Tips on Great Lead Follow Up

One of the most important tasks real estate agents have is following up with leads. Yet many don’t do it for one reason or another. Maybe they don’t think the lead will buy or sell a house or they just get too busy and the lead slips through the cracks. But real estate agents are throwing away money by not following up.

It isn’t hard to follow up when you make the time for it. And, in some cases, you only need to make the time once. Let us show you four great ways to follow up with your leads.

Pick up the Phone

The first tip is to pick up your phone and reach out to the lead. You already have your phone out constantly. Take a moment to send a text or a short email, even call them, asking them if they have any questions for you or is there something you can help them with. Position yourself as a resource for all their questions and needs.

Give them something of value each time you reach out instead of sending them a text asking them if they’d like to put down an offer or if they are ready to sell yet. It will make the lead more likely to do business with you because they see you as knowledgeable and helpful.

Let Your Computer Do Everything

The great thing about living in the 21st century is you can automate many tasks which used to take time. This includes following up. There are several customer relationship management (CRM) software options to help real estate agents keep in touch. This includes email and text automation. You can choose from a template or create your own that will be sent on a regular schedule.

This way you’re always in touch even when you’re actually showing houses to another client or at a baseball game with your kids. This will take the stress off of you to make sure you’re constantly sending something to those leads.

Don’t Overload Them

Your leads have busy lives of their own. They could be a doctor or a teacher or any number of other jobs keeping them busy. You want to keep in touch and be a resource for them, but this can sometimes lead to sending emails and texts every day for a month. At some point, the lead will start glossing over the emails and texts and you’ll never hear from them again.

It’s best to find a point where you stop pressing them and just instead send an email or a text maybe every couple of weeks to touch base. This way they don’t get sick of your emails, but you’re also staying visible to them so that when they finally need a real estate agent, you are the first one to come to mind. Often, ‘less is more’ is the best approach.

Don’t Give Up

As mentioned at the top, don’t give up on these leads. They might not seem viable at the moment or even a waste of your time, but how often is that true? A pharmaceutical representative may be given a list others think are bad, but she works it all the same and finds clients in places others would have given up. It works the same way for real estate.

It could also pay if those specific leads don’t work out in which they may have a friend or family member who does need a real estate agent. Do you want the lead to say, “well, I did know an agent but I haven’t heard from him/her in months” or “I know the perfect agent. I don’t need them now, but they’ve been so helpful. Let me give you their number.”

Obviously, the latter is better. And that’s how you should work it even if the lead might not seem like it would work out.

Next time you meet a lead, remember these four ways of follow up. They could turn your business from something making just enough money into a successful business growing like crazy. That’s why you got into real estate to begin with, right?

Don’t let excuses like ‘not enough time’ or ‘not a good enough lead’ stop you from doing your job. It could lead to unexpected results transforming your business.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

Autumn Staging Tips to Warm up Your Listing

Home staging tips change with the seasons but it can be hard not to cross the line between tasteful and gaudy, especially with the holidays coming up.  It’s tempting to overdo it with the excitement that autumn changes bring, like the changing leaves and holiday décor lining the shelves. So how do you get that cozy autumn atmosphere without overdoing it?  Here are some tasteful tips for home staging we gathered from the experts at HGTV to warm up your listings.

Less Is More

Too many fall decorations will take focus off of your home and its best features but a few tasteful accents can create an inviting setting and make your home feel fresh. Try displaying vases of fall foliage or bowls of seasonal fruit throughout your home.

Warm Up Your Walls

No matter what time of year you decide to sell, a fresh coat of paint is a great way to revive your home’s interiors. For the fall season, try painting your walls a rich shade of caramel or cream that’s neutral yet warm and inviting. Add pops of color with accessories in deep reds and oranges.

Let In the Light

The days get shorter during the fall season, so adequate lighting is essential if you want to highlight your home’s best features. Let in as much natural light as possible by opening your blinds, and place plenty of lamps throughout your home for additional illumination.

Emphasize Comfort

As the weather cools down, a warm and cozy atmosphere will encourage potential homebuyers to stick around during showings, giving them more time to admire your home. Accentuate your sofas and chairs with throw pillows and plush throws.

Use Seasonal Scents

Nothing says fall like the pleasing aromas of apples and cinnamon. Before showing your home, burn a cinnamon-scented candle or simmer a pot of apple cider on the stove with a stick of cinnamon thrown in. If you opt for cider, leave it in a thermos with cups for buyers to enjoy.

Play Up the Fireplace

A cozy fireplace is a fantastic feature to highlight during the chilly fall months. Arrange your furniture to make the fireplace the focal point of the room, or draw attention to the mantel with tasteful artwork or accessories.

Add a Touch of Luxury

Layering your bed with sumptuous, silky fabrics will further enhance your home’s comfort – and these luxurious details don’t have to break the bank. Discount stores offer plenty of inexpensive bedding options that look high-end. You can also display plush towels in the bathroom or drape a silky table cloth over your dining room table.

Don’t Forget Curb Appeal

No matter how beautiful and inviting your home’s interior, buyers won’t make it inside if the exterior isn’t in good shape. During the fall season, spruce up your lawn by raking up leaves and patching up brown spots in the grass. Take care of fall-specific maintenance projects, such as cleaning your gutters and downspouts, and pressure wash your siding to keep your home’s exterior looking its best.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

Four Technology Tips for Real Estate Professionals

Real estate professionals have a lot of technology at their fingertips. As we head further into the 21st century, agents and brokers have more and more ways to do their job better. Nearly every piece of technology a Realtor® needs can be found on their tablet or smartphone.

Technologies are becoming available that will change the real estate field forever. This includes such things as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. But these are large concepts not useful to you as an agent right now. But what is useful? What can make your job easier?

Here are four tips for how to make the best use of technology.

1) Download Everything.

Download every free app you come across geared toward real estate agents. Play around with them. See what they can do for you. There are dozens of apps out there that can make life easier for you. These include everything from 10MinRealty, which helps schedule showings, to OpenHomePro, an CRM app. Several apps have free trials you can check out before purchasing the full version. Try it out. See what these apps can do for you.

2) Dominate Social Media

Social media isn’t going away. Eighty percent of Americans use Facebook. Thirty-two percent use Instagram. One in four use Twitter. That’s a gigantic audience. You need to be visible to them consistently. If you haven’t already, create a Facebook page. Also create a Twitter account and an Instagram account. Each account has its own strengths. Instagram is visual. Twitter is text-based. Facebook is an amalgamation of the two. It’s best to have an account on each site and constantly update them so that people will stay engaged. It may seem a little overwhelming, but there are websites that allow you to post on all three of them at once, such as HootSuite. Check it out and see how it can help your business.

3) Keep Track of Trends

Watch the trends happening in technology so you can be at the forefront of anything new. It’ll pay to be on the ground floor of the next big thing for real estate agents. Not every trend will take off, but many of them will and it will only help your business. There are several websites to watch the trends. Inman is the most well-known one. Another good option is the CBInsights blog. It follows technology startups and categorizes them into the industries they help. It’s a good way to see what’s new and worth your time. To be the tech-savvy agent, you want to be the one who knows everything that’s going on.

4) Don’t Forget About the Client

A great way to differentiate yourself from the competitors is to know all the smart home technology that the buyer will want. Instead of leaving the homeowner to figure out the different types of smart home tech and where to obtain them, you can be their resource. You could provide them with the information they want. There is so much available now and more hitting the market every day so it could be overwhelming to the client. Take that burden away and study the different technologies so you can make recommendations about what would work best for them. Smart technology is available for security, lighting, temperature, safety, appliances, and entertainment. Get studying.

If you follow these tips and continue to keep an open mind, you’ll be the ideal 21st century real estate agent. That’s the way the world is going. You don’t want to be left behind, looking for clients and trying to convince them your old school ways are better. Millennials aren’t looking for old school. They’re looking for more efficient homes and agents. You can be that professional.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

4 Luxury Trends that are Hot Right Now

When looking for a luxury home, there are always trends in what builders are building and what buyers are buying. Opinions differ as to what every luxury home buyer is looking for, but a few trends have been popping up recently.

Here, we’ll talk about the top 4 biggest luxury home trends for which buyers are looking. If you’re a seller, it’ll give you a good idea of what you need to do to your home to ensure that it sells quick and for a great price. If you’re looking for a luxury home, you’ll gain an idea of what other buyers are looking for and help you determine if those are important to you in the home buying process.

Smart Technology

With smart technology increasingly becoming available and popular, home owners want to have smart tech in their homes too. Light automation. Voice activation. Top of the line security systems. Smart appliances that can remind you when you need to go to the grocery store again. Using your iPhone to control everything in your house is a great convenience and gives you greater control.  These technologies are rapidly becoming more common and home owners are taking advantage of them. It’s why home integration is becoming a bigger trend overall.

State of the Art Kitchens

Kitchens are always important to home buyers. A kitchen can make or lose a sale. When it comes to luxury homes, kitchens must be start of the art. This includes the smart technology mentioned earlier, but also the best finishes and countertops that are of the best material. Granite. Quartz. Whatever can give the kitchen personality and make it pop. Luxury home owners want to be able to show off their kitchens to their friends and neighbors.

Kitchens are increasingly become a space where traditional styles and contemporary styles meet and mix. And the appliances need to be the top of the line brands, like Viking or Jenn-Air. With the right kitchen, a luxury home could sell before anyone knew it was on the market.

Bathrooms You Can Spend an Entire Day in

Bathrooms in luxury homes are becoming larger and a place in the home that can rival the kitchen in the added finishes and luxury styles. Touchless fixtures. Multiple head showers. Air jets. These are a few of the things that rival bathrooms of even the nicest luxury resorts. The counters and vanities in the bathroom vie with what’s found in the kitchen. Granite and quartz are finding homes there too. Oversized showers that can stretch longer than the average stall and large baths that you could soak for hours in also need to be included in the luxury bathroom.

Luxury home buyers are also looking for bathrooms that give them the feeling of being outside without actually being outside. This includes bathrooms that connect you to nature through the use of floor to ceiling windows and other features.

Mixed Metal Homes

More and more luxury home owners are not looking for uniformity in their metal finishes. They desire a variety of types that complement each other, it gives it a modern look. Brass. Chrome. Nickel. It’s the mixing up that gives the home a personality, instead of conformity throughout. It’s just another way of creating a unique home that gives the homeowner variety.

Luxury home buyers aren’t looking for cookie cutter homes. The same appliances, metals and other finishes in each room are tired. They want to mix it up.

These trends can change because trends always change, but this is hot right now for luxury home buyers. Those of you looking to purchase your first or next luxury home now know what to look for that’ll make your friends and family jealous.  And if you’re looking to sell your home, it’ll pay more in the long run to renovate your home and start including some of these amenities like smart technology and state of the art kitchens and bathrooms.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

Mortgage Questions Answered for Homebuyers

When looking for a home, one of the biggest concerns you will have as a buyer is your mortgage. This is not something any home buyer should take lightly. You’ll be paying this rate for 30 years (Unless you decide to move well before then). How large will your mortgage be? What’s the monthly rate? You should research lenders to find one that works best for you.

The most recent rates have changed little over the past year. As of July 19, the 30-year fixed mortgage stood at 4.08%, while the 15-year fixed sat at 3.48%. The adjustable rate mortgage stayed still at 3.92%.

So, what does all this mean for you?

It means that right now is a great time to buy a home. Mortgage rates change as regularly as a heartbeat, but they are low. For those of you who bought a home before the Great Recession, you remember those rates. They were high. Those of you who bought homes decades ago, in the 80s and earlier, remember those sky-high rates.

However, those days are long gone. They are not even a speck on the rearview mirror. The rates today and those in the near future, as they stay around those numbers, make it a smart decision to purchase a home.

But what if you are looking for a luxury home?

Your options are slightly smaller. This is due to limits on the conventional loan amount you can receive through a lender thanks to regulations (usually the limits are proscribed by Fannie May and Freddie Mac, whom we’ll discuss later).

The jumbo mortgage differs from a regular mortgage because the lenders are taking a great risk. It’s also for these reasons that the requirements to qualify for a jumbo mortgage are stricter. The buyer must pay a higher down payment than conventional loans, up to 30% of the home’s value. The buyer must also have a great credit score (Higher than 700), strong debt-to-income ratio (This means the amount of debt you have versus the amount of income you make. In this case, it can be no greater than 43%). The buyer also needs to have up to a year of reserves in the bank to ensure that they can keep paying for the house should something catastrophic happen, like the loss of a job.

What is the next step? How do you find the right mortgage for you?

There are several options to choose from. Fannie May or Freddie Mac. Just about every bank. Mortgage lenders. The VA. Even an online mortgage company. You have more options than you ever thought possible. But you need to research each of those options to find the best one.

Depending on your preferences and your current finances, you should shop around for the best terms. Don’t just go to the first place and say, ‘I’d like a mortgage, please.’ Unless you have a long-standing relationship with a bank who will give you preferential treatment, it pays to check out several banks, mortgage lenders, Fannie and Freddie, and so forth to determine the best option for you now and in the future. It also helps to ask about how you can refinance your mortgage in the future as many homeowners refinance their mortgages at some point to take advantage of better rates.

If you are not sure where to start, ask your real estate agent. We have relationships with a variety of mortgage lenders and we can help you set up informational meetings to discover your best option. We are your ally in both buying a home and finding financing for your new home. It’ll pay to ask, sometimes literally.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.