Posts

Tips From Land Experts on Closing Year-End Deals

With stress running high and people busier than ever, closing deals in December can be difficult. To find out how some agents flourish during the holidays, we reached out to some of our elite Accredited Land Consultants to find out their top tips for closing land deals in December.

Be Where The Buyers Are

Did you know that 78% of people do their holiday shopping online? Every year, more and more people go online to make purchases. With such an increase in screen time, sharing your properties on social media and in targeted ads is a great way to get your properties in front of potential buyers this time of year.

“The holidays are one of the better times to market your properties as families get together, shop on their phones, and flip back and forth on Facebook,” said Drew Ary, ALC, with Ary Land & Home/ Keller Williams Advantage. “In fact, 78% of people do most of their holiday shopping online and 54% of purchases will come from smart phones and tablets. Share your property listings and do some live videos about purchasing the ultimate Christmas present! Tell them to plan for tax season and use that extra money to make the most memorable investment there is to make!”

Communicate

Communication is always important in the land industry, but it is especially important around the holidays. As the calendar fills up, you run the risk of double booking a showing, client meeting, or other events. Clear communication is important with your staff, clients, and friends and family.

“Elevated communication is key. Each day matters when it comes to deadlines, so putting together a closing schedule early and keeping everyone in the loop at each step is essential,” said Kenny Schum, ALC, from Murray Wise Associates, LLC. “Make sure you know each stakeholders holiday travel schedules and business hours early and plan accordingly.”

Know Why They Buy (Or Sell)

While the popular misconception is that December is the slowest month for real estate sales, the looming tax season and the natural desire to get things done before the end of the year creates a whole new client base. Knowing who and why people buy will help you in closing land deals in December.

“Year end is busy for real estate brokers, buyers, sellers, and investors because it is a natural deadline for decisions,” said Ben Crosby, ALC, from Crosby & Associates, Inc. “Taxes are a major reason for these decisions. Buyers either want a purchase on their books before year end or after the new year. Sellers make the same decisions based on their best tax strategy.”

Be Prepared

Knowing that this time of year is hectic can actually be your secret weapon. Use the months beforehand to plan, schedule meetings, and layout what needs to be done before the holiday mayhem hits.

“Scheduling closings during the holiday season can be tricky,” said Phil McGinnis, ALC, of McGinnis Commercial Real Estate Co.  “I prepare all year to be able to call in favors at holiday time to get my closings fit in. Lawyers, paralegals, and the whole team of surveyors and appraisers usually don’t mind helping out if they have been helped out throughout the year.

De-Stress

Holidays have a way of packing on the stress. Working around the clock while trying to juggle all your other Christmas activities can drain even the toughest agent quickly. Make sure to take some time for yourself.

The holidays can be a tough time to close deals. However, with the right mindset, preparedness, and open communication with those in your office and in your life, closing land deals in December will be a breeze!

Don’t have your Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation yet? Learn about the requirements for and benefits of earning this prestigious designation!

About the Author: Laura Barker is a freelance writer based out of California for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She has been with RLI since October 2017.

Checklist for Success

How many of you are the backbone of your Company’s entire operation? In fact, you are probably your entire operation: a solo agent prospecting for new leads, writing offers, conducting listing appointments and buyer consultations, negotiating contracts, giving sellers marketing updates, ordering surveys, determining utility locations, marketing your listings, handling your social media and overall, handling the entire transaction from listing to closing. In fact, you probably have to make your own coffee and try to manage a database and a family. WHEW, it’s a lot!

Have you ever felt as if you’re juggling too much, perhaps, you’re even struggling to keep up? Ever wished that you were in a position to hire an assistant to support you with the never-ending stream of administrative tasks? Have you determined that you’re not quite ready for that next step but desperately need some help staying organized and efficient? I feel like this is an incredible place to start. Not only will it help you stay organized, it will create a workflow that can be duplicated and passed on. Now is a great time to consider implementing systems and processes that can later be handed off as you grow. In order to do so, you have to write down what has to be done before you can hire someone to do it.

In order to move from a solo agent to a team, you must build systems that will keep your company operational and functioning in a smooth, systematized and efficient manner. In addition, when you finally hit your breaking point and hire an admin, you can share these systems and train your team by simply going over your documented processes. If you’re a real champion and want to grow your business exponentially, I would personally recommend going through the utter discomfort of hiring a business coach. I would recommend someone like Mike Ferry Organization, Tom Hopkins International, or my personal favorite, Icenhower Coaching and Consulting.

A coach can help you organize your business, determine when to hire staff members and how to grow. It is uncomfortable; however, I want to illustrate the type of systems the discomfort introduces. Below you will find Ary Land and Home’s Listing to Contract Checklist. My team and I have developed this over time while working with our coach (Icenhower Coaching and Consulting). See below.

 

Date Completed Date Requested
Admin intro call to sellers – immediately after listing signed
Receive signed listing agreement
Create PROPERTY FILE CHECKLIST
Obtain all signed & completed sellers disclosures
Obtain showing instructions from agent/sellers, Gate Code? Combo?
Verify Aerial is accurate with salesperson
Put seller on MLS listing auto-alert email drip for LAND OR HOME to buy
Put seller on MLS auto-alert drip- MLS status changes 1 MILE RADIUS FROM LAND
Ask Seller for utility companies, call and get sizes of lines in front of prop
Order preliminary title report, HOA Documents & CCRs if HOME
Order Signs? Let Trish know what’s used for sign inventory
Add sellers to admin weekly update call list
Add sellers to agent’s weekly update call list
Ask to Enter listing into MLS as incomplete for agent to proof
Assign lock box to MLS listing
Add client to CRM database
Add new listing to Team Scoreboard
Submit listing contract/disclosures in to DotLoop for compliance
Get MLS listing edits/approval from Agent
Upload MLS Client Detail Report to property file
Email MLS Client Detail Report to all team members
Add/Enhance Listing on LandWatch LOA and LandBrokerMLS
Calendar Listing Expiration Date
Prepare property flyer
Create “Just Listed” Facebook & social media posts
“Just Listed” mailers/flyers created & ordered
Add clients as friends on Facebook/Social Media
Claim listing on Zillow/Trulia & set up reporting
Sign up at property
Flyers delivered to property
LISTING GOES LIVE ON MLS  
Send Thank You/Gift Card to Person who Referred Listing
“Just Listed” email to neighborhood & SOI
“Just Listed” posted on Facebook & social media
Call to sellers for PRICE REDUCTION APPOINTMENT?
Weekly Activity Report Call to sellers
Email Activity Report to sellers
ONCE OFFER(S) RECEIVED  
Prepare summary(s) of key offer terms to present to sellers
ONCE OFFER ACCEPTED – Start Property File Checklist  

 

*Please note that you need to go through the checklist, there are some things that will not apply to your situation.

Can you picture yourself using this checklist? Can you imagine what it would be like to know that all of your files are “where they need to be?” Fundamental organization and structure is essential.

The main goal in writing this Blog is to help novice agents understand that developing routines and establishing work flows is essential to running a successful real estate company. Even though you may feel like you are too far gone, YOU CAN turn chaos into order and whip things into shape. These processes will 1) make your life as an agent easier and less stressful, and 2) create and maintain seamless systems that can be duplicated to keep the business running so that you can focus on growing your business.

With that said, I urge you to sit down and go over the above Listing to Contract Checklist and make it yours. Don’t stop there, make a Contract to Close Checklist, a Seller Closing Checklist, and a Buyer Closing Checklist and just keep going. Don’t make the checklists just to make them, make sure you implement them and go over them weekly. Make a checklist of what needs to be done on every file and eventually you will be able to hire someone that can make sure the items are checked off for you. I know it will be painful and you will grow to the extent of pain you can handle!

On another note, if you are looking to hire someone and you are not sure exactly what they are supposed to do, keep reading. Below is a sample Listing Manager’s job description.

  • Oversee all aspects of Seller’s transactions from initial contact to executed purchase agreement.
  • Prepare all listing materials: pre-listing presentation, Listing Agreement, sellers’ disclosures, comparative market analysis, pull online property profile, research old multiple listing service (MLS) listings and etc.
  • Consult & coordinate with Seller’s all property photos, surveys, repairs, cleaning, signage, lockbox, access requirements & marketing activities.
  • Obtain all necessary signatures on listing agreement, disclosures and other necessary documentation
  • Take property phone calls and monitor Agent emails.
  • Coordinate Buyer showings & obtain feedback.
  • Provide proactive weekly feedback to sellers regarding all showings and marketing activities.
  • Coordinate all agent meetings and remind Agent of important dates.
  • Input all listing information into MLS and marketing websites and update as needed.
  • Submit all necessary documentation to office broker for file compliance.
  • Input all necessary information into client database and transaction management systems

Again, when I got into real estate, I knew how to sell Farms. I did not understand how to run a business. None of this comes natural to me, however; it has changed the way our business operates. In fact, I no longer say “only I can do it” or “no one will do it as good as me.” That is a scarcity mindset and you have to realize that if you are saying that right now, it’s because “how to do it is not written down,” as our great leader, Gary Keller, would say. It took me a long time to realize this and if it weren’t for Kasey Mock taking the time to explain how important a business foundation is, I sure wouldn’t be where I am at today. With that said, my challenge to you is to start to document the things you do and create checklists to make sure they are done on every file. Make it a priority! Call me if I can help!

This post is part of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee content generation initiative. The initiative is directed at further establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the land real estate industry for land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, click here

About the Author: Drew Ary, ALC, is an agent with Keller Williams Advantage. Drew has a vast knowledge of raw land, land with improvements, and farm and ranch properties. Above all, he has a passion for selling land and farm and ranch properties by bringing buyers and sellers together through honesty and integrity. Drew spent 10 years in the real estate auction world with roles as a Closing Coordinator, Project Manager, and a large portion as the Director of Farm & Ranch Sales. Drew moved to traditional real estate with Keller Williams Advantage at the beginning of 2017.

Upfront Marketing Money: Partner With Your Clients

It is well known in the auction industry that about 90 percent of Auction Companies partner with their clients by charging upfront marketing money. Why is this not part of the traditional sales model? Is it due to the amount of competition? Is it fear of losing the listing to someone that doesn’t have the courage to ask for the much needed marketing money?

Whatever the reason, this topic is so dear to my heart due to seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on marketing for an auction, just for the property to sell at 65 percent of the last list price to a neighbor. I have been involved in many successful auctions and many not so successful auctions. Yes, auctions work in certain situations and they are the quickest, most effective way to determine fair market value on a given day. With that said, my goal in writing this article is to help my “traditional land selling friends” provide exceptional service to their clients by selling properties the first time around. I believe this is done by heavy market exposure, paid for by your clients.

How many of you agree that the best chance you have of selling a property is during the first six months? Have you ever asked your seller for upfront marketing money in order to help sell their property in the first six months? If not, you should immediately make some adjustments to your listing presentation and offer both a basic and a premium marketing package, then see what your clients choose. In my opinion, it should be part of your discussion, more importantly on the $500,000+, unique/hard to sell assets.

Most agents are afraid to ask for upfront money. They are worried that they may get a hard “NO” and get run off the listing appointment. This is so far from the truth. In fact, asking for upfront money solidifies your ability to do your job and shows a willingness to execute. Worst case scenario, the seller decides they do not want to invest in the sale of their property and you offer them the basic package, which is the package the next agent they interview will offer. In other words, if you are looking at a $2,000,000 property that is really going to take a specific buyer and your client/seller refuses to invest a few thousand dollars to help the sale, what does that tell you about their motivation?

Here is a quick “upfront marketing” script:

With this being a very unique property with a limited amount of buyers, we really need to hit the ground running with marketing. The best opportunity to sell this property is in the first six months of advertising before it becomes stale on the market. Over the years, we have seen hundreds of similar properties go to auction because they were not marketed properly in the first place. And the crazy thing about Auction is the seller ends up paying one to two percent of their reserve upfront. In order to hedge our bets, we should come out strong and hit every marketing avenue we can. With that said, would you be comfortable paying $7,500 upfront to market your property? We will credit you back every dollar you spend on marketing against the commission at closing. Basically if its $1,000,000 Listing at X% commission, charge $7,500 upfront, the net commission will equal $1,000,000 x X% – $7,500.

Below are the packages we offer…

Your Everyday Agent Marketing Package: NO COST

  • A 4×4 Generic LAND FOR SALE sign
  • Professional Drone Still Photos
  • Advertised on Local MLS, LandsOfAmerica.com, Zillow, Trulia, LandWatch, LandandFarm, LandBrokerMLS
  • One Targeted Facebook Boosted Advertisement

Mediocre Marketing Package: $2,500

  • A 4×4 Custom LAND FOR SALE sign and 2×3 directional
  • Professional Drone Still Photos and Video
  • Advertised on Local MLS, LandsOfAmerica.com, Zillow, Trulia, LandWatch, LandandFarm, LandBrokerMLS
  • Three-month showcase ad on LandWatch.com or LandsOfAmerica.com
  • Flyers distributed local to property at major gathering places
  • Email blast to top land agents across all of the US
  • Two Targeted Facebook Boosted Advertisements

Blitzkrieg Marketing Package: $7,500

  • 4×4 RANCH FOR SALE SIGNS (one on property and one on nearby Hwy) and (3) Directional Signs
  • Professional Drone Still Photos and Professionally Edited Video
  • Three-Month featured AD on Landwatch.com
  • Three-Month Platinum AD on LandsofAmerica.com
  • Website designed specifically for the property
  • Bi-Monthly Email Blasts to all of the top land agents across the US through RLI
  • Ads on LandsofOklahoma, Landwatch.com, LandsofAmerica.com, LandandFarm, Zillow, Trulia, LandsofOklahoma, LandFlip, Realtor.com, LandBrokerMLS, DuPont Registry, WSJ.com, craigslist, etc
  • Ad in High Plains Journal
  • Cover on Open Fences Magazine
  • Cover on Homes and Land Magazine
  • Local Newspaper Ad
  • Flyers distributed local to property at major gathering places
  • Four Targeted Facebook Boosted Advertisements

Now that you have seen my basic guide to upfront marketing money, I want to make sure everyone understands that asking for upfront marketing money doesn’t happen on every listing. There are many listings that I sell with a very basic advertising package paid for by yours truly. In addition, depending on the listing, I may adjust the packages and remove a few items to lower the cost. Another tip is having a “Marketing À La Carte” menu. This allows you to offer several options to your clients at a set cost. At the end of the day, make sure you are always using the marketing dollars to promote the property, not yourself. Do not charge the client more than the hard cost of the advertisement and be authentic. Your clients will appreciate it for years to come and become your “raving fans.”

Thanks for reading, if I can ever do anything for you or answer any questions, please call or email me.

This post is part of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee content generation initiative. The initiative is directed at further establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the land real estate industry for land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, click here

About the Author: Drew Ary, ALC, is an agent with Keller Williams Advantage. Drew has a vast knowledge of raw land, land with improvements, and farm and ranch properties. Above all, he has a passion for selling land and farm and ranch properties by bringing buyers and sellers together through honesty and integrity. Drew spent 10 years in the real estate auction world with roles as a Closing Coordinator, Project Manager, and a large portion as the Director of Farm & Ranch Sales. Drew moved to traditional real estate with Keller Williams Advantage at the beginning of 2017.