Seasoning Your Strategy

1
With August on the horizon, it’s evident that Summer is slowly winding down and with the change of season, comes fresh opportunities. Would you believe us if we told you that seasons play a critical role in your business practices? If your answer was no, it’s time to become a believer.

Businesses are most successful when their strategy is completely aligned with the industry in which they reside in, right? The real estate industry is what we like to call conditional. Really quick, let’s talk variables; most of you probably have a decent understanding as to what variables are, so we won’t bore you with stale details. We like to think of the real estate business as being the dependent variable, because in actuality, real estate is generally subject to certain circumstances, or independent variables such as, status of the economy, location, etc. Then there’s you, the controlled variable. That’s right, you as the agent are the one thing that stays consistent in the world of realty. Having said this, one of your leading duties is to evolve with the seasons.

As sweltering temperatures lessen, fall will start making its way to us. Trust us we when say that now is a very prosperous time for you – or time to spice things up rather. Fall screams warm hues, sweet aromas and harvest related knickknacks – just the right kind of decor to start incorporating in a home on the market! Buyers are always eager to get settled into a cozy home, but especially prior to the holiday season, which is why tailoring your plan of action to fit the time of year is not only important, but necessary for success.

As a real estate agent there are little things that you can do to compliment each season. Light a cinnamon scented candle, or turn on the fire-place if you are showcasing a home around the holidays. During warmer months, place fresh fruit in a bowl on the kitchen counter. These small details resonate with clients! This also goes hand in hand with keeping the visuals and content fresh and up to date – accordingly. Make sure that photos of a property match the season. I think it goes without saying that a picture of a home covered in snow is quite unseemly for the summertime.

Humans are trained to base an opinion off of a first impression and you only get one chance to do so. No matter how many flowers occupy that snow-capped homes front yard, it won’t do it any justice midsummer. It’s all about presentation and developing with every aspect of the business. As the controlled variable, you have the power to administer a fitting delivery. Get out there and go season the scene!

Visuals; The Ultimate Game Changer

 

Virtual Staging

Ah, Virtual Staging, a sophisticated service in which can literally transform a dull-looking, empty space into an outright furnished room and quite frankly – furnished is an understatement. As a realtor, orchestrating a space is a crucial step and traditional staging can be time consuming and costly. Virtual Staging grants you the ability to conveniently beautify a home or room and if it’s not already evident, we hold this service very near and dear to our hearts.

It’s no secret that humans are visual creatures and we tend to process information primarily based on what we perceive with the naked eye, so having the power to captivate a potential buyer with a click of the mouse is pretty neat, if you ask us. Picture this, *no pun intended*, your newlywed clients are searching for the home in which they intend to establish and raise a family in. Assume that you have the option to show them two different photos of the spacious kitchen in the home. The first being just that; vacant counter space, bare walls and conventional stainless steel appliances.

Inspire Your Buyer

On the other hand, the second photo is fully equipped with everything from those thrifty salt and pepper shakers to a vase full of fresh peonies placed on a wooden butcher block island. The second photo posses all of the bells and whistles. Can you guess which photograph is most likely to be aesthetically pleasing to the clients? You guessed it! The second photo embodies much more than decor, but rather a room full of memories to be made. A kitchen table represents pancakes and bacon on a Sunday morning.

Ultimately, when an individual has the ability to plainly see a home or room’s potential, it’s not difficult to envision a life there. In fact, it’s rather inspiring and as a realtor I think it’s safe to say that the utmost goal is to spark passion between your client and a home. Technology has given society and businesses a leg up in more ways than one, but the most valuable advantage technology has given realtors is the ability to make an impression. Now – go get em’!

Making the Most of the Market

 

sydney

It’s no secret that the real estate market is at an all-time high right now. In 2015 alone the real estate market has experienced a pretty impressive growth in numbers! For the PlanOfam and real estate agents alike this is rather exciting news. But, this may be a strenuous project – specifically for home buyers. Whether putting an offer down, or vigorously searching for the ideal estate for a client, it goes without saying that those whom are involved in the industry have had their hands full this past year.

One of the most recognized trends that has caused a sudden rise in prices seems to be that home owners simply are not selling right now. As you know, the real estate world is a two-way street, so you can’t quite expect things to flow the way they normally would if there is a pretty significant component missing on the other end. With such a hot market, current homeowners may be worried that they won’t be able to find a home or are still waiting to recover their homes value from the previous fall of the economy. Either way, so much demand and not enough supply results in remarkably steep price tags. Not even the most skilled and licensed real estate agent can anticipate when and how hard, or soft this uptick in the industry will touch down. But, here at PlanOmatic, we’re all about looking at the glass half-full. You can take the edge off and make the process just a little less cumbersome.

Buyers and renters; keep a running list over the duration of the search. This process may seem daunting and after looking at tons of properties it’s easy for elements to start blending together. Make sure to write down those traits to a home that caught your eye – whether it be that dark granite kitchen counter you couldn’t take your eyes off of, or that single-sink in the master bathroom that you couldn’t bear to have to share with your better half, make note of it. In doing so, you can easily sort through the pros and cons when you start to narrow it down. Having the ability to easily recall those specific attributes to the home may just spark your interest to go ahead and put an offer down before that other couple does. Now’s the time to really drill down; ask a lot of questions. Catch sight of the surrounding area, do schools nearby have a good rating? Is there an unusually large amount of vacant properties on the block? Although you may feel eager to make an offer, make sure you that you really see a future in the space.

Agents; take this opportunity to strengthen relationships with clients. Be mindful – pick up the phone and reach out to current and past clients, nothing is more reassuring than knowing your agent has your back, even after the deal is closed. I strongly encourage agents to inform before clients have to ask – communication is always crucial, especially right now. Your clients want to know all of the little details about a space, even if it’s minute – it matters! Display an abundance of images, mention the fact that there’s a delicious bagel shop around the corner – that’s what potential homebuyers and renters want to hear.

Being that the market is at its peak, it can be a nerve-racking process for those involved on either end. However, rest assured, there is a silver lining and we can all benefit from the sudden boom. Here’s to making the most out of the market!

Sydney Crowell, Marketing Coordinator

image

Neighbors

002-Aerial-1329983-print

Ah yes, neighbors. Think of your current next door neighbor. Your first thought is likely that you love them, you hate them or you have never even met them because you didn’t take the step to introduce yourself.

If you love them, chances are you chat about the kids, chat about work, chat about cars and invite each other to your backyard barbecues. You slurp back your beers in the garage, or sit on the patio and gossip about how tacky Tom’s front yard pink flamingo is or how Rebecca didn’t bring a fruit tray to the cul-de-sac block party.

If you hate your neighbors, it’s likely because they don’t mow the lawn, they rev their motorcycle at three in the morning, they won’t pay to fix the fence that you both share (and refuse to admit is your responsibility split), they blast loud music or their dog only seems to leave little chocolate presents in your yard.

I personally, don’t understand what my upstairs neighbors could possibly be doing that requires the constant stomping around at all hours of the day. Do they breed elephants? Host daily clogging lessons? Perhaps they are attempting to break the record for amount of time continuously bounced on a Pogo Stick. My boyfriend, who has a much shorter temper than mine, decided to find out one afternoon. I sat on the couch and anxiously awaited what I would hear while he trudged upstairs.

I couldn’t make out much but a light muffled conversation. A few minutes later, he returned. “Well?” I said. “They were making chicken.” he replied. “Chicken?” That’s right, after my boyfriend had asked the neighbors to please quit thudding, because he was studying for a “test he had the next day”, they apologized and said that they were cooking chicken, as if that was a valid excuse. Now i’m no Julia Child, but the last time I cooked chicken, it required little to no sumo wrestling, floor screeching, hammering or dropping of the chicken onto the kitchen floor. But I will say this, the amount of physical exertion they experienced cooking that chicken, must have made it tender and delicious! My upstairs neighbors must eat chicken for three square meals a day. Cheers to 14 more months of renting in my unit!

Most of us are too scared to address the issues that we do have with our neighbors. But the truth of the matter is, wether you love, hate or don’t even know your neighbors, they’re here to stay; at least for a while. If you love your neighbors, be thankful. If you hate them, make peace, or sign up for anger management classes. If you don’t know them, for goodness sakes, bake some cookies and introduce yourself. You never know, they may have a yacht.

Shea Stone, Marketing Assistant

SheaS_Headshot_Web

Image

Setting The Stage – Virtually!

Just because the New Year is drawing closer by the second doesn’t mean we’ve hung up our 2014 hats just yet. In fact, we think it’s the perfect time for an end-of-year finale!

With that, we are incredibly excited to introduce PlanOmatic’s newest marketing service: Virtual Staging.

Virtual Staging is an ideal tool for real estate agents to market vacant or unfurnished homes in an inventive way–but you’ve never seen it like this. Our team digitally embellishes photography of a home’s vacant rooms with furniture, lighting and shadow, and interior decor. The seamless result is so true-to-life, you may not know the difference.

Take this photo for instance:

Virtual Staging by PlanOmatic - Staged Room

Beautiful photo. Cozy, warm, inviting. It makes you want to pour a glass of wine and grab a book.

That same photo is downright spectacular when you compare it to the original:

Virtual Staging by PlanOmatic - Vacant Room

Notice how the look and feel of the entire room is remarkably enhanced after we added colorful walls, live fire to the fireplace, area rugs, and accents. We’re not just dealing with couches and chairs, here.

Here’s another great comparison:

Virtual Staging by PlanOmatic - Vacant Room Virtual Staging by PlanOmatic - Staged Room

Only an interior designer, a healthy budget, and a leisurely timeline could match our level of customized, professional staging. We’re positively giddy about this new product, but we’re even more thrilled about the feedback from all of our ecstatic clients.

Want to see more? We thought so. Check out other Virtual Staging examples on our website.

Drones Ready for Lift Off!

Drones are one of the hottest topics in real estate right now. Property photos taken from hundreds of feet in the air are dramatically changing the way potential buyers view a home and its neighborhood.

Being experts in stunning real estate photography, we just had to test out the waters. We gave a few of our photographers a drone to see just how great these photos really are. What they captured was breathtaking.

Aerial Photo - PlanOmatic

Aerial Photo - PlanOmatic

Aerial Photo - PlanOmatic

Our first shots were mostly large estates, waterfront properties, and scenic vantage points but aerial photos could be beneficial when listing urban homes as well. After all, buyers aren’t just looking for a house–they’re looking for a neighborhood, a lifestyle, and a place to call home.

Drones help showcase this like no other real estate marketing technology.

Currently, we offer Aerial Photography in Southeastern Connecticut, throughout Rhode Island, and in the Los Angeles area.

Aerial-Blog-Image

Watch Caitlyn, our Aerial Photographer in Los Angeles, as she flies a drone in the Hollywood Hills.

What’s the buzz about drones in your real estate community? We would love to hear your perspective.

 

Selfie: Our Modern Day Self Portrait

Megan's super cool selfie

We’ve been saying this word a lot around here lately. You know what a selfie is….right?

“Selfie” was Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year, so our guess is you have at least heard of it before.

If your memory needs a jog, here’s my visual aid  →

PlanOmatic has taken the concept of the selfie and made it our own.

Right now, five of our reps are in New York City for the Inman Connect conference, and they took our #planoselfie campaign with them. What did we do with it? We created a game out of it and put it on everyone’s badge! Upwards of 2,000 tech experts and real estate professionals are wearing our design around their neck for 3 days straight.

It’s amazing to say the least.

The campaign is a success and attendees are tweeting their photos along with “#planoselfie” for a chance to an iPad Mini! It’s really fun to watch all the Twitter action.

We’re stoked about this campaign and we hope to take it with us to other events down the road. Check out the Inman Connect badges below.

Photos courtesy of Aaron Rose and our friends at Lila Delman

 

 

Get On the Same “Page” With Facebook

As many of us know, Facebook is the largest social media site that is used by just about everyone.  You’ve most likely joined the club by now and have created a personal profile, but as a real estate professional you should also consider a Facebook “Fan Page”.  A Fan Page is like a profile for a business or other working professional and they’re very beneficial; many companies already have one.

Facebook Fan Pages are a place to house your business’ information and to connect with clients.  They allow you to focus on your insight and experience in the industry and will please your family by not flooding their Facebook newsfeed with your listings or real estate advice. They are a useful form of social media because you will get extra exposure, and your clients (and potential clients) may be more inclined to contact you if they feel they aren’t encroaching on your personal space (i.e. your personal profile).

Providing your real estate experience, advice, and listings on a Fan Page will allow buyers to find answers to their questions more quickly; and because Facebook is the largest social media site, this may be one of the first places they search for you. A Fan Page will give buyers and sellers information right away and won’t leave them guessing or waiting anxiously to speak with you in order to get answers.

This could also be a place to gather great reviews, and some of your clients might even post comments or praises that would credit your hard work and success!

By having this Fan Page available to clients, they will know that you truly care to connect with them when and where they need you.  Buyers looking for an agent will see that you’re a committed, transparent, and organized agent.

If you decide to create a Facebook Fan Page as a real estate agent, make sure you keep up with it. Respond to inquiries or post some knowledgeable advice as often as you can; either way, just be sure you’re connecting with your audience. Fan Pages are a great way to not only display your services and your dedication but also a great place for exposure. Try it out and see what it can do for you!

A Real Estate Photo Is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

Quality of photography is a very subjective matter.  One can point to certain standards in the photography industry but, in essence, everyone has their own opinion of what makes a photo great.  In real estate, the definition of “high quality photography” can vary depending on what a certain agent or buyer is looking for.

One thing that we can bank on when it comes to good real estate photography is this: it showcases the home in the best way possible.

Consider some real estate listings you’ve come across.  Was the entire house photographed?  Did you get a good “feeling” of the home?  Was there good lighting in the photos?  Did the listing even have photos?

A quick online search will yield a plethora of articles and blogs dedicated to the terrible photography of real estate, like this one: http://badrealestatephotos.tumblr.com

This is currently a hot topic because quality photos are something that buyers are seeking and agents want to provide.  They help to market listings better and they help to showcase a property better.  Ultimately, high quality photography is a better marketing tool–not just for the listing, but also for an agent’s brand.

Consider the aforementioned blog of real estate photos and then take a look at these examples:

Photo credit: Rob Staub

Photo credit: Bob Grusczynski

Photo credit: Bob Grusczynski

You might notice just a bit of a difference.

As an agent, investing in a listing’s photos will show homeowners that you’re driven to work hard for them, pull your resources, and provide the best experience in selling a homeowner’s most important asset.

So, to all the agents out there: are you marketing your listings well?  Are you investing in your listing the way the sellers invested in their home?  Have you invested in your career by branding yourself professionally and providing every seller with a positive experience?