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.

5 Things for Home Buyers and Sellers to Consider in 2024

Does 2024 include a big move for you? From first-time buyers to seasoned investors, here’s a list of five things for home buyers and sellers to consider in 2024 to better prepare them for the real estate journey ahead.

Interest and mortgage rates.

It’s always a good idea for potential home buyers and sellers to keep an eye on interest and mortgage rates. Since October 2023, mortgage rates have begun to steadily decline from 8% to 7–6%. But rates will most likely remain volatile.

Experts suggest paying attention to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decisions for a hint at where mortgage rates are going in 2024. 

The long-term value of owning a home. 

Homeownership is one of the most reliable and quickest ways to build wealth for a variety of reasons. First of all, it stabilizes a homeowner’s housing expenses with fixed monthly payments. Second of all, as you continue to pay off your mortgage loan, you build equity in the home.

Hence, you add value to your net worth.

Think about what you need versus what you would like. 

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or you’ve done it before, figuring out your needs versus what you want helps you narrow your search. And, from there, you can begin adding on those wants. 

Industry experts have predicted that a few of those key features for 2024 include sustainability, luxury amenities and seamless outdoor-indoor living spaces. 

Calculate your budget. 

Knowing your budget is not a new idea, but it remains one of the top things for home buyers and sellers to consider in 2024. In general, designating about 25% of your net income toward a mortgage payment is a good rule of thumb. 

It’s a good idea to work with your local Realtor or mortgage lender to help calculate your budget. 

Working with an experienced local Realtor. 

Finally, when it comes to things for home buyers and sellers to consider in 2024, working with a knowledgeable local expert is key. In terms of finding the right Realtor for you, talk to a few different Realtors. Ask them questions, read their reviews and ask about their rates and fees, for example.

If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to finding a Realtor in Lee County, our member search offers a listing of Realtors, real estate offices, affiliates and more. 

Summary

A new year goes hand-in-hand with new possibilities and opportunities, and that includes investing in real estate. Become more familiar with our local market and the opportunities ahead by connecting with us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, where we share local statistics, insights and more. For more buying and selling tips, local news and trends, continue to read 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.

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!

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.

9 Factors to Consider When Determining an Offer Price on a Home

You finally found it—the home of your dreams! Now what? It’s time to make an offer. Your buyer’s agent will guide you through the entire process, including sharing these nine factors to consider when determining an offer price on a home.

Making an offer

Before you can make an offer, there are several factors to consider when determining an offer price on a home. Are you ready to figure out where to start? Now is the time to ask your REALTOR® about the following.

The home’s current list price.

For starters, what is the home’s list price? Is the asking price in line with the fair market value? If so, is it within your overall budget?

The sold price of similar homes in your area.

Your buyer’s agent can provide you with valuable information, including what similar homes in your area recently sold for. Commonly referred to as “comps,” this information offers you a reasonable baseline in terms of a starting offer.

How long has the house been on the market?

In a nutshell, if the home has been available for longer than average, sellers may be more willing to negotiate or accept a lower offer.

On the other hand, if the property is new to the market, the offer may need to be higher.

Look at the condition of the home.

Before you make an offer, take the time to learn about the home’s history and pay attention to its details. When was the house built, what types of building materials were used, what is the square footage?

What are the home’s top features and amenities? Is it in need of repairs or is it move-in ready?

Consider seller concessions.

And the questions to ask yourself continue. Will you be asking the seller to make any last-minute improvements?

Or, would you want them to cover the closing costs? These are the sorts of questions to review with your agent.

Outline exactly what’s included with the home.

Make sure the agreement and offer clearly define what is included with the home, such as appliances or window treatments.

Add in the earnest money.

When you get ready to make your offer, remember to add in the earnest, or deposit, money.

Factor in home inspection contingencies.

It may be a good idea to consider the unknowns that could be uncovered during the home inspection. Leave room in your budget for any potential updates or repairs.

Is there flexibility in your offer?

Finally, when it comes to factors to consider when determining an offer price on a home, did you give yourself some wiggle room? Is your offer going to fall at the top, middle or low end of your budget?

If the price point is firm, can you sweeten your offer in other ways? Consider being flexible when it comes to requested repairs, the closing date or the closing costs, for instance.

Summary

Bottom line: even after doing your research and carefully considering several factors to determine your offer price, the sellers could turn it down. But, remember, your trusted local REALTOR® is on your side and ready to negotiate on your behalf!

Are you looking for additional real estate tips? Keep reading our blogs for more!