Top 10 Resources REALTORS® Should Use

REALTORS® should continuously be looking for ways to increase their real estate knowledge and become better at their craft. However, sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to find the right, credible content to work with. Here are our top 10 ideas for resources and tools agents can use to always be learning.

1. News Sites
For an agent, it’s crucial to stay on top of, not only what’s happening in the local market, but what’s happening with the country’s economy overall. Distinguished journaling sites like The Wall Street Journal and Inman provide the most recent and relevant news to keep REALTORS® up to date. A REALTOR’S® knowledge from these sites helps to differentiate him/her from the other competition. Most agents won’t take the time to read and truly understand real estate and the ever-changing economy. Take 10 minutes in the morning over coffee or breakfast and read up!

2. Texas A&M Real Estate Center
This is a free website to stay briefed on the Texas economy. It’s a credible news site to quote from or reference the data in a meeting or a presentation. Check out their most recent Outlook for the Texas Economy.

3. YouTube
Seriously! If an agent has a specific question on how to do something or simply want to learn a new topic, search YouTube for an answer from other agents or experts. Tech Savvy Agent is a great YouTube page to follow. They keep their readers informed on all things technology, to make lives and jobs just a little bit easier.

4. Pinterest
Pinterest is the perfect social media site to engage with for the more creative agents who love pop-bys, creating adorable closing gifts, hosting an outstanding open house, and simply staying inspired to give their clients a unique experience. Countless real estate boards can be found by simply searching for “Real Estate.” It’s also great for finding new flyers or guides to share with buyers and sellers in order to make their transactions as smooth as possible.

5. Real Estate Champions
Whether a brand new agent or an experience broker, this site has something for everyone. Coaching, live classes, training, and free resources are all available to agents on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on cutting edge industry news, announcements, and insight from their president, Dirk Zeller.

6. National Association of Realtors
NAR is “America’s largest trade association” with 1.3 million members representing all sides of residential and commercial real estate. They aim to help all of their members become more profitable and successful. From education to events to politics and various resources, NAR has everything a REALTOR® may need for information. Find out how to join here.

7. Canva
For the agents who don’t have high marketing dollars or brokerages who provide all marketing materials, is the perfect (FREE) graphic design website. Agents can create beautiful and clean flyers, post cards, logos, tags, business cards, and social media posts. This user-friendly website accommodates any person with any level of design experience, from beginner to professional designers!

This is a great website for free flyers and guides to download that help with client education. The site also has various tools for lead generation, management, and business growth. Similar to Canva, this can also be invaluable for the agent who has a limited marketing budget.

9. FirstInAgent ONE
This is the perfect real estate app to run buyer closing costs, net sheets, open house flyers, and find new infographics to share online or with clients. It takes seconds to run reports and share with clients via text, email, etc. Sell a house while standing in line at the grocery store! Find FirstInAgent ONE in the app store.

10. A Coach
Having a personal real estate coach may be worth the cost and time. A personal coach can teach agents how to be self-motivated, professional, a public speaker, and/or how to brand themselves. For REALTORS® just getting into the business, a professional coach can give them the push they need to put themselves out there, start prospecting, and build their book of business.

Your First International Title reps are dedicated to helping you reach your goals and build your business. Reach out to your office’s rep today and set an appointment to see how we can assist you!

Foundation Tips for Homeowners

Because of the long periods of heat, Florida can be infamous for its fair share of foundation issues. As the weather becomes dry and hot, the soil around your home will contract and possibly cause your house to shift. This can explain cracks and uneven surfaces in your home. To avoid some very costly and time-consuming house repairs, here are some tips from various companies on how to care for your foundation.

Schedule a yearly plumbing inspection
According to Granite Foundation Repair, “plumbing leaks are one of the biggest causes of foundation issues. Check for leaks in sprinkler systems, freshwater lines, sewer lines and other parts of your plumbing system.”

If you notice a plumbing leak anywhere in your house, call your plumber immediately.

Install root barriers
If a large tree with invasive roots is too close to your home foundation, you can have root barricades installed. You may also have the tree removed from your property to prevent damage, such as heaving in driveways and sidewalks, cracking in walls and sometimes even sewer line issues.

Common trees with invasive roots are Silver Maple, American Elm, Live Oaks, and Magnolias.

Keep the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level
Many Florida homes have a sprinkler system installed around the base of the house. If your home does not have this, it may be worth the time and money to install one and prevent swelling and shrinking of the soil around your concrete.

“The soil… [has] a tremendous capacity to absorb (and lose) water,” An article by Dawson Foundation Repair stated. “This means that the soil will swell when it is very wet and it will shrink when it is very dry. This creates significant stresses on the concrete slab which is resting on top of the soil. Keeping the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level with seepage water hoses will help reduce the chances of needing house leveling in the future.”

Install a good drainage system for your home
Houses are built on either a positive or a negative slope. A positive slope ensures that water is draining away from the building. A negative slope does just the opposite: it forces water to flow towards your foundation.

Be sure to consistently clean out your homes gutters and downspouts. Granite Foundation Repair also explained how to unclog a clogged downspout: you may need to insert a plumber’s snake into the downspout to clear it out completely.

Monitor your home’s temperature
To the best of your ability, keep your house at a consistent temperature without going too high or too low. Too many temperature fluctuations may cause your structure’s concrete slab to expand and then contract, which causes foundation damage.

Keep a Foundation Log
It may be a good idea to track the changes in foundation, especially by noting the size of cracks and such. To a foundation repair specialist, this written log can be extremely valuable, should your house need repairs.

Check your homeowner’s insurance
Depending on your policy, it may cover foundation or plumbing repair. This would ease up a lot of the out-of-pocket costs for you and your family.

Questions? Comments? Reach out to your First International Title rep today!

How to Stand Out in your Next Listing Appointment

Out of all the real estate agents in the strong markets of Florida, what are you doing to distinguish yourself from the masses? Listing appointments, a common practice of the real estate agent, doesn’t have to be monotonous. Here are a few ways to help you stand out and ensure a closed deal during your next listing presentation.

Treat it Like a Job Interview
Because it is a job interview. Put your ego aside and come ready to present yourself truthfully and genuinely as the best person for this position – to help your client sell a house – and why. Don’t be afraid to talk about your achievements alongside of your responsibilities as their REALTOR®. And always be honest. Writer Kevin Hoover also mentions the importance of being truthful in an Inman article from January 2019.

“The point of the listing presentation is to gain trust,” Hoover said. “It would be counterproductive to include exaggerations or discrepancies from the truth.”  

Finally, leave a physical copy of your resume along with your picture for them to remember you by.

Come Prepared
Whatever materials or resources you help ease a seller’s concerns or questions about the process, bring it. Fill a folder with simple checklists and articles to aid in their understanding of how the process is going to look. You don’t have to go over everything in the meeting as you don’t want it to be an overload of information. Let your clients take the folder home and use for future reference. And, of course, include your branding and contact information so that they can reach you when they’re ready to list.  

Take Notes
One of the most important characteristics of a great real estate agent is attention to detail. However, no one person can remember everything. Taking notes is crucial at the listing appointment.

“If you go into the presentation believing that you will earn the client, which you should, you will need to remember the details of the conversation if you want to maintain your level of professionalism,” Hoover stated. “The best way to do that is to take notes.”

Before you begin writing, be sure to ask for permission. You want to ensure that your potential clients are aware and comfortable with their words being recorded. Most people will say yes, however, it’s important to build that trust, especially on the first meeting. Also, use a physical notepad and pen, rather than typing on your laptop or cell phone. While using your laptop or cell phone isn’t necessarily wrong, you may come across as closed-off and disengaged.

When you come back around at the end of the transaction and refer to something they said in your listing presentation, your clients won’t be able to hide their gratitude for your memory.

Get to Know Your Clients
In accordance with taking notes is getting to know your clients. You want to ask them detailed and specific questions about their likes, dislikes, family, and what they’re looking for in a real estate agent. Write down their answers. If the deal is sealed, so to speak, ask for their birthday, anniversary, and kids’ birthdays in order to stay in touch with them throughout the year and long after their house is sold.

Express Your Gratitude
As they say, a hand-written card goes a long way. A day or two after the meeting, be sure to write a card thanking them for their time and attention. Mention something in the card that was specific to your conversation. Not only will it remind them a few days later of your services, it adds the perfect professional touch and will showcase your attention to detail.

There are other ways to say thank you besides just a card. You can include a gift card, a branded item such as a pen or keychain, or anything else that will help the client remember you.

All of us at First International Title desire to see our real estate partners succeed, which is why we have many resources and flyers to help real estate agents and loan officers with their business. Reach out to your local sales executive to gain access to our many tools available for you to stand out in your market!