By Tiana Baur
Redfin’s stock dropped 5.45 percent last week when Compass announced their plan of world domination. Although, it was primarily due to their poor Q3 earnings release, falling short of analyst estimates, and we’ll go ahead and mention the fact they currently only serve 0.71 percent of the U.S. housing market… BUT they’re still Redfin. They’re still a shark in a sea of minnows, constantly posing a threat.
In real estate, agent teams are becoming kind of a big deal. In fact, there are now 35,000 to 50,000 agent teams across the U.S., with the majority of them having two to nine team members belonging to them. These numbers are only growing, with 37 percent of teams formed one to three years ago and 26 percent of teams formed one year ago.
Working in teams is way more productive and provides additional benefits, such as:
- Extra lead generation
- Process and vision to building a bigger brand and operations that can scale
- Mentoring new agents in the market
- Collaboration and communication through the different roles
- Combining different talents and skills
- A more diversified client demography and audience
What does this have to do with Redfin? Well, they’re basically a GIANT agent team. Instead of having a bunch of independent contractors on their hands, they have agents on staff and have a website that generates lots of leads for their agents. They built a website with tons of cool, shiny technology and features to attract lots of eyeballs and leads. Sometimes, they even give leads to agents at other brokerages, like a team that generates leads and distributes them to their team members.
To quote a popular interview done with an industry influencer this past summer, “Redfin is not a brokerage; it is an agent team. Let that sink in for a moment. Redfin is not in the recruiting and retention business like 99.99% of brokerages are today. They could care less about recruiting the superstar elite agents. Redfin is in the business of helping people buy and sell homes — just like an agent team. They have employee agents who must use Redfin’s systems, must follow Redfin’s procedures, and the people they work with are not their clients, but Redfin’s clients — just like an agent team. And just like an agent team must have a superstar lead-generation lead agent, Redfin has one… in its website and mobile app.”
If you didn’t think of Redfin this way before, now might be a good time to do so. Although they had less than fruitful earnings this quarter, according to GeekWire, they have pushed out a few new products and have a new speedy offer-writing software they’re going to start rolling out in select cities called Redfin Fast Offers. So, who knows what will happen. But a powerful giant like Redfin isn’t going to give up without a fight and your market share is hardly safe in an environment where Compass, Redfin, and others are constantly brewing up their next attack.
By Tiana Baur
There are some simple, yet essential ways to make sure your business is as profitable and thriving as it can be. These ten tips will hopefully serve as a check list for when tax season comes around, as well as the rest of the year in order to prepare and set your business up for the brightest possible future.
1. Remember to file quarterly taxes
This may seem obvious to most, but even though you know you need to do it, you don’t always remember to. Life gets busy. Filing quarterly taxes means avoiding penalties and additional interest owed. Not doing so can also raise a red flag with the IRS and hurt your business in the long run.
2. Home office deduction
Make sure you deduct for a home office, but make sure you don’t over exaggerate the size of the space. There’s a fine line with this one. Let’s say your home office is 250 square feet
of a 2,500-square foot home, the percentage of the deduction you can take is 10 percent. Remember you can only do this if you aren’t already deducting your office space at your brokerage’s office. Whatever you do, make sure you choose one to deduct so you don’t miss out on hard earned cash.
3. Mileage reporting
Don’t. Be. Sloppy. If you only remember to track miles on some days, you’re missing out. Tracking all your miles is the key to tax saving success. QuickBooks Self-Employed app auto tracks the mileage, so you don’t have to worry about remembering. With this program, you can deduct an average of over $7,000 dollars a year. Capture everything you need automatically, then categorize mileage with the click of a button.
4. Deduct your big purchases
Buying a laptop, phone, printer, furniture or anything else related to your business? Deduct! These big ones might get forgotten if you purchased them in the first two quarters of the year.
5. Coffee, lunches, dinners, cocktail hours
If you’re constantly taking your clients out for a bite or a coffee, make sure you keep your receipts. Scratch that. Snap a photo in your QuickBooks Self-Employed app. No more leaving receipts in boxes or in the glove box of your car. No more! Doing this correctly means saving agents an average of over $4,000 a year.
6. Avoid an audit
The more money you make, the more likely you’ll be audited. If your income is creeping up, it’s time to use a little extra paper to employ better tracking of receipts, donations to charitable causes, and mileage. Maybe also time to consider hiring a professional to keep an eye on your records, rather than trying to keep track of it all yourself. Maybe.
7. Deduct software
This one might surprise you. You can fully deduct any software needed to run your business, including accounting and lead generation software. QuickBooks Self-Employed for example, which automatically tracks your expenses and mileage, can be fully deducted. Win-win.
8. Further education
Lots of states require continued education to keep a real estate license, while in others, it’s not only required, but crucial to stay competitive. You are probably able to deduct registration costs, transportation, and accommodation costs for coaching, courses, etc. This goes for in-person and online courses.
9. Desk fees
Your desk fees are deductible regardless of your brokerage. With QuickBooks Self-Employed you can set a rule to automatically categorize this expense whenever you pay that desk fee. Keep in mind, you can only do this if you aren’t doing the home office deduction.
If you’re travelling to a conference, having QuickBooks Self-Employed makes life way easier. It allows agents to focus on networking and the purpose of their trip, by linking their bank account to the app. As soon as agents incur any expense associated with travel, all they do is tap a button to categorize it in one of the IRS approved categories.
Get started with QuickBooks Self-Employed today and start running a more profitable, professional business.
By Tiana Baur
2017 has brought a lot of change and disruption to the real estate industry; some good, others upsetting at the very least. In the spring, Zillow announced Instant Offers, allowing homeowners to potentially cut out the agent. This is one of many efforts to remove real estate agents from the transaction, but client satisfaction may say otherwise.
What is Instant Offers?
Instant Offers connects homeowners with investors, helping them receive multiple offers based on their “home details and comparative sales.” All the homeowner has to do is answer some questions, submit some photos, and pick an offer from a verified investor. They then schedule a free home inspection and close on the date they choose. It’s that simple.
What this means for agents
For obvious reasons, Instant Offers can seem very attractive to homeowners. There is little to no work needed and they get to do it all on their own schedule. Plus, they don’t have to pay any fees to an agent.
What these homeowners don’t take into account, is having someone they can depend on, call when they need help or advice, and trust what’s going to happen with the transaction. Given that Instant Offers is new, many homeowners will shy away from it because of fear of the unknown. Because we’re humans, right? We want security. We want to know the largest transactions of our entire life are going to go smoothly.
How agents and brokerages can combat this
People don’t buy luxury cars just for the car. They buy them because they also get incredible service and are never left stranded on the road, waiting for a tow truck they had to call themselves. They buy them for the unreal customer service, knowing they are in good hands. Real estate agents are that person for homeowners and homebuyers everywhere. You provide comfort, and most importantly, are someone to depend on.
Stay true to your clients. Your clients will choose you over Zillow again and again if you’ve earned their trust and confidence as their advisor. They know you, they’ve transacted with you, they want you to handle the transaction for them. Earn your client’s trust to get and keep their repeat and referral business.
Although the real estate world is turning to tech for just about everything, there is something to be said about the human element, which Instant Offers doesn’t provide. Never doubt your importance when it comes to couples, families, and loved ones going through a major transition in their lives.
We firmly believe brokerages and agents play a vital in real estate. Moxi Works helps agents be more productive, while making brokerages more profitable. Find out more at moxiworks.com.
By Maddie Jostol
The competition is heating up in real estate. Inventory is tight, agents are competitive, and brokerages are desperately trying to recruit. With a new generation of agents in the real estate world, the way in which successful brokerages approach recruiting has taken a significant turn.
Companies, such as Compass, have huge funding and they’re using it to recruit new agents. What happens to those aggressive brokers when the value prop was a signing bonus? Making agents more productive and making their lives easier with an integrated platform in the answer. Compass is offering agents with higher commission for their first year, serious signing bonuses, and offering managers significant salary bumps. Many concerns have been raised regarding their cash burn rate and the sustainability of this model long-term. Whether or not it’s a sustainable business practice, how are other brokerages supposed to compete with these massive cash offers?
Conversations around signing bonuses, commission splits, training, and culture are getting noisy and difficult to navigate, which means creating a recruitment strategy is that much more challenging. So, what do agents really want?
Put yourself in the agent’s shoes for a minute: What makes your brokerage unique? What is the brokerage doing to prepare for a prosperous future? What tools does your brokerage provide that will ensure you’re successful?
Offering a suite of technology tools is a great way to compete with these rising signing bonuses, while simultaneously benefitting your brokerage. When you offer agents the opportunity to be more successful through intuitive, easy-to-use productivity tools, thus having greater agent productivity, everyone benefits.
Millennials are now making their mark on the real estate industry. As a generation of experienced agents retires, it’s vital for brokerages to continue recruiting, developing, and retaining new agents. It’s no secret that millennial professionals care about more than just cash. While money can be motivating, your brokerage should be making offers competitive in other ways, such as technology. Offering agents an ecosystem of technology tools that encourage productivity and success is exceedingly powerful.
The Moxi Cloud open platform is an example of brokerage technology that attracts and retains agents. Why? Because it makes agents’ lives easier and brokerages more profitable, through agent productivity. The open platform is where all of your brokerage tools and services integrate and share data, creating a flexible technology ecosystem powering your business.
Now think about the future of your brokerage. What changes will you be experiencing in the next 10 years as the industry continues to evolve? Agents want to work with a brokerage that is prepared for change, arming their team with flexible tools and services to remain successful.
Whether you’re targeting new or experienced agents, they’ll want to work with a brokerage where they can find the most success. While you may not offer a massive signing bonus, you can still be competitive in a way that benefits both sides. Technology helps us get through our everyday lives, keeping us organized, on time, and efficient. Making their lives easier will make them more productive, making your brokerage more profitable. What technology does your brokerage provide that will attract the best agents?
Agents today have more options than ever of which brokerage they can take “their talents” to. The ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent is more crucial than ever if your brokerage is going to dominate the competition in your market. What measures are you taking to ensure your business is the “it” place to work?
If it has been awhile since you reviewed your brokerage resources for agents, perhaps it is time to take an internal audit and reassess your value proposition. Questions to consider:
- Why would agents want to work here?
- What do I offer agents that the competition does not?
- How do I help agents be more productive and focused on selling?
If these answers are not immediately coming to you, chances are there is something dated with your brokerage process. To get back on track think two words: open platform.
An open real estate platform gives you the power to customize your brokerage to fit your brand and business needs. An open platform works like this: pick and choose, or, “plug and play” from a wide range of options to provide the types of solutions that best fit your needs. Just like a power strip, you can connect the things you want at your brokerage, and not the other stuff.
Competitive Advantage #1 of an Open Platform: Customization. Tools and services come and go all the time. With an open platform, choose the right combination of CRM, CMA, Leads Management, Print, Intranet, etc. that works best for you and your agents. In other words, keep the products that are used most plugged and sunset or unplug those that have fallen out of favor. The ability to customize your platform as needed empowers you to continuously providing best-in-class to your agents.
Competitive Advantage #2 of an Open Platform: Continuity. The power of having all of your tools plugged in and able to talk to one another in real-time should not be underestimated. If your agents know that their listing information will be shared and viewable from their CMA, to the CRM, and even to digital advertising solutions like Facebook advertisements, how much more productive does that make your agent’s time?
Competitive Advantage #3 of an Open Platform: Your Data. Why is data important? Think of brokerage data like digital currency; the more you have, the richer the intelligence and value proposition of your brokerage. If you can articulate both historical and current information data across property, brokerage, agent and consumers across all levels of your brokerage, the ability to identify new areas of business opportunity can be yours for the taking. Seriously.
Need help in determining your current brokerage proposition to agents? The first place to start: figure out which type of brokerage platform do you have.
Day-to-day life for a real estate agent is hectic to say the very least. Work/life balance is a hard thing to come by when you decide to plunge into the world of real estate and start your own sphere-based business. Having to juggle clients, leads, business growth, family, friends, and often children, means real estate agents could use a few more minutes in the day, everyday. Agent marketing automation can get those minutes back. Here are some easy ways to go about using agent marketing automation.
Marketing automation comes in various shapes and sizes. It can be something as simple as planning and scheduling out your social posts for the week or a monthly postcard you pre-planned at the beginning of the season or year. But wait, it can be even simpler. You can click a button that allows you to stay in flow with all of your clients and leads every month. Yes, all you have to do hit the (easy) button one time, and your clients are forever in flow.
Do you use Moxi Engage CRM? Then you’re in luck. Neighborhood News sends automated market snapshots and overviews, personalized for each subscribed contact in an agent’s Moxi Engage account. These monthly emails keep your sphere up-to-date on market happenings in their neck of the woods – or wherever they’d like updates for. Clients can even change the area they get each month by putting in a new zip code. You can even see when they make these changes as well. #Winning.
Just Listed/Just Sold
Gently let your sphere and prospects know when you list and sell. Just-Listed & Just-Sold is another Moxi Engage feature that automates notifications to select members of your sphere to keep them in the loop. Automated email updates as you close transactions are a great way to keep your sphere (or those you want) in the loop. Manage all of the subscriptions directly in Moxi Engage CRM.
Besides saving extremely valuable time, these are some other key benefits of exercising agent marketing automation:
Be more effective. Having an email that your clients can expect and look forward to each month is much more effective than emailing them something random when you find the time to do so. Consider the market snapshot, you “checking in” with them, while providing them valuable content.
Know exactly when to call. If someone changes the zip code on their market emails, chances are they’re thinking of moving. Looks like it’s time to pick of the phone!
Automatically follow-up with leads. A study on the Harvard Business Review suggests that you’re 60x more likely to qualify a lead if you follow up within one hour, compared to waiting 24 hours. Set it up so all of your leads are instantly signed up to Neighborhood News.
Agent marketing automation is one of the easiest, most effective way for real estate agents to have a little extra time, with a lot less stress weighing them down.
At Moxi Works, we pride ourselves on providing the only true open platform the real estate industry has seen thus far, and having an impeccable platform integration system to go with it. We do this by providing these five key factors in our open platform, the Moxi Cloud:
All of these pieces of data and platform integrations work together, effortlessly, in one place. Our open API is the reason we’ve grown to include over 30 integrated tools and services this year and had seamless platform integration for each. Among these 30 partners are companies like DocuSign, Imprev Marketing, Loop & Tie, Offrs, Move Easy, Spacio, and many more. As an open platform provider, we strive to partner with leading companies to offer our clients a suite of best-in-class tools and services. Platform integrations range from single-sign-on (SSO) to data sharing and everything in-between. Brokerages and their agents benefit from a consistent, robust technology ecosystem and a streamlined, efficient workflow.
Spacio Launches to Major Broker in Two Days with Our Platform Integration
Curious about what it’s like to work with our team or what it would look like for your company? Spacio, for instance, was able to effortlessly and quickly take advantage of our platform integration with the Moxi Cloud, and deliver swiftly to their large brokerage client. What used to take many, many days, only took a short time and didn’t require any extra software development. We asked Melissa Kwan over at Spacio what her experience has been like working with Moxi Works – check out the video below to see what she had to say.
The Moxi Cloud is able to perform smooth platform integrations by having the data available in the cloud. This is what makes it all possible. We don’t pretend to be amazing at everything. We let our brokerages choose the best tools and services out there for their brokerage and integrate them into our platform. We want the power to stay in the brokerages hands, allowing them to curate the tools and services they think are best for their own agents. Every brokerage is unique and because of it, each needs a unique solution.
Interested in partnering with Moxi Works? Reach out to us!
We’d like to announce our new e-Magazine, built specifically for agents.
We wanted to find a way to give agents a set of monthly tools and information that helps them become more productive, more tech-savvy agents, without having to spend a lot of time to do so. Because we know they are short for time as it is. That’s why Mile 62 is made with agents in mind, period.
This e-Magazine, or real estate agent’s toolbox, will be distributed digitally on a monthly basis. Click, cruise, resume day. Your one-way ticket to being a trusted advisor!
What’s in it
Here’s what you can expect from the real estate agent’s toolbox, Mile 62:
Actionable tools and tips to increase productivity on topics such as,
- Social Media
- Marketing to your Sphere
- Client Gifting
Resources such as training videos and webinars
- Sign up for them live or watch them pre-recorded
- Watch videos in the magazine without having to click to a new tab
- Stay in the know
- Have topics always tucked away in your back pocket that you can use to showcase yourself as a trusted advisor
Expected Outcome: More knowledge, more time.
This not only helps agents be more successful with their own business, but it helps office managers stay in tune with the agent’s needs, wants, and hot discussion topics. It prepares them for the future of their brokerage and the future of the industry as a whole.
Why Mile 62?
Space is 62 miles (100 km) away. At Moxi, we truly believe the sky’s the limit and we want to help agents get there and achieve the goals they set for themselves. Every day is a good day to be a step ahead of the competition and be more knowledgeable, tech-savvy agents, that can position oneself as the go-to advisor for both clients and entire sphere. View Mile 62 while in line at Starbucks or waiting for an open house to begin! There’s no bad time to read and digest the real estate agent’s toolbox.
What would you do to reach the sky? Without further ado: Here’s the first edition of Mile 62!
Open house presentations are the new standard. Gone are the days when you could put out a plate of cookies, sit back, and reap the benefits. Markets are crazier than ever and the competition couldn’t be vaster. Stepping up your open house game will ensure success and help beat out the competition.
Here’s why you need to use open house presentations moving forward:
Better Chances of Converting
Open house presentations allow you to have a better chance of converting a buyer for your listing. How come? With automated marketing sending out your presentations to open house guests, you’re reminding them of the house they saw, and why they loved it.
Since home buying is the largest and most emotional purchase in a client’s lifetime, chances are they’re going to need constant cues and reassurance of why they should take the leap. Open house presentations remind them it’s there and allows them to fall in love with the home over and over again.
Check this page out for open house presentation samples so you can get an idea of what agents are providing to potential buyers.
There’s a new way to “Open House” and it involves killer lead generation, tying into buyer conversion. Spacio is a lead catcher tool that allows agents to host paperless open houses and turns them into powerful sales opportunities. They do this with a few simple strategies.
Simple and Paperless Lead Capture: A modern and inviting sign-in form collects visitor information and leaves them with an unforgettable first impression. Spacio verifies the accuracy of visitors’ contact information so agents can focus their efforts on the highest quality leads.
Follow Up: Spacio automatically sends a follow-up email to prospects after they sign in. Through our CMA tool, Moxi Present, the follow-up email can include agent’s customized interactive presentations for the listing. Spacio also gives agents access to all the open house leads in their Moxi Engage CRM.
Get Insights on Your Most Likely Customers: Spacio gathers social insights on visitors and surfaces the most likely customers based on the agent’s Ideal Customer Profile. Lead Quality Scores are based on the agent’s preferences and a variety of factors, including how visitors answer questions on the sign-in form and public data available on leads.
Learn more about Spacio and how they’re changing the game.
If those aren’t good enough reasons to convince you why open house presentations are a must, then how about this. Millennials, who are now the largest generation buying homes, are a different animal. In fact, millennials represented 45% of all purchase loans in 2016.
They’re not the only ones that expect more from real estate agents these days either. With articles like this coming out all the time, it’s getting more and more vital for agents to have an indisputable value proposition. Older, tech savvy generations expect more now as well, and you can make your worth obvious with your expert open house. But still, don’t forget the cookies.
RealScout Broker IQ enables you to do more deals more profitably by realizing the full potential of your buyer data.
The Moxi Works’ Moxi Cloud open platform continues to grow, now offering RealScout as an integrated vendor. RealScout empowers brokerages and agents to complete more deals and grow profits, while providing a superior consumer experience.
Now available in our Moxi Engage CRM, RealScout is the only technology solution that realizes the potential of your buyer data from start to finish. Here’s how they do it:
Step 1: Capture Consumer Attention
RealScout’s industry-best listing alert and home search experience ensures buyers stay on brokerage-controlled platforms, preventing leakage to 3rd parties.
Step 2: Collect Buyer Data
RealScout gathers and analyzes actionable data from buyer purchase behaviors, creating a real-time view into market demand.
Step 3: Capitalize on More Deals – Cash in on more deals
RealScout provides tools to use buyer data to win more listing presentations, drive more in-house transactions, and improve brokerage collaboration.
“Our new integration with RealScout into our Engage CRM is taking our open platform to the next level. Their advanced analyses of buyer data is exactly what brokerages need to become more profitable while taking advantage of buyer data that already exists,” said Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships.
RealScout BrokerIQ, their newest offering, provides brokers and seller agents the ability to get a 360-degree view of buyer demand relevant to their listings, and it enables them to market to relevant buyer agents. With Broker360, listing agents and brokers can identify buyer agents within their own brokerage with home buyer clients that match a listing, enhancing the broker’s ability to conduct more in-house deals, quickly and profitably.
RealScout allows agents to achieve market-best lead conversion, manage larger pipelines with less work, win more listings, and most importantly, close more in-house deals.
Learn more about brokerage platforms and integrated vendors here.