Thursday, September 15, 2016

Legal Q&A: Can brokers check the "no representation" boxes on the Residential Property Disclosure Statement when selling their own property?


QUESTION: I’m a licensed broker and I’m about to list a residential property for sale that I have owned for several years. Am I allowed to check any of the "No Representation" boxes on the Residential Property Disclosure Statement?


INTERESTED IN THE ANSWER?
CLICK HERE


Have a legal question? Call the Legal Hotline. As a member of NC REALTORS®, you have free, unlimited access to this benefit. Call 800-443-9956 or email legal@ncrealtors.org with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Make your marketing count


By Paul Salley, marketing strategist

Traditionally, marketing a product or service consisted of putting out a message to the masses with the hope that the broadcast message would attract a handful of individuals who would pursue the product or service further. This old school style of marketing is comparable to a sales funnel or marketing pipeline. There would be a large number of people who see the ad and eventually the campaign will sort out those who are not interested.

With today’s digital marketing capabilities, traditional marketing has been reversed. This strategic style of marketing is known as reverse marketing. We start at the bottom of the funnel and advertise directly to those who we know have an interest in our message. It’s the traditional sales/marketing funnel turned upside down. The technology that makes this marketing dream a reality has to do with sophisticated ad platforms that can tap into a user’s browser and online activity history.

Some examples of platforms that have this capability include Facebook, Google AdWords and REAL Trends’ predictive marketing solution. All of these platforms have the ability to segment users into different audiences. One example of how to use this technology is to create an audience that is based only on visitors to a specific page of your website and market directly to that audience with an ad message relevant to that webpage.

Another strategy is to market to an audience based on their browsing history. On the REAL Trends predictive marketing platform, there is an audience list known as real estate intenders. That list is comprised of those who previously visited a real estate-specific website. This real estate intenders filter coupled with location and demographic parameters creates a very hyper-targeted audience that can be shown an ad that is specific and relevant to that audience, thus driving up clicks, conversions and, ultimately, quality leads.

When reviewing your company’s marketing dollars and strategy, take advantage of the potent digital marketing tools now available to drive quality leads and more business. In addition, achieve results and a return on your investment with sophisticated digital marketing platforms that allow you to gauge exactly what is working and what is not. This takes the guesswork out of how and to whom to market. Most marketing tools that offer segmented audiences can have effective campaigns starting at around $150 per month. However, remember that the higher the budget allocated to these platforms, the greater their performance will be.



This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Legal Q&A: Who pays owner association “transfer fees?”


QUESTION: I’m representing a buyer who is closing on a property that has an owner’s association. I am trying to figure out who is responsible for the payment of a “transfer fee” that’s being charged by the association’s management company. I’ve reviewed the Offer to Purchase and Contract (form 2-T), and I don’t see any reference to transfer fees on the Contract anymore. Who is supposed to pay it, my buyer or the seller?


INTERESTED IN THE ANSWER? CLICK HERE



Have a legal question? Call the Legal Hotline. As a member of NC REALTORS®, you have free, unlimited access to this benefit. Call 800-443-9956 or email legal@ncrealtors.org with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Developing a technology and marketing plan for your company


By Travis Saxton, vice president of technology

Did you know that most U.S. brokers don’t have a plan when it comes to their technology and marketing? Sure, they have technology and marketing, but there is no shared vision between the two. Some organizations run flat, with many people meeting and controlling everything, only bringing to the table what they find interesting. This type of brokerage is susceptible to the shiny penny syndrome. Other brokerages run in linear silos with people in charge of respective areas but not coordinating or communicating with each other.

Here is a simple exercise that we recommend each brokerage complete to get a handle on what they are spending, where, what the return on investment is, how you use these efforts for recruiting, what lead sources and rules you have and, ultimately, your plan.

First, organize anything technology and marketing into four areas:

1. Technology Initiatives
2. Marketing Initiatives
3. Leads Initiatives
4. Recruiting Initiatives


You may be asking yourself, “Why is recruiting on the list?” Recruiting today is largely a byproduct of the three areas that precede it on my list. Without clarity in the first three areas, your recruiting managers have a hard time telling your story. Without clarity, your efforts in those areas blend with every other firm in your market. This is one reason why E-edge from Keller Williams made such big waves. They were one of the first firms to add clarity and message around what they were doing in the first three areas on the list above. So, yes recruiting belongs here. More specifically, the person in charge of recruiting needs to communicate clearly with the other three areas to develop a concise value proposition and use those other areas to drive home your value proposition to potential recruits. The problem with most organizations is that recruiting is done in a silo, and they don’t get the help from the other areas.

Build the Foundation
Let’s talk about leads. In the next three areas, we have a great exercise every firm should do and repeat every six months. Build yourself a lead matrix. Use a google doc/sheet or an Excel file and make it simple. Track every lead source in your organization. If you get a name, email address or phone number, then it goes in as a lead source. Lead sources include your website, listing portals, MLS, mobile, sign riders, customer service desk, relocation, etc. Any name or opportunity is placed in this spreadsheet.

Then, add a field for estimated monthly volume, cost, comments/feedbacks, and what do you currently do with the leads. If you have closing information, place it here as well. This will act as the foundation for your leads strategy. Whoever is in charge of this area will update this doc every six months. They will then set three attainable goals every six months to work towards. For their area. This evolving message is then relayed to Recruiting for use.

Marketing Leads
You may think marketing and leads are the same. In some organizations they are, but they should be separated. In the marketing section, repeat the above exercise and build a marketing matrix. This is a spreadsheet where you track marketing sources, number of visits, impressions, clicks, followers and other pertinent information. Start with your website, social media, digital marketing campaigns, listing syndication and more. Anything that has eyeballs on your brand or listing goes into this spreadsheet. The more detailed you are, the better. Think of this as more outbound and leads as inbound. Tackle three goals every six months with clear, measurable success KPIs. This is then relayed to leads and recruiting.

Technology Initiatives
Finally, you have the technology initiatives. Create a technology matrix that lists every technology penny you spend. The slight overlap is with marketing where the website and agent websites should be in here. This is small; however, and the goal is to see the landscape of your technology. But, in this matrix, you want fields such as cost or cost per month, agent adoption of tools, training initiatives, last training held, perception and more. Your goal is to see which technology is being used. This offers you coaching and training ammunition and sets the foundation for the brokerage to add or subtract technology.

In the end, you have the four pillars for getting your technology and marketing under control and ultimately the foundation for a great recruiting and retention strategy. Clarity and shared vision across your organization are important, and this exercise will help you achieve that.



This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Legal Q&A: Is a contract terminated if the buyer and seller exchange competing termination forms and cannot agree on who gets the due diligence fee?



QUESTION: During the due diligence period, my seller received a Form 390-T signed by the buyer stating that the buyer would receive both the earnest money deposit and the due diligence fee on termination. My client disagreed with the due diligence fee portion of the buyer’s 390-T, and responded by sending the buyer a revised 390-T signed by the seller stating that the buyer would only receive the earnest money deposit on termination.

It seems like the parties both agree as to termination and who gets the earnest money, and I just received another offer. Is the contract terminated? Do I need to advise my client to seek legal counsel before he signs the new offer?

INTERESTED IN THE ANSWER? CLICK HERE: http://tinyurl.com/083016legalqa


Have a legal question? Call the Legal Hotline. As a member of NC REALTORS®, you have free, unlimited access to this benefit. Call 800-443-9956 or email legal@ncrealtors.org with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

May housing sales show strong upward trend from April


While prices are up slightly, unit sales up 11.9 percent while prices up 1.1 percent.


The REAL Trends Housing Market Report for May 2016 shows that housing sales increased a robust 11.9 percent from the same month a year ago. The year-over-year gain was slightly higher than April 2016 results and nearly back to the record increases recorded in January and February. The Northeast once again led the way with a huge 19.5 percent increase over May a year ago.

“The May Housing Market Report shows that an acceleration in year-over-year growth in housing sales is not a one-time occurrence. April and May 2016 were two of the strongest months so far this year,” said Steve Murray, editor of the REAL Trends Housing Market Report. “In fact, except for the March results, the first five months of 2016 have all been among the strongest year-over-year results in the past five years. Additionally, price increases continue to soften as the year progresses” said Murray.

The annualized rate of new and existing home sales was 6.434 million which was up from the rate of 5.749 million recorded in May 2015. The results indicate that the housing market continues to show very strong growth.

Housing price increases continue to show moderate change with May 2016 showing a 1.1 percent increase in the average prices of homes sold a year ago.

“The Northeast region had the strongest showing with unit sales up an incredible 19.5 percent. Each region saw unit sales increases with the Midwest showing an increase of 15.1 percent, the South at 10.7 percent increase and the West coming in with an increase of 6.4 percent. The housing market appears to be in good shape despite continued evidence of lower-than-normal inventory levels and has shrugged off other negative news such as the decline in equity markets, low inventories and the slower rate of foreign purchases of homes.”

The average price of homes sold in May 2016 in the Midwest region was up 3.8 percent the best performance in the nation. The South region increased by 2.5 percent; the West saw average prices increase 2 percent, while the Northeast region saw prices decline by 2.4 percent.

“We now expect that housing unit sales increases will continue to be higher in 2016 than thought earlier this past year. Most forecasts say that housing unit sales will increase 3-5 percent for all of 2016 and that average prices will increase 3-4 percent,” said Murray.



This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Legal Q&A: What do I need to know about the FAA's new drone rule?


QUESTION: I’ve heard that there is a new federal rule regarding drones that is taking effect soon. What do I need to know about that rule?


INTERESTED IN THE ANSWER? CLICK HERE



Have a legal question? Call the Legal Hotline. As a member of NC REALTORS®, you have free, unlimited access to this benefit. Call 800-443-9956 or email legal@ncrealtors.org with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.
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