kinds of inspection contingencies. One gives you the absolute right to cancel the contract for any reason based on the results of the inspection. The other requires that you provide a list of problem areas to the seller, who has three days in which to agree to all (or some) of the issues. If the seller agrees to your concerns, the contract remains in full force.

I prefer the former approach. From the buyer’s point of view, if there is disatisfaction – or even buyer’s remorse – they have the right to cancel the contract immediately. (Typically, the contingency lasts for 3 or 5 days after the contract is accepted.) From the seller’s point of view, while they may lose a sale, its better to do it now rather than have an unhappy potential buyer who will give you trouble all the way to settlement – and even beyond.

Usually, the real estate agent involved in the transaction will provide you the name of an inspector. But insist that you be given at least two names. This assures you that there is no collusion between the agent and a particular inspector; it also protects the agent from claims that he was not in cahoots with the inspector.

Do not let the broker select a title or escrow company or attorney for you — at least until you have compared prices with several such settlement providers. Keep in mind that the law is very clear: you – as purchaser – have the absolute right to select who will conduct your real estate closing.

Home owners insurance (hazard) will be required by your mortgage lenders. Once again, shop around. There are many different kinds of insurance coverage, and you should familiarize yourself with the various policies before signing up with a particular company.

No doubt the real estate agent will try to be helpful and will want to walk you quickly through the entire process. After all, the agent wants the deal to close so that the commission will be paid.

But it’s your money. And a lot of it. Take your time, shop around, and then make your decision based on all the facts and a lot of negotiation of price and terms.

 

Don’t Talk About It, Be About It: Social Brand Identity

Social media is not a space that brands can utilize, but rather a space that brands MUST utilize if they want to remain relevant. The original social platforms are continually adapting and evolving, while newer platforms continue to emerge – resulting in a wide variety of platforms to showcase your brand. Each social platform requires a unique approach, but one thing should remain consistent: your social brand identity.

brand identity

So why does a brand identity matter?  At a very basic level, your brand identity is the essence of your brand; it is the look and feel, your voice, and your promise to your consumers.   In a competitive environment that has more options than ever before – what your brand stands for is more important than it has even been.

A clear, well-executed brand strategy will result in the following:

1. A promise

The result of a clear and cohesive brand identity across all social platforms is a promise to your fans. If executed properly, your community will know who you are as a brand. They will know what you stand for, and most importantly – you will have managed their expectations, so they will know exactly what they are going to get with your product and service.

 2. Brand loyalists

Few things are more valuable to a brand than creating and growing a community of brand loyalists. A clear brand identity that reaches your target audience in the proper voice, whether emotional, humorous, or informative, is one of the first steps to cultivating this hugely important community.  A fan will purchase your product; a brand loyalist will buy one for themselves, one for everyone on their holiday shopping list, and afterward get everyone together to talk about it. One brand loyalists is worth 50 fans.

3. Credibility

This is a big one. When you communicate your brand identity across multiple social platforms you are putting your brand identity on display for everyone to see. Follow-through is crucial to success; nothing spoils a great idea like poor execution.  You are making a promise to your fans, and they will very quickly know if you can’t back that promise up. But, when you do back it up – you will earn their trust, their loyalty, and have gained credibility in the eyes of the consumer. So, as the saying goes: don’t talk about it, be about it.

Many brands communicate their brand identities cohesively and intelligently across all social platforms. What are some of your favorites?

Author: Rachel Pannullo – likeable.com

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

5 Tips for a Successful Open House

Put signs on street corners and cookies in the oven, then sit back and wait for the happy buyers to show up.

That’s all there is to holding a successful open house, right?

Wrong!

There is, or at least should be, a lot more thought and effort put into holding an open house than just directional signs and making sure the home smells good, although those are important too.

Whether open houses are effective in selling a home is subject to debate within real estate circles, and this article isn’t going to attempt to solve that debate. Like many other aspects of real estate, the use and effectiveness of open houses varies by region. NAR has reported for years in its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers findings that 10 to 15 percent of people find the home they purchase via yard signs/open houses. While that’s not a huge number, it is significant. And, let’s face it: Any exposure to potential buyers is a good idea.

Regardless of your definition of “successful open house” the fact is thousands of homes are held open every weekend, and if you’re going to hold an open house, here are some things to think about.
Open House

5 Tips for a Successful Open House

Market the event: If you want traffic, you have to let people know about the event. Aside from the curbside directional signs (and yes, tying balloons to them really does help people notice them) here are some ideas for marketing your open house:

  • Team up – Talk to other agents with listings in the area and coordinate a “neighborhood open house weekend.” Having multiple homes in the area held open will attract more traffic, and you can all take advantage of each others’ marketing efforts. Try something fun like creating a “punch card” or “open house bingo” where visitors get a stamp at each house they visit and can turn it in at the end for a gift card or prize drawing.
  • Tag along – Time your open house to be held at the same time as a community event. A local soccer game, the neighborhood garage sale, the grand opening of a local restaurant. It’s OK to shamelessly borrow traffic from another event to help yours.
  • Old school door hangers – Door hangers work. The neighbors want to see inside that listing. So let them know about it. But don’t limit hanging flyers to just surrounding homes. Put them in adjoining neighborhoods as well. Lots of people want their friends and family to move close by, but not that close, so target the surrounding subdivisions as well as nearby homes.
  • Advertise on public sites
  • Change it up – Why does every open house occur on Saturday or Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.? I have no idea. Dare to be different. Try an open house on a evening during the week. Do it on a Saturday morning and advertise there will be cartoons on the big screen for the kids. Hold it during the big football game and turn the open into a tailgate party. Think outside the box. Being different attracts attention, and attention means visitors.

Educate the sellers: Make sure your sellers understand the positives and negatives of having their home held open. Share NAR’s data with them so they don’t have false expectations of getting a sale THAT DAY. Let them know the risks of theft. Help them understand that traffic is good thing. And yes, tell them that you may pick up buyer clients for a home other than theirs. In short, set the expectations up front.

Let the neighbors be nosy: Rather than sit there and lament that the only traffic you are getting are “all those nosy neighbors that just want to see the remodeled kitchen they’ve been wondering about for months,” try actually embracing the fact that nosy neighbors can help sell a home. “OMG Sally! You should see that new kitchen in the home down the block. You’d love it, and we could walk the dogs together every morning if we lived so close to each other!” It happens. Consider a “neighborhood exclusive.” Open the house an hour early to just the neighbors in an “invitation only” event. All that is needed for this is creating a few special flyers highlighting the early and exclusive opening, just for them.

Hide the valuables: Hopefully you’ve educated your seller clients long before open house day about the need to secure their valuables, and prescription drugs. Those should all be safely tucked away for the duration that the home is listed. It is especially important for open houses though as, sadly, opens are a known source for the bad guys to either case the home for a later burglary, or outright theft at the moment. Prescription drugs are highly targeted. Lock them away.

Collect contact info: Make it easy for visitors to sign in to the open house. “Registering” or signing in serves two purposes: 1) it helps from a safety perspective (but isn’t foolproof!); and 2) it gives you a way to add contacts to your database as well as follow up with interested visitors. Registrations can be done with something as simple as a piece of paper on a clipboard, or as cool and techy as an iPad app.

Bonus Tip: Be safe. Unfortunately, there are bad people out there, and sitting in a home, alone, can make you a target for the bad guys. There is better safety in numbers, so consider partnering with another agent in your office to sit the open together. Even better, bring along a trusted lender. That gets you an extra body while providing your visitors with the opportunity to talk to a lender right on the spot. Other safety tips include being aware of your surroundings, pre-plan escape routes, and don’t go into rooms with no exit.

The bottom line is this: Your open house is a marketing event. Treat it as such and plan, prepare and follow up. Your sellers will be impressed, your database will get some entries, and you just might wind up cashing a commission check.

Source: Zillow

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

How To Leverage Technology To Close More Real Estate Sales

As a real estate agent, you are a homebuyer’s #1 asset when it comes to navigating the housing market.

It’s important to remember, however, that today’s clients live in a world dominated by technology. Which means that you also need to stay on top of the most important tech tools.

Doing so helps you communicate with your customers using their preferred channels, impress them with your tech savvy, and outshine your lagging competitors. In other words, technology presents a huge opportunity for you to increase sales!

Leverage Technology To Close More Real Estate Sales

Lead generation – agent and broker websites

Websites play a huge role when it comes to your potential clients finding their next home, but it can be just as important for you when you’re trying to find your next client (and your next 100 clients!).

Whether you have your own site as an agent, or you have a presence on your broker’s site, your potential clients are more than likely looking for two things:

1) Access to listings information, and
2) The fastest and easiest way to contact you.

Even with repeat and referral customers, it’s not uncommon for them to search online before making contact with you — so it’s a major advantage for you to be present and ahead of the pack when they do.

Social media and online networking

Unfortunately, many Real Estate agents have expressed all sorts of negative emotions they associate with social media and online networking platforms, including discomfort, mistrust, and disinterest.

This is a real shame, since these mediums can be a gold mine for agents at all levels. All you need are the proper message and the right tactics, and social media networking can be a simple and effective way to get new clients consistently and reliably.

Networks like LinkedIn can be great for finding common ground with potential homebuyers, and enhancing your reputation through clients and colleagues you’ve previously done business with.

And social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not only free to use, they’re also effective tools for promoting your business, as well as sparking interest for new listings.

Web applications

There are quite a few web apps that can help you boost real estate sales.

For example, there are several software programs that will help you get documents signed quickly online whenever necessary, including Authentisign, DocuSign, Zipforms and more.

When it comes to keeping information organized and handy, you’ll want to pay attention to mobile apps like Dropbox, Evernote, and e-Key. These can help you keep everything from your notes, important documents, brochures and even key codes at your fingertips when you’re on the go.

Online databases including local MLS, Realist, REALTOR.com, Trulia and Zillow can also be great assets to agents and clients alike.

Today there’s even a web-app that can ensure you’re always spending your most valuable time with clients who are both serious and qualified: ScoreApprove.

In just 60 seconds, ScoreApprove assesses a buyer’s credit and financing capability using a soft credit pull that doesn’t damage their score. That means you’ll know their credit grade, as well as the maximum amount they’ll be able to finance on their new home, right from the start.

Best of all, ScoreApprove is completely free for both agents and homebuyers.

You can direct clients to ScoreApprove’s web-app by sending them a special link (which contains your own tracking code, so they’ll remain your exclusive client), or by guiding them through the process on your laptop or tablet. It’s that simple.

When it comes to leveraging technology to close more Real Estate sales, ScoreApprove is a true game changer.

 

Would You Let a Buyer Sleep Over?

Would you allow a potential buyer to spend the night in your home if they asked? Would you as a buyer ask the owner to spend a night in their home? Just as cars are taken for test drives, so to are some homes. While not especially common, requests are made and some are met.

would-you-let-a-buyer-sleep-overRaquel Gillett, an officer at a bank in Irvine, Calif., decided to test the waters before buying a Mediterranean-style home for more than $700,000 in Toll Brothers’ master-planned Parkview community in October. Ms. Gillet took advantage of the sales manager’s offer to introduce prospective buyers to residents for an inside view of what it was like to live there. She attended a pool party where she met her potential neighbors. “I think the most important thing to me was getting to know them,” she says. “It gave us a comfort level with each other when we were going to be on the same block.”

For individual homes on the market, the opportunity to test out a home or a neighborhood in advance remains rare. Carol Bird, Malibu, Calif.-based real-estate agent says that in her 25 years in the business, she has fielded only a couple of requests from clients asking to spend significant time alone in a home before buying. One, she said, wanted to get a sense of traffic noise at different times of day. He ended up purchasing. The second wanted to try out a home’s numerous high-tech features, unusual at the time. He decided not to buy.

The major issue here is liability; what happens in the event of injury, damage, theft, etc? From a legal standpoint, the potential pitfalls would seem to far outweigh the potential upsides. In fact, many agents recommend against this since it allows a buyer unfettered access to the home for far too long; while it can reveal positive features, most agree that the likelihood is that it will be more of a negative experience as flaws or issues with the home may be noted. Not to mention the odd notion of complete strangers in your home…..

If asked, the decision obviously rests with the seller but we see no good reason for an owner to do this. Real estate contracts in GA are strongly “pro buyer” and if written correctly there is ample time for thorough due diligence to be performed. If something doesn’t seem right, terminate and move on.

The full WSJ article can be seen here

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates.

Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices.

AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980.

AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

 

The True Value of Agent-to-Agent Referrals

An Interview with Top Agent Keith Grogan

Networking in our business is a powerful thing — not only to continuously grow as a professional, but for the ability to connect with some very cool people. I was fortunate in the last week to touch base with one of my favorite agents to follow online Keith Grogan. He recently shared some valuable tips for agents about the real importance of nurturing those valuable agent-to-agent referral relationships — and how many agents fall short. It was timely and on-point, and he was gracious enough to sit down for an interview to share his experience. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q: First of all Keith – thanks so much for taking your time to share with our readers! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I spent twenty-four years in sales management with consumer product companies, managing both regional and national sales forces with a constant focus on team building. When I grew weary of spending all of my time on the road, I sought a second career, one that would require little or no airplane travel. After serious consideration, I found that real estate would provide the most opportunity and I loved the concept of being in control of my income knowing that the harder that I worked, the more that I would make. What a great concept! Sixteen years ago, I partnered with one of Atlanta’s premier agents, Marsha Sell, who is now in her 43rd year of selling Atlanta real estate. We have a team that support our efforts and we cover Atlanta and the northern suburbs.

 

Q: Your recent online advice to agents on why it’s SO important to build a strong referral network was on point — and so timely. Can you share your thoughts on that with us?

A: My business partner began building her network throughout the country years ago when most agents were only looking for ways to gain more exposure for their listings. Our referral base has enabled us to avoid the peaks and valleys that many agents experience because we have a good flow of referrals coming in throughout the year.

I see many, many agents who are so focused on the short term and get so wrapped up in each transaction and making sure that they get paid that they simply never consider the referral potential nor are they adept at knowing how and when to ask for referrals.

Q: Too often agents are unresponsive, or unreliable when it comes to managing referrals and leads that come their way — can you share how you feel they are missing a big component of their business by doing this?

A: Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to place more outgoing referrals than in any year in the past ten years and I have been absolutely shocked at how difficult it is to place most of these referrals. In a huge percentage of the cases, it was nearly impossible to even reach the agent. More shocking to me was that, once I did reach the agents, most of them sounded as if they weren’t too sure that they wanted to take a referral at the time. I guess that they just had all the business that they wanted!

Of the referrals that were placed last year, I only received updates throughout the process from two or three agents. If you are trusting a client, a friend, or a family member with an agent in another area, you would think that just common courtesy would dictate that they would at least update the referring agent on date of contact, date of first meeting, time frame for purchase/listing, progress reports, purchase notification, and confirmation of closing. To me, that seems very basic but, sadly, that is not being done.

When I find an agent who is enthusiastic about a referral and who communicates effectively, I look for opportunities to give more referrals to that agent.

Q: You have a LOT of social media fans for your terrific sense of humor and terrific posts. You shared with me why you made the shift to humor – can you share that with the readers?

A: I had volumes of inspirational and motivational quotes and cartoons that I accumulated and used often during my years in sales management. In my early days on social media, I posted only inspirational, motivational, and informational posts. When the market changed a few years ago, I realized that most of my Realtor friends throughout the country were trying to stay afloat in uncharted waters and nobody was having much fun. I decided to shift the focus of my posts and, since that time, my goal is to bring a smile to at least one Realtor’s face every day.

Q: I’d say you succeed in that goal every day Keith! Now, if you had to give your best piece of advice to a new or experienced agent in today’s market – what would it be?

A: Build your database, maintain your database, and work your database. The longer that you are in this business, the more of your business will come from your database. When you work your database and communicate properly with your database and sphere of influence, you can reach a point where you find that you are getting more clients, more listings, and making more money and you will find that you are working less to secure new business.

 

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates.

Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices.

AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980.

AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

Easy Fixes For Potential Deal Killers

You’re ready to sell your home, you’ve got a buyer lined up, you’re about to make an offer on that great home down the street, and then… everything falls apart.

“It’s a problem that’s more common than you’d think with home sales: a buyer has made an offer, the seller accepts, and it seems like the deal is done,” said Fox News. “But then something comes along to ruin the sale and it’s back to square one.”

The good news is there are easy solutions that can help save even the biggest deal killers.

Bad Appraisals

“Industry professionals overwhelmingly named appraisals as the biggest obstacle they face in getting deals to the closing table,” said The Real Deal.

The solution? Gather as much information as possible about your home.

Your agent should be providing comprehensive information about comparable home sales in your area. Anything you can add to that—details about homes that sold, updates you have done—can help.

Credit Mistakes

Boo boos on your credit report from years ago are one thing. Running out to make a big purchase on credit the week before you’re set to close is another.

“Your loan preapproval is based off your financial situation at the start of your escrow, and actual loan approval can be impeded by making large purchases (especially ones that cause more debt and monthly payments),” said REALTOR Steven Nottingham.

The solution: Wait until after your loan has recorded to make big purchases.

That way you don’t have any chance of derailing your deal. The bonus is that once your mortgage shows up on your credit report, you might also be able to secure interest-free credit lines from retailers like Best Buy or Home Depot.

Bad Home Inspections

When the inspection turns up a few issues, your buyer will probably request you pay for them. Especially with big stuff like roofing problems or water damage. You can choose to say no, which may result in a cancelled contract. And, you’ll have to disclose the issues that were uncovered, which may make it even harder to find another buyer.

The solution: negotiate.

There may be some wiggle room so you don’t have to cover 100 percent of the costs of repairs. Or, do the necessary repairs with your vendors. You may know people who can get you a deal to save you money.

Unpaid Taxes

“So, the inspections looked great (aside from the water damage in the closet, which the seller agreed to replace) and the loan is all set to go,” said Nottingham. “But then it turns out there was something else in that closet. Five years of unpaid property tax bills! And you’re just finding out by running title a few days before closing.”

The solution: Do your due diligence to make sure you are protecting your interests. “If this had been addressed early enough in the process, there might have been time for a negotiation to save the deal,” said Nottingham. “Make sure you educate yourself to be able to ask the right questions in the escrow process to avoid this kind of tragedy.

Bank Delays

“One of the biggest killer of deals these days is time itself,” said The Real Deal. “Many deals are falling through not because a buyer isn’t qualified for a mortgage, but because it takes the bank too long to approve it.”

The solution: Good ‘ole communication.

A nervous seller may pull the plug on a deal that’s taking too long, especially if they have other options. Keeping the lines of communication open—between buyer’s and seller’s agents, and also between the buyer’s agent and the lender—can help save it.

Tense Negotiations

You have a potential buyer—finally!—who loves your home. Now it’s just a matter of agreeing on a price. But you’re miles away and no one wants to budge. Even though your real estate agent told you from the beginning that your sales price was too high and is encouraging you come down, you just don’t want to take less that what you think your house is worth.

The solution: Listen to your agent

A professional Realtor really does know best when it comes to home prices. If you refuse to negotiate, you’ll probably lose your buyer. And when you find another, you’ll be in the same negotiating situation. If you’ve already found another house and are paying for two mortgages, you’re losing money by not selling, even if the price isn’t exactly what you had in mind.