Asking Questions is the Key To Open Houses

Asking Questions is the Key To Open Houses

Many agents and people think open houses are just about opening the door and letting people in the house. For many agents that is the case because they don’t have a sales instinct in their bones.

The key to open houses are questions. When somebody comes to the door, I don’t generally know a thing about them, unless we spoke before. Asking the right questions is what I do to gauge whether or not, the person coming inside is a waste of time, neighbour, somebody interested or is somebody who is going to live there next.

Here are a few questions I ask when you come to my open houses.

1. Are you working with an Agent?

I want to know if you are working with a lazy agent, or just looking at the house without them. In any case I know already if you are serious about buying a house or wishy washy or your agent just doesn’t care about what you are doing.

2. Did you sell your house? Is It on the Market?

I want to know where if you have a timeline to buy a house, or if you are just window shopping. This question pretty much answers that one.

3. Do you Live in the Neighbourhood?

If yes, you are probably a neighbour, and know a lot of about what is going on. This information is also good to get some information about the neighbourhood I might not know, that only residents might know. Also you might just be visiting to see what your house is worth.

4. How did you know there was an open house?

If it was just with the signs, you are a window shopper, if you saw it online or mls, then you are interested in the house and have done research, saw it online already and just want to confirm what you saw online.

5. What do you think of the house? (After the seeing it)

Depending on how long in and out, I can generally tell if you are interested, and that is just something that comes with experience, body language, and tone when leaving. I can’t explain it, call it a vibe a buyer gives off when interested. They asking buying questions.

Well that’s it for now, I ask more questions, and look for more signals but I have to keep some secrets to myself.

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Social Media Strategy To Sell Your House

Social Media Strategy To Sell Your House

When was the last time you walked into a store and bought something without checking it out online first?Especially big ticket purchases.

Before Hiring an agent you should ask a few questions on his or her online strategy to sell your house. You should also do a quick google search to see if they have any online presence at all. Saying you have buyers is the oldest trick in the book to get listings and in most cases is a trick just to get your house in their book of listings. Do some homework. Here are a few things to check out to see if your agent has a presence on social media platforms.

1. Facebook:

This is the end all and be all of social media right now. A personal page with Real Estate agents and people in the area is a must.

A business page is also a must. Search both the personal page and business page and look to see what type of posts the agent is posting. If its all cats and dogs, you might have a problem. You want to see Real Estate postings, listings, videos, pictures and articles and blog posts.

Twitter:

Still the next most popular platform than Facebook, this is limited to characters but it is just enough to get your property out there. Twitter has improved in the past couple of years to include pictures and videos directly. You want to make sure your agent uses the correct hash tag to accompany your post. Using a hash tag service such as hashtagifyme is a service that you type in the subject or word and it tells you the most popular searches, that you should hash tag. This is crucial for optimizing your tweets and your agents.

Pinterest:

This has become a popular platform and well it is usually for interesting things such as wedding etc, your agent can also use this to post your pictures of your house. Pinterest should also be used as a pro account from your agent, it is better optimized for likes and attention that way.

Linkedin:

While originally a spot to look for a job and posting job applications and resumes, this has become a lot more recently. They have started a section of articles and post now which are posted natively on linkedin. This post section gets more attention and priority than just simple links as before. That is why you cannot just use a service to post links for all the services, it won’t post natively to linkedin.

Google Plus:

While this seems like its dying fast, it doesn’t hurt to use it because lets face it, google the king of searches and posting here will get your ranking higher.

Youtube:

Posting a video and video tour of your property is a way to get your house attention online more than anything. Videos for a long time trump articles, pictures and links. It gets more attention plain and simple. Do a great video and people will see it.

Here are some more keys to great social media.

Watch to see if the agent is simply posting the same thing as the other platforms. This is counter productive, because each platform is different and requires different attention.

You also want to look for interaction with those posts. Is the agent doing their own posts or do they have a service doing them? This is important, because chances are, there are the same posts that other agents are posting and its just a cookie cutter farm then.

One thing to remember when you finally find an agent and they have a proper social marketing strategy is that you should piggy back on their posts, share what they post and get your followers to interact as well. I know its the agents job to sell your house but you never know who may be searching for a house in your own sphere.

Also ask if any marketing dollars are going into promoting on social media, like Facebook boosts and google ad words.

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Moving Pictures is Not A Video or Virtual Tour

Moving Pictures is Not A Video or Virtual Tour

Selling your house online is a big thing right now. Media for your house on the market is very important. There are many platforms now to have a presentation of a house for sale. The staple of course is pictures and I don’t think anything will ever replace that. The next thing that came out was 360 virtual tours of pictures stitched together. Almost every agent had that. At some point between video and 360 pictures, came pictures that zoom or move in a bit and agents and provider companies started calling that a virtual tour. 

 
Some of the newer technologies are 3d tours and fully integrated virtual reality which is coming out soon. 
 
The reason that agents tend to go for moving pictures is the price. Its easy, take a picture and put it in an editing software and use a plug in to make it move a bit to simulate video. Its not video. Video is costly for a reason. It takes time to create, edit and some knowledge is needed. 
 
One thing that you should be asking your agent is, other than pictures, what type of media are you using to showcase my property. In my opinion, Videos are better than pictures because if done properly it can help sell your house like a movie trailer. The one drawback is, that it is costly and most agents will not do it. 
 
“Done Properly” is a very important thing to discuss. A lot of agents are discount agents, and cannot afford to do a proper video and in some cases will try to cut corners and not get the proper production, if that’s the case I suggest sticking with just pictures. If its not done properly, it could actually make your house look a lot worse. Its like a bad movie of your house. One thing you must understand, Moving Pictures is not video or a virtual tour. Its moving pictures animated. 

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How To Rent a Place Without A Credit Check

How To Rent a Place Without A Credit Check

It is true that renting a place these days are harder than getting a mortgage. The reason being, if you don’t pay your mortgage, its 3 months and they foreclose on your property and take it from you. If you don’t pay your rent for three months..well it gets complicated. 

So that being the case, landlords are increasingly getting pickier and picker on who they rent their investments to. The ideal renter, has money, has a good paying job with history and has a good credit score of over 700 with good references. In a perfect world this is what every landlord wants. 
When you rent a place, most landlords want 2 pay stubs, T4, NOA, references, and of course a credit check. Some landlords will not deviate from this, and if you don’t have it, don’t bother, its just what they’ve been taught in landlord school. I’m here to tell landlords and tenants, it doesn’t matter how good credit is, I’ve seen great credit people fail and be horrible tenants. 
Not everybody has credit for one reason or another. There are many instances where there is no credit due to being an immigrant, on a workers visa, student from another country or here. Here are a few ways to get into a rental without a credit check. 

1. Letter of Recommendation:

If you are here studying or working, get a letter of recommendation from your professor, student liaison, or boss. This will make you look reliable in the eyes of the landlord. 

2. Offer a couple months extra:

I wouldn’t recommend paying the whole year but paying a few extra months would help a lot to calm the nerves of a landlord worried that you are not going to pay. Make sure that extra payment is documented with chq’s and in an agreement.

3. Scholarship information:

Show the landlord that you have a scholarship and that there is an allotment for rent is a good way to prove you have money coming in for the rent. 

4. Co-Signer:

This is obvious if you don’t have credit and may be the only alternative if the landlord doesn’t accept the other proposals above. 

5. Increase in Rent:

Offer them a bit more than the asking price is a good motivator to get you in there, hey a few hundred bucks extra maybe worth the headaches perceived for some landlords. 
Be Honest and Speak to the landlord. Sometimes putting a face to the application is enough to get a landlord to accept you as an applicant. When a landlord receives an application, its easy on paper to say no to someone, but when you speak to the landlord, and make a case for them to rent the place out to you then it may give you a chance. 

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Jimmy The Renovator: Renovations for Seniors to Stay in Your Home

Jimmy The Renovator: Renovations for Seniors to Stay in Your Home

Typically when a parent or Senior gets old they start to look to retirement and Senior homes. Being A Senior Accredited Agent has taught me that one of the first things to seek out is a way to keep a Senior in the home if it makes sense and make that an option. 

While there are many options and home modifications you can do to make a stay at home easier, here are a few things to consider before ruling a move in order. 

1. Bathroom Renovations:

Here are a few things you can add such as 
Bathroom Grab Bars, A Shower Seat,Raised Toilet Seat, Install a Tub Cut or remove the Tub completely with Ground Floor Bathroom. A none slip floor or Skid Mats Everywhere is key to helping not fall at all and adding space to the bathroom for a Senior who needs to enter with a Wheel Chair. 

2. Chair Lifts and Elevators:

A chair lift is typically the most cost effect thing to get someone upstairs in a house. There is also an option to create a single personal elevator in the house. Both are costly in their own way. 

I strongly believe against both of these as a first option and I would speak to a contractor to actually make the first floor an option to add a bedroom to an existing room. Removing a family room and using that den to accommodate a bedroom is probably much more easily accessible. If this is not an option then go ahead and see if a chair lift or elevator is possible and affordable. 

3. Hospital Adjustable Bed:

Adjustable beds have come a long way since its inception. You can get very comfortable beds that can help you get out of bed with the click of a button. This is very useful even to help a caregiver when entering and exiting a bed. 

4. Ramps & Step Elevator:

These two ways to help a Senior get into the house from the front steps. I was exposed to this when my great uncle had a stroke and his mobility was taken away. There was no way for him to make the 4 steps into the house, so my great aunt decided to get a ramp which was the cheapest solution at the time. This is the cheapest but also the ugliest option. Putting a ramp at the foot of the house, doesn’t look great. Depending on how your front of house is, obviously a Step Elevator might look better or you might be able to put this in a garage entrance. 

5. Home Automation:

In the last two years, home automation has come so far its unbelievable. With voice recongnition, you can turn your lights on, lock the doors, turn the tv on, change the temperature, change the channel on the tv, and change the temperature of the lights, see what is in the fridge and so much more. Home kit from apple and every technology company now has home automation products. 
These products as well as the other Renovations and Senior solutions mentioned above can really help make staying in your home an easier decision. 

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