Changes

What Do the Realtor.com Listing Changes Mean for Agents?

Since purchasing Move, Inc. two years ago, News Corp. has put some serious dough into enhancing its Realtor.com listing portal – and more enhancements are on the way. How will they affect your online real estate selling practices?

An “Advantage” over “Showcase Listings”
“Showcase Listings,” Realtor.com’s previous listing ad product, is being replaced with “Advantage,” said to offer more flexible branding, lead-capture features, and marketing insight for agents.

So what’s changing?

  • Price scheme
    Pricing is said to be more flexible, and will be affected by local median prices, demand, and “other factors…” So your next listing could cost more, less, or the same.
  • User experience
    Photos have been supersized, property specs shrunk, and the yellow advertising bar topping listing results eighty-sixed in efforts to increase buyer engagement. Advertiser branding will now appear at both top and bottom, with a lead form following users as they scroll.
  • Advertiser display options
    Soon you will be able to display your branding with a variety of colors and a tagline. Brokers can choose to include up to 3 agents on a listing page, in addition to the listing agent. However, only agents working for the broker advertiser will be included, keeping leads in-house, unlike Trulia and Zillow. Lead-capture design for broker-advertisers, however, will now mimic the format of these rivals.

• Features
The introduction of dashboards for agents and brokers (not just advertisers) will help users track return-on-investment. New seller reports, generated through the site for clients, will offer information on interest/inquiries into a home and how it compares to similars. Advantage is also slated to include a “3-D Tour” tab on the listing’s photo gallery. However, this feature won’t be available at launch.

Lost Your Top Agent?

Lost Your Top Agent to Greener Pastures? What to Do Next.

Real estate sales management can be extremely challenging, especially when a really great agent sails away into the sunset. Before you fall into a black pit of despair, step back and take inventory to avoid a hard landing.

Talk to your staff
Rather than sweeping things under the rug, discuss the predicament with your team. Be honest, identifying potential hardships that may arise, such as additional workload and challenges to the business. Don’t have a panic attack – assure them things are well under control with or without the lost employee. Don’t forget to indicate any opportunities for advancement that could arise from the situation.

Reach out to the departing employee
Especially if they left amicably – you may be able to earn them back with a bigger paycheck. If they don’t accept, at least you’ll know what you’re looking at paying a comparable replacement. Be certain to conduct an exit interview, which is your best chance at an unfiltered viewpoint of your operation – not just why that person is leaving. Just be sure to leave emotion and gossip out.

Consider contacting past employees
If your experiencing a sense of déjà vu in your real estate sales management career, it may be worth reaching out to past employees who’ve moved on as well.

Don’t hurry to hire
Be proactive, not reactive, seeking the best talent with the help of a recruiter or perusing the competition’s flock. In the meantime, put out fires with a temporary assistant, or outsourcing to a virtual one until you find a top-notch replacement.

In the future, be proactive
Moving forward, consider making changes based on honest feedback from your staff to avoid other unexpected departures. And never forget, it’s often your best employees that need the most motivation.

Real estate sales management have you down in the dumps? A brighter future is possible. Make your next step with the help of Properties Online today.

Close up of a private aircraft flying through stormy weather

Will Your Next Appraisal be by Fly By? – By Drone Of Course.

New roof? Large tract? Strange or interesting geography? You can now simplify your real estate selling needs, documenting and communicating attributes such as these with ease – with the help of drone technology, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

It’s not sci-fi
No longer hampered by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, there’s now an easy to understand system and set of rules for flying a commercial drone, and the real estate industry is taking notice. Should you take advantage of this technology when appraising real estate and gathering listing photos? You betcha.

Hold on to your hats
Real estate selling won’t be this interesting again until the implementation of driverless cars. This booming and exciting technology has been around for awhile, but only recently has the FAA finalized its plan to “fully integrate the UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS) harmoniously, side-by-side with manned aircraft, occupying the same airspace and using many of the same air traffic management systems and procedures…” without training that requires a brain and physique that rivals a NASA astronaut.

This picture might be worth more than a thousand words
It’ll also take you more than a thousand words of reading to figure out how to do it yourself. It’s not a flying camera, folks, it’s an aircraft – and you have to be certified to fly one. But you no longer need a pilot’s license and a fortune in time and monetary investment to put on your flying hat. Interested? Take a look at the FAA’s Airmen Certification Standards. Rest assured, commercial flying rules are common sense:

1. Get your license.

2. Choose a unit that weighs less than 55 pounds to avoid registration.

3. Stay in uncontrolled/Class-G airspace.

4. Keep drones in your line-of-sight during operation, under 400-feet.

5. Sorry, no fly-bys of people or planes – or driving drones from your car.

Ready to start flying high with the latest real estate selling technology? Find it at Properties Online today.

The Grey Area About Schools

School Ratings – The Legal Gray Area

Sometimes, real estate selling can get tricky. Such as when you’re about to get an offer and the potential buyer asks “So the schools around here are okay, right?” Only, not really. Do you risk the sale with the truth? Water it down? Change the subject?

What are you legally required to disclose when potential buyers inquire about school ratings?
It turns out, that’s a far more complicated question than you might think. The fact that housing values are directly influenced by school ratings is well known in the industry, with several studies pointing to good schools adding an average premium of $50 per square foot to property values. These patterns are also reinforced by local property taxes, where assessments directly benefit school coffers. Some advocates for fair housing see potential problems with this whole scenario, and that’s a complication that may surprise you.

School rating maps mirror racial dot maps
While most states base school ratings on easily measured factors like test scores and graduation rates, these key indicators turn out to be heavily influenced by race and class. This “common denominator” is now raising issues regarding disclosures to potential buyers, and has intensified with today’s ease of access to web-based information.

Hands off the wheel
Current fair housing laws dictate the statements that agents can make, prohibiting the discussion of neighborhood racial composition with home buyers. Dubbed “racial steering,” the National Fair Housing Alliance regularly conducts “mystery shopper” tests – of which a 2006 report documented steering in some 87% of encounters: Showing different properties to families of different races with the same requirements, or telling each group different things about neighborhood desirability in a way that perpetuates discrimination. Until legalities can be settled, putting the onus back on buyers may be in your best interest.

Don’t let yourself get backed into a corner. Stay informed on the latest real estate selling rules with Properties Online today.

First Impressions are Everything: Draw Potential Buyers in with a Welcoming Interior

Top Tricks from Home Stages that Will Wow Your Potential Buyers

What agent and seller team doesn’t want to sell their home faster? With these tips and tricks from real estate selling experts, you too can snag sales fast, boosting appeal and fueling the impulse to buy before it’s too late.

Add instant appeal with these secrets of professional stagers

• Never go bare
Empty rooms give buyers no way to judge room size and can actually make them seem smaller, causing buyers to walk away. Instead, add the feel of space with the right kind of furniture, removing bulky items and replacing them with those that help buyers better visualize their own arrangements.

• Put serious thought into placement
Placing the tallest furniture in the far left corner of rooms (upon entry) makes them appear larger. Large pieces on either side of the entryway – smaller. Place them farther back in the room instead. Angle furniture in square or skinny rooms to allow for better movement – or to highlight focal points.

• Use rugs wisely
Rugs are great for delineating spaces, but one overlarge rug can dwarf a room, working against your real estate selling techniques. Use them instead to anchor conversation areas, such as separating seating areas in the living room.

• Be consistent with color & style
Use the same style and similar hues throughout the home for a more cohesive flow.

• Lift curtains
Curtain rods placed just below the ceiling or just above windows will create the illusion of height.

• Use the “rule of three”
This golden rule of home staging involves grouping items (chair, art – you name it) – in groups of threes, fives, sevens, or nines. This helps visual flow as buyers take-in scenery.

• Purposely draw attention to focal points
Place eye-catching accents nearby, such as 3 vases near the fireplace or a large plant near a picture window.

Don’t leave real estate selling to chance. Set yourself up for success with the help of Properties Online today.