Winning Agent http://www.winningagent.com Sales That Work Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:27:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Yes, Zillow Is Buying Trulia – Should You Be Concerned? http://www.winningagent.com/zillow-is-buying-trulia/ http://www.winningagent.com/zillow-is-buying-trulia/#respond Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:45:31 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3679 It’s almost a done deal, Zillow is buying Trulia. As of July 28, 2014, and for a mere $3.5 billion, Zillow, the industry’s real estate listing leader, bought Trulia, the industry’s #2. In the month before the sale, Zillow logged 53.8 million viewers and Trulia had 31.6 million. That’s a whopping 85 million viewers and […]

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Zillow eats Trulia

It’s almost a done deal, Zillow is buying Trulia. As of July 28, 2014, and for a mere $3.5 billion, Zillow, the industry’s real estate listing leader, bought Trulia, the industry’s #2. In the month before the sale, Zillow logged 53.8 million viewers and Trulia had 31.6 million. That’s a whopping 85 million viewers and now Zillow owns them all! Why is that important to you?

There are three major fears or downsides many Realtors have about this emerging giant in the industry.

  • The newly merged company will have a lot of power over listings and may raise the fees they charge you.
  • The strength of online listing business is growing, while the local MLS services are showing some weakness.
  • Although they have avoided it in the past, the size of the new company may make it attractive for them to get into the brokerage business.

Here’s the backstory on how this deal got put together. Zillow, the industry leader, has long been the best known player in the market, with its popular “Zestimates” of property values a feature that’s well-liked by homeowners everywhere. Trulia, on the other hand, has some cool tools that tend to attract both buyers and sellers. The two competitors admired each other’s complementary skills. Many homeowners used both sites, but Zillow particularly noted that about half of Trulia’s visitors never logged on to Zillow, while two-thirds of Zillow’s users never looked at Trulia. So the courtship began.

It didn’t last long. In six months, the marriage was complete, with Zillow paying, in stock, 0.444 one of its shares for one share of Trulia. The total deal is valued at $3.5 billion. The company will operate under the Zillow name and will expect to realize $100 million savings through economies of scale by 2016.

“This follows on Zillow’s aggressive path to dominate the residential real estate space and become the undisputed leader in providing consumer-convenient, one-stop home shopping information,” said Stefan Swanepoel, a consultant and author on real estate trends. “Life for all other real estate portals will become twice as hard.”

The company plans to continue maintaining both brands, since they believe their overlap is minimal. Maintaining both brands within the same corporate parent will allow “us to better serve a larger audience, while taking advantage of certain shared back-end services,” says Zillow president Steven Rascoff.

According to Bloomberg, Zillow’s deal to buy Trulia will create a Goliath of online real estate listings and home values. A survey of analysts, speaking off and on the record, showed that none had serious concerns about antitrust issues with the deal. The National Association of Realtors reportedly wants federal antitrust regulators to block Zillow’s planned acquisition of Trulia, but there are no signs that the Federal Trade Commission plans to intervene. If you have strong feelings about this issue, contact your local Board of Realtors or the appropriate Federal agency.

So apparently the competition for your client’s attention and business is heating up, along with the market itself. What is the savvy Realtor to do?

  1. Use it to your advantage. The new company claims it will offer far more options to sellers and Realtors in terms of listing and advertising their properties. Educate yourself. Get to know the sites intimately and understand what they have to offer. Be sure your name, contact information, and a good professional photograph are present under their “Agents” listing. Over time, make a point to track your clients and find out where they are coming from. If even one deal came from Zillow or Trulia, it’s worth your time and money to be present there. And if that trend grows, your presence becomes even more important.
  1. Keep your own Internet presence highly polished. This means you have a professional web site that’s fresh, contemporary, up to date and highly interactive. It means you’re easy to reach via phone and email. It means your information is as current as today’s headlines. And it means if a potential client Googles “Realtors Yourtown,” your name comes up at or near the top of the list. (Note: if your web site doesn’t meet these criteria, we can help. Check out our special web site offer and let’s talk.)
  1. Capitalize on personal service. Neither Zillow nor Trulia offers visitors the warm, personal experience that you, the individual Realtor, can provide. No one there will hold an open house, help nervous first-time buyers navigate the mortgage market, or come to closing with a bouquet of flowers and the keys to their new house. A home is probably the biggest investment many of your clients will ever make. They want and need someone to be there with them in person, not be some vague presence at the other end of a mouse.

Don’t let this deal frighten or intimidate you. Here’s why: Zillow and Trulia combined control less than a 4% share of the estimated $12 billion spent annually on real estate advertising. Most real estate advertising is still done by Realtors like you who buy space in newspapers, put up billboards, send out direct mail, and pay for good web sites. So use this as an opportunity to reevaluate your marketing strategy and improve your impact every way you can. You’re still in charge!

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Is Your Web Site an Expense or an Investment? http://www.winningagent.com/web-site-expense-investment/ http://www.winningagent.com/web-site-expense-investment/#respond Thu, 04 Sep 2014 01:27:56 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3621 Point of View: Is Your Web Site an Expense or an Investment? Whether you already have a web site, or you’re just in the “thinking about it stage,” the ultimate success of your site depends on whether you view it as an expense or an investment. Here’s why that makes a difference. If you see […]

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How to Raise Your PQ (Perception Quotient) In 5 Easy Steps

Point of View: Is Your Web Site an Expense or an Investment?

Whether you already have a web site, or you’re just in the “thinking about it stage,” the ultimate success of your site depends on whether you view it as an expense or an investment. Here’s why that makes a difference.

If you see your web site as an expense, you’ll probably cringe every time you have to pay the hosting fee, pay a designer for an upgrade, or pay a professional copywriter to create the sparkling copy that will turn your visitors into fans and clients.

However, if you see your web site as an investment, then you can take the long view, painlessly put together a budget, outline the results you want to achieve, and develop a clear plan for creating the site that will deliver your message. Here are your guiding principles for getting from here to there.

Principle #1: You are a Realtor, not a web designer. You need a web site tailored specifically for a real estate professional, which you can customize with your own unique touches. In short, you need to invest in a sleek, high profile web site that is easy to get up and running, simple to maintain, and cost effective. Sound too good to be true? Not necessarily.

Principle #2: It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Whatever amount you decide to invest, you need to focus on your ROI (Return on Investment). Accept the fact that your phone won’t start ringing with calls from prospective clients the moment your website goes live. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply. So we’ll move on to:

Principle #3: Promotion gets attention. This starts with publicizing your web site address in every piece of written communication you send out. It belongs in your signature block on every email. It is visible on every ad, on your business card, in your Tweets and Facebook posts. When you can, link to and from other sites of mutual interest, such as mortgage brokers, developers, contractors, appraisers—any service provider that can benefit your clients.

Principle #4: Freshness keeps them coming back. Your web site should be updated weekly. That means, at the very least, creating a “breaking news” space near the top of your home page where you post information about current mortgage rates, market trends, neighborhood happenings, (think hyperlocal content), price reductions, and new listings – and no you don’t have to name it that. A blog that provides how-to tips for both buyers and sellers can be a great draw. Remember, your clients don’t know what you know—that’s why they hired you. And of course, every time you do a major update, you’ll promote it. (See #3, above.)

Still doubtful? Feeling out of your depth? Check out our Winning Agent Pro Special Offer. It’s our customized web site package designed specifically for Realtors and only for Realtors. It will get you started down the right path and we’ll be there for you, every step of the way, from domain registration to final launch. We’ll even create copy, if that’s not your thing.

So look to the future. A year from now, two years from now, use this checklist to see if you’ve invested in yourself, and done it successfully:

  • Your web site is a key piece of your overall marketing strategy.
  • You’re showing up near the top in major search engines.
  • You use Google Analytics or a comparable metrics analysis to keep up with trends and track your effectiveness.
  • You’re promoting changes to your site regularly with email blasts and frequent use of social media.
  • Your clients find something of value every time they visit your site.

Here’s the bottom line. An expense represents a product you’ve bought and paid for. Now you own it.  But it provides no ongoing benefit and will probably even lose value after a time. Your copy machine or tablet are good examples.

On the other hand, an investment is resource that you spend money on which then provides you with a measurable return. Let’s say, for example, that you spend $500 to create and launch your site. If it brings you one new client, it’s pretty much paid for itself.

If your website brings you one new client, it’s pretty much paid for itself.
- Winning Agent

So depending on your point of view, your web site can be either an investment or an expense. You just need to answer this simple question: does your site make money for you? Savvy Realtors know that their money should work for them, not the other way around.

Get Your Website Now

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Reminder: Keys To Success http://www.winningagent.com/reminder-key-to-success/ http://www.winningagent.com/reminder-key-to-success/#respond Wed, 03 Sep 2014 14:38:11 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3646 Reminder – the last person you want to work with is the one who focuses on your income and not what you are doing for them #keytosuccess Tweet This… The last person you want to work with is the one who focuses on your income & not what you do for them #keytosuccess http://t.co/Iz32vQPFtT — […]

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Reminder – the last person you want to work with is the one who focuses on your income and not what you are doing for them #keytosuccess

Tweet This…

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Leadership Essentials: How and When to Be A Good Follower http://www.winningagent.com/leadership-essentials-good-follower/ http://www.winningagent.com/leadership-essentials-good-follower/#respond Thu, 28 Aug 2014 01:30:27 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3614 More than a few thousand books have been written on leadership—how to be a better leader, how to become a leader if you’re not, what qualities constitute a good leader. Leadership seems at times to be the holy grail for which all business people should be striving. But what if there is another side to […]

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Leadership Essentials: How and When to Be A Good Follower

More than a few thousand books have been written on leadership—how to be a better leader, how to become a leader if you’re not, what qualities constitute a good leader. Leadership seems at times to be the holy grail for which all business people should be striving. But what if there is another side to this coin?

What if leadership is not always the ultimate goal?

One of my church pastors once told me (right after I had been named Chair of the Board), “In order to be a leader, you must first learn to be led.” What if the foundation of good leadership is actually good follower-ship?

Here are five key situations or scenarios where being a good follower is essential to your success.

  • When you’re the new kid on the block
  • When you’re in over your head
  • When you’re the only one in the parade
  • When you don’t have a clue
  • When the role makes you tired
  1. When you’re the new kid on the block. This happens to all of us, probably multiple times during our careers. Maybe you’ve just joined a new firm, just been promoted to team leader or principle broker, or just hung out your shingle in a new neighborhood. This is not the time to demonstrate what a great leader you are. If indeed you are, people will find out eventually. Instead, follow the 70/30 rule: listen 70% of the time and talk 30%. Resist the temptation to get attention tout your recent wins and successes. Instead, ask questions of people who’ve been around the block a few more times than you have. Ask co-workers to explain procedures. Take notes.
  2. When you’re in over your head. You’ve been struggling for months to put a deal together and now it’s about to blow up in your face. The person who knows this particular set of circumstances best is, in fact, one of your major competitors. You know you should pick up the phone and call him, but your hand is frozen. Swallow your pride, thaw out, and make the call. The old cliché, “What goes around comes around,” is actually true. One day the situation will be reversed, or your competitor will be in a position to send a referral your way and he’ll remember what a great follower you were.
  3. When you’re the only one in the parade. You’ve been championing a new idea for months. You’ve lobbied everyone in the company, from the owner to the guy who delivers bottled water, but you’re just not getting any traction. It’s time to stop the music. Possibly your idea has merit but this is just not the right time. Perhaps you need to reconsider and reorganize. Whatever the reason, put it on the shelf for now and look around for someone else’s project you can get behind and support. Don’t try to take it over and don’t take any if the credit if it succeeds. Just offer your support and quietly begin speaking to others about it. You’ll be remembered for your follower-ship skills.
  4. When you don’t have a clue. We’re all put into positions from time to time when we have to learn something new. The company just put in a new computer system. The real estate laws in your state have undergone a major change. The company has been sold and you’re under new management. Now is not the time to act like you know something when you don’t. Instead, adopt the concept taught by many Asian business leaders: beginner’s mind. This means being totally open to new ideas, feeling eager to know more. Choose to ignore what you think you already know. Beginner’s mind is actually the place where your mind does not know what to do. But you remain available to find out.
  5. When the role makes you tired. We all know the saying, “Unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” Philosophically, that may be true, but always having to be up front can be exhausting. (Ask any sled dog.) Needing to know all the answers all the time can create a level of stress that will wear you down. If you let this go on long enough, you’ll be of little use to anyone, not even yourself. So take a leadership sabbatical. Gracefully back out of leadership roles, committee chairmanships, other high profile responsibilities. Concentrate on your core business, on building client relationships and applying your leadership skills to your own business portfolio. It doesn’t have to last forever (unless you want it to) and the results may surprise you.

Are there places in your business right now where you’d love to play the follower role? Give it a try for 30 days or even six months and see what happens.

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How to Make Your Website Icon Look Like an App http://www.winningagent.com/how-to-make-website-icon-look-like-app/ http://www.winningagent.com/how-to-make-website-icon-look-like-app/#respond Tue, 26 Aug 2014 01:30:52 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3558 Access Your Site from an iPhone with an App-Like Icon So you’ve gotten your website online using WordPress, and hopefully using a cutting-edge theme such as Winning Agent Pro. Your site looks beautiful on your computer screen and, since your theme is mobile responsive, it also looks quite snazzy on your iPhone and iPad. Now, […]

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winning-agent-iphone-screen

Access Your Site from an iPhone with an App-Like Icon

So you’ve gotten your website online using WordPress, and hopefully using a cutting-edge theme such as Winning Agent Pro. Your site looks beautiful on your computer screen and, since your theme is mobile responsive, it also looks quite snazzy on your iPhone and iPad. Now, how about taking it one step further for those mobile devices? Just like a favicon works to customize your site title in a browser, a specific-sized icon can be used to add your site to the screen of any iPhone and iPad, and, look just like an app icon. If I’ve lost you, I’ll explain — using Safari on your iPhone or iPad, you can tap the share button at the bottom and select Add to Home Screen:

add-to-home-screen-share

If you have not added any app-like icon images that we’re showing you how to do in this article, your site’s icon will appear as miniature view of the page:

before-icons

Unless one has x-ray vision, they’re not likely to be able to make out the contents of that image. Never fear — all you need to do is follow these steps:

Step 1 : Create

Create four square images in the sizes below.  Don’t worry about the rounded corners, iOS takes care of that for you.

For iPhone and iPod touch, create icons that measure:

  • 120 x 120 pixels

  • File name: apple-touch-icon-120×120.png

  • 60 x 60 pixels (standard resolution)

  • File name: apple-touch-icon.png

For iPad, create icons that measure:

  • 152 x 152 pixels

  • File name: apple-touch-icon-152×152.png

  • 76 x 76 pixels (standard resolution)

  • File name: apple-touch-icon-76×76.png

Note: If you’d like to read more about these specifications, have a look at this article from Apple’s iOS Developers Library: iOS Human Interface Guidelines

Step 2: Copy

Copy these images to the root of your site, this is the folder where WordPress is installed. This is all you have to do for iOS (iPhone and iPad). However, to be thorough, add these four lines of HTML to your header to have your icon also appear on Android devices. If you’re using a current Genesis child theme, click under Genesis > Theme Settings for access to the wp_head() section.

Note: Replace www.yoursite.com with the path of your website.

Step 3 : Test

That is it! Now test your changes — on your iPhone or iPad, go to your website in Safari, tap the share icon on the bottom and tap the Add to Home Screen option. You should see your new icon and your site title on the right, where you have a chance to shorten the text. Here’s how the Winning Agent Pro demo site appears:

iPhone-home-screen-winning-agent-icon

Step 4 : Share

Last but not least, share this with all of your prospects and clients! Wouldn’t you rather them tap on YOUR website icon instead of Realtor.com? Yep, I thought so.

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8 Common Real Estate Contract Errors and How to Fix Them http://www.winningagent.com/real-estate-contract-errors/ http://www.winningagent.com/real-estate-contract-errors/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:20:49 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3545 Lessons We Can All Learn to Improve Our Business Every week, I receive at least one real estate contract. Most weeks I see between 3 and 5. Truth is, rarely are they completed properly; most reveal weakness in the client and/or the buyer’s agent. Lets all take a minute to review these errors, and make […]

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Real estate contract errors

Lessons We Can All Learn to Improve Our Business

Every week, I receive at least one real estate contract. Most weeks I see between 3 and 5. Truth is, rarely are they completed properly; most reveal weakness in the client and/or the buyer’s agent.

Lets all take a minute to review these errors, and make a commitment to never doing them again.

Most of the real estate contracts used are provided by your local association and have blanks that are meant to be completed (or filled in). ***Warning*** It is considered practicing law if you alter the contracts, and unless you are an attorney, just don’t do it. If your offer is going to be one where you feel you need to alter the contract, consult an attorney.

Here are 8 common mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Leaving blanks in the contract uncompleted. Get in the practice of completing or filling out every blank space on the contract. If something does not apply, use a dash ( —— ) or N/A. Uncompleted areas of the contract create confusion and leave a greater chance for contract manipulation.

2. Not using the full legal name for the buyer(s). There are a lot of problems that are created when you do not use the full legal name of the buyer(s). Here are some common mistakes made:

  • Using nick names such as Rick Hartian or Rich Hartian
  • Not using the buyer’s middle initial
  • Combining spouses into one name, Mark and Judy Buyers
  • Not including all buyers’ names on the contract

Some of the most common issues that come out of not using the full legal name are:

  • The lender will need a contract addendum to use the correct name
  • Often times, if it is a bank REO or other distressed type sale, they will not permit a name change (or name to be added or removed). I have seen a contract canceled over this as the lender was unable to lend to the intended buyer, since their name was not on the contract
  • Title work will need to be redone
  • The appraisal will need to be amended

3. Not using the full or correct address of the property being purchased, along with the corresponding Property Index Number (PIN) or Permanent Real Estate Index Number. I was not part of the transaction, thankfully, but I witnessed a person buy a property, and all of the documents, including title and closing, were done on the wrong property.

The buyer had intended on purchasing 123 Home Ave, but the buyer’s agent used 123 Home St on the contract instead. Hard to believe, but no one caught this, and the transaction ended up getting to the closing table.

4. Relying on faxes and bad scanners. Contracts need to be legible. One of the most common errors I see is generally due to laziness or not taking the time to scan a contract properly. I’m sorta sorry if you do this and I’ve hurt your feelings.

This should be your rule of thumb. Once the contract is fully executed, it should be entirely readable without the aid of a magnifying class. It should be on the correct paper size and have no areas that are cut off. All pages should be included and be facing the same way.

If you don’t have the right equipment, you may have to get in your car and meet your client for signatures. Count it as an opportunity to be fully engaged in the transaction.

5. Using “Per Survey” instead of the actual lot dimensions. Lot dimensions are on most contracts for a reason; the buyer generally gets an understanding of the size of the property from the selling agent or seller. That understanding of the size or dimensions of the property is a significant factor in the expectations, use, and future sale of the property. It speaks directly to value. Using “per survey” automatically gives up the ability for your client to ensure the dimensions given are the dimensions received.

6. Incorrect or unreasonable closing and contingency dates. One of the best ways to protect your client is to have reasonable mortgage contingency dates and closing dates. I’ve seen a buyer lose a property because the agent gave a mortgage contingency of 3 weeks. The attorney and inspection review took over two weeks. When the buyer asked for an extension of the contingency date for financing the seller said no. The buyer had to either give up their mortgage contingency or cancel the contract.

By the way, make sure you use a calendar and use dates that are not the weekends or holidays. This happens so often, and does not reflect well on you as a real estate agent.

7. Not completing all of the contacts on the contract. Most real estate contracts I’ve seen have a spot for the buyer and seller, as well as the buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, buyer’s attorney, seller’s attorney, mortgage lender and condo association.

Two thoughts here. If you are submitting a contract, complete everything you know, including the listing agent’s information. If you are the selling agent, complete whatever was not done on the contract. The end goal is to have everything completed before the seller signs.

8. Making changes to the contract once the contract is executed. Be extra careful with this one. If the buyer and seller have signed the contract, you have a legally binding contract – your job is done, contract-wise. If any changes or amendments need to be done, let the attorney do it.

Here is a bonus thought on low ball offers.

Lets be honest…no one wants to receive a low ball offer. Last week I received an offer of $47,000 for a property I have listed at $164,900. I own this property and have owned it for multiple years. I’ve made the decision to sell a good portion of my inventory, and I’m not desperate to sell. Guess what my feelings are to the buyer’s agent who submitted this colossal waste of time without seeing the property. Enough said right?

If you are going to submit low ball offers, let’s all agree as professionals that you know what the value is first, and at a minimum, view the property. I would suggest that you mention to your client that it would make sense to speak to the listing agent first and see if their seller is interested in such an offer. In todays environment, low ball offers just make you look bad.

If you make an effort to not make the mistakes above, you are really doing well for yourself (and your client)! Leave a comment below and share with your peers.

Best of success to you…

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How to Change the Property Details in AgentPress Listings http://www.winningagent.com/change-the-property-details-in-agentpress-listings/ http://www.winningagent.com/change-the-property-details-in-agentpress-listings/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:54:17 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3481 Changing Property Details If you are a real estate agent and have a Genesis-based web site, chances are good you are using the AgentPress Listings plugin.   If you’re not familiar with it, it is a handy free plugin that adds a Listings custom post type to your WordPress site along with a couple of widgets to […]

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AgentPress Listings Plugin

Changing Property Details

If you are a real estate agent and have a Genesis-based web site, chances are good you are using the AgentPress Listings plugin.   If you’re not familiar with it, it is a handy free plugin that adds a Listings custom post type to your WordPress site along with a couple of widgets to show featured listings and a search bar for your home page.  This can be especially helpful if you’re just starting out and do not have the budget for an IDX service, or you may work with different types of listings such as resort properties.  One challenge you might encounter is wanting to know how to change the property details in the AgentPress Listings plugin that come out-of-the-box.

 

Here is an example of the default values

AgentPress Listings property details

These might work fine for some but for houses here in Texas, our ground is rock so you won’t find many basements. I wanted to change “Basement” to “Garage Spaces” because we love our garages. Of course, your area might have other unique requirements. The beauty is you can change or add whatever you like with a small bit of code added to your functions.php file.


Note: Please use caution when making changes to your theme files. I highly recommend reading Editing Your WordPress Site 101, from our own Carrie Dils, which will show you how to change theme files safely.

Take the following snippet (editing the values to match what you want, of course) and drop it into your functions.php file. Notice wherever you see Garage is where it used to say Basement (You can also add entries if you like):


//* Filter the property details array
add_filter( 'agentpress_property_details', 'agentpress_property_details_filter' );
function agentpress_property_details_filter( $details ) {

$details['col1'] = array(
__( ‘Price:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_price’,
__( ‘Address:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_address’,
__( ‘City:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_city’,
__( ‘State:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_state’,
__( ‘ZIP:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_zip’,
);
$details['col2'] = array(
__( ‘MLS #:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_mls’,
__( ‘Square Feet:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_sqft’,
__( ‘Bedrooms:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_bedrooms’,
__( ‘Bathrooms:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_bathrooms’,
__( ‘Garage Spaces:’, ‘agentpress’ ) => ‘_listing_garage’,
);

return $details;

}

And here is the result

property details changed to garage

That’s all there is to it! The beauty of this change is we are not editing plugin code. So, if you should update your AgentPress Listings plugin in the future, you will not lose your changes.

Share with us how you’ve changed YOUR property details in the comments, come on show off your site!

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Eight Ways to Train Your Clients for Success http://www.winningagent.com/train-your-clients/ http://www.winningagent.com/train-your-clients/#respond Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:21:46 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3507 Eight Magical Ways to Train Your Clients Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every one of your clients was a joy to work with? But let’s face it—some are, and some aren’t. However, there are ways to improve your odds, reduce your stress level, and have easier, more productive relationships with every client. Here are eight strategies […]

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Train Your Clients for Success

Eight Magical Ways to Train Your Clients

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every one of your clients was a joy to work with? But let’s face it—some are, and some aren’t. However, there are ways to improve your odds, reduce your stress level, and have easier, more productive relationships with every client. Here are eight strategies to help you create the best in client relationships.

We’ve probably all trained someone (or something), whether it was a new employee, a child, or a puppy. The most successful training is based on a system of rewards. Let’s see how we can apply that system to your clients.

  1. Model appropriate behavior. This is where the training begins and it starts with the very first contact. If you’d like your client to always be on time, do the same thing at your first meeting (and all the ones after that too). If you want clients to return your calls or emails promptly, do the same for them.
  1. Ask fact-finding questions up front. Always begin a new client relationship with an investigation. Find out what kind of relationship and service your client is used to or wants to have with you. Be very direct about this. Ask questions like, “What did you like best about your last Realtor? What did you like least?” Take notes. Then work to create the perception that you are adapting your work methods to their specific needs.
  2. Manage expectations. Once you have the client profile outlined, talk with them openly about your style, your way of working. Do you have support staff that handles details and paperwork? Does your assistant or receptionist answer your calls and take messages or are you always available by phone? Do you email or text frequently and does that work for them? If you’re not going to answer your iPhone on Tuesday evenings because you’re in yoga class, say so. Tell them exactly how you work and what to expect.
  1. Put it in writing. When you first start working with a new client, hand or email them a personalized document titled “(Your Name’s) Bill of Rights.” This should be a single page, bullet point list of exactly what the client should expect from you (see #3, above). This should include things like quick response to questions, open and honest communication (even about the bad stuff), impeccable paperwork.

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  1. Admit mistakes. You’re not going to be perfect, and neither are they. When mistakes are made, as they will be, the best strategy is to admit it immediately and move on. If you miss an appointment, a phone call, or your open house is a bomb, acknowledge that things went wrong and say how you’re going to fix it or avoid it next time.
  1. Honor loyalty. The client relationship is not a one-shot deal. You want clients who will send their friends and colleagues to you. You want them to call you five years from now when they decide to put that house back on the market or buy a vacation home. Show them how it’s done by sending business their way, if that’s appropriate. Introduce them to your book club, your coffee group, or invite them to join your Rotary club. If you tell others what great people they are, they will do the same for you.
  1. Reward good behavior. This has nothing to do with gifts, or even a free cup of coffee. It’s saying “thank you” when they are fitting into your “Good Client Behavior” model. You can thank your client when he completes important paperwork on time. When she gives you a prompt response to an offer so you can keep the deal alive, send her a short email to say “thanks.” When you let your client know that you appreciate what they did, they will feel good about your compliment and repeat the behavior in the future.
  1. Talk the talk. You want your clients to spread the word about what a great Realtor you are. So start by spreading the work about how great your clients are. You’ve created the good client profile, you’ve modeled the right behavior, so when you tell others, “I’ve got the best clients in the world,” it’s because you’ve trained them to be that way.

And it doesn’t hurt to close every new client meeting with the same statement: “I’ve got the best clients in the world—and I’d like you to be one of them.”

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How to Add Rotating Background Images to Your WordPress Genesis Child Theme http://www.winningagent.com/customizing-winning-agent-pro-add-rotating-background-images/ http://www.winningagent.com/customizing-winning-agent-pro-add-rotating-background-images/#respond Mon, 11 Aug 2014 01:38:56 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3394 I recently purchased the Winning Agent Pro (WAP) theme created by Carrie Dils. I was looking for a Genesis child theme with an upscale look and easy IDX integration. I am still building out my site, but so far I love this theme. The most common question I’ve read from users that purchase a Genesis […]

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Add rotating images to Winning Agent Pro theme.

I recently purchased the Winning Agent Pro (WAP) theme created by Carrie Dils. I was looking for a Genesis child theme with an upscale look and easy IDX integration. I am still building out my site, but so far I love this theme. The most common question I’ve read from users that purchase a Genesis child theme, is “how do I get it to look like the demo?” In fact, that was my initial frustration when I purchased the StudioPress Pro Package years ago. Since then, their setup instructions make that so much easier.

Carrie did a fantastic job with the setup instructions for Winning Agent Pro, so in a few minutes, my site was already looking like the demo. However, there were still a few areas that I wanted to customize:

Change the color scheme

I needed something that more closely matched our company brand and was able to make those changes, following these instructions:

http://www.winningagent.com/add-custom-color-scheme-winning-agent-pro/

Brighten the background image

With my new color scheme, I wanted to brighten up the background image. I found those instructions on how to reduce the opacity here:

http://www.winningagent.com/forums/topic/home-page-image-filter/

Add Rotating Background Images

There were no instructions for that, so I did some research and made those changes myself. I wanted the option to replace the static background image with a few rotating background images to add some visual interest to my site.

Here’s how I did it. I made use of the Backstretch.js code by Scott Robbin already in Winning Agent Pro. It enables the static background image to be dynamically-resized.

I purchased a few stock photos from a photo site (BigStockPhoto), and sized them to about 2000 x 1200 pixels. Carrie suggests using 1500 x 500, so use whatever works best for the images you’ve chosen. I recommend keeping them all the same size, whichever you choose. I saved them as .jpg files with a low resolution, trying to keep the file size under 250KB each. Most photo editing programs will be able to do that for you. There is an issue with them not rotating on a tablet or smartphone (I noticed it on my iPad and iPhone) if the files sizes are too large. I learned that through trial and error and reduced the file sizes.

First create three image files. You are free to add more images and see if they will work, however that may increase page load time. I recommend starting with three. To be consistent, use lowercase letters for filenames and extensions throughout this tutorial. Filenames must match exactly.

Name the files:

wap-bghome1.jpg
wap-bghome2.jpg
wap-bghome3.jpg

and uploaded them via FTP to a folder (backstretch_images) that you create in the WordPress root folder. That is the folder where WordPress is installed.

yoursite.com/backstretch_images/

WordPress Installation Folder

Create a file with a text editor named backstretch-init.js. Cut and paste this code:

/*! Loads the Backstretch images */

jQuery(document).ready(function($) {

$.backstretch([
"/backstretch_images/wap-bghome1.jpg ",
"/backstretch_images/wap-bghome2.jpg ",
"/backstretch_images/wap-bghome3.jpg "
], {
fade: 750,
duration: 8000
});

});

The parameters fade and duration control the transition between images and how long each image displays. You can modify those if desired.

Save the file and upload the file via FTP to the folder:

yoursite.com/wp-content/themes/winning-agent/lib/js/

There are other files in that folder, just leave them as is.

Ok, now for the hardest part. Update your child theme’s (Winning Agent Pro) functions.php

Danger Will Robinson! Use caution when editing your functions.php file!!!

Carrie has some excellent tips on how to properly edit your site. Too avoid the white screen of death – know how to access your site via FTP and edit your functions.php file from there. I would suggest reading this beforehand.

Open your functions.php file:
mysite.com/wp-content/themes/winning-agent/functions.php

Locate this code in your functions PHP file (you will most likely find it starting around line number 137 and ending around line 155):

// Enqueue scripts and styles
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'wap_enqueue_scripts_styles' );
function wap_enqueue_scripts_styles() {

// Enqueue the Google Web Font styles
wp_enqueue_style( 'wap-google-fonts', '//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Lato:300,400,700,900', array(), CHILD_THEME_VERSION );

// Enqueue responsive menu
wp_enqueue_script( 'wap-responsive-menu', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/lib/js/responsive-menu.js', array( 'jquery' ), '1.0.0', true );

// Enqueue Backstretch scripts only if custom background is being used
if ( get_background_image() ) {

wp_enqueue_script( 'wap-backstretch', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/lib/js/backstretch.js', array( 'jquery' ), '1.0.0' );
wp_enqueue_script( 'wap-backstretch-set', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() .'/lib/js/backstretch-set.js' , array( 'jquery', 'wap-backstretch' ), '1.0.0' );
wp_localize_script( 'wap-backstretch-set', 'BackStretchImg', array( 'src' => get_background_image() ) );

}
}

and add this block of code after it (not inside of it):

// Add conditional rotating background images if static background image is not found
if (!get_background_image() ) {
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'wap_backstretch' );
function wap_backstretch() {
wp_enqueue_script( 'backstretch', get_bloginfo( 'stylesheet_directory' ) . '/lib/js/backstretch.js', array( 'jquery' ), '1.0.0' );
wp_enqueue_script( 'backstretch-init', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/lib/js/backstretch-init.js', array( 'backstretch' ), '1.0.0' );
}
}

If you have uploaded a background image in the Dashboard > Appearance > Background – then that image will be displayed instead of the new rotating images. To enable the rotating images, simply delete that background image in the Dashboard > Appearance > Background section. That will trigger the new code to run and the rotating images you just uploaded will be displayed. If images do not display, check that they are in the backstretch_images folder and the filenames correspond to the filenames in backstretch-init.js file. Remember the filenames are case sensitive.

Here is a quick example I put together to demonstrate how the rotating backstretch looks on Winning Agent Pro:

http://winning-agent.jackiedelia.com

Now go forth and add some pizzazz to your site.

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3 Tips for Keeping Agents Happy http://www.winningagent.com/keeping-agents-happy/ http://www.winningagent.com/keeping-agents-happy/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 01:24:44 +0000 http://www.winningagent.com/?p=3415 Office Retention – Keeping Agents Happy Like in any office, happy workers are usually productive workers.  The same goes for your agents.  A happy agent is more likely to be a revenue-producing agent.   Those two combined we would certainly call a win-win. As brokers we wear many hats: managers, trainers and councilors to name […]

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Office Retention – Keeping Agents Happy

Like in any office, happy workers are usually productive workers.  The same goes for your agents.  A happy agent is more likely to be a revenue-producing agent.   Those two combined we would certainly call a win-win.

As brokers we wear many hats: managers, trainers and councilors to name a few.  You’ll want to hone all of these skills and practice them regularly or your agents might start using those recruiting postcards for something other than a drink coaster for their desk.

Don’t fret, here are a few tips that might seem basic but are not often put into practice.

On-Boarding

That is a fancy way of saying, “hey, say hello to the new guy!”  When I started at my first brokerage (one of the big ones) I was all excited. There I was with my shiny new real estate sales person license, ready for those phone calls and commissions checks to start rolling in. OK, that part is normal, newbie naivety and that’s OK.  What wasn’t OK was having zero direction from the manager of this branch office.  Nothing.  Yes, I was a part-time agent when I first started, but I still needed some guidance, at least a little.

A few days after coming around he said “Have you spoken to Sarah at the board?”   Me:  “Who’s Sarah? What board?”  That was his way of telling me who to see at the local REALTOR® Association Board so I could, you know, JOIN and get MLS access.

Everyone is busy, but work out a compensation system to designate an experienced or otherwise senior agent to show the new agent the ropes.  Besides the basics for getting them in the “system”, you will do wonders for their self-esteem which, if this is their first go at real estate they will need that self-esteem in spades.

Clear Expectations

For the longest time in the above-mentioned office I wondered when the managers might say something — I mean I hadn’t had a transaction for a long, long time and I didn’t know where I stood.  Were they lax because I was part-time? Did they not notice?  Or, worse was I going to be told to pack up my coasters and take my part-time hat elsewhere?

Talk to all of your new agents one-on-one.  Each agent is different and they may not all fit into an aggressive, cookie-cutter commissions structure.  Work out a plan and set goals together so they feel appreciated and, as such will keep their momentum going towards productive transactions.

Give Feedback

This is somewhat related, but still deserves its own mention.  You’ve gotten the agent on-board. You’ve set clear expectations and outlined attainable goals. Now, don’t do the equivalent to putting a sign in the yard and walking away. Check in with your agents and see how they are, even if it’s nothing more than “How are you?” or “What’s new with you?” It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out but do make it sincere. This can go a long way to agents not feeling like, well, one of the agents. Be accessible outside of staff meetings and business hours when necessary.

An agent that knows their broker has their back can take that confidence and transfer it to communications with potential prospects. And then? Everyone wins.

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