You Should Be Outsourcing These Tasks

Sometimes, as business grows, so does discomfort. There’s an awful in-between place for growing businesses where agents are too busy and successful to handle all of their mounting responsibilities but not quite busy enough to justify a new full-time employee. But there is a third 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 upwards of $75/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 $15-25 per hour, depending on their skill and experience.

Graphic Designer

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 $50-80 per hour, but may be available for less on a retainer.

Search Engine Optimization

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.

Content Writing

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 $250 per blog.

Social Media

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 $60-80 an hour.

Build Your Business In September

The kids are in school, vacation is a distant memory, and the holidays will be here before you know it. How are you marketing your business this month?

Upcoming Holidays

Looking ahead to October, Halloween is always an obvious choice. But there are plenty of other ways to reach out to potential and former clients.

  • National Homemade Cookie Day (October 1)
  • World Teacher’s Day (October 5)
  • Fire Prevention Day (October 9)
  • National Nut Day (October 22)
  • Make A Difference Day (October 28)
  • Get Organized Week (First Week in October)
  • Fire Prevention Week (Second Week in October)
  • Cookie Month
  • Popcorn Popping Month

See more at www.NationalDayCalendar.com

Helping Those In Need

There’s been so much tragedy in the news lately. It is a great time to help serve those in need and foster community spirit by encouraging those in your circle to give back. Give.org operates through the Better Business Bureau and gives information on charitable organizations. Do your research before you align yourself with a particular cause.

Fall-Themed Newsletters and Social Media

Fall is a great time to consider selling or buying a home. You can use your newsletters, social media, and emails to encourage prospects to take advantage of the extra activity in the market. Create a blog about the advantages of buying in the fall and post to social media or include it in an email blast. Don’t forget current clients – give them reminders on preparing their homes for fall, including cleaning gutters, roof maintenance, heater tips, etc.

What other ideas do you plan to employ this fall?

The Resource: Social Media Calendar July 2021

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

Summer Fun

How To Throw the Ultimate Pool Party (The Spruce)
What Kind of Summer Gathering Should You Host? (Better Homes and Gardens)
These S’mores Boards Will Take Your Next Summer Gathering to the Next Level (Better Homes and Gardens)
How to Pack a Picnic Basket for the Perfect Outdoor Feast (Real Simple)
Can’t Get a Pool This Summer? Beat the Heat With These 6 Creative Alternatives (Realtor.com)
I’m a Mom and Epidemiologist: Here’s How I Suggest You Travel With Kids This Summer (Parents.com)
The Country’s Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens (House Beautiful)
13 Grown-up Popsicles That You Won’t Find in the Freezer Section (Total Beauty)

Texas Living

Texas Named Best State For Business For A Record-Smashing 17th Year In A Row (Texas.gov)
Meanwhile, in Texas: A Woman Fed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to Monkeys at the Zoo (Texas Monthly)
15 Best Swimming Holes in the Texas Hill Country (Wide Open Country)
The 8 Best Scenic Hiking Trails Around Texas (Wide Open Country)
H-E-B: The Three Little Letters That Changed Texas (Texas Hill Country)
The History of Brisket (Texas Humor)

Around The House

10 Best Shrubs That Flower in Early Summer (The Spruce)
4 DIY Seed-Starting Pots You Can Make With Items You Already Have (Better Homes and Gardens)
If Your Home Smells Funny, Check These 8 Problem Areas (Real Simple)
8 Houseplant Myths Most People Think Are True—Debunked (Realtor.com)
The Worst Outdoor Living Area Mistakes (House Beautiful)
5 Easy and Affordable Updates You Can Make to Your Outdoor Space This Summer (Southern Living)

Decor Inspiration

How to Select the Right Lighting for your Closet (The Spruce)
10 Ways to Add Tropical Style to Your Home (Real Simple)
3 Ways to Curate Your Kitchen Countertop (Domino)
40 Lively Green Rooms Filled With Verdant Surprises (Veranda)
How to Create an At-Home Coffee Bar (Veranda)
Follow This One Rule To Perfectly Mix Patterns (Southern Living)

Buying And Selling

Can Memories of Grandma Help Win Home Buying Battles? (The Balance)
0% Down home loan proposed for teachers, first responders (The Mortgage Report)
How to make a winning offer on a house: 7 Strategies (The Mortgage Report)
The Post-COVID Home: How the Pandemic Has Made Us Rethink Everything (Real Simple)
It’s All About Affordability: The Hottest Markets for Real Estate, May 2021 (Realtor.com)
$280K Ohio Windmill Home Seeks New Owner—and Windmill (Realtor.com)

July Marketing Tips for Real Estate

Isn’t it great that the world is starting to get back to normal? After over a year of social distancing, people are itching to be more active and social. There are so many opportunities in the summer months to make your mark with prospective clients and old friends. With Independence Day behind us and the start of school just a few weeks away, it’s time to plan your next move. What can you do this month to strengthen your future business?

Celebrate With Some Late Summer Holidays

Holidays can be the perfect excuse to connect with current and potential clients, and August is full of them – if you know which ones to look for. There may not be any big, widely recognized holidays in August, but there are a few good once that make connecting a breeze. Look ahead to Friendship Day (July 30) to be your perfect icebreaker. And who wouldn’t love to receive chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar as a pop by on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on August 4. Other fun holidays include National Garage Sale Day (August 10), National Relaxation Day (August 15), and National Dog Day (August 26). See more at www.NationalDayCalendar.com

Back To School

August means kids are heading back to school, and unfortunately, some are heading back with a lot less than others. A great way to give back and encourage others to do so is by holding a back to school supply drive. You may want to collect traditional school supplies, or think outside the box and collect money for school lunches, or ask for donations of new shoes. Add your office as a drop off point and you’ll be able to connect to new friends as well.

Block Party!

If your neighborhood doesn’t already have an annual block party, it might be time for you to get the ball rolling. There are some great ideas here to get you started. Use the opportunity to help your neighbors get to know you and each other. You’ll love being seen as a connecting point for others.

Social Media Challenge: Neighborhood Know-how

Part of selling yourself as an agent is selling your expertise about the areas you live and work in. This month, use social media to highlight your favorite parts of town, from restaurants to museums to family spots to free activities. You want your audience to know that you are the best source for information! And when they’re ready to buy or sell, they’ll certainly want an area expert like yourself to guide them through the process.

The Resource: June 2020 Social Media Calendar

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

Summer Starters

How To Organize Your Home for Summer (The Organized Mom)
24 Cheap Summer Activities for Kids (Parents.com)
Easy Summer Decor Ideas (dengarden.com)
10 Summer Hazards (The Spruce)
45 Best Weekend Getaways in Texas (Vacation Idea)
11 Beach Songs for the Best Summer Roadtrips (Wide Open Country)
41 No-Bake Desserts to Add to Your Summer Lineup (Southern Living)

Texas Living

Meanwhile in Texas (Texas Monthly)
Texas Personality Quiz: Which Texas River Should You Float Next? (Texas Humor)
This Texas Family Farm Offers 20 Acres of Various Wildflowers (Wide Open Country)

Just For Fun

How to Build a Regulation Cornhole Set (HGTV)
Burrata Boards Are the Ultimate Summer Entertaining Dish (Better Homes and Gardens)
32 Free DIY Plant Hangers You Can Make (The Spruce)
How to Create the Perfect Summer Party Playlist (Real Simple)
10 Outdoor Entertaining Mistakes to Avoid (The Spruce)

Around The House

40 Outdoor Structures That Bring the Indoors Out (HGTV)
How to Remove Water Stains from Wood (The Spruce)
How Much Does It Cost to Renovate Your Outdoor Space? (Better Homes and Gardens)
Discover 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Your Garden (Home Depot)
14 Show Stopping Plants that Attract Hummingbirds (Country Living)

Decor Inspiration

25 Clever Bathroom Storage Solutions Everyone Should Know (House Beautiful)
These Aren’t Your Typical 1950s Pink-Tiled Bathrooms (Domino)
The Essential Ingredients for Creating the Ultimate Home Bar (Veranda)
Follow This One Rule To Perfectly Mix Patterns (Southern Living)

Buying And Selling

Are You Truly Ready To Downsize? 9 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Giving Up Space (Realtor.com)
What Does ‘Under Contract’ Mean in a Real Estate Listing? (Realtor.com)
2021 First Time Home Buyer Guide (The Mortgage Reports)
What to Know Before Buying a Condo (investopedia)

Go “Green” At Home

Earth Day is here, and there’s never been a better time to take a good look at your home energy habits. You’ll be lowering your bills and helping the environment all at once! Small changes can make a big difference for the planet – and your pocketbook.

Lighting & Electronics 

1)  Switch to Energy Star CFL bulbs, which use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard lightbulbs. This small change will make a big impact on your utility bill. 

2) Replace light switches with dimmers to save big throughout the year. Better yet, purchase lights for your home with sensors and timers. These are particularly helpful in places like closets, bathrooms, and pantries, where we often forget to turn off lights.

3) Turn off electronics completely before going to bed. Many electronic devices, like computers, have a standby mode, but by powering down completely, you’ll help prevent the draw of extra electricity.

Water

1) Run a full dishwasher when you can. You’ll use less water than if you wash by hand, and you won’t be wasting water on an half-empty load.

2) You can purchase a faucet water filter for around $30. Give up bottled water and use refillable bottles instead. 

3) Replace your shower head to a unit with a lower flow – it could save up to $45 each month!

4) A leaky faucet could be wasting over 50,000 gallons per year! Fix it and save!

5) Washing machines use a large amount of energy on heating water – set the machine to cold to save energy!

Reuse and Recycle

1) Roll up old magazines to stick inside boots to help your footwear keep its shape.

2) Old jam and baby food jars are perfect for storage for small items like nails and screws, bobby pins, thumb tacks, and other small items – plus they look a lot nicer!

3) Coffee Grounds can promote healthy plants! Spread your old grounds over your flower beds and watch your landscaping flourish!

4) Before you throw out an old t-shirt, considering donating it or turning it into cleaning rags for regular household cleaning.

What the Colors on the Wall Say About You

Mean Green. Regal Purple. Moody Blue. Mellow Yellow. Blood Red. We’ve heard over and over again that color affects mood and even reflects personality. So, what do your color choices say about you? Why are you drawn to those colors? And, if you’re up for a change, what can a new color do for your sense of peace, productivity, or energy level?

RED

People who have energy, passion, and a zest for life often choose vibrant colors like red for their walls. If you’re drawn to this color in your home, you are most likely warm, energetic, and ready to conquer whatever life throws at you. The color red traditionally calls to mind power and drive. It can also be the sign of someone impulsive, outgoing, or even aggressive – or someone who might wish for those attributes. If you’re looking to embrace your own strength and ambition, consider using red paint to inspire your mind toward these traits every day!

ORANGE

Not many people gravitate towards orange for interior walls. It’s a tough shade to get “just right”. Orange evokes youth, fun, curiosity, and courage – something you might need if you’re painting your walls orange! People who choose orange in their homes are usually friendly, nurturing, and love hosting others. 

YELLOW

We often associate the color yellow – the color of sunshine, daffodils, and baby ducks – with optimism and happiness. The color can activate our memories, stimulating the nervous system and promoting our innate creativity. If you’ve chosen to embrace the color yellow on your walls, from deep gold to citrusy lemon, chances are you have friends who describe you as content, with a sunshine personality.

GREEN

Green paint is usually chosen by people who appreciate affection, compassion, and loyalty. Depending on the shade, it can call to mind peace and harmony, or the energy of the natural world. Green is a great choice for your office, bedroom, meditation space, or any room that might need a little booster shot of peacefulness.

BLUE

True blue suits people who have (or desire) a soft and soothing demeanor. Calmness and tranquility are usually associated with blues, especially in more muted tones. Blue walls make a great addition to the space that welcomes you home at the end of a hectic day. Introverts are also drawn to blue, but extroverts can also appreciate its calming effects.

PURPLE

Purple is a creative color. If shades of violet are your choice, you may have a confident and outgoing personality to match. Of course, it also evokes glamour and royalty! Purple is a bold choice – people who love this color may also be a little eclectic in their design tastes – unconventionality goes along with creativity. 

BROWN, BLACK, and GRAY

Believe it or not, brown is one of the most comforting colors, which makes it a top choice for any living space. People who appreciate shades of brown and tan on their walls are intent on making their homes seem inviting. It’s warmth evokes a cozy feeling!

Black and gray aren’t just for Kardashians and other glamorous celebrities. People who choose a dark wall color have sophisticated taste and may like focused order, direction, and intentionality in their personal and professional lives. Entering a room with these colors can be like entering a dark and comforting sanctuary.

November Marketing Ideas

Autumn is here! Things might look a little different these days, but in Texas, the fall months usually mean football, unpredictable weather, and the chance sighting of a leaf changing color. 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.

Give Back

This is a great time to sponsor a food or clothing drive for the less fortunate, and there are more people in need than ever before. 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!

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

Have You Found Your Niche?

Even if you’ve been in business for a while, you might find yourself struggling to feel “at home” in your career. If this sounds like something you’ve experienced, it may be time to identify your niche. In real estate, there are so many to choose from. And, while you may want to keep yourself available to a large audience, tightening your focus could unlock much bigger success.

From first-time buyers to seniors to luxury buyers and sellers, there are benefits to finding and developing your particular market. But where do you start?

Entrepreneur.com advises to ask yourself the following 4 questions for starters. Now, this is no quick quiz. They suggest taking a full hour to process each question, 15 minutes for each one.

1. What do you do best?

Make a list. What are your best talents and skills? Determine both what you do best – and what you don’t. It takes maturity and confidence to take an honest look at yourself and your business.  If there is something you don’t do well but would like to, is it worth whatever time and money it may take to develop the skill? It may be more beneficial for you to focus solely on what you already have.

2. What about your job do you enjoy the most?

With this question, your goal is to make sure that your heart and head are in the same place. You may be great at something that you don’t particularly enjoy. You may really enjoy something you aren’t particularly suited for. Your aim is to find that “sweet spot” where you heart and brain agree. Take a look at your list from Question 1 and rank your skills in order of most to least enjoyable.

3. What do people need?

Back to your list of skills – now take another look at determine which skills are most needed in your industry. If you’ve got a great skill that isn’t needed, it won’t do you or your clients any favors. Think about the questions your clients ask and the needs you see in your current audience – which needs can you match with your skills?

4. Where can you find the most financial benefit?

Consider the different niches in which you can see yourself. First time buyers make up a whopping 37% of the market while luxury homeowners are in at just 8%. Seniors make up 50% of the home buyers and sellers market. You’ll need to match your skills with the market and financial set up that brings you the most benefit.

With these 4 questions answered honestly, your niche should become clear to you, giving you the information you need to market yourself properly and reach an audience that needs you the most.

Ready to Be Seen?

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.