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Archive for April, 2015

real estate salesComing into the real estate industry as a new real estate sales professional you would be remiss not to realize how competitive an industry you are entering and that efficiency is king. The beauty of being new to the industry is that you can bring fresh ideas to the table about how you go about your daily activities. When we talk efficiency, we mean efficiency in a specific context: the ratio of the useful work performed by a machine or in a process to the total energy expended or heat taken in.

The most effective way to do this is by doing more electronically. From marketing to administering your deals.

On the marketing side, the playing field has been leveled. In the past those with smaller marketing budgets had difficulty competing with the seasoned professionals with big budgets for bench ads, calendars and sign advertising. These conventional marketing mediums have just about been eclipsed by the emergence of social media. Through social media you can market yourself and listings, establishing a vast network of connections – all electronically. Digital marketing through social media or even through real estate specific platforms – both available online and through mobile apps – increase your exposure and a client’s accessibility to you.

In deal administration, the real estate industry has been inherently burdensome on the paper side. Between contracts and agreements, listings, sales comps and the myriad other collateral a real estate sales professional may bring to a meeting, more can now be done electronically.

Meeting a client at your office

  • When a client comes to your office to meet have 2 things ready:
    • GeoWarehouse loaded on the computer – to quickly view property information with the client (either their property, or properties they would like to see)
    • ViMO loaded on your tablet – if the client wants to engage you, you can electronically prepare the listing or representation agreement and sign it electronically
  • Rather than copying identification and other material the client provides – scan it!

Meeting your client on the go 

The old way – purchase:

  • Pre-prepare representation agreement
  • Meet the client
  • Have the client sign initial agreements re: representation
  • View properties of interest – take photos if necessary
  • Go back to the office, research the property, if there is an offer to be made, prepare the offer
  • Meet the client again to sign the offer
  • Email or fax the offer to the other side

The electronic way – purchase

  • Ask the client for properties they may be interested in seeing and research some of your own
  • Attend the appointment armed with sales comps for the properties you will be seeing in the event your client is interested
  • Meet the client – ensure you have your tablet
  • Prepare the representation agreement on your tablet and have your client sign it electronically
  • On the road the client spots a property for sale that wasn’t yet appearing online
  • Using your ViMO app on your tablet, stand in front of the property and using augmented reality, snap a photo that reveals all property related information
  • You check ViMO app to see if the other real estate sales professional is online, and they are – you send them a message and they send you the lockbox key
  • You show your client the property and they love it – you message the other side to expect an offer shortly
  • You prepare the offer electronically and transmit it to the other side using ViMO

…. And the rest is history….

So as a new real estate sales professional you can see that investing in technology and investigating online tools for real estate sales professionals both online and through mobile apps will make you more efficient and prepared to compete the seasoned pros.

GeoWarehouse and ViMO let you do far more, on the go, in real time. Efficiency is easy with these two. Find out more at www.geowarehouse.ca and www.myvimo.ca.

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The Diligent Open House

Author: GeoWarehouse
April 22, 2015

2015Apr Geo 2An open house is an invaluable opportunity to let your client’s home shine! There are things that you can do to ensure that your open house goes off without a hitch – on your side that is. In most cases though, prospective buyers will have their own real estate sales professional and the more equipped you are to close a deal at the open house, the better off you’ll be.

Let’s start off with some open house basics:

Staging – Your client doesn’t have to go crazy with renovations – just some simple changes can make the open house go off with a bang. This blog on Frontdoor.com http://www.frontdoor.com/real-estate/4-steps-to-staging-for-an-open-house provides 4 simple staging ideas to prep for an open house.

Promoting – You can promote the open house online on real estate specific sites like Trulia.com and Zillow.com, on apps like ViMO by sending out invites to connect and newsletters once they’ve consented to receive communications from you, announcing the open house, and on social media sites. On Facebook consider announcing your open house in real estate specific groups. Make sure that the open house is promoted through signage on the property itself and distribute marketing materials in the community to make neighbours aware of the event.

Keep your client out of the house. Most open houses are more effective when the homeowner is not there because potential buyers are free to express themselves and their opinions about the home.

The day of… final preparation:

  • Arrive at the home early
  • Ensure that the home is secure and that the client has stowed away all valuables
  • Do a final walk through to make sure that there are no personal effects in the home that could cause a prospective buyer to form an opinion based on the current homeowner and not the home
  • Smell – open windows to air out the home and distribute fresh, neutral air fresheners throughout the house
  • Have a promo area – set up a table but the door with not just business cards and feature sheets but also more details about the property
  • Tech it up! Have a tablet available with information that can be sent electronically, to capture attendance and to have attendees sign up for your newsletter

Be diligent – supporting the other side makes for a diligent open house

Finally, just because you are prepared for your open house, doesn’t mean the real estate sales professional on the other side is! You don’t want anything to delay an offer so if you have a hot prospect on the line – you want to close that deal!

You don’t want to get caught up in the other real estate sales professional on the other side leaving with their client, preparing paper offers and then starting up with the flurry of faxes and emails back and forth.

  • Have a room set-up in the house where the real estate sales professional can speak privately with their client. If the client has a room with a computer in it, that is ideal.
  • Speak to the other real estate sales professional quietly and let them know that you have all the resources needed to answer any questions that they may have and an area for them to do any research they need to or to simply speak with their client privately – this includes them performing their own research on your property.
  • If the client does have a room with a computer in it, have GeoWarehouse loaded up so that the other real estate sales professional can simply log in and perform whatever research they need to.
  • In some instances there may not be a computer to use, but remember we mentioned tech-ing it out by having a tablet.
  • Ensure you have an app like ViMO loaded up so that if the real estate sales professional on the other side has a client who wants to make an offer you can help the other real estate sales professional through creating the offer electronically on your tablet, after which it can be signed electronically. In the absence of a computer this app can also be used to perform property related research including sales comps.

The diligent open house is the best open house, and GeoWarehouse can help. Contact us today by calling 1-866-237-5937.

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geowarehouseYou get paid when the deal closes. In almost all cases your fee is paid from equity in the seller’s home. A seller who has no home equity certainly complicates things and can leave you wondering how you will get paid.

The only way to avoid working with a client who can’t pay you is to validate their home equity. This validation will occur at different points in time depending on whether you are representing a buyer or a seller.

Seller scenario

When representing the seller, you hope that this information will be uncovered at the interview stage – however in some cases it is not. This is why you can run a search on any new property you list to validate both the list value that the seller has in mind and also view registered mortgages. This can give you an idea as to whether or not there is sufficient equity to pay you.

If it turns out that there is a question as to whether there is sufficient equity to cover fees, you are in a position before you accept the listing and begin incurring expense to market it, to speak to your client about the outcome of the search. They may then acknowledge that there is an issue or prove that there is some new information that you are unaware of that overcomes the challenge.

Buyer scenario

When representing a buyer who is interested in a property, at the offer stage or even before the offer, you should run the same search mentioned in the seller scenario to validate value and registered mortgages.

If it turns out that there is a question as to whether there is sufficient equity to cover fees, you can contact the real estate sales professional on the other side to make financial arrangements for your fee to be paid on closing.

In either scenario – if it turns out that there is no equity to cover fees, the buyer or seller is going to have to come up with the money to pay you. Because you don’t get paid until the deal closes, this leaves you very vulnerable because each deal represents time and expense. Taking the steps to do some of your own due diligence will greatly mitigate instances of identifying clients who can’t pay you before it is too late.

Don’t get stuck without a paycheque come closing day. GeoWarehouse has the tools to help you validate homeowner information before a deal even gets off the ground. Visit us online today at www.geowarehouse.ca.

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April 8, 2015

validate informationThe word “lie” is a noun that is defined as “an intentionally false statement”. Has a client lied when they provided inaccurate information to you? Some industry professionals think so – we are not so sure.

When a client provides you with their information or information about their property, and then that information turns out being incorrect, more often than not it’s because your client was:

  • Confused
  • Forgot
  • Didn’t know

You can have a whopper of a lie, when someone knows they are concealing from you, right down to little white lies (as perceived by the client) where a problem or two in the home is not disclosed to you and the client hoping it will slip by. While little white lies are far more common than whoppers, both can cause big problems.

This is why, as a real estate sales professional, you have to:

  • Ensure that you are clearly asking your client the right questions.
  • Ensure that you are equipped to validate information your clients provide to you.

In real estate, it seems that there are key areas/circumstances where omissions and non-disclosures often come into play:

  • Issues with the property that a homeowner may be aware of.
  • The client thinks that the property is worth far more than it is.
  • Someone else on title to a property.
  • Financial challenges with the borrower or the property – perhaps there is no equity, the mortgage is in default or there is a lien.

Here are some tips for you to validate clients’ provided information:

  1. Try to have as complete information as possible. Ask lots of questions and be calculated about the questions that you ask. Doing so may uncover an issue before you spend time and expense and enable you to guide your client as to how they can navigate their issue.
  1. Perform some basic due diligence. You can run a search on GeoWarehouse to validate homeowner and mortgage information, as well as check the sales history on the property and sales comps. If you suspect that there is a lien, you can use the GeoWarehouse store to obtain a Parcel Register* to validate same.
  1. Financial challenges – this can be 2 prong. Financial challenges with the client could mean that they may have difficulty getting a mortgage, and financial challenges with the property could mean that there is not enough equity to pay your fees. You can learn of financial challenges with the property using step 2. You can learn of financial challenges with the client by asking them (if they require a mortgage) for a pre-approval or to speak with their broker to confirm that there won’t be any surprises on that side.
  1. Undisclosed problems with the property itself – in these instances the homeowner may not even be aware of a problem with a property. You may not be a home inspector but there are some noticeable things that may tip you off. It’s better that your client know and address it than to have potential buyers come through who notice and then decide not to make an offer. Here are some things inside your client’s home that you can take a look at – or take a look at when showing other homes to your clients:
  • Plumbing – in the kitchen and all bathrooms:
    • Open cupboards and check if you see visible leaks or signs of water damage
    • Run water to check water pressure
  • Water heater – check the age
  • If appliances will be included – ensure that the fridge, stove, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer all work by turning them on.
  1. Finally – Google is also an excellent source for information. Through a Google search you can learn if there was a disaster in the area where the home was, a flood, fires – all sorts of things.

Anytime you take on a new client, the more information you have about the client and the more you work to validate your client’s information, the better equipped you will be, thus leading to a more effective use of your time, and therefore more profitability!

GeoWarehouse has the tools to make this easy – visit us online today at www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.

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