On the back

It’s not easy being creative on demand.

Even less so when the pressure is on.

You see, there are all these great real estate agents around me.  Successful ones who have been in business for years, driving fancy cars, and getting all the cool listings.  They are so successful, and seem to have it all together.  Everything they do just seems to work.  When they get a listing, their marketing is so dialed in the houses just seem to sell immediately.

They know how to react to every situation, how to handle every negotiation, and of course have the best marketing materials seemingly appear overnight for their new listings.

If you are like me you struggle with your marketing materials.

Especially the printed kind.

In the bottom drawer of my desk, I have an embarrassingly high stack of flyers that I’ve collected from other agents.  I gather them from around the mailboxes at the office.  I pick them up every time I drive past a sign box on the street.  I save the ones that are sent to me by other agents.  I use them as inspiration when I am designing my marketing collateral in Pages (Apple’s word processing program  – check out the video on the Apple website, it’s super helpful).  Because I have so many different flyers collected, making the front part is easy.

Back of FlyerBut once I’ve designed the front, I’m only half way done.  Every piece of paper has 2 sides, and I like to fill both sides with helpful information.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Not many Realtors do this.  How do I know?  Because of all the flyers I’ve collected!  Only a small percentage actually are printed on both sides.

So what do I put on the back of a real estate flyer?  Lots of different things:

  • More photos of the property – people love photos!  Make them big, and bright!
  • A little personal letter with my biography and link to my website.
  • An example of a “Gateway” email – the automatic ones your MLS prepares and sends out to your clients.  This tells buyers that there are other options, and they have to contact YOU to get them.
  • Mortgage rates, prepared specific to your listing by your favorite mortgage broker
  • A letter for prospective sellers about your services and what YOU can do to get their property sold fast.
  • School Data Elementary, Middle and High Schools
  • Neighborhood data – Parks, Restaurants (both take out and sit down), Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, Dry Cleaners, Auto Repair, etc.

I know these are just a few examples of what to put on the back of a real estate flyer. What creative ideas have you seen used?  Share them in the comments below, and I’ll add the best ones to this article.

10 most common Realtor MLS Mistakes

The photo to the left is what Real Estate Agents call the Agent Full Residential Listing Sheet.  This is the first thing Realtors see when they search for a property for a buyer.  This is your house’s resume, or rap sheet, depending on how it is filled out.
Every day I look at any number of these sheets  sometimes is is 10-12 other days it is close to 1000.
I follow a pattern when I look at them – I know from my search results that all the properties I’m about to review are in a specific geographic area, are in the budget range of my client, and have the required number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  Then I begin to look at the details.  The first thing I scan are the photos., and then I read the description.  If the pictures look good, and the description is interesting, I read more, including some more of the pertinent details.
Unfortunately not all agents take the time to learn enough about a property to completely and accurately fill out an MLS sheet.  The only person this hurts is you, the home seller.

Here are Ten of the most common MLS mistakes I see:

  1. No Photos.  The Austin area MLS can have up to 25.  A decent photographer can take at least 25 shots of even the smallest 1 bedroom apartment.
  2. Bad Photos – In a previous career I was a professional photographer.  I know a good from bad photo, but I also know when they have been doctored.  It’s not supposed to happen, but it does.  Also, if the property is a Luxury home, the agent should spring for some pro pics.
  3. No Agent Remarks – You have hired an agent to SELL your property.  So many just type in the bare minimum.  Make it fun to read, and people will come see the house
  4. Wrong General Information – this is where things like number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and other property descriptors get entered.  Oftentimes they are left blank, and that doesn’t help me very much because I skip to the next one.
  5. inaccurate link to a virtual tour, slideshow or custom website.  When a Realtor has taken the time and spent the money for additional marketing, make sure the link works.
  6. Bad grammar or Type-Os.  If you call yourself a professional, spell like one.
  7. Not advertising popular features today’s homebuyers want – is it a modern or green house? is there a shop in the garage?  Was one of the bedrooms converted to a super closet?  Buyers want to know these things.
  8. No seller’s disclosure attached.  This is actually huge.  The seller’s disclosure is required shortly after listing a home for sale, and I’ve never had a buyer who didn’t want to see it.
  9. Using cliche’s – motivated seller – gorgeous (check your spelling), shows well.  Boooorrriiiinnnnggggg.  Let’s be creatively descriptive and accurate.
  10. No HOA information.  HOA fees can be significant, and some buyers turn away from that.

 

A real Real Estate business card

I’ve seen a lot of real estate business cards (Note to self: make a blog post about bad real estate business cards).

It’s a widely accepted practice for realtors to leave their card whenever they visit a property.  That way the listing agent can contact them and chat. I like to do that so all the agents who come to the property can know that I’ve been there before them, and have already checked it out.

For me, a business card has 3 roles:

  1. To show clients I’m legit
  2. To easily convey contact information
  3. As a form of identification

As you can see I have my photo taking up almost half of the card.  My Name is the biggest, and my phone number (only one) is right at the top.  I hate it when someone gives me a card with their cell, home, work, and office phones.  Just use a service to forward them  so clients don’t have to keep trying different numbers.  I’ve also got my email, website, mailing address, and broker on it.

You will also see three little icons for Facebook, Twitter, and RSS.  If you know what those are, you know how to use them.  Otherwise it’s a great topic for conversation in person.

Finally the back is blank, so I can write a note on it when I leave it somewhere.

Clean, simple, and professional.  That’s how I like my business cards.

When I order cards I usually get about 1000 at a time so I have enough for at least 6 months.  I pass them out everywhere, and never want to be without one.

Update:

Recently I changed my business cards – you can see examples of my new cards, and learn the reasons I changed in this new post.