The Top 3 Best Lead Sources

In the opening of this video series, I discussed the importance of CRM. CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s the bedrock and the start of somebody’s career. We know that it is so important that we actually provide it for free to every one of the agents who work here in our office. I did a video prior to this that goes into a lot of details on CRM, I’d encourage you to watch it.

Once you have a CRM system in place, what is the next step? This is one of my favorite steps, and I love it when new and seasoned brokers alike come on and they’re working here at the firm. What I do with all new brokers is I have a whiteboard session. That entails sitting here in the conference room and identifying every source of business that we can possibly think of, and we’re throwing each one of those up on the whiteboard.

This tends to be an hour-long session where we’re coming up with every possible idea that we can, and then we’re going to go back later and we’re going to tailor that into something where we’re hitting the high points and the ones that will get us the best return on investment.

We’ve been doing this a long time, and one of the ways that we identify the best sources is the trial and error that we’ve had over the 20+ years that we’ve been in business. These things are always changing, you have to be adapting, but there are go-tos that are just tried and true that continue to work day in and day out. So we developed the short list of ones that we know will work if they are implemented properly, and that’s where we’re really going to start identifying the sources.

I love to keep things simple, so I’ll do the top three. One is online leads, which we’ve touched on before, that’s a huge element, because really it’s a guarantee. You’re putting in for a pay-per-click type ad, and you’re getting a name, a phone number, an email back from that client. Now you need to use your sales skills to be able to develop that relationship.

Number two is direct mail. I love direct mail, it has proven very, very successful for me in my career. I learn a community, I know everything that there is to know about it, and then as I’m the expert in that community, I start to routinely send out direct mail to each one of the residents and make sure that I can engage with those folks. So, that’s a great way to get listings and buyers alike.

Third on the list, is that anybody who’s getting into a sales profession like real estate is probably a people person. They love the idea of sales, they like meeting people. You need to be able to engage away from just an online presence and engage face-to-face, and opportunities at open houses are your way to do that. So, that’s a great networking opportunity and to show somebody what you can provide as a realtor.

Once you establish your short list of proven lead sources, we want to get really creative. Again, we’re throwing this up on the whiteboard, I’m talking with the agent in the coaching session and learning more and more about that agent. The more I know about you, the more I can help develop what those sources are, and we’re going to come up with those mutually together. One of the things that I love to focus on are what are your interests? What things do you like?

You might be into mountain biking, you might be into tennis, you might be into photography, you might have clubs and hobbies that you’re involved in. How can we identify some of those things that you already love to do and turn that into a source of business for you?

You might have an area that you love. I hope you do if you’re getting into real estate, that you’ve got an area that you’re truly passionate about. Let’s also look back at your past work history. Were you an attorney? Were you a general contractor? Were you a teacher?

We really want to get into you as a person, you as a broker, and focus on what the sources might be that would be best for you, for your education, for your past history, for your past jobs, and just truly what areas you love.

Once we’ve got our sources identified, we put everything up on the whiteboard. We’ve sort of developed it down into a business plan, and from here we’re going to keep it simple. We’re going to go to source number one, and what we talked about before is online leads would be source number one, so we’re going to go ahead and tackle that. That’s a big subject though, so on my next video we’ll cover online leads in more detail.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results.

Navigating the Home Inspection Process

5 Key Steps of Home Inspection

Home inspections are a valuable measure when purchasing a home. Here are 5 key elements to make sure you get the greatest benefit from this step of the purchase process.

1. Research the Inspector

Get referrals for three home inspectors from a reputable source. Your Realtor should be able to provide at least three. The inspection is only as good as the inspector performing the inspection. Call each inspector and ask these 5 key questions:

How long have you been inspecting homes?
How many inspections have you done?
What are your qualifications, certifications and training?
What was your job before you were a home inspector?
What type of inspection report will I receive following the inspection?

2. Ensure all utilities are on for the inspection

Inspectors need to arrive at the property with all systems operational. If the utilities have not been turned on you will likely received an incomplete report. At minimum this will result in extra fees to you as the buyer for a re-inspection.

3. Attend the inspection

Reading the full inspection report is a great start but the report isn’t enough for some homeowners to get the full picture. I recommend attending the last 30 minutes of the inspection at a minimum. This allows the inspector to perform the inspection without distraction but still go through each of his/her findings and point out some key items while on site.

4. Read the full inspection report

Too many buyers and sellers just read the summary report. The summary will catch most if not all of the items of concern but the full report will provide you with a large amount of additional information that will be valuable well after the purchase. You will want to keep your inspection long after you have bought your home.

5. Complete the inspection within the due diligence period

In North Carolina the commonly used Purchase Agreement provides a due diligence period. Among other things this provides time to inspect the home. You will want to leave enough time to perform the inspection, received the report and if applicable negotiate repairs or concessions. All of which should be completed prior to the expiration of the due diligence period.

TJ Larsen
My TownHome
Owner & BIC

Tips for Negotiating Your Home Purchase

When you make an offer to buy a house, you’re certainly hoping to get the best price and terms. To do that, you need to know where you can and cannot negotiate.

Consider the 12 tips below to create opportunities for a rewarding and successful negotiation.

Tip #1

Demonstrate your financial qualifications

Whether you plan to finance your purchase or pay cash you need to get your finances in order before you submit an offer. If you plan to pay cash have a proof of funds letter in hand. If you plan to obtain a mortgage you will want to obtain a strong prequalification letter or better yet a loan commitment letter from a reputable lender. Your offer will be much more attractive to a seller if the seller knows that you have the financial ability to purchase the home.

Tip #2

Base your offer on the home value, not the list price

The recent sales in the neighborhood give you and your Realtor ammunition and information. If a home is priced at or below market value, you are less likely to get a substantial reduction. If the home is priced above market value and has been on the market for a while, a lower offer accompanied by a market analysis may be acceptable to the seller. When you present the offer include with it a defensible opinion of value based on market data. A good Realtor or an appraisal company can be invaluable in crafting a compelling opinion of value.

Tip #3

Move quickly once you find the right house

If you see a home you like, be prepared to move fast. When a quality property is offered for sale it can go very quickly. If you’re in a competitive market, make your first offer one that represents market value. There will always be people who want to make below market offers. Submitting an offer that is too far under market value will impede your ability to negotiate. If there are competitive offers you may not get another chance to improve your offer and may risk losing the property.

Tip #4

Include an expiration with your offer

Moving quickly is a two way street. Determine a realistic time frame that the seller can respond within. I recommend no more than 48 hours from submission to require a response. If the seller is accessible they should be able to respond within a reasonable period of time.

Tip #5

Submit your offer in writing (avoid verbal offers)

A verbal offer conveys only a passing interest in a property. A seller needs to know that you are negotiating in good faith and that should reasonable terms be reached you are highly interested in contracting on the home. Your Realtor should provide you with a Residential Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Tip #6

Include photo copies of your due diligence check and earnest money deposit with your offer

In North Carolina a typical offer to purchase will require both a due diligence payment made direct to the seller and an earnest money deposit to be held in a trust account. Show the seller you are well prepared for the purchase and that you have funds at the ready. A buyer who is not prepared with initial deposits conveys a lack of awareness of the requirements set forth in the Residential Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Tip #7

Remove as many contingencies as practical

Don’t fill your offer with a large number of contingencies. This is not to say that zero contingencies should be included. You will want to ensure that you limit your liability by using necessary contingencies; however, it is important to demonstrate that should your offer be accepted you have both the desire and capability to close on the home.

Tip #8

Strive for a closing date that satisfies both you and the seller

A compelling offer will create a win/win scenario for the buyer and seller. If you have flexibility in your proposed closing date convey that to the seller. Better yet have your Realtor ask the seller for his or her ideal closing date. If you can request a date that is ideal for the seller and one that does not negatively impact you as the buyer you will clear a potential hurdle.

Tip #9

Commit to finalizing the property inspection(s) on an achievable but quick timeline

Consider the age and condition of the home to determine what inspections will be necessary to protect your interests. In some hot markets, prospective buyers do an inspection before making the offer so they can submit an offer with fewer contingencies; however, this may not always be possible or practical. Contact your inspector(s) in advance to determine when inspections can be completed. Don’t ask for more time than is truly necessary.

Tip #10

Determine the seller’s motivation to sell and seek out a win win.

Before you make your offer find out what is most important to the seller. Will the seller be motivated by a quick closing, a short due diligence period, a specific earnest money deposit, a trusted lender commitment, limited contingencies, etc. The more you know about the seller, the more you can tailor your offer to fit his/her needs. Put your Realtor to work to help you gather information about the seller and submit an offer that represents your interests while still achieving a win/win.

Tip #11

Convey your interest in the property to the seller

Some Realtors will suggest that a buyer write a personal letter to the seller. Consider submitting this letter with your offer. A personal letter can be endearing and may be the deciding factor in an acceptance or rejection. If you decide to send a letter with your offer use caution so that it does not limit your ability to negotiate.

Tip #12

Consider using a Realtor to help you successfully negotiate you home purchase

With home listings so accessible online, you may think you don’t need a Realtor. It’s easy to find a house online, but it’s harder than it appears to get from offer to closing. A good agent, with knowledge of market values, a proven track record of successful transactions, and tested negotiation experience can make the difference between a successful purchase and a deal that falls apart. In most cases, buyers pay nothing to use a Realtor as the real estate commissions is covered by the listing firm.

I hope that you found these tips to be helpful. If we can help further I would welcome the opportunity to connect you with a great Realtor. Simply click here to connect with a Realtor who specializes in your area of interest.

TJ Larsen
Owner & BIC