5 Inexpensive Tools for Your Real Estate Business

Being a real estate agent has its perks. You’re a business owner, you make your own hours and set your own rules. You also wear a lot of hats — accountant, marketing, HR, and more. Fortunately it’s easier than ever to keep your business (and life) organized. Check out these 5 inexpensive tools for your real estate business.


Establishing a personal brand is a great way to stand out in a crowded market. Your business card, yard signs, and email signature all offer a way to convey information about yourself to potential clients or associates and Canva helps even the most unskilled to create beautiful designs. Canva offers many real estate-specific templates to get you started and there is a free plan available.


If you want to take your business to the next level, consider your own website. You can further your brand, showcase your local market expertise, and collect prospect information all from a personal website. While there are a lot of options for inexpensive websites, WordPress (which powers somewhere around 30% of all pages on the internet) is a great option.

WordPress sites are endlessly customizable and offer many plugins making it easy to have a well-designed website without needing to know a programming language. WordPress itself is free and open source, but you will need to purchase website hosting and a domain name to get started.


Real estate pros know homes look best on sunny days, but unfortunately not every day has picture perfect weather. Thankfully there’s no need to wait around for sunny days with BoxBrownie. The service uses photo editing technology to improve and alter real estate photos. This can be anything from replacing the sky to virtually staging a room.

Interested in a more DIY approach to photo editing? Check out the mobile-only app Pixaloop. This very inexpensive app allows you to replace sky, animate water, or add other little touches and works great for your social media pages.


Real estate is notorious for the amount of paperwork required, but Docusign looks to change that. DocuSign has been a vital business tool for many REALTORS® throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as they offer a way to electronically send documents for signature. The program doesn’t require recipients to have any special software, making it easy to send, sign, and return contracts. Docusign offers monthly plans from just $10 and is available for computers or as a mobile app.


There’s a lot in real estate that can feel like a gamble. You want to price a property high enough to get the most value for your client, but you don’t want to price it too steeply that you don’t receive competitive offers. RealtyHive time-limited events are a great way to make sure you get the absolute most money for your client in a risk-free way. Time-limited events are a soft auction approach that allows sellers to remain in full control of the final sales price while opening up the pool of buyers. RealtyHive offers programs that are 100% success-based — meaning you only pay if your property sells.

Fern Court, Woodlands, Montserrat

Fern Court • Montserrat: A Case Study

In the summer of 2019, a private seller came to RealtyHive with an interesting property. Named Fern Court and located in the Woodlands area of Montserrat, the seller had inherited the property and had been trying to sell it for years.

Not many people know about the idyllic island of Montserrat. Located in the Caribbean island chain called the Lesser Antilles, this small island is just 10 miles long, 7 miles wide and home to nearly 5,000 people. Montserrat has been nicknamed “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” for it’s resemblance to coastal Ireland, but unlike Ireland there are no direct flights from the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom to the smaller island nation.

In 1995, the Soufrière Hills volcano, located in southern central region of the island became active and began to erupt. This eruption eventually led to the capital city of Plymouth being covered in more than 39 feet of mud and debris. The seismic and volcanic activity continued for years destroying the island’s airport and ravaging the tourism industry. The most recent period sent pyroclastic flows down several sides of the mountain from November 2009 to February 2010.

This volcanic volatility led to the creation of the exclusion zone encompassing the entire southern half of the island. A variety of settlements were abandoned either by the eruption of 1995 or the flows of 1997 and still more were evacuated and later resettled. Among these is Woodlands.

So here we have a small, hard to reach island with recent volcanic activity and a seller who needs to sell a property worth several hundred thousands of dollars. Challenge accepted. With a few pictures and videos from the on-island agent partner, RealtyHive was able to begin marketing the property.

By the time Fall 2019 rolled around, Fern Court had a verbally accepted offer, but as anyone who has lived in the Caribbean can tell you, things down there tend to happen on island time. By Winter 2019, the sellers had a written contract and in early 2020, the property had closed!

auction house for sale

Leveraging the Power of Auctions

Sometimes, when you’re ready to make a change, you’re ready right now. Not next month or next year. Now. If changing up your location is part of the plan, there can be a lot to coordinate. You’ve got to pack up your belongings, find a new home for them (and you!), and say “goodbye” to your former home. If you’re a renter, this can be a fairly easy process, but if you own your current home, things get more complex.

To make this process as smooth as possible, it’s a good idea to find a new home before letting go of your old one, but this can be difficult. Not only does that place a financial burden of paying for two households, it also leads to the headache of maintaining two homes. There’s grass to be cut or snow to be mowed. There’s insurance needed on both and what if something goes wrong on the house you’re planning to sell? Will you be stuck with a home for even longer than you wanted? Will it cost you even more than you expected?

Those were the questions being faced by one couple of homeowners when they engaged with RealtyHive. They had decided to trade the harsh Wisconsin winters for a life of nearly year-round 70 degree days by relocating and retiring in Missouri. After moving their belongings down to their new home, it was time to sell their house.

At first, the couple decided to try to sell their home traditionally. They had heard that the market was “hot” and were hoping for a quick turnaround. Their 1920s home was beautiful and well maintained making it a popular property for showings, however, some of the original features created a sticking point when home inspection time came around. Without working through updates or contingencies, it looked like the home would have to sit on the market for a bit longer.

It was then that the couple’s agent offered the suggestion to utilize the RealtyHive auction platform. The couple talked with a RealtyHive representative who explained the process and how the program works, including that many properties sell prior to an auction event. After a bit of discussion, they called their agent and told him to draft the papers; they were ready to see their home sell.

While the RealtyHive team began to work on the backend, the agent called the other local agents who had shown the property to potential buyers letting them know the home would soon be coming to the auction platform and that if their clients were interested, time was of the essence.

In less than a day, one of the agents had submitted an offer to purchase the property as-is without and contingency. This agent’s clients had seen the home previously and continued to look at others but kept coming back to the beauty and charm of this home. The sellers breathed a sigh of relief knowing they would not have to worry about this home while they were away during the next Wisconsin winter.

For agents and sellers looking for a way to create excitement, interest, and action on a property, RealtyHive can be an invaluable tool. The platform brings motivated buyers and sellers together while allowing sellers to retain control and amplifying the existing marketing. To learn more about how to get your property on the RealtyHive marketplace, click here.

Mission Impossible: Creating Your Best Chance to Sell Tough Listings

Some listings seem to almost sell themselves. If you’ve got a charming, reasonably priced 3 bedroom ranch it’s likely to get multiple offers in the first day on the MLS with how strong the market is in most places, but what about the other listings? While selling a defunct multi-million dollar warehouse or an enormous and pricey swath of development land can be done, these are tough listings to sell. But it can be done. These properties have sold and do sell, so the question is, when you have these types of listings, what’s the best way to increase your chance of selling?

Pictures are Important
While many agents now understand the importance of quality photography in our increasingly visual society, many tend to forget that this also applies to properties that aren’t as photogenic. Unlike homebuyers, prospective commercial and development property owners probably won’t make their decision based on a few photos, but it will help them to see the potential in the property. If the property is asking a substantial price, the least that should be done is high-quality photography to help buyers clearly understand what is for sale and what the general condition is. The photos don’t need to be limited to the exact bounds of the property either. If the location of a property is its strongest attribute, show it off! Just make sure that it is made clear what is for sale and what is providing context.

Keyword, Keyword, Keyword
Many sites that show listings are able to be searched via keywords so it’s important to include keywords into your listing description. “Too many features to mention!” will not only not help potential buyers find the property, it also tends to turn off buyers at the initial stages of searching because it requires an additional step (contacting the agent) to find the information they’re looking for. While it’s not necessary to put every. last. detail. into the listing description, it is important that all key and unique features are mentioned. Again, keep in mind that the local area or nearby attractions can be added to provide context and enhance the ability to be found.

Partner Up
Selling a tricky listing calls for pulling out all the stops. One of the best ways to increase the likelihood a property will sell is to have a partner to help you market the listing. Oftentimes these marketing firms are able to get better pricing than individual agents because of the volume they purchase meaning they have more (and different) tool available than individual agents. Look for companies that will use your information on the listing (rather than mask it or replace it with their own) to increase your personal brand while also exposing your property to a larger audience.

Depending on the disposition of the property sellers, it may also be a wise choice to incorporate range pricing and/or auction events (sometimes called time-limited or marketing events) to create more buzz around the property. These events can help push potential buyers who are sitting on the sideline into the game as well as pull in interested buyers in other prices ranges due to the range pricing.

These tactics don’t guarantee a sale by any means, but they will help to increase exposure and increase the likelihood of a sale. To see an example of how good photography, a keyword-rich listing description, and an auction platform can lead to improved opportunities to sell click here!

#winwithrealtyhive: Northwoods Luxury

While many homes, especially starter homes, can fly off the market in a matter of days (sometimes hours!), others take a little longer. In fact, sometimes selling a home is a years-long process. Homes that are farther away from cities, bigger or more luxurious than average, or higher priced than other homes on the local market, may take awhile.

One of the recent RealtyHive success stories takes place under these exact conditions. Located only 20 minutes from the heart of Green Bay, Wisconsin was an immaculate home set on nearly 6 acres. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, a large outbuilding added to the appeal, and crowing this jewel was a large indoor, in-ground pool—a truly unique feature in this market.

The home had been purchased at the depths of the Great Recession in 2009 for more than $60,000 less than the tax-appraised value at the time and at an impressive discount from what the home was worth nearly a decade before.

In 2011, the home was traditionally listed with a local real estate agent for $599,900– more than double the purchase price only two years prior. This price and the tactics used by the agent at the time failed to entice any buyers and the price was reduced to $549,900. This reduction failed to bring any legitimate offers to the table and the homeowners decided to sit on their investment for a bit longer.

By 2016, the real estate market how almost entirely rebounded from the lows of 2009, but the luxury home market in the northeastern Wisconsin area was still sluggish. The home was again listed, this time with a different real estate firm and agent, for $649,900. After a review period on the market with little to no activity, the price was lowered to $599,900. This listing then expired and a sale wasn’t pursued any farther that year. It seemed as though the elusive $600,000 list price would not be reached.

In 2017, the homeowners were again looking to sell their home, but this time they weren’t interested in having the assistance of a real agent or adding to their home to the MLS. It was then that they heard of RealtyHive and decided to try it out.

Near the end of the year, the home was added to the RealtyHive marketplace– a time when sales tend to slow down thanks to the blustery cold of Wisconsin winters and hustle and bustle of the holidays. While there was some interest, it was the beginning of 2018 when the excitement began. Thanks to the exposure brought by the RealtyHive marketplace an offer was accepted. The final sales price? $625,000! In the many years of being on and off the market, this accepted sales price was higher than many agents had listed it at and was reached in less than 6 months on the RealtyHive platform.

To learn more about how the RealtyHive platform can help you sell your for sale by owner home, click here.

market lake

#WinWithRealtyHive: Selling in Stiles

Everyone in real estate is talking about how hot the market is. In many areas, single-family homes can barely hit the MLS before an accepted offer is reached, but that isn’t always the case. In areas with more sellers than buyers, selling a home can take weeks or months if not years.

That’s what happened to one couple in Northern Wisconsin. They custom built their home in 2003 on a nice parcel of waterfront land. In Wisconsin, waterfront property is easier to find than in other states, however, it does still demand a premium price. Knowing this, the couple held on to their investment until January 2015 when they felt it was time to sell.

They enlisted the help of a local real estate agent in January 2015, but after 163 days the listing expired and was promptly renewed by another agent from a different firm. The next agent had the home on the market for 123 days and the sellers decided to hold off renewing the property listing for the holidays. In this area, at this time the average property only took 116 days to sell so the sellers were beginning to get anxious.

In February 2016, they chose a local “celebrity” agent to represent their home. This agent was well-known thanks to an impressive marketing presence, but still, after 156 days on the market, the home did not sell.

Throughout this process, the sellers and their agents had been lowering the sale price. While any real estate agent worth their commission will pull information on comparable homes and help properly price a home, sometimes it can be hard. There are differences in layout, views, upgrades and more that can make a substantial difference in what a buyer is willing to pay. Still, having an improperly priced home can not only make for a difficult sale outright, it can further harm the ability to sell even with price reductions because of the unattractively high number of days on the market.

After more than one year off the market, the sellers decided to try once more to sell their home. They enlisted the help of Alex Ryczek, a Realtor® with to help. In addition to making sure the home was properly positioned to sell with staging and professional photos, Alex encouraged the seller to try something new: using the RealtyHive platform to market and sell their property.

The RealtyHive event marketing platform allowed Alex and the sellers to expose the property to a global audience in addition to having range pricing displayed. Buyers who may have been deterred from making an offer too far from the original list price were encouraged to submit offers by seeing this range pricing and it helped the sellers realize the true market value of their home.

In total the home was listed for 442 days before it was added to the RealtyHive platform. After that, it only took 99 days to receive an accepted offer that met the sellers’ needs.

Do you have a property that could benefit from the RealtyHive platform? Learn more by click here!

hands with laptops and papers

#WinWithRealtyHive: Avoiding the Price Reduction Talk

The Endowment Effect, sometimes called the Ownership Effect, is a psychological and behavioral economics principle that says people attribute a higher value to things they own simply because they own them. An excellent example of this effect in action is at rummage or yard sales. Instead of pricing something according to the actual market value an item may have, the item is instead priced higher simply because of the attachment the owner has to it.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard Thaler teamed up with two co-authors in a now-famous experiment detailing this exact phenomenon. In the experiment, the researchers gave half of a group of students a coffee mug, while the others were given pens, and then opened a market in mugs. Students who were randomly given the mugs regarded them as twice as valuable as those who did not get a mug.

As a real estate agent, it’s an agent’s job to help clients get the best price for their home. Understanding the psychology behind why people act and believe as they do can help to explain why a homeowner believes that their outdated home is worth more than it really is, but it doesn’t make the conversation about price reductions any easier.

In cases where the property has been on the market for a long period of time or is just slightly in a higher price bracket for search results, it might be easy to suggest a price reduction to an owner, but when that’s not the case, what’s a person to do?

One of the ways to avoid this difficult discussion is to introduce the seller to the concept of range pricing in an auction setting. This range pricing can help introduce a lower price point for the listing without making the owner feel as though they are losing out. With a suggested opening bid at or slightly below the actual fair market value, the listing will be more attractive to more potential buyers, the actual market value will be established during the auction, and in a reserve auction, the seller still retains control of whether they choose to complete the transaction. If they choose to sell to the highest bidder, it’s a win for everyone, but if they don’t this can lead to an easier discussion about proper pricing and current market values.

Want to learn more about how you can use the RealtyHive platform to avoid price reductions for your clients? Learn more here!

snowy cabin in the woods

How to Sell Your Home in a Land Far, Far Away

Once upon a time in a land far, far away a lovely family owned a lovely piece of land in the lovely woods. The family built themselves a small cottage where they enjoyed spending their weekends and summers, and although there was no lake for swimming or indoor plumbing, it was their cottage and they loved it.

Over the span of years, the visits grew fewer and farther between. The cottage the family once loved and cherished for the privacy of the surrounding woods now became a hassle that they had to remember to maintain. So the family talked it over and decided the best thing to do would be to sell their beloved cottage, to pass it on to another family to love and make memories. They stuck a “For Sale” sign in the yard of their cottage and waited for a call.

And waited.

And waited.

And as it turned out, the privacy and solitude that made their cottage such a wonderful place to escape to is the same thing that made it nearly impossible to sell. With so little traffic near their cottage, the home just sat and sat and sat.

If this sounds less like a fairytale and more like trying to sell your deep-in-the-sticks, backwoods property, there are a few things you should try.

One of the real estate rules of thumb is that everything will sell eventually or at a low enough price, but that’s not really an appealing thing to hear when it’s your property and your money. So how can you sell your out-of-the-way home?

man standing on porch of remote cabin

Consider Using an Agent
Using a real estate agent could be your best bet for a number of reasons, especially if you don’t live nearby. Working with an agent who specializes in selling real estate in the area means that you won’t have to travel to meet with potential buyers to show them the property. It also means that you may be able to get more money for your property as agents have access to information that helps them price homes and land properly. An agent will also save you the headache (and potential heartache) that can come with a complicated real estate deal.

remote cabin in the woods

Post on Social Media Groups
These days there’s a group for just about everything on Facebook. If you’ve got a nice piece of vacant land, there’s probably a hunter’s group with members who would be interested. Have a cabin on a lake? Try adding it to a resale group for towns within a two hour radius. Have a heap-o-junk property that fell into your lap? See if an investor’s group is looking for their next deal. Social media has made the world much smaller and it’s easier than ever to connect with those who might be interested in what you’ve got!

kids at a laptop

Try Something New
The age of the Internet has had incredible power. If you’d rather not work with an agent or aren’t into the idea of posting on social media, there are a variety of real estate-specific websites that will show your property for little to no cost. Some of these websites are designed to just work as a commercial, blasting out property information to anyone who is looking, while others will help you through the sales process and others will offer to buy your home right then and there. If you’re looking for the biggest impact-for-money, consider a reserve auction. This type of auction allows sellers to retain control, only parting with the property if an acceptable bid is placed meaning you can choose to sell or hold, depending on the situation. To learn more about how real estate auctions work, click here.