handing over rent keys

5 Reasons to Rent Instead of Rushing to Buy

Home shopping can be an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time. There are a lot of important decisions to be made and those choices can impact you and your family for many years to come. Is this the right house? Are we getting a fair deal? Are we making the right choice?

In a highly competitive housing market, there can be huge disadvantages to taking the time to carefully consider your decision. Wait to submit the offer? Lose the house. Have to sell your house before you can buy? You might get lucky, maybe not. It may seem counterintuitive to go from homeownership to renting, just to go back owning again, but here’s why you may want to consider renting instead of rushing.  

5 Reasons to Rent Instead of Rushing to Buy

       1). You’ll know your budget

A huge advantage to selling your home before you buy a new one is that you’ll know exactly what you’re working with in terms of finances. Planning on upsizing? You’ll want to know how much of a price increase you can afford. Downsizing? You’ll need to consider what to do with the profits of your sale. Either way, it’s much easier to do this math when you know what you’re concretely working with.

        2). You’ll be first in line

Without having a home of your own to sell before buying a new one, you are able to submit a more enticing offer to sellers, especially those looking for a quick close. This free-and-clear method, paired with knowing your budget, means that you will be ready to act on any home that interests you and work on your own timeframe.

       3). You can take advantage of the hot market

Real estate prices are at an all-time high in a lot of places, but experts debate how long this streak will last. Now may be the time for you to sell at a premium, but that doesn’t mean you want to buy at a premium, either. Rent just until you find the right deal.

       4). Buying a fixer-upper is a little easier

If you’ve already found a place to rent and you’re getting accustomed to your new temporary digs, it might not be such a stretch for you to imagine staying a little longer. Instead of buying a more expensive move-in ready home, you make the option of a reno project a little more palatable. After all, you just moved in, what’s another month or two– especially if it’ll shave a few years off your mortgage.

       5). You may get to remember the joys of renting

Building amenities are one of the truly great things about rental life and can be a great upside to renting between homes. From included utilities to complementary gyms or community pools, these features can definitely help to smooth the transition.

Want to find your perfect home from motivated sellers who want to see your offer? Check out the properties in our next upcoming time-limited event by clicking here!

Things Your Real Estate Agent Can’t Tell You

5 things agents can’t tell you (and how to find out yourself)

Using a real estate agent is a great way to avoid many of the headaches (and potential heartaches!) associated with buying or selling a home. As part of their services they can help you appropriately price your home, negotiate on your behalf, and their access to an MLS –an exclusive network of property listings– can help you sell your home or find the right one before the general public ever sees it. But, as licensed professionals, there are some things that your agent can’t tell you.

Not won’t tell you, but legally or ethically, I’m-sorry-but-I-really-cannot-tell-you.

Now that doesn’t mean you’re on your own and just have to hope for the best, though. For that information, you’re going to have to do some of the digging yourself. Here are the 5 surprising things your real estate agent can’t tell you.

“This area is great for young families!”

This one seems so innocent and well-intentioned, but is actually illegal! Maybe you passed a park on the way to the home or noticed the nearby elementary school, but whether you’re looking to live in an area where your kids can roam with the neighbors or you’re trying to avoid children altogether, your agent isn’t allowed to tell you who lives in the area.

Reasoning: Under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, family structure is a protected class meaning a comment like this could dissuade older couples or a single party from the property, making it illegal.

How to find your answers: If driving through the area isn’t an option, Google maps is one of the best tools for doing neighborhood recon. Simply type in the address of the property you’re looking at and check out the area you’re interested in. Are there parks and schools nearby or is it in a more industrial area? Is the area filled with side streets and cul de sacs or is it on one of the main roads? Depending on what you’re looking for you may want to switch your search based on what you see.

“You don’t want to live in that area. That’s where the [nationality, gender, age group] live!”

In addition to not telling you where to live based on the demographics, your agent also cannot tell you not to live somewhere because of the people in the neighborhood.

Reasoning: As mentioned above, the Fair Housing Act prevents any discriminatory statements based on protected classes.

How to find your answers: You can find out more about the general demographics of an area by checking out the US Census Bureau’s website. This tool, with most recent studies being from 2016 can tell you the age, sex, and race of the population down to a zip code level.

“Are you sure you’re interested in that area? It’s pretty high crime.”

While you might think that an agent saying this is just looking out for you, this is another no-no statement. Crime statistics are public information, but because crime rates often lead to conclusions about the racial makeup of an area, your agent is best protected by letting you find your own conclusions.

Reasoning: Race is a protected class under the Fair Housing Act and whether it’s the intention or not, discussing the crime rate of a particular area could lead to assumptions about the racial makeup of that area.

How to find your answers: If finding out about crime in an area is of particular interest to you there are plenty of free sources to look. The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) offers a location-based lookup that links the data from public state, territorial, and tribal sex offender websites. To find incident-level crime lookup, you may have to check a couple of website as not every jurisdiction reports to every available site. Here are some good ones to start with: MyNeighborhoodUpdate, CrimeReports, SpotCrime, and NeighborhoodWatchDog. You can also check the website of the local police station as they may provide a link to the crime mapping site they use.

Buying home is an emotional time. It’s a big investment with a lot on the line, but having an agent you trust can make all the difference. Ready to take the leap and connect with a top agent? Check out Cashifyd, a program offered by RealtyHive that connects you with top local agents who offer cash back incentives when you buy or sell your home.

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Event Marketing: A New Tool for the Trade

Read this next sentence and tell me if it sounds familiar. Lately, when you get a listing for a modestly-sized, fairly priced home and before you know it you get SO much interest, you can barely add it to your MLS before you start receiving offers– some even above list price. But when it comes to your commercial listings, vacation homes, or even some residential properties, for whatever reason, some properties just sit. And sit. And sit. Your sellers start to get restless, your listing expiration is coming up, and you’ve already considered a price reduction. What are you to do? Sure, almost everything will sell if you wait long enough, but that’s not the strategy that will make your sellers happy, after all, they’re ready to sell, not wait for some time in the eventual future. This is where event marketing can help.

What is event marketing?

Event marketing is an online auction marketing strategy that helps properties rise above the noise and clutter of traditionally marketed listings and grab the attention of potential buyers. Once an interested buyer becomes aware of the property, a genuine sense of urgency develops due to the auction format. Since there is a specific time and date assigned to obtain this “deal”, buyers have to act. This sense of urgency typically creates a very competitive bidding environment. Whether it’s at the online event or at any time prior to the event. In many cases, properties can sell prior to the event if the potential buyer’s offered “pre-auction” bid entices the seller to remove the property prior to the scheduled online event.

Advantages of Event Marketing for Real Estate

Increased exposure on a global level

It used to be that home buyers usually lived near the area they were buying. With the advent of telecommuting and increased globalization, buyers can come from anywhere in the world these days. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, foreign buyers closed on $135 billion worth of residential US real estate between April 2016 and March 2017. This is why online marketing is so important. Sure, a potential buyer could find your listing from your local MLS’s website, but why leave it to that? Using an event marketing platform exposes your property to a global audience, at no cost to you, the agent. Additionally, you can use it to generate more interest (and more offers) on your listing from all over the world.

Alternative to Price Reduction

One of the hardest subjects to tackle with your sellers has got to be the price reduction talk. Your sellers are emotionally and financially invested in their home. For this reason, it can be hard to convince them that it is not worth the price they’d like to ask for it–especially if they’re looking to sell quickly. While having hard facts can help with this discussion, for example talking them through what similar homes in their area have recently sold for, it doesn’t always go well.

Using an event marketing platform allows homes to have a lower suggested opening bid than current list price to attract more buyers. Yet, it allows the sellers to remain in control of the actual sale price. For example, a home can be listed at $390,000 with an opening bid of $290,000. If the seller receives a high bid of $350,000 they have the choice to accept the bid and move forward with the sale (after all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush), or reject the bid and start the process again.

The advantage of taking a property to auction in this method is twofold. On one hand a lower opening bid attracts more attention, more attention creates competition, and competition ultimately raises the price. On the other hand, this method can help determine the true value of a property. If a seller is receiving offers that are tens of thousands of dollars less than asking price, they may see the property is overpriced for the current market conditions.

Tool for Listing Extension

One of the most difficult parts of being a real estate agent is having your clients see the value of the service you provide. Sites such as Zillow assist sellers with by owner sales and a hot housing market. This leaves many clients wondering what you are doing that they couldn’t themselves (hint: a lot, but that’s a subject for another day). One of the advantages of event marketing is that it is another tool in your arsenal to extend your listing. You can go to your clients with this new and innovative process to help gain exposure and increase activity for their home. Interested in getting started with event marketing? Whether its commercial buildings or vacant land. Luxury homes or the Caribbean islands. RealtyHive has the experience and tools you need to move your listings through its event marketing platform. Click here to learn more or get started today!

Real Estate Tech You Should Know

Real Estate Tech Solutions for Agents

One of the best things about real estate tech is that it’s always changing. This also happens to be one of the worst things about real estate tech. It  seems as though once you’ve gotten the hang of one platform or device, it’s already outdated. Improvements in technology have made marketing your listings and yourself much easier. If you’ve already covered the basics, social media profiles, up-to-date website, and confidence using smartphone apps, then this article is for you. Here are a couple of technology tricks for you to use to make your business a tech-sess!

360° photos and video

Arguably one of the best new pieces of real estate tech is 360° photos and videos. Using the camera on your phone, you are able to create photos and video that allow the viewer to “move” through your picture. The photo at the top of this page is an example. If you scroll, swipe, or rotate your whole body, you can explore the room as if you were there. While this technology came about a few years ago, it is now about to hit critical mass. That is because its supported by streaming services, such as Youtube, as well as social media such as Facebook.

How to Use: While all smartphones have the ability to shoot 360° photos and videos, not all phones have the technology built in. The Facebook app recently unveiled this ability with a built-in feature. To do this, open the Facebook app and click on the status update area. Then click the “360 photos” option and hold down the photo button while slowing rotating. You’ll be able to see your progress. When you have made a full 360 rotation, the app will then stitch the photo together and show you the final product. You are able to exit out of the Facebook app without posting and the photo will have saved to your phone as a 360 photo. If you’re not a Facebook user, the “Panorama 360 Camera+ Photosphere support+ VR video” app is a free alternative, and is available on iTunes and Google Play. You can use this photo in social media posts, upload onto your website, or have it hosted on an outside website and use their services to show it off.

See how to create 360° pictures on any camera

Facebook Ads

Did you know Facebook has more than 2 billion worldwide users? If you’re looking to show your properties to a wider audience, you must consider Facebook as an essential advertising tool. Facebook’s ad creation platform is relatively easy to use and the ability to target by location is great for real estate. Facebook analytics provided will show you how to get the most for your money.

How to Use: Facebook ads can be taken out by an individual or business page. You’ll start by logging into your Facebook account on a computer and clicking on the inverted triangle in the upper right corner. Under this tab, you’ll see the “Create Ads” tab. Click on that and Facebook will guide you through the process. For each property you purchase an ad for, you are able to upload information, photos or videos, and a link to contact you or direct to a website. Once you’ve placed an ad, you’ll be able to monitor the performance and make adjustments via the Facebook Ad Manager.

Learn how to create a Facebook ad

Mobile Signature Apps

If you’re face-to-face with a client having them sign on the dotted line is no issue. On the other hand, if you’re making a deal remotely you don’t want to have to play the email-and-wait game. What if the contract goes to their spam folder? What if they don’t have the right programs to open it? We live in a world of immediacy and waiting for the mail just won’t cut it anymore. When you make a deal you want to get it signed and continue on, which is why mobile signature apps are so great. With this piece of real estate tech, your contracts and agreements can be signed on a mobile device almost immediately, moving you into action.

How to Use: There are a variety of different apps that can help you capture mobile signatures. Docusign is one example and their app is available for free on the iTunes and Google Play stores. The best way to find out which will work for you is to try out a few services. Maybe even enlist a friend or colleague to test it out so you can see how it looks on both ends. One non-negotiable feature you should look for is the ability for a person to sign documents without needing to install or download anything. Needing to do so will drastically cut your response rates.

How to insert a online signature in an email

Online-Only Events

It used to be that when you had property to sell, you’d put a sign in the yard and waited for a buyer to call. Buyers tended to live near the place they were buying land or property. Not today. In the globalized world of 2019, buyers can come from anywhere in the world. According to CNBC, foreign buyers closed on $153 billion worth of US residential properties between April 2016 – March 2017 and this trend shows no signs of stopping. Online-only auction events are a great way to reach buyers all around the world!

How to Use:  There are a variety of platforms that allow you to host an online-only event. RealtyHive is a great option as it increases global exposure of your listing, without costing you, the agent, anything. With this platform, your listing continues to be your listing and all leads are your leads. For more information on how online-only events would work for you, contact RealtyHive directly.

Here’s a blog post about selling your home online! 

As technology changes, so do the possibilities for marketing your properties and your brand. With just a little bit of tech savvy and a willingness to try something new, you will see great results in 2018!