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OHIO EDITION

Keeping in touch –

How to Stay in Your Clients’ Lives for the Long Haul

COVER STORY

KRYSTEN CRISS

By the Numbers:

Understanding the True Value of Square Footage

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TIPS TO GET NEW CLIENTS


OHIO EDITION

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KRYSTEN CRISS

KRYSTEN CONTENTS CRISS 4) 5 TIPS TO GET NEW CLIENTS

13) KEEPING IN TOUCH – HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS’ LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

20) BY THE NUMBERS: UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE VALUE OF SQUARE FOOTAGE

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5 Tips to Get New Clients If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve probably built up a healthy percentage of repeat and referral business. Although it can be tempting to just maintain those relationships rather than generating new business, there’s something to be said for staying on top of 4

your game by never resting on your laurels. Actively pursuing new clients is not only a way to generate more business, but depending on how you do it, it could even lead to a profitable new niche. Here are just a few ways to build up your new client base. Top Agent Magazine


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Become a referral partner with industry peers

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Cold Call Expired and FSBO Listings

Everyone from mortgage lenders, to financial planners, to insurance agents, can be potentially lucrative referral partners for a Realtor®. You may already have great relationships with some that just need to be more formalized. But, you don’t just want to partner with anyone, make sure these are people you also feel completely comfortable referring your clients to - people who share your values and work ethic.

Another avenue to consider is divorce attorneys – yes, you heard that correctly. Helping people go through this difficult period actually requires a very specific skill set. You need to be able to handle the legal aspects, as well as the emotional ones. There are numerous training courses you can take if you decide to take this route, which could end up being a lucrative and much-needed specialty.

This is a route a lot of agents take when they are just starting out, that usually leads to great success. You probably haven’t cold called since you started out, and this is a great skill to build up again. It will not only sharpen your sales skills, but could generate a lot more business. People with For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) and expired listings, are usually very motivated to sell. This is a great chance for you to really hone in on why they need to hire you. Do you offer innovative marketing plans? Access to a large sphere of influence? Expired listing clients are looking for ways to sell a property that seems impossible to move. With FSBOs, you need to show them how you can get them more money in their pocket, even

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with paying you a commission. Pursuing both will really engage your mind to think outside of the box, which will not only get you more business, but make you better at what you do. 5


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Partner up with a Relocation Company

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Become a Builder’s Realtor® of choice

This is another niche market that you can really capitalize on if you want to pursue a new specialty. But, it is a specialty, so getting educated on the process will help you generate the business you want. It’s a complicated area of real estate, you’ll often

times be helping to facilitate dual transactions, as you try and secure a property at the same time you are helping your relocation client sell their previous home. This specialty is becoming an in-demand skill in areas that have major corporate headquarters.

This can be a real score for any Realtor®. The competition might be fierce to land a client like this, but there are numerous ways to make yourself stand out from the rest. Gain certifications and become knowledgeable about the construction process. Be wellversed on what trendy materials, features, and finishes will add value to a property. Get the builder on board with you by offering to take just a segment of the subdivision then wow them with your marketing skills. Take on properties they haven’t been able to sell. You can even offer to throw an open

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Create a Website that Offers Real Value to Potential Clients

Perhaps the most useful way of getting contact information for people looking to sell is by adding a home valuation feature to your website. When people are first considering selling their home, finding out how much 6

house for them. This is another way to show them the level of service they can expect from you. These clients might be harder to land, but the payoff will be enormous.

it is worth is one of the first questions they want answered. By becoming a resource to potential clients (and current clients!), you just might be the first person that comes to mind when they’re actually looking to sell. Top Agent Magazine


KRYSTEN CRISS Top Agent Magazine

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KRYSTEN CRISS Top Agent Krysten Criss - of Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty, in Columbus, Ohio – is the kind of agent who will consistently go the extra mile for her many buyers and sellers. Her focus on providing stellar customer service distinguishes her from much of her competition, and has resulted in a business that is based entirely on referrals from family, friends and past clients. Krysten’s journey in the real estate world began, essentially, on the infamous date of 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

September 11th, 2001. “I’m originally from Canada,” she recounts, “and I was a commercial pilot. I was in the air on 9/11, and all planes from the United States had been diverted to Canada. There was a moment when I was surrounded by 747’s from overseas. They were all around me, and it was a risky situation. I was in this little plane, and I totally freaked out.” After making a landing in a soft field, Krysten returned home and announced to her parents that she would be seeking a career on the ground. Top Agent Magazine


When her parents moved to the United States shortly thereafter, Krysten followed, where she attended the Fisher Business School at Ohio State University. Her parent’s Realtor, knowing she was looking for a job and knew no one in the country, offered her a position as a weekend receptionist at New Albany Realty. She quickly worked her way up to a position as a buyer’s agent, eventually moving to RE/ Top Agent Magazine

MAX in 2009, and ultimately to Keller Williams, where she is now leading her own team and was recognized as being among the Top 10 Agents Under 40 by the Columbus Board of Realtors. She has also been awarded the Five Star Real Estate Professional award for both 2015 and 2016, and was featured in the Columbus Monthly Anniversary edition of their magazine in June of 2015. Copyright Top Agent Magazine9


Krysten’s impressive achievement of a business that is based entirely on referrals is the result of her caring, empathetic and honest approach to working with clients. “My philosophy is that I’m not just a Realtor,” she says. “I’m also a friend, a hand-holder, a guidance counselor, a negotiator, and an advisor. I’m all of that. It’s my job to make people feel comfortable, and as long as I do what’s in my client’s best interests – and I always do – then the referrals will keep coming.” Krysten’s work ethic is legendary, as well. “I’m just a really hard worker,” she says. “Like all agents, I work seven days a week, but I typically get up at 4 AM and work really long days.”

open houses, custom listing-specific websites and YouTube videos. Additionally, a robust online and social media presence ensure that her listings are seen by as many potential buyers as possible, and that they almost always sell quickly and for top dollar.

Cutting-edge, savvy marketing has also played a large role in Krysten’s continuing success. Among the tools in her arsenal are professional photography, coming soon postcards,

While the financial rewards of a career in real estate are not to be discounted, it’s the more personal side of the transaction that Krysten finds the most rewarding. “It’s so exciting to

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be able to help people. It can be really emotional, too. I love that feeling of knowing I’m making a difference in someone’s life.” When she’s not working, Krysten enjoys spending time with her husband Steve and Top Agent Magazine

their children, Katie and Kendall, and their yellow Labrador Retriever. Krysten is also an avid runner, who keeps running shoes in her car to facilitate her spontaneous runs through neighborhoods she is unfamiliar with, which she calls her own form of “market research.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


Photos by Danielle Kravec

Looking to the future, Krysten is planning on continuing to grow her exceptional team (she currently oversees five buyer’s agents and an assistant). When asked what advice she might give new agents just entering the business, she grows thoughtful for a moment before replying. “Be ready to hustle and prospect, everyday! Be

prepared to learn something new everyday, no matter how long you’ve been in the business, and grow from it. Most importantly, make sure your clients and what is in their best interest is always the priority. People are smart and trust is earned. Referrals will follow and business will grow, stay patient and humble always.”

For more information about Krysten Criss, please call 614 - 456 - 9999 or email KrystenCriss@gmail.com Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

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g n i p Kee h c u in To

HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS’ LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

One sign of a great real estate agent is there long list of loyal client following. Part of achieving a great referral base is being a great realtor during the transaction. But, that’s only half of the work. To truly be your client’s realtor for life and keep them coming back to you as well as referring others to you, you have to stay in their lives past the transaction. Keeping in touch with your past clients can be one of the most important parts of your business, and one that many realtors tend to push to the wayside. Do you stay in your client’s lives, or do you disappear? People refer people that they feel they know well and that they trust, people they consider friends. However, earning and keeping your client’s trust involves maintaining a delicate balance with how much you contact them. Experts recommend reaching out to your clients at least quarterly. But, it’s not just about how often you stay in touch. You also need to be mindful about how you are reaching out to them. Here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your clients for the long haul: Top Agent Magazine

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INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL CONTACT One of the best ways to keep in touch with your clients is to simply give them a call every once in a while. Follow up and see how your clients are doing. Offer them assistance if they need it. Personalized contact helps to ensure that you remain as important to your clients long after the sale as you were during the transaction. Giving your clients a call on special occasions such as birthdays or holidays also makes for a great personal touch. Of course, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Stopping by to say hello can be a great way to keep in contact. An even better way to catch up and maintain that friendship is to set up a lunch or coffee date with past clients. Giving individual clients your undivided attention goes a long way towards maintaining that bond you formed during the transaction and earning your client’s loyalty and trust. Interactions like this make a lasting impression on your clients. Of course, many busy REALTORS® may not have time to follow up with every client oneon-one. A great way to still give personal attention to your clients without meeting each and every one for lunch is to throw a client appreciation party. This allows you to get in some face-to-face time with each client and make sure they all get your undivided attention and quality time to catch up with you, even if it’s only for a short time. Now, if you have a lot of past clients, this can be difficult to manage during one party. One way to get around the numbers problem is to organize smaller events based on client’s inter-

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ests. Instead of throwing one giant party, host a pool party for the families with kids or a wine and cheese get together for single clients. Hosting special events like these ones goes a long way towards keeping your contact with past clients more personalized and setting you apart from those businesses that simply send them a calendar once a year.

PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS One way that many REALTORSÂŽ keep in touch with their clients is by sending them newsletters. This form of contact can be a double-edged sword. You want to make sure you provide them with useful information that reminds them of your value as a real estate professional. Otherwise your communication will amount to nothing more than spam, and clients will think of you less as a trusted friend and more as a nuisance salesperson. Clients react much more positively to communication containing information that is pertinent to their lives. Update your clients on what is going on in their local community and housing market. Demonstrate your knowledge about the community and the things that are important to your clients. Include information about local cultural events, community news, housing statistics, information on the mortgage market, home maintenance advice, home design tips, and anything else that your clients will find personally useful. Your clients will always be interested in value.

SEND CLIENTS MEMORABLE AND PERSONAL CARDS Sending your clients cards related to important events in their lives and letting them know that you remember those events and care will go a long way towards building and maintaining a close personal relationship with them. You want to make sure your cards stand out, though. Sending popular holiday cards can be a mistake, as they will most likely get lost amongst all of your clients other holiday cards and will be quickly forgotten. Instead send something more personal such as: HOME ANNIVERSARY CARDS: Send cards to each client on the anniversary of the closing of their home.

CONGRATULATORY CARDS: Remember important events such as wedding anniversaries, graduations, new babies, etc.

SPECIAL BIRTHDAY CARDS: Instead of just sending your typical birthday card, add something special to yours that will stand out. Include a $1 scratch off ticket or a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. Make sure to include a handwritten personal note. Top Agent Magazine

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GIVE CLIENTS AN UNUSUAL GIFT Make sure the gifts you send your past clients stand out. Send your past clients an odd gift at the beginning of the year or on a holiday. Think outside the box and send things like funny magnets, customized mugs, a personalized piece of wall décor, and other fun and unusual items. A great way to make your gift stand out even more is to include a funny note with it that will catch their attention as well as make them think of you. For example, one cute idea is to send clients a bag of popcorn with the note, “Real estate is popping, give me a call.” You could send a bag of goldfish with a note attached that says, “I’m fishing for your referrals.” Get creative and have a little fun with it, your clients will notice and remember you for it.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS

Social networking sites make staying in contact with past clients in a more informal and friendly basis much easier. Connect with your past clients on Facebook. This will help you stay up to date on the important things happening in your pact clients’ lives. In return, it provides you a great platform for keeping those past clients up to date with what is going on in your business as well as keep in contact in a more informal manner. Use Facebook to remind past clients to check their basement after a heavy rain or that they can contact you for help during tax time. 16

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You can even organize your contacts on Facebook into customized lists such as “past clients,” “industry contacts,” etc. This will help you better manage your Facebook contacts. This will also allow you to view specific news feeds based on these lists and send messages to a particular list of contacts. Don’t forget about the many other social networking sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn either. Utilize this technology to drive personal contact with your clients.

STAY ORGANIZED

No matter how you choose to keep in contact with past clients, make sure to be consistent. Consistency will help you stay organized and diligent about reaching out to your past clients regularly. A tool used by many real estate professionals to stay organized is a customer relationship management solution. Whether you use one that is online or a computer software program, this will help you stay organized when managing your contacts and allow you to set notifications to alert you when you need to contact certain clients, send out gifts, plan a client appreciation event, and many other things throughout the year. Staying organized and consistent in your contact with past clients will help you continue to build and manage your referral base, as well as open the door to repeat and referral business. Top Agent Magazine

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Laughs!

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By the Numbers:

Understanding the True Value of Square Footage Measuring the square footage of a property may seem like an objective and straightforward task, but you’d be surprised at how many agents and homebuyers misunderstand this pivotal figure. True square footage provides homebuyers a concrete understanding of their prospective domain, but here’s the problem: the rules to determine a home’s square footage are not always uniform across the board. What’s more, much of 20

a home’s value is determined by its size, so accuracy is certainly important. While many real estate agents have their own systems for determining or confirming a home’s true square footage, it doesn’t hurt to update your practices and become an expert on the subject. After all, you may learn a few techniques that could add value to a listing, or better prepare you in guiding house-hunters on the lookout.

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1. Do your due diligence Most towns and cities have a local records department where floorplans and blueprints are kept on file. It’s worth noting that these records don’t typically include any subsequent additions or remodels on a property, but they still give archive hunters a legal baseline when outlining a property’s square footage. Oftentimes, a straightforward online search of a city or county’s records office can pull the information necessary, or else agents can poke around in person to uncover informative blueprints at the records office. Either way, access to original blueprints or floorplans is a great tool for determining livable square footage. As a bonus,

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original blueprints and floorplans—especially in historic properties—can be intriguing visual aids for prospective buyers, as well.

2. Know the rules While there aren’t universal standards when it comes to measuring square footage, there are general guidelines that can help determine square footage in an authentic way. Per the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), here are the official recommendations for measuring a home’s real square footage: n

Called “below grade spaces,” basements and sunrooms beyond a home’s typical

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living quarters do not count toward a home’s true square footage. According to ANSI, even big draws like finished basements don’t count toward a property’s Gross Living Area. Of course, even below grade spaces have their own desirable value and should be outlined as such on listings. n

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Did you know the space inside closets and on stairways counts toward a home’s square footage? Even if these areas are relatively small, they still add to a property’s calculable square footage. When recording square footage, ANSI actually suggests performing measurements from a property’s exterior—though this method does not account for the

thickness of exterior walls, which could skew square footage numbers. n

Just like below grade spaces, a garage, a pool house, or even a guest house should not be included in a property’s Gross Living Area. The rationale at work here is this: if you must go outside to access additional living areas, then they are beyond the square footage scope of the primary dwelling and should not be included in a home’s Gross Living Area.

3. Double-check by doing the dirty work Buyers and sellers have or will make a sizable investment in a property, so isn’t it fair to double-check all the relevant facts and figures

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when it comes to true square footage? If you want to take on the endeavor yourself, here are a few helpful steps to take. n

First, you’ll need a few things to get started, including a tape measure that can measure at least 100 ft., graph paper, and a pencil.

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Next, choose a room to start measuring wall-by-wall. Measure Wall 1, then proceed to assign each square on the gridded paper a corresponding measurement, rounding to the nearest tenth of a foot for the sake of clarity.

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From there, draw out the wall you measured and measure the remaining walls in the

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room. Once you’ve completed the room’s measurements, multiply the room’s length and width to determine its square footage. n

As you go measure throughout the home, using your own system to scale, you will construct a failsafe floorplan.

Mastering your craft is everything, and the real estate industry is no different. Every now and again, it’s worthwhile to update your well of information, take matters into your own hands, and continue to innovate with the industry. While square footage may not seem like the juiciest starting off point for such a venture, never forget: mastery of technical knowledge is a sure sign of expertise.

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