Real Estate Tip of the Week: Agent Guidance Amidst COVID-19

As we try and figure out how to maintain our business while COVID continues on, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself as well as your loved ones during this strange time.

Moving forward, how can you keep your real estate business up and running when COVID is still very much a prominent part of everyone’s daily lives – and with states opening and closing their phases?

Utilize Social Media to Build Relationships

The good news: social distancing is incredibly easy through social media! Focus on one social media platform at a time (create a schedule – check out our past article, here) and attract new clients and maintain a relationship with your past clients.

One example of utilizing your social media page for business would be to highlight resources that buyers or sellers can use (like builders, lenders, etc.) and have them reach out to you for more!

Rethink Your Listings

Your buyers might not be able to (or might not want to) go visit homes in person – so that means you have to think in terms of the buyer. What do buyers want to look at when they are physically in the home they’re interested in?

Take pictures of views from windows, of closet and pantry spaces, and include photos of the entire exterior (driveway, siding, etc.). This will all help them gather a better idea about what the home looks like and offers.

Virtual Meetings & Tours

Instead of putting all of your meetings with potential or current clients on hold, meet with them over GoToMeeting, Skype, or Zoom! Check out our previous article on how to prepare for these kinds of meetings, here.

Another very important tip: remember to enjoy your self-care and your family during these weird times!

Want more real estate tips? Check out Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Virtual Home Tours

Although states are opening in phases, homebuyers and sellers still might be more comfortable completing parts of their home journey through digital means.

If you’re a homebuyer getting ready to take a virtual tour with your real estate agent, then it’s best that you prepare what you’d like to see and/or hear. Technology has helped the real estate world immensely during COVID-19, but sometimes you miss things that you wouldn’t have if you were there in person – like how a home smells or if there is a lot of traffic in the area.

So what can you do to cover your bases?

Check out our tips here:

Panorama

Before your agent enters the home, have them give you a wide shot of the house – be sure they you’re able to view all corners of the home and yard.

Neighborhood Shot

It’s important that you also like the surrounding area that your home is in! Ask your agent to show you the space surrounding your home. This way, you can see the spacing between homes, and maybe even get a glimpse as to how the neighborhood feel is.

Outside Glimpses

Since you’re not there in person, it’s best that you see all of the features of the home as close as you can. If your home has sprinklers, a fence, a light post, or a shed, be sure that your agent is giving you a good view of them. Have your agent show the driveway – how steep is it? Do you have enough space in the driveway for any extra cars you might have if guests stop by?

Extra Features

If your home has a pool, or playground equipment, have your agent give you an up-close look. How are the pool’s filters? Is the playground equipment rusty?

Listen

At any point in time that your agent is outside, ask them if you could just listen for a moment. Are there many planes flying by? Cars zooming down the street? These are things to consider before moving into a new home – and even when you try to resell it!

While viewing a home digitally doesn’t compare to seeing a home in person, there are still things you can prepare for so you have a better understanding of the home and neighborhood’s atmosphere.

For more real estate tips and tricks, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Market Planning & COVID-19

Usually, market planning is mapped out a year in advance – you already know your goals and steps that you want to accomplish! But with COVID-19 changing much on how we live, planning for your businesses can prove to be a little more difficult.

To adapt in these times, it’s best to market plan just a month (or two) in advance. That way, you can make sure you’re staying relevant to what is currently needed with buyers and sellers.

Take a quick look at some of the ways you can market plan for the immediate future:

  • Following up on leads might not be the most appropriate action to take during a pandemic – instead, think of taking a more moderate form of prospecting.
  • Send personal letters and messages to your past and current clients through the mail! Be compassionate and understanding to current situations. Let them know you’re there for them with whatever assistance they might need.
  • Finally get to organizing and updating your list and notes in CRM!
  • Utilize video! Send heartfelt messages to your clients through email.
  • Make sure any automated email blasts or social media campaigns are stopped or up-to-date to reflect the current situation.

We’re all growing and adapting during this quarantine. Be gentle with yourself and remember to be compassionate and understanding with your clients during this time.

For more real estate tips and news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Productivity While Working from Home

A lot of us are still working from home – or are at least having some hybrid combination of being out in the field. But with COVID-19 still a major factor in how we operate in our daily life, it’s important to work within its boundaries.

It can be hard to consistently work from home; maybe you don’t have access to the same tools or networks that you had when you were in the office, or maybe you have extra distractions while you try and participate in a zoom meeting while in the kitchen. However you have it, working from home is a whole different ballgame! Here are our tips for you on how to stay active and productive during these weird times.

Never Stop Learning

Take the time to read articles on the current state of the market and in the neighborhoods and towns you work in. Your brokerage might still be holding continuing education courses through an online portal (zoom being one example), so be sure you’re staying relevant and are continuing your trainings.

Update Your Accounts

Have you been wanting to revamp your social networking sites, but just haven’t had the time? Here’s your opportunity! Update your social media accounts – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. – and comment, like, tag, share posts you find relevant and interesting. This can also be a great way to reconnect with past clients and check in on how they’ve been doing.

Continue Networking – Just Virtually

Set up virtual calls with your coworkers, agents you admire and follow on social media platforms, and with potential (or current!) clients. Check out our previous real estate tip of the week article on how to prepare for those virtual meetings.

The quarantine won’t last forever, but until then, it’s best to keep yourself active and motivated to continue running your successful business. We’re all in this together!

For more real estate tips, check out Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Security Protocol While Working from Home

Like many, most of you are probably working away from the office – either from a desktop or a laptop. But while you’re at home, how can you keep your real estate business safe and secure?

Check out our tips below:

Antivirus Software

Double check that your computer has antivirus software that is up-to-date. Be sure it includes privacy tools, extensions on browsers, and any apps you use on your phone.

Network Password

Your home WIFI should be secured with a password – either established from the router when initially installed, or a new password you have changed and created. Make sure your internet is password protected.

Hyper Aware of Phishing Emails

Unfortunately, fraudsters would easily jump on an opportunity to scare agents and clients into sharing personal data with an email subject regarding COVID-19. Be wary of emails asking for a request in confirmation or a renewal – especially from emails you do not know or are asking you to click a link. Do NOT click links or open files from businesses that you don’t know.

Backup Files

Set a schedule to back up your files and data – if the unfortunate incident ever happens where a hacker has found their way into your system, all of your information will be lost.

Always, always, always think of you and your clients’ safety when it comes to working and interacting through technology. Protect your computer and secure your network!

For more real estate tips, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Mortgage Applications during COVID-19

How are homebuyers and sellers feeling during COVID-19?

America’s beginning stages of the pandemic pulled potential homebuyers away from the housing market – for many reasons. However, it seems as though the real estate market is venturing on a curve.

Realtor Magazine’s recent stats show mortgage applications rising 12%. This has been the first uptick in weeks – while applications are lower than they were a year ago (about 20%), the new rise in homebuyer interest shows that buyers are on their way back.

Interest rates are still floating near historical lows – the average rate for the 30-year fixed mortgage now sits pretty at 3.43% as of last week.

The real estate industry has been creatively adhering to social-distancing rules, which allow buyers and sellers to continue their transactions safely – and with the rise of mortgage applications, buyers and sellers are sure to see that.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Swiping Left or Right: The Digital Age of Getting to Know a Neighborhood

Part of buying a new home means moving into a new neighborhood – and while it’s incredibly important for you to love your home, you should also love the location.

But how can you do that with COVID-19 causing shelter-in-place?

Try Google Maps

Google maps usually has every street mapped out through street view! Take a stroll around the neighborhood and see what businesses, parks, and restaurants might be surrounding the area! This is a great way to gather the neighborhood feel and look while being safe on your couch.

Search through Social Media

Sometimes a neighborhood or a complex has a newsletter or a social media community page. Scope out what they are highlighting and sharing. If you’re able to find a social media page that highlights the town that can give you a great idea on the overall feel of where you might be moving.

Gather Data

City-Data provides profiles on cities and areas – things like average weather, average home prices, crime rates, and reviews on local restaurants, coffee shops, etc.

Check out School Districts

If you’re moving with your family, be sure to take a look at what the school districts look like and whether or not the education matches what you’d like your family to have.

Talk with a Real Estate Agent

Nobody knows better than your real estate agent – they’ll have the ins and outs and the scoop on the feel and overall look of the neighborhood you’re interested in. Give them a call and ask them about possible HOAs, walking distances to parks, etc.

Even though house hunting is a tad different during COVID-19, it doesn’t mean you still can’t find the home of your dreams.

Check out Alliance Title’s Blog for more tips and news.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Virtual Meetings with Clients

With the new normal meaning sweatpants at home and working at the kitchen table, it’s time to prep for how you can help clients achieve their real estate dreams virtually.

How does that look? Take a moment to check out our tips below:

Prep the Materials

Before you host your virtual meeting, be sure to email a set of materials to help them prepare. Alliance Title has a Client-Resource Guide and a Buyer-Seller Guide that you can easily email!

Clean Your Desktop

It might be a good idea to declutter the (possible) mess you might have on your desktop. Sometimes you have to share your screen with your client, and you don’t want them thinking your disorganized and messy, do you?

Pick Your Platform

Will you be using Skype? Google Hangouts? Facebook Messenger? Be sure you understand the platform you’re using and how to share the screen when need be. This article lists a lot of great screen-sharing software!

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice your presentation – whether you’re using PowerPoint, Google Docs, or just talking freely with your clients. Have a goal and a script in mind on how you’d like the meeting to go.

With sheltering-in-place being the current “new norm”, it’s important that you adapt and still fulfil the needs of buyers and sellers.

Alliance Title is here to help you every step of the way! Check out our blog here for more ideas.

Creating a Home Office Space

Most employers are fortunate enough to allow their employees to work from home – so what does this look like for most of America?

A recent survey from Houzz found that 55% of homeowners have a home office. A quarter of respondents work from their kitchen table and 11% work from their sofa.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to work from home, you now need to create a quiet space to work, secure a strong internet connection (if you haven’t already), and make sure you’re staying healthy on top of it.

Here are some easy tips you can help follow if you’re working from home:

Pick Your Spot

If you don’t have a home office, think of your next best solution to set up your work-from-home space. Extra bedroom with folding table, kitchen table, nook, or counter. Are you able to work near family, or do you need a quieter space?

Create the Work Mood

Avoid eyestrain by angling your computer screen away from sunlight or light fixtures. Use multiple light sources, like an overhead light, desktop light, or natural light.

Consider Your Posture

Making sure you’re comfortable is a major reason to keep up with productivity. Use the right chair, mouse, mouse pad, etc. If you can, try and periodically stand while working – maybe by setting your laptop on a counter.

Be sure you’re also taking the breaks you need during the day: stretch, stand up, walk around your home and / or backyard, and take your lunch.

Want more real estate tips and advice? Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Digital Tools during COVID-19

These are uncertain times – but that doesn’t mean we can’t go through this together, virtually, of course.

As a real estate agent, you might be wondering how you can successfully continue your work with social distancing and shelter-in-place confirmed in your state. Luckily, real estate has been keeping up with technology – and there are plenty of tools for you to use and count on during this time.

Virtual House Tour & Open Houses

Just because you can no longer meet face-to-face with your client (or future clients) doesn’t mean they can’t see the house they’re interested in!

Think about using Facetime, Skype, or Zoom when presenting a home to your client. If you’re trying to interest a buyer, think about hosting a “Live Open House” on Instagram or Facebook live!

Alliance Title & Escrow Corp. Digital Tools

Net Sheet: Through Title Capture, you can access quotes on titles and fees all online.

Profilez on Demand or Agent Intel: Access to property profile information through our online account.

EMTransfer: Our cloud-based service that allows agents, lenders, and buyers, and earnest money holders to securely document, collect and disburse earnest money 100% electronically.

Plat Map & CCR Search

For up-to-date news and tips regarding COVID-19, check out Alliance Title’s Blog.