Introduction to the course Welcome to the program. This is a 3-part interactive course to help you get ready to sell your home. Over the course, as we share information, my aim is to take the stress and mystery out of the home selling process. Along the way, I hope to challenge your beliefs and dispel myths about the real estate industry as I offer an insider’s knowledge about the business. Some of the topics we will cover include: 1. How to choose a Realtor 2. Background on brokerages 3. How you fit in 4. How your home fits in 5. Price. The most important thing. 6. How Realtors get paid. 7. How the internet has changed everything 8. The importance of great photos and targeted text 9. Marketing 10. The listing process 11. The selling process 12. What you need QuestionAre you ready to get started?*YesNoWould you like a neighbourhood report showing recent sales of homes like yours?*YesNo Save and Continue Later Who this course is for Real estate is local. As a Realtor servicing the Kitchener Waterloo market, I understand the dynamics of our local market. The rules and insights that apply in Kitchener Waterloo may or may not be relevant to those people selling houses in Toronto, Vancouver or St John’s. This course is designed for those living in Waterloo Region. At the end of this course, you will have the confidence to interview Realtors (like myself) and ask the questions important to hiring a Realtor to help you successfully sell your home. Question What three things are you hoping to gain by taking this course?First*Second*Third* Save and Continue Later Realtors and Robots I used to work with a guy who when he was a kid was struck by lightning. He was on his front lawn at the beginning of a summertime Ontario thunderstorm. He was running across the front lawn and the lightning struck him in the head, travelled through his body and exited through his foot. He was fine. He was knocked out for a little while but came to right away without any long lasting side effects that I can tell you about. I heard him say that it was both a shocking experience and an electrifying one, when he told the story, which he often did. We called him Lightening Bob. Not everyone knows someone who has been struck by lightening. But, everyone knows someone who knows someone who bought a home at an open house. Everyone also knows someone who knows someone who bought from the builder and was six months late. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who had to fire their Realtor. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who sold their house themselves without and agent and saved the commission. I think these are outliers, exceptions, falsehoods and urban myths. We don’t know the whole story and we don’t even know if the story is real. But these examples become real in the minds of home sellers and home buyers. Almost anything can be proven with anecdotal evidence. Lots of people have sold lots of houses and lots of people have stories and free advice. It could be parents or siblings or colleagues. They love to warn you about what could go wrong. Hassles make the best stories. A lot of things could go wrong. But mostly, things tend to go right. Also, the world has changed. The way I do my job as a Realtor is completely different than it was a decade ago. QuestionWhat was Bob struck by?*A carA lightening boltA bullA bus Save and Continue Later The real estate business When I first went into real estate, I thought real estate was a marketing and advertising business. Realtors market themselves and advertise their listings and that is what consumers see. But there is much, much more than that. Real estate is really a communication business. Realtors are the agents of communication between buyers and sellers, and between Realtors and Realtors, and clients, lawyers, home inspectors, lenders, insurance appraisers, and a host of other professionals. Online, in the comfort of our own homes and offices, many people begin gathering information about buying or selling their next home. The internet has quickly become the place to go to for information about homes, schools and neighbourhoods, as well as most everything else. Through writing about real estate and taking an interest in everything from interest rates to vacancy rates, from bus routes to school rankings, and from home sales statistics to neighbourhood demographics, I’ve learned and I’ve shared what I’ve learned through my blogs, podcast and book. Selling real estate, as the expression goes, ‘is not rocket science’. You need only, the right price, an MLS listing, great photography, a knowledgeable Realtor, the power of the internet, descriptive text, timely and effective communications, and perhaps, patience, luck, and/or good timing. That’s it. That’s all. It is not rocket science. Interestingly, the expression, ‘it’s not rocket science’ has only been around since the early 1980s. Prior to the 1980s, ‘brain surgery’ had been the occupation that simple tasks were said not to be. ‘It’s not brain surgery’ dates from the 1960s. Before that, straightforward tasks were simply said to be ‘as easy as pie’ or ‘as easy as falling off a log’. I only mention this because many people have bought and/or sold a home before and they think they know how to do it. It’s not rocket science. It’s not brain surgery. But like the expression, the process has changed. It has changed, like many things, because of the internet. Question:What kind of business is real estate:*MarketingAdvertisingCommunicationRocket Science Save and Continue Later Forget what you think you know When I first got my real estate license and started work at a real estate brokerage I did floor duty for the first few years. “Agent on duty” is an old school idea. I was there to meet customers if they walked in off the street or to take calls from people who saw a sign on a lawn and had questions. The idea was to be helpful and to get new clients. It never worked for me though. Maybe it is my personality. Or maybe it was just bad luck. I only received calls from suspicious folks and people wanting to know what their neighbours’ houses sold for. I had customers walk in from time to time but never did those lead to new customers and sales either. Think about yourself. Have you ever walked into a real estate office? Have you ever called the phone number on a yard sign? Chances are you did not, at least not recently. Chances are that you turned to google and the internet for initial answers to your questions. Real estate is a service business. The best business comes from the service you gave your past clients and the service you are giving your present clients. Many agents I think try to attract too many new clients. They try to service too many clients in too large an area and they try to automate their communication with past clients. For many Realtors, client contact is a numbers game. I think real estate is a service game. At my previous brokerage, agents were required to buy into a program to put QR codes and text messaging numbers on all of our yard signs. Agents also were encouraged to have name riders and phone numbers and their pictures on their signs. Like floor duty (agent on duty) the text messaging gimmick never lead to sales. I think that sort of thing worked way back when real estate agents were the gatekeepers to real estate information but now we have the internet, and most people know how to use it. I’ve helped friends and acquaintances and other “sphere of influence” referrals buy and sell real estate. That is a fairly large part of my business. People do business with people they know, like and trust. But even referrals normally turn to the internet and google the agent before contacting them. The internet is the largest source of my business. More than 60% of my business comes to me online. Years ago, when I was leaving the newspaper business and the business of advertising, I thought, “the internet is the future”. I decided to blog my way to success. It was an open road back then and it remains a wide and open road today. Most agents have a website that they ignore. Their websites are mostly like long forgotten online brochures supplied by their brokerages. And sometimes I think about all of the agents spending all that money on newspaper and magazine advertising, postcards and flyers, bus benches and bus wraps, car wraps, key chains, calendars, pens, promotional whatnots and who cares, closing gifts… I think of all that money down the drain. All that money, all that wasted effort not generating very good return on investment, if any. But it is easy. It is safe. And traditional. I’m telling you this as a real estate insider: Most of what you think you know about real estate is wrong. The industry has evolved beyond these old school methods. Most new Realtors fail because they follow the bad advice of their brokers and sales trainers, trained themselves before the internet took over. QuestionWhat do you think has had the biggest impact on how buyers and home sellers choose their real estate agent?*Agent on dutyOpen housePostcardInternetReferralNewspapersMagazine Save and Continue Later About me - Keith Marshall There are a lot of Realtors out there, but how many can call themselves a “Real Estate Expert?” It is a bold statement, I know. However, over the past several years on my journey to becoming a really good Realtor, I have learned (and shared what I’ve learned) and have acquired a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of Kitchener Waterloo real estate. I believe I have to bring my whole self to the business table. That includes my personality, intelligence, beliefs and sense of humour. I have to be honest, direct and upfront and share what I know and what I think with my clients. I’m not here to sell real estate. I’m here to help my clients understand their purchase or sale. I’m here to help them make good decisions. My aim is to take the stress and mystery out of the home buying and selling process. So why hire me? Do you ever see those benches along the side of the road? The one’s that say, “you just proved that bench advertising works?” I hate those. But the fact is, just like I am noticing those signs, you likely found me on an internet search. I just proved that the internet is the place where people go when searching for information about real estate. There are approximately 1,600 real estate agents in Waterloo Region. You are on my site. The destination is the same, but the journey has changed. You should hire me. I sell my listings. I don’t have a staff to keep busy with open houses and old fashioned marketing activities. I don’t have magazine advertising space to fill. I don’t have any reason to carry your listing any longer than it takes to sell it. I am a busy, working agent with great internet presence and lots of incoming clients. I have a solid work ethic and world-class back-office support. QuestionWhy should you hire Keith Marshall as your Realtor?* Save and Continue Later How important are real estate brokerages? There are a lot of brokerages out there. The BIG BOX brokerages include: Re/Max, Royal LePage, and Century 21. Also are Coldwell Banker and Keller Williams, not as well known or understood, but well-established. There is a regional brokerage – Peak and some independent, boutique and discount brokerages with 1 to 30 agents. The question is, do consumers care about brokerages? The answer is I don’t think so. I think effective real estate service is more about the agent-client relationship than it is about the brokerage. Case in point, I was talking with my old neighbour. I asked him, “Are you still at Blackberry”? (He is). And he asked me, “How’s real estate”? I identify his job by the company, but he identifies mine by the industry. Furthermore, most real estate agents have changed brokerages at least once in their careers. I’ve written many times about how consumers misunderstand real estate. Over the years, I’ve had several people ask me, “do you work for a broker?” It’s hard to explain to people the relationship between agents and brokerages. But here goes. We are like serfs tilling the master’s soil Agents work for brokerages. We have to hang our licenses somewhere. But other than the sign on the front door, the logo on a business card and perhaps the corporate culture, brokerages aren’t important. In the internet age, the franchise model is irrelevant. Information does not have to be and cannot be controlled and packaged anymore. Agents work for brokerages and brokerages’ agents are hired by clients. The client’s legal relationship resides with the broker, not the agent. This bit is left over from Old English Law. Think about this. As a consumer, it is difficult to tell most real estate brokerages and their agents apart from each other. We all seem to be made from the same mold. As an insider, I know the difference between a Century 21 agent and a Coldwell Banker agent. I know the kinds of agents that those brokerage tend to attract. But brokerages all have their own culture. Ask a local real estate agent how Remax Twin City, differs from Remax Solid Gold or Remax Centre. They are very different brokerages all under the Remax banner. What is important in a brokerage? Support. Questions promptly answered. A brokerage has to be big enough and cohesive enough to support its clients and their agents. That’s all. I think that the traditional brokerage model for real estate is outdated and expensive – expensive for the Realtor and for the consumer. It’s a broken model. QuestionOn a scale of 1 to 10 how important is the brokerage you work with?*Not important at allNot importantA little bit importantSomewhat importantImportantVery importantVery very importantExtremely importantCrucialThe most important thing Save and Continue Later TheRedPin Brokerage The RedPin is a new kind of brokerage We have a strong web presence, offering a new way for people to buy and sell homes. The fact that we have such a strong online platform is very attractive to me. I’ve never advertised in real estate magazines, or on bus benches… When I first became a Realtor, I was in the print media business (advertising sales rep for The Record’s Grand magazine). I witnessed firsthand the disintegrating and disappearance of traditional media. I knew then that the future of real estate was online. I started blogging and getting involved in social media. It surprises me that so many agents still send out postcards and advertise themselves in print media. It’s not 1999! A full-service real estate data portal The best thing about a forward thinking brokerage is the data. Data on schools, interactive maps, information on grocery stores, services and restaurants are all readily available. In the old days, real estate agents were the gatekeepers to the information that is now free and easy to find online. The end of traditional prospecting Most real estate sales trainers tell you that you should spend two hours everyday prospecting for new business. They tell you to mine your “sphere of influence” for business and referrals. Call people you know. Send them cards and letters. One brokerage says that there should be 31 “touch points” with your future clients throughout the year. You have to be top of mind when people need a Realtor. Sales trainers used to tell salespeople to interrupt people at their homes with phone calls. But then “cold calling” got outlawed thankfully. “Get your feet on the street”, they tell you. “Sales happen where the rubber hits the road, go knock on doors…” and all that ol’ timey sales tactics stuff. That’s exhausting. It’s not rewarding. That’s pre-internet thinking. That might have once worked, or worked for them back in their day. But it didn’t work for me. At my brokerage, just like with my blog, podcast and social media, clients come to the me. I’d much rather spend two hours a day answering questions by email or to the chat widget than interrupt people who are not looking for my services. I’d rather be out showing houses and helping people decide what’s right for them than bothering other people with marketing material that they don’t care to see at the moment. Starbucks not Re/Max Just because my brokerage is a new and untraditional, it doesn’t mean we don’t have an office. In fact, we have a space-age tech hub of an office that is more like NORAD than a traditional real estate brokerage. It’s hip, not stodgy. It is not your parent’s real estate brokerage. TheRedPin brokerage looks and feels more like a Starbucks than a Re/Max. TheRedPin is not a discount brokerage either. With discount brokerages, they are stripped down of staff and amenities. TheRedPin is the opposite. The office staff is much larger than traditional brokerages with angels, techies and inside salespeople at the front line of business, taking care of incoming clients, processing paperwork for home sales, booking showings for agents, handling all kinds of workflow that unusually resides in the job description of real estate agents and agent teams. In short, TheRedPin agents do not spend their time bothering potential future clients. Instead, we are busy helping our current clients. History TheRedPin started as a real estate information site and quickly evolved into a cutting edge real estate brokerage. Because we are essentially a tech startup, we do not follow the traditional ideas of the established real estate industry. We answer to our clients, and ourselves. We connect people, data and technology. We are a challenger brand with a unique business model that streamlines the real estate journey. Our approach is uncomplicated, uncluttered and sincere. With 97% of Canadians starting their new home search online it’s no wonder these techies are trying to bring an outdated industry into the 21st century, and into sync to what homebuyers and home sellers want. Question:TheRedPin is like*RemaxNoradStarbucksA discount brokerage Save and Continue Later You, your motivation and experience Selling your home is going to be disruptive. If you have a qualified buyer at your door, let him in. Be cooperative. If an agent calls on short notice, let them in. He is helping you sell your house. The people who are going to buy your house are often a lot like you. The demographics of neighbourhoods change slowly. People at different stages of life choose homes and neighbourhoods that match their lifestyles at that stage of life. Remember why you bought your house. Think of all the features your home has and how the next owner will benefit from having them. Accentuate them if you can. Here are some rules about selling your home from my book - 365 Rules about real estate: The way we live in a house is not necessarily the same way as how we sell a house. Be open-minded to changing around the furniture. Be polite. Buyers and sellers and Realtors should all be working towards the same goal. Being rude makes deals harder to reach. Be emotionally strong. When it’s all over and you look back, it’s all trivial. People do not love your pets as much as you do. Many people are allergic to cats and dogs. Board them in a kennel or with a friend or family member. Houses with pets are considered to be less desirable than ones with no pets. Answer all questions openly and truthfully. Know the difference between a patent defect and a latent defect. Sellers can be held responsible if they do not reveal certain problems to the buyer. If a question comes up, answer it quickly. You’ll be one step closer to the sale. Be prepared to answer questions including how old the roof, heating system, hot water heater, and windows are, if the basement has flooded, and if there’s a sump pump, and what utilities and homeowner insurance generally cost. If there’s been recent renovation work, buyers should find out if all building permits have been obtained and if all of the contractors and sub-contractors have been paid in full. In short, anticipate the questions and have the answers ready. You cannot make side agreements outside of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale in regard to commissions, purchase price and other things covered in the contract. You can deal directly with the buyers to sell your furniture and landscaping equipment. The best deals are those where both sides feel that they could have done better. That sounds counterintuitive but it is true. Questions Who are you?Name*Address*Email* Save and Continue Later Motivation1. Why have you decided to sell?*2. Where are you going?*3. Have you started looking for your next home yet?*4. What is the most important to you about selling? (Price, timing, convenience, other)* Save and Continue Later Prior experience1. When was the last time you worked with a realtor?*2. Describe that experience.*3. What would you change (if anything) about that experience.*4. How many houses have you bought and sold?* Save and Continue Later This iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.