Summer Showing Activity Finally Picks Up

I was interviewed by CBS 11 last week as part of a story on the recent decline in the real estate market.  While part of it is cyclical, I believe that some of it is a rebound effect from the Federal Tax Credit which ended in April 2010.  The tax credit created a lot of activity but I argue most of it was accelerated buying rather than new buyers entering the market.  I dubbed it, “Cash for Clunkers Comes to the Housing Market.” 

For the past couple of weeks, there has been an increase in website hits and inquiries, but it had yet to translate into showings.  After several weeks of little showing activity and despite temperatures over 100 degrees, we finally started to see some life come back into the local real estate market.

With interest rates at historical lows this may be the best time to purchase a home as either a primary residence or as an income producing investment. The “perfect storm” of low prices and low interest rates will not last forever any more than the crazy run-up in prices and lax mortgage lending practices that took us here.

Photo Credit – Tom Branch


How Much Are You Worth?

How Much Are You Worth?

You are in business for yourself. That is, you may own your own business, or you may be associated with another company as an employee, a partner or an independent contractor. Your working agreement or arrangement doesn’t really matter.
The important thing to realize is that no matter what the arrangement or situation you presently find yourself in, you are really working for yourself. If you work by commission, for example, the sales you make are not only putting dollars in your employer’s pocket, they are putting dollars into your own pocket as well. The more you sell, the more you make.
Just consider yourself as a business that prospers or falters financially by the amount of commission dollars you generate. The point is, even though you may be working for, or are associated with another company, you are really working for yourself to increase the amount of money you earn for you.

Three Keys for Success

It’s important to realize that your success in whatever you do in business, or in life for that matter, will always be determined by three things:

1. The need or demand for what you do,
2. Your ability to do it, and
3. The difficulty in replacing you.

In other words, how valuable are you and the service you perform to other people? To illustrate this point, let’s apply our three step formula to the job of an elevator operator. In today’s world of push¬button, self operated elevators, how much need is there for the job he or she performs?
Most people are quite capable of operating an elevator themselves. It doesn’t take much knowledge or training, so an operator can be replaced without much difficulty. As a result, elevator operators, if you can even find one, are not paid much.

Now, contrast the elevator operator and the money he or she commands with that of a professional major league baseball player. Specifically a player that is good at batting.
What is the need for what they do? A look at attendance figures for baseball games will show that more than just a few fans are interested in watching what they do. So the need obviously is great.
How about the batter’s ability to do what he does? Sports analysts say that the action of hitting a ball moving toward you at over 90 miles per hour is the single most difficult movement in sports.
In the game of basketball, the target (the hoop) doesn’t move. Same in golf. While the ball moves, the hole, or goal, remains stationary. In football, there are 11 teammates all with a common goal of advancing the ball. But in baseball, it’s the batter alone trying to hit a small, 90 mph target with his bat. So it stands to reason then that the better or more often a batter can hit the ball, the more he or she will be compensated.
Now, what about the difficulty in replacing a good batter? When only the best in the world can hit the target less than a third of the time, and most of the other players are successful far less than that, it doesn’t take long to realize why the best batters are among the highest money¬makers in the world.

Obtaining Superior Rewards

Now how about you? It’s been said that you can tell how professional a person is by the size of their income at the end of the year.
And you can tell exactly how valuable the service you perform is by how much people are willing to pay you for it. If you do the same job that everybody else does, and do it no better than the way they do it, you can’t expect to earn more money or be considered any more valuable than those other people.
You see, the market, by nature, will pay superior rewards only for superior goods and services. It will pay average rewards for average goods and services, and it will see that inferior rewards are paid for inferior goods and services.
In other words, you will be rewarded in direct proportion to the value you provide your customers. It’s inescapable. That’s the law of nature.
Now, if the products and services you sell or provide are similar in coverage and price to everyone else’s (and most of them are), then the difference between you and other people in your position has to be in the type and amount of personal service you provide your customers and clients.
This then has to be the area you excel in – it becomes your competitive edge.


Rowlett TX Homes For Lease

Rowlett TX Homes For Lease

4 Bedrooms | 21 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 3570 SF | Pool & Spa

Rowlett TX Homes For Lease – Executive lease home with in-ground pool and spa. Huge home with three living and two dining areas. Kitchen has laminate flooring, a gas stove, and plenty of storage. Master bedroom has plantation shutters and a fireplace that looks into the master bath with a garden tub and separate shower. Oversized game room could be fifth bedroom. Lease includes refrigerator, washer, and dryer. Pool and yard maintenance for a monthly fee. 

Click here for current status, pricing, a virtual tour, and photos.

Source: NTREIS | Photo Credit – Tom Branch

Grand Prairie TX Homes For Sale

Grand Prairie TX Homes For Sale 

3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 1800 SF

Grand Prairie TX Homes For Sale – Former K. Hovnanian model ready for move in. Warm and inviting with soaring ceilings and neutral colors throughout.  Kitchen with granite has stainless appliances, gas cook top, built in desk, breakfast bar and upgraded cabs.  Private master with jetted tub.  Many designer touches including skip trowel walls, rounded corners, crown molding, brushed nickel fixtures, oversized tile flooring, and cedar garage doors.  Third bedroom currently used as study.

Click here for current status, pricing, photos, and a virtual tour.

Source: NTREIS | Photo Credit – Tom Branch

Agent Strategies: Focus on AdWords

I was recently inreviewed as part of a story on online marketing strategies.

Focus on AdWords

Written by Alice Allan on July 28, 2010

Crossing paths with a Google employee was the factor that focused Tom Branch’s online marketing strategy.

“I sold a property for a Google employee,” the Dallas-based RE/MAX broker associate explains. “I traded my services for an AdWords education!”

Branch says a “very focused” AdWords campaign gives him the best return on investment of all his online marketing strategies.

“AdWords can be really expensive unless you carefully build and monitor the results,” Branch explains. “I spend about $1500 per year and that generates $30k to $40k in revenue.”

But Branch’s strategy isn’t limited to AdWords alone. “Blogging helps with search engine ranking,” he adds. “I’m beginning to experiment with long tail keywords to see if I can take advantage of less competition.”

“I do almost no offline advertising these days,” Branch says. “There’s just no ROI.”

If you’ve been meaning to try out Google AdWords, but are unsure where to start, have a look at this simple how-to video released by the company earlier in the year. And for more on long tail keywords, read our guest explanation by Modern Search creator Joe Hanna here.

Related posts:

  1. Agent Strategies: A Real Estate Marketing Mix
  2. Agent Strategies: A Charitable Niche
  3. Agent Strategies: Hyper Local Blogging
  4. Google AdWords, SEO & Blogging: A UK Perspective – Part One
  5. Agent Strategies: Share Your Information
  6. Google AdWords, SEO & Blogging: A UK Perspective – Part Two
  7. Agent Strategies: Blogging Plus SEO
  8. Using Google Keywords for More Traffic
  9. Agent Strategies: Listings Are Not Enough
  10. AdWords Tips from Google

Click here for the original content.


What Your Customers Really Want

Achieving Rock Star Status

As a business person, it is imperative for you to understand that only 35% of the reason people buy the products or services you offer is for the actual product or service itself.

The other 65% of the reason they buy is for what you can do or provide beyond the product or service, and what that product or service does for the customer.

In other words, if you are trying to sell your customers and prospects products and services, you are wasting your time. They are only 35% interested in products and services.

But they are 65% interested in the benefits of having you involved.

You see, chances are good that your customers and prospects can buy the same product or service (or at least comparable ones) from any one of several of your competitors.

And with that product or service, your competitor may offer a number of additional advantages as well.

They may have a lower price, better quality product, some added bonuses or extra services, a location that’s more convenient, or a payment plan that fits their budget better.

In today’s tough, competitive market, it’s difficult to compete on price or product. You may be able to command a certain advantage for a period of time because you have a lower price than your competitors, but we both know that it will be short-lived.

The truth is you will never be able to maintain a competitive position in the marketplace – long-term – because of the prices you charge or the products you provide.

It’ll just be a matter of time before either one of your competitors lowers prices or duplicates (or even betters) your product, or you raise your prices because you no longer have the necessary margins to justify your prices.

But there’s one thing your customers can’t get from any of your competitors. And that’s you, your empathy, your problem solving expertise, and your knowledge and commitment to service that you bring to his or her unique situation.

How Attractive Are You?

How Attractive Are You?

My recent blog titled, “Do You Have To Be Available 24/7/365?” garnered quite a few comments and some of them got me thinking about the kinds of people we attract.

According to Phylameana lila Desy, “The theory behind the Law of Attraction is that we create our own realities. We attract things we want and we also attract things we don’t want. We attract the people in our lives, the stuff in our homes, and the money in our bank accounts through our thoughts and feelings.”

How does this relate to our real estate businesses? 

I’ll argue that our actions and attitudes attract certain types of clients.

If you’re the kind of agent who makes themselves available at all hours of the day and night, you attract those kinds of clients.  While many of those same agents will tell you they hate working with those kinds of clients, they’re actually attracting them through their words and actions.

Does a well-dressed agent attract a different kind of client that one in jeans and a t-shirt?

If you discount your work for a client, does the next client expect the same?

To make matters worse, people know other people like themselves.  It’s called centric behavior. So if you hated working with a certain client, you’re not likely to like any referral they send your way either. 

Want to change the type of clients you attract? 

First, you have to change the way you think and act. Second, you have to let some of the old clients go.  Not all business is good business.  Refer out those referrals to other agents and keep moving towards the “new” you.

Are you attracting the kind of clients you want to work with?