Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Majority of You Are Doing Deals

The common line in the real estate industry is that 20 percent of agents do 80 percent of the business. While the small pool of top producers nationwide do account for a large portion of transactions, it can't be said that the vast majority of all other practitioners do nothing. Way more agents are doing business than you might think.
Sixty-one percent of real estate professionals closed at least one transaction in the first six months of this year, according to a WAV Group study surveying the productivity of members of 150 MLSs around the country. However, the study showed an uneven spread of the business between January and June:
  • Zero transactions: 39 percent of pros
  • One to 10 transactions: 50 percent
  • Eleven to 20 transactions: 7 percent
  • Twenty-one to 50 transactions: 3 percent
  • Fifty-one or more transactions: 1 percent
The number of practitioners with listings in the MLS during the same time period followed a similar pattern as transactions, with 57 percent having at least one listing. Here's the breakdown:
  • Zero listings: 43 percent of pros
  • One to 10 listings: 47 percent
  • Eleven to 20 listings: 6 percent
  • Twenty-one to 50 listings: 3 percent
  • Fifty-one or more listings: 1 percent
The study doesn't necessarily debunk the idea that a lot of the business is in the hands of a few agents, but it does show that, contrary to some beliefs, the majority of agents are working, says Marilyn Wilson, founding partner of WAV Group.
She told Inman News that she was "a little pleasantly surprised" by the results, having expected to find that the productivity of practitioners would fall along the 80/20 rule. "It's a different mix than we thought we might see," she added.
The study also found that only 58 percent of MLS members login daily, suggesting that a large chunk hold onto their subscriptions just for the data. What this means for MLSs, the study notes, is that they shouldn't calculate adoption rates of their new technologies based on 100 percent of their subscriber base.
"Bottom line, MLSs that are calculating adoption based on 100 percent of their subscriber base are calculating adoption incorrectly. There's no reason why a member that is not logging into the MLS system is going to use the additional services offered by their MLS," the study says. "MLSs that calculate adoption based on all of their members are actually understating the success they've had in attracting productive agents to their suite of technology tools."
Source: 2014 WAV Group REALTOR® Productivity Survey and "Study Shows Wide Variation in Agent Productivity," Inman News (Nov. 15, 2014)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The 10 Commandments of Agent Safety

Real estate safety has been thrust in the national spotlight after the recent murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Clark following a showing of a foreclosed property. The tragedy, along with the end of REALTOR® Safety Month in September, has prompted REALTOR® associations across the country to reach out to its members to remind them that their work can be dangerous and to take extra precautions in their jobs as they meet with strangers and show homes.
The Birmingham Association of REALTORS® first released its “10 Commandments of Agent Safety” in 1988 and has been using its list of strategies to teach its members how to be safe on the job ever since.
Here are the association’s commandments for agent safety:
1. Do not meet a stranger at any property. Instead, ask to meet at your office or in a public place so others can see the potential buyer too. Take a partner, like another agent or family member, with you, too.
2. Take your car. Avoid riding in a stranger’s car.
3. Avoid working after dark. Try to show property only during the daylight and close open houses before dark. If working after sundown is unavoidable, buddy up with a partner.
4. Dress for safety. Dress professionally and avoid wearing expensive, flashy jewelry. Do not carry large amounts of money with you.
5. Arrange a showing itinerary. Use a standard form and always leave a copy at the office or with a family member. Be sure to let the client knows that a copy exists, too.
6. Use a prospect ID form. Prior to showing a property, have a printed form that asks for a prospect’s information: name, address, auto make and model, auto tag, driver’s license, local address, and two references. Verify the information before you leave.
7. Use an agent ID form. Make sure your office knows your car's make and model and license tag, plus any other important contact information.
8. Set a coded distress signal. Be able to call the office or home with a message that appears harmless to a prospect but would serve as an alert to others that you’re in harm's way.
9. Stop working immediately if you pick up on something suspicious. If you notice inconsistent answers from your client, or any abnormal behavior, or anything that signals that something is off, stop working and trust your gut instincts.
10. Notify your broker immediately. The broker should decide what action to take at that time.
Source: "The 10 Commandments of Real Estate Agent Safety," Birmingham Business Journal (Alabama) (Oct. 1, 2014)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

ListHub Not Planning Move Against Realtor.com® Competitors

Now that ListHub’s acquisition of Point2 has expanded its database to 85 percent of residential listings in the U.S., online commenters have raised questions about whether ListHub will shut out realtor.com®’s biggest competitors from syndication of its listings.
One commenter on an Inman News article about the acquisition suggested that ListHub “bought control of 85 percent of the nation’s residential listings and how that information is disseminated.”
But ListHub’s interest is not in determining where its listings can appear online, says Luke Glass, executive vice president of industry platforms for Move Inc., which operates ListHub. Its goal is to be the primary source where listing data comes from; the brokers who use ListHub’s data are the ones who determine where listings go online.
“ListHub doesn’t choose to send a single listing to any publisher,” Glass says. “It’s the broker that chooses whether or not to syndicate to other channels. ListHub is simply the platform that enables brokers to exercise their choice about what’s best for their business.”
ListHub provides a list of the nation’s largest real estate sites, including realtor.com® competitors and large real estate news sites, and users can decide for themselves which sites they want to publish their listings on.
“Our goal is to provide a single back-end platform for the industry for the exchange of real estate information, to protect the value of that information through the best data protections and most comprehensive performance metrics, and to ensure brokers have the most control over their listing information,” Glass says.
Source: By Graham Wood, REALTOR® Magazine

Thursday, July 31, 2014

3 Social Media Trends Impacting Your Business

Image-centric networks are growing, and is Google+ losing favor?
Forbes.com columnist Jayson DeMers recently offered up some of the latest trends in social media. “2014 has brought some surprising news and trends in terms of how businesses are using social media,” DeMers writes. Here are a few of the trends he sees:
  1. Image-centric networks are rapidly growing. Photo-driven social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat are increasingly gaining a loyal user-base. For example, Pinterest is boasting high retention rates of its users. The average female user on Pinterest posts only 42 pins in her first year on the network, but by her fourth year, she is sharing up to 152 other users' posts, according to research by RJ Metrics. Facebook still has the largest user base, but sites like Instagram have seen the biggest rise in active user activity between the second quarter and fourth quarter of 2013.
  2. The rise of micro-videos. More companies are using micro-video platforms such as Vine and Instagram to get simple messages out to customers and prospects. For example, Saatchi's anti-smoking campaign for World No Tobacco Day garnered 50,000 likes and 26,000 "revines" on its ads in just the first five days of the campaign.
  3. Some social networks are losing favor. Once thought of as game-changers, social networks such as Google+ and Foursquare may be gradually losing their fan base. Still, 61 percent of businesses say they plan on increasing their Google+ activities this year, making it a popular choice among marketers. However, many businesses reportedly are struggling with how to make the platform work for them, DeMers notes. Google announced earlier this year that social signals are not part of its ranking algorithm, and it recently decided to remove authorship photos from the search results, which is what distinguished Google+ from other platforms for many marketers, DeMers says. Foursquare may also be losing more of its share, but marketers aren't writing it off completely. Foursquare recently split its app into two: the original Foursquare and its new app, Swarm, which allows users to find friends via neighborhood sharing and without the need to check-in. Foursquare's new app, which will be re-launched later this summer, will no longer allow check-ins but is trying to become a direct competitor to Yelp by offering a resource for personalized recommendations for local search.
Source: “The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends Dominating 2014,” Forbes.com (July 23, 2014)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Facebook Moves Mobile Users to Separate Messenger App

Facebook users who use their mobile device will now need to download a separate Facebook Messenger app to send and receive messages from the social network. Facebook is diverting mobile messages from its main mobile app through its separate Messenger app.
If you try to send a message using the main app, you’ll now receive a notification message to download the separate Messenger app on your device instead.
The messenger app will be removed from the main mobile app to avoid “confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences,” says a Facebook spokesperson. While the messenger icon will remain on the main app, if you click on it, you’ll be rerouted to the separate Messenger app.
Facebook touts that its Messenger app boasts more features. For example, the Facebook Messenger app includes free messaging, a "selfie" button for video sharing, a quicker photo-sharing interface, and group messaging support, and is reportedly 20 percent faster and more reliable than the main app’s chat system.
More than 200 million people use Facebook Messenger per month and send 12 billion messages per day, according to Facebook.
Facebook first announced the changes in April. The Facebook Messenger app is available for the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms as well as other select phones.
Source: “Facebook Moves Mobile Chat Users to the Separate Messenger App,” Forbes.com (July 29, 2014)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Facebook Debuts 'Save' Feature for News Feeds

Facebook is rolling out a new feature over the next few days that allows users to "save" items that are posted in their news feed. The new feature will allow people to save links, news stories, video clips, and places to view later in a special designated place within a social network profile.
All saved items will be kept private, unless a user decides to share them at a later date. Facebook will post occasional reminders to people about their saved items.
To use the new tool, users can click on a "save" button in the bottom-right of a post, or click the down-arrow icon at the top right of the item and then select "save." All saved items will appear in a section labeled "saved" on the Facebook mobile app, or they will be marked as "saved items" on the left-side navigation area of Facebook.com. Users can sort by category or view all saved feeds at once.
Source: “Facebook Improves News Feed with a ‘Save’ Feature,” Forbes (July 21, 2014)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

3 Reasons Buyers, Sellers Need You

About 47 percent of home owners say they could sell a home without the help of a real estate agent, and 59 percent say they likely could purchase a home on their own, according to a new survey of 2,500 Americans conducted by BMO Harris Bank. However, three-quarters of respondents also say they ended up using a real estate professional when it came down to it.
“While a notable number of Americans feel they could buy or sell a home without a real estate agent, our survey tells us that when the time came, the majority of home owners did seek the added professional help and enlisted an agent," says Kevin Christopher, head of mortgage sales at BMO Harris Bank. “It can be a complex process.”
What were the top reasons home owners identified for having a real estate agent by their side?

Home Buyers

  • Handling paperwork: 67%
  • Having someone who understands market value: 59%
  • Access to market information: 53%

Home Sellers

  • Handling paperwork: 64%
  • Advertising the home to bring in offers: 58%
  • Having someone to price the home appropriately: 57%
Source: BMO Harris Bank