Farming For Real Estate – How To Effectively Use A Blog To Market To Your Farm In Real Estate

If you have been farming an area with traditional methods you have probably been trying to service an area of two to three hundred homes. You probably send direct mail pieces several times a year, offering a free home evaluation or other marketing offer. Maybe you even go door to door a few times of year. Most of the people are either not at home or do not answer the door and you leave your card or notepad on their front steps.

Welcome to the new millennium. Farming can now be done using technology that will enable you to reach thousands of homes more easily and efficiently than you could reach just a few hundred previously. One of the very best ways to do this is by starting a farming blog.

A blog is a website that lets you write, or post, as often as you wish, and deliver your message to anyone who has either subscribed to the blog’s feed or who visits the website. With the click of your mouse your message can be in front of the homeowners in your farm at a time that is convenient for them to read what you have written in your post.

It is relatively simple to start a blog. They are available for free from some places or for a fee of less than five dollars each month from others. The blogs that have a monthly or annual fee will generally offer more choices and features than the free blog services. It is up to you and you should experiment with the ones you are considering.

You will want to give your blog a name that has meaning to the people who live in your farm area. Do not use your name unless everyone in the area knows you. It is better to use a name that is relevant to the neighborhood. My farming blog is called Plum Canyon Neighbors. When people receive an email message with this subject line they know that it is important information from me about happenings in their area.

Give blogging a chance as a way to market to your farm. You will find that it is so easy and effective you will be glad that you started one.

Real Estate Investing and Marketing – How to Screen Your Leads For Success

Regardless of whether you’re after short sales or ugly houses, making money in real estate investing begins with leads. Unless you’re just posting bandit signs and waiting for the phone to ring, you should have implemented some type of screening process to get the best possible leads landing on your desk (or calling on the phone).

The better you do at setting up your screening, the more time you’ll have, the less garbage calls you’ll field (which can be painful whether you’re doing it, or paying the bill to have it done), and the more you’ll only be working with potential deals – the dream of all real estate investors.

THE RULE: All leads are not equal, and all phone calls are not leads.

A successful marketing campaign is not one that generates a ton of phone calls. That’s actually just a ton of work. Work is different than business. You’ll find in your real estate investing that some marketing campaigns, like the yellow letter (yellow letters are explained below), will produce huge response rates, but also huge numbers of unqualified calls.

But, marketing in the real estate investing world isn’t only about response rates. We have a unique product which only appeals to a small percentage of sellers. We don’t want to talk to EVERY seller, just the right ones. The good news is that you can tweak the message of high response pieces like the yellow letter to provide exactly what we want…

OUR GOAL: To get as many non-deals to filter THEMSELVES out before we ever need to talk to them. Good marketing will allow people who don’t qualify to do the initial screening for you.

QUICK SIDENOTE TO NEWBIE INVESTORS: Don’t be afraid to lose leads… they’re only leads if they are willing AND able to do business with us. If, however, you want to take every last call to work on your skills talking to sellers… no problem… that’s perfectly OK… just plan on fixing your screening when you’re ready to focus on deals.

If you’re marketing to a demographic group (a bunch of people sharing some characteristic, like having expired listings or notices of default on their mortgages), you are starting the screening process by choosing what type of sellers (this works for buyers too) you want to market to.

From there, your marketing message (which can include the “piece” your sending, like a postcard, or the message you use on a recorded message or on your squeeze pages*) needs to include language to both further the prospect along if they qualify, and to allow the non-deals to disqualify and eliminate themselves.

(* Squeeze Pages are single page websites designed to screen, collect leads, and send them to you. They’re a cornerstone of real estate investing marketing – check out the resource box below for links to my Internet Marketing resources.)

Now, lets jump in to two real-life examples from my business, the post-it note and the yellow letter.

The “UGLY” Post-it Note

One of the things people know me for has been my prolific use of post-it notes. I didn’t invent the idea, but in the real estate investing world I’ve distributed more post-it notes than anybody, and I’ve tested the heck out of them..

The original post-it I used had a very effective, but generic message. It got us TONS of phone calls, and cost a mint for the call handling. Fortunately, the margins in real estate investing are high enough that it worked despite the “breakage” (a term for waste, in this case by having unqualified sellers calling).

There were deals for sure, but also a lot of sellers just looking to save a few bucks on Realtor commissions, or who had thought they had been specifically chosen, maybe because their house was so awesome and valuable (aren’t they all?).

I was specifically looking for houses in need of work to either rehab or flip to wholesale buyers. So I needed deep discounts and poorly maintained homes. Other callers would be wasting their time and mine. Real estate investing doesn’t pay by the hour, so this is less than ideal.

So here’s what I did. I added the following language to the post-it notes, creating what I call my “UGLY” Post-it:

P.S. If you want retail value, we’re not your guys. But, if you want someone to buy your house… (a list of benefits)… then we’re your guys. Contact us now… Can’t get much more to the point. If you want retail, don’t call us.

Why waste the time? Why deal with the uncomfortableness of telling them you want to pay 50 cents on the dollar or lease option their house subject to with no money down?

THE RESULT: It cut our calls in half, with no decrease in viable leads. This was huge, because I was paying a pretty high rate to a call center to process the leads… I only wanted to pay for actual leads, so this saved me a bunch, which means my Return On Investment (ROI) shot up. If you were taking the calls yourself, you just got a big chunk of your time back. Either way, a BIG win.

The Yellow Letter

The “yellow letter” is another top-performing marketing piece for real estate investing. The original yellow letter was created by investors John & Donna MacNeil, and later promoted by investing guru Ron LeGrand and others.

If you haven’t seen it, the yellow letter is a handwritten (or handwritten-looking) letter on yellow legal pad paper. It says something like “My wife Erin and I want to buy your house. Please call us at 555-1212.” If you haven’t seen it before, the yellow letter looks real enough to be creepy. And it does get a lot of calls… like:

* Upset people with bad tempers and foul mouths * Police calling on behalf of little old ladies * A random lead or two… and * Lots of people telling you that their house is NOT for sale

So, how to fix it? Easy… I just added the following to the end of the letter (before the signature and PS): If you don’t respond then I’ll assume your house is not for sale.

THE RESULT: Again, a HUGE drop off in calls, but not in leads. The yellow letter remains a top marketing tool for us, but now we don’t need to field the 70% of the calls who wanted to tell us that their house isn’t for sale.

If you want better efficiency with your time and you want to focus more on business than busy work, then start adding language to your marketing pieces to pre-screen the sellers who you are not going to be able to (or don’t want to) work with.

8 Important Ways Homeowners Benefit From Using Real Estate Agents

Whether, you are a homeowner, who has decided, it’s time to sell his house, and relocate, or a potential buyer, seeking for the so – called, home of your dreams (the American Dream of home ownership), you will have the choice, of either, doing so, on your own, or using the services of, and being represented by a quality, experienced, professional, real estate agent. Some believe they will get a better deal, when they do so, on their own, because, there will be no, or fewer commissions. However, according to the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, homeowners, generally, net more, even after considering these, than those who do so, alone. Buyers also benefit because the right agent, has the local knowledge, to properly provide you, with relevant, professionally prepared, Competitive Market Analysis (or CMA), so you have a better idea of market value and the competition. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, examine, review, consider, and discuss, 8 important reasons, homeowners benefit from using the right real estate agents, for their specific needs, and situation.

1. Local knowledge: Although markets, and times, change, in the vast number of circumstances, you will get your best offers, in the first few weeks, after it’s listed on the market. Therefore, pricing it right, from the start, often makes the difference, in a significant, major way!

2. Marketing expertise: The right agent, will create a customized, personal marketing plan, which addresses your specific residence and property, location, etc, as well as your priorities, needs, etc. There is no, one – size – fits – all, marketing process, so using a quality real estate professional, often makes a significant difference.

3. Agent’s network: Those who try to sell their house, on their own, often discover, they fail to attract as many potential buyers, as those using a professional. This is referred to, as an agent’s network, which includes the important tool, of listing the property, on the Multiple Listing Service, etc.

4. Hold client’s hand: The process of selling one’s house, is often, a stressful one, so using a professional, who has been through it before, and has a better idea of what to expect and anticipation, eases many of these stresses. Seek someone who patiently, is willing to, hold your hand, through the entire process.

5. Explanations/ expectations/ modifications: Rather than assuming or guessing, wouldn’t it help, to have clear explanations? Many homeowners have excessive or wrong expectations, and the individual, who represents you, must have the inner strength, to explain fully, his reasoning, and strategies. In addition, modifications, in terms of marketing, strategies, and pricing, are necessary, and someone with more experience and expertise, is far better positioned to guide you properly.

6. Convenience: Do you want to have to stick around the house, to show, the property, or wouldn’t it make sense, to hire someone, to do so, professionally? Open – houses, are only a small component in the overall strategy!

7. Negotiating: Professionally negotiating, on your behalf, benefits the client! Wouldn’t a professional, do a better job, in most cases?

8. From transaction stage, through closing: Hire someone who will be there for you, from the initial listing stages, showings, marketing, service, to the transaction stage, and then, until the closing, and house transfer is completed!

These are only 8 of the advantages of hiring the right person to represent your real estate needs. Focus on your needs, interview several, and choose, the right agent, for you!

Why Real Estate SEO Is Different From Standard SEO

When it comes to real estate SEO, you might as well take everything that you’ve read about in those basic SEO guides and toss them right out the window.

Real estate SEO is a horse of a different color for many reasons, but for one in particular: whereas other websites can be optimized to bring in leads one time and then convert them into long-term clients, real estate SEO has to work over and over again, constantly bringing in new leads and converting them into new clients.

Why?

Because the average person doesn’t buy a house one day and then come back a week later to buy another!

What Makes It Unique

Sure, there is loyalty in the real estate game-when you get your clients a great deal and make everything run smoothly for them, chances are they will come back to you when they move again (or if you’re in the higher end of the market, buy a second or third home).

But let’s face facts here: that turnaround time isn’t something many real estate agents can bank on. Plus, since most agents only sell locally and most moves are made into a specific region or area, chances are that you won’t be getting a cut of your current client’s next move anyways.

That’s what makes real estate SEO so unique and vital to the industry. Without the proper techniques, you are waving an invisible, bait-less hook in a sea of fish that are being scooped up by your competition left and right-all of whom have fishing nets!

3 Things to Consider

Here are a few of the factors that complicate real estate SEO as compared to a wider-ranging business that can bank on global sales, customer loyalty and static products:

1. Local SEO is Everything for The Realtor.

While other SEO tactics can focus in on broader keywords that are related to the industry, this type of SEO has double the work. Not only do you have to rank for those standard keywords your leads will be looking for, but you also have to match for those keywords in the exact locations that you are selling or renting property.

This means double the keyword research, double the content, double the work. It means going different routes to get your rich snippets up and running, to get your local map showing on the search engine results pages-it means a lot of different work you have to put in, unless you have a system to do the work for you.

2. Content is Essential To Realtors.

With SEO for realtors, your market is constantly changing which is great considering you have to constantly bring in new leads and clients, but that translates into more content.

Real estate SEO needs more localized blogs, more pointed, helpful content, more keyword rich, sales driven webcopy and essentially more of everything content-related than standard business websites.

Why?

Because you have tons of listings and are appealing to a large audience from all over the country-or even world-trying to draw them into one very specific location. To do that, you have to cover all of your bases and to do that, you need a lot of content. Having a content management system in your hands will make things a lot easier.

3. Fresh Media and Consistent Updates Keep Up with the Changing Market.

Finally, real estate SEO is nothing without pictures of the properties. Not only do you need to have a fast load time (meaning your server has to be well-equipped, your pictures properly sized, etc.), but you also have to have alt-text for your pictures, each with relevant keywords.

The pictures should be placed in a logical order and all indexed with the search engines. This isn’t too hard to do with a few listings, but if you have 15 pictures of each property listing and 500 listings, you can see why things can start to get complicated.

Real Estate Auctions (How Do They Work)

The popularity of auction sales of real estates is increasing day by day despite the dominance of the traditional process of real estate selling. Earlier these auctions were labelled as dishonour sales done by the distressed sellers when there was no other way to liquidate a property. But this view has changed as the number of real estate auctions are increasing day by day because sellers of residential as well as commercial properties are opting to auction their property directly or turning to real estate broker houses to get top price as per market rates from the auctions.

Auction opportunity arises when a seller’s mind is auction oriented with a hope that the property will fetch a fair market price. To get a fair price, his equity position in the auctioned property should be strong. With a strong equity position in the property, he will save the cost of paying a sales commission. The time of auctioning should be perfect, when the market is soaring high. The auctioneer should also try to avoid bearing high carrying costs associated with the property.

A profitable auction opportunity is created when there is limited supply of a particular type of property whose demand in the real estate market is relatively high or the market is declining with limited buyer’s interest in this traditional sales process.

When a property is offered for auctioned, a sense of urgency arises to bring the interested parties together on a particular day and the sales process creates a sales price through competitive bidding among the participating parties.

In early days of real estate auctions only the properties in bad conditions or subjected to foreclosure were auctioned. But now sellers are shifting to real estate auctions to sell their homes. This transformation has occurred because the earlier believe that a seller will not take the risk of auctioning his property at a lesser price than its market value has changed. Real estate auctioneers are at a liberty to set a minimum price which is more than its market value that he will receive in any case. In addition by setting a minimum price, he will no longer have to bear the risk of buying back the property if it does not reach that price and will also save the cost of paying the required sales commission to the auction house.

Many real estate owners prefer to go for a direct auction instead of going to a auction houses to avoid payment of sales commission to real estate brokers which is about 8-10 percent of the property’s value. Also the property owners have absolute control on the auction sales process. This is essential when a real estate takes lot of time to sell and the owner is represented by a real estate agent or broker. Many times, it is wise for a real estate owner to auction a property not in use to cut down maintenance expenses. Real estate auction is an exciting event both for the auctioneer and the bidding parties therefore they are always well attended.

Since auction is the best way to get true market value for the real estate, the magic of an exciting real estate auction works for the marketing of these properties for sale. Onus rests on the auctioneer to create demand or an urge to make a bid in the buyers/bidders mind and to attract the attention of the potential buyers/bidders. The potential buyers of the property are then registered after it is ensured that they are financially qualified. It is to be ensured that a considerable sum is paid by the buyer as a down payment which is non refundable and both parties are willing to close the deal as soon as possible. It is necessary to make sure before the auction that the buyer is financially secure so that the seller will not have to wait for receiving the entire payment. Many times it has been found that real estate auctions remain incomplete because the buyer or successful bidder is turned down for mortgages.

The following factors should be kept in mind before a real estate is auctioned by the property owner-

. He should consult experienced and professional auction consultant who have specialized in real estate auctioning.

. It should be ensured that the marketing campaign of the auction event focused properly to have a high impact.

. Importance should be given on direct mail marketing to targeted bidders/buyers.

. The auction event should be advertised in print and audio visual media to have a greater impact. If possible the consignment should be assigned to a reputed advertising agency to make the ad campaign more attractive.

. The auction event should also be advertised through internet and email.

After the promotion or advertisement campaign is launched, the auction event takes place within a few weeks on completion of official formalities. Sellers are informed about the auction date before hand after the auctioneer is ensured that the sellers/bidders are able to meet the preset terms and conditions laid down by him.

Following are the advantages of real estate auctions for the seller-

. The property owner is able to make a quick liquidation of their property.

. The auction is successful in creating a healthy competition among the bidders.

. Their property is exposed to a wide range of prospects.

. Closing is accelerated.

.The sellers are well aware about the date and time when the property will be sold.

. Auctions are successful in considerably bringing down the amount of time a property is on the market for sale.

. Auction gets rid of number of out of the blue events related to property sales.

. Auction reduces the burden of negotiation process from the sellers mind. He is able to sell the property according to the terms and conditions set by him.

. In contrast to conventional sales processes where it is mandatory for the property owner to make necessary improvements and renovations to get a fair price, these properties are auctioned on as-is-where-is basis. Potential buyers receive enough time to make a decision on whether to make a bid or not after having a good look at the property to be auctioned. Therefore it is sold with no emergency and the seller gains from it.

The buyer also enjoys innumerable advantages from real estate auctions, they are-

. He can set his own purchase price.

. He purchases the property at a fair market price.

. He does not have to make long negotiations or bargains to finalize a deal.

. Auction reduces the time to purchase a property.

. He will not have to worry about emergencies because purchasing and closing dates are known to him beforehand.

. Buyers are well aware that sellers are predetermined to sell.