The Benefits of using Real Estate Software CRM

For many agents, the challenge is not getting a lead or prospect, but how to continually cultivate that lead until they are ready to buy or sell. It is typical for a prospect to make an initial contact well before they are able to make a purchase or sell their home.

They might be just testing the waters, looking for information on market conditions. Perhaps their credit has been damaged and they need to wait a few months before buying. In either case, it is critical to keep a constant dialogue with your Prospect. When your prospect is ready sell or buy, you need to be the one REALTOR that they think of. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you give them the impression that you are well organized, diligent and persistent. These traits are well respected and appreciated.

There are several ways of doing this and the mostly involve taking advantage of Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) to track all your prospects and where each of them are in in the sale pipeline. A good Real Estate Software product can do many things; just a few are listed below.

You can send a sequence of time-released Emails (usually called a DRIP sequence) that has been specially calibrated for the specific (for example, new home buyer, or a seller who needs to do a short-sale). Real Estate Software products will have pre-written sequences available that you can use without modification of you can tweak them for your own specific needs. DRIP sequences typically are automatically sent, so the only work is in setting them up initially.

A second way of keeping your name in the mind of your Prospect is to send a monthly newsletter containing current market conditions such as interest rates, days on market and houses sold. Local current information is valuable, and as an expert on a specific neighborhood, you are in a fantastic position to provide that expertise. When it comes time to buy or sell, you have positioned yourself as an expert and this increases your ability to be a part of that deal.

Don’t underestimate the value of Christmas cards. Everyone likes to get a card in the mail around Christmas time. Make sure to send Christmas cards to everyone you know. You don’t need to be pushy – just make sure that they know that you are still selling real estate and are still an expert in the specific neighborhood(s) that you have staked out. An added benefit is that returned cards will give you information on who has moved. If they didn’t use you to sell their house and they moved, then take them off your list.

Finally, there’s nothing better than a phone call in making a cold lead heat up. A good Realtor Software product will have the ability to track past phone calls and schedule future phone calls. Finally, it will allow you to build your own call list, so you can efficiently make follow-up calls. Don’t underestimate the power of the phone call. You can easily evaluate the odds of a prospect turning into a sale with a phone conversation, and that is simply not possible using email or a Christmas card.

A good Real Estate Software program can do so much more, but these four ideas are good places to start.

A Move-In Checklist

Moving into a new apartment can be an exciting time. A fresh start for your living situation can be just what you need to jump start long put off projects for home decor and organization. Before you dive straight in, there are a few things that will guarantee a smoother move and a higher possibility of getting your deposit back at the end of the year.

Survey the Damages

Unless it’s a brand new apartment community, no apartment will be without its little dents and dings. Really inspect the areas of your apartment that can be deposit thieves, like carpeting, window screens and baseboards. If you find tears, snags, scrapes or cracks, be sure to thoroughly document their locations. If it helps, take pictures of all of the existing damage you discover. These can accompany your damage report so the damages can’t be blamed on you later. Don’t forget to check all of the plumbing in your new apartment. Spotting leaks, running toilets or poor water pressure can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Reporting these problems early on will lead to speedy repairs. This can be especially helpful if your water payment isn’t included in your rent.

Clean

The apartment community will have cleaned your apartment before your arrival, but it’s always a good idea to give your new place some extra attention before moving in your furniture. We’re not talking spring-cleaning style scrubbing. Just a quick once-over with the vacuum and wipe down of countertops and cabinets will do. Windows and sliding doors may accumulate fingerprints throughout the move, so leave them and your Windex alone until after your furniture is in place.

Organize Electronics

After a long day of moving, you’ll probably want to kick back and watch TV or surf the Web. Most moves can take up to a week to really get everything in place. Focus on setting up your television and computer on day one. If you need to mount your TV, be ready with all of the tools and equipment you will need to avoid having to take multiple trips to the store. When you plug everything in, make it easier on yourself by keeping your wires neat. Zip ties are an easy and inexpensive way to bundle cables and wires together neatly.

Change Your Address

If you haven’t done it yet, hop onto your computer and head to an online source for changing your address, like this one with the U.S. Postal Service. The last thing you need after paying deposits and rent is to be slammed with late fees due to bills that never came to your mailbox.

With these little tasks out of the way, you can dedicate your time and efforts to decorating and organizing your new apartment home. Switch on some HGTV, browse for ideas on Pinterest or just let the chips (and furniture) fall where they may. In no time, your apartment will be uniquely you, and a place to call home!

10 Home-Buying Tricks for a Crazy Market

Can buyers do well for themselves in a sellers market?

Currently, a number of big metro areas like Austin and Houston are experiencing a sellers market. The higher prices, low inventory, and heavy competition between buyers can understandably make buyers reluctant to try to purchase a home now.

But just because it’s a sellers market, doesn’t mean that there aren’t strategies you can use to find a beautiful house within your budget. The following are 10 home-buying tricks for a crazy market:

1) Mail homeowners a letter, even if their home isn’t on the market. If you see a home you really like, you may want to take the chance of mailing a letter to the homeowners, introducing yourself politely and expressing appreciation of their home and your willingness to purchase it. Be sure you’re coming across as professional, courteous and trustworthy. Some homeowners will ignore such a letter, but there’s a chance that others will get back to you if they’ve been thinking about selling their home.

2) Develop a knowledge of the area. If you already live in the vicinity, you may have an easier time familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood you want to live in. For example, you can find out if there are any empty-nesters or senior citizens who are thinking of selling, and you can hear other information through word-of-mouth. If you live too far away, it’s especially important to have an agent on your side who knows the area inside-out.

3) Look into pre-market listings. One example is Zillow’s Make Me Move list. There’s of course no guarantee that you’ll find a home by doing this; just because a home appears on this kind of list, doesn’t mean that it will available for sale soon (and owners may always change their mind about selling). But maybe you will spot an opportunity.

4) Look into For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings. FSBO listings involve homeowners who are trying to sell their home without an agent. If you go this route, you may find some homes at relatively lower prices, though this isn’t a guarantee. Also, you’ll need to make sure the seller is on the up-and-up with all disclosures that need to be made.

5) Look into expired listings or listings that have been withdrawn. There are a number of reasons for why the listing for a home expires. Checking out these listings might be a good way to find out about homes that owners would still like to sell.

6) Don’t overlook estate sales. You might find out about estate sales in the area and attempt to reach out to the parties involved before they list the property.

7) As much as possible, get everything prepared. Check that your credit is good and that you have the money you need. Try to get pre-approval for a mortgage. Define your limits, including the maximum you’d be willing to hand over for a down payment and what you’d be willing to negotiate on. In a sellers market, homes can get sold extremely quickly. If you find a home you like, you want to be ready to pounce.

How real estate is like marriage

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, if you’re buying or selling a house in Orange County today, you’re likely working with a Realtor. What might not be so obvious is that working with a Realtor is more like a marriage than you might think.

If you have any doubt at all, take a look at these five stages of the buyer/seller-Realtor relationship and the similarities to courting behavior leading to a committed relationship.

1. Courting: What usually begins a relationship is a combination of attraction, the time and effort to get to know one another, and the sacrifice of time away from other people and distractions to spend time together.

When it comes to how you begin a relationship with a Realtor, it’s no different. It starts with you toying with the idea of buying or selling. Then, you scour the Internet – isn’t Realtor.com the equivalent to Match.com? It may begin with an attraction to a photo of a house and a deliriously compelling description, combined with the figures – the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage. You like the look of the person next to the photo of the house, so you send an email or make a phone call. No commitments from either side. No contracts. Just testing the waters. How fast did she call back? Did she answer my text?

2. Dating exclusively: This is the next step in a relationship that is going well. You make a choice to be exclusive. No more going back to the pond to pick another partner. You funnel all of your attention on that one person. When you see a sign on a house, you don’t call the number on the sign, you call your Realtor to get the scoop. When you’re at an open house, you let the Realtor know you are already in a relationship with another Realtor. An open house is so much like a singles bar. But that’s another story.

3. Engaged to be married: Much like dating exclusively, except now there’s an intent to tie the knot. Now you go into the open house with a stack of your Realtor’s cards – an outward and visible sign of your intent to be loyal to her and her alone. A shield as big as a 3-carat solitaire that you’ve made a choice and you’re sticking with it. You disconnect your automatic email updates from the four other Realtors you were hanging out with before. And you put all of your effort into planning for the big event: buying a house, selling your house, or both concurrently.

4. Marriage: This is the legal consummation of your intent to be loyal to one another, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, ’til death do you part. You’ve signed a listing contract, you’ve signed a purchase contract, and you’re loyal to one another. You consult your Realtor exclusively – you’re officially on the same team and working side by side.

5. Cheating: With the national divorce rate in the 50 percent range, do you have any doubt that there’s some hanky panky that goes on in real estate relationships, too? You slip up and call another Realtor whose name and photo you saw on Zillow. You fall under the spell of the luscious pocket listing the Realtor at the open house dangles in front of your eyes in a hypnotic motion. The temptation was too much for you to resist, and you’re suddenly in someone else’s car.

Consider being loyal to your Realtor once you’ve made the initial commitment. Your relationship only has to last as long as it takes to complete the purchase or sale. Then you’re free to start dating again.for more details please click this link Whittier Real Estate

HARP 2.0 – A Saving Grace For Underwater Homeowners

Over the years, especially since 2008, most governments sought to ease the pressure of the economic downturn in their respective states. The result was a multitude of policy decisions that were intended to work towards the benefit of the common man. On the other hand, few of these plans actually became as successful as the HARP 2.0 program – a Federal program instituted by the Obama Administration. The HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) 2.0 program is intended to help homeowners that are underwater on their mortgage. By “help” we mean that homeowners underwater on their mortgage can actually refinance their home. As such, the program not only helps the average homeowner, but also the financial institutions that gave out the loans in the first place as homeowners will have less of a chance to default on their payment.

Clarifications of the HARP 2 Program

The HARP loans program has some basic parameters that one should familiarize themselves with when applying:

• Your loans must have been purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by May 31, 2009. (Meaning if you acquired your home after 5/31/09, you are not eligible for HARP 2).

• You can have an unlimited Loan to Value (LTV) with HARP 2.0. This means can owe $200K and your home could have a value of $100K and you would still quality.

• Waiving the fees for borrowers that choose to take on shorter term mortgages during the refinance (some people do wish to go from a 30 Year Fixed to a 20 Year Fixed, for instance)

• To qualify, borrowers must be current on their mortgage for the last 6 months, and have no more than one late payment over the past year. If you have more than one late payment, you may need to wait and catch up until you meet the HARP requirements.

• New appraisals may not be needed to qualify – save up to $400 in most cases on an appraisal!

History of HARP

The HARP program was created in 2009, right after the economic crunch in 2008. This program was specifically made to cater to people having a loan-to-value ratio (LTV) exceeding 80% to have the ability to refinance without facing the pressure of paying for mortgage insurance. During the start of this only those people having an LTV less than of 105% were allowed to qualify. However, in that same year, the figures were revised and the HARP 2 refinance program was expanded to also cater for those people having an LTV of up to 125%. This was seen as a failure and thus HARP 2 was born. The biggest change is obviously the unlimited LTV as opposed to the 125% LTV.

There is now talk of HARP 3 which would extend the ability to refinance to all underwater homeowners. So even if you don’t have a Freddie or Fannie loan, you would still be able to refinance. This would be a home run for America if this program is passed.

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