As today’s real estate market becomes increasingly mobile, savvy agents are turning to real estate apps to help them save time and improve their businesses. Consumers want resources at their fingertips, and so do real estate agents, knowing that being able to quickly get pertinent information can make a big difference in closing a sale. Here, we offer a list of some of the most beneficial real estate apps, to help you stay current, be efficient, and make the most of your technology.
- Open Home Pro, for iPad and iPhone, is one of the most useful real estate apps, because it allows agents to run their open houses from their mobile devices.
- Dropbox allows you to instantly save files to your computer, phone, mobile device, and the Dropbox website, and it works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. This is particularly convenient for realtors striving to go paperless.
- The Realtor App, from the National Association of Realtors, offers accurate, current data, pulled directly from MLS databases.
- Keynote is a great program for giving a listing presentation, especially if you also bring handouts. It even allows you to email slideshows as power point presentations.
- Docusign allows agents to send, sign and save contracts and other documents with any device. Utilizing eSignatures, it saves time and boosts productivity.
- HomeSnap lets you use your camera and the GPS in your phone to get instant public data on a property by taking a picture.
Staying ahead of the game in the real estate industry means keeping up with current trends, whether it’s real estate apps, paperless offers, social media marketing, or whatever new thing is coming around the corner. The more mobile real estate apps you can learn to utilize, the easier it will be to run your business more efficiently, even on the go! For more information about paperless offers, buying and selling homes, to connect with local agents, or to see current homes for sale in your area, visit www.BidSelect.com. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
When you’re getting ready to sell your home, it’s important to focus on increasing its resale value. While some home improvements are a costly waste of time, others can make a big difference in how quickly your home will sell. According to Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, focusing on those renovations that improve resale value is a smart move, and one that will get your home off the market quickly, at the price it deserves.
- Remodel your kitchen to increase resale value. Kitchens are very important to potential homebuyers, and upgrading yours can make all the difference in making a sale. New appliances make a big impact, and so do new cabinets, countertops, and floors; you’ll likely get an 85 percent return on the investment you make into your kitchen.
- A bathroom renovation can be simple, and still be effective. Does your bathroom appear outdated? Sometimes some new fixtures and hardware are all it takes to boost your resale value and encourage shoppers to buy.
- Outdoor living spaces add resale value. Something as simple as adding a deck to the back of your house can make it more appealing, and you’ll probably recoup about 80% of the money you put into it. What’s more, you’ll have the extra space for entertaining, or just relaxing, until you sell your home.
- New siding is a facelift that adds curb appeal and resale value. Depending on the size of your home, you can probably update or repair your home for around $10,000. New siding improves your home’s exterior immediately, and this renovation offers about an 80 percent return on investment.
- Windows can make a huge difference in the appearance of your house. Not only that, but new windows can also make your home more energy efficient, which translates to lower utility bills. The return on your investment starts while you’re still living there, enjoying the lower utility bills, and it extends into the increased resale value of your home.
Improving your home’s resale value can increase the likelihood buyers will meet your purchase price, and finding the right professionals to help will make the selling process smooth. For more information about buying or selling your home, or to see current homes in your area, visit www.BidSelect.com. Don’t forget to join our online community by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Selling your own home may sound appealing, as you seek to cut out the middleman and handle things yourself. Many homeowners choose the “for sale by owner” route, deciding that the money they’ll save in by eliminating agent and broker fees will compensate for the hassle of handling all the details themselves. What most soon discover, however, is that the tools at a real estate professional’s disposal are extremely valuable in the selling process, and the expertise of a licensed agent should not be discounted. In fact, there are many reasons why selling your own home is not the most effective way to make the sale.
- You don’t have the kind of exposure available to a professional agent. A sign on your lawn, and a posting on Craigslist is not going to reach anywhere near the market of a licensed real estate agent. Extending far beyond the town or city in which your home is located, the network of an established brokerage is typically the result of well budgeted and managed marketing, and is designed to generate sales for clients. In addition to print advertisements, including full color photographs, the typical agent will post photos and listing information online. This ensures it can be seen by not just a local audience, but to national and sometimes even international prospective buyers. Without this kind of exposure, your house can spend a lot of time on the market, particularly in a down market. The longer it sits, the less likely it is to garner the price you want; people assume that a house that has been on the market for a while is somehow faulty.
- Real estate agents have market information that you do not. Keeping up with market trends can be dizzying, and if you don’t have accurate information you have the potential to make serious errors. Listing your home at the wrong time, or at the wrong price, can hurt your chances of selling it quickly and making a profit.
- You might not have the necessary negotiating skills to close the right deal. Selling your own home can be an emotional experience, and when emotion clouds your judgment it may impair your ability to negotiate. Further, you’ll likely be up against professional agents, well-versed in the ins and outs of the sales process. Having a professional in your corner can protect you from settling for terms that are not in your best interest.
- Legal issues that come up during the home-selling process can get complicated. Closings can be dangerous without the help of a professional; unless you are a lawyer, you will probably need the help of an expert who understands contracts and can guide the process to a successful conclusion.
- The value-added services offered by a real estate firm might make it worth the expense of hiring an agent. Large firms can often prequalify buyers for financing, and sometimes even provide that financing. Having that kind of resource is invaluable, and it can make all the difference in closing a deal. In addition, real estate professionals have access to all the latest tools of the trade and may even have the option to go paperless, making your sale much more convenient.
- Potential buyers might be put off by the eccentricity of a home for sale by its owner. It’s unusual for homeowners to sell their homes without the assistance of an agent, so even though there’s nothing wrong with it, doing so puts you at the disadvantage of being outside the mainstream.
- Your time is too valuable to waste. Real estate agents have the time to spend on selling your house, because it’s their job to do so! Sitting down and analyzing how much time you’ll actually have to spend in the process of selling your own home might bring you to the conclusion that it’s not worth saving the money you’ll spend on commission.
Typically, employing the services of an experienced professional makes much more sense than selling your own home. Since 2004, BidSelect has been helping link buyers and sellers with the right tools and assistance to make their real estate ventures successful, and can even show you how to go paperless in the home-selling process. For more information about buying and selling homes, to connect with local agents, or to see current homes for sale in your area, visit www.BidSelect.com. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Selling a house is a complicated process, and many homeowners do not realize all the costs that go along with it. From listing to closing, the costs can add up; if you’ve never been involved in selling a house, you may find yourself experiencing sticker shock. Before you decide to sell your house, there are a few things you should consider about the associated costs.
- Your home may require some repairs before it’s ready to list. Making the necessary repairs can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but when you’re selling a house, it’s important to do everything possible to make your home look its best. It’s easy to overlook minor issues with your home, but those little blemishes can make your home less attractive to potential buyers. In addition, a homebuyer will order an inspection before the sale closes, so it’s best to be prepared before you list.
- Working with an agent will mean paying a commission. There are many benefits to hiring a real estate agent rather than selling your home yourself, but you will pay to reap those benefits. Typically, an agent earns 5-7 percent of the sale price, but this figure is somewhat negotiable. The traditional commission for a full-service broker is about 6 percent. Of course, you could sell the house yourself, but the costs of marketing and selling a house can add up, and you won’t have the same resources a professional broker can easily access. In that case, you should also probably be prepared to offer a commission of about 3 percent to the buyer’s agent.
- Understanding closing costs will keep them from being an unpleasant surprise. The costs for which the seller is responsible include escrow fees to a third-party escrow company that will do the closing process, title fees for the owner’s title insurance, fees for various documents, and, often, the buyer’s closing costs. The grand total for closing costs when you’re selling a house is typically between 1-4 percent.
- Don’t forget about existing loans on your home. Check your loan papers to make sure there is not a prepayment penalty before you list your house—paying your loan off early could cost you as much as six months of mortgage payments. Regardless, before you can close the sale you’ll have to pay off not only your first loan, but also any secondary loans or home equity lines of credit.
- Moving can be a big expense. While this isn’t actually part of the cost of selling a house, it’s still a cost you’ll need to consider, because you’ll have to cover it. Depending on how far you have to travel and how much work you’re willing to do on your own, moving costs can range from a few hundred dollars into the thousands.
Selling a house is often a necessary part of life. If you understand all the costs involved, you won’t be caught unaware. For more information about buying and selling homes, or to see current homes on the market in your area, visit www.BidSelect.com. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
As a homeowner, you should always be mindful of the resale value of your house. You never know when you might need to sell it, and especially with today’s turbulent market, you want your house to be the best that it can be, in case you need to attract buyers. What many homeowners do not know, however, is that there are some renovations that do little or nothing to increase the resale value of their homes.
- A swimming pool is not the luxury upgrade you might think it is. Many homebuyers look at a pool as a liability, in fact, because of the maintenance it requires and the hazard it presents to young children. As a rule, swimming pools do not typically boost resale value.
- If you’re giving your home a facelift, make sure it doesn’t look out of place. Sometimes, homeowners update the exterior of a home, in order to make it stand out in the neighborhood. Most homebuyers, however, want a house that is in harmony with those around it, so if all the houses in your neighborhood have wood siding, it will not make yours more valuable to suddenly upgrade to brick.
- Going green doesn’t always earn you more green. Yes, people like energy efficient, environmentally friendly touches. However, expensive features like solar panels may not be worth the investment, as the initial outlay costs more than the gain in resale value. Stick to practical upgrades, like double paned windows, and you’ll lower your energy bills while raising your resale value.
- Don’t overdo the kitchen upgrade. Refreshing the paint and renovating seriously outdated fixtures is fine, but if you’re looking to boost your resale value, skip the double oven and granite countertops. These expensive items incur an expense that is difficult to recoup, and potential buyers will be more concerned with the functionality of the kitchen than its stylish interior design.
- Additional space does not always equate to additional resale value. Adding onto a house does not increase its intrinsic value and can, in fact, be extremely costly, as the addition may make the rest of the house look suddenly outdated. If you’re not planning on staying in a home, skip the added rooms and focus on simple changes that will enhance the space you already have.
Understanding how to boost the resale value of your home is something that takes some experience and knowledge, and buying or selling a home requires the expertise of someone who understands the market and knows how to use the right tools. Since, BidSelect has provided buyers and sellers with the tools to interact and transact on line, with state of the art technology that bridges the gap between internet browsing and internet buying. To connect with an agent, to gather more information about buying/selling homes, or to see current homes in your area, visit www.BidSelect.com. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
An open house is more than just a time to let people see the featured home; it’s also a great time to ramp up your real estate marketing. Especially if you have already begun to build an Internet-based brand that showcases your personality and fits your market niche, an open house is a great opportunity to take it to the next level—real-world promotional events. It’s a perfect arena for your real estate marketing efforts, provided you apply the right strategy.
Be aware of the limitations of an open house. These events aren’t the same as they once were, because today’s consumers can narrow their search by reviewing Internet listings and viewing virtual tours. This means a substantially reduced audience as compared with what an agent could expect in the past. On the other hand, it’s a more focused audience. A savvy agent will take advantage of this focus, in order to build the brand. Organize your open houses for the first two Sundays that a house is on the market, and every three weeks after that. Then make the most of the real estate marketing opportunity created, building your brand by following some simple steps.
- Introduce yourself in a memorable way. Let your personality shine through as you greet each person who enters the house. Rather than giving a nod and a handshake, strike up a brief conversation, asking them questions about their needs, and pointing out pertinent features of the property.
- Stage according to season. Keep your décor neutral, to appeal to a varied audience, but include seasonal touches like fresh flowers, pumpkins, wreathes, or holiday decorations, to help potential buyers visualize sharing memorable family events in the home.
- Tap into emotional responses. A big part of real estate marketing is helping people to visualize themselves living in the home. Bake cookies and make coffee to make it smell “homey.” Stage a small bedroom in a starter home as a nursery, to tap into the emotions of young couples who may be considering having a child. Use décor, scents, visuals, and even music to create an atmosphere that will make people feel at home, and they’ll be more likely to imagine what it would be like to live there. Then, find a signature way to stand out, and use it at every open house to establish your brand presence. Don’t forget to have brochures, flyers, and business cards on hand as well.
- Always say goodbye to potential buyers. When people leave the open house, it may be your last chance to forge a connection. Take a moment to interact, asking them what they thought of the home, and collecting contact information. Make a note of any insightful comments, so that you can make your next open house even better.
- Follow up! The contacts you make at an open house are valuable, but only if you reach out to them after the open house event. Contact each attendee twice—once to thank them for coming and remind them to visit your website to contact you if they have any questions, and once to invite them to something; it can be a home viewing, or your mailing list, the point is to make contact.
Real estate marketing is best served by a multipronged approach, building your brand across several Internet platforms, as well as at real-world events. For more information about buying and selling homes, or to see current homes in your area, visit www.BidSelect.com. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Real estate is a data-intensive business, but changing regulations and evolving technology have made it possible for many agents to run a nearly paperless office. Decreasing paper usage leads to greater efficiency, which saves both time and money. Online solutions eliminate the need for costly paper storage and the hassle of sending forms back and forth between parties. From single offices to entire MLS systems, real estate professionals across the country are realizing the value of forgoing paper clutter.
- New Jersey real estate broker, Carmelo “Mel” Oliveri, wasn’t content to just go paperless. Once he learned how to implement a paperless office, he established his own virtual, paperless brokerage, the Paramus-based Property Hub Realtors. He’s a firm believer in utilizing the latest technology, and he says that the future is here; people are just not optimizing their opportunities.
- In Texas, a brokerage with 13 offices and 350 agents has begun processing all of its files on a paperless platform. Since January, Heritage Texas Properties has run a paperless office, using online transaction management and e-closing solutions, as well as real estate information services, and title/escrow production systems. The company soon discovered that the decision to go paperless saves money and increases efficiency.
- In Idaho, the MLS and many Realtor® Associations have made the move toward paperless office solutions. Providing document management and electronic signature services as member benefits, these organizations help real estate agents conduct business more effectively through online platforms.
With more consumers than ever doing much of their business online, it only makes sense for the real estate industry to follow suit. With online marketing tools already well-established, brokers and agents are taking it one step further and embracing online alternatives to the traditional, paper-intensive transactions. One of the more proven methods is a paperless offer management system powered by BidSelect®, where making an offer on a property and negotiating key terms not only brings efficiency to the process, but reduces the typical shuffling of paper back and forth. Agents negotiate in real-time through a secure online environment and communicate electronically with their buyers and sellers.
Running a paperless office is just one way for agents to become more efficient at selling homes. For more information about buying or selling your home, or to see current homes in your area, visit www.BidSelect.com. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.