Winterizing Your Real-estate Business, Expired Listings

Winterizing Your Real-estate Business #4. Expired Listings: by Rick Guthrie Thanks for coming back to my series on, “Winterizing your real estate Business”. As you remember from our last blog, I blogged about holding 2 opens a week. Today we’re going Winterize by focusing on Expired Listings. I’ve found a common pattern or strategy in […]

Winterizing Your Real-estate Business #4.

Expired Listings: by Rick Guthrie

Thanks for coming back to my series on, “Winterizing your real estate Business. As you remember from our last blog, I blogged about holding 2 opens a week.

Today we’re going Winterize by focusing on Expired Listings.

expired listings

I’ve found a common pattern or strategy in the mindset of a seller is they seem to list around the Holidays. What I mean to say is, that a greater percentage of sellers will purposely have their listing contract expire around the holidays. Their thought is that if their home doesn’t sell before the holidays, they’ll just simply take it off the market and try again in the spring or hirer someone different to get the job done. Now of course people, who have to move, will still have the motivation to get their home sold and will need to relist. However, what’s on their mind is, should I relist with the agent who didn’t get the job done the first time or should I look for a fresh approach?

If you’ve been in the business for any amount of time, you’ll know the reason the home didn’t sell is most likely price. Actually, not most likely, it is price. You coming in as the pinch hitter or second choice gives you the opportunity to price the home properly this time. You’ll get it listed with less pricing objections. If you focus on the expired listing, in your winterization strategy, you’ll find some great opportunities. Here’s what I’ve done that’s worked well for me.

  1. Develop a Great Expired Packet
  2. Set my MLS to Search for New Expired Listings Daily
  3. Drop Off Expired Packets Daily
  4. Follow Up With a Phone Call

Develop a Great Expired Packet – You want to make an expired packet eye catching but very generic. I kept about twenty in my car at all times. That way I could drop of several on my way to the office. The cover of my bound packet said in big letters “Do You Know Your Home May be currently off the Market”? The reason I did this is that some agents don’t keep up with their listings like they should and one will expire without their knowledge. Bad news for the seller but good news for you when you bring it to the seller’s attention. This usually leads to an appointment. The content of the packet should be information about you and also your value proposition for sellers. Testimonials are great here too!

CAUTION: Too much information might have a negative effect. The seller could make conclusions about your marketing and services without meeting you. CLOSE TO AN APPOINTMENT!

Set my MLS to Search for New Expired Listings Daily – Three things I did every morning. Got up early, had my coffee and checked for expired listings. I always wanted to get the jump on anyone else. I pulled them up, searched the address on the MLS to make sure they had not been relisted, plan a route to drop off packets and got phone numbers if I could. Too Easy!

Drop Off Expired Packets Daily – I basically door knocked and dropped off packets in the morning. You’d be surprised at how many people are at home in the morning. I found putting a packet in their hand and asking for an appointment gave me a higher conversation rate than just a phone call. If they were not at home, I would leave the packet and follow up with a phone call or another pop by.

HINT: Roll the packet up and put it in the handle of their garage door. People rarely go in through their front door anymore.

Follow Up With a Phone Call: Always follow up with a call to make sure they got the packet. There are companies that phone lists for expired listings. I guess the key is you’re on the clock. You have to get to them quickly so don’t waste a lot of time.

These are some key elements I used to stay in front of sellers whose listing agreement had expired with their former agent. Remember that good memorized scripts and dialogues for expireds are a must. So take this opportunity to make expired listings one of your tools to winterize your real estate business.

“You have a Great Month Today”

Lead Zone Sources

Lead Zone Sources Rick Guthrie is the Team Leader at the Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway office in Fairfax, Virginia.  Lead zone sources are the things you are strongest at.  Lead zone sources are skills that you are the strongest at aren’t necessarily the things you like doing the most.

Lead Zone Sources

Rick Guthrie is the Team Leader at the Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway office in Fairfax, Virginia.  Lead zone sources are the things you are strongest at.  Lead zone sources are skills that you are the strongest at aren’t necessarily the things you like doing the most.

lead zone sources

Rick Tip-Handling Concerns or Objections

Rick Tip – Handling Concerns or Objections   by Rick Guthrie This is something that agents always seem to worry about way more than they should. First off, again, let me say this; if the client or customer was referred to you or was a past client your stock goes way up and you will not […]

Rick Tip – Handling Concerns or Objections  

by Rick Guthrie

This is something that agents always seem to worry about way more than they should.

First off, again, let me say this; if the client or customer was referred to you or was a past client your stock goes way up and you will not be hearing too many concerns or objections. So work your database.

Now let’s understand your challenge. If you’re getting a “no” to an appointment that’s a conversion problem. I really don’t consider that an objection. They can’t say no to what they don’t know. To convert to an appointment first you have to determine a need and then close to that appointment. At that point a “No” kind of means, no not right now. It’s just a matter of consistent physics through lead generation. Read my blog on “Roll the Dice”.

So let’s say that’s not the case and it’s a concern after a closing question.

Number 1. Handling objections before they ever come up.

Years ago I developed a rapport building script for sellers. I wanted that script to not only be an information gathering tool but also a tool to identify with the needs of potential clients, build rapport and identify concerns before they come up. I wanted to be prepared before the listing presentation to handle those concerns. The script is very conversational and comes from a point of curiosity and I ask these questions on the phone before my appointment. To start that process I’ll ask the seller, “Can I ask you a couple of questions about your home so I can be prepared for our appointment”. In my script, there’s a series of questions but all have a purpose. For example one question is; “Mr. Seller have you priced homes similar to yours in your area”? Of course what I’m doing is establishing what his expectation on list price is. If he’s is way off on what the market will bear, I’m going to need to address that with viable comparable properties and educate him to support my pricing strategy. This is at the appointment never before. (Which you should always do anyway). But you’ll know ahead of time what you’re up against. Make sense?

Number 2. Get all concerns or objections on the table at one time then handle them one at a time.

I always believe there should be a point in your conversation that you have a closing question. Mine for a listing presentation is; “So when can we get your house in inventory?” If there are concerns or objections they will come up then. Usually you’ll find, if you have presented properly, the answer will be; what do we need to do next? But if there are concerns they will come up then. So let’s break down some techniques I use.

Get all of the concerns out on the table at once. This accomplishes 3 things.

First: This will allow you to hear everything at once. If you negotiate each concern one at a time you’ll have to close again which gives them the chance to come up with another concern. Then this becomes a contest of stamina and someone will give in….. usually you.

Second: While you’re writing down however many concerns they may have you can start formulating, in your mind, how to handle those concerns.

Third: Figure out what the real concern or objection is. What I mean to say is if there’s more than one, stated or not, there’s only one that is the true concern. The way to identify that is by determining which one causes them the most pain. The one that causes them the most pain is the one you want to handle last. The reason being is they’re more apt to agree with your handling of the first concern because it’s probably not the real one anyway. That brings you momentum and confidence to handle the real one.

So it may sound like this;

Rick: So Mr. and Mrs. Seller, when can we get your house in inventory?

Seller: Well we haven’t received our transportation orders yet.

Rick: I totally understand. You haven’t received your transportation orders yet. Is there anything else?

Seller: Well we have a friend in real-estate that we talked with last night and promised them that we’d hear them out.

Rick: Oh O.K. So you need your transportation orders and you want to interview your friend who is a real-estate professional. Is there anything else?

Seller: No that’s about it.

Now we need to determine the concern that causes them the most pain. Would you say it’s the friend in real-estate? Me too.

So I’m going to give a knockout punch to the first and then swoop down on the second.

Rick: Well I know how important military transportation orders are and how nothing happens without them. So let’s get your home listed tonight and if an offer comes in we’ll make the contract contingent on you receiving proper military transportation orders within 30 days. Fair enough?

Seller: Oh O.K. I didn’t know you could do that.

Rick: Now let’s talk about your friend in real-estate. I appreciate your loyalty they sound like a close friend.

Seller: Yeah pretty close, we’ve known them for years.

Rick: I have to ask you, if you had to, would you be able to fire your friend if they weren’t getting your home sold? You see I give you the right to fire me if I’m not doing my job. The good news is they can bring you the buyer and still make a commission. Does that make sense?

Seller: I guess.

Rick: I can see this is causing you stress. Would it help if I call them and explain you will be listing your home with me and they’ll be able to help me find you a buyer?

Seller: That would be great.

There’s one type of scenario. I can’t tell you how important familiarizing yourself with scripts and dialogues are in helping you handle objections. Then practice these simple techniques to help you navigate some of these concerns and get more ink. Make sense?

Blog you soon!!!!

Don’t Work on Your Weaknesses

Don’t Work on Your Weaknesses Rick Guthrie is Team Leader at Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway in Fairfax, Virginia. Quotes John Maxwell who says don’t work on your weaknesses. Your weak on your weaknesses and instead work on your strong points.  People want you at your best of the best and are willing to line up […]

Don’t Work on Your Weaknesses

Rick Guthrie is Team Leader at Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway in Fairfax, Virginia. Quotes John Maxwell who says don’t work on your weaknesses. Your weak on your weaknesses and instead work on your strong points.  People want you at your best of the best and are willing to line up to work with you when your at your best.

Don't work on your weaknesses

How To Add Color To Your Home Decor Without Going Overboard

There is a fine line between adding color to your home décor and using too much color, so that you feel like you are living inside a rainbow.

How To Add Color To Your Home Décor Without Going OverboardThere is a fine line between adding color to your home decor and using too much color, so that you feel like you are living inside a rainbow.

A little bit of color will add a lot of fun and interest to your home design, but too much color can be overwhelming. How can you achieve that perfect balance?

Here Are Some Tips To Keep In Mind For Using Color In Your Home In A Subtle And Balanced Way:

  • Use Color Schemes

Before choosing the colors for your decor, do a little bit of research into color schemes and how they work, so you know how to combine colors harmoniously.

For example, you can choose a complementary color scheme with shades that are across each other on the color wheel – such as blue and orange or purple and yellow.

Or you could try an analogous color scheme, which is a scheme where the colors are next to each other on the colour wheel – such as blue, green and purple.

  • Use The 60/30/10 Rule

This is a rule that interior decorators use in order to use colors in a balanced way. Use the dominant color on 60% of the room, so that it will create a unifying look.

Then, use the secondary color on 30% of the room in order to add visual interest. Lastly, use an accent color for 10% of the room to add that little extra.

For example, you might use the dominant color for the walls and carpet, the secondary color for the upholstery and the accent color for some pillows, a wall hanging or a throw rug.

  • Try An Accent Wall

Perhaps you have found a gorgeous paint color, but it’s just a little too bright and overwhelming to use for all four walls of a room.

In this case, you can simply paint one wall with the color and the other walls with a neutral tone, so that you can enjoy the shade without it being overpowering.

You could also simply use the color in one aspect of the room, such as the baseboards or the door jams.

These are just a few of the ways that you can incorporate color into your home design, without it being overpowering. For more information, call your trusted real estate professionals at The DC Team, Keller Williams.  Also check out our Pinterest boards to get more insperation.

How To Get The Full Asking Price When Selling Your Home

Selling your home is a complex process and there are a lot of factors that you will need to consider. Your goal will be to sell your home in a timely manner, while getting the highest price you can.

How To Get The Full Asking Price When Selling Your HomeSelling your home is a complex process and there are a lot of factors that you will need to consider. Your goal will be to sell your home in a timely manner, while getting the highest price you can.

However, many properties sell at a discount because the buyer is able to negotiate a lower price on the property.

Although it is impossible to guarantee that you will receive your full asking price when you sell your home, there are things that you can do to increase the likelihood of this happening. You will need to have a strategy that attracts highly motivated buyers and improves competition.

Here Are Some Tips To Keep In Mind That Will Help You To Get The Full Asking Price When You Are Selling Your Home:

  • First of all, make sure that you have a reasonable asking price to start with. Research your local real estate market and find out what other buyers paid for homes comparable to yours.
  • Hire a home inspector to perform a full inspection of your home, so that you can fix any problems. If you can show the buyer the repair receipts and inspection report, you will be in a better position to ask for full price.
  • First impressions are very important and can improve a buyer’s perception of your home’s value. Make sure that your property has plenty of curb appeal and feels welcoming.
  • De-clutter and clean your home – this makes it appear more spacious and luxurious and will make a buyer willing to pay more.
  • Ask your DC Team, real estate agent to create a flyer that compares your home’s price to other similar listings in the area – showing that your home is a great deal. This will convince buyers that your asking price is already discounted.
  • Schedule your property tours as close together as possible. This can mean that you get multiple offers at around the same time, which will encourage the buyer who is eager to seal the deal to pay full price.
  • If you have any rooms with bright colours that might not appeal to the average buyer, give them a quick makeover with neutral tones. These are safe colours that will increase the odds that your home will sell.
  • If you have the budget to renovate one of the rooms in your home, it should be the kitchen or the bathroom. Studies have shown that renovations and upgrades in those two rooms have the most impact on the potential selling price of the home.

With these tips, you should be more likely to achieve the full asking price when you are selling your home. For more tips, contact your trusted real estate professionals at the DC Team.

How To Emotionally Detach From Your Home When Selling

Let’s face it, selling your home can be an emotionally difficult process – especially if you have lived there for a long time. When you make a house your home, it holds many of your memories and it becomes a part of your identity.

How To Emotionally Detach From Your Home When SellingLet’s face it, selling your home can be an emotionally difficult process – especially if you have lived there for a long time. When you make a house your home, it holds many of your memories and it becomes a part of your identity.

How can you sell the house in which your child took their first steps, where you held many dinner parties and where your family celebrated so many birthdays and holidays together?

You will go through a period of transition when moving house, which can be mentally and emotionally tiring.  The average length of listing on houses in Fairfax County, Virginia for December 2013 was 40 days, so you won’t have long to go through the motions here.

It might be hard to sell your home, but time marches on and eventually it is time to move to a different location or simply downsize or up-size to suit your changing family situation.

The problem with being too emotionally attached to your home is that it makes it difficult to sell. When you have a sentimental attachment to your home you will estimate its value as higher than it really is and you will have trouble accepting counter offers.

Which could mean that your home is on the market for a long time when it could possibly have been sold for a reasonable price.

Here are some tips for emotionally detaching from your home so that it is easier to sell:

Remove Your Personal Items

Taking any of your personal items out of the house will make it a lot easier to sell, because the buyer will be able to imagine a blank slate filled with their items instead. Also, it will make the process easier on you if you can remove your family photos, keepsakes and personal items – because it will make the house feel less like yours.

Think About Your New Home

Whether or not you have already bought your next property, it’s time to start thinking about it as your new home. It will take some time, but you can transfer that emotional connection to the new place where you will live.

Start to focus on all of the things that you are looking forward to about living in your new home.

Preserve A Record Of Your Old Home

Take photos and even make a video tour of your old home before you move – so that you can always remember where you used to live.

Get An Outside Opinion

Ask your Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway real estate agent or a professional home stager to take a look at your home with unbiased eyes to let you know what you should change to help it sell faster.

They might tell you to eliminate the jungle wallpaper in your son’s bedroom that you love – but they are probably correct in a way that you can’t see because your emotions cloud your judgement.  For more ideas on how to stage your home check out my Pinterest boards for inspiration.

With these tips, you should be able to emotionally detach from your old home, so that it is easier to sell. For more information contact The DC Team.

What Is DOM And How It Affects Your Home For Sale

Oh, the dreaded/happy DOM question. “How long has this house been up for sale?” If it’s your home for sale we’re talking about, you’re probably wondering about the split “dreaded/happy” bit.

DOM - What It Is And How It Affects Your Home For SaleOh, the dreaded/happy DOM question: “How long has this house been up for sale?” If it’s your home for sale we’re talking about, you’re probably wondering about the split “dreaded/happy” bit. For that matter, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you’re probably asking, “what the heck is ‘DOM’?”

Days On Market

“DOM” is the shortened industry term for Days On Market, used by the multiple listing services. It’s exactly what it sounds like: the number of days your home for sale has been on the market. This metric covers the time it actually goes on sale to the time the deal is closed.

Why Is DOM Important?

Remember the “dreaded/happy” part at the beginning of this article? As a buyer’s agent, I might gleefully answer, “Fifty days.” I say “gleefully,” because a house that has sat on the market for a long time is a good thing for my client.

The seller is probably more eager to sell than a month before, and is most likely willing to work a deal. An eager seller makes a happy buyer in most cases.

On the other hand, as a seller’s agent, I might not be so happy about it, and for the same reason. My seller is now an eager seller. I want to get the best deal for my client, but I know the buyer has the upper hand. It is then up to me to help my client get the home sold without giving away the barn, the pool, the tool shed and the tools.

Already, you may be beginning to understand how the DOM metric can affect the sale of your home.

The problem with the DOM metric is that it causes buyers and agents to build false assumptions. If a home has been on the market for an above-average length of time, we start to wonder, “what’s the matter with that listing?” Even though I know there are other reasons for a home to go static and not sell, many people automatically think there’s something wrong.

Reasons For An Extended DOM Metric:

  • The Home May Be Overpriced – Nothing is wrong with the property itself; it’s just priced too high.
  • Testing The Market – Although it’s a big mistake and agents will tell you so, some sellers test the market by throwing a high price on a home they don’t care if they sell – just to see if somebody is foolish enough to take it.
  • Sticking To Your Guns – Often, sellers get fixed on a price and won’t budge, come hell or high water. They figure they can wait around until the market can meet their price, not the other way around.
  • Renovations – Sometimes, a home will go on the market in the middle of renovations. The sellers aren’t ready to let the home be seen, so it just sits there.
  • Availability – A growing problem is the lack of access to a home for sale. Sadly, agents and FSBOs alike seem to be unavailable when a buyer wants to view the home. Obviously, no viewing means no sale.

Don’t let your DOM get high because of simple mistakes. If you’re serious about selling your home, remember the five reasons above and make sure you aren’t doing them.

If you’re ready to sell your home with a professional who understands how to keep the DOM to a minimum, contact your real estate professional today.

Why January Is The Best Month For House Hunting

Have you made it your New Year’s resolution to find that perfect home for you and your family? You might have thought that you needed to wait until spring to start house shopping, but the fact is that January is a great time to begin.

Why January Is The Best Month For House HuntingHave you made it your New Year’s resolution to find that perfect home for you and your family? You might have thought that you needed to wait until spring to start house shopping, but the fact is that January is a great time to begin.

Put on your winter jacket and get out there while the leftovers from the New Year’s party are still in the fridge – you’ll have the upper hand.

House hunting in January offers a number of advantages that will work in your favor. Here are some of the main reasons:

Busy Social Calendars

First of all, most other people will be busy with parties, holidays and getting back to work after Christmas and they won’t want to venture out in the cold weather to go look at houses – so there will be less competition when bidding on homes.

This means that you can get in there and put in an offer that the seller can’t refuse.

Determined Seller

Also, if the home is on the market at this time of year, there is a chance that the home sale is somewhat urgent.

If they were not as determined, they might pull their home out of the market and wait until spring to try again. With a motivated seller you are more likely to get a better price.

A Dedicated Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent will have more time on their hands at this time of the year, because they will be less busy. This means that they will be able to dedicate more attention to you and help you move through the closing and moving process faster.

Cheap Deals On Furniture

Also, during the month of January, retailers will sell off their excess inventory from over Christmas in order to make room for the new models. This means that when you move into your new home you will be able to furnish it at a great discount.

These are just a few of the reasons why you might want to consider getting out this January and searching for your new home. House hunting during this time of year can offer you a number of advantages and you could possibly find that dream home you have been looking for at a great price.

For more helpful tips, contact your trusted real estate professional.

Improve Your Curb Appeal This Winter

After all of the excitement of the holidays, the sparkle of the lights and the overstimulation of decorations, the rest of winter can seem lackluster. Don’t let your home add to the dreariness of the season.

Improve Your Curb Appeal This WinterAfter all of the excitement of the holidays, the sparkle of the lights and the overstimulation of decorations, the rest of winter can seem lackluster. Don’t let your home add to the dreariness of the season.

Spruce up your curb appeal with the tips below and inspire your neighbors to create well-groomed street that will make driver’s passing through smile.

Tend The Plants

If you’re currently located in a winter wonderland, then dig up any dead plants that won’t grow back. Replace them with cold-loving flowers, such as snowberry or lambs ear.

In warmer climates, this is the time for any landscaping changes you’d like to make. It will give your plants a chance to flourish by spring and have solid roots before the harsh heat of summer.

Light The Way

With daylight hours dwindling, well-placed outdoor lighting will help highlight your home’s best features in the evening.

Not only do they make your home look warm and cozy, but they also provide much-needed walkway lighting so that your guests arrive safely.

For a festive New Year’s sparkle, wrap white lights around the porch and in the trees.

Create A Custom Mailbox

Reclaim a vintage mailbox or get creative with paint to let the neighborhood know your family’s favorite sports team. A personalized letterbox says a lot about your household, so make it something special that doesn’t look like every other box on the street.

Also, visitors trying to find your home always appreciate large, easy-to-read address numbers visible from both directions.

Place Pots Strategically

Create focal points with terra cotta or colorful pots. Place them around your door to make a cozy entrance. Use evergreens and holly to give the curb appeal of your home a wintry feeling or brighten up a dark doorstep with cheerful pansies.

Paint Your Front Door

Perk up your curb appeal when the weather is dreary by painting your front door in a color that packs a punch. Try a vibrant red, bright blue or sage green. These colors will make your home feel warm and cheerful. However, don’t apply paint if the weather is below 40 degrees, because it will dry brittle and crack.