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A Spooky Time for Real Estate Agents

Fall is here and for many of us, that means less activity in the market – so what can we do to keep the leads and sales flowing? Focusing on what works with all of the noise that bombards our senses on a daily basis becomes more difficult when leads slow down. How we handle ourselves right now plays a role in our business next year as well as the remainder of this one.

The keys to finishing the year strong with momentum to start the new year, in my opinion, are to focus and to get back to basics. Start by setting aside a few minutes early each day to lay out what you need to do and what you need to accomplish. Focus on those items. Setting aside this time each day helps to slow everything down and makes each task more manageable. This will give you the ability to handle your goals easier. Next, and most important, is going back to basics. You know – what is proven to work.

When the market slows, we tend to be reactionary rather than purposeful. This leads us to try new ways to drum up business, but it often wastes are time and leads us down a path that isn’t as successful as some things that we already know work and it takes away the precious time we needed to use on what we know works.

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Posted by: Ryan Ward on October 20th, 2011 under Best Practices, Leads, Motivation


Hello Video! – You are Now Part of the Real Estate Marketing Lexicon

I’m an early adopter with all things technology and as an early adopter, I’m keenly aware that there are pros and cons to buying in early. I’m ok with that. Technology changes rapidly and those of us that are early adopters buy the new technology as it comes out. The latest and greatest as they say.

Real estate marketing, however, has not changed too much for most agents. We all take photos, we all list in the local MLS system(s) and we all try to get the best price we can for each and every new listing we take. After all, it’s the price as it relates to condition and location combined with the photos that attract buyers and beget sales. Right? I think that’s true, but I think we need more, better marketing, in light of the fact that traditional resale homes are having to compete directly against somewhat comparable short sales and foreclosures that have spread like a virus across the real estate landscape.

I don’t think photos are enough. In this market, I think we have to make a more compelling case that are listings are better – worth more than the foreclosures and short sales down the street. I think we need video. I don’t mean panning still images set to some cheesy music either. I’m talking about videos that make your listings (and maybe even you) look fantastic. Here’s a video from some guys in Australia that have taken video over the top!

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Posted by: Ryan Ward on August 12th, 2011 under HomeGain, Online Marketing, Technology


Consumers Want Consultants, not Cheerleaders – Position Yourself as a Market Expert

Today’s real estate market is different than just a few short years ago. Before the downturn, seller’s knew they could sell and buyers didn’t worry about risk in real estate because everyone believed prices would always go up. If Buyer A didn’t want the house, you need not wait long before Buyer B submitted an offer. When the market began the turn as demand shrank and prices began falling, many agents made, what I think was a big mistake – they acted like cheerleaders. Instead of offering professional advice to a growing number of upside down homeowners in a confusing market, it seemed as though agents across the country were using their marketing materials to look out for a paycheck more than trying to help consumers

You may remember ‘Baghdad Bob’ from the Iraq War days holding press conferences where he would tell everyone how the Iraqi Army was destroying the infidel Americans and pushing them back to the sea. You could also almost hear the American tanks rolling by in the background as he was on TV. He wasn’t telling the truth. Everyone new he wasn’t telling the truth. Jay Leno had a great video of Baghdad Bob if you don’t remember.

Even in today’s real estate market, it’s still common to see agents say “It’s a great time to buy!” That has to be the worst possible thing we can say in this market. It’s so transparent – and it appears to be looking out for the agent and not the consumer to market with this message. Don’t be a real estate Baghdad Bob. The market may not be great for many potential buyers. If a consumer asks about the market or you are trying to convince someone that this is a great time do buy, you have missed the mark. Consumers want and need information more now than ever. They seek out agents who can distill information in a way they can understand and they want the truth. They also can sniff out Baghdad Bob the real estate agent a mile away. The truth is, it may not be a great time to buy. Maybe it is, may it isn’t. Don’t you think you should find out a little more before spouting off like that? Be real.

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Posted by: Ryan Ward on March 11th, 2011 under Best Practices


The Alphabet Soup of Designations – Are They Worth It?

The freely available information on the internet has done wonders for me and my business.

Online forums, social networks and blogs have allowed me to learn, grow my sphere of influence and grow my business in ways that simply weren’t available 10 years ago.  If not for the internet, I would have been out of this business years ago when my wife had cancer and I had to take care of our first child. Free information led to leads and leads led to clients.

In many ways, the internet has helped new agents to level the playing field against entrenched agents and bigger brokerages because so much information is available to learn and leads available for anyone willing who is to put forth the time and effort with little to no capital investment. Such is the power of the internet.

With all of this information seemingly at our fingertips, we often forget that even the best  and brightest of us can benefit from specific courses taught by other real estate professionals and trainers. I think it is how we can take our business to the next level.

The alphabet soup of designations available to us as agents continues to grow, but a common conversation across the resolves itself around whether or not to even earn some of these designations. Opinions vary on this and I’m not sure how. I just don’t understand the logic that some people have that makes them think that these courses are not worth it.

Some agents think that becoming an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) or earning some other designation isn’t of much value or that consumers don’t actually know what those letters mean so they aren’t really helpful anyway. Besides, many agents naively think they can just learn it for free on the internet. I like free and choose it whenever reasonably possible. But sometimes, you simply need courses taught by more experienced or more well trained agents to learn specializations. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Ryan Ward on October 8th, 2010 under Realtor


Grow Your Confidence, Grow Your Business

As a consumer, have you ever walked in to a store, let’s say an electronics store, seeking the advice of one of the helpful salespeople and found that their lack of knowledge throttled their confident-catconfidence level to the point that they were really of no use to you and as they try to muster an answer to a question about which TV to buy, you lose confidence in them?

There are pros and cons for each TV and you as the consumer need answers to make the right choice but you can’t get them because your salesperson does not have any confidence that they know the answer. As a consumer, we unconsciously pick up on subtleties of people like this salesperson and we lose confidence in them very quickly! We naturally gravitate towards those who we automatically recognize as confident about their work.

So it goes with real estate agents working with home buyers or sellers.

I encourage that you spend some time every week working on aspects of your business that can help you increase your confidence. It doesn’t matter if you are new or have been in the business a while. If you know what you are doing it will show through loud and clear to your clients in that ever important first impression. That’s confidence. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Ryan Ward on January 21st, 2010 under Motivation


Outside of Price, Photos are the Most Important Marketing Component

Bad photos seem to be a part of many a real estate agent’s marketing plan. You’ve seen the fuzzy, blurry or pixilated pictures. My personal favorites are the ones that have the real estate agent’s rear view mirror in the picture and bad-real-estate-photothen, to no one’s surprise, it will be the only photo on the listing.

It took me about 1 minute to find this one (shown left).

The disregard of the most important marketing piece that we as agents have full control of boggles the mind.

A decent camera is cheap from a business perspective and 10 minutes to get out of the car and take a few pictures seems well worth it to me, but, that’s obviously not the case for all amongst us.

A decent camera is cheap and an appropriate camera is not cheap, but is still inexpensive for the ROI. The pictures are certainly worth the expense though. I enjoy photography so I take my own photos. If you aren’t into taking your own photos, let a professional handle the work load for you.

Locally, you can get 25 high resolution photos and a virtual tour for about $100. It would take anyone 3 or 4 hours to get out the property, take the photos get them back and edit them so the time involved to hire a pro may be worth it.

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers over the last few years offer up opinions about what you need and what you don’t need if you want to take great real estate photos and most don’t have any idea what is required to take them. If you don’t use a digital SLR camera, you won’t have the capability required to take exceptional photos of your listing.

To shoot the interior of a home, you need a true wide angle lens, but not a fisheye.  A wide lens will keep straight lines straight and allow you to see a whole room. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Ryan Ward on December 3rd, 2009 under Online Marketing


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