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Using Client Events to Boost your Business

Using Client Events to Boost your Business

Whether you’re looking for new referrals or a way to thank customers for doing business with you, client events are a tried and true approach to boost business.

How to position your client event for success:

  • Determine your guest list 8 weeks in advance
  • Send first invitations 6 weeks in advance
  • Make the event intriguing and something unique so people are compelled to attend – if you have connections with local or national celebrities, invite them to attend and advertise their presence
  • Send a second invitation 2 weeks before the event
  • Make phone calls and send emails confirming attendees the day before the event

At the event:

  • Avoid a verbal “sales pitch”
  • Showcase the listings you have on a poster board somewhere people can view as they pass by
  • Bring plenty of business cards to share
  • Allow guests to bring friends and family
  • Have a sign-in sheet with their name, phone, email and address to capture attendee contact info
  • Include a drawing for a small prize to capture attendee information
  • Invite your centers of influence or referral sources to be present and advocating for you

After the event:

  • Send a handwritten thank you to all attendees
  • Post pictures of the event to your social media to showcase your value
  • Try to do at least 2 client events each year

Event Ideas:

  • Invite an interior designer to share the latest trends in design, tips & tricks for maximizing space, and other insights. Combine this with a ladies’ luncheon or tea
  • Hire an appraiser of antiques, jewelry, or art and invite guests to bring a piece they’d like to have appraised. Like an “antique roadshow,” guests love sharing unique pieces and learning about the value of their items. Offer childcare while guests enjoy an adult night out
  • Host your event at an art gallery where clients may find unique pieces to decorate their homes. Negotiate with the gallery owner to offer a discount since you may be helping sell items in mass during the event. Serve wine and hors-d’oeuvres while you mingle with guests
  • Partner with Law Enforcement and a Security company to present on “home security” to give guests tips on keeping their home safe and secure – or hire a tech guru to present on “Smart Home” capabilities and features. Include an insurance partner to discuss proper coverage and how to avoid insurance pitfalls.

As you can see – the possibilities are limitless, and face-to-face networking and interaction are invaluable to boosting your business and adding value to your existing relationships.

Like you, Gateway Insurance Group is always looking to add value to our existing relationships.  We’re ready to partner with you to ensure your clients have the best insurance experience possible.

Contact Gateway Insurance Group at 858-428-3929 or www.gatewayig.com/nexthome

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Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated. The information in this email is confidential and is intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the intended addressee and have received this email in error, please reply to the sender to inform them of this fact. We cannot accept trade orders through email. Important letters, email, or fax messages should be confirmed by calling 1-858-GATEWAY  . This email service may not be monitored every day, or after normal business hours.

 

NextHome Inclusive Realty brings home the American Dream

NextHome Inclusive Realty brings home the American Dream

Charles Olaleye

Pleasanton, CA — October 8, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce the latest addition to the franchise, NextHome Inclusive Realty in Ventura, California. The brokerage will represent the 70th NextHome franchised location opened in the state of California. NextHome Inclusive Realty will serve clients across Ventura County, including the cities of Oxnard, Ventura, and Camarillo. 

The NextHome Inclusive Realty team will be led by Charles Olaleye, who approaches his business with a passion for helping all types of home buyers. 

“There are a lot of agents who are only interested in working with homebuyers who have a pre-approval in hand and the leg work is already done,” Charles said. “I want to take an interest in the whole process and help people through all phases of homeownership.”

Charles was born and raised in Nigeria and, after some time in London, settled in Maryland in 2002. Charles began a career as a credit counselor, then became a banker. 

“I’ve always loved helping people learn how they can financially achieve homeownership and what’s possible for them,” Charles said.

Coming from a country where buying or renting a home was usually a cash transaction, Charles learned through experience the necessity of good, long-standing credit as a U.S. homebuyer and the roadblocks that immigrants, especially, can run into. 

“I lived that experience first-hand,” Charles said. “A lot of the help with coaching and credit and education that I provide my clients wasn’t available for me. Agents wanted to only work with ready buyers and I was once that guy who wasn’t ready.”

Eventually, Charles found himself working as a licensed home inspector in Lanham, Maryland. One of the broker/agents Charles worked with was so impressed with the way he interacted with new homebuyers that he asked if Charles would consider getting his real estate license and coming to work for the brokerage.  

“The broker approached me one day and said he loved the way I help the homeowners and asked if I might consider helping people with the preparing and purchasing of their home versus just making sure their investment was sound,” Charles said. 

In 2006, Charles began working as a real estate agent for Homeland Real Estate. He remained with that company until 2013 when he moved to Home Resource Realty in Laurel, Maryland.  

Then, in 2017, Charles learned that the unique educational program that his kids were attending in Maryland was phasing out. 

“My wife is from the bay area and went to high school in Oxnard, so we had always planned on moving to Ventura County for retirement,” Charles said. “When we learned that a similar education program existed in Ventura for our kids, we moved up our plans by a few years.”

Charles spent the past year working through all of California’s real estate and brokerage licensing processes in anticipation of joining a large brokerage. However, earlier this year, his mentor and former broker in Maryland called and told Charles he needed to look into a fantastic company he heard about called NextHome.

“There are little things that larger brokerages do that I’ve always questioned,” Charles said. “NextHome recognizes those pain-points that need innovation in the real estate industry, and they do things differently. From there, it was a no-brainer. I placed a call and that was it.”

Charles is now providing Ventura homebuyers with an option they might not get with other agents – a real estate team that is willing to help anyone, including the complete novice. 

“I don’t mind helping others get ready for smart home buying,” Charles said. “The biggest part of the American dream is owning your own home. It’s a great achievement for many and an opportunity to leave a legacy for their kids. I want to serve everyone. The Fair Housing Act says that, but I truly live by that. I want to be able to help others who want that – not just as a one-touch thing.”

That continued relationship through all phases of homeownership is important to Charles, and NextHome’s CRM system gave him the tools he needs to maintain those relationships. 

“I’m that guy who is totally inclusive and I want to be with you from start to finish,” Charles said. “I don’t want to be that touch and go person and NextHome gives me the tools to accomplish that goal.”

Outside of work, Charles is a self-proclaimed homebody who enjoys spending time with his family. He has been married to his wife Adria for 14 years and together they are the proud parents of five kids and a teacup Yorkie.

The family enjoys a weekly tradition of Friday pizza and movie nights as well as walks around the neighborhood with a playful group of kids on skateboards and strollers.  

Please join us in congratulating Charles on the opening of NextHome Inclusive Realty in Ventura, California!

 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome Envision brings people-first service to Metro D.C. market

NextHome Envision brings people-first service to Metro D.C. market

Leon & Lisa Nasar

Pleasanton, CA — October 3, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce the latest addition to the franchise, NextHome Envision. Although NextHome Envision is based in Maryland, the brokerage will serve clients across the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia areas.

NextHome Envision is led by real estate power couple Leon and Lisa Nasar. Veterans in the Maryland real estate industry, Lisa got her real estate license in 1993 and Leon followed getting his license that same year. The two met while Lisa was showing a commercial property in 1993. A few years later, they were married. 

With 26 years in the industry, the Nasars have built successful careers in various real estate subspecialties. Lisa has extensive expertise in residential transactions, specifically investment properties and rentals. Leon is a seasoned business leader with years of expertise in commercial real estate, multi-family properties, office space, and small shopping center deals. 

Lisa started her career with Long & Foster, a large firm that has offices across the eastern United States. Her love of real estate began as a college student when her father bought and rented out a home near The University of Maryland. Ever since, the University of Maryland graduate has enjoyed following the ups and downs of the residential investment property market. Shortly after getting her license, Lisa began working with commercial buyers. However, she soon migrated to the company’s residential and investment side where she found her niche. 

“I absolutely love what I do,” Lisa said. “It’s really easy for me to help people find the right house for them and their investing needs.”

While at Long & Foster, Lisa became one of the brokerage’s top-producing agents. She remained with the company for almost 26 years.  

After obtaining his real estate license, Leon started in commercial real estate. He found continued success and stayed in the commercial sector for five years. In 1998, Leon left full-time real estate to open a series of Nextel stores across the D.C. area. With three stores and all their various employees, Leon was able to put his leadership skills to work. Then, in 2005, Leon decided to sell his Nextel locations and jump back into full-time real estate with Long & Foster. During this time in his career, Leon started residential sales and quickly moved into management. 

As a manager, Leon had the opportunity to promote growth at various offices for the company. Before Leon took the lead at the Spring Valley location in D.C., the brokerage was handling about $81 million in sales. One year later, Leon was able to help that same office reach a $182 million sales volume. At another office, Leon was able to help guide growth from $860,000 in sales to $1.3 billion within two years.

Leon says the success came from encouraging a friendly, people-first philosophy with his team. 

“Many people have it stuck in their heads that real estate needs to be done a certain way,” said Leon. “I help agents realize that it is okay to have fun while they go out and help people.”

That relaxed culture prompted agents to strike up casual conversations about fun things that were happening at work.  

“It helped people get out of their shell a bit,” Leon recalled. “Just by the simple fact that they were talking about it, their friends started saying, ‘Oh, you are in real estate? By the way, I have this need or that property.’ I helped people connect with other people.”

The success of their office caught the eye of Berkshire Hathaway, which eventually acquired Long & Foster. The change prompted the Nasars to think about the direction of their own professional lives. That’s when NextHome and its humans over houses motto caught their eyes.

“Everything with NextHome was new, fresh, and exciting,” Lisa said. “NextHome offers brokerages great technology, great marketing, and a great vibe. Now we get to bring a whole new dynamic to an area that is lacking that.”

The Nasar’s business philosophy dovetailed perfectly with NextHome’s company mission, “Enriching lives by helping people find their next home.” 

“It’s all about caring about the people you are working with,” Leon said. “What makes NextHome different is the fact that the vice president calls me, and the company leaders have become my colleagues and still text me. It’s all about relationship building. You want to work in an environment where people care about each other and look out for each other – that is exactly the reason I chose NextHome. All the other benefits are a bonus.”

Lisa added that NextHome Envision wants to tailor its business to clients who want to be treated like humans, not transactions. 

“We don’t want to be the brokerage that has 250 agents,” Lisa said. “We want to create a family-like environment where we are here for everybody. While we still have the best of the best, NextHome Envision is a friendly and connected brokerage.”

When they aren’t helping their clients and agents, the Nasars enjoy spending time with their two kids and refining their talents. Lisa is an exceptional painter with a love for the performing arts. Leon is a classic car collector and marathon runner who enjoys working out and caring for his garden. The Nasar’s have been married for 21 years and are the proud parents of Sam (20) and Jackie (17). Sam is studying musical theater at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, and Jackie is applying for college as she starts her senior year in high school. 

Please join us in congratulating the Nasars on the opening of NextHome Envision in Maryland!

 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

6 Follow Up Sales Email Templates That Get Responses

6 Follow Up Sales Email Templates That Get Responses

Quick, what’s the most convenient way to communicate in the business world?

The phone is an effective way to speak with a client or prospect, but that’s assuming they answer. And even then, the conversation can derail quickly if the discussion strays from your script.

Email, on the other hand, provides an easy way to get your point across, in the format and manner in which you feel most appropriate. In fact, 86 percent of professionals say email is their preferred method of communication.

But, there’s a hitch.

Your message is literally one of the hundreds of emails that the average businessman receives every day. So even if your client or prospect opens your email, they are most likely skimming and not giving it their full attention.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be sending emails. Follow up sales emails remain a necessity to maintain your relationship with your clients and potential clients. If you do it correctly, you can create great follow up emails to help increase your sales.

What Makes a Great Sales Follow Up Email

While your marketing department probably tends to send out beautifully designed emails with flashy graphics and call to action buttons, your follow up sales email doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to be great.

You just need to focus on a few key areas:

  • Personal Message – Your follow up sales emails need to be personal. Focus on your client’s specific needs and challenges.
  • Helpful Content – Give your client a reason to read your email, other than to just say hello. Offer information about a service that your business provides that can address their needs.
  • Get to the Point – No one wants to read a novel. Clearly and quickly explain why you’re emailing and what you are offering. If this email is coming after a meeting, provide a recap and action items so there are no miscommunications.
  • Subject Line – Give your client a reason to read your email. You might have the best message, but if you don’t have a great email subject line, your email might go right to the trash.

Of course, all emails will be unique and should be used at different times in the sales cycle. But if you focus on these four key areas, you can craft winning messages.

6 Great Follow Up Sales Emails

There are endless situations in which you’ll need a great follow up sales email. Anything from your first contact with a prospect to the end of a major contract, and everything in between.

Here are examples of follow up emails to clients for some of the most common situations.

1. Follow Up Sales Email After Leaving a Voicemail or Speaking on the Phone

Most of the time when you first call a prospective client, you’ll get a voicemail. Your chances of getting a call back are pretty slim, so you’ll need to send a follow up email.

That email should briefly introduce you, explain why you’re calling, and clearly map out next steps.

Subject Line: I must have just missed you

Hi [Name],

My name is [Your name] from [Your company]. I just left you a voicemail regarding [briefly explain the reason you called].
I’d love to chat with you more about how [Your service] can improve [What it can improve]. I will try to call you back on [Day].

If this time is inconvenient for you, please email or call me back and we can schedule another time to speak.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

[Signature]

You can use the same style of email after speaking with that person on the phone. Just briefly recap your conversation and what will happen next.

2. Follow Up Sales Email After Client Opens an Email and Doesn’t Respond

In most cases, when you send emails to clients and they’ll never respond. There’s a chance they never opened the message, or maybe they did open it but took no action – there are ways you can track email opens.

There’s a chance your clients wanted to reply to your messages, but the emails got buried in their inboxes and they forget. There’s a simple sales follow up email trick that can work to entice a response.

Simply find the original email in your sent folder, and reply all to it so you are copying your original message in your new email. This prevents your client from having to dig through their inbox to find it.

Subject: Let’s try this again

Hi [name],

I sent you an email a few days ago about [Email topic] and noticed you haven’t had a chance to respond. You may be busy and forgot about it – that’s understandable.

For your convenience, I’ve included the original message below.

Thanks,

[Signature]

3. Follow Up Sales Email After an Event

Local events like conferences and networking sessions are a great way to meet new prospects.

However, in most cases, you only had a few minutes to speak with these prospects before exchanging contact information and going on your way. Make sure your follow up email includes information about something you spoke about to help them remember you. They are more likely to respond if they don’t view you as a stranger.

Subject Line: Great meeting you at [Event]!

Hi [Name],

I enjoyed speaking with you at [Event] last week. I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you [What they do]. My company actually helps people like you with [Services]. If you have a few minutes, I’d love to meet up for coffee and chat.

I’ve available [Date/Time], does this work for you?

[Signature]

4. Follow Up Sales Email After Closing a Deal

The conversation doesn’t end after your client signs on the dotted line.

You want that client to be a repeat customer and refer their colleagues, so it’s important to maintain the relationship that you’ve built during the sales process.

This email should include a thank you and invitation for them to contact you with any questions or issues.

Subject Line: Welcome to the [Company] family!

Hi [Name],

I wanted to send a quick note to thank you for [recent order/partnership]. I know you’ll be thrilled with the service and quality [Your company] will provide to help you address your business needs. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.

I look forward to our professional relationship.

[Signature]

5. Follow Up Sales Email After a Client’s Contract Ends

In a perfect world, every client would be a repeat customer.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect and some of your customers won’t buy again.

Even though your professional relationship is ending, you still need to send a follow up sales email to thank them for being a loyal customer and offering your services again in the future. Plus, you never know if they might come back one day.

Subject line: Thank you for being a loyal customer

Hi [Name],

I’m sorry to see our partnership come to an end. Thank you for being such a loyal customer over the past [Length of contract]. Please keep me in mind if you need additional [Type of service] in the future.

Thank you,

[Signature]

6. Follow Up Sales Email After Client Stops Responding

At some point, it becomes apparent that your client has lost interest and won’t be buying from you. Before you cut your losses, try one more follow up email to see if they’ll re-engage. At the very least, you might receive confirmation that they aren’t interested.

Your previous templates obviously haven’t been working, so this is your opportunity to show a little creativity, humor, and personality in your message.

Subject line: Is this thing on?

Hi [Name],

I’ve tried to get in touch with you over the past few months, and it appears I’ve been unsuccessful.

I understand the timing might not be right, you’re just plain not interested, or you’ve cut the cord and are now living a new life off the grid. It’s ok, I won’t take it personally.

I’ll stop emailing you, but please keep me in mind should you ever need [Type of service].

I hope this isn’t goodbye.

[Signature]

Creating Great Follow Up Emails to Increase Sales

Obviously, our sales follow up email templates are just suggestions.

You understand your clients and their needs, and you know what has worked in the past.

If you have a system that’s worked for you in the past, keep using it. But, if you’re looking for a new way to increase your numbers, consider trying some new follow up sales emails.

For more helpful tips from our partners at BombBomb, check out their blog!

How to Send Video in LinkedIn Messages – 3 Simple Steps

How to Send Video in LinkedIn Messages – 3 Simple Steps

According to LinkedIn, InMail messages get a 10-25% response rate, 300% higher than emails. The two main factors behind this increased response rate include:

  1. People go to LinkedIn to connect and learn. LinkedIn shows you when your contacts are live on the site, so you can hit them a message at a time when they’re thinking about business/career goals and how they might achieve them.
  2. Your professional profile is attached to your message. With a single click, your prospects can learn more about you, your company, your experience and expertise, and your connections without leaving the platform. They can quickly qualify you and your message, respond, and get back to what they were doing on LinkedIn.

Although these benefits are very real, the massive influx in sales practitioners leveraging “social selling” has resulted in your decision makers’ LinkedIn inboxes becoming nearly as saturated as their email inboxes. You must differentiate yourself and your messages from the crowd if you want to capitalize on the benefits of LinkedIn and earn time with your hard-to-reach prospects.

The best way to win the LinkedIn inbox (and prospecting in general!) is by making your messages as engaging and impactful as in-person interactions. BombBomb helps make this possible by making it simple to record, embed, and send personal videos through LinkedIn InMail.

Engage Prospects More Effectively with Video in LinkedIn

Someone using the BombBomb Video Chrome Extension to record a video

With BombBomb Video, you can quickly and easily record yourself, your screen, or a combination of both, and embed those videos into your LinkedIn messages to humanize your message and scale your best sales asset: YOURSELF.

Step 1: Record or Select a Video for your LinkedIn Message

Once you’ve downloaded the BombBomb Video Chrome Extension, pressing the BombBomb logo in your extension toolbar will immediately activate the BombBomb Video recorder without leaving LinkedIn.

Within BombBomb Recorder you can:

  • Record a webcam and/or screen capture video
  • Choose a video from your library
  • Edit your camera/mic settings

BombBomb’s proprietary video tech uploads your video while you’re recording it. No waiting around for your video to be ready to send. In fact, you’ll actually save time compared to typing your message out because you talk way faster and more effectively than you type!

Step 2: Customize Your Video Thumbnail

Once you hit stop on your video, you’ll be given the options to save, re-record, or customize your video thumbnail. By default, LinkedIn will select a random frame from your video to save as your BombBomb Video thumbnail, so customizing your thumbnail can help to provide context for your video and drive engagement. We recommend using a whiteboard or piece of paper with your prospect’s name written out to help show that the video was created just for them.

 

To apply a custom, still-image thumbnail to your video, you can capture a new thumbnail with your webcam using the “Thumbnail” button. Hovering over the button will activate your webcam and clicking “Thumbnail” will instantly capture and save a new image. This can be done unlimited times until you’re happy.

Whenever you’re ready, click “Save.”

Step 3: Copy and Paste Your Video

Once you’ve customized your thumbnail and saved your video, it’s time to paste your video into your LinkedIn message. In order to do this properly, you’ll want to use the “Copy URL” option.

 

LinkedIn InMail shows link previews to your message recipient, so when you paste the URL into the message and send, your link will “unfurl” and your BombBomb video thumbnail will appear as a clickable button alongside any accompanying text you provide within the message.

Upon clicking on your video, your prospect will be redirected to your BombBomb Video page. Our pages are solely designed to deliver your unique message to a captive audience. There are no ads, no distracting exit links or images, no suggested videos, just you and your message.

Building relationships on the world’s largest professional network has never been easier.

Humanize your LinkedIn Messages

If you’re ready to go from a faceless blurb of text that goes ignored to a real person who stands out in the LinkedIn inbox, then request a demo of BombBomb Video today and start getting face to face at scale with the people that matter most to your business.

To learn more tips from our partners at BombBomb, check out their blog!

The Needs and Wants of Parents Buying Homes

The Needs and Wants of Parents Buying Homes

Having children changes people, and for home buyers, that translates into vastly different wish lists and budgetary constraints. Once fans of happy hour and eating out, new parents find they’re lucky to make it to the grocery store and back. The desire to be trendy or able to walk to favorite shops gives way to the need to provide their child with safety, enrichment, and healthy habits. Ideas about commutes change as well. While a long commute can be a trade-off for a bigger or more affordable home, that time on the road for a parent with small children can mean a post-work crunch: Picking a child up from daycare, making and eating dinner and getting the little one to bed at a decent hour. Add to that the fact that peak child-raising years often coincide with peak career demands, and location becomes doubly important – and doubly tricky. As a result, the home-shopping process for buyers with children who are under 18 and living at home is more arduous: They are more likely to see an offer or mortgage financing fall through, and they’re more likely to go over budget. That’s despite attending more open houses and making more compromises to stick to their budgets. After they’ve hurdled the challenges, buyers with kids at home overwhelmingly love the homes they purchased.

Reconciling budgets, mortgages, and needs

Almost half of buyer households (45.9%) and a third of renters (33.1%) who moved in the past year have children who are under 18 and live at home. And 56.6% of buyers who had or adopted a child in the past year said it influenced their move, according to the Zillow Group 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report. Buyers with children at home are more likely to go over budget (25.7%) than those without (21.2%), perhaps to attain the location and amenities on their long wish lists. Still, the majority of buyers with kids at home stay within their budgets (74.3%), often because they make compromises. Two-thirds (66.5%) made some type of compromise to stick with their budgets, considerably more than the 51.6% of buyers without kids. Among parents who made such a compromise, the top ones were increasing their commute (34.1%), purchasing a home without their desired finishes (32.7%) and purchasing a smaller home than planned (31.2%). The financial stretch for parents is visible in their down payments. In order to afford their homes, 54.7% of buyers with children at home had down payments of less than 20%, compared with 49.2% of buyers without kids at home. Parents also are more likely to worry about qualifying for a mortgage (64%) compared with non-parents (44%), and it turns out their concerns are warranted. Almost a third (31.5%) of buyers with children who eventually obtained a mortgage experienced a denial versus only 11.5% of buyers without kids at home.

All that, plus the kitchen sink

Most buyers with children under 18 hoped to buy single-family detached houses (83.7%), which tend to be more expensive than townhomes and condos. They also had long home and neighborhood wish lists. Parents place greater importance on nearly all home characteristics than buyers without kids living under their roofs, being more attached to everything from storage space to a particular number of bedrooms. Having a child’s needs in mind can add urgency – and parents of young children might be anticipating future needs without being sure which features will be most important as their children grow. Buyers with children are more likely to rate a private outdoor space as very or extremely important (75.3%) compared to buyers without children at home (65.1%). Similarly, a home’s potential to increase in value was highly important to 73% of parents compared to 61.5% of non-parents. To attain their long wish lists, buyers with kids are willing to expand their searches to include foreclosed homes, short-sales and homes for sale by owner.

Location, location….

Parents are less likely to give up on location. Every single neighborhood characteristic included in the study was more important to buyers with kids at home compared to those without. They’re often balancing the desire for a decent commute with wanting a particular school district and other child-focused needs. So, it makes sense that they are more likely to end up purchasing in the area they initially considered (71.8%) than buyers without kids at home (66.2%). Not surprisingly, purchasing in the preferred school district was very or extremely important to 66% of buyers with kids at home, compared to only 22.9% without. The commute was also highly important to parents (66.4%) compared to non-parents (43.3%).

For more helpful tips, visit the Zillow blog!

Best Seasons to Sell A Home – 2019

Best Seasons to Sell A Home – 2019

Ask most anyone which season is the best to sell a home, and likely, with little hesitation they will respond, summer. This stands to reason. Schools are out, giving families a clean break to transfer children to a new area. The weather is much nicer for attracting people to open houses. Many have a starry-eyed, relaxed attitude freeing brain space to dream and plan for change. It can be, with well-laid plans, the perfect time to sell. But is it, the BEST time to sell?

We wanted to know. So, we consulted the data. As a ten year predictive marketing company providing thousands of agents, brokers and enterprise clients with powerful insights on future sellers, this was sure to be an easy task (well at least for our data scientists). Here’s what we found. Take a look, the answers may surprise you.

Data Analyzed

  • Home sales during the period of 2014 through 2018
  • Average number of days on the market
  • Ratio of listing price to final sales price

Data Determined Best and Worst Months to Sell

  • Spring is hotter than Summer
  • Fall is not a good time to sell. In fact, November doesn’t even show up here
  • There’s roughly a 30% better chance to sell a home in the selected month/season than any other time of the year

Spring

Some may find this a surprising result considering the weather and strain leading into this spring. It simply felt, in too many regions as if it would never make the move from lion to lamb. But remember, the data analyzed doesn’t consider only this most recent spring but rather five years running indicating that 2/3rds of the nation could expect the highest sales rates in this season

Summer

This isn’t all bad news If you missed the boat on spring sellers. At least for the 12 states who are likely enjoying their best selling season now and through the next few months. Contributing to high spring and summer selling trends are vacation homes which tend to do better during the warmer months when they are looking their best and summoning the dreamers who simply want and can afford more time off the grid and on the water.

While thousands of data points go into predicting future sellers two factors stand out especially impacting luxury home ownership. For the multi-million dollar homeowners and investors, wealthy self-employed workers, empty nesters and others are feeling the squeeze from Congress imposed limits to property tax deductions and interest on mortgages. 

Fall

Data indicators show fall selling season nationally is narrow with two states, Iowa and Indiana, showing potentially high turnover. This could be great news for brokers, agents and especially sellers in these geographies as they can look forward to the selling market benefits including typically higher offers and increased competition over listings when fewer homes for sale.

Winter

Winter months can be a mixed bag depending largely on a variety of factors including and sometimes prompted by job changes, economic influences, greater seller motivation, cheaper moving labor, price motivated buyers, last minute tax motivations, and more

Opportunities exist in every state, season and month of the year. Having the knowledge, and insights on who is thinking about selling and the best times to do so will give you a leg up on the competition. Planning your marketing plan and prospecting efforts with that knowledge is just plain smart. Stop guessing and get more listings! Learn more

For more great information from our partners at smartzip, check out their blog!

Best Months to sell 2019

Understanding Homeowners Insurance: What all new and prospective homeowners need to know

Understanding Homeowners Insurance: What all new and prospective homeowners need to know

If you arrange a mortgage, your lender will want you to have homeowners insurance. This coverage is critical for protecting your home and personal property against various potential liabilities.

A homeowners insurance policy is actually a package of coverages. These policies commonly offer the following forms of protection:

*Dwelling coverage insures your house and any attached structures, including fixtures such as plumbing and electrical and HVAC systems, against damages.1

*Other Structures coverage is included to compensate you for damage to structures unattached to the main dwelling on your property, such as a detached garage, tool shed, or fence.1

*Personal Property coverage addresses damage to your personal possessions, such as your appliances, furniture, electronics, and clothes.1

*Loss of Use coverage reimburses you for additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to damages suffered.1

*Personal Liability coverage is designed to pay out claims if you are found liable for injuries or damages to another party. As an example, say someone attends a barbeque held in your backyard, then stumbles over a tree root and breaks a wrist or an ankle.1

*Medical Payments coverage pays the medical bills incurred by people who are hurt on your property, or hurt by your pets. This is no-fault coverage. If someone is hurt at your house, any resulting medical bills may be sent by that person to your insurer.1

These coverages pertain only to losses caused by a peril covered by your policy. For instance, if your policy doesn’t cover earthquake damage, then losses will not be reimbursed.1

The types of covered perils will depend on the type of policy you buy. Special Form policies are the most popular, since they insure against all perils, except those specifically named in the policy. Common exclusions include earthquakes and floods. Typically, flood insurance is obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program, while earthquake coverage may be obtained through an endorsement or a separate policy. Some homeowners are reluctant to buy flood or earthquake coverage; they think it is too expensive and may never be needed. The thing is, the future cannot always be guessed by looking at the past.2

Your policy will of course limit the amount of covered losses. If you have a valuable art collection or jewelry, you may want to secure additional insurance on those items.

When you scrutinize a policy, see if it insures your residence for replacement cost or actual cash value. Actual cash value is less preferable: it may not cover all your losses, as the value of your personal property can be affected by wear and tear, and your home’s value can be affected by housing market fluctuations. If your home is insured for replacement cost, then the insurance carrier will pay the expenses of using materials of similar kind and quality to rebuild or repair your home.3

As a last note, you may also want Umbrella Liability coverage. Do you consider yourself wealthy? You may find the liability limits on your current homeowners policy inadequate. For a greater degree of coverage, you might elect to complement it with an umbrella policy.4

Shane Westhoelter may be reached at 858-428-3929 or shane@gfainvestments.com
www.gatewayig.com/nexthome

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated.

Citations.
1 – https://www.iii.org/article/what-covered-standard-homeowners-policy [12/3/18]
2 – https://www.valuepenguin.com/types-homeowners-insurance [9/25/18]
3 – https://www.thebalance.com/replacement-cost-insurance-vs-actual-cash-value-4154015 [11/18/18]
4 – https://www.kiplinger.com/article/insurance/T028-C000-S002-why-you-need-an-umbrella-insurance-policy.html [9/25/18]

Home Value Cooling Is More About Changes in Demand Than Supply (March 2019 Market Report)

Home Value Cooling Is More About Changes in Demand Than Supply (March 2019 Market Report)

The market has begun to cool, with the median home value nationally climbing in March by less than 7% annually (to $226,700) for the first time in more than two years.

Home values are growing especially slowly in some markets that until recently were among the country’s hottest. While values in most major metros continue to climb, but slowly, an exception is pricey San Jose, Calif.: Its home values fell year-over-year in March for the first time in seven years, falling 0.2% from March 2018 (the median home in the San Jose area was worth $1,209,700 in March, down from $1,212,100 a year ago).

While long-term housing demand continues to look strong, we’re seeing our first set of significant local housing slowdowns since the nationwide downturn in 2007. Other formerly white-hot markets that are jamming on the brakes include: San Diego, where home values grew just 1.3% annually in March (down from 8.6% year-over-year growth in march 2018); San Francisco and Los Angeles, both growing at 2% year-over-year, down from 9.5% and 7.6% last year; and Seattle, growing at a 2.6% annual pace, from 11.8% a year ago. Judging by their trajectory, it is possible home value appreciation will continue to soften and go temporarily negative in these markets as well.

It’s not surprising that the total inventory of homes available for sale during the month is simultaneously climbing. March was the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year inventory gains—the first time that’s happened since 2014.

However, these sister trends—home values falling and overall inventory climbing—are not a result of builders or homeowners putting more houses on the market, although it may feel that way to new buyers checking on available listings and seeing more from which to choose.

In fact, for the past four months, new for-sale inventory – the number of homes listed in a given month that were not on the market during the previous month – has fallen on an annual basis. In March, there were 6.1% fewer new listings than in March 2018; in February, 7.7% fewer; in January, 3.6% fewer; and in December, 2.8% fewer.

Although there have been months with annual increases—notably October, when new listings rose 13.4% from a year earlier—the trend is downward, a sign that even sellers are retreating from the housing market.

Without an influx of new listings, the boost in total inventory has been largely a result of changing demand:

  • Buyers are more willing to wait: February was the first month in four years (since February 2015) that the average number of days listings are on the market has risen. In February, listings nationally were on the market for an average of 96 days, up from 92 days a year earlier.
  • They’re also less willing to pay sellers’ asking prices: In March, 14.6% of listings had a price cut, up from 12.7% in March 2018.

This kind of slowdown story is typified by markets like Sacramento, Chicago, Riverside, Calif., Tampa, Fla., Dallas-Fort Worth, and Los Angeles—major metro areas where home value appreciation is significantly slower this year than last and overall inventory is up despite a drop in the number of new listings this March versus last March.

Slowdowns driven by an influx of new supply can be welcome news for certain types of housing markets, like rain after a long drought. And there are metros having that kind of breather–San Jose and Seattle, the two metro areas with the most abrupt slowdown in home value appreciation, are experiencing swells in overall inventory bolstered at least in part by increases in new listings. Denver, Boston, Detroit, and San Antonio have similar profiles, but with more gradual softening in price growth.

The Atlanta metro is an odd exception. Like the above, overall inventory and new listings are significantly higher, up 13.8% and 14.8% respectively, yet home value appreciation remains on par with last year, growing in the double digits.

On the other end of the spectrum, Indianapolis, Virginia Beach, and Austin continue to experience both increasing appreciation and declining inventories—a good reminder that the national trend no longer typifies all markets’ experience.

Non-coastal metros take off

While expensive coastal markets experience a home-value slowdown, values in inland markets including Indianapolis, Atlanta and Las Vegas are posting double-digit growth. Annual growth in Indianapolis has been climbing in the double digits for eight months, and rose 12.8% in March to $167,000, the fastest of any major market. Atlanta’s median home value grew 10.7% in March to $220,000, which puts it just shy of the $226,700 national median. And Las Vegas posted 10% median home value growth in March to reach $280,600. While most major metros have by now reclaimed their housing bubble peaks, it will still be a while before Las Vegas reclaims its June 2006 peak of $316,800.

Rents keep climbing

The median rent nationwide rose 2.5% ($36) in March to $1,474 a month. Among major metros, rents climbed fastest year-over-year in Las Vegas, where they rose 7.6% ($98) to $1,396; Phoenix, where they were up 6.7% ($91) to $1,446; and Orlando, Fla., where they grew 6.5% ($93) to $1,531.

Rents rose 2% or less in nine of the 35 largest metro areas. Baltimore grew the slowest, climbing 1% from March 2018 ($18) to $1,753. It was followed by San Jose, Calif., and the New York metro area, where rents rose just 1.5 percent from a year ago (to $3,553 in San Jose and $2,419 in New York).

The Step by Step Guide to Creating Community Videos That Will Grow Your Business

The Step by Step Guide to Creating Community Videos That Will Grow Your Business

Community Videos can be a really big part of your marketing strategy as a real estate agent. They not only show that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your community but they also can show what a buyer would get when moving to that part of town. As a realtor, you’re not just selling a home – you are selling an area or neighborhood! Below we’ve made a list of steps to help you confidently film and share a great community video!

What to expect

Time commitment: 3 days total per video
(one day planning, one day filming, one day posting and promoting)

Average budget: between $500 – $2k

Potential outcomes:

  • More followers and viewers on social media
  • More community connections
  • New clients/prospects
  • You establish yourself as a local expert
  • You help promote something you love

1. Decide What You’re Passionate About

The very first step in this process is to decide what part of your community to highlight. You need to pick something you’re excited about and passionate about, whether that be restaurants, parks, non-profit organizations, etc. Judy Weiniger, a community video master, says, “Chose the businesses that excite you.” Don’t force yourself to get excited about a subject you don’t gravitate towards.

We know it can be hard to choose the topic of your first community video, especially if you love a lot of things in your area. We put together a list based on passions and interests to help you get started.

Do you love food & drinks? You could feature….

  • Coffee Shops
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Local Chefs or Bartenders

Do you love shopping and supporting local businesses? You could feature…

  • Small Shops & Boutiques
  • Any New Shop/Business
  • Outdoor Markets

Do you love being active? You could feature…

  • Parks/Trails
  • Gyms
  • Yoga/Dance Studios
  • School Sporting Events

Do you love music & art? You could feature…

  • Art Galleries
  • Local Bands
  • Local Artists
  • Festivals
  • Craft/Pottery Studios

Do you value family? You could feature…

  • Schools/School Programs
  • Libraries
  • Family-Friendly Activities in the Area

Do you love animals? You could feature…

  • Local dog parks
  • Pet-Friendly Restaurants/Bars
  • Local Vets
  • Local Animal Shelters

If you really want to go ALL IN on community videos, you can challenge yourself to feature your 30 favorite places in town over 30 days like Craig Veroni. Craig is one of our Real Estate Video Influencer winners who found a creative way to highlight the best parts of his community on social media. He was trained by Jesse Peters, and Michael Thorne of RE Video Studio.

Also keep in mind that you don’t just have to feature places or events, you can specifically feature people as well! Every community has inspiring individuals that your viewers will love learning more about. Craig Veroni has done another series called My Favourite Humans in Vancouver where he showcased different people.

2. Create a List of Specific Businesses to Reach out to

Once you’ve decided on what type of community videos you want to start with, it’s time to pick specific businesses/places/people to feature! When creating your list, we recommend focusing on a specific part of town. Marguerite Martin, a Real Estate Video Influencer winner in the Community Video Category, specializes in downtown Tacoma, instead of trying to cover her whole city. We also recommend keeping an eye on the news channels, papers and bloggers to see what people are talking about!

Pick the top three things you’d like to feature. Figure out who you need to contact for each topic and gather emails. If you can’t decide between a few places or businesses, ask some other people in the community what they’d prefer to see a video feature on. And like we said before, keep an eye on blogs and the news. Though it’s important to be passionate about what you feature, it’s also important that it will spark your viewer’s interest.

3. Reach Out with Video

Now it’s time to see if you’re able to film your community videos at the places you’ve chosen. Depending on what you choose, you’ll need to reach out to the person who owns or runs the establishment. If you have picked something like a park, you could try to find & contact a person through the City Government. If you’ve picked a business, then you’ll need to reach out to the owner and get permission to do a feature.

We think the very best way to reach out is through a video! It’s a great way to introduce yourself and explain what you are wanting to do. BombBomb makes this very easy to do. You could even go to the place you want to feature and record your introduction video there! (If you’d like to try BombBomb free for 2 weeks – click here!)

Not sure what to say in your email or video? We put together a script that we used to reach out to local businesses here in Colorado Springs!

Hi (Owner/Employee Name),
My name is (first name), I’m the (job title) at (company name).
As a real estate agent, I need to establish myself as an expert on our community and a great way to do that is by filming what we call a community video. For this video, I would really love to highlight your establishment, (business name).
INSERT BOMBBOMB VIDEO
My goal is to show off some awesome places in the community. I absolutely love your business, which is why I’m reaching out to you. If possible, I’d like to come by for a couple hours during a slower time and film a quick video with you. My goal is to capture the story of your business – so I’d love to interview you for part of the filming as well.
Let me know if that is something you’d be interested in! We want nothing in return. Our goal is to simply highlight our community on social media.
Sincerely,
(full name)

One last thing to remember is to make it clear that you aren’t asking for money. Ask for nothing in return. Community videos will be an investment on your part but trust us, it is an investment that’s worth it. Community videos establish you as a local expert. They will grow your following and viewership. They will help people connect you with. They will even help you establish relationships with local business owners who may eventually need to buy or sell their home! Ultimately, your community videos should bring you new clients and prospects as you grow your connections and community presence.

4. Plan a Time to Film Your Videos

The business owner might want to meet with you to plan your video. In that case, make sure to set aside time to meet and plan. You may also be able to work things out over email. We estimate most community videos take around 2 hours of filming on location. Try to schedule all your community videos for one day so you can knock them all out at once.

It’s important to pick the best time for the business owner. They likely won’t want you coming during their busiest time of day. Try to go when you won’t be disruptive with your filming and when the business owner/employees will have the most time to talk with you! If you’re filming a lot outside, try to pick a day where the weather will be nice and pick a time where the sun won’t be too harsh.

5. Hire a Videographer

**Note: This is not mandatory! Many of our video influencers shoot their community videos on their cell phones. But if you’re new to filming, a videographer is a good place to start. We jump to our tips on how to do it yourself in the video below.

We suggest using Judy Weiniger’s method of finding videographers. She says, “How I found mine is through searching videographers who do weddings.” Ask around or post something on Facebook asking for good, local wedding videographers. Most weddings are on weekends so these videographers will often be excited to get side jobs like this during the week.

When choosing a videographer, we suggest watching some of their previous videos to make sure their style aligns with what you want! The average wedding videographer gets paid between $1,000 – $2,500 for a day of filming and editing. If that is outside of your budget, we suggest trying to find an aspiring wedding videographer or a film student. They will probably work with you for a lower budget. (Thank you to BombCast Guest & John L. Scott Real Estate Agent, Paul Balzotti, for this tip!)

If you and a coworker or partner are wanting to tackle this project without hiring anyone, it’s doable! Here are some tips from Visual Storyteller, Matt Mead and Content Marketing Specialist, Alexa Franck. They walk through all the gear you need – both the basic setup and the pro setup.

6. Create a Video Outline

Now it’s time to plan out your video so you’re ready for filming! This plan should include a list of video shots you want, questions you’d like to ask the business owner, details you want the community to know, etc. Write down the script of how you want to intro and outro the video. You don’t have to stick strictly to this script, but it’ll keep you on track while filming! While planning your video, plan out the story that it will tell. Every business and person has a story to tell!

Depending on who you hire, you might sit down with your videographer to plan this out. You can also send this plan over to the business owner for them to approve before the filming. It’s always good to have a second pair of eyes (like the business owner or videographer) to look over your plan so you don’t miss any key points. You don’t want to get done filming and then realize a day later that you missed an important shot or piece of information.

It’s also important to plan for how long you want your videos to be. The ideal length of a YouTube Video is 5-10 minutes so you should shoot for getting enough footage to create this length of video.

Here’s an outline example that we used for our community videos:

Carnelian Coffee Community Video Filming Outline
Video Shot: Alexa in front of the coffee shop
Opening Script: “I’m here at Carnelian Coffee Co in Old Colorado City – only a few minutes away from the BombBomb Office! We’re going to go chat with the owner, and hear all about this cozy little spot!”
B-Roll: Alexa walking down the street into the coffee shop
Video Shot: Kate (coffee shop owner) sitting for interview
Interview Questions:
Tell us about the beginning of your coffee shop and what inspired you to start it!
Walk me through what a typical day at the coffee shop looks like for you!
What are some of the best things you serve/best selling drinks?
What do you want people to experience when they come here?
What makes your place unique?
B-Roll: Kate making a cup of coffee, pulling espresso, steaming milk, etc.
Extra B-Roll Shots:
-Shots of the shop interior and decor.
-A pan shot of the inside and outside.
-Shot of two people talking and drinking coffee.

While we were in the shop, we learned that Kate will only sell merchandise from Colorado Businesses. Because of that, we also got some footage of all of the trinkets she sold at Carnelian. It’s important to remain observant as the owner tells their story, and get shots of the amazing details they share!

Once your video is planned, you have the option of coming up with a clever name for your community video series! Here’s a few great names used by our Community Real Estate Video Influencers! See what other community video creators are doing and get some inspiration:

7. ACTION! It’s Time to Film Your Videos

Filming day has come. If you’ve followed each step and taken our advice, you’ll have scheduled to film a couple of places/business for the day. You will want to have a videographer who’s ready to go and knows what shots are needed. You’ll want to have your outline ready. And fortunately, you’ll also have already built a relationship with the business owner or manager through video or meetings so you’ll feel comfortable filming with them!

Things should go smoothly if you’ve planned accordingly. Our main piece of advice at this point is to have fun and enjoy the process! To build interest in your upcoming community videos, you should go LIVE on Facebook or Instagram before wrapping up your day of filming. You can include the business owner and quickly introduce them or give people a sneak peak of the places you’ll be featuring. Consider it a promo video for your community videos! We recommend going live for at least 5 minutes. If you’re worried about taking a video that long, try to prepare an outline for that video as well.

Try to film another promo video apart from going LIVE. When you go live, it’ll just air on Facebook or Instagram. You’ll want a promo video for other social platforms as well. Film a quick intro in front of each place you’re highlighting. In a promo video, you can inform your viewers when the community video will premiere on your social accounts. You can also give people a sneak peak into the things you’ll be talking about in the community videos.

Here are some examples of our promo videos here at BombBomb: BombBomb Facebook Videos

8. Create a Social Media Plan for the Videos

While your videographer is hard at work getting your videos edited, you can start planning out your social strategy. Here’s the distribution process we recommend for your videos!

Short Community Video Promo

General Guidelines:

  • Video Size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Video Length: 1 minute

Where to Post:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Short Community Video Teaser

General Guidelines:

  • Video Size: 1080 x 1080 pixels and 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Video Length: 15-60 Seconds

Where to Post:

  • 30-60 second square teaser on Instagram and Twitter
  • 15 second vertical teaser on Instagram Story

Full Length Community Video

General Guidelines:

  • Video Size: 1080 x 1920 pixels and 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Video Length: 5-10 minutes

Where to post:

  • Vertical on IGTV
  • Horizontal on YouTube

Medium Length Community Video

General Guidelines:

  • Video Size: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Video Length: 2-3 minutes

Where to post:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn

Create an ad budget for promoting your video on Facebook. You need to pay to get views. We suggest creating a Facebook audience that includes people in your area. You can make your lists more specific as well! If you featured a yoga studio, target people who are interested in yoga, a specific yoga studio, etc.

Another great way to help your videos do well on social is to have the business themselves use the video however they want! Let them use it on their website. Let them share it on their social pages. For them, it’s like a free promotional video so they will probably love sharing it. You can ask them to tag you in their posts.

9. See What Your Audience Loves and Give Them More

If you did three different videos and one performed better than the rest, try to replicate what you did. If your video on a coffee shop performed the best, maybe try to feature another coffee shop. Don’t try to cover all the things in your community. Find your niche and stick to it. If you’re planning to do a series, stick to the topic of your series until you have between 5-10 videos. Then start planning your your next series. You’re becoming a community expert!

Here is the community video we did here at BombBomb! We went out and visited a local coffee shop to film our community video. We used a lot of the tips we listed here in this post and the results have been great. Thanks to Kate Firoved and Carnelian Coffee for letting us stop by!

For more helpful tips, visit the BombBomb blog!