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R E F U E L I N G R E A L E S TAT E C A R E E R S VO L N o . 6


TH E RIG HT TOOL S FOR THE JOB .

MyFuelCenter.com The personalized, one-stop Intranet hub that delivers 24/7 self-service access to marketing tools, training, and support services that streamline your day-to-day operations and FUEL your business. From listing presentations to lead generation, MyFuelCenter.com is one more way Carrington is helping its agents achieve success every day. To learn more about how MyFuelCenter.com can help ReFUEL your real estate career, contact us at askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


R E F U E L I N G R E A L E S TAT E C A R E E R S c a r r i n g to n r e a l e s t a te . c o m

THIS ISSUE TESTIMONIALS: THE ULTIMATE BLUEPRINT TO GETTING BETTER QUOTES FROM YOUR CLIENTS / PAGE 4 HOW TO TAKE BETTER PICTURES IN THE FIELD THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR LISTINGS / PAGE 5 THERE ARE THREE SPECIFIC WORDS THAT EVERYONE WHO WORKS IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY WOULD PREFER TO AVOID / PAGE 6 CREATING LIFELONG FANS OF YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS / PAGE 8 CHAMPION CIRCLE 2017 / PAGES 9–11 STAY SAFE OUT IN THE FIELD: 5 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF / PAGE 12 TOP 10 TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS / PAGE 13 START OVER 12 TIMES A YEAR / PAGE 14 5 CREATIVE WAYS TO FOLD CLIENT TESTIMONIALS INTO YOUR WEBSITE / PAGE 15 HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR TARGET MARKET AND FIND YOUR NICHE / PAGE 16 ADJUSTING YOUR APPROACH: HOW TO DEAL WITH LISTINGS THAT AREN’T MOVING / PAGE 17 CRITICAL MISTAKES THAT REAL ESTATE AGENTS MAKE IN THEIR BIOS / PAGE 18 VOL No. 6. FUEL is a publication of Carrington Real Estate Services, LLC. 111 Pacifica, Suite 160, Irvine, CA 92618. 877.330.2773 Editorial or advertising does not constitute advice but is considered informative. ©2017 Carrington Real Estate Services, LLC. All rights reserved.

E D I TO R ’ S N OT E CONGRATULATIONS! In this edition of FUEL, we are thrilled to feature and recognize the winners of our 2017 Champion Circle awards program. They represent the top 25 producers across the nation for units and sales volume! This is a huge accomplishment and one that we know takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve. Please check out who made the list on pages 9, 10, and 11. Go #teamcarrington and super job Champion Circle winners! The Leadership Team at Carrington is dedicated to provide the coaching, marketing tools, and services to ensure that every agent in our network continues to grow their bottom line in 2017! Inside this magazine you can get a running start by reading the articles that make sure you are set up for success online (pages 15, 18 and more) and how to tap into your client base (pages 4, 8) to maximize your earning potential this year! So enjoy this edition of FUEL and practice some of these great insights so you can take your business to the next level—NOW! Happy Selling!

Carrington Real Estate Services Leadership Team!

R E F U E L I N G R E A L E S TAT E C A R E E R S

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“Testimonials: The ultimate blueprint to getting better quotes from your clients.”

Any real estate agent is only as good as their next lead, and

One of the easiest ways to collect testimonials is by using an

one of the best ways to increase the number of leads in

online service like Boast or Survey Monkey. Using these tools,

your pipeline is to spend some time working on your online

you can simply text or email the clients a link to a form where

presence. Today’s Internet users are savvy enough to know

they can quickly enter some of their thoughts about working

a good sales pitch when they see one, which is exactly why

with you. An even more direct option is to simply send the

client testimonials have become the most important aspect

client a link to your review page on Zillow or one of the other

of any good real estate agent website. So how do you get

big portals.

your satisfied clients to offer up the types of quotes that will convince prospective clients to work with you?

STEP 4: ASK BETTER QUESTIONS Another common mistake that many real estate agents make

STEP 1: PREP THEM FOR THE ASK

is to simply ask for a testimonial and offer the clients a blank

The first step in getting better quotes for you to use as

box, which forces them to wonder what on earth a good

testimonials is to make your clients aware that you are going

testimonial is supposed to look like. A much better approach

to be asking for a short testimonial once they are satisfied

is to offer some questions to help get them thinking in the

with the results of your work. This should be mentioned when

right direction. Here are some of our favorites:

you start working together so that they are not blindsided by

• What led to your decision to work with me?

the actual request when you ask them for a testimonial later.

• What were you most impressed with in working with me? • Describe a challenge that I helped you overcome.

STEP 2: REMIND THEM ABOUT THE ASK

• How well did I meet your needs and accommodate

Many agents will make the mistake of asking for a testimonial

before the clients even get up from the closing table. While it

• Is there anything I could have improved or done differently?

may seem like a good idea to get the testimonial at the height

• What would you tell your friends and family about working

of your client’s excitement, this can often backfire because

your situation?

with me?

those clients are going to be way too excited about the house that they just bought or sold to give any serious thought to

STEP 5: THANK CLIENTS FOR THEIR HELP

the best things about their experience working with you.

Everyone likes to feel like their effort is appreciated. And make no mistake about it, no matter how easy you make it

STEP 3: MAKE THE REQUEST

using tools like Boast or Survey Monkey and asking the right

Once you have given the clients some time to either settle into

questions, it still takes some effort for even satisfied clients to

the home they purchased or collect themselves after selling

take the time to provide you with a quality testimonial. So you

their home, then you can approach them with a request for

should always make a point to thank them for their effort with

a testimonial. Based on your experience working with them,

either a simple card or a small gift.

you will know exactly how they prefer to be contacted, so make a point to use that method. 4

To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


Congratulations to the

Andersons

HOW TO TAKE B E T TER PICTURES IN THE FIELD T H AT H AV E NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR LISTINGS You are in the business of marketing yourself on a daily basis, and you probably aren’t going to have access to a photographer when you want to capture a moment out in the field to share on your Snapchat or Instagram accounts. This is where having a better understanding of how your smartphone camera works can have a major impact on your business. Today’s smartphones are able to take absolutely stunning photos and videos that simply were not possible even just a few years ago. And with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can produce social media images and videos that will definitely set you apart from the competition in your market. Let’s get started!

R E F U E L I N G R E A L E S TAT E C A R E E R S

Ke e p t h e S h o t S i m p l e Whether you are shooting a satisfied client, an activity at a community event, or live streaming an open house, the key to remember with any type of image or video is that you don’t have to overcomplicate it. Simpler is almost always better—and also more powerful.

E x p e ri m e n t W i t h A n g l e s Another simple tip is to take an image from multiple angles to give you a few different options. This is especially powerful when you are shooting pictures of people. Take the same shot that you started with and try taking it kneeling down or from three big steps to the side. It is also helpful to have a basic understanding of the “Rule of Thirds,” which simply means making sure that the focal point of your image lies on one of the grid lines if you break your image up into thirds. You can do this easily with your smartphone by turning on those grid lines.

Fo c u s o n t h e L i g h t i n g One of the simplest ways to improve any image is to adjust the lighting. You probably aren’t going to have a lighting crew hanging out in the office with you, but you can certainly try to adjust the lighting as much as possible to get a better image. As a rule of thumb, you should always try to get as much natural light as possible, and turning the flash off is almost always a good idea. One of the biggest things that you need to remember with lighting is that it's not

always about the brightest light, but even lighting. You don't want half of the photo completely filled with harsh lighting while the other is in a shadow. Take a step in and put all of the photo in the shadow if needed. Also, harsh light when taking photos of people is not always the best. It's hard to have nice smiling faces when they are squinting because of being blinded by the sun. You should also make a point to touch the part of the image you want to focus on right on your camera screen. With most camera apps, this will cause the phone to automatically adjust a number of lighting settings to create the best possible image.

Ta ke a M i n u t e f o r E d i t i n g When you are out in the field, time always seems to be a factor. We are all in a hurry to get to the next appointment, but taking a minute to crop your image, apply a filter, and maybe even add some text is the difference between an image that some of your friends might notice and one that goes viral—so take the time to do it right.

Hit Publish More Often At the end of the day, the only way to get better at taking photos and videos out in the field is to actively practice as much as you possibly can. The more images you capture, the better you are going to get. So make it a priority to capture some aspect of your daily business as often as possible. You might not ever become famous for your smartphone photography skills, but with just a few tips and tricks you can almost immediately improve the quality of the photos and videos you are taking to share with your social media accounts, which will ultimately lead to more clients contributing to your bottom line. So get out there and start shooting! To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.

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There are three specific words that everyone who works in the real estate industry would prefer to avoid. Three little words that can strike fear in the hearts of agents across the country. Those same three words that have been popping up in conversations more and more lately: rising interest rates. Interest rates drive everything in the real estate industry. They determine exactly how much clients can afford to spend on a home, and with those interest rates on the rise lately, many agents are starting to panic. But not the good ones. Good agents know interest rates rise and fall over time, and they have plenty of reasons to be optimistic, despite the fact that the current interest rates might be heading higher.

INTEREST RATES ARE ON THE RISE, but good agents don’t panic. :)

Still Low Relative to Historic Rates Mortgage interest rates did move a bit higher in 2016, and that trend is likely to continue in 2017. But good agents know that rates are still ridiculously low compared to historic averages, and that fact isn’t going to change any time soon. Agents who have been in the game for a while can likely remember a time in the early 1980s when interest rates peaked around 18 percent. Compared to numbers like that, even a move of one or two points higher over the course of the coming year is relatively small.

Minimal Real Impact Another important thing to remember is that while that increase in interest from the higher rate can really add up over the course of a 30-year mortgage, the average client isn’t going to notice much of a difference on a month-tomonth basis. For example, a $250,000 mortgage at 4.0% would require a payment of $1,194 for 30 years. Should that rate move up to 4.5%, the buyer would only be looking at an additional $73 each month.

Requirements Are Loosening Although rising interest rates could definitely be a negative factor on the 6

housing market in the coming year, that impact likely will be offset by the fact that mortgage lenders are beginning to loosen the requirements buyers must meet in order to qualify for those mortgages. This means that there could be a huge influx of new buyers this year that couldn’t care less about the current rates because they are happy to finally be able to get a mortgage at all.

The Federal Reserve Goals The main reason the Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates that ultimately affect mortgage rates in the first place is to combat inflation. Because we are currently experiencing a period where inflation has been kept in check, there isn’t much of an incentive for the Federal Reserve to go too far with their desire to raise rates in the short term. The Federal Reserve also has to account for any impact that a rate adjustment could have on the stock market, as well as the housing market. And in an effort to keep everything chugging along smoothly, they are likely to proceed very cautiously

with any increase in interest rates.

Rates Are Linked to Income It’s also important to remember that any rise in interest rates will also be reflected on the savings accounts of buyers who have been saving up a down payment and investing in their 401k and IRA savings. This may lead to higher incomes that are able to offset some of the impact that higher interest rates might have on the housing market. The threat of rising interest rates is definitely something that every good real estate agent should be concerned about. But at the end of the day, it is just one small factor among literally hundreds that impact any one client’s decision to buy or sell. Good agents will always be able to roll with the punches and get the job done, no matter what interest rates happen to be. To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


Jumpstart the home buying process by prequalifying your buyers! Prequalifying is easy, it doesn’t require your client to disclose their Social Security number and creates no obligation for them or Carrington. Completing this simple prequalification process offers you and your potential buyers some serious benefits:

• Demonstrates the seriousness of your buyer’s intent to purchase • Gives you and your buyer a idea of how much home they can afford • Helps you better target the right homes to visit

Call us today to get your buyer’s prequalification started.

866-288-5497

© Copyright 2007-2017 Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC headquartered at 1600 South Douglass Road, Suites 110 & 200A, Anaheim, CA 92806. 800-561-4567. NMLS ID #2600. Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) Consumer Access website: www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org. AZ: Mortgage Banker BK-0910745. CA: Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, File 413 0904. CO: Check license status of your mortgage loan originator at www.dora.state.co.us/real-estate/index.htm. GA: Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee 22721. IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee. MN: This is not an offer to enter into an interest rate lock agreement under Minnesota Law. MO: Missouri Company Registration 14-1746-A. In-State Office: Missouri Residential Mortgage Loan Broker License 14-1746-A1. 251 SW Noel, Lees Summit, MO 64063. NV: Mortgage Broker License 4068 (Residential Mortgage Origination/Lending). NJ: Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance. NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker— NYS Department of Financial Services. New York Mortgage Banker License B500980/107664. OH: Ohio Mortgage Broker Act Certificate of Registration MB.804213.000; Ohio Mortgage Loan Act Certificate of Registration SM.501517.000. RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender, Lender License 20112809LL. VA: NMLS ID 2600 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). WA: Consumer Loan License CL2600. Also licensed in AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MS, MT, NE, NH, NM, NC, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WI and WY. NOTICE: All loans are subject to credit, underwriting and property approval guidelines. Offered loan products may vary by state. There is no guarantee that all borrowers will qualify. Restrictions may apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Terms, conditions and programs are subject to change without notice. This information is for industry professionals only and is not intended for distribution to consumers. Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of HUD/FHA or any government agency. All rights reserved.


CREATING LIFELONG FANS OF

YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS Creating lifelong fans is an important part of any business model, but in the real estate world where so much of our business stems directly from referrals, having the type of lifelong fans who create those referrals for us is a huge key to long-term success.

Get Active in the Community

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for building the types of client relationships that create those kinds of lifelong fans. This is something that has to be done on an individual basis, one client at a time. But we do have a few key tips that you can build into your daily routines to make sure that you stay focused on creating these powerful relationships with the people you interact with.

Another great tip that can help turn a general acquaintance into a raving, lifelong fan is to remember small details that they have shared with you over the years of your relationship. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to have a mind like a steel trap to pull this one off. Just get yourself set up with a good CRM (Carrington agents use Boomtown) and you will be able to start building a database of those little details. You won’t believe how impressed people will be when you are able to recall their pet’s name after not seeing them for a few months.

Go the Extra Mile The number one source for lifelong fans of any business is that business’s satisfied customers. You can double down on making sure your latest customers are satisfied by making small gestures to thank them for their business after you have delivered the results they are looking for. Something as simple as sending a “Thank You” card or showing up with a few large pizzas on moving day could make all the difference in the world.

Focus on the Real World As great as it might be to have a large number of followers on Twitter or lots of likes on your latest Instagram post, relationships with lifelong fans that send lots of business in your direction almost always stem from the real world. In order to help foster more real world relationships, make a point to keep your eyes off of your phone when you are out in public. If you find yourself heading out to lunch or sitting in a local Starbucks a few times each week, make an effort to get to know the people working there, as well as the other customers. 8

If you are having trouble finding places to meet people out in the real world, the easiest way to surround yourself with people that could become lifelong fans is to get active in some type of local charity or cause. There are always at least a few organizations in every community that are looking for extra help from time to time. Just put yourself out there and good things will follow!

Remember the Details

Don’t Think About the Money The final tip for creating lifelong fans is to completely forget about the amount of income that the referrals of a lifelong fan could mean for you. The minute you make any relationship about the money, it loses all of its value for the client. The process of creating lifelong fans that will rave to their friends about their “totally amazing” real estate agent is actually not very complicated. It all stems from being a real person who actually cares about people and wants to go the extra mile for them. If you focus on that, the lifelong fans will start to line up in your corner almost immediately. To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


I N TR O D U C I NG

T H E

Congratulations to the 2017 Champion Circle winners! They represent the top 25 performers in units sold sales volume. We are extremely proud and honored to be in partnership with these dedicated and committed sales professionals. We encourage you to reach out to them and ask for their insights. It will take your business to the next level this year.

BASED UPON 2016 PRODUCTION


TO P 2 5 SALE S VO LU M E

1

2

3

4

5

SANDI HADLEY

MELODY KRAMER

MICHAEL MCCAFFERY

DIANE AMATO

CARLSBAD, CA

VACAVILLE, CA

DEL MAR, CA

DANVERS, MA

BOSTON, MA

Sandi.Hadley@carringtonres.com

Melody.Kramer@carringtonres.com

Mike.Mccaffery@carringtonres.com

Diane.Amato@carringtonres.com

Jason.Zhang@carringtonres.com

6

7

8

9

JASON ZHANG

10

NANCY RINEHART

ALFONSO TORRES III

JOSEPH LIMO

TAMPA, FL

DEL MAR, CA

ASHBURN, VA

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA

BOSTON, MA

Sean.Bates@carringtonres.com

Nancy.Rinehart@carringtonres.com

Alfonso.Torres@carringtonres.com

Joseph.Limo@carringtonres.com

Lanting.Truong@carringtonres.com

11 MELANIE CROFT

CHICAGO, IL

Melanie.Croft@carringtonres.com

12 ALICE GRELIAK

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO, CA

Alice.Greliak@carringtonres.com

13 TIM RUAN

BOSTON, MA

Tim.Ruan@carringtonres.com

14 RAINI GORDY

DEL MAR, CA

Raini.Gordy@carringtonres.com

15 KATHIE DEBORD

EL DORADO HILLS, CA

Kathie.DeBord@carringtonres.com

16 MANTAS KUDRINAS

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL

Mantas.Kudrinas@carringtonres.com

17 THOMAS RIEHL

MT. LAUREL, NJ

Thomas.Riehl@carringtonres.com

18 CHRIS BOONE

ASHBURN, VA

Chris.Boone@carringtonres.com

19 ARIANA WHITE

LAS VEGAS, NV

Ariana.White@carringtonres.com

20 ROBERT MILLER

ORLAND PARK, IL

Robert.Miller@carringtonres.com

21 ANDREW SAWYER

LAS VEGAS, NV

Andrew.Sawyer@carringtonres.com

22 ANTHONY GOMES

NEWARK, NJ

Anthony.Gomes2@carringtonres.com

23 GONZALO GONZALEZ

IRVINE, CA

Gonzalo.Gonzalez@carringtonres.com

24 CHERI LUCKHARDT

DEL MAR, CA

Cheri.Luckhardt@carringtonres.com

25 MICHELE BROWN-LOWE

EAST MEADOW, NY/CT

Michele.Brown-Lowe@carringtonres.com

10

LANTING TRUONG

#CHAMPIONCIRCLE2017

SEAN BATES


TO P 2 5 U N ITS SO LD

1

2

3

4

5

SEAN BATES

DAVID BROWN

BRIAN DADDONA

JOSE DEOLIVEIRA

TAMPA, FL

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA

EAST MEADOW NY/CT

MT. LAUREL, NJ

VACAVILLE, CA

Sean.Bates@carringtonres.com

David.Brown@carringtonres.com

Brian.Daddona@carringtonres.com

Jose.DeOliveira@carringtonres.com

Melody.Kramer@carringtonres.com

8

9

9

6

7

MELODY KRAMER

THOMAS RIEHL

DIANE AMATO

HEIDI CORDRAY

ROBERT MILLER

MT. LAUREL, NJ

DANVERS, MA

EAST MEADOW NY/CT

ORLAND PARK, IL

ANTHONY GOMES NEWARK, NJ

Thomas.Riehl@carringtonres.com

Diane.Amato@carringtonres.com

Heidi.Cordray@carringtonres.com

Robert.Miller@carringtonres.com

Anthony.Gomes2@carringtonres.com

10

10

CHICAGO, IL TAMPA, FL TAMPA, FL EAST MEADOW NY/CT LAS VEGAS, NV MT. LAUREL, NJ MT. LAUREL, NJ HOUSTON, TX ASHBURN, VA EAST MEADOW NY/CT TAMPA, FL MT. LAUREL, NJ ASHBURN, VA LARGO, MD RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA EAST MEADOW NY/CT HOUSTON, TX CARLSBAD, CA BALTIMORE, MD LAS VEGAS, NV BALTIMORE, MD KING OF PRUSSIA, PA SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL ORLAND PARK, IL HOUSTON, TX KING OF PRUSSIA, PA DALLAS, TX HOUSTON, TX KING OF PRUSSIA, PA

Melanie.Croft@carringtonres.com Sarena.Marques@carringtonres.com Karl.Newman@carringtonres.com Shernette.Hall@carringtonres.com Andrew.Sawyer@carringtonres.com Lisa.Bridgers@carringtonres.com Maristela.DeOliveira@carringtonres.com Cesar.Ramirez@carringtonres.com Alfonso.Torres@carringtonres.com Sean.Brittell@carringtonres.com Cindy.Greco@carringtonres.com Stephen.Burke@carringtonres.com Chris.Boone@carringtonres.com Michelle.Godfrey@carringtonres.com Joseph.Limo@carringtonres.com Michael.Schindel@carringtonres.com Randall.Peraza@carringtonres.com Sandi.Hadley@carringtonres.com Ana.Park@carringtonres.com Ariana.White@carringtonres.com Harriett.Love@carringtonres.com Thomas.Murphy@carringtonres.com Ernesto.Garcia@carringtonres.com John.Sommese@carringtonres.com Paul.Wallace@carringtonres.com Niall.McCall@carringtonres.com Paul.Shearn@carringtonres.com Hank.Molenaar@carringtonres.com Deneen.Thomas@carringtonres.com

AARON PROULX EAST MEADOW NY/CT Aaron.Proulx@carringtonres.com

#CHAMPIONCIRCLE2017

11 MELANIE CROFT 12 SARENA MARQUES 12 KARL NEWMAN 12 SHERNETTE HALL 13 ANDREW SAWYER 13 LISA BRIDGERS 14 MARISTELA DEOLIVEIRA 14 CESAR RAMIREZ 15 ALFONSO TORRES III 15 SEAN BRITTELL 16 CINDY GRECO 17 STEPHEN BURKE 18 CHRIS BOONE 18 MICHELLE GODFREY 19 JOSEPH LIMO 20 MICHAEL SCHINDEL 20 RANDALL PERAZA-BORBON 21 SANDI HADLEY 21 ANA PARK 22 ARIANA WHITE 22 HARRIETT LOVE 23 THOMAS MURPHY 24 ERNESTO GARCIA 24 JOHN SOMMESE 24 PAUL WALLACE 24 NIALL MCCALL 25 PAUL SHEARN 25 HANK MOLENAAR JR 25 DENEEN THOMAS

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STAY SAFE OUT IN THE FIELD:

5 Ways to Protect Yourself We don’t always know the people we are working with, and there is no telling who might show up to an open house. So in order to make sure that we all stay safe, it is important to always have our own safety top of mind. Here are 5 simple things you should be doing every day in order to protect yourself when you are out in the field. REMEMBER THE BUDDY SYSTEM Remember in grade school when the teacher implemented “the Buddy System” so that no one student could ever wander off by themselves? This is actually a great idea that works really well for agents too! Whether you are heading out to meet a client, show a property, run an open house, or even just heading home for the night, you should always let someone at the office know where you are going. If possible, take someone from the office along with you. But if that’s not possible, at least check in via text every so often so that your coworkers and loved ones can know that you are ok.

GET A REALTOR® SAFETY APP We live in a world of smartphones and technology, so if you are not using an app to make sure that you stay safe out in the field, you are putting yourself at a greater risk than necessary. There are several personal safety apps to choose from, and some are even designed specifically for REALTORS®. Perhaps best of all, none of them cost more than a few bucks a month. A few of your options include Safer Showings, Real Alert, and Agents Armor. Or, just search 12

for “Realtor Safety” in the App Store or on Google Play and a number of options should come up. Many include features like a panic button that instantly calls the police and sends your location to friends and family. Some of the more advanced apps even allow you to track information about suspicious people you might encounter.

sun starts disappearing a few hours earlier. Don’t let that cause you to end up at a showing by yourself after dark. Keep tabs on what time the sun is going to set each day and make sure that you will be free and clear of any uncomfortable situations or bad parts of town well before that happens.

USE THE 10-SECOND RULE USE WIRELESS CAMERAS Speaking of technology, wireless cameras are everywhere these days. They don’t cost nearly as much as they used to and the quality is better than ever. At the very least, you should be setting up a few cameras every time you host an open house. However, you might also want to consider placing a few cameras at each one of your listings. Many of today’s advanced cameras can be set to only record when they detect motion, so you will know exactly who may have been lurking around a property before you arrive there. (*Whatever you choose, be sure to comply with all applicable privacy laws.)

BE CAREFUL AFTER DARK This is the time of year when the days start getting shorter, and it always seems to come as a surprise when the

Another simple technique that can make a huge difference if you ever find yourself in a situation is the 10-second rule, which is simply getting into the habit of pausing for 10 seconds to evaluate the safety of a situation when you arrive at a property or meeting. Most agents will go through their entire careers without ever having a single instance where their life was in danger out in the field. But the risks are simply too great to not spend a few minutes each day thinking about how we can all keep ourselves safe out in the field. To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


No. 7 Desk Fees Any desk fees that you have to pay to your broker can also be viewed as a necessary business expense. Keep detailed records of how much you are required to pay in desk fees and when those payments were made in order to maximize your deduction for those payments. No. 6 Home Office Deduction In addition to your actual office, you could also take a pretty significant deduction for all of the expenses that are required to keep your home office running smoothly. This might even include portions of your home electric, gas, Internet, and cable bills. Home office deductions are a tricky area of tax law though, so be sure to check with your CPA or tax professional to ensure you stay on the right side of the regulations.

TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS

No. 5 Office Supplies Speaking of desk fees and your home office, you should also be keeping track of any office supplies that you purchase personally to be used for business either at your home or the office. This is one of those deductions that are easy to forget about in the moment, but if you are diligent about saving your receipts, you could be looking at a pretty significant write-off. No. 4 Professional Services It’s probably obvious that you can write off the services of any professionals like lawyers or accountants that you work with over the year, but these deductions can also apply to other professional services like a photographer you might hire to take photos of your listings. Always keep detailed notes about other professionals you work with so that you can refer back to them at the end of the year.

In order to help you start pulling together all of the receipts and documentation you are going to need to maximize all of the write-offs that are available to you, we have put together a top 10 list of the very best tax deductions that every real estate agent should be taking advantage of.

No. 3 Meals and Entertainment Real estate agents find themselves eating meals with clients all the time, and each and every one of those meals is yet another tax deduction. Once again, as long as you are diligent about keeping notes regarding your expenses, you can really rack up some significant write-offs.

No. 10 Software Expenses One of the most commonly overlooked deductions is the price you paid for any software that you have purchased to improve your business over the past year. This could include your client database solution, IDX program, photo editing software, or even the simple spreadsheet program you use to keep track of your current listings.

No. 2 Advertising Expenses Another significant expense that you might not be keeping detailed notes on is all of the money you spend to advertise and market yourself as an agent. This could range from direct mail, money spent on online marketing, business cards, and even those promotional calendars that you hand out to clients.

No. 9 Continuing Education If you have taken any courses as part of a continuing education program over the past year, the costs associated with those classes can be deducted as well. This might also include any classes outside of the ones required for continuing education if they help you improve as an agent.

No. 1 Vehicle Mileage Last but not least, every single mile that you drive as a real estate agent qualifies for a tax deduction. Using one of the many apps that are available on the market, make sure that you keep accurate notes of your work mileage and you will be pleasantly surprised at the resulting write-off.

No. 8 Licenses, Fees, and Dues You should also be keeping track of any and all expenses related to your real estate license, and fees for licenses that are required to conduct business in your community. You might also be able to deduct any dues that were paid for membership to groups like your board of REALTORSÂŽ or your local chamber of commerce. R E F U E L I N G R E A L E S TAT E C A R E E R S

While all of these tax deductions can contribute to a much lower tax burden than you might have been originally looking at, it is important to remember that you should always consult with an expert who has experience filing tax returns on behalf of real estate agents. To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com. 13


S TA R T O V E R

TIMES A YEAR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS SHOULDN’T BE LIMITED TO THE FIRST OF THE YEAR The making — and breaking — of New Year’s resolutions is a time-honored tradition. At the start of the New Year, we’re filled with optimism and a desire for positive change, personally and professionally. We resolve to do many things: exercise more, start a new job, improve our finances or learn something new. The problem, however, is soon after the calendar turns to the New Year, most of us let our resolutions slip. So much so, there’s even a “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions” Day (January 17, 2017). This day indicates how quickly our resolutions can fall by the wayside. According to one study, only about 40 percent of people are able to stick to their resolutions through July. To avoid this pitfall, ask yourself: What habits have you formed to help you accomplish your goals this year? Our suggestion is to treat each new month like it’s New Year’s Day and begin again with a refreshed focus and purpose. This strategy is good personally and professionally, and can be especially important for real estate agents, who need flexibility to adapt to an everchanging market. If growing your business is one of your resolutions, the following “First-of-the Month Strategies” will help keep you on track, focus your energy in efforts to grow your business, and meet your resolution to have a successful year. 14

1

TAKE A LOOK BACK BEFORE YOU LOOK FORWARD. It’s important for real estate agents to review their results regularly. At the start of each month, examine what you’ve done year-to-date. This review should cover everything from units sold to marketing and social media efforts. This will help you discover what you’re doing well and the areas where there are opportunities for improvement.

2

ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES: WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO FOCUS ON THIS MONTH? Things change, and you may also need to shift your priorities. Take time at the beginning of each month to determine what most needs your attention during the next 30 days. In January, you might want to concentrate on a new marketing initiative; but in May, your focus may be to have more open houses. It’s important to establish these priorities monthly to focus and allocate your time appropriately — and productively.

3

PROSPECT. It never ends. Prospect, prospect, prospect. New networks and clients are critical to becoming and staying a successful real estate agent. Prospecting — through past clients, referral partners, online leads, social media accounts — should always be at the top of your priorities list. Ask yourself: Am I prospecting daily? What are my goals? How much time am I dedicating? What are my results? Where should my focus be?

4

LEARN SOMETHING NEW. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dale Carnegie called it “sharpening

the saw.” Real estate agents who don’t keep learning can suffer the fate of sharks that don’t keep swimming. Your business will be dead in the water if you don’t follow what’s happening in the industry and the world. Learn about new technologies that can help you follow up on leads more quickly and efficiently. Learn your market. Are there upcoming neighborhoods that are ripe with opportunity? Be a sponge. It will keep you current and help you engage with clients, prospects, and the community.

5

TAKE SOME TIME OFF. All work and no play is detrimental personally and professionally. It’s vital to make time every month to assess your work-life balance. As real estate agents, you can easily feel as if you’re constantly on-call and must be ready to respond to clients at a moment’s notice. This can lead to burnout. As you’re disciplined professionally, so too must you be personally. You must take time for yourself — spend time with your family, friends, personal interests — the activities that help you relax, refocus and recharge. Establishing personal priorities is just as important as establishing professional ones. Resolving to do these five things every month can help you stop the breakingresolutions cycle. And if you slip, don’t worry. You can start over again next month. To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


sale yourself, take some video of a client describing the entire process of working with you right after a successful closing. Your clients will be able to promote your skills in a way that you would never think to do yourself.

Live Stream Open Houses

5 Creative Ways to Fold Client Testimonials Into Your Website

One of the primary things that all successful real estate agents have in common is that they are able to constantly funnel new leads into their business through referrals from satisfied clients. This is pretty much common sense, but even the best agents tend to overlook the obvious at times. One way that you can increase the number of referrals you receive because of your satisfied clients is to capture their testimonials and display them on your website. Just putting up a “Testimonials” page on your site is a great start, but we have five unique ideas to help you build those client testimonials into every aspect of your site!

Let Clients Build Your About Page

One of the easiest places to work some client testimonials into your website is through your about page. If you’re like most agents, you hated the process of writing your about page and you’re not crazy about the way it turned out. Instead of displaying that semi-biography that you don’t really like anyway, have a few of your favorite clients tell your story for you. Let them explain who you are, what you do, and why you are the best agent for the job in either text or video. Not only will this give you a chance to let potential clients know more about you, the fact that it is coming from other clients makes it feel way more believable.

Highlight Recent Sales

Highlighting your recent sales is a great way to sell yourself without being too promotional, and using client testimonials is a fantastic way to do it. Rather than giving the details of a recent

Live streaming apps like Periscope and Facebook Live are absolutely on fire right now, and you can capitalize on this trend by streaming each and every open house that you find yourself hosting. In order to get some client testimonial action involved, have the clients stick around for a short interview right before the open house and let them discuss all of the effort you are putting into selling their home. Then make sure you save these clips and post them on your website later!

Jazz Up Your Contact Page

Another thing that just about every real estate agent website has in common is the standard contact page, which says something like “Fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you soon!” Instead of posting the exact same line of text that everyone else does before your contact form, why not post a video of one of your clients describing just how easy it was to get in touch with you? They can mention your phone number, email, and even your Twitter name right in the video!

Have a Creative Testimonials Page

Last, but not least, if you are going to introduce testimonials into just about every aspect of your real estate website, it only makes sense that your site should have a designated “Testimonials” page as well. This is a great place to put videos that include more in-depth interviews with your satisfied clients walking through just about every aspect of working with you. Every real estate agent wants to utilize their website to grow their business, and one of the best ways to do that is to include creative client testimonials everywhere those potential clients are going to be looking. Let your satisfied customers work for you to sell potential clients on working with you. Then sit back and watch the leads roll in! To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com. 15


HOW

TO CHOOSE YOUR TARGET MARKET AND FIND YOUR NICHE Most real estate agents are overwhelmed with opportunities to advertise and promote their personal brands to the communities they serve, but deciding exactly where to pinpoint those efforts is not always as easy as you might think. Knowing where to focus your energy when it comes to local marketing can save you thousands of dollars and hours of your time. But how do you know which target market is right for you? Let’s take a closer look at the five most important factors.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Everyone knows that location is the name of the game in the real estate industry. But what exactly does location mean in your community? What about the individual neighborhoods in your community? The communities near where you live make sense to focus on for a number of reasons. For one thing, you likely know more people in these areas. People like to work with people they know. You also know what makes these communities tick because you live there. You have your finger on the pulse of what’s for sale, what’s new to the market, and so on because you’re around it every day. If everything in your community revolves around a local college, you might want to consider targeting investors who are interested in buying and selling rentals for students. If there are any large companies in your area, you may want to focus on the communities their employees tend to gravitate toward, and work to build relationships with their HR departments so that you will be top of mind when they bring new employees and executives to town. Those are just a few ideas surrounding “Location,” but I’m sure you could think of more depending on your particular market. 16

TURNOVER RATE As a real estate agent, you only make money when something actually sells. That means you don’t want to waste your time in an area where things sit on the market for long periods of time. Once you get your focus down to a few niches that might work in your chosen location, check the turnover rate data to determine which of those targets sell the fastest.

LOCAL COMPETITION You should also consider what the other agents in your area are focusing on. If no one out there is even bothering to target the niche or market area you are considering, that could be a huge red flag. But you should also be cautious of niches where the competition is so thick that you could get lost in the shuffle among all of the other competing agents.

SKILLS & EXPERIENCE In order to add a personal touch to the area of local real estate that you choose to focus on, take some time to think about how you might be able to develop client relationships with people you already work with in that area. Take the groups of people you interact with on a regular basis at local activities, softball leagues, and church groups and see what they all have in common in terms of their real estate holdings. This can lead you in a great direction where you can capitalize on existing relationships.

PROFITABILITY The last thing you are going to want to consider before jumping into the process of marketing to a specific niche is to make sure that the market you are considering is actually going to be profitable. Every area is going to be different in the number and type of opportunities available to local real estate agents. But if you are willing to put in a little work up front, you should be able to identify a few profitable niches buried in just about any market. To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


DETERMINE THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM

Determining why a particular listing isn’t moving as fast as you expected is often an easy task. It is almost always the result of either light foot traffic or that the house itself cannot convert browsers into buyers. Take a hard look at how many people are showing up to your open houses and how many people are making appointments to look at the property, and that will give you a pretty good idea of where to start dealing with a listing that won’t sell.

EXPLORE OTHER MARKETING OPTIONS

If foot traffic is where your listing is struggling, you can attempt to create more traffic by exploring different types of advertising. This is often the case for listings that are a bit further off the beaten path than most people travel. In addition to common approaches like advertising in the local paper and making sure your listings are available on the major real estate sites, you can also explore ideas like advertising your listing with local blogs, running Facebook ads, and even posting flyers in local restaurants and coffee shops.

ADJUSTING YOUR APPROACH:

HOLD A DIFFERENT TYPE OF OPEN HOUSE

Another creative way to increase the foot traffic to your listing is to hold a different type of open house like holding a summer BBQ at a listing with a great backyard or hosting a holiday party at a listing with the perfect kitchen for entertaining. These would be great

options to get a unique type of foot traffic exploring your listing.

REVISIT YOUR LISTING PRICE

One final way to address the amount of foot traffic that is coming through your listing is to revisit the listing price. If your house is priced too high, that is likely to scare off a lot of potential buyers. The same can be true, however, if the house is priced too far below the market, leading potential buyers to think there is something wrong with it.

ADDRESS THE NEGATIVES

If your listing is getting a decent amount of foot traffic but struggling to convert that traffic into a sale, the problem is likely something else. Little things like unattractive paint colors or small carpet stains might not seem like a big deal to you, but can make a big difference in the first impression someone has of a property.

ADD MORE COMPELLING FEATURES

In addition to fixing some of the negative features with your listing, you might also want to consider adding a few compelling features that people who buy houses in your price range are looking for. Depending on what that price range is, this could mean anything from installing new light fixtures for a couple hundred dollars to adding granite countertops in the kitchen for a few thousand, but feeling out the people who aren’t pulling the trigger is a great way to find out what those types of people are really looking for.

UPDATE THE PICTURES

HOW TO DEAL WITH LISTINGS THAT AREN’T MOVING. ONE OF THE MOST FRUSTRATING EXPERIENCES YOU WILL ENCOUNTER IN THE REAL ESTATE BUSINESS IS DEALING WITH A LISTING THAT JUST WON’T SELL. HOWEVER, THERE ARE OFTEN A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE MAXIMIZING YOUR EFFORT AND GIVING YOURSELF THE BEST CHANCE FOR SUCCESS.

No matter what changes you make, you should be sure to update your listing’s pictures with your local MLS or whichever real estate sites you have your listing advertised in as soon as those changes are complete. New pictures will breathe new life into any listing, even if the changes are minimal. Dealing with a listing that isn’t moving is never a fun experience, but the best way to handle the situation is to stay positive and focus on the things you can actually control. The rest will take care of itself. To learn more, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com. 17


CRITICAL MISTAKES That Real Estate Agents Make in Their Bios Online bios are growing more and more important in just about every industry, but they are absolutely critical in the real estate world. With most of our prospective clients starting their home searches online, the way you present yourself on both social media and your own website is going to be the first impression you give to thousands of local homebuyers and sellers. In order to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward with your online bio, you first have to know exactly what goes into a great bio.

Assuming Everyone Knows You If you are trying to develop new business leads through your online bio, it makes sense that you would want to start that bio by introducing yourself to people who have never met you before. However, many agents make the mistake of writing their bios as if the people reading them already know all about them. In order to make sure that your bio is friendly to potential clients who have never met you before, make sure that you start it off with an introduction that explains exactly who you are, what brokerage you work with, and what types of real estate you specialize in.

Omitting Personal Details Another critical mistake that many real estate agents make is leaving a number of personal details out of their bios. But in order to create a bio that positions you as the type of person that someone would want to hire, you need to be sure that you are giving them plenty of reasons to do so. 18

Forgetting to Establish Credibility In addition to introducing people to who you are, an agent bio also needs to establish that you are the type of agent that is capable of getting the job done. This can start with the area of real estate that you specialize in, but you will also want to include lots of details and specific examples that prove you have a track record. One of the best ways to establish credibility is with quotes and testimonials from some of your satisfied clients. You can either include these in the text of the bio, or use screenshots and images of the quotes to break up your bio visually.

Using Bad Images When it comes to the images that an agent uses in their online bios, it is incredibly important that they are of the highest quality and depict you as a client would find you if they showed up at your office. Having a poor quality photo shows that you aren’t concerned with details, and out-of-date photos can make an agent appear to be out of touch with reality.

No Call to Action The final mistake that many agents make with their online bios is that they neglect to include any type of call to action. But if you are expecting the person reading a bio to give you their business, you are going to have to ask for it. As long as you avoid these five critical mistakes, your real estate agent bio is already going to be off to a strong start. To get a complimentary copy of our Ultimate Guide to Writing a Great Bio, email askmarketing@carringtonres.com.


Finding the right loan options for your buyers just got easier! Now that your client has found their dream home, let Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC help them find the right financing. As a trusted lender, Carrington offers a wide variety of loans to fit almost any scenario and financial circumstance to make that new or next home purchase possible. WE OFFER:

• FHA, USDA and VA Purchase Loans for FICO scores of 550 or better • FHA 203k Full and Streamline Loans to repair or renovate “fixer uppers” • Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages Options

Contact us today to learn more.

866-288-5497

© Copyright 2007-2017 Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC headquartered at 1600 South Douglass Road, Suites 110 & 200A, Anaheim, CA 92806. 800-561-4567. NMLS ID #2600. Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) Consumer Access website: www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org. AZ: Mortgage Banker BK-0910745. CA: Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, File 413 0904. CO: Check license status of your mortgage loan originator at www.dora.state.co.us/real-estate/index.htm. GA: Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee 22721. IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee. MN: This is not an offer to enter into an interest rate lock agreement under Minnesota Law. MO: Missouri Company Registration 14-1746-A. In-State Office: Missouri Residential Mortgage Loan Broker License 14-1746-A1. 251 SW Noel, Lees Summit, MO 64063. NV: Mortgage Broker License 4068 (Residential Mortgage Origination/Lending). NJ: Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance. NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker— NYS Department of Financial Services. New York Mortgage Banker License B500980/107664. OH: Ohio Mortgage Broker Act Certificate of Registration MB.804213.000; Ohio Mortgage Loan Act Certificate of Registration SM.501517.000. RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender, Lender License 20112809LL. VA: NMLS ID 2600 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). WA: Consumer Loan License CL2600. Also licensed in AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MS, MT, NE, NH, NM, NC, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WI and WY. NOTICE: All loans are subject to credit, underwriting and property approval guidelines. Offered loan products may vary by state. There is no guarantee that all borrowers will qualify. Restrictions may apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Terms, conditions and programs are subject to change without notice. This information is for industry professionals only and is not intended for distribution to consumers. Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of HUD/FHA or any government agency. All rights reserved.


WE CAN

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH WE LIVE AND WORK IS THE WAY WE STAY CONNECTED TO WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT IN LIFE. Since 2010, Carrington Charitable Foundation (CCF) has supported a variety of nonprofit causes, including those that impact children’s charities, food banks, animal shelters, military troops, and more through fundraising, in-kind donation drives, volunteer opportunities, and the annual Golf Classic. Through CCF’s signature program, Carrington House, the Foundation provides housing to our returning wounded servicemen and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting our country’s freedom. CCF honors their selfless sacrifices by building one-of-a-kind, permanent adaptive homes for severely wounded Veterans and their families across the United States. With these forever homes, CCF hopes to provide each Veteran and their family a place where they can live comfortably, and a home they can be proud of.

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TO GET INVOLVED AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CARRINGTON CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, OR TO GIVE A DONATION, PLEASE VISIT CARRINGTONCF.ORG.

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THANK YOU!

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