How Data Can Change Your Real Estate Recruiting Game

By Tiana Baur, Content Marketing Manager 

real estate recruiting header imageAt MoxiWorks, we’re pretty vocal about data and how important it is for all aspects of business. So vocal in fact, we called out Compass on their recent embellishments with plenty of data to set the record straight for our industry. But that’s a story for a different day. My point is, data is everything. Without data, we’d all be wandering around the office all day with no real direction.

When it comes to real estate recruiting, data can make or break your recruiting game. It’s so much more than what people give it credit for, and once you see how powerful it is, you’ll never want to go back. Here’s how data helps you recruit, retain, and grow:

Data makes your business goals easier to define.

The amazing thing about data is that it tells you what your goal should be in order to get to where you want to go. Want to be pulling in $1 million more next year? Data will tell you exactly how many agents you need to recruit to get there.

Data shows you what you need to be doing when.

Data calculates everything, including what your daily tasks should be to get you moving towards your goal. It guides you through the entire recruiting pipeline, resulting in more hires than you would have otherwise – saving time and precious energy.

Data tells you which agents are most appropriate for your office.

Data helps you find agents that fit your business and your goals. Okay, okay we don’t mean in terms of personality or culture, data can’t fully tell you that, but it can tell you who fits the bill when it comes to their sales volume. Data allows you to quickly and effectively narrow search criteria, spitting out the high-valued recruits you want sitting in your office. Powerful data can show you an agent’s ability to perform, and at the end of the day, that’s what recruiters need.

And don’t forget, recruiting doesn’t just mean new agents. Data can help you stay focused on recruiting your current highly-valued agents as well, raising your retention numbers within your office and taking a little pressure off finding newbies.

Data will get you past the finish line.

Data, specifically from the MLS, helps identify agents who match whatever criteria your recruiter stipulates. Once specific recruits have been identified, they are added to your pipeline as recommendations. With built-in goal-setting and tracking for recruiting, it’s easy to ensure recruiters keep their eyes on the prize, crossing that finish line and reaching that goal they set for themselves.

Data keeps you from making silly mistakes.

Without reporting and insights, it can be hard to know where time is best spent. Let’s say you knew an agent’s sales volume over the past year, but not previous years. They talked a big game and you trusted their references, so you signed them anyways. Turns out this past year was more luck than work ethic, and now you have an agent not contributing to the office’s goals. That means you might’ve wasted countless hours you could’ve been spending on high-valued recruits, whether that’s recruiting new ones or focusing your efforts to agents in-house that you really don’t want to lose.

Data is knowledge. Knowledge is power.

Data makes things more efficient. It puts tangible facts behind a solid recruiting foundation that enables recruiters and office managers to do their jobs better, faster, and with more conviction. It’s what our new recruiting system, Moxi Talent, was built for. It helps you by providing you with all this data, direction, and so much more.

Posted on August 2, 2018 at 4:55 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Recruiting & Retention | Tagged , ,

The July Roundup: News to Know

By Jessie Trapp, Marketing Coordinator & Tiana Baur, Content Marketing Manager 

This month has been a bit of a whirlwind. In just several weeks we’ve had Inman Connect, tons of tech news, and some announcements that continue to elevate industry pressures on a very real level. A lot of the news has been “hype” and had enough fluff to fill a million build-a-bears, but what are the main headlines we should all be focusing on? We put a little list together of the important news stories that came out in July and recapped them for you.

Here are the top five bites to know in the July Roundup:

1. “Cryptocurrency, Cyber Fraud Focus of Trump Task Force”

Don’t worry, we’re not getting all political. With a new-found focus on cyber fraud in the U.S., real estate will hopefully see less cyber-crime events, especially with cryptocurrency coming into the industry from all angles. Fraud in general, whether that be banks or cyber-related, has heavily impacted the industry. “According to an RISMedia survey, 27 percent of agents and brokers are ‘not sure’ if their brokerage has a cybersecurity policy, and 19 percent have no policy at all. The most common crime is phishing/wire fraud, in which buyers are duped out of their funds.” Hopefully this new focus will find a way to combat it.

2. “Gary Keller Slams Real Estate Startups, Refuses to Sit Down”

Gary Keller made moves at this year’s Inman Connect and made his agents across the nation extremely proud to be with his brokerage. He argued that many real estate tech companies, such as Redfin, Opendoor, etc. would get rid of agents if they could. Agree with his stance or not, he made it very clear and now everyone knows about it. Well played, sir.

3. “The ‘For Sale’ sign gets a modern update”

Well, it’s pretty obvious how we feel about Compass, but putting all that aside for a few moments, they had a major-ish announcement at Inman Connect and it deserves a spot as a top headline. Not only did they turn a rectangle into a circle, but they also illuminated the sign and added a connection to the internet so smart phones can connect. Sort of feels unnecessary for our industry, sort of feels like teenagers are going to go around vandalizing them, but who knows. To each their own.

4. “Overstock is making a push into real estate”

So, this is one we might have all overlooked. While July mostly focused on Inman, Compass, and other industry related news, this should’ve been a main discussion topic. The big boys are getting into real estate. Overstock announced they they’re relaunching Houserie, a property management website focusing on background checks, that basically helps landlords out. The juicy plot twist? It’s going to become a giant real estate platform in September for buying, renting, and managing properties. Alright, alright, alright Overstock.

5. Redfin announces $240M stock offering for potential acquisitions

Looks like Redfin has hopped into the dating pool. In their press release, the company stated that “it may choose to use a portion of the proceeds to invest in or acquire third-party businesses, products, services, technologies or other assets.” With this news, they’ll be looking for potential acquisitions, swiping right on dime piece businesses that catch their eye.

Posted on August 1, 2018 at 4:01 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: News | Tagged , , , , , ,

A Moxian Life: A Tale of Adversity and the Will to Succeed

By Mavis Chi, Staff Accountant

mavis chi article header imageI was an intern at MoxiWorks 10 months ago and recently became a full-time employee. I landed an internship here through a presentation that York Baur, the CEO, gave at my finance class at University of Washington Bothell. At the beginning of his presentation, I wasn’t interested in the real estate industry and hardly remember what was on the PowerPoint. My primary focus was York’s personality as a CEO; he was funny, friendly, and approachable. I thought it would be fun to work for a company that provides a relaxing and flexible environment, yet always encouraging its employees to take a step further.

So, I approached York at the end of his presentation and earned an internship with Moxi. Also, who doesn’t want to work for a company that has a motto “Get shit done,” right? But this isn’t one of the stories where I tell you how awesome it is to work at Moxi even though it is pretty awesome. This is my story of how I was a non-English speaking immigrant who became a first-generation college graduate and landed an entry level position as a Staff Accountant.

Do you remember the last time you achieved a long-term goal? Do you remember that incredible force that over-pumped your endorphins that made you jump up and down and shout out, “I did it?” Well, you may only see that reaction in a 21-year-old or younger, but you get my point. I had a similar feeling a month ago at my first college graduation. For some people, a bachelor’s degree may not be a phenomenal achievement but rather a necessity, an expectation because everything is planned for. For others, like me, achieving a bachelor’s degree is almost as hard as finding a needle in a haystack. It’s not because of the lack of intelligence but the lack of encouragement.

I was raised in a traditional Vietnamese culture, where boys are more valuable than girls. My mother was forced to quit school when she was 13 years old to get into the workforce – yes, child labor was not regulated in Vietnam – to help finance for my uncles/her brothers’ tuitions. All my older female’s cousins quit school after high school because they didn’t think they could make it through college. When I first came to the United States seven years ago, my primary drive was to get a college degree. A close relative told me that, “You hardly speak any English, it will be a waste of time and money trying to catch up with other people your age. I think you’d be better off marrying someone here, so you are taken care of.” As wrong as it sounded, he was right about my English ability. I pushed my goal aside and focused on improving my English. During that period, my “English instructors” were the customers that came into my cousin’s nail salon, movies with subtitles, newspapers; I even sacrificed my chances to make friends who are from my country so that I could practice English with the native speakers.

Six months later, I moved to Kentucky to stay with my brother hoping that he could help me get into a local community college. I was staying with my sister-in-law and her family at that time, they didn’t like the idea of me going to college because they wanted me to work for them in return for my free stay, and I couldn’t afford the tuition on my own. My brother doesn’t have a say in his immediate family, so I had to hold off my college again. After a few months of working 10 hours a day scrubbing people’s feet and other chores at my sister-in-law’s nails salon, I discovered the tuition reimbursement program at UPS from a regular customer at the salon. I applied and was hired as a warehouse loader working from 10pm to 3am (Mon – Fri) – it was the only shift that qualifies for tuition reimbursement program. With the benefits that I received from UPS, I finally applied to a few English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at a local community college.

Growing up in a city (Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam) makes it difficult for me to adapt to the country living, so I moved to Seattle once I completed my ESL classes. Seattle opened a new path for my education journey. I discovered a local college (Bellevue College) where it accepted my high school transcript from Vietnam and converted the classes into usable college credits. With the result from the assessment test, I only needed two more English classes to start taking courses for an Associate degree in Business Administration. Pell grant Financial Aids and scholarship helped me get through the AA’s program, but the living standard in Seattle prolonged the process. With the high cost of living, I couldn’t be a full-time student and worker, so I had to take one or two classes at a time in the first two years of college. After four years of on and off with courses, I finally finished my AA with a 3.79 GPA and applied to a business school at UW Bothell and got accepted. One and a half years later, I become the first generation in my family to graduate from college.

The feeling of an accomplishment that I described at the beginning isn’t just over-pumped endorphins. It is my pride for overcoming the discouragement and standing up for what I believe in. My story is only one of many stories where people encounter difficult obstacles that prevent them from achieving their dream, yet they conquer their hardships and punch the impossible in the face. One of my classmates that graduated with me was a lady who is 60+ years old, her story is that she had to push her education aside for her husband and children. Whenever in doubt, always remember: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

You are probably thinking why is this relevant to the blog? And why is this girl talking about herself? Because I’m a Moxian and we have a saying that goes, “What got you here won’t get you there.” At Moxi, everyone is always evolving and pushing themselves to go above and beyond to create better products to benefit our customers. This is who we are! We “get shit done!”

Interested in a career at Moxi? We’re hiring.

Posted on July 11, 2018 at 4:58 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Working at Moxi | Tagged , , , ,

Artificial What? 4 Tips for Appealing to the Traditional Consumer

By Jessie Trapp, Marketing Coordinator 

traditional consumer header imageLet’s face it- the process of buying a home can be one giant migraine waiting to happen. From finding the right agent to closing the deal, the stressful decisions having to be made by buyers can often times overshadow the generally exciting event that it should be in one’s life. Although the notoriously tech-savvy millennials may appreciate your incorporation of technology, for the more traditional consumer who is not up to speed with the latest tech advances, facing them can be an experience that adds even more stress to this already exhausting process.

In order to help you, the agent, navigate the divide in capabilities and preferences, we are sharing a few tips that will likely make the process with the traditional consumer a more enjoyable and stress-free one from start to finish for both you, and your client.

Get back to the basics. The golden rule here – don’t assume that your clients can figure out how to use a program or website. To avoid anyone becoming overwhelmed, it would likely be worth your time to carefully walk more traditional clients through each program they will be using step-by-step. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are familiar with certain systems at the beginning stage of your relationship, as clarifying this right from the start can help provide a smoother experience overall.

Put it all in one place. Remember, less is more. Instead of leaving it up to the client to navigate the web in search of information such as listings and drive time calculations, beat them to it and use a program like Moxi Present to create a one-stop shop for all the answers they are likely looking for.

Go the extra mile. Adding personalized elements to their buying experience will likely go far and make your clients all the more confident that you genuinely care about them finding the right home. Although listings often contain detailed information regarding the surrounding location, consider taking the time to set up dinners for clients near their top prospective homes to help them get more acquainted with the neighborhoods firsthand.

Visit the post office. Chances are, if you’re teaching a client how to google something they probably aren’t checking their email often enough for your marketing efforts to have a significant impact. Only 26% of real estate agents claim to use postal mail as a form of communication with clients, so what better way to set yourself apart then to get out your old stack of postcards? Send them notes while you’re working with them, as well as after you’ve closed a deal to celebrate events such as birthdays and house-iversaries. Have a blog? Send them paper copies of your posts every so often to keep them in the loop.

If you think about it, working with clients who aren’t familiar with technology can be a refreshing breath of fresh air. Technology allows us to operate on autopilot so much of the time, it’s likely healthy for all of us to have an opportunity to make things personal, show off our creative side, and take a little trip back to 1989.

Posted on July 10, 2018 at 3:25 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Recruiting Trauma: Ghosting at Work

By Ringo Nishioka, VP of Human Resources & Operations

ghosting header imageYou met a great agent you would like to recruit or a potential home seller that you really like. For both of you, business and personal values align. You have a few great phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Suddenly, your colleague disappears and falls off the map. They don’t return your calls and may even miss a scheduled meeting with no heads up. Silence. Just a big echo chamber which leaves you wondering what you did wrong. We have all been there.

What happened? You were ghosted.

It’s happening in dating relationships, companies looking to hire new employees, and yes, in real estate, with both potential recruits and potential home sellers. Unanswered texts and phone calls that are not returned. It hurts. You have invested time, money and emotional energy into the relationship only to find it come to a very hard and dead end.

What is ghosting?

Ghosting refers to when someone in a relationship disappears without any warning sign. The term is a common one in our online world with the advent of dating apps, but we are hearing about it more and more in the professional world as well. We understand it might happen in potentially shorter term personal relationships, but in long term professional relationships?

“Dude, that candidate ghosted you? I can’t believe that. I thought for sure she would accept your offer.”

What are the signs you might be ghosted?

This isn’t our first rodeo here at MoxiWorks. We still get ghosted by candidates we are looking to recruit, but we know some of the signs to look out for. We are not surprised we are dropped like a hot potato when:

  • There is a lack of engagement between MoxiWorks (the hiring company) and the candidate.
  • When emails exchanges contain slow responses. When we email, we look for timely responses and hope to see a response by the end of the day.
  • We look for courteous follow ups and thank you. If we took the time to interview someone or show them around our office, we take a follow up thank you as a sign our candidate is engaged.

Why does it happen?

We have a number of theories, but these are just theories and ours alone.

Bad Communication/Unreal Expectations
We believe that ghosting happens when the communication and expectations between two parties doesn’t match up. Most of us would take the time and effort to talk these differences through, but in an age of immediate gratification, for some it is easier to just walk away.

Your Compass is our Amazon.
We are competing for tech talent in a town where there is a shortage of talent. Every brokerage out there is living in fear of Compass. They have deep pockets, endless perks, and are the shiny object right now in the real estate industry. What’s our version? Amazon. We know what it’s like competing against a giant with endless amounts of cash. When candidates feel like they have opportunity, they can act very differently. There are more tech jobs than tech candidates in Seattle. Consequently, the candidate doesn’t feel the urgency to respond as quickly or respond at all.

How to avoid being ghosted:

  • We explain what our interview process will look like in the very first interaction with a potential candidate. We explain how many interviews there might be, who the candidate will meet with and why we take it so seriously. I literally say the following: “Our process may be a little longer than others, but we want to learn what we can about you as the candidate and we want you the candidate to learn as much as you can about MoxiWorks. Ultimately, we are looking for a great fit for both parties because we want you to be as happy as we are with you.”
  • Keep the dialogue moving. Nothing creates engagement better than engagement. If your candidate or potential seller has to wait days for a response, they will assume you are not interested in them.
  • End your emails with a proposal to continue the dialogue. Give your seller something to respond to.
    • “I’d like to meet next week and talk about talk about X. Coffee is on me.”

We mentioned that ghosting happens more in economies where the candidates feel they have choices. The way to overcome this is to make the candidate feel like YOUR SERVICE IS A UNICORN. There may be a lot of agents in town, but YOUR BROKERAGE AND SERVICE IS DIFFERENT. THERE IS ONLY ONE OF YOU IN THIS TOWN!

Benefits of being ghosted:

Believe it or not, there are benefits of being ghosted. You know the candidate’s true colors earlier vs. later and you didn’t find this out after investing in them for six months of training or showing half a dozen homes. Time is money, and they just saved you a lot of it.

Posted on July 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Working at Moxi | Tagged , , , , , ,

3 Steps to Change Your Focus from Software to Success

By Jessie Trapp, Marketing Coordinator 

moxiworksIn the world of real estate, we all hear the seemingly constant buzz about the ever-evolving technology that is shaking up our industry. The traditional ways in which real estate has been conducted are slipping away, and brokerages and agents alike are being left scrambling to define what they do, and exactly how they ought to do it. The movement to incorporate technology into real estate practices is tempting and, in many aspects, necessary to keep up and maintain a competitive edge. The pressure to stay current with the movement can be daunting, in fact, 48% of all real estate firms consider keeping up with the tech advancements to be one of the most significant challenges they are facing today. The question that arises here is: what technology does one actually need in order to achieve success?

When searching for new software for your brokerage, make sure you’re confident when it comes to exactly what benefits you are hoping to gain from bringing it on board. Further, that you’re aware of the tools you will need in order to fully utilize it. The process of acquiring new software can be costly and have the potential to put a major strain on the financial health of your brokerage if done incorrectly. Simply handing your agents a fancy new program and leaving it at that won’t anyone any good, and definitely won’t rock your agent’s socks off. In order to see the jaw-dropping ROI you are looking to get out of your software, it will require you to invest the time and money into the implementation process so that your agents are continuously being trained on how to use it and actively receiving value from it.

In light of this, avoid the common mistake of buying technology solely for the sake of buying technology. Instead, raise your bar high and purchase software that you deem absolutely essential in order for you to achieve success, and then gear your efforts toward making sure that you are getting everything you possibly can out of it. After all, what’s the point of having flashy technology if you don’t get value from it? No point. The answer is that there’s absolutely no point to that at all.

Here are a few steps we suggest you consider taking before sealing the deal to maximize your success:

Step One: Clearly define your goals.

Look beyond the buzz and clearly define what you are hoping to achieve by incorporating new software into your business. After you decide on a goal, articulate what metrics you will use to gauge when you’ve successfully reached it. Clearly you want your goals to be centered around the main interests of your company. Here are a few that we here at MoxiWorks like to focus on:

  • Improving the quality of your marketing efforts
  • Increasing lead generation
  • Strengthening CRM
  • Increasing agent productivity
  • Retaining current agents
  • Recruiting rockstar new agents

The main takeaway here is clarity. Be able to state what your goal is, and how you will measure its success.

Step two: Look for the missing parts.

Once you define your goals and establish your metrics, it’s then time to create a game plan for how you will go about achieving them. This requires first conducting extensive research within your brokerage to ensure that you are utilizing the skills you already have, making worthy investments in the technology, and avoiding the expensive mistake of double-dipping in resources. Start asking questions to get a clear insight into what you already have covered, and what you will need to look externally to find.

  • What types of resources do you already have within your brokerage that can help you reach your goals?
  • What steps can’t you complete without the implementation of new technology?
  • What does your timeline for onboarding new technology need to look like?
  • Will you need your technology partner to supply onboarding assistance and continuous training, or do you have tech savvy agents that can support others in the process?

Asking questions like these will assist you in finding the missing pieces within your own team, and help you pinpoint exactly what you will need to get out of your technology partnership.

Step three: Treat yourself to a technology shopping trip.

After you discover what kind of technology you need, it’s time to begin the hunt for the right company to partner with. Taking the time to complete the previous steps beforehand will make this process much more straight forward. Make sure to compare different options and take on a “What can you do for me?” approach. Brush up on the major players for that kind of software in order to be perceived as educated and become more likely to get a better price.

At MoxiWorks, we know that you have a unique set of goals and needs. This is why we created the MoxiCloud, an open platform of tools that are designed to help you reach your goals within a variety of different segments of your business. We even have a team of amazing Account Managers available to help your onboarding run as smoothly as possible and ensure that your agents have the tools they need to achieve incredible levels of success with our platform. Our clients are happy with our plug-and-play style, and we want you to be too. Take a look at what they have to say.

Posted on July 5, 2018 at 4:58 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Productivity | Tagged , , , , ,

Pocket Listings: What You Need to Know

By Jessie Trapp, Marketing Coordinator

pocket listings header imageIt’s a cut-throat market out there. Inventory seems to become increasingly scarce by the day, and sellers continue to hold tight to their reign as the power players of the real estate world. With agents scrambling to find a competitive edge, it’s no surprise that some of the tactics being used are stirring up serious controversy within the industry.

Enter: pocket listings. The actual usage of the term “pocket listing” can be somewhat confusing, as it is often used to describe multiple types of property listings that agents have different intentions for. Put simply, a pocket listing is a signed property that an agent has acquired but hasn’t listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). In some cases, the agent intends to list it but simply hasn’t yet, however, for the most part it means that they have a property and intend to sell it to someone in their sphere without ever even placing it on the MLS at all. If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to put this method on your radar because the secrets out – and clients are asking about it.

The topic of pocket listings is a fiery one among agents because it tends to walk on a fine line between tactical and, arguably, unethical. Agents are, in compliance with the Code of Ethics, required to do everything in their power to ensure that they get the best offer for their client. Those against the practice claim that withholding a pocket listing from the MLS presents the risk of missing out on higher offers that could result from making it accessible to the general public, therefore failing to act in the best interest of the client. Transactions for pocket listings also generally remain in the hands of the listing agent, as they often represent the both the seller and the buyer. Some opposed to the practice also express concern that some agents are too biased in favor of it due to the potentially higher commission in it for them, and fear that clients might not always be well educated on the ramifications associated with the practice.

Although these risks likely account for why pocket listings are usually not considered to be the standard practice in real estate, sellers occasionally prefer it and it has the potential to give agents a notable advantage. Not only can the limited exposure component of the method offer a more private experience for the seller, but it can also simplify the offer process all together and speed up the transaction time. For sellers who are wanting a quick sell, this aspect can be a major incentive to sell their home as a pocket listing. By avoiding listing a property on the MLS you lower the amount of wide spread interest and walk-throughs but, in the right situation, you can also increase the quality and seriousness of the interest received. This brings it back to the agent- because pocket listings take the MLS exposure out of the equation, the quality and health of your CRM and overall sphere plays a major role in how successful you can actually be with this strategy. Not sure if your sphere is up to par? Take a look at this piece we wrote to help you gauge where you stand.

Buyers also occasionally prefer to make offers on pocket properties because less competition means that they are more likely to avoid the grueling bidding war process. Again, depending on the situation this can be negative for both buyers and sellers, but some continue to prefer its more simplistic approach and pursue it anyway. For the sake of transparency, some in the industry feel as though agents should always present pocket listings as an option on the table for their clients. This could be risky for both the client and the agent if handled improperly. As the agent, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re practicing within the laws, which vary among states, and making the pros and cons associated with the method abundantly clear so that sellers can make informed decisions and you can cover yourself against any potential violations.

Like I said, this topic is complex, and people are all over the board in relation to how they feel about it. The practice is very unregulated, meaning there aren’t reliable statistics reflecting how many agents are actually engaging in it. It does, however, seem safe to say that it’s usage is significant considering tech companies, like this one, are viewing it as an opportunity to create a structured platform for it. Regardless of whether you believe this approach to be an epidemic or a tool, it’s important to analyze its effect on the market from all angles because let’s face it- you’re bound to run into it eventually, and you’re going to want backup.

Posted on June 29, 2018 at 4:44 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Productivity | Tagged , , , , , , ,

What First-Time Home Buyers Want to Know

By Maddie Jostol, Marketing Manager 

first-time home buyers header imageAs a first-time home buyer, where do you even begin? Saving enough cash to cover a down payment is a big enough hurdle to get over, but that’s just the beginning. The entire process can be intimidating and overwhelming. Mortgages, offers and negotiations, inspections, homeowners insurance, property taxes, the list goes on. That’s where you come in.

If you make the process an exciting, simple one for a first-time home buyer, you have an advocate and referral source for life. Currently, Millennials are the largest generation of home buyers in the U.S., which means you need to be able to tailor your service to the needs and expectations of these buyers.

 

 

Here’s what today’s market looks like with regards to first-time home buyers:

  • 35% of buyers are first-time home buyers
  • 66% of first-time home buyers are under the age of 37
  • Median age is 32
  • 58% are married, 14% are unmarried couples
  • 60% have no children, 19% have one, 15% have two

Source: NAR

So, what are they looking for in their first home buying experiences? What are their expectations and how can you, as a real estate agent, deliver on those expectations? Below are a few of the questions a first-time home buyer is likely thinking as they embark on the journey of finding their dream home.

How am I going to be able to afford this?

Sure, it isn’t your place to give them a lecture in financial planning, but you are the expert in real estate transactions here. If there are resources available to them that they might not know about, be sure to mention them.

For a first-time home buyer, money is typically the primary hurdle they need to overcome mentally, especially considering home prices have been rising faster than incomes in recent years. Take into account that a first-time home buyer might also have financial considerations such as student debt or plans of starting a family. Offer resources and educational materials where appropriate to give them all the tools they need to be able to complete the transaction with peace of mind. They’re going to be concerned with affordability and you’re there to help them realize their dream of becoming a homeowner.

How will you be communicating with me?

Remember, this is a new type of relationship for them. You want to set the stage for them so they know exactly what they can expect from you, so let them know when and how they’ll hear from you. Even better, ask them for their preferred method of communication (text, call, email, Facebook messenger, carrier pigeon, etc). This way, your communications will be convenient for them and you’ll be able to reach them easily.

Where can I find the most up-to-date information?

A whole lot of information is already at their fingertips. You must meet their expectations of accurate, up-to-date data. They need to trust that you’ll be providing them with all of the information they need, so they don’t get sucked into internet searches that overwhelm and confuse them. Give them the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll be providing them with accurate, real-time MLS data and the necessary context to accompany it.

How much work will this require?

Not just the process of buying the home, but beyond that. For example, fixer-uppers might be appealing to first-time home buyers because of their low price, but the thought of a remodel could be overwhelming for someone who has never done that before. Keep in mind these are new homeowners who could be nervous at the thought of pouring cash and time into a giant remodel. Ask these questions up-front so you have a good idea of what they’re prepared to take on – or not.

How long should this process take?

A first-time home buyer might be unfamiliar with all of the steps of a home-buying process, especially the less glamorous ones that often aren’t talked about. Educate them on the process around open houses, making an offer, negotiating, inspections, and closing, so they understand the variables and timing of buying a home. They’ll have a more realistic understanding of how long the process takes, and will find comfort in knowing you’re there to guide them every step of the way.

Posted on June 28, 2018 at 4:31 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , ,

Doomsday Preppers: How to Get Ready for Future Tech Changes

By Jessie Trapp, Marketing Coordinator

tech changes article imageTechnology is advancing at a rate that can be overwhelming, confusing, and downright scary. As an agent, you need to be able to keep up with the technology changes happening around you in order to be competitive and grow your business. There are massive shifts happening in real estate, some of which seem to be looming, ready to take over any moment.

For those of you who are worried about what the future holds, here are a few things you should be aware of and what you can do to prepare.

What’s happening:

AI technology is getting personal. Almost too personal. AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology now enables users in the real estate market to evaluate communities based on a broad range of data and draw insights that allow them to pin-point potential buyers. The data itself, which is often related to things like purchasing behavior, home buying history, and internet activity, digs deep into who buyers are and what stage in life they are in. Once AI is used to identify these prospects, the systems then take it a step further and actually market to those individuals directly. This process can be performed on a massive scale and in record time, giving users a major advantage. According to NAR, 51% of last year’s homebuyers found the home they chose to purchase online- an unsurprising statistic based on the direction this technology is headed.

Hold on tight. As you know, today’s seller-powered real estate market is fast paced and the need for quick response and follow-up times is higher than ever. Brace yourself – AI technology is taking it to a whole new level with the creation of chatbots. These bots are preprogrammed with answers to questions frequently asked by homebuyers and can provide them with in-depth information that likely surpasses what agents themselves may have knowledge of. The way in which agents are actually incorporating bots into their businesses varies. From engaging with clients online to physically bringing chatbots to open houses to greet and service the buyers directly – this technology is clearly changing the way agents interact with their clients in a massive way.

Changing the game. You’re likely somewhat familiar, but Instant Offers is a program developed by Zillow that uses technology to re-shape the home selling process while embracing ultimate levels of usability and efficiency.

How it works – Homeowners who are interested in selling their home provide Zillow with basic information and snap shots of the home, which has not yet been listed. If Zillow is interested they will quickly make a cash offer (it only takes a few days) which the seller can then choose to accept or decline, after receiving a CMA estimate provided by a Zillow Agent. Instant Offers claims that if the seller accepts an offer, they have control over the timeline of the sale and the ability to choose the closing date, a major selling point of the program. Once Zillow buys a home they may make renovations to increase its value before assigning it to a Zillow Agent and listing it.

Intriguing, but completely frightening, am I right? Not to worry.

What you can do:

Step up your technology game. It’s clear that technology is the way of the future, so it’s time to stop fighting it and discover how it can help you gain a competitive edge. If you aren’t already using one, it’s time to consider switching to an open platform for your real estate tech. This will allow you to seamlessly translate data from one part of your business to the next while maximizing efficiency and increasing your likelihood of keeping up. Dig deep into your methodology for areas that could benefit from incorporating new technology – getting your data and business set up to eventually get a chatbot of your own, for instance, would likely be a worthy investment. Not only would it take care of initial lead nurturing, freeing you up to focus on more pressing needs, but you can also employ it to gather more information about what your clients are looking for before you actually interact with them. An estimated 80% of businesses have already implemented, or plan to implement chatbots into their businesses, so the move should definitely be on the table.

Look beyond the numbers. I know, I know – staring at numbers may not always be thrilling, but the stories behind them will make or break your business. There are tools available to you today that allow you to skip the math and let computers do the work – so no excuses. Essential, you need to actually utilize the data you have to differentiate and target your marketing efforts. Take time to examine what marketing channels are generating leads and creating an ROI and which ones could use some improvements. AI is already steps ahead of you, so using your resources wisely is a must in order to remain competitive and stand a chance in winning over the leads you have your eye on.

Make it personal. The appeal created by the efficient and user-friendly experience offered by AI technology makes it all the more important for Agents to nurture their sphere – before, during, and after a sale. Similarly, chatbots may be flashy and helpful for the beginning stages of a relationship – but they aren’t humans. Emphasizing the personal and comfortable buying experience that you offer is important – it’s really one of the only aspects of real estate that AI can’t compete with. Instant Offers is all about simplifying and creating a predictable experience for sellers. This means that Agents need to be transparent and make sure that sellers are well prepared for what going through the process with you will look like. Keeping your CRM updated will help you remember the details and celebrate the little things like house-iversaries, which lets clients know you are invested and will likely keep them coming back.

Keep it fresh. Fantastic, you’re ready to have a chatbot do the dirty work and your marketing efforts are on-point. Although these currently might be vital to your success, technology is constantly evolving so you must evolve too. Make sure not to get too stuck in your ways and stay in-touch with the happenings and advances in the real estate market. Pay attention to the information that your tech providers give you, and make sure that you are optimizing your use of the newest tools and features they provide you with.

Become their go-to consultant. The process for buying and selling homes that Instant Offers has created eliminates several of the steps that have traditionally been left up to the agent. This means it is vital that you articulate to the client what role you play in the process and the advantages that you specifically bring to the table. For most clients, especially those who are not well-versed in home selling, the decision of whether or not to accept an offer is likely something that they will want to get an expert’s two-sense on. As the agent you must emphasize the value that your experience and knowledge of the industry has in evaluating whether it is in the seller’s best interest to actually accept the offers that they receive. 89% of successful home buyers say that they would use their agent again. You are irreplaceable – don’t forget it.

Posted on June 26, 2018 at 4:14 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: News | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Do Your Agents Have Enough Contacts in Their CRM Sphere?

By Maddie Jostol, Marketing Manager

As seen in Mile 62 eMagazine

crm contacts

Agents rely on their brokerage for coaching and guidance. Your brokerage tools and resources directly contribute to their success and are what make them feel like their career is supported. As you and your managers coach agents on the importance of a CRM and how they should best utilize such a system, guidance has to be specific. The first step to using any CRM is to get your database of contacts cleaned up and uploaded. So, how many contacts should they have in there?

Simply put, the bigger your sphere of influence, the more people within your sphere who will be buying or selling a home. Growing their sphere of influence is vital for growing a sustainable business. For agents, growing a real estate career means growing your sphere of influence. It’s all about making connections and being known in your area as the trusted, go-to person for real estate. Leads are getting scarce as the competitive market continues to heat up. Agents need a sustainable book of business filled with opportunities for repeat and referral business. So, when it comes to contacts in your CRM, how many is enough?

Historically an agents’ database was a list of contacts kept in their phone. Those days are long gone. While this is a fantastic start, an agent’s book of business requires and deserves more care than that. Those contacts should be synced with a system that enables the agent to truly engage with those people as well as organize and grow their business.

Having contacts organized and loaded into a CRM enables agents to truly nurture those contacts. They can automate touchpoints to stay top of mind, segment their database as necessary, and keep track of conversations they’ve had and the history of their relationship with each person.

So, what’s the magic number? We recommend agents have a bare minimum of 100 contacts in their CRM. Once you hit 100, your sphere likely extends past close friends and family to include contacts you can market to and generate leads from. It’s a large enough pool to ensure growth, with people who are not only part of your closest spheres, but have their own groups of friends and acquaintances to refer you to. You sphere is constantly expanding – as people in your sphere communicate with their own sphere, your reach increases.

We recently looked at user data for our Moxi Engage CRM – focusing on users with at least 100 contacts, three or more sales flow conversions, and three or more contacts in an automated marketing programs. We found that these users typically close 31% more sides than users who aren’t leveraging the system in such a way.

At the heart of the sphere-selling methodology is relationships. Each person in an agent’s database represents a relationship that will contribute to their success. Referrals are the highest quality leads you can get other than repeat business. A strong sphere is the number one way to generate referral leads, as long as that database is well taken care of.

Posted on June 21, 2018 at 8:30 am
Tam Nguyen | Category: Productivity | Tagged , , , , , ,