Archive for April, 2010

Petra Sprekos

Survey Reveals Lengths Buyers Will Go To, to Purchase Property in 2010

A recent national survey of 1100 users, conducted by Real Estate View aimed to gather data on potential home buyers in 2010 and their feeling about the year ahead, as well as the sacrifices they would be willing to make to purchase a property.

While rising interest rates and house prices are concerns echoed by many home buyers, people still seem to be optimistic about successfully purchasing a home in 2010, although it may not be exactly what they had in mind when they originally started their property search.

Buying-A-Home-3

How market demand and price increases are changing buyer decisions

With the market showing record growth over the 4th quarter of 2009, there was no surprise that buyers were reviewing their budget to buy in 2010.   In fact a whopping 2 out of 3 people expected to have to increase their budget in order to find a suitable property in a suitable location in 2010, with 72% of these individuals expecting to raise their original budget by over $20,000.  Showing that potential buyers are at least prepared for what the year ahead may bring.

However it seems that increasing their budget is not the only consideration buyers are making.  When asked about what compromises buyers are making it seems many of them are considering other alternatives to their find a suitable home.  62% of those surveyed thought they may need to look ‘further out’ than they originally planned, whilst 55% of people would look for a property of smaller size and 51% would look for a home of lower quality than originally planned.

So while prices are still rising it seems potential buyers out there are prepared to make some sacrifices to get onto the property ladder.

Overall market data such as that provided by Realestateview Property Data seems to point to the fact that the prime inner suburban properties will continue to be snapped up, but more humble buyers as shown from the realestateVIEW.com.au survey are willing to move ‘out’ to find something that suits.  They may not be getting a house that is as nice as they originally planned or the house as large as they might first have thought, but they know that there are ways to make this work.  It seems that demand may not slow; it may just change a little.

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Keith Barrot

Effective Prospecting – Where do you Operate? (Second in a series)

Quite often agents spend their days looking for business in a manner that has evolved over time from their first days in the industry. While they have been concentrating on the day to day need to generate listings and sales little thought has gone into where they are operating. By failing to appreciate that for a long term career they need to look at this important aspect of their business.

There are many different business models in selling real estate and in any office these will be on show and it can be seen which one is the most effective. For example is it the agent who concentrates on an area, the one who goes anywhere, the specialist who only sells one style of property or a certain price range?

The most important factor in deciding where you operate is, will it give you the income you want and have the potential for growth. Without these two essentials all your time and effort will be wasted and the usual result will be the all too common approach to start chasing business where ever you can and spreading yourself too thin. This approach is ineffective for the longer term will cost more to service both in time and travelling from one area to another and more importantly become frustrating and drain your enthusiasm.

Effective-Prospecting

In deciding where you operate to a large extent will depend on which model you chose and what will suite your long term goals. You may decide to concentrate on the suburb where you live and have local knowledge, friends, contacts, and are well known in you community. You may find that from your data base, contacts, club memberships etc you know people over a wider area and this model will be more effective. Many agents are successful because they have particular knowledge or contacts in the building, development or subdivisions and develop their business in that area.

No matter where you decide to operate it needs to be understood that it must deliver the income you want and have good potential for future growth. Your prospecting will only be effective if it is consistent, promotes your brand, builds relationships and is targeted to the area you want to conduct your business.

Prospecting for business in the different models mentioned will require varied levels of investment e.g. a single banner press advertisement will be less expensive in your suburb compared to several publications if you are covering a larger area. This extra cost needs to be measured against sales results. The balance of reward for effort has to always be considered and what ever model of operating you choose a well thought out marketing plan, costed and programmed for at least twelve months ahead will put you on the path to success.

The reliance of the next sale coming from anywhere will only perpetuate the frustration in your work and the uncertainty of income we all want to avoid. Once you have decided where you want to operate, based on sound consideration of the potential, you can develop your business. Your prospecting will be more effective as it will not be the shot gun approach we see so many agents using today and will set you apart from the competition.

“Choice not chance determines destiny”.

If you have any questions regarding effective prospecting please feel welcome to post your question below or alternatively I can be contacted at www.sales-selling.com

Petra Sprekos

Is Your Agency Socially Ready?

In March, Facebook has become the world’s most visited site, trumping even Google.  So whilst some people are still skeptical about social media’s longevity – this latest further cements that the social phenomenon is unlikely to face its demise any time soon.

The Social Media Landscape In Australia

Australians are amongst some of the world’s largest creators and consumers of social content online.  We as Australian’s now spend over 8 hours per month on social sites alone, this is 1.5 hours greater than the world average.

So where are they?

Statistics show;

-           59% of all online Australians have a profile on Facebook

-           Twitter receives over 1.2 million unique visitors a month

-          LinkedIn in Australia has over 1 million subscribers

With all of this activity in the social space agents therefore need to consider how social media fits into their plan.   Many agents are however of course confused about where to start.

For agents I believe the first crucial step is to develop/put a social media policy in place for your agency or franchise group.

Real-Estate-Social-Media

Why is a social media policy important for your agency?

With social media, consumers and staff alike are empowered to have their say online and share their views amongst their family, friends as well as associates and professional contacts.   With traditional word of mouth, disappointed consumers tell 8 to 9 people about their unsatisfactory experience, however online this is magnified through the social phenomenon – with some people having in-excess of 300 friends on Facebook or 1,000 people following them on Twitter.

To ensure your agency staff are singing from the same song sheet it is important to put in place some guiding principles to avoid an online disaster.

Here are our top tips;

1) Define who is responsible? One of the first steps is to identify who within your organization is responsible for monitoring your staff and your brand online.  This is of particular importance to deliver effective resolution of complaints and to ensure staff are not disclosing sensitive business information.  It is important that this individual becomes the internal champion of social media and that they regularly communicate with the organisation about the organizations policies as well as any issues that have arisen and how they have been dealt with.

2) Define the boundaries; The lines between social and professional become blurred within the social space.  Many of your staff may be connected to both social and professional contacts through their Facebook profile and therefore they need to ensure they consider this when sharing information online.  An unhappy staff member may vent their frustrations online without considering the professional ramifications of such an act.  As a result it is really important that you set guidelines about what can and cannot be discussed about your organization in the public domain.  This also includes boundaries for how to / and how not to respond to client frustrations or general consumer enquiries.

3) Be Genuine / Authentic - If you have had a consumer complaint the last thing you want to do is provide them with lip service or some standard generic marketing message. The savvy online consumer can sniff a fake from a mile away and this will only inflate the situation rather than ensure a good resolution is found.

4) Consider Your Audience

When educating your staff about operating in the social space it is important for them to consider who will see / read information and complaints about your agency.   Whilst we may feel frustrated by consumer’s negative comments, your response will not only be seen by the unsatisfied client but by potential customers, and current / future employees.   Staff members need to understand the full ramifications of their actions and by acting inappropriately this may impact future sales or attraction of staff.

5) Don’t ignore it

Peer to peer discussion, reviews and interaction online is highly influential.  Ignoring the social space will not make it go away, rather it leaves you vulnerable in an industry where consumers have more knowledge and power than ever.

Any other tips please share them below.

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Greg Vincent

Realestate.com.au New Site Features and Benefits

In a Press Released issued today, realestate.com.au have itemised some of the added features and benefits of the new look site. 

“Compare - Compare different potential homes side by side and scan all the key features on a single page. You can save the ones you like in myrealestate or print out for handy reference.

Enhanced searchThe new enhanced search capabilities allow you to search by street name or for an exact address. You can now refine your results using a whole range of new search options including indoor, outdoor and eco friendly features such as lock up garage, outdoor entertaining area, PayTV access, water tank and more.

myrealestate - Now you can create your own personalised area on realestate.com.au where you can organise your saved properties into lists such as dream homes, investment ideas or holiday houses, write notes on properties, share your lists with friends and when you’re out and about you can access your myrealestate on your mobile.

Get directionsmakes it easy to find the property you are looking for. Use the ‘get directions’ tool to plan the best route between your starting address and each property listing, based on location or on open/auction time, or simply drag and drop to choose the order or add stops along the way.

Open for inspection & auction timesView the open for inspection & auction times for properties that meet your search criteria and save the times straight to your calendar (Yahoo or Outlook). The saved calendar event includes the open or auction time, address and a handy link to the property listing.

Agent finderrealestate.com.au’s new and improved find an agent section will help you find the right real estate agent to sell your home. Search by agency name or suburb, see a list of local agents, locate their offices on a map, and view the properties each agent has for sale, for rent or have sold recently.

Email alertsGet an email alert as soon as a new property that matches your search criteria comes onto the market.

Gallery viewYou can now scroll through photo galleries of different properties on a single page making it easier to make room by room comparisons of different properties side by side. So if you love kitchens you can look at photos of all the kitchens of the properties that match your search criteria and simply select which properties you want to visit.

Mobile realestate.com.au can now be accessed from your mobile. View open for inspection times and map the best route, access your own personalised area, myrealestate and make notes and updates to your saved properties on the go so when you get back in front of your computer it is all saved and ready for handy reference.”

I feel that REA have made some clever changes with myrealestate, side by side comparisons & improved search. It’s also good to see that they have added in the ability to search by property address too.

Having the address search should reduce the need for browsers to type in an address into Google to find out more about a property.

It’s been very interesting to read some of the feedback on their Twitter account http://twitter.com/realestate_au & their Facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/realestateAus

Lots of people don’t like change no matter what & others have some valid issues with the site.

Whilst I’m still working through some of the issues raised and whether they will have a significant impact, overall I think it’s a vast improvement and should make for a better end user experience.

What do you think of the new site?

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Greg Vincent

Why Agents Should Create A ‘Private’ Company Twitter Account

Twitter is one of the most powerful marketing tools that a real estate agent can use, and yet it’s surprising to see that there are still only a very small percentage of real estate agents actually using Twitter.

There are lots of ways that Twitter  can help you in the day-to-day running of a real estate agency, but one way is by creating a Private Twitter account.

And the great news is that establishing a ‘Private’ Twitter account takes only a couple of minutes to create & it’s Free.

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows you & your team to post messages up onto the web in real time but with a ‘Private’ account you can decide who sees your tweets.

Rather than sending out a bulk text message to your team, you could send out a Tweet that is broadcast out to anyone who has access to your Private Twitter account.

It could become an important part of your messaging system. You can also upload photos or videos and tweet them privately through the account to any member of your team.

Brainstorming

You could also use it for a secured Brain Storming session where you can have people tweeting their thoughts or ideas in real time and all the data from this collection of thoughts remains up their on your ‘Private’ Twitter account to recall whenever you need it.

It will also provide a way that people can tweet their thoughts & ideas well after the Brain Storming session.

All you need to do is decide on a name for the Brain Storming session, say VPAtips. Then insert a #hashtag in front of the tweets, to make them #VPAtips & then all of your tweets will be grouped together & can be found very easily on Twitter in the future.

To give you an example of how a ‘Private’ Twitter account works I currently run a couple of ‘Private’ Twitter accounts.

One for the attendees of my Workshops/Seminars & the other one is an account based around a marketing strategy that I’ve developed called ‘The Area Monopoly Strategy’.

As a part of launching this concept I decided to create a ‘Private & Strictly Real Estate Agent Only’ Twitter account.

I did this because there are some parts of this strategy that I needed to be able to share with agents exclusively & weren’t for public viewing.

Now, if you are an agent & you’d like to join in then you are most welcome to send through a request for access. This is just a live example of how one of these ‘Private’ Twitter accounts works for me.

Here’s how it works.

To join in go to http://www.Twitter.com/AreaMonopoly and send me a request as seen in the picture below. Then once I’ve confirmed that you’re a real estate agent I’ll manually go in & authorise your access to the account.

Area Monopoly - Twitter Account

Note: To see the Send Request button in the image above you must be logged into your Twitter account.

Now if you don’t have a Twitter account, then this may provide you with a good excuse for why you should go to http://www.Twitter.com & register your Free Twitter account right now.

Once I have approved your request you don’t have to wait for me to send a Tweet. You will be able to go in & read all the previous Tweets that have been sent out via that ‘Private’ Area Monopoly Twitter Account.

I recommend you go into Twitter & set up a ‘Private’ account for your company & give it a go. You’ll be amazed at how simple & effective it can be.

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