Monthly Archives: August 2015
As you would expect – best practice techniques on Facebook for real estate agents is much like best practice for any industry. Put your audience first and helping them to be successful in real estate will take you a long way. Here are a few more handy tips to keep you in play.
As we mentioned in edition one, we recommend that you create a separate Facebook account to your personal account by creating a business page.
A business page has extra features that allows you to schedule your posts and have more control over what updates people see. This means your messages won’t flood your followers with a mass of updates.
You can also view which of your posts were successful through metrics such as reach, engagement, likes, comments and shares, so you know what you’re doing right, and what might be resonating with your followers!
It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your audience. Just dedicating five to ten minutes a day to your Facebook page will make a huge difference.
1) ENSURE YOUR PAGE IS COMPLETE.
Make sure your About section includes an overview of your business, a link to your office website / Harcourts website, your contact information, and any other information that will help prospects understand you better.
2) INVITE YOUR CONTACTS TO LIKE YOUR PAGE.
Chances are you already have existing clients, friends and family who would be more than willing to connect with your business page if you simply asked them to! Within the Page Manager section of your page under Build Audience menu, you have the option to invite your personal Facebook friends to like your page
3) UPDATE YOUR PROFILE AND COVER IMAGES
If you’re looking for Harcourts branded cover photos, look no further than the Products section on H1. For every one of our campaigns, we have created cover photos specifically for Facebook – such as Clients For Life, Do More Of What You Love, and We’re Your Locals.
We recommend using a professional smiling photo of yourself or the standard Harcourts logo as your profile picture – but make sure it’s not stretched! Follow us at Harcourts International to steal ours!
4) WANT TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS? YOU CAN’T ONLY POST SALES-DRIVEN CONTENT! HERE’S WHY:
Facebook is personal. It’s about people communicating with people. Most people don’t like faceless brands communicating at them. It’s a place for them to interact with friends and family and not somewhere they come to be sold to.
Transparent and positive – Companies need to be transparent in their actions. Put other people first, or your actions will get negative responses. While your friends can post “look at me” bragging content – brands and employees should not. Especially when what they brag about relates to ‘just doing their job’.
What’s in it for me? – Behaviour on social media is mostly narcissistic. Bear this in mind. Few people will like/comment/share or click on a link, and only if they will be better off for it. They are thinking and defining value on social media as – if i like, comment or share this:
- Will I look smart, funny, pretty, fit, healthy, rich or better amongst my friends?
- Will I learn/earn something interesting?
- Will I feel better?
The key to generating leads on Facebook is to be of value to your fans by posting a variety of content that aligns with goals other than generating leads or driving sales. Aiming for ‘fluffier’ goals like ‘reach’, ‘awareness’, ‘buzz’, customer satisfaction and engagement are just as important as lead-generation sales goals.
When we post educational or entertaining content about real estate our local community can see we are being of service and giving value to our followers. They will then like and share our content – reaching more people and giving us the opportunity to warm them up to the idea of doing business with us – without being too pushy.
Visual – Photos on Facebook generate 53% MORE likes than the average post! Photos work wonders for your click-through rate and post engagement, so it’s worth it to spend the extra time sourcing or creating images for your posts.
Most people see this on Facebook: PETS, PEOPLE, PLACES, FACES and FOOD.
Use these to resonate with your audience. Facebook is now sharing more video than YouTube each day. Short videos now have the largest reach of any type of status update, but you must upload them to Facebook directly.
Positive posts – Facebook does not show every post to everybody that follows your page. Their algorithms favour positive posts over negative ones. ‘Congratulations’ is a trigger word on Facebook. If it appears in comments the item posted will reach more people than usual.
5) I’M STILL NOT SURE WHAT I SHOULD POST!
Subscribe to our blog and you will receive regular content to post to your social media followers. We aim to provide two to three fresh blog posts aimed at your buyers and sellers every week!
Post relevant, industry related information – what is happening in the real estate market in your local area? What are mortgage rates doing? Is there a new development happening?
Post feel-good stories of you and your team out and about in the community – what are you doing in your community and how is it benefiting them? Have you been involved with the Harcourts Foundation recently?
Share local deals, specials or info from your local businesses in your area. Is there a new coffee shop opening? Introduce yourself and post a photo of you sampling their bagels! And while you’re there, why not leave them your business card or ask if you can leave a few copies of your bluebook for customers to browse through?
Think about your local area – what do you love about it, and how can you share this information in a creative way?
6) CONSIDER SPONSORING YOUR POSTS
Facebook offers an effective way to advertise. Did you know that for every dollar you spend, you will reach approximately 100 people on Facebook? You can really localise your content too, so you can choose to show your message just to people in your local area if you wish.
7) VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO!
In a recent Agent Life blog post, we talked about videography, and how it’s the latest, greatest real estate marketing tool!
Create video that tells a story. Include the community, schools, restaurants, and parks. Why the sellers are moving and what they have loved about the property and neighbourhood.
Ask your seller to post the video on their Facebook page. Get the neighbours’ email addresses and have the sellers email them the video – you will be surprised how many more listings you will pick up. Check out this blog post in full here for more video tips and common mistakes to avoid.
In today’s digital era you can’t exclude social media from your agent or office marketing. It’s a missed opportunity to develop stronger relationships with your clients and community.
However, it’s important to do it right and add value to your audience! Have a crack at these seven tasks, you will be well under way to a buzzing social media presence!
Welcome to edition #1 of our Digital Marketing Course. In this series we’ll share with you our tips and tricks to easily manage your online presence.
The vast majority of today’s consumers go online to research goods, products and services prior to taking the next step forward. Potential sellers do the same to shortlist real estate sales consultants!
If you have a parcel of land that you’re considering building on, or you’re looking into extending your current home by adding a granny flat, then you may have considered a modular house, kit homes or flat packed homes, and wondered what the difference is between this style of house and a modular or prefabricated home.
There’s merit in both options, with the choice you make really coming down to price, effort and the desired look and feel of the home.
- Modular homes or prefabricated houses come already built to a degree when they are delivered to your property.
- They therefore usually contain all of the fittings and extras like tiling, carpeting, lighting, kitchens and bathrooms etc.
- Modular houses generally attract a higher total cost when compared with kit homes, but involve much less organising or labour on your part and include finishes.
- Modular homes are becoming increasingly popular with those looking for an eco-friendly building option. Tanks, solar panels and recycled materials can all be installed and used at the owner’s request.
- From the outside, modular homes can look a little different from traditional homes, but these days there are a variety of options to choose from.
- Some modular home companies will arrange the paying of council fees for the setup of water and power on your behalf.
- Having the majority of the construction work happen off-site in a controlled environment can improve the velocity of the build and increase quality – as the weather plays no part in construction.
- Modular or prefabricated homes are ideal for infill sites, brownfield developments or subdivisions where your neighbours are nearby as the disruption of construction is minimised.
- Tend to be cheaper than modular homes, but fittings and finishes are usually a separate costs that is not automatically included. Again their are exceptions – with high end kitset homes being specified to quality levels that most normal house builds would not reach.
- Kit houses come partially assembled, but you then need to engage a builder or complete an owner builder’s course to assemble the home to completion.
- Kit homes therefore require you to project manage somewhat, similar to if you were building a home from scratch.
- This can mean that you have more flexibility with who you choose to construct the home, and the types of finishes used, although both attract additional costs outside of the initial cost of the kit home.
- Once built, most kit homes look no different to homes designed and built from scratch.
- You will generally need to organise council approval, and pay any fees associated with setting up power and water before commencing with the kit home build.
In the end, the cost of a kit home versus a modular home may look different on the surface, but after factoring in the cost of building each to lock-up, that is up until the point you’re ready to move in, the costs are actually very similar.
So the choice really comes down to what you’re looking for in your new home or extension. Are eco-friendly features are must-have? Do you have the time or resources to manage the building project? Are you wanting the ability to customise? Do your research before-hand, and talk to a few modular home and kit home suppliers.
Although slightly outdated – Fab Prefab has a good list of kitset and prefabricated house suppliers around the globe.
In New Zealand – www.prefabnz.com maintain a directory of local prefabricated and modular resources.
Similarly – in Australia www.prefabaus.org.au maintain a directory of local prefabricated and modular resources.
If you’re preparing to sell your home, you may have started to go through the process of tidying, decluttering and making modest repairs, but to really make your home stand-out against the competition, have you considered property staging?
What is property staging/styling?
Professional home staging or styling is the process of using a property stylist to stage your property with furniture when preparing for sale. Generally, items are hired for a term of approximately six weeks.
What are the benefits of property staging?
- It creates emotional buyers which in turn drives the price up and helps the home to sell quickly
- It shows space and concept in photography
- A stylist will aim to highlight the best features of the property
- Staging can help distract from some negative features of the property for example; stains or scratches on floor etc.
- Most importantly it helps buyers to fall in love with the property which is exactly what you want!
A huge benefit of property staging is obviously selling the property quickly, and achieving the best possible price at the same time.
Brisbane-based property staging consultancy, Styled By Me has seen this happen time and time again after staging a property.
One example included a one bedroom unit in a Brisbane suburb that was listed with an asking price of $370,000 pre-styling. The property was on the market for four months and the asking price was eventually dropped to $350,000.
After Styled By Me styled the property for an investment of $2,625, the unit was re-listed for $375,000 and sold in two weeks for $370,000 – the original asking price! That’s a return on investment of $17,375.
Does the property have to be vacant?
No, the property can be partially staged while you still reside at the property.
If the home is vacant, what areas are best to stage?
Brooke Taylor, General Manager at Styled By Me says the rule of thumb when it comes to staging your property is to always stage the living room, dining room, kitchen, main outdoor area and master bedroom.
“Other bedrooms and secondary outdoor areas can then be looked at if your budget allows it”, says Brooke.
What if you just don’t have the cash available?
You don’t have to go with a whole property makeover if the budget just doesn’t allow for it, says Brooke.
“Styled By Me offer a $99 service where the stylist will spend about an hour going from room to room offering styling advice on how to best present the home for photography and open homes”, she says.
So, what are the top tips Styled By Me recommends when it comes to home staging?
- Let in as much natural light as possible and turn on all of the lights and lamps during open homes. This will make the property feel bigger, fresher and brighter.
- De-personalise your home by taking down all family photos – you don’t want the buyer to feel like they are in someone else’s home, you want them to feel like they are in their home.
If you’re based in Brisbane or Sydney Australia, and are interested in property staging, or just want to see some of the amazing transformations home staging can achieve, visit styledbyme.com.au.
Stress can be, and often is, beneficial. At appropriate levels, stress increases both efficiency and performance. The problem is stress overload for long periods of time leads to diminished performance, efficiency, and health. Real estate is one of the most personally demanding industries there is. Everyone’s different, and we all have varying tolerances when it comes to work-related pressures.
Rather than reacting to outside events, hoping circumstances or time constraints will improve, or expecting others to change, managing your life effectively involves examining your own beliefs, motives and behaviours.
Take time for your partner
Preventing and reducing stress at home is paramount. Having a stable relationship and sanctum at home can revitalise you for the working week. Most relationships require at least 20-30 minutes of “connect time” every day, not including time to discuss bills, children, phone calls, etc. This time is spent simply checking in with, and catching up with one another. Spend a couple of hours one evening researching your next vacation destination. Take time off together.
Take time for your family
Be careful about bringing your work home. Establish clear boundaries between your work and personal life. Work at work and be at home when you are home. Spend quality time with your family. Your family needs both quality AND quantity time. The quantity-versus-quality argument might be a poorly disguised rationalisation for giving our children neither.
Take time for your friendships
Those with a supportive social circle, or even just one close friend to talk to and lean on in times of crisis, enjoy healthier, less stressful lives. Making time to go out socially brings fun and laughter to your life. Renew neglected relationships and develop new ones.
Make sure the people you choose to spend time with have a positive influence in your life. Diarise time for friendships in your appointment calendar. Enjoy social activity.
Share your feelings. A conversation with a friend lets you know that you are not the only one having a bad day. Stay in touch with friends. Let them provide support and guidance. Don’t try to cope alone.
“In the end, we will not hear the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Take time for your health
As the saying goes, “If you don’t take care of your body you will have nowhere to live.” Take care of the three basics:
Exercise can decrease “stress hormones” like cortisol, and increase endorphins, your body’s “feel-good” chemicals. Physical activity can take your mind off of your problems and usually involves a change of scenery as well, either taking you to a gym, a park, a biking trail or a neighbourhood street, all of which can be pleasant, low-stress places.
When stress shoots adrenaline into the bloodstream that calls for muscle action. Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into each day.
Regular exercise can:
- Give you more energy.
- Improve your self-image.
- Increase resistance to fatigue.
- Help counter anxiety and depression.
- Create greater productivity at work.
- Build stamina and increase muscle strength.
- Help your heart and lungs work more efficiently.
- Give you greater mental clarity and alertness.
Exercising with a friend or group of colleagues helps you to stay committed to an exercise programme as you won’t want to let them down. It also is a great opportunity to maintain friendships and obtain support and guidance on other matters.
Eat healthier foods, good nutrition makes a difference. Instead of making the goal to “Eat Less Unhealthy Food”, focus on trying to “Eat More Healthy Food”. You may subconsciously feel more deprived if you think of taking something away rather than adding something good. Drink lots of water, which boosts energy and improves productivity.
Most people need between six to eight hours of sleep (some a little bit more), to feel refreshed and ready-to-go each day. Determine how many hours of sleep you need, and get that needed sleep each night. Sleeping more or less than your needed time can make you feel groggy and cranky. If possible, try to go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each day. Disrupting this schedule may lead to insomnia. “Sleeping in” on weekends makes it harder to wake up early on Monday morning because it re-sets your sleep cycles for a later awakening.
Daily exercise often helps people sleep. Limit drinks that contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep as it keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep. Relax before bed: A warm bath or reading can make it easier to fall sleep.
Take time for yourself
We carry stress in our bodies, and hold it in our minds, so a stressful experience can stay with and keep affecting us after the actual experience has ended. Take regular breaks from doing AND thinking about work. Do something you enjoy, whether it’s gardening, building, painting, dancing, reading or cooking. Schedule time to indulge your interests.
Your effectiveness is greatly reduced the longer you sit in one place. Take short energy breaks. A 10 minute brisk walk or stand, take a deep breath and stretch every 30 minutes to remain mentally alert and get blood flowing properly.
Take time for your soul
Spirituality is a very personal dimension. In the words of Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Try 10 to 20 minutes of quiet time to listen to music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or absolutely nothing. Try finding a martial arts or yoga school in your area that emphasises on meditation.
Take time to reflect
Re-examine your long-term goals. What legacy do you want to leave behind, be remembered for? Begin to think about the meaning and direction of your life. What is of real, enduring, long-term value to you?
Re-examine your short-term goals. Remind yourself of the things you have already accomplished rather than just those you still need to achieve. Do this daily. Time spent in reflection can help keep things in perspective.
“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity and you are keeping all of them in the air.
But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls – family, health, friends and integrity are made of glass. If you drop one of these it will be irrevocably nicked, cracked, perhaps even shattered. Once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.”
– James Patterson
Laugh, lighten up and don’t take yourself so seriously. Smiling releases endorphins in the body, which make you feel good and boost your immune system. Sing loudly. Belting out one of your favourite songs can be a great stress release. Loud vocalisation releases tension from your body, and music can therapeutically take your mind off your troubles. Sing in the shower to start the day, sing in the car it may even cut down on road rage!
It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your audience. Just dedicating five to ten minutes a day to your social media pages will make a huge difference.
When it comes to selling one of your most valuable assets, your home, it makes sense to take time in choosing a real estate agent that is qualified and knowledgeable and has the right tools and strategies at their disposal.
If your property is in need of repair or you’re even considering a few renovation projects to get it ready for sale, there are a few things you need to consider first. Whilst well planned, cost-effective renovations can certainly add value to a home, there is always the risk of over-capitalising. That’s why it pays to look into the types of renovations that really add value to your home and appeal to potential buyers. So when you’re looking to sell, when shouldn’t you renovate?
Remember, renovating for your own personal use and renovating to attract a wide range of potential buyers can really be two different things. It all comes down to your return on investment or ROI. Basically, you’ll want to ensure the amount you invest in the renovation is less than the value you’re adding to the property, and the sale price you’re likely to achieve.
Here we explore some of the situations where we wouldn’t recommend renovating if you’re looking to maximise your sale price.
When shouldn’t you renovate?
If margins are thin
If you’re property isn’t in desperate need of repair, and you’re confident you have quite a bit of equity existing in your property, then renovations may not be necessary. Especially if after crunching the numbers, you’re not confident you would be increasing the sale price by that much, and remember a return on investment can never be guaranteed.
If you need to sell quickly
Renovations take time, both to plan and budget for as well as to be completed. So if you’re looking to sell in the near future, renovations may simply not be possible. Remember that renovations often go over budget and can take longer than first anticipated so factor both of this considerations into your decision.
If the renovation will personalise the home too much
Some renovations appeal to most buyers, like upgrading kitchens and bathrooms, but others can be quite personal to you and your particular needs, taste and style and therefore won’t appeal to the largest number of potential buyers and should be avoided.
This can include adding extensions like granny flats, converting bedrooms into specific-purpose rooms like a media room or library, and separating rooms by adding additional internal walls.
If the renovations will cost more than 10% of your home’s value
A general rule of thumb when it comes to renovating a property for profit, is to spend no more than 10% of the property’s value on the renovations. So the first step would be to ensure you have an up-to-date valuation of your property, performed by a professional. The next step would be to work out a budget, and ensure you add a buffer in case of unforeseen additional expenses. Using the 10% rule, this means a home valued at $500,000 would have a total renovation budget of $50,000. Any more than this, and you risk over-capitalising.
If the renovations won’t suit your target market
This is why doing your research is key. What is the demographic of your property’s neighbourhood? Mostly singles and couples? Mostly retirees or mostly families? Finding out who the neighbourhood is likely to attract will help you determine suitable renovations and not so suitable ones.
For instance, if your local market is likely to attract families, think carefully before adding stylish but potentially hazardous staircases, or ornate glass features.
Ask if you’re unsure
When planning a renovation, don’t shy away from asking your local real estate sales consultant their opinion on the condition of the property, the type of buyer the home is likely to attract and any renovations they would recommend. You may be surprised, if your home isn’t in need of massive renovations your sales consultant will tell you and you may save yourself a lot of hassle, time and money.
Lighting candles, spritzing air fresheners, and baking cookies. They’re all common recommendations when thinking of scents to sell your home, with the long-held belief that potential buyers engage all five senses when inspecting a property.
A lot goes into properly marketing a home for sale, and it’s true what they say, first impressions really do count.