Safety First On Halloween

Halloween is a fun time for young and old alike, but it also presents plenty of dangers.  With only a couple of short weeks before the big event, we want to remind all of our friends to keep safety a top priority! Here are some great tips, courtesy SafeKids.org and The American Red Cross.

Trick Or Treat With An Adult

Children under the age of 12, children should always have an adult with them when trick or treating, especially after dark. If children are old enough to be without supervision, they should restrict themselves to familiar and well-lit neighborhoods and streets.

Safety On The Sidewalk

Trick or treaters should stay on the sidewalks at all times. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Avoid using electronic devices so that both parents and children can remain aware of any traffic or other trick or treaters. Cross the street ONLY at corners and crosswalks, paying attention to traffic signals.

Costume Safety

Dark costumes will reduce visibility at night. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape and use lighter colors for costumes if you can. Glow sticks are both fun to carry and add to your child’s visibility. Finally, take care to ensure that costumes aren’t too long to avoid a tripping hazard.

Driving On Halloween

When driving on Halloween, stay aware that there will be children in almost any neighborhood. Children are excited on Halloween and may not be paying attention to standard safety rules. Take extra time at intersections and driveways. Drive more slowly than usual, especially during peak trick or treat hours, usually 5:30-9:30pm.

Boost Your Brand – These Three Things Will Make A Difference

Setting yourself apart from the crowd in the real estate industry is no easy task. The industry changes daily and staying on top of the competition can be a frustrating and never-ending pursuit. However, there are a few things you can do, and keep up with easily, that will help your clients, both current and prospective) feel good about working with you.

Build Community

Clients want to see that you are both invested in your community and an expert in your field. Taking measure to build and strengthen local groups helps achieve both of these results. We’ve written before on how creating a Facebook Group like a neighborhood forum can help your business grow. Using social media to connect a neighborhood, a group of like-minded people (like pet lovers, local hiking and running enthusiasts, etc.) is a fantastic way to network and to help others see how invested you are. But it’s not the only way. Here are other ways you can build community in your area:

  • Host a neighborhood happy hour in your area
  • Put together a block party in your subdivision
  • Sponsor an area trash clean up
  • Take a leadership position on your Homeowner’s Association board
  • Join or start your own MeetUp

Offer Free Resources

Show your potential clients that you’re not only in this for the commission. By offering free resources, you’re showing goodwill, but you’re also increasing the likelihood for reciprocal engagement and turning leads into clients. There are plenty of things you can offer without spending money. EBooks are a popular offering – easy to create in your free time or during a business lull, and offered as a free download via your website. You can pick from a variety of topics, but stick with something that interests you. Consider some of the following topics:

  • Staging Tips For Selling Quickly
  • 10 Things To Do Before Your Home Goes On The Market
  • Neighborhood Guide for your city’s most popular areas
  • School Information
  • Best Outdoor Activities in your city
  • Free Family Fun Activities

Partner With A Charity

By partnering yourself with a non-profit organization you care about, you’ll be doing good for the community. It’s also a great differentiator and a way for people to learn more about you and what sets you apart. Some ideas for partnering with charities include:

  • Hosting a food, clothing or toy drive at your next open house
  • Sponsor a family in need
  • Have your office participate in Habitat for Humanity

Get Ready For Some Productivity! Delegate These Tasks Today!

Business growth is great – it’s what everybody wants! Unfortunately, there can be an uncomfortable in-between place between being small enough to handle it all yourself and being big enough to hire full-time help. But don’t worry! You have another option: Outsourcing! As you struggle to keep your head above water, consider the following tasks for outsourcing.

Marketing

There are plenty of companies and freelancers looking for new clients. If you love your work, but struggle to stay on top of important dates and opportunities to market your services, finding a firm or a contract professional to help you on your way is a huge weight off of your shoulders. Marketing professionals can run about $50/hour, but if you’re paying them for just a few hours a week, you’ll be in good shape. Outsourced marketing personnel can handle creating a marketing schedule, communication with vendors, mailings and more.

Data Entry

Whether you’re looking for someone to input your information into the MLS or clean up your email database, a data entry professional can help streamline your work. A freelance data entry contractor can charge between $12-20 per hour, depending on their skill and experience.

Graphic Design Support

Even great tools and apps like Canva and Snapseed can frustrate the technologically-challenged agent. Graphic design professionals are available at a variety of rates and skills. If your needs are simple, you may want to hire an art student to whip up Open House flyers in their free time. If you’re looking for more consistency in your look, an independent graphic designer will usually charge between $45-75 per hour, but may be available for less on a retainer.

SEO Management and Maintenance

If you’ve read anything on getting traffic to your website, you know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial. If you don’t understand SEO, you’re not alone. It can be confusing without professional help, but implementing the right keywords and techniques can put your business at the top of search results. An SEO expert will probably charge one rate to analyze your website and set up your pages for success at the start, and then an ongoing monthly rate. These rates vary greatly depending on how experienced the professional might be, so be sure to shop around.

Creating Valuable Content

One great way to improve SEO is with consistent blogging and content creation. Search engines like to see that websites are being regularly updated and blogs are the way to get there. Most people start with big plans to blog, write consistently for a few weeks, then let it go. An outsourced blogger can help you stay consistent and top-of-mind with your clientele. Expect a good, experienced blogger to start at $75 per blog.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and MORE

Now, to be honest, the best social media is personal. If your goals are to create engagement and develop relationships, it is always best to handle your own social media. However, if you are short on time, and looking for someone to keep your page up-to-date and consistent with posts and current events, hiring someone isn’t a terrible idea. Most social media gurus will ask for a monthly retainer, varying from $25-75 an hour.

It’s Time For You To Stand Out!

In the not-so-small Real Estate World, it’s easy to feel lost in the crowd. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or ready to make a splash as a newbie in the industry, the competition is fierce. How can you set yourself and your services apart from the rest?

 

Find A Niche To Call Your Own

If you’re new to the world of real estate, this one might not come as easily as it would to a more experienced agent. However, focusing on mastering a sub-section of the market is important. Just as in any other business, potential clients are looking for someone who can understand their unique needs, whether it’s a veteran, a luxury buyer, a senior citizen, or a first-time buyer. General knowledge is fine, but finding your niche allows you to shine.

Newer agents may want to focus on a particular neighborhood or zip code, a specific type of property, or a specific kind of client. Seasoned agents can look at their past clientele and transactions to find both their strength and source of joy to find a niche.

 

Highlight What Makes You Different

In both personal and professional circles, your personal characteristics, hobbies, and relationships are the most interesting thing about you. Take advantage of any memberships you hold in social organizations, churches, or academic environments and look to serve your fellow members. On social media and on your website, highlight your passions. You may love rescue dogs, local theater and art, or running marathons. These differentiators certainly won’t hurt you, but they will absolutely make you easier to find for a potential client who shares your interests.

 

Become An Expert

One great way to separate yourself from the crowd is to offer training events or workshops that connect with the public in a meaningful way. Local libraries often offer space for free and these spots make great locations for community classes. You don’t have to stick to the classic first-time home buyer class either. If you’re an expert stager, offer a course on staging a home to sell. If you’ve found a niche working with seniors, offer a class in helping elderly parents move. There are a wealth of topics to teach that could both help the public and help your business.

 

Marketing Tips To Carry You Through The Fall

Autumn is on its way! In Texas, that means more football than falling leaves, but there’s still a distinct feeling in the air throughout the fall months, and with some of the ideas below, you can use it to your advantage when it comes to lead generation.

Get Involved

There’s always something to do in the fall months. From high school athletics to community festivals, there are wonderful opportunities for sponsorship and involvement. Go a step further than placing that ad in the football program and volunteer your time. It will give you a chance to talk to people instead of just hoping your ad catches someone’s eye.

Give Back

This is a great time to sponsor a food or clothing drive for the less fortunate. Partner with a local business and spend a day collecting items for those in need. Bring along some refreshments to hand out to your new friends.

Refer Your Fall and Winter Weather Vendors

Remind your mailing list about your favorite gutter cleaners or lawn clean up crew. As your clients prepare their homes for colder weather, you’ll be able to keep yourself in the top of their mind by helping them find good help quickly.

Help Your Clients Prepare

Create a Winter Weather Prep checklist or ebook that visitors to your site can download by signing up for your email list. The information will be useful, and you’ll be able to keep their attention with future emails.

Beat Them to the Punch

Every business sends Christmas greetings, and most homes are so inundated with cards that promotional mailing gets completely overlooked. Get a step ahead by sending a Thanksgiving card and recipe to your mailing list!

Big Dates

There are great dates to take advantage of during the fall season that may help you reach a new audience. Remind your constituents of these dates or plan special promotions around them.

October 8 – Columbus Day
October 14 – National Dessert Day
October 27 – Make A Difference Day
October 31 – Halloween
November 4 – Daylight Savings Time Ends
November 11 – Veterans Day
November 15 – America Recycles Day
November 21 – World Hello Day
November 22 – Thanksgiving

Sources and Further Reading:
Fall Real Estate Tips
20 Fresh Fall Ideas for Generating More Leads
3 Fall Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents