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The Key Players in Real Estate

The game’s about to begin, a real estate transaction is about to take place, and the starting lineup has just arrived. While the real estate agent might seem like the quarterback or point guard, there are plenty of other positions that play a vital role. These are the key players to know about — they help house sales go through and one day, will help your transaction as well.

Mortgage Lender

A mortgage lender is a financial institution (usually a bank) that provides financing (a loan) for a real estate transaction. Before buyers even start looking at houses, they need preapproval from a bank to show they’re serious — sellers often reject offers that don’t have preapproval.

Mortgage lenders also work with appraisers to ensure they approve the correct amount for a loan. If the value of the property doesn’t match the loan amount, this can make it more difficult to get a mortgage.

Home Inspector

People putting an offer in on a house often include a contingency for home inspections. In other words, if a home inspector finds some major problems and the offer is based on the results of an inspection, the potential buyers are protected from having to go through with the sale.

One thing to note is that not everyone opts for an inspection. Investors looking for flips or rental properties often put in offers that don’t require an offer so they can get the property faster and for a lower price. But if you’re looking for a home to live in, working with a home inspector is a really good idea.

Appraiser

Appraisals are different from home inspections because they assess the value of the home, not the condition. As mentioned, appraisers are usually sent out by banks to double check the value of the property.

Agents

There are two crucial agent roles you need to know:

  • Listing agent: Works with the seller (the one who’s posting the listing). Whenever you see a “For Sale” sign with a phone number on it, that’s the listing agent.
  • Selling/buyer’s agent: Works with the buyer (the one looking to buy the home).

To make matters more confusing, sometimes the listing agent and the selling/buyer’s agent can be the same person! Learn more about dual agency in our 5 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Want You to Know blog.

Brokers

Brokers are legally responsible for the agents who work for them. They carry Errors & Omissions insurance, and if issues come up for (or with) a real estate agent, the broker is the one who can step in.

The listing broker is the listing agent’s boss and the selling or buyer’s broker is the boss of the buyer’s agent. It’s not often that either brokers interact with the buyers or sellers (unless there’s a problem with the agent).

Title Company Representative

Title company representatives do the actual closing of a property and serve as a neutral third party. These reps release funds from both sides and ensure that everyone has fulfilled their obligation.

Real Estate Lawyer

With all the documents that need signing in a real estate transaction, it’s no surprise that some people hire real estate lawyers to help them work through the paperwork. Sometimes people opt for a real estate lawyer to take the place of an agent and/or broker.

Transaction Coordinator

Transaction coordinators are the playmakers from behind the scenes. They iron out deadlines and details, communicate to all parties involved, enter listings into the MLS and check over closing documents, to name a few things. Essentially, they do everything except show houses! Not every brokerage or agent has a TC but many do.

You

Yes, you! As the buyer or seller, you are one of the biggest players in a real estate transaction. You are the reason every other role exists and why they’re coming together in the first place. But if looking at this list has you feeling about as overwhelmed as a soccer coach for 3-year-olds, fret not. 

You can work with RealtyHive, a one-stop-shop that makes the buying and selling process easier than ever. Find agents (and potentially get cashback credit at closing), list your property, or bid on your new home in one of our time-limited events, all in one place. In other words, play ball!

How to Work With a Realtor When Issues Come Up

People hire Realtors for convenience, knowledge, industry connections and overall expertise. But what should you do when things aren’t going as planned?

While you can legally fire a Realtor in some instances, the most common issues are things that you can try to navigate on your own first. Use this blog as a guide to see how to work with a Realtor when problems come up.

“They’re not communicating as much as I’d like.”

Ideally you figure out your communication style before choosing a Realtor and look for one who can meet your needs. But if that ship has sailed, here are a few things to try.

  1. Decide on frequency. How often (or when) do you want to hear from your Realtor? 
  2. Decide on method. Do you prefer texts, calls, Google messaging or emails?
  3. Figure out why it’s important. Why do you need more communication and what do you need it for?

Once you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to talk to your Realtor. Let them know where you’re at and bring it up in a respectful manner. Consider opening with something that you appreciate about them. Ironically, yelling at a Realtor about needing more communication is not going to get you far.

“My house isn’t selling.”

There could be any number of reasons why your house isn’t selling and a Realtor isn’t the automatic root of the problem. Here are some instances of when it’s the Realtor and when it’s not.

House-related selling issuesRealtor-related selling issues
– Most expensive property in the area (and by a wide margin)
– Super custom, in a way that turns off the average buyer
– Undesirable location (ex. right next to a freeway)
– Property needs a ton of work
– Doing little to no marketing past listing in the MLS
– Not recommending (or providing) professional photography*
– Not helping with staging*
– Lack of transparency or communication

*Not required for Realtors but a service that many offer.

Hopefully your Realtor is transparent with you about what’s going on. Talk to them if that’s not the case. It’s almost a guarantee that you signed a contract with your Realtor, so you’ll have to wait for that to expire before switching to a new agent.

However, if you don’t remember signing anything that listed how long you’re in contract (or you just want to review the documents), ask your Realtor for a copy. If they don’t give it to you, call their broker and if that doesn’t work, the local Board of Realtors next.

One important detail: if a person looks at your house while you’re still under contract with your Realtor, then puts an offer in after the contract ends, you’ll still owe the Realtor commission.

“I don’t think they’re being honest with me.”

There are, sadly, a number of scenarios where Realtors put the blinders on their clients. Be on the lookout for the following and report it to the broker as a contract violation.

  • Only showing properties that can get the Realtor a higher commission. 
  • Preferentially showing their company’s listings.
  • Not telling sellers of every offer that comes in.
  • Working outside of the area that they’re licensed in.
  • Knowing about issues with a house but not telling the buyer.

“They make me uncomfortable.”

A racist joke is racist and unacceptable, period. Inappropriate comments are inappropriate. It does not matter if your Realtor was “joking,” the impact of their behavior matters more than their intent. 

For certain things that seem harmless, it’s probably in your best interest to talk to the Realtor first. If they don’t handle it well or don’t stop their behavior, talk to their broker. However, there are some situations that are flat-out unethical and violate your contract, let alone the Realtor’s license.

  • Discrimination: If a Realtor shows any hint of discrimination towards you or another group of people, talk to their brokerage immediately. There is a horrific history of racism in real estate, any Realtor continuing in this vein does not deserve their job.
  • Sexual assault: Verbal harrassment, inappropriate touching or anything of the like is intolerable and should be reported ASAP.

Make things easier with RealtyHive.

Whether you’re buying or selling, our tried and true, time-limited event process helps everyone who comes to the table. You can select a real estate agent to help you buy a home through Cashifyd (and get a cashback credit at closing), sellers don’t pay for marketing unless their property sells — the list of benefits goes on. Avoid uncomfortable Realtor situations and work with RealtyHive instead.

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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.

Canva

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.

WordPress

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.

BoxBrownie

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.

DocuSign

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.

RealtyHive

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.

lady looking at computer

Move over Branding: The key to success in 2020 is not what you’d expect

It seems like some agents have all the luck. We all know someone that seems to have a pipeline of dream properties and buyers clamoring hand-over-(money-filled) fist to sign themselves into a new home while you sit and watch your listings grow stale. How do these agents do it? While nothing can compare to a well connected network, having a “secret weapon” in your real estate tool kit is the secret of success in 2020.

So what’s the secret? How can you get and keep more listings in 2020? It’s not about completely changing your method or reinventing the wheel, but rather it’s about having something different to offer your clients– something your competition can’t or won’t offer. It’s no secret we live in a global and tech-connected world, but have you thought about how you can merge your real estate business into the digital world? Event marketing is one of the best ways to do this.

What is event marketing?

Similar to a traditional auction, event marketing starts with a property being offered for sale at an attractive opening price. This price appeals to buyers which creates competition and the deadline of an impending auction creates urgency, ultimately resulting in a higher sale price. In this model, the seller retains control of the final sales price and the transparency the process provides helps the seller see the true market value. For agents, this can help overcome objections to price reductions or avoid them altogether. Buyers benefit from being able to determine what their highest/best offer may be.

hands signing a contract 

For Signing New Listings: Bring something new to the table

Between working on your “personal brand” via social media and networking or making sure that your advertising fit your “brand image”, 2017 was the year of “branding”. Designed to make you stand out from your competition, branding is great for marketing, but results are what really pay off. To extend your listings or to sign new ones in 2020, you’ll need to offer something to clients more results-oriented than industry buzzwords. Offering a solution or tactic that your competition does not will be the key to getting ahead this year.

RealtyHive Tip: Make a list of all the services you offer clients and potential clients. Everything from creating a BPO to the individual marketing channels you use for your properties. Now go through that list and cross out anything that your competition can do as well. If the remaining items are pretty thin, consider partnering with RealtyHive to have a true “differentiator” in your back pocket.

person using computer on www.realtyhive.com 

For Selling Your Listings: Show up and be successful

Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” While he probably wasn’t talking about online property listings, he could have been! According to the National Association of Realtors, 51% of home buyers found the home they purchased online, but the average NAR member reports that their website only brings in 1% of their business. In a sea of online noise, do your listings stand out or do they just show up like everyone else’s? With the market as strong as it has been you should be selling upwards of 90% of the properties you list–the key is to position those listings for success and having a strong online presence is the way to do that.

RealtyHive Tip: Do you know what your website traffic looks like? What about your search rankings? Where is the traffic coming from? Are they real buyers or junk bot traffic? If your online traffic isn’t where you want it to be, you might consider joining the RealtyHive marketplace to create additional exposure and make all your listings have a unique marketing presence whether or not you utilize the event marketing platform.

handshake business deal 

For Untapped Success: Branch into new markets

With housing prices up, inventory down, and demand through the roof it’s fair to say that parts of the housing market are on fire! However, for every can-barely-get-it-listed-before-accepted-offer there’s a stuck-on-the-market-for-years property. From land to luxury, FSBO to commercial, every market has its own hard-to-sell niche. While most agents will run from this segment, you can stand out by confronting these challenges and land the listing by offering a new, exclusive solution.

RealtyHive Tip: Look at your market to discover where a need isn’t being met. Has a local department store sat vacant for years or has the same plot of land set vacant for as long as you can remember? These are indicators that tradition processes haven’t worked and you can use the RealtyHive Event Marketing platform as a never-tried-before solution to help land these listings.

Want to learn more about how event marketing can take your business to the next level in 2020? Check out www.realtyhivemarketing.com for more information or to schedule a meeting with a RealytHive representative. In less than 20 minutes you’ll learn how RealtyHive’s event marketing platform can help your listings reach a global audience, extend your listings and avoid price reductions–all at no cost to you!

house with a for sale sign in front

Real Estate 101: The Basics for the First Time Home Seller

1. The Price is Right (or it needs to be!)

Have you ever fallen in love with an item in the store, but when you saw the price tag decided it wasn’t worth the cost? Maybe you decided to just wait until there’s a sale, figuring that the price would come down before the item sells out. If you’re selling your home, this is exactly what you don’t want to do. Getting the price of your home right can be one of the most difficult parts of the home selling process. Especially in a “hot” market like we’re experiencing now. If you price it too high, it’s going to take time to sell, but if you price is too low, you’re leaving money on the table.

One option would be to work with a real estate agent. Real estate agents have access to tons of information about previous home sales. For example: they can tell you about another home that was built in the same year, with the same number of beds and baths, with the same size lot just sold for $152,000 in 3 days! This info helps them suggest a proper price. While some people shy away from using an agent in the sale of their home, usually being deterred by the commission, a real estate agent can help you sell your home for a higher price, leaving you with more money–even after figuring in their commission.

Tip: If you’re not planning to use an agent, make sure you do your homework. Your first step will be to get a home appraisal. This will give you a good frame to start your pricing on. You’ll also want to check sites like Zillow or Redfin. You can see the estimated value of your home on these sites, but they can be off by tens of thousands of dollars. So, the best use for these sites is to research homes similar to yours. Not only can you see how much homes like yours are listed for, but also how long they’ve been on the market. Additionally, you can see the sale history. This research will ensure that you’re getting pricing where it needs to be.
 
interior of a living room
 

2. Prepare to be Seen

Before you stick the sign out in the yard or list your property online, you’ll want to make sure your home is ready to be seen. If you’ve already moved into another home, this will just be a deep clean of the home for sale. If you’re still living in this home, you’ll want to make sure it is picked up and ready to show at anytime. Staging the home by adding extra decorations or “homey” touches is great, but clutter-free and clean are the minimum.

Tip: If you’ve got the time and budget, it’s a good idea to throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls–especially if that hasn’t been done in a few years. Most advisers will tell you to not spend money on renovations before you move. However, a fresh coat of neutral paint is known help entice buyers and get you a great return on investment.
 
home with sale sign in yard
 

3. Get the Word Out

There’s a reason that real estate agents always put signs in the yard of the homes they’re selling–they work! Prepare yourself for it to work really fast as well, depending on your market. If you’re in a city or larger town and have a home in the low to middle-high price range, it’s very possible that as soon as you put the sign up, you’ll have people calling and knocking on your door. Make sure you’re prepared to take the next steps as soon as that sign hits the ground.

Tip: Not everyone lives in an area with a booming real estate market. For example, you may live in a rural area and you don’t see a lot of drive-by traffic. If this is the case, you’re going to need another tactic to sell your home. There are many websites that will list your home for free. However, because these are free listings, you may just blend in to the rest of the listings on the site. Another option to consider is an advanced marketing option like event marketing. Using an online event marketing platform, your home will stand out because of the interest gained through range pricing. Think of an opening bid and “Buy It Now” pricing – you’ll gain interest from those searching the lower price ranges and interest from those who want to jump on a deal right away. But, you still retain control of the final sale price. You can learn more about how this works here.
 
women at a business meeting
 

4. Understand the Players

If you’re handling the sale of your home without the help of an agent, it will be up to you to coordinate showings. Most buyers will not want to purchase the home sight-unseen, so expect to let potential buyers in for a look. In many cases, this includes buyers who are working with an agent. It may be uncomfortable for you to allow strangers to roam your house. However, this is how buyers fall in love with a property.

Tip: If you’re working with a seller directly, it’s a good idea to stay on premises, but if they have an agent the best thing to do is leave. The buyer’s agent will facilitate the showing (after all, they want their client to find a home), and it stops you from talking the buyer out of a sale.
 
accounting spreadsheet and calculator
 

5. Know the rules

This part gets a bit trickier for home selling DIY-ers. The laws concerning real estate vary by state.  There are laws as to what the necessary inspections are, the time frame for everything to be completed and what needs to be disclosed to the new buyers. In some states you need to tell potential buyers if there was a death in the home, in other states you are required report on your annoying neighbors, and the list goes on. In short, know the rules or risk getting sued.

Tip: Even if you choose to not use a real estate professional in your home selling, that doesn’t mean you should completely go this process alone. Selling real estate comes with many financial, legal, and tax implications so it’s best to consult a lawyer and an accountant with real estate expertise that can help ensure you have the proper documents and don’t wind up with any costly surprises down the road.

Selling your home is a very exciting process. It can lead to many positive changes and help set you up for future financial success, but it’s important to consider all the moving parts to make sure your experience is a positive one!

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.

Agent Advice: Thoughtful Little Touches for Big Impact

When your job involves something as personal as buying a home, emotions run high. Whether it’s a couple that is excited to close on their first home, or a family that had to leave a house they’ve loved for years. There’s bound to be a lot of feelings and maybe a few tears. Here are a couple of thoughtful little gift ideas you can give to “WOW” your clients. It will also help to ease the transition, and create unreplacable memories of this milestone moment–without breaking the bank!

Gift: First Night’s Dinner

Whether its a stashed pizza in the freezer or a gift card to the best neighborhood restaurant, you’ll be a hero with this thoughtful gesture. Moving is hard work and making dinner is the last thing most people want to do afterward. (plus they would then have to try to find the kitchen utensils to make it!) Leaving a note in the kitchen directing them to your gift will make you a hero for the day. If the new homeowners have moved from out of town, you’ll really score bonus points with them for introducing them to a new favorite location.

Gift: Cheers to the new home with Local Beer/Wine/Soda

If you know your client’s’ preference on drinks, a 6-pack of beer, soda or a bottle of wine is a great way to help them toast to their new home. With the craft brewing scene sweeping the nation, choosing a locally produced beverage is easier than ever and will introduce your buyers to some of the great offerings of your area!

Gift: Get Involved with Local Event Tickets

If you’ve got a client who just moved from out of town, gift tickets might be a good choice. New to the neighboorhood they’ll definitly want to know what to there is to do in their new city. From big city festivals to small-town community picnics, a gift ticket can be a great welcoming gift. Gifting tickets to a local event is a great way for them to meet their neighbors and see what it’s like to be a part of your city.

Gift: Discover and Save with Local Coupon Savings Books

Most areas have some sort of local coupon/savings books like the Entertainment® books. These are often sold as fundraisers for local schools or churches. Such books are great for helping a homeowner discover new restaurants, stores, and services in the area. This all while receiving a discount. If you’ve got a lot of local connections this is even something you could create yourself!

Gift: Commemorate the Occasion with Knickknacks

This gift works well for a particular type of client. While some people use moving as an opportunity to declutter and restyle their homes, others can’t bear to part with their possessions. If you have a client in the latter group, getting them a new treasure is a great way to mark the milestone of new homeownership. Some ideas for this could be Christmas ornaments, magnets, or other ideas you may have picked up in your conversations with them.

The best, most thoughtful gift you can give your buyers is a great deal on a new home. If you haven’t found the right choice for your client, check out RealtyHive’s auction properties here to see upcoming properties.

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International property marketing options

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