Comparing & Choosing Real Estate Companies Online

You’re beginning your search for a new home or real estate. Where do you start to find a professional and reputable real estate broker who you can depend on?

In an age of such high technology searching for a broker through an online search in the area of your interest is a great place to start. With diligent and through examination of the entire brokers website you will be able to get a good feel for their professionalism, integrity and ability as well as to gain a feel for them being a good match to represent you. Here are some things to be aware of as well as to look for when examining their website.

To begin, so many folks don’t realize when going online and doing property searches for through real estate company websites is, that they are actually getting information not directly from the Multiple Listing Service as the website says, but what is called an IDX. It would be illegal for real estate brokers to give the public information that is strictly intended for professional real estate brokers that are members of the Board of Realtors in that particular area. Yet you continually see comments and enticements that say “search the MLS for free” or some variations.

So what’s the big deal, right? Hey, it’s a matter of detail which all real estate brokers should be aware of and if they are ignoring it then guess what, chances are that when you are entrusting them to represent you in what could very well be the biggest transaction of your life, are they going to be overlooking details which can ultimately put you at risk. I caution you, if you land on a real estate site that says “search the MLS” move on. Let’s face it, there are more than enough real estate brokers so be wise in how you select yours. When looking for property online, look for a real estate company who rightfully represents where the information you are receiving is coming from.

It is a good start to enlist a real estate broker from the area who has a passion for the details. You can do this if you would take the time and go through their website. It will say a lot about the quality of the broker and their company. You’ll see the broker’s passion and vision. No passion or vision, then move on. If you find the website gives you more hype than constructive information and direction, move on. Check the content, is it sloppy with errors, obviously not proof read?

Read the description of their listings. Do they seem like very little thought went into them or are rich with visual language forming pictures and feelings? I tell you, sometimes it seems like the descriptions given to properties give the impression that the broker is a little put out with having to do this. It is imperative for the broker to be creative and eloquent in writing description to draw potential buyers to the property as well as high quality photographs. Are the pictures reflective to the qualities of the property or just a snapshot? Does it appear that real effort went into representing the property as best as it possibly could be?

The time to you take to investigate in detail any website and therefore the broker and their company representing these areas will pay off. Ask anyone who has had a bad experience with a broker less than professional and they’ll tell you to do your research and enlist the best you can. The commitment to details, beauty of design and depth of information of the website as well as its ease of use will be reflective of the company, broker, and broker associates.

What’s Your Big Real Estate Idea?

I harp a lot on the idea of every Realtor® I work with developing a well defined USP, or unique sales position. You can really call it whatever you want, but the point is that in order to grow your business more quickly, with less effort, there needs to be something about your business that makes you stand out – especially on the internet.

What is it about how your business works or what you offer that makes you the only logical choice for your clients? I am not talking about a tagline, or a catchy slogan. Your “big idea” is much, much deeper than that (and much bigger) because it forms the foundation for your entire real estate business.

The most successful businesses I know are based on ONE simple big idea. Some way they view the world or something they offer to the market that fills a need like no one else.

The Dominos franchise finally took off when they created their “big idea” of hot pizza in 30 minutes or less.

Would you think that the idea of delivering a pizza in 30 minutes (with no mention of how it would look or taste) was big enough to build into a multi million dollar venture?

Well it was, and then some.

Now I know you might be wondering why I spend so much of my time trying to focus so much of your attention on developing this?

Why does almost every newsletter, blog post or product I create somehow incorporate the idea of a USP (hint… it might just be MY “big idea”) and how to use it to market your business more effectively with technology?

Most Realtors® I work with think that SEO or web marketing are their number one challenges.

I would agree that they are challenging, but I think that developing your “big idea” or USP is much, much more challenging than that.

It’s also far more lucrative, because once you have it, it will permeate every single thing you do in your business.

I’m sure I scare some clients who come to me for the nuts and bolts knowledge about how to market their businesses with technology. What they want is to sit down and get to work on the busy work, without going through the important stuff first.

In fact, I view the lack of a “big idea” as the number one problem that is keeping most Realtors® running like hamsters in a wheel on the internet. Without it, you are forced to try to make up for it by DOING more than your competition in order to be successful. More SEO, more blogging, more article writing, more tracking, more pay-per-click ads, more of everything.

You have to make up in volume what you lack in content. And that gets expensive and very, very tiring. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

Who wants to do business online if all it means is never being able to stop DOING all of this “stuff?”

Without a well defined “big idea,” or USP, I think you are setting yourself up for failure on the internet.

You can see it on most real estate websites out there. Just pick one, get it up on your screen and ask yourself, “What is the big idea that this website is trying to convey to me? What is the compelling reason that I should do business with this person?”

You probably won’t find answers to either of those questions.

And that means that you have a HUGE opportunity to take a giant leap out in front of your competition by getting your big idea, or USP in place and building the rest of your business on top of it.

So how do you get YOUR big idea?

Coming up with your idea isn’t as simple as picking up an extra gallon of milk at the super market. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s probably not something you can come up with during a power brainstorming session.

Your big idea is something you let come up from within you.

It needs to be:

1. a really good idea

2. something that you are passionate about

3. something that is compelling to the market

Let’s take these one by one:

A REALLY GOOD IDEA
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Here’s an example. Let’s say you are a doctor, trained at Harvard and dripping with years and years of experience… And over those years you’ve come to the conclusion that, despite the advances in modern medicine, you believe the facts tell the story that the best and healthiest way to live is to develop a completely natural lifestyle when it comes to food, exercise and helping your body heal itself.

Your big idea could be this: “I’m a Harvard trained MD. I know my stuff. And I think most of it is wrong because it works against the natural way your body is designed to work. And here is my solution for living longer and being healthier without modern medicine.”

SOMETHING YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT
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I am sure you’ve all read books about the legends of the sales industry that, despite their odd walk, bad clothes and terrible hair, rose to the top of their profession simply because they were passionate about what they were doing.

Passion is something that your market can sense. By creating your “big idea” based on something you are passionate about, you will be tapping into an infinite source of energy and inspiration that will always be accessible to you.

COMPELLING TO THE MARKET
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Let’s face it, it’s hard to be successful selling something that people don’t want. Just being different isn’t enough. But if you’ve been in the real estate business for any amount of time, you probably have a good idea of what your market really wants (even if they aren’t saying it). When you are developing your “big idea,” or USP, make sure you always remember the “court of last resort.” It’s your market. They are the only ones that get a vote.

Here are some questions to jumpstart your thinking and help you get started developing your own “big idea.”

-How do you view the real estate business in a way that is different than any other Realtor®?
-What is the most important thing you could be telling your clients right now?
-What is the biggest unsolved challenge your clients have right now? How can you provide a solution that is quicker, cheaper or measurably superior in some way?

Now I have to warn you, there is a problem with committing to a big idea. That problem is that you can only have one. And by committing to it, you will turn off some people. Some of your market simply won’t like your idea.

That means you cannot be all things to all people. There is no effective way to do that.

Dominos probably didn’t do such a good job of attracting the gourmet pizza crowd. Excellent tasting gourmet pizza was not on Dominos list of priorities. They didn’t even promise their pizza would taste good.

They promised it would be hot and at your door in 30 minutes or it would be free.

The upside is that you will begin attracting more of your market that does want to do business with you because on some level, they like the idea you are conveying.

And nothing is set in stone. People change. Businesses change. Big ideas change. Just start with something. That will put you ahead of most of your competition.

The real challenge is coming up with ways to effectively communicate your “big idea” so that it is crystal clear to your market.

So start thinking… Get to work on the foundation of your business… your big idea is in you somewhere.

Personal Branding For Real Estate Agents – Your Passion is the X Factor

Luxury real estate marketing is a high stakes game. But, the rules of the game have changed almost overnight. The internet has caused a titanic shift that has leveled the competitive playing field. It has challenged even the most seasoned professionals to clearly articulate their unique promise of value -how they are sharply distinct from their closest competitors.

There has never been a more challenging time in the history of the real estate profession given the confluence of this disruptive technology and the upside down economy. The time to confront the brutal facts that your old success formulas are just not cutting it like they used to is here and now!

That is what we admire so much about Microsoft in recent times. In our previous post entitled, “Narrow Your Niche” we referred to Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing. They faced the tough facts that with all their money and all their might they could not take on the behemoth, Google, by matching them feature for feature. The brand name itself is that thoroughly ingrained in the minds of internet users worldwide.

Microsoft truly understood what we refer to as the “ultimate ultimatum of modern business”: STAND OUT OR BOW OUT! TM In our strategic branding practice we prescribe the same medicine to luxury real estate marketing professionals.

So, here is your prescription:

1. KEEP THE FAITH. Hold fast to your fundamental vision of your success, but not to the particulars. That is the only way you can allow new answers, new solutions, new combinations, new people and new success formulas into your life, and into your practice
2. FACE FACTS. Parts of your old formula are just not working any more. Be willing to reinvent yourself, be receptive to new ideas
3. ASK YOURSELF what you can do better than any of your closest competitors.
4. SELECT an uncontested market niche that can also be highly profitable
5. CREATE a new brand identity or refresh your existing brand so that it is synonymous with your selected niche in the minds of your target market
6. BE SURE to select a niche about which you can be absolutely passionate

Microsoft apparently has done steps 1-5. But, are they truly passionate about their new focus on Shopping, Travel, Health and Local Search? Without passion they might as well bow out now. If you want to see passion in action, just walk into an Apple store. Their passion is contagious and so is their brand.

The Apple store in New York City on Fifth Avenue clearly illustrates their brand’s unique promise of value: ingenuity and fun. They are drawing attention to a basement store in a highrise with a glass cube entrance on the sidewalk, housing a cylindrical glass elevator and a spiral staircase. What a brand statement!

Your Real Estate Marketing Niche

Starting in real estate often means being the “jack of all trades” in the area. Your expertise becomes anything related to real estate, whether it be listing homes, selling homes, or maybe even doing a home loan. Your real estate career gets even more clouded as you get involved with the different types of real estate from condos, homes, land, multi-units or maybe even stretching to commercial. Performing this many real estate tasks is a juggling act that very few agents ever survive.

In order to close business every month, have a life, and experience the big rewards it becomes necessary to specialize in a in a niche of real estate. Before we can examine the benefits of specialization let’s examine the fears that many people have about selecting a niche:

  • I will lose business by specializing
  • There aren’t enough transactions for me to specialize
  • I don’t know enough about anything in real estate to specialize

These are all common fears to experience before selecting a niche to specialize in and dominate. As you are considering your niche, I invite you to consider the following question:

If you had a possibly fatal heart condition and you were looking for a Doctor to help you, which Doctor would you select?

A) The Doctor who is a Podiatrist, Pediatrician, and a Cardiologist

Or

B) The best Cardiologist in your state

For most they would select “B” because that Doctor would have handled more conditions than the “A” Doctor. She would have the experience, have run into more problems, have solved more cases and would have to be the absolute best in order to make a living in just one area of medicine.

So, by selecting a niche are you turning away business or are you inviting more of your niche than you ever could imagine?

Selecting your real estate marketing niche will bring you a flood of business for that niche. In order to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area, it doesn’t take shouting from the treetops that you are the “expert”. Here are some methods that you can do to demonstrate your expertise in a niche and start bringing in more of the business:

  • Write articles – Write articles about the type of real estate product that you have a passion for. For example if your passion is condos write articles about home owners associations, selecting a community, and even choosing the right floor plan.
  • Contribute on forums – There are often community forums where local residents bring up questions about communities or their local city. Participate in these forums (without directly asking for business) and answer questions.
  • Attend community events- This can range from attending a local board meeting of home owners to having a small booth at a farmers market. Wherever you attend make sure it is complimentary to your niche.

There are many different ways to share your expertise in order to bring in more business. The first big step is just committing yourself to real estate marketing in the niche where you have the most passion. To your success.