Here is the June 2020 Summary from Texas A&M Real Estate Center.
LinkedIn is one of the most under-rated but highly valued networking sites you can be using in 2020! The most important thing to remember about LinkedIn, at its core, it is an online resume. It’s also likely to be among the first handful of results to come up on a Google search, and might be the first place a potential client looks to review your credentials. Most clients won’t choose a real estate agent who appears to lack knowledge, education and expertise. So it’s wise to set yourself up for success and utilize this powerful tool.
So, YES, LinkedIn is extremely important and a must-have in today’s digital world. It’s also the perfect place to promote yourself, your real estate listing, and boast about the skills you bring to the table.
Here are the top 6 things you should focus on with LinkedIn:
Fill out each section to include all levels of education, all accreditations and current and past positions. Include a high quality professional photo of yourself. Be sure to include a LinkedIn Banner image that includes a call-to-action (your phone number, your email, etc). Your headline should be catchy and stand out. Be sure to fill in your summary section to include real estate listings and other statistics that will jump out to potential clients. Be sure to use keywords or phrases (real estate, real estate agent) throughout your headline and your summary to increase search engine optimization. Also encourage previous clients to give you a recommendation so your LinkedIn profile is a non-stop shop for anyone who comes across it. Upload videos and links to enhance your profile. Customize your URL and use it everywhere (advertising, business cards, posts, etc).
61% of real estate agents on social media view it as a way to connect to the community. LinkedIn revolves around businesses, employees and their connections, so it’s the perfect network for real estate agents who work in an industry predicated on connections, referrals and being involved in the community. Reach out to everyone in your sphere, alums, etc. Remember LinkedIn is the best social media platform for professional networking, which means connect with everyone. Take advantage of the biggest networking platform ever!
This is where many real estate professionals go wrong. What doesn’t work is just content about listings (remember the 80/20 rule) in hopes of generating sales leads. What does work is highlighting your professional experience, education and network strength.
Try these 6 content ideas to maximize your effectiveness on LinkedIn:
- Share real estate news, industry updates or trends. Don’t forget to include a caption with your thoughts and opinions as well as a call to action soliciting others opinions and thoughts. Remember, it’s about engagement so ask questions.
- Share information or updates about your local city. Remember people are very patriotic when it comes to the city they live in, so find local information to share. Also, now that LinkedIn allows the use of hashtags, include local hashtags in all your posts so anyone searching for that hashtag might come across you, and in turn check out your profile.
- Thoughtful and conversational posts. Try something that will resonate with others such as your struggles, wins, inspiration, or something you overcame. These are going to be the best conversation starters you can share on LinkedIn. As real estate agents, you go through a lot, so sharing that will resonate with your audience.
- Networking events you’ve attended. Include connections you made and give them an @mention, photos, food, the service, highlight the event, the vibe and your takeaways. It shows your connecting with people in your local city. Often times you’ll hear people say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. That’s why this works.
- Native video uploads. Every platform, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, wants you to use the video feature that is native inside the program. This doesn’t mean go to YouTube and share it to LinkedIn. It means, open up a post on LinkedIn and use their Video icon and shoot native video within LinkedIn. This will keep connections engaged longer in the LinkedIn program and hopefully on your profile. Our best recommendation for video ideas would be “value added” for the consumer (i.e., Buyer/Seller Tips, Market Updates, community highlights, business you’ve interviewed, etc.).
- Write LinkedIn Articles. When you write an article on LinkedIn, everyone in your connection list receives a notification. You couldn’t ask for better advertising than that. If you are a blogger, this is a perfect place to use the content you’ve already created and post it within LinkedIn as an article.
So, take the time, get your profile set up for success, start connecting with former and current clients, friends, colleagues, etc. and work on creating great content.
Buying or selling a home is one of the most important undertakings of a lifetime. When buying or selling a home, there are many real estate terms that may be unfamiliar to you. Check out this list of commonly used terms that you may find helpful during the process.
AIR: Adjustable Interest Rate
AMORTIZATION SCHEDULE: A schedule showing the principal and interest payments throughout the life of the loan.
APPRAISED VALUE: An opinion of the value of a property at a given time, based on facts regarding the location, improvements, etc. of the property and surroundings.
CD/CLOSING DISCLOSURE: This form is a statement of final loan terms and closing costs. Sometimes referred to as ICD or Integrated Closing Disclosure.
COMMITMENT: The document by which a title insurer discloses to all parties connected with a particular real estate transaction all the liens, defects, and burdens and obligations that affect the subject property.
CREDIT REPORT: A report on the past ability of a loan applicant to pay installment payments.
DOCUMENT PREPARATION FEE: A charge by an attorney for preparing legal documents for transaction.
ESCROW FEE: A fee charged by the title company to service the transaction, to escrow monies, and cover documents. Usually split between buyer and seller.
ESCROW ACCOUNT: Funds held by the lender for payment of taxes and insurance when due. Usually does not include maintenance fees.
HOA ASSESSMENT FEES: Charged by the homeowner’s association as set out in subdivision restrictions.
HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE: Protects the property and contents in case of loss; must be for at least the loan amount or for 80% of the value of the improvements, whichever is greater.
INSPECTIONS: An examination of property for various reasons such as termite inspections; to see if required repairs need to be made before funds are received, etc.
INTEREST: Money paid regularly at a particular rate for the use of money lent.
LOAN TITLE POLICY: Required by the lender to insure that the lender has a valid lien; does not protect the buyer.
ORIGINATION FEE: A fee the buyer pays the lender to originate a new loan.
OWNER’S TITLE POLICY: Insures that the buyer has title to the property, that there are no other claims as to ownership. Among other matters, it also insures access to the property, the right to occupy the property, good and indefeasible title, and that there are not other types of specific liens against the property.
POINT: 1% of the loan amount.
PREPAIDS: Items to be paid by the buyer in advance of the first scheduled payment of the loan (Homeowner’s Insurance Premium, Mortgage Insurance Premium, Prepaid Interest, Property Taxes and a maximum of three additional items).
PREPAYMENT PENALTY: Charged by the lender for premature payment of a loan balance.
PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE: Insurance against a loss by a lender (mortgagee) in the event of default by a borrower (mortgagor).
REALTOR FEES: An amount paid to the REALTOR® as compensation for their services. RECORDING FEES: Charged by the County Clerk to record documents in the public records. RESPA: Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
RESTRICTIONS: Certain limitations or conditions related to the future use of the property put on the property by a prior owner. These restrictions stay with the property until they expire or are amended as per certain procedures set forth in the restrictions.
SURVEY: Confirms lot size and any encroachments or restriction violations.
TAX CERTIFICATES: Certificates issued by taxing authorities showing the current year’s taxes, the last year the taxes were paid, and any delinquencies to be collected at closing.
TAX PRORATION: Means that the payment of the taxes for the year of sale are divided between the Buyer and Seller, usually based on the amount of time the Seller owned the property during that year. Prorations, and how they are calculated, are typically addressed in the Contract of Sale.
TIL: Truth in Lending.
TIP: Total Interest Percentage; the total amount of interest the borrower will pay over the loan term as a percentage of the loan amount.
TOTAL OF PAYMENTS: Total amount paid after all payments of principal, interest, mortgage insurance and loan costs are scheduled.
To download our Helpful Terms for Buying/Selling Your Home flyer, visit Helpful Terms for Buying and Selling Your Home.
The June 2020 DFW area real estate statistics are in and we’ve got the numbers! Take a look at our stats infographics, separated by county, with MLS area stats on each county report as well! These infographics and video are perfect for social sharing so feel free to post them!
To see past month’s reports, please visit our resources section here.
Since launching in 2010, Instagram has become one of the leading social media platforms and has transformed the way people do business. It’s no secret why businesses have spent hours developing and creating a strategy to grow and promote their business on Instagram. But as a real estate agent, do you know how to get the most out of the popular platform to help generate leads, market yourself, and engage with your sphere? Whether you are new to Instagram or a seasoned pro, we want to help!
Why You Should Use Links on Instagram
Instagram has seen an impressive rise since it first launched in 2010. This has naturally made it a desirable outlet for marketers, and anyone else who wants to spread the word about their brand or website.
The problem is that, up until recently, Instagram has been extremely hesitant when it comes to enabling links. Even now, it’s not possible to add links directly to your posts through comments or post descriptions, even though this is something that has been possible on other social networks for a long time (Note: Stories can have links, however, you must have 10,000 followers to incorporate them).
However, there are still ways to incorporate links into your Instagram profile, and they’re well worth looking into. The key is knowing how to encourage those users to check out your key marketing links.
How to Use Links Effectively on Instagram
- Add a Link to Your User Profile
The simplest way to get a link on Instagram is to simply add it to your profile. The link will then appear right underneath your user bio, enabling visitors to click through. This is a perfect way to send people to your website’s home page, or to a special landing page.
However, you can also use this feature to get around the fact that you can’t add links to your post descriptions. All you need to do is include a link in your profile that is relevant to your most recent post. Then, add a message to the post itself, along the lines of: “Link in bio!” This is a common tactic, and it offers the added benefit of driving users to your profile.
Since you only get 1 link with Instagram (in your bio), we suggest that you check out one of these services. They each have free services, as well as pro services. The nice thing about them is that you can track each link to see how well they are performing in terms of engagement, page views & click through percentage rates. Even better news – You can send followers to all your favorite sites including your real estate lead generation sites (see our example below using Linktr.ee):
- Use a URL shortening service
The second method we recommend that you use are shortened and trackable links in your posts. You can easily create these using a URL shortening service and a link management platform (Bitly). That way, you’ll be able to track your links and see how well they perform on Instagram, which can help you optimize your efforts even further.
At first glance, it might seem it’s impossible to use links on Instagram. However, while the platform is unusually restrictive with linking, it does offer numerous creative ways to implement links into your posts and profile.
Expect a wave of moves to the suburbs and continued relocations as COVID-19 redirects, rather than deters, the DFW residential real estate market.
“History is the best predictor of the future, in my mind, and I feel like we’ve weathered some really great storms in the past 10 years since the last recession,” said Janet Allen, a senior vice president and leader of Republic Title’s team of Business Development representatives for the company’s 13 residential branches. “I honestly believe we’re going to be fine. I do believe that there’s going to be a big wave out to the suburbs. I’m seeing a little piece of that right now”
In addition to Allen, panelists included Fred Balda, president of Dallas-based residential development company Hillwood Communities; Rogers Healy, founder, owner and CEO of The Rogers Healy Cos. based in Dallas; and Brian Palmer, president of McKinney-based mortgage brokerage Pinnacle Funding Group Inc.
Below, panelists discuss the pandemic’s impact on the workforce, opportunities ahead in the residential space and more.
How has COVID-19 impacted your workforce or customers?
Fred Balda: Our two objectives were making sure the team was safe and able to work from home remotely, of course, and so I give a lot of credit to our IT group. They really got us up and running pretty quickly.
Second, the main objective was to keep the machine rolling. We needed to to continue to do business in a different manner – and I will say we fared very well. We are starting to bring our people back into the office now. I’m in the office right now and probably 20 percent of our people stayed in the office [since March]. We probably have 50 percent of our people back here working.
We are requiring testing, so before anybody comes back to the office, they must get tested. We’ve gone through two rounds of testing with our employees and it’s worked quite well. We have a pretty strict protocol. When I come to the office, I’m greeted by a nurse. I’ve got my mask on. She takes my temperature. And then she takes my oxygen level through a pulse oximeter. Only then and I able to enter the building.
I wear my mask all the way to my office. Whether I’m going to the cafeteria or to the restroom, or going to see anybody, I put the mask back on. It’s a deliberate protocol that we have instituted.
Rogers Healy: My approach is probably different than most real estate people. I’m a cautious guy and my grandma is almost 100 years old lives and in an assisted living facility and my fiancée has chronic asthma, so those two things are always going to trump bringing in revenue. I just lead with my head differently and with my heart.
We’ve adjusted well, and something that we’ve learned is in the world of real estate, especially residential, we become very routine, right?
Which means it’s hard for an older dog to learn new tricks, but we just really became attached to the word agile. And I think, being agile, you learn how to be proactive versus reactive.
The first thing I had to change was the way that I thought, because I’ve been in real estate for a long time and part of my assumption was I can’t be productive and mounted an office.
But it’s been a great surprise that our numbers have still increased year-over-year with everything going on, even with people working from home. I’m probably the most extreme business owner in terms of being cautious.
For example, our office is shut down. I can’t get into my own office. I haven’t heard of any owner locking themselves out, so it may seem extreme, but we all need to be taking precautions.
Brian Palmer: It really hasn’t been much different for me. I feel fortunate more than anything, because started to move to an electronic closing process a couple of years ago. I feel like the mortgage industry in its entirety is probably going to be forced to move into that electronic world, probably a lot faster because of the circumstances I’ve always balanced working from home, the office or wherever.
Most of our stuff is all done electronically through e-mail, phone calls and text messages until we get to the closing table, so nothing really changed for us in that regard.
Janet Allen: We have more than 400 employees spread across DFW. We did our very best to execute a plan quickly and actually had about 70 percent of our workforce working from home starting in March. Our residential people really stuck it out. They have done an incredible job and taking care of our customers, buyers, sellers, realtors, lenders and developers.
Janet Allen: Last year, we started moving more into the digital space. I am so glad we did because it allowed us to get ahead of things, rather than fall behind when we had to move to a remote work environment.
The other thing is learning that we might be able to have people work from home a lot more often than in the past. Maybe they can actually do the job better.
This could result in more of a work-from-home situation for our employees in the future.
Fred Balda: I’m in the master-planned community business, building in the suburbs, and so the demographics are playing to our favor. You have a variety of demographics that are hitting us right now. There’s a millennial that obviously is creating families right now, and has basically located in the urban sectors, and there’s a big desire right now to move out of the urban area.
I think urban will survive, of course. But we are seeing this demand coming in, the urban sectors into suburban areas, more so than we’ve seen in the past.
The relocation activity has always been good here, so we’ve always been attracted new companies. It just seems to be accelerating more now.
I think our business in the long run, even short-term, is going to take off again. We were all expecting a bit of a drop off in 2020, maybe a hiccup. Obviously due to coronavirus, it was more than that – it went pretty deep. Nobody expected this kind of hit, so the opportunities I see are in the future. At least in our master-planned communities, we about why you’re moving out and why you are reconsidering your shelter.
You may need a bigger house, you need a better designed home, you need a cleaner home, you need to a better technology package for your home. New homes are able to really address that quite well. Our master plans right now are very appealing, because of all the normal amenities that we normally do, and you’re able to do it a little bit further out. All of our parks, and trails, and playgrounds, and those sorts of things are really a premium right now for folks coming in and want to see that sort of lifestyle. I think that’s a big focus.
But the rental side is really another opportunity now, too. We build lots of multifamily ourselves. The single-family rental right now is another focus of ours that I hope we can roll out, at least a pilot program, in the next six months or so. I think will go quite well. That’s another line of business that we’ve observed that really makes sense.
I think affordability is always going to be an issue here. We’d need to really address that interest rates have healthy affordability right now, that’s going to creep back up. How do you design homes that are semi-affordable right now in these in these places that people want to be?
Brian Palmer: I feel like it’s a great opportunity, just because there are going to be people that change their direction a little bit. For us, it’s just going to be full force ahead, to continue to try to serve the clients even better than what we already did.
We’re making sure that we can get to a full digital world. There are some things that Gov. Abbott has done in the interim that make it easier, like how notaries don’t necessarily have to be in front of anybody.
There are going to be some people that are going to be cautious and don’t want to go out, whereas others will and we want to serve those people, too.
Rogers Healy: I think real estate is going to change to a hybrid of affordability and space.
We’re going to see that the days of the $30,000 millionaire are probably going to be over, because I think people would rather live somewhere in a rental home community. Which I think is going to be a trend we’re going to see in the next few years: people literally developing communities for that sole purpose, which we’ve never really seen happen.
Living on the penthouse right now is not as good as living on the first floor, for example, in a lot of these buildings, too. So we have seen a pretty big shift in trends and the amount of people that we’ve worked with on the first-time homebuyer front that normally would live within the loop or moving north … instead, they’re moving east and west, too.
We’re going to see pockets like Mansfield and Richardson get people in certain demographics who historically wouldn’t have purchased there. So, you know, it’s interesting to see what’s happening.
And DFW still has people moving here, too. You have to provide housing, but I think that it’s going to shift to where people are going to start renting and if they have to, they’re going to rent single-family detached homes, if they have the option to do so.
Fred Balda: I think we’ll be more prepared at this time. Chapter One was pre-coronavirus, which was stellar. It was just very robust, and people were moving in and it was going to be another banner year. Everything was looking really positive.
And then corona hits and we probably had about a six-week slowdown. In our business, it really probably dropped to a 50 percent level, from the prior 10 weeks or so. But there was still activity, which was interesting, to see that we still had that activity, even if it was 50 percent. And then, the last six weeks or so, we’re starting to come to work again and people are getting out. It’s been incredible.
I believe the next few weeks will be robust.
I think we are more prepared because now we can work remotely a little bit better. But let’s hope we find a solution to coronavirus right now, because it’s not fun. Let’s hope it’s not the new normal. We’ll get past this, but I appreciate being an essential business. I appreciate having the opportunity to sell homes and building new communities.
Rogers Healy: Surprisingly, inventory, up until about a month ago, was awful.
The last three weeks, especially in the larger home market above $3 million, it’s been gangbusters.
And in terms of a recession, it’s important how you interpret or communicate it. My favorite class in school was recess. Got me a break from the classes that were kind of work. And so I think that we have an opportunity to lead. Our industry said, “Hey, it’s OK to take a little bit of a break, right?” Because work is not going to define you. And we all work so hard.
It’s OK to just take a step back and relax. Because you know, it’s always going to be there, right?
I don’t know anything about the stock market, but I’ve watched it the last three months and it literally makes me nauseous.
One tweet can go and change the world and then the next day, another tweet changes the world the other way. That means I have people that may have to have to sell pretty quickly, right?
And on top of that, the thing that we’ve seen that’s been crazy is secondary homes are flying off the shelves as well. Historically, you don’t see lake houses farms and ranches so in the late spring and the summer. Because people already want them.
And we’ve seen that, and also the short-term rental market has been insane as far as inventories are concerned, too, like Airbnb-type places. I’m talking like 3-to 6-month places, where you don’t have to obviously have an appraisal. You can ask for whatever you want, and we’ve seen those things go crazy as well, because people want to get the heck out of town.
So inventory is starting to get a little bit healthier. But again, North Texas is the unicorn of real estate, versus some cities like New York, where you can’t even show properties at this time. And DFW has a shortage?
I don’t think we really had a recession. I think we’re at a time out.
Who knows what, the immediate future holds, but it’s a good time still to be in real estate, you know, four months into a pandemic. And that’s absolutely crazy.
Source – Dallas Business Journal – June 26, 2020 – https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2020/06/26/residential-real-estate-north-texas.html?iana=hpmvp_dal_news_headline
A Commitment is a document the title company provides to all parties connected with a particular real estate transaction. It discloses the title of record to the property as well as all the liens, defects, burdens and obligations that affect the subject properties. It is comprised of four schedules.
Schedules A, B, C and D are as follows:
Is the Who, What, Where and How Much section of the Commitment. You will see the names of the buyer, record owner (seller), a legal description of the property, the sales price and the name of the lender, if applicable. It is a good idea to double check this information with the contract.
This section lists the general and specific exceptions to the property. It will list
items such as survey matters, taxes, easements, setback lines and a variety of other items that will not be covered by the title policy. It is important to review and discuss any questions you have with your title company.
Clear in Order to Close
These items must be resolved in order to transfer title to the new owner. They might include such things as a mortgage that will be paid off at closing, liens for home improvements or unpaid taxes. All items shown on Schedule C should be discussed and resolved before the closing.
This section outlines the ownership of the title company and all the parties who will share in any part of the insurance premium collected to issue the policy. It includes underwriters, title agents and attorneys.
This information is not to be substituted as legal advice and is descriptive only. If you have any concerns about any portion of your title commitment or any portion of Schedule A,B,C, or D, please contact your attorney.
For a PDF version of the ABCs of the Title Commitment, click here.
The May 2020 DFW area real estate statistics are in and we’ve got the numbers! Take a look at our stats infographics, separated by county, with MLS area stats on each county report as well! These infographics and video are perfect for social sharing so feel free to post them!
To see past month’s reports, please visit our resources section here.
There’s a plethora of resources at your fingertips that can help you grow your business and be a better REALTOR® to your clients. Here are a few of our favorites and where to find them.
STATS, INFOGRAPHICS & MARKETING MATERIALS
RPR, or Realtors Property Resource, provides REALTORS® with data. Easily search properties, create and send branded reports, and view local market statistics, anytime, anyplace. www.narrpr.com or the NTREIS dashboard
Generate marketing materials for your listing including open house flyers, property reports, neighborhood demographics, infographics with local information & more. www.listreports.com
Brand professionally created infographics for real estate agents, as well as postcards, social media posts and other marketing materials. Breakthrough™ Broker also has lead generation strategies and business planning tools as well. www.breakthroughbroker.com
A real estate market analytics portal exclusively for members of TAR where you have instant access to market stats across thousands of geographies in Texas. www.texasrealestate.com/members/research/marketviewer
NTREIS Local Marketing Updates/Reports and Monthly Market Indicators each month with information from the previous month. www.ntreis.net/resources/statistics.asp
An interactive market analytics tool, based on MLS data. It allows the user to instantly access nearly any view of the local housing market, all with an immersive interface. NTREIS dashboard
Texas A&M Real Estate Center
Housing activity statistics from over 50 MLS systems in Texas, released monthly. www.recenter.tamu.edu
TOOLS FOR FARMING
Specializing in data mining and lead generation, REiSource® is a nationwide database tool that helps you narrowly focus your business contacts and leads as well as helps to identify your most viable prospects based on sophisticated search options. Contact Republic Title Business Development Rep.
Remine puts REALTORS® in the center of the transaction. Remine’s interactive map and data-based filters help REALTORS® quickly and easily find new leads, track current and past opportunities. NTREIS dashboard
Realist® from CoreLogic® is a public-record database that seamlessly integrates with MLS to provide in-depth property and ownership data, market information, street and aerial maps, as well as market trends to its users. NTREIS dashboard
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Easily create beautiful and professional designs and documents to use in your business for social media, email marketing and even postcards & flyers. www.canva.com
Create branded videos and images in minutes, then instantly post to all your social media accounts at once. www.ripl.com
Plan, edit, and schedule your social media content now so you don’t have to later. All the Instagram and Pinterest visual planning and management tools you need in one easy tool. www.planoly.com
With over 1 million free high-resolution photographs, Unsplash is the perfect place to start when looking for images to use in correlation with your social content. www.unsplash.com