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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Foreclosure activity hits 40-month low in April: Where will your business come from?

Foreclosure activity hits 40-month low in April

Where will your business come from?
The foreclosure side of the business now has more agents specializing than the amount of business to go around. So where should you focus your business? Call me and we'll strategize.

Average foreclosure timeline grows to 400 days
By Inman News

U.S. foreclosure filings on U.S. properties fell 34 percent year-over-year in April, according to a report from foreclosure data site RealtyTrac.

One in every 593 housing units, or 219,258 properties, received a foreclosure filing -- default notice, scheduled auction, or bank repossession -- last month. That's a 9 percent drop from March and a 34 drop from April 2010.

"Foreclosure activity decreased on an annual basis for the seventh straight month in April, bringing foreclosure activity to a 40-month low," said James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's CEO, in a statement.

"This slowdown continues to be largely the result of massive delays in processing foreclosures rather than the result of a housing recovery that is lifting people out of foreclosure."

States with a judicial foreclosure process saw activity decrease 47 percent year-over-year in April, while states with a nonjudicial foreclosure process saw activity fall 26 percent year-over-year.

In the first quarter, completed foreclosures took an average of 400 days from the initial default notice to bank repossession, compared to 340 days in first-quarter 2010 and 151 days in first-quarter 2007, the report said.

Average foreclosure timelines were longest in New Jersey and New York, both over 900 days, and Florida, at 619 days.

"The first delay occurs between delinquency and foreclosure, when lenders and services are no longer automatically pushing loans that are more than 90 days delinquent into foreclosure but are waiting longer to allow for loan modifications, short sales and possibly other disposition alternatives," Saccacio said.

"Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that about 3.7 million properties are in this seriously delinquent stage. The second delay occurs after foreclosure has started, when lenders are taking much longer than they were just a few years ago to complete the foreclosure process."

Default notices fell the most year-over-year: 39 percent, with 63,422 properties receiving that initial filing. Scheduled foreclosure auctions fell 37 percent, to a total 86,304 properties -- a 31-month low. Bank repossessions fell 25 percent year-over-year, with 69,532 foreclosed on in April.

Ten states accounted for 70 percent of all foreclosure activity last month. California had the highest volume of properties receiving a filing (55,869), followed by Florida (19,649), Arizona (13,419), Michigan (12,996), Nevada (11,761), Illinois (10,055), Texas (8,793), Georgia (8,479), Ohio (7,962) and Colorado (4,379).

Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate among states for the 52nd straight month in April: one in 97 housing units received a foreclosure filing that month, the report said. Though overall foreclosure activity in the state fell 27 percent year-over-year, bank repossessions rose 12 percent to hit an all-time monthly high: 4,606.

For the fifth straight month, Arizona held the highest foreclosure rate in the nation with one in 205 housing units receiving a filing. Overall foreclosure activity in Arizona fell 17 percent year-over-year, though bank repossessions rose 22 percent.

Bank repossessions also rose 22 percent year-over-year in California, while overall foreclosure activity fell 20 percent. The Golden State had the third highest foreclosure rate in the nation, with one in 240 units receiving a foreclosure filing.

10 states with the highest foreclosure activity rates in the nation in April 2011:



Foreclosure activity rate

% change year-over-year foreclosure activity



1 in 97 housing units




1 in 205 units




1 in 240 units




1 in 322 units




1 in 325 units




1 in 349 units




1 in 451 units




1 in 479 units




1 in 495 units




1 in 497 units


Source: RealtyTrac

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Saturday, July 30, 2011

8 ways to engage with Gen X, Y real estate clients and agents

8 ways to engage with Gen X, Y real estate clients and agents
Demographic sheds new light on lifestyle, communication, homebuying
By Bernice Ross
Inman News™

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What does it take to work effectively with the next generation of buyers, sellers and agents? The first step is adjusting your lens to see the world their way.

At my recent Awesome Females in Real Estate conference, Cary Sylvester, executive director of technology for Keller Williams (a Gen Xer), and Michelle Holt, director of marketing for (a Gen Yer), tackled the topic of how to work effectively with Gen X and Gen Y clients and agents. Here are eight key insights.

1. It's not about the money
Holt is an excellent example of the Gen Y mindset. She left a high-powered job at USB working with high-net-worth individuals (mostly CEOs of oil companies) and moved to because she wanted a job that gave her more freedom to express her creativity.

Holt says that Gen X and Gen Y expect their workplace to be fun and engaging. They also expect a meritocracy based upon their performance. Because their income is tied directly to their actions, a real estate career can be very appealing.

Strategy: First, if you have Gen X and/or Gen Y agents, do your best to create a fun work environment. They expect to have a say in what happens at work, so be willing to ask their opinions and to listen to what they say.

If you're showing them property, make the process as fun as possible. Ask plenty of questions and write down what they tell you. This sends the nonverbal message that what they say matters to you.

2. Research, research, research
Before Gen X and Gen Y go to work for a company, hire an agent or buy almost any product, they research it thoroughly online.

Strategy: Managing your online reputation is critical. Begin by Googling yourself and your company to see what others are saying about you online. You can also use and Google Alerts to keep up-to-date on others' posts about you or that mention you.

3. Never talk down to them
As Holt put it, "I don't want to buy a house from my parent." Nothing will turn off a Gen X or Gen Y client faster than an agent who talks down to them by saying, "Oh honey, you don't want to do that!" They want the truth, even if they don't like it.

Strategy: Instead of advising a Gen Xer or Gen Yer on what to do, a better approach is to say, "Here are the pros and cons as I see it. What's your opinion?" or "I've been noticing that you seem to like large dining rooms. Is that an important criterion to add to the features that you would like in your next home?"

4. Lifestyle matters more than the property
Many Gen X and Gen Y buyers are willing to accept a lesser property in order to have access to their preferred type of lifestyle.

Strategy: When you market your listings, make sure there is plenty of information about the lifestyle in the area, including videos, reviews of local restaurants, nearby recreational activities, and whatever else makes living in that location special.

5. Just because they do Facebook doesn't mean they're good at being face-to-face
According to Holt, because many Gen Yers rely heavily on texting, they may have poor telephone and face-to-face skills. Furthermore, they may not react well to face-to-face confrontations.

Strategy: As an agent who represents Gen Y clients, adjust your communication style to be like that of your clients rather than expecting them to adjust to your style. Also, be prepared to help them navigate through transaction-related problems. Always keep in mind that it's their house and it's their decision.

6. I have nothing to hide
Many members of Gen X and Gen Y aren't particularly concerned about privacy. Their attitude is, "I have nothing to hide." Sadly, many younger people fail to realize not everyone shares this point of view.

Strategy: Authenticity and transparency are critical when you work with Gen X and Gen Y. If you are working with Gen X and Gen Y agents, educate them about your expectations regarding what constitutes appropriate behavior.

If you're working with Gen X and Gen Y clients, your online persona must match who you are in person. Consistency matters. Don't expect them to keep what happens in the transaction private. They share almost everything with their peer group.

7. They lack the ability to focus
The challenge with buying or selling real estate is the incredible amount of paperwork and details that must be managed on your client's behalf. It's hard for many younger clients to stay focused on everything that must be done.

Strategy: Break the transaction process into simple steps rather than overwhelming them with everything at once. The key phrase to keep in mind is "baby steps."

8. Show me the value
Gen X and Gen Y love discounts. If they are going to pay retail, they must be convinced that what they're purchasing is really worth it. A key phrase they use is, "I want my money's worth."

You must have a value proposition that clearly demonstrates how you are worth the fees that you charge. Your goal is to make sure they perceive they are getting what they pay for.

As Holt put it, "My generation has a different filter. Listen for the differences and be aware of how your filter differs from ours."

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Friday, July 29, 2011

Top Agents Make Money Doing the Right Things Right

Top Agents Make Money Doing the Right Things Right
By Terri Murphy and Verl Workman

RISMEDIA, July 9, 2011—At a time when creating a high value proposition can be the differentiator in getting more buyer and seller business, top earning agents are equipped with the best and latest engagement tools. They know that incorporating systems, tools and strategies will help them out-perform and up-serve their prospects. But if you look closely, they never stray far from the basics of connecting more people with their housing solutions more consistently.

When we interviewed top agents across the country, we found that the newest innovations are not only engaging but working to set these market leaders apart. The most productive agents still do the basics, but incorporate electronic tools, systems and resources that help them connect prospects to profits.

Here are some of the top activities to attract, engage and convert prospects to profits:

Top performers are masters of lead generation and conversion. They generate leads from call capture, online portals, QR codes, virtual tours, open houses, etc. Smart agents focus on their database as a number one priority with consistency and follow-up. Good database management systems include targeted automatic campaigns and follow-up programs that help agents stay top of mind.

Technology reigns as one of the major tools in the innovation toolbox. Texting platforms continue to grow to serve the client’s personal preferences for receiving information in real-time. For Sale signs can be enhanced with text numbers to allow prospects to secure a plethora of information about a property without even opening the car door. In addition, downloadable virtual tours, MLS information sheets and neighborhood data can all be transferred to and through a prospect’s smartphone.

QR codes are a successful and growing option for transferring property information. They are popping up everywhere, and have become a great “transition” tool. The adoption is still in the infancy stages but is becoming a mainstream platform to serve the real-time needs of today’s consumer.

The illusive prospects that walk through an open house have historically been tough to serve after the casual inspection. Agents have found that if they can secure the prospect’s email address, they can follow-up with value. Top producers use email that is enhanced with interactive options that enable them to include links to geographical information, short video clips about the neighborhood and property photos and information.

Video has taken top priority when presenting properties. Kodak has made it simple with their easy-to-use PlayTouch video camera. Agents secure video footage of the parks, farmer’s market activity and community events to help promote the lifestyle of a community.

Top earners understand that incorporating both traditional and electronic platforms is necessary to serve all four generational age groups. But one thing remains the same: Prospects need to be consistently “touched” and updated with new information.

Equally important in today’s marketplace is that in order to attract and engage a consumer, the “experience” must be enhanced with high quality photos, easy-to-secure video and real-time information.

To be a top seller requires dollar-producing activities. You can’t miss when you blend good old tried and true lead generation and lead prospecting with automated systems to make more profits.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Top Ten Ways to Lose Customers in Today’s Market

Top Ten Ways to Lose Customers in Today’s Market

RISMEDIA, July 6, 2011—Sales and marketing consultant, Brett Clay, author of Selling Change, 101+ Secrets for Growing Sales by Leading Change, reveals his top ten list of mistakes salespeople and companies are making in today’s market. Clay says, “Some of the ways salespeople lose customers are perennial. Others are related to the changing market. The biggest mistake, though, is failing to evolve and stay competitive.”

The Top Ten Ways to Lose Customers

1. Don’t Deliver What You Promise
The ultimate way to lose a customer is to take their money and not deliver the goods. To gain customers, under-promise and over-deliver.

2. Don’t Return Their Calls
Twenty-four hour call centers, mobile phones, instant text chat, online knowledge bases, and social media have helped customers become accustomed to instant response. To gain customers, be responsive.

3. Sell Them Features
Customers don’t care about product features. Customers only care about how they can benefit. To gain customers, focus on what the customer wants to do.

4. Don’t Listen to Their Needs
In the drive to streamline operations and lower costs, companies that become focused on themselves and their own needs, rather than the customer’s, will find themselves losing those customers. To gain customers, listen to what customers want—and deliver it.

5. Sell Them a Solution
Selling solutions to customer problems sounds like a great idea—except that today’s Internet-empowered customers have access to the best solutions at the best prices from everywhere on the globe. So, selling solutions results in losing customers to suppliers who offer a better solution at a better price. To gain customers, help them achieve their goals.

6. Assume They Need What You’re Selling
Assuming the customer’s problem is that they don’t own the listing you’d like to sell them and neglecting to discover their real problem is a sure way to lose the customer’s interest. To gain customers, focus on how the customer can benefit.

7. Be Transactional
Companies and salespeople who—under pressure to meet sales goals—focus on minimizing their efforts lose business to those who focus on customer success. To gain customers, add value.

8. Focus on Relationship
The old adage: “Customers buy from people they like.” The new adage : “Customers buy from websites they like.” To gain customers, focus on delivering value.

9. Do What You’ve Always Done
As the market landscape continues to change rapidly, those who continue to do the same things the same way are the proverbial deer in the headlights. To gain customers, invest in new capabilities.

10. Don’t Embrace Technology
Technology is amplifying and accelerating competitive advantages. Individuals and companies that fall behind in technology will deliver inferior service at uncompetitive costs. To gain customers, leverage new tools.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Want a real estate client? Ask for one

Want a real estate client? Ask for one
By Teresa Boardman
Inman News™

Last November I wrote a blog post about Black Friday and about how I would be happy to show a home on that busy shopping day to anyone who wanted to see one -- and no waiting in lines. I wrote that I would help them buy any home on the market for less than the asking price as a Black Friday bargain.

I wrote the post because I needed business. One of the best ways to get business is to ask for it, and it worked. I ended my post with: "I will be near the phone all day waiting for your call. You ... can wait until after sunrise to make that offer."

The post was short and simple, with no keyword stuffing or thought about search engine optimization. My phone rang, and the end result was a commission check and an opportunity to earn another.

That single post resulted in two new clients and one sale so far. The blog is designed to get people to call me or write to me, but once they do the real work begins and there are no guarantees that there will be a sale. If there is a sale it could happen at any time.

There are several calls to action on my blog. There is a home search; a way for homeowners to request an estimate of the value of their home; a link to finding an open house; and a way to look up sale prices on homes that have recently sold. I may have been the first real estate blogger to offer a home search right on the blog. It did raise some eyebrows back in the day, but today it seems to be an accepted practice.

I also have my own unique call to action that has been very effective in getting people to take action. It's a little button on my site that leads to a simple contact form, and it states, "Questions? Ask Me I Know Stuff."

After almost six years of blogging, and, more important, more than 2,200 posts (blogs work only if you supply them with content), I have heard every reason why blogging for business is a waste of time, and how social media for business is all about strategy and measuring return on investment. And there are some overly complicated social media and SEO strategies that I haven't yet figured out.

I've found some simple rules that work just as well on a blog as they do for any other type of marketing piece:
•People need to know that you are in business and what kind of services you provide.
•Prospective clients need easy-to-find contact information and should be given a couple of alternatives.
•We need to be easily found on the Internet because that is where people go to find homes for sale and Realtors.
•We need to show which geographical areas we serve so people don't waste our time by asking about homes for sale in other states.
•Advertising works best if there is a call to action so that prospective clients know what the next step is for them if they want to do business with us.
•There is no way to cut corners on prospecting -- it has to be done often and consistently.

This may all seem obvious to most real estate agents and brokerages, but there are still too many who name their websites after themselves.

There are others who assign a cutesy name to their website or blog but no display of the brokerage company's name or the phrase "real estate" anywhere on it. Another fault: Some agent blogs feature a lot of posts that do not have an obvious connection to real estate.

There are agents who fail to identify which geographical areas they serve. It is not unusual to find a business site or blog where the contact information is impossible to find -- or when it is found it leads to voice mail or an email that isn't answered for a week.

There are agents who have websites that are all about themselves and their dogs, their accomplishments and their families.

People who are looking for real estate are often even more interested in photographs of homes than they are in photographs of real estate agents, for-sale signs, or a set of keys.

An agent stating that he or she is No. 1, or the best, is not a call to action and it isn't a value proposition or even a unique claim.

It isn't enough to be found on the Internet. People need to know what you do and how to reach you if they want to work with you. Asking for business is a critical step, and sometimes we overlook it in our marketing. If you need business today, try asking for it.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Design Social Media Conversations to Solve Customers’ Problems

Design Social Media Conversations to Solve Customers’ Problems

RISMedia, June 13, 2011— (EMC)—The simple fact is that the gurus are wrong: Social media marketing isn’t a revolution, it’s a chance at evolution.

Social media challenges marketers to design conversations in ways that solve customers’ problems, not reinvent themselves, their businesses or marketing itself. Social media success depends on planning and executing ways to solve customers’ problems. The answer to selling more with social tools is founded in sparking conversations worth having—interactions that solve customers’ problems and prompt more questions.

“This idea that conversation has an innate value is simply incorrect,” says author, speaker and leading branding consultant Jonathan Salem Baskin. “It doesn’t. It never did.”

Baskin claims being relevant matters now more than ever. He also says staying relevant is the big opportunity social media presents. But Baskin warns that too many marketers are looking at customer conversations in a vacuum and not as an ongoing experience. That’s an important point, because when your business is relevant to consumers, it’s better equipped to help them understand their problems more clearly.

Think about your traditional marketing successes. It’s likely many of them help consumers become better equipped to find the right solutions. They’re more likely to return to your store, branch or website for more answers, products and services.

Social Media Is Old School

Pioneers like Anchor Bank, Avaya and Jones Lang LaSalle are following customers, not trends. Their customers signal the “when, where, why and how” that powers technology decision making. These businesses are translating customers’ needs and responding by scratching their itches—and in the process earning more transactions. They’re helping customers navigate themselves toward needed answers. Yes, with new tools, but in old ways.

Brainstorm gestures for your company that help solve your customers’ problems and make products more relevant. Start in areas of strength. For instance, AnchorBank focuses on helping customers get out of debt, learn about appropriate sources of financing, and prepare their “money lives” for divorces or marriages.

Use social tools like Facebook to solve problems and lead customers toward answers. Begin by asking yourself, “What are customers demonstrating a need for in social spaces right now?” That includes your storefront, if you have one. Ask yourself, “What questions do customers have that we can answer in the form of a blog post or Facebook response?”

Consider prioritizing those questions asked most often. Then invent ways to take action where customers guide themselves toward products. Think like a designer. Make each social marketing tactic “scratch customers’ itches.” Consider mixing in promotions that create opportunities to connect those itches (e.g., problems, urges) to products. Choose your technology or social space based on observable customer behavior within it. Stack the deck in your favor for success.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Monday, July 25, 2011

June 2011 Real Estate Market Update

June 2011 Real Estate Market Update

Listening to the media reports can get you very confused about the direction of the real estate market. Most show the market continuing to decline. Much of that is a result of comparing this year, without the benefit of Tax Credits, with last year, which was artificially fueled by the Tax Credits. The market is certainly improving, but until May, had not improved enough to make up for the effect of those Credits. However, in both May and June, sales activity has picked up dramatically (shown by increased pending sales numbers and property showing appointments) and is at a pace to exceed last year's sales rate.

Southeast Michigan continues to lead the country in the housing recovery. That does not mean the market is jumping off the map, but we are seeing more sales activity than we had expected at this point in the recovery. Make no mistake, regardless of what you see in the media, the housing recovery has officially begun, to the best of our estimates it began coming off the bottom this winter. The question that time will answer is; is this current activity boost a long-term movement or the initial rush of water after the dam breaks? It is logical that after a five year hold back, there are thousands of consumers anxiously waiting to buy or sell, so each step of positive economic movement will bring another bunch of buyers and/or sellers into the market.

What does all this mean for pricing and appreciation? As we have been saying all year, the first stage of recovery is increased activity and sales, the next is appreciation. We are seeing strong evidence that homes that are updated, in good condition and price competitively are selling for more than what they would have received last year. However, there are still plenty of homes in poor condition or with design obsolescence that are still requiring a discount to attract buyers, which continues to bringing the overall market averaged down.

The number of homes available for sale continues to fall, which will help push up home values, so as a seller, it is a great time to test the waters in terms of home value. For buyers, the market has moved away from the super discount deals, but home values, even for the best homes attracting multiple offers, are still at 14 year lows. For a buyer, with prices so low and interest rates seeming to be holding steady at near record lows it is easy to feel you can sit on the fence and wait. However, many buyers are finding that those perfect homes are selling in days so waiting will leave a buyer with mainly outdated and over priced homes to choose from.
For more positive news about Michigan and Detroit I though you might enjoy an article from the New York Times about the metro area.

The best evidence of a housing recovery are our June sales, a record month for our family of companies (2,081 transactions) and the most for any broker ever in the state of Michigan in one month!! Thank you for all of your extra effort. Each transaction today requires an extra level of service so your time and commitment is especially appreciated!
Here are our numbers for June, pretty cool stats - the showing appointment numbers are particularly strong, at over 19,000, a good sign for July and August sales!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Want More Sales? Pump Up the Experience

Want More Sales? Pump Up the Experience

By Terri Murphy

RISMedia, June 13, 2011—When was the last time you wanted to watch a black-and-white or one of the old “Technicolor” films? For most of us, they just don’t have the same engagement magic they held years ago when compared with the latest innovations like 3-D and special effects. In short, customers want more and a better experience than ever before.

Today, consumers are tougher to attract, engage and ultimately connect with due to the highly noisy and confusing market. When it comes to real estate, using the best resources available to engage new prospects will give you the competitive edge, more customers and ultimately more profits.

So what can you do to heighten the buying or selling experience for your prospects? Here are a few ideas to pump up your connection factor:

- Use multiple mediums in the selling process to snag the attention of prospective buyers. When using brochure boxes, use only information sheets that include high-quality photos in color. Brochure boxes don’t always keep the paper dry, so use a printer that ensures the ink won’t run. Kodak’s ESP 6150 All-in-One office printer does a great job of high-quality color printing, and the ink won’t run—even when sopping wet.

- When printing brochures and information sheets, always include the electronic URLs so the prospect can opt to go to the Web for additional information. List Web portals such as the URL for the listing, a link to the virtual tour, or the 800 call-capture information, just to name a few.

- If you use QR codes, it is more important than ever that when printing the code on a brochure that it be “smear proof” and is not compromised so the prospect can easily “scan and go” to get information.

- Listing appointments are a place to shine with high-quality printed materials to demonstrate to the seller how you provide professionally produced brochures and marketing materials that best represent their property. Beautifully produced, high-color take-away brochures and information sheets have proven to capture the attention of a prospective buyer more so than the standard MLS information sheet.

- Buyer books printed with dramatic color and quality are more likely to provide the best possible experience for the buyer. A well-produced buyer guide speaks volumes about how the agent is prepared and committed to help educate their buyer through the entire purchase process.

- Use a printer that multi-tasks. Choose a printer that can handle various tasks with one piece of equipment. You need to not only print, but be able to scan your brochures to email to prospects. Faxing is easy too and all can be done wirelessly.

- Don’t spend all your money on cartridges to get the job done. At a time when being economical is a high priority, it’s important to consider the cost of cartridge replacements.

Agents are busy looking for buyers, and buyers are even busier looking for properties. Make your job easier by incorporating the best possible time-saving, high-quality tools and resources to make more sales.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Sunday, July 24, 2011

3 strategies to move an overpriced listing

3 strategies to move an overpriced listing
Give sellers a wake-up call

By Bernice Ross
Inman News™

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You have worked as hard as you can to get this property sold. Your marketing efforts have generated 50 showings but no offers. What can you do?

Recently, one of our private coaching clients posed this question to her coach. She had done everything within her power to place the property under contract. However, the sellers weren't willing to lower the price any further. They had a great reason. If they dropped the price any further, they would have to bring money that they didn't have to the closing table.

The challenge for the agent was that the sellers were blaming the failure to sell the property on her and they were angry. How would you have handled this situation?

One of the most powerful ways to address this situation is to do an update on your market statistics. For example, if there are currently 60 properties listed in their area and price range and 10 of them sell each month, this means that in order to sell their property, the sellers must be in the top 17 percent of the properties on the market each month in terms of the price, condition and the location. With this many showings and no offers, they're continuing to fall in the bottom 83 percent that are still listed each month rather than in the 17 percent that sell.

The next step is to explain the seller's choices. Here's what to say:

"Mr. and Mrs. Seller, as you can see from the current market statistics, only 17 percent of all the listings will sell this month, while 83 percent will continue to be listed next month. Furthermore, most of the properties that are selling are in like-new condition. Given these circumstances, you have the following options:

"First, you can adjust your price.

"Second, you can update the paint and the fixtures to make the house more appealing.

"Third, if you absolutely must get this price, you can take the property off the market and wait for the market to improve.

"It's your house and it is your decision. What would you like to do?"

Furthermore, it's often useful to either take the sellers out to look at the competition or to pull together a slide show of the interiors of the properties that went under contract or that are currently on the market. Sometimes the reason a property is not selling is that buyers can afford to be choosy. The agent who sold our last house told me that the only things that are selling where she is working right now are in like-new condition. Everything else, unless it's way below market value, is languishing on the market.

A third way is to do a price-per-square-foot comparison. Remember to choose comparable sales where the lot size and the improvement size are within 10 percent of the seller's property. Failure to do this will yield inaccurate results.

The next step is to make three pricing lines: one for sold listings, one for current listings, and one for expired listings. In most cases, what you will observe is that the sellers' current price falls in the price range where most of the listings are expiring. Here's what to say:

"Mr. and Mrs. Seller, as you can see from these three pricing lines, the properties that have gone under contract in the last 90 days have all been priced between $135 to $145 per square foot. The properties that failed to sell and currently are showing on the multiple listing service as expired listings were all priced at $153 to $160 per square foot. Your property is currently priced at $154 per square foot.

"Consequently, you have an important decision to make. You can leave your property at $154 per square foot and it will probably still be on the market, or you can reduce your price to $145 per square foot and increase the odds that it will sell. It's your choice; what would you like to do?"

Now if the sellers are being unrealistic and you're no longer willing to work on an overpriced listing, here's a different approach:

"Mr. and Mrs. Seller, you have an important decision to make. You can continue to keep your property on the market at the price where it is currently listed or you can lower the price to the point where the property will sell. Clearly, since we have had 50 showings and no offers, the property is not priced where buyers today are willing to purchase it.

"It's your choice; what would you like to do? Continue with your current price? Or reduce the price, end the two-hour commute each day, and get on with your life?"

If the sellers say they want to keep the same price, the next choice is really yours. Are you going to choose to continue to work on an overpriced listing or are you going to walk away? In many cases, your willingness to walk away can be a huge wake-up call. Here's what to say:

"Thanks so much for the opportunity to market your home. Given the current market conditions, I would be doing you a disservice to continue to represent you on the sale of your property when the market data says that you won't sell in this market unless you drop your price. I have cleared this with my broker and we are releasing you from the listing. I wish you the best in getting the price you want."

If you have an overpriced listing that is not selling and the sellers aren't willing to be realistic, walking away is probably the smartest thing that you can do. If the sellers realize you're serious and reduce their price, it's a win for you both. If they are unwilling to reduce their price, you have just eliminated a huge energy and money drain from your business.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Real Estate Marking Strategies: 5 Tips to Use Your Sphere of Influence to Double Your Income

Real Estate Marking Strategies: 5 Tips to Use Your Sphere of Influence to Double Your Income

By Dr. Maya Bailey Print Article

RISMEDIA, July 22, 2011—I find that many of my clients avoid marketing when it comes to their sphere of influence. Yet statistics show that your sphere of influence can be the greatest source of referrals. Let’s look at how you can dig in and get the “gold.”

Tip 1: Define and Rate your Sphere of Influence

When is the last time that you took a good look at your contact list? What is the total? What are the categories in that group? Do you have past clients, friends, acquaintances, people you hardly know? Before you do anything else go into your data base and group your sphere of influence in categories.

Do you know who in your sphere is likely to refer to you? Do you know who in your sphere already works with another agent? How many have moved away? Start deleting the inappropriate ones.

Be sure to ask all of them this question at some point: “If you were buying or selling a home do you have a real estate agent that could help you?” If they say “yes” delete them. There is no point in continuing, they are not prospects. By keeping in touch with your sphere of influence as we will describe below, you’ll begin to find out who is an A,B, C, or D.

A= someone likely to refer to you

B= someone who with a little more contact with you, would refer to you


D= Delete

Tip 2: Send something of value to your sphere each month

In my 15-plus years of coaching real estate agents to double their incomes, I am amazed at the fact that sometimes their list never gets a mailing. Or sometimes the mailing is not well thought out. I worked with a client recently who admitted that the material she was sending to her sphere was standard and boring. We brainstormed about something of value that would be interesting, fun and unique. So far, she has come up with recipes and inspirational quotes. What do you send to your sphere of influence?

Is it something you would want to receive and find valuable? If so, then I guarantee that your sphere will like it too. How many creative items can you come up with?

Tip 3: Overcome your blocks to calling your sphere

Everyone I have ever worked with resists calling their sphere.

They tell me things like

• “I don’t want them to think I want something from them”

• “I’m afraid they won’t like me”

• “I don’t want to be like a telemarketer”

The list goes on, but I think you get the idea. What you need to understand is that you’re a giver. When givers give to other givers, they get back. So, in other words, if you send something of value, you are giving; when you chat with them and listen to what’s going on in their lives, you’re giving again. So at the end of the call, say something like, “If you hear of anyone even whispering about buying selling a home, please give me a call with their name and number.” Then say, “I’ll be happy to send referrals to your business, as well.” Guess what? You’re giving again.

After doing these calls monthly (after mailing something valuable) you’ll begin to know your sphere of influence and they’ll know you. You’ll begin to learn which ones are your As, Bs, Cs and which ones to delete. Then you’ll be in their stream of consciousness. So you’re the first one they’ll think of when they think of real estate. Don’t be surprised if you get referrals in the first few weeks.

Tip 4: Be in the right mindset

Don’t make these calls if you’re feeling anxious, upset or desperate. Remember, desperation doesn’t sell. So psych your self up in the right mindset. Think of your self as a giver and how happy they are going to be to hear from you. Tip: if you have been thinking negatively, switch your focus to what you are grateful for. That usually puts you in a much better mood to pick up the phone.

Tip 5: Make it a daily ritual

Just like brushing your teeth, calling some people out of your sphere of influence is essential. Even one a day is OK. Call several times a day if you want your income to rise quickly.

Decide when to make your calls and keep at it until you’ve reached the people you were trying to call. Expect that several weeks after doing this; it will feel a lot easier. An extra perk is that you’re going to be deepening some great relationships and you’ll experience the same pleasure of calling them us as you would with a good friend.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bank of America Announces Short Sale Changes

Bank of America Announces Short Sale Changes

On July 12, 2011, Bank of America announced changes to its short sale process that allows real estate agents to submit a backup offer on a transaction if the original buyer has walked away from the sale. If another buyer is prepared to make an offer, the short sale can proceed without having to repeat the short sale initiation steps allowing the agent to continue with the original transaction in Equator and work with the same short sale specialist. This new process applies only if there’s an available backup offer when a buyer walks away from a transaction. If a backup offer is not ready to be submitted, the short sale will be declined. Agents should return to marketing the property and initiate a new short sale in Equator once another offer is received.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644

Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule: No longer limits Agents from getting up from short sale fees!

Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule: No longer limits agents from getting up front short sale fees!

NAR has made an important step in resolving the confusion caused by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule (MARS) among real estate professionals who provide assistance to struggling homeowners in negotiating short sales with servicers on the sale of the home.

On July 7, 2011, NAR President Ron Phipps met with FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz to discuss the problems caused by MARS. On July 15, 2011, The FTC announced that it will forbear from enforcing most provisions of its MARS Rule against real estate professionals who assist consumers in obtaining short sales from their lenders or servicers.

Effective immediately, real estate professionals acting in their licensed capacity will no longer need to comply with most of the Rule’s requirements, including the required disclosures, advance fee ban, and recordkeeping requirements.

This forbearance of enforcement will only apply to real estate brokers (and real estate agents under their direction and control) who are:
1.Licensed and maintain good standing pursuant to any applicable state law requirements;
2.In compliance with state laws governing the practices of real estate professionals; and
3.Assisting or attempting to assist a consumer in negotiating, obtaining or arranging a short sale of a dwelling in the course of securing the sale of the consumer’s home.

The FTC will still enforce the Rule’s prohibition against misrepresentations made by a real estate professional while assisting a consumer in negotiating or obtaining a short sale.

The FTC’s forbearance should have the effect of resolving this issue for real estate professionals who are acting in their licensed capacity. While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state attorney generals can still enforce the Rule as written, both groups are expected to follow the FTC’s lead. NAR will continue to work on obtaining a complete resolution of this issue.

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