6 Tips for Offline Lead Generation in Real Estate

Whether you are a new real estate professional or an established community expert, it’s always a good idea to set yourself apart from the crowd. These six tips for offline lead generation in real estate will help you do just that while bringing you a steady stream of potential clients.

Build community relationships.

For starters, building strong community relationships is key to success. Position yourself as a trusted local real estate expert by hosting informative workshops. Cover a variety of topics, from how to buy a home to selling dos and don’ts to reviewing the different types of mortgages available, for example.

You can also shake things up by hosting a fun local event. Work with a local nonprofit, for instance, to demonstrate your commitment to the community by giving back.

Stand out with eye-popping signage.

Think memorable. Craft a lively slogan. Pair it with professional photography and a call to action. This formula adds up to eye-catching signage that you can display in high-traffic areas, in local businesses and at your listings. Generate leads by leaving a good impression on potential home buyers and sellers through visual cues.

Let snail mail work for you.

Next on our list of tips for offline lead generation in real estate is trust in the tried and true with good old-fashioned mail. Let the postal service deliver your message to your target audience with a well-designed mailer. Stand out in the digital age by sending something a potential client can hold, read, save and refer to later!

Collaborate with other industry experts.

Team up with like-minded business partners to develop marketing initiatives together. Work with local contractors, landscaping professionals, interior design firms, home inspectors and other local industry experts.

Not only will this broaden your reach and strengthen your network, but it will also create a lasting impression.

Build a solid referral system.

In this case, we’re referring to building those long-lasting relationships with your past and present clients that lead to personal referrals. Referrals can come from family, friends, colleagues and others. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, 36% of sellers who used a real estate agent found them through a referral, while 89% of buyers said they would recommend their agent to others and use them again.

Warm things up with cold calls.

Again, stand out from the crowd by making cold calls. Cold calling is direct and personal. Connect with serious prospects with a one-on-one conversation. Remember to start by building a rapport with open-ended questions, for example.

Summary

While these tips for offline lead generation in real estate are a good start, it will take a comprehensive approach to achieve lead generation in today’s market, combining online marketing and social media with your efforts too. Are you a new Realtor in Lee County? Connect with some of our experienced members for professional guidance. And keep reading our blogs for more industry trends and real estate tips.

6 Ways to Build Client Loyalty in Real Estate

Client relationships are an essential part of the real estate business. Are you looking for ways to build trust with your clients? Check out these six ways to build client loyalty in real estate.

Make your work stand out.

Clients must make the choice to work with you. What makes you stand out? From your quirky personality and excellent service to your reliability, responsiveness and ability to connect, all of this can help you catch the eye of potential clients and keep them. 

Organize client events.

Want to create loyal clients for life? Spend time with them. This can be done through client events such as seminars or special get-togethers.

Seminars provide valuable information and are a great way for REALTORS® to share their knowledge with clients. Plus, you can invite speakers for different topics and help your buyers and sellers with interior design, landscaping and more. Client events such as barbecues, lunches and more are also a great way to show appreciation and connect on a personal level.

Follow up with your clients.

Just as in life, you should nurture your client connections. Did you see their post about their new landscaping? Have they received attention for a good deed? Reach out and acknowledge it! Compliments go a long way.

Send thank you cards. 

Personal and heartfelt. Take time after closing to handwrite a thank you card to your clients, showing appreciation for choosing you. Be sure to congratulate them on their new home, and if you want to go the extra mile, you can even send a small gift, such as a gift card, to a local business, for example.

 Acknowledge important dates.

Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries—everyone likes to be remembered. Small gestures such as wishing someone a happy birthday, congratulating them on a closing anniversary or even a marriage anniversary are a great way to stay connected and build those loyal relationships.

Share your reliable contacts.

Another one of the best ways to build client loyalty in real estate is to share your reliable contacts. What do we mean by this? Well, when it comes to owning a home, it will need upkeep and, at some point, even repairs. Pass along a list of trusted contractors, repairmen, landscapers or designers.

Be sure to foster your connections with your contacts as well. As you refer them, they can also refer clients to you!

Summary

With these six ways to build client loyalty in real estate fresh in your mind, start implementing them today! We guarantee that your clients will appreciate it.

And for more real estate tips and industry news, continue reading our blogs.

4 Things to Do After Moving Into a New Home

With a new year comes new beginnings, which for many can include a new house. But don’t let the moving process stress you out—follow our guide for things to do after moving into a new home.

Clean and unpack.

It’s obvious that the first thing you should do when moving into a new home is unpack. But don’t skip the most important step, cleaning.

Before unpacking your boxes, be sure to wipe down all surfaces, making them free of dust and dirt. 

Setup and organize.

Now that everything is unpacked, it’s time to find its rightful place. Start by organizing your things by room and then placing them in logical places you won’t forget.

You will first want to tackle the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen since these are the rooms you will use immediately in your new home. Once your big items are in place, getting your closets, cabinets and drawers organized will be quicker and easier.

Childproof your home.

When mentioning things to do after moving into a new home, we must not forget childproofing your home if you’ve got little ones—or pet proofing. This can include covering electrical outlets, preventing slipping and securing cabinets.

In addition, you will want to keep your children and pets in mind when cleaning, since some cleaning methods are more kid- and pet-friendly.

Update your information.

One of the most important things to do when moving into a new home is updating all of your information. You will need to update your address where applicable as soon as you can.

You may even want to consider setting up mail forwarding to ensure you don’t miss any important mail. 

Summary

Now that you know all the things to do after moving into a new home, be sure to keep reading our blogs to learn more homeowner tips. Additionally, you can learn more about real estate news and information.

Exploring the MLS

Whether searching popular real estate websites like Zillow is a hobby or you’re truly searching for your next property, there is one local marketplace database that has all the current home listings in the area. But to gain access to it, you need a Realtor. Then exploring the MLS becomes a useful means to an end at your fingertips!

What is the MLS?

First of all, MLS stands for “multiple listing service.” To clarify, it is basically a network of local databases for designated areas across the U.S. In fact, there are more than 500 local MLS marketplace databases, serving as tools for real estate professionals to share area home listings with each other.

From there, licensed Realtors can begin exploring the MLS with their clients, narrowing down the available options based on information found in the database. An MLS listing is usually similar to other public real estate listings.

It typically includes the property’s price, address, square footage, type of property, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, utilities and other key details. The MLS listing also includes agent remarks about the property, along with photos of the interior and exterior of the property.

In addition, there is a section intended for other agents, brokers and Realtors only. Here is where they will find private information such as directions on how to get to the property, for instance.

More about the MLS

More than just a current database of listed homes in your area, the MLS ensures home buyers and sellers have access to the largest collection of available properties and genuine buyers through the active participation of Realtors.

It also promotes transparency and a competitive marketplace. According to Bright’s 2022 MLS Study, consumers benefit from the open marketplace made possible through the MLS. The study reported that homes on the MLS generally sell for about 15 percent more than those not in the database.

More specifically, non-MLS listings sold for an average of $349,773, while similar properties on MLS sold for an average of $395,244, which is a $45,471 difference!

Summary

To summarize, working with a licensed local Realtor pays off, from exploring the MLS to having a loyal advocate on your side throughout the complicated process of selling and buying a home. Are you ready to rev up your search for a home in East Alabama? Connect with one of our expert LCAR members to get started! For more real estate news and home ownership tips, keep reading our blogs.

9 Home Maintenance Items to Do This Fall

Prepare your home for the season by checking off these nine home maintenance items to do this fall.

Care for your trees and shrubbery.

That fall breeze and those brewing winter storms can cause a lot of ruckus. Be sure to trim your trees and prune your shrubs to avoid falling limbs that can cause damage to your home. 

Clean your gutters.

Those fallen autumn leaves can cause big issues for you in the winter if you don’t clean them out of your gutters and downspouts this season. Clogged gutters can create pooling water, resulting in roof leaks, wall leaks, peeling paint, wood rot, and siding and gutter damage. 

Have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

Before it gets too cold outside, make sure to get your chimney cleaned and inspected. And, if you don’t already have one, add a chimney cap in order to prevent critters from crawling in!

Check for any exterior repairs.

Walk around your property. Did you see any roof, siding or foundation damage? Get it repaired now before winter arrives!

In addition to your house, be sure to check that your driveway, walkways, stairs and railings are in good shape and sturdy for the cold that can bring snow and ice.

Turn off exterior faucets and store hoses.

Get ready to protect your pipes from low temperatures by shutting off the water to the exterior faucet. And don’t forget to drain your hoses and store them indoors. 

Add weather stripping. 

Applying weather stripping around your windows and doors can help keep out the cool weather and cut energy costs. You can also add door sweeps in order to keep the heat in.

Have your heating equipment checked.

One of the home maintenance items to do this fall that you definitely don’t want to skip is having your heating equipment checked. In addition to making sure your heating system is ready to perform in the cold, you will also want to make sure you are changing your air filters monthly. 

Clean dryer vents. 

Lint buildup in your dryer can cause your energy bill to go up, your dryer to work less efficiently and put your room at risk of fire. And with this season’s cool, dry weather increasing static electricity, that lint can be more prone to ignition, so now is the time to clean it out.

Check your smoke detectors.

Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working. Be sure you put in fresh batteries, or if your detector has a power indicator light, make sure that it is on.

You will also want to press the test button to make sure the alarm sounds. 

Summary

With this checklist of nine home maintenance items to do this fall, your house will be set up for comfort and success in the coming seasons. For more home tips and real estate news, continue reading our blogs.

6 Moving Tips for Relocating Your Family

Moving, especially if it involves relocating to a new city, involves a lot of, well, moving parts. Since wondering where to begin is common, we’re sharing these moving tips for relocating your family that should help make it a smoother transition!

For our list of moving tips for relocating your family, we’re picking up at the point where you and your family have found your next dream home in a whole new place, and it’s time to get the move organized.

Make an informed decision.

First up on the list of moving tips for relocating your family is figuring out the basics. Ask yourself if the move is something you and your family can do yourselves or if you need to hire professionals.

Make a list of the pros and cons of each option. Discuss them with your family, including the kids if they are old enough to understand. Think about your budget and decide what works best for your situation.

Research the top movers.

If you decide to hire professional movers, do your research. Start by asking your Realtor if he or she has any recommendations. Search online, read reviews and call several recommended companies. Ask them questions. Compare services, prices and other factors before you decide which movers to hire.

Talk to your children about the move.

Typically, the sooner you talk to school-aged children about the upcoming move, the more time they will have to process and prepare. It can be hard to leave behind familiar environments, including friends and schools.

Encourage them to ask questions about the moving process, including the timeline. Answer any questions they may have about where you are moving, and start getting them excited about the new town.

Declutter, declutter, declutter!

One of the biggest moving tips for relocating your family is to declutter! Decluttering limits what you actually pack and move, which saves you money in the long run. Moving is the perfect time to go through and sort your belongings, only keeping what you know you will use.

Otherwise, sell items online or have a garage sale. Consider gifting items to family and friends or donating them to charity.

Collect free boxes.

Look for free boxes to help keep moving expenses down. Start by asking your family and friends if they have any boxes or if they know where you can find some.

You can also check with local retail stores and restaurants. They may have recycling piles you can sort through for cardboard boxes or plastic containers.

Start packing!

Packing is time consuming, so start packing as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to tackle the hardest parts of the house first, like closets and other storage areas, for example. Work your way toward the items you use every day until you’re all packed up.

Summary

There may be more helpful moving tips for relocating your family that your Realtor will be happy to share! Remember, “Realtor” is another word for “resource.” After all, they expertly guide you through the real estate process and help you connect with the right professionals like home inspectors, decorators, contractors and movers. For more real estate tips, keep reading our blogs!

7 Safety Tips for Homeowners and Buyers

Whether you’ve lived in your home for years or just moved in, review these seven safety tips for homeowners and buyers to better protect your family and property.

Research an area before you buy a home.

A good place to start when it comes to researching a city you may move to is with a local expert, like a Realtor. They will have the knowledge and resources readily available to help you find a neighborhood and home you will feel comfortable in.

You can also find helpful search tools, data, tips and more with online resources like SafeWise, for example.

Get to know your neighbors.

This is one of the safety tips for homeowners and buyers that is also good for your social life! In general, neighbors who get to know each other tend to look out for each other.

Not only is a sense of community created among friendly neighbors, but it also creates a safety network. Your neighbors could be the first ones to notice if something isn’t quite right, including signs of a fire or unfamiliar faces roaming around your home.

Stay diligent with your home security.

Staying safe does take a little effort. For instance, it’s a good idea to keep windows and doors locked while you are home or away. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your property if you are going out of town.

Leave a light on, whether you are home or away. Another good safety tip is to keep your location secure by not tagging it on social media accounts when you are on vacation or just out and about around town.

Improve the lighting around your house.

This is a simple, yet effective home safety tip. Consider adding more outdoor lights to protect your property. Options include motion-sensor lights and automated lights connected to your home security system.

Store hazardous materials safely.

From cleaning supplies like laundry pods to gasoline for the lawn mower, remember to safely store any chemicals and hazardous materials away from children and pets.  

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

As soon as you move in, walk through your new home and find all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If there aren’t any carbon monoxide detectors, consider adding a few.

After finding the detectors, double check the batteries or go ahead and replace them. Remember to check all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.

Work with a Realtor.

Finally, when it comes to safety tips for homeowners and buyers, working with a Realtor is a good place to start! Think of local Realtors as your local experts in terms of home security and community safety. Oftentimes, they can connect you with additional community resources.

Summary

Are you asking yourself where to start when it comes to finding that local expert in Lee County? Start with us! You can search for Realtors, find other community resources and learn more about the local real estate market by reading our blogs.

Real Estate Defined: An Overview of Seller Concessions

Buying a home is a big deal. Selling a home is a big deal. There are a lot of moving parts and factors to consider on both sides, including the cost. But costs can quickly go beyond a list price. Let’s look at an overview of seller concessions as an example.

What are seller concessions?

The best way to begin an overview of seller concessions is to explain what seller concessions are exactly. To simplify, seller concessions can sweeten the deal and could help expedite the selling process.

More specifically, seller concessions cover specific costs associated with buying a house that the seller agrees to pay. Seller concessions could include certain home improvements or repairs as well as some of the closing costs.

For instance, seller concessions may include several different fees such as the inspection fees, appraisal fees and the attorney fees.

Even though seller concessions can help lower the upfront costs and attract buyers, there are pros and cons for both buyers and sellers.

Seller concessions for buyers and sellers

For buyers, the upside to seller concessions is it can save you a significant amount at the closing table, making a home more affordable. This can also allow potential buyers the chance to make a higher offer, which may have a better chance of standing out in a competitive market.

From the seller’s perspective, seller concessions may speed up the sale of your property by making it more attractive to buyers in a crowded market.

Summary

Now that you’ve read an overview of seller concessions and what they could mean for you as a buyer or seller, reach out to your local Realtor to discuss your next move within our market. You can also learn more about our local market, real estate trends and other industry news by reading our blogs!

4 Things to Know About the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics

Looking for a house, not to mention a Realtor, can be overwhelming. However, these four things to know about the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics will help you see the benefits of working with one from the beginning!

But before we delve into the main things to know about the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics, let’s first review what it is and why it was created.

What is the Code of Ethics, and why was it created?

In a nutshell, the NAR’s Code of Ethics is a self-improving guide for all real estate professionals. It was created to guarantee clients are served fairly by requiring Realtors to work together in promoting the clients’ best interests at all times.

Required continuing education courses ensure that Realtors stay up-to-date on the Code and any changes it undergoes year to year.

It was established over 100 years ago.

Did you know the NAR’s Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913? According to the NAR website, it was “one of the first codifications of ethical duties adopted by any business group.”

It embodies the Golden Rule.

Simply put, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Realtors apply this guiding principle to all their activities, from personal to professional.

There are three main sections.

There are three main sections outlined in the Realtors’ Code of Ethics.

Duties to Clients and Customers

When it comes to things to know about the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics, know that the client is always the number one priority. But Realtors remain obligated to treat all parties honestly, even while promoting and protecting their clients’ best interests.

Duties to the Public

This section includes everything from equal professional services for all to truthfulness in all communications—from emails to advertising.

Duties to Realtors

Once again, the Golden Rule is a guiding principle in this case. Under the Code of Ethics, Realtors promise to be fair, honest and supportive of other real estate professionals.

It gives you—the client—peace of mind.

Knowing your Realtor has taken an oath to protect and promote your best interests in all transactions is comforting. Understanding your Realtor is obligated to disclose pertinent facts about the property is comforting.

Realizing your Realtor works diligently to promote a healthy, competitive marketplace is comforting. And, last but not least, knowing your Realtor is committed to staying current on issues affecting real estate gives you peace of mind.

Summary

Now that you have a better understanding of why “Realtor” has come to mean “competency, fairness and high integrity,” are you ready to connect with a local expert? We can help! Search for Lee County Realtors here. For more industry news and tips, keep reading our blogs.

5 Potential Homeowner Tax Breaks for 2022

The due date for taxes is April 18, 2023. But before you file, be sure you are aware of the tax perks of homeownership. Check out these five potential homeowner tax breaks for 2022.

Mortgage interest 

The mortgage interest deduction is an itemized deduction. This means that for it to work in your favor, all your itemized deductions need to be greater than the standard deduction.

Note that for the 2022 tax year, those standard deduction amounts increased. For individuals, this deduction is now $12,950, and for married couples filing jointly, it is now $25,900. For the head of household, this deduction went up to $19,400. And if you are 65 or older, you can add on an extra $1,400 per person if you are married and filing jointly or an extra $1,750 if you are a single filer.

And remember—the more recent your mortgage, the greater your tax savings will be.

Property taxes

Property taxes are on that itemized list of all your deductions that must add up to more than your standard deduction.

Taxpayers can take one $10,000 deduction. This deduction is capped at $10,000 for those who are married and filing jointly.

Note: If you have a mortgage, your property taxes are built into your monthly payment.

Interest on a home equity line of credit

If you have a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, the interest you pay on that loan is deductible only if that loan is used specifically to “buy, build or improve a property.”

Essentially, you will have some cash if your home needs repairs or upgrades. But you cannot use that money for things such as weddings or college tuition.

You can deduct up to the $750,000 cap—this is for the amount you pay in interest on your HELOC and mortgage combined. But note, if you took out a HELOC before the new 2018 tax plan for anything other than improvements to your home, you cannot deduct the interest.

Home offices

Are you self-employed, with your home office being your principal place of work? Good news! You can deduct $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet, of office space. The maximum deduction your home office can receive is $1,500.

For those taking this deduction, know that there are very strict rules on what constitutes fully-deductible home office space.

In addition, understand that if you are still working remotely, you are still a W-2 employee and are not eligible for this deduction under the CARES Act.

Home improvements

To receive the home improvement tax break, your improvements have to exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Deductible improvements can include widening doorways, lowering cabinets, fixing electrical or adding stairlifts. For some homeowners who plan to add renovations such as wheelchair ramps and grab bars in the bathrooms, for example, the cost of improvements can result in a nice tax break.

You will need a letter from your doctor to prove that these changes were medically necessary.

Summary

Be sure you keep these potential homeowner tax breaks for 2022 in mind when filing your taxes in 2023. These breaks and homeownership tax perks can save you money!

Finally, continue reading our blogs for more real estate tips and news.