Tips to Make 2010 a Very Successful Year.

“Would you mind telling me please, which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where” -said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

It’s been said that most people are too busy to plan their goals. Goals are just as important as everything else. Here are six steps to help you make 2010 a great year.

1. One step at the time. Identify what is it that you would like to change in the following areas: Business, family, personal, spiritual. Focus on one small goal at the time and when you reach it, move on to another one.

2. Set a date to reach each objective. Be specific.

3. Make a list of the obstacles you must overcome to reach your goals.

4. Work a plan of action to reach your goals.

5. Visualize yourself reaching your goal; feel the empowerment, hear the cheers.

6. Write your goals down and read them out load every day.

Have a wonderful 2010 and I hope to have the opportunity to help you become more successful.

 To your success,

Oscar Marquez.

How to List the FSBO Vampire.

They have arrived and are here to stay; they are getting ready to put their house on the market, they are the FSBO Vampires.  Following are five ideas to overcome their powers. 

  1. Don’t let them Glamour You.  Be careful, Vampire FSBOs are known for glamouring people and making them do things they wouldn’t do otherwise.  So when a Vampire FSBO tries to talk you into believing they don’t need your help to get their house sold, don’t fall under their spell.  As a professional Vampire FSBO slayer, you already know this is just folklore.  It takes a lot of effort and money to sell a property.
  2. Don’t Fear Them.  FSBO Vampires can’t exist in the light; they are creatures of the night.  Show them how much work and effort is involved in selling real estate, it goes well beyond posting a “for sale” sign, and that is just the beginning.  Realtor slayers don’t get paid to sell houses they get paid to insure the sale closes.  So next time you encounter a Vampire FSBO bring them out to the light.
  3. Don’t Waste Your Weapons.  By using all your weapons (garlic, silver, wood) at once, you will only weaken them but they will not die.  The best way to slay a Vampire FSBO is by bringing one weapon at the time.  Each time you visit them, bring one extra weapon (MLS, prequalification forms, marketing, etc) and soon you will turn them into a listing.
  4. Watch out for their Fangs.  Vampire FSBO’s most powerful weapon are their fangs.  They will use theme to attack you and ultimately get rid of you.  So when they ask you to take the listing at a very low commission or very high price, protect yourself, don’t let them suck you dry.
  5. Don’t Become One of Them.  Many times good agents join their ranks and put their own houses for sale as a FSBO.  If they don’t have enough confidence in the power of being a Realtor slayer, how can they succeed in the business?

 As a final note, I would like to ask you not to become a werewolf and try to overpower them; remember you are only strong during the full moon and if you try to overpower them you will lose the opportunity to list them.

 Have a great Halloween.

Zombie Tips for Real Estate Agents

I am a fan of Zombie movies; so to celebrate Halloween I decided to share with some zombie techniques I’ve learned that I know will help you increase your business.

1. Be Adaptable. Zombies have a way of making the best out of every situation. They can be thrown in the middle of the ocean or the desert and somehow they manage to get back to where they know they can find food. They don’t sit down and complain to other zombies about how the environment has changed, they don’t see the negative, they just keep going. If you have been complaining about how little money you are making compared to a few years ago, it’s time to move on.

2. Just Do It. Many zombies come back to life just minutes after they’ve died; still completely outfitted and with all their limbs in place; others are missing parts and pieces, but one thing they all have in common they are fearless. They don’t care that they don’t have all their parts; they are focused on one thing “finding food”. Many sales people are reluctant to go out and find selling or buying prospects, because they don’t know “everything” about real estate, take this zombie lesson and just start talking to people, you’ll be surprised of you can accomplish.

3. Be Fearless. Many times zombies are outnumbered by powerful armies; other times their next victim is bigger, faster and stronger than they are. But I have never seen a zombie stopping to analyze their odds of winning the fight or getting their victim; they know they have a lot to win and little to lose (hey they’re already dead). They continue to charge and very often they win. Don’t get stopped by the “principals only” or the “no Realtors” remarks, go after every FSBOs and expired you can find; you have a lot to win and very little to lose.

4. Take it Easy. Have you ever seen a zombie with high blood pressure or nervous? No, they are cool and collected; no matter what circumstances they just go after what they know they need, food. Many salespeople stop working or concentrating on new business as soon as things get a little stressful. Slow down, take it easy, don’t allow your business to control your emotions and stop you from growing; remember even if you are going through a very difficult situation you still need to produce and this will get you out of the hole.

5. Stick to Your Zombie Guns. Remember one thing “It makes no sense to negotiate with zombies”. The next time a seller wants to make their house un-sellable, don’t give in, stick to your guns; it’s the best way to get their house sold.

I hope you enjoy these zombie techniques but most importantly that you implement at least one. Have a great and safe Halloween.

Eight Deal Breakers

Has this ever happened to you? You worked so hard at marketing a listing and at the end the seller is not willing to cooperate with you to get it sold?

Following are eight tips to get more of your listings u/c. I compiled this list from an interview I watched with Barbara Corcoran.

1. Don’t get insulted. In today’s market even real buyers are making low ball offers. Why? Well, it’s the market. With so much media attention to the state of the market and specially being in a true buyer’s market, if your buyers don’t make a lower than normal offer, they feel they didn’t try hard enough. Instead of getting offended, ask your seller to counter, most real buyers will play along and come up with a better offer.
2. Hanging around at the open house. Nothing discourages more a perspective buyer than seeing a seller walking around the house during open house day. I understand that many sellers want to be of assistance, but most of the time they end up saying too much and there goes the sale. Ask them to make plans for the day and if there is no way they can leave the property, then ask them to stay in one room, even if it’s the closet.
3. Waiting for a better offer. Well by now you already now that the first offer is normally the best offer.
4. Clean the closets. Most buyers open the closet doors and a messy closet normally makes the buyer feel there can be something wrong with the house. Why? I have no clue.
5. Not making much needed repairs. AS IS! Many times sellers lose thousands of dollars because they refused to make small repairs. Buyers will always double or triple the estimated cost of repairs and include that discount in their offers.
6. Haggling over the accessories. How many times I lost good offers because the sellers wanted to negotiate over the washer and dryer or the chandelier or the refrigerator. As the saying goes “pound foolish, penny wise.”
7. Internet curb appeal. Most people look for properties in the internet and if your listing doesn’t have an attractive “net curb appeal” they will take it out of their house to see list.
8. Renegotiating the agent’s fee. Many sellers don’t understand the importance of commissions; a lower commission will send their house to the bottom of the houses to show list rather than to the front of the list.

I hope this list helps you make an extra sale. If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Stop Losing Sales to your Competition.

Why do Realtors or salespeople in general lose the listing or the sale to their competition? Sometimes because they’re not professional other times because the seller had a relationship (referral or other) with the other agent, but in my opinion the main reason is because they never qualified the appointment to begin with.

What if you spent a little more time qualifying your prospect? What if you knew in advance that this meeting will result in a listing or if the prospect it’s just gathering information to make a decision later; how will your presentation be different?

During a listing presentation, most agents make sure the seller knows how wonderful they are and how great their company is; but, how about learning early on in the meeting if they will be making a decision today or if they have scheduled appointments with other Realtors?

Am I suggesting we should ask if they are looking to interview other agents? Absolutely! If they are planning on meeting with your competition, you have to play your cards in a very smart way; asking them to give you the opportunity to meet again after they have met with the other agent(s) for the most part it doesn’t work. You must insure they let you back in before listing with your competition. If you are thinking that suggesting they meet with your competition will be the equivalent to committing suicide; don’t. Today’s savvy sellers know and like to weight their options before making a decision, so you are not planting any seeds; and by doing some research at the beginning of the meeting, you will learn if they have other appointments before you show them all your cards.

So, how can I qualify the appointment? Simple just follow these four easy steps.

1. During the ice breaking step, ask if they are looking to meet with any other agents. If the answer is “yes,” don’t act upset or surprised; instead praise their decision to look for the best agent. It’s important not to ask who and when, at this point there may not be enough trust on their side to give you accurate or any other information, you can always find out who and when later.

2. When you are asking questions (why are you selling, etc?) Don’t forget to ask why they want to meet with other agents. Is it that they want to compare companies or is it that they have a relationship with the other agent? It’s also important to ask that if they feel you are competent and can market their house for a price they feel it’s fair; will they be willing to list with you today?

3. Dazzle them with your marketing. The grand majority of Realtors don’t have a marketing plan that will leave your prospects highly impressed and wanting to see you again. How different is your marketing plan from your competitions? We all have the same tools, so it boils down to how impressed the sellers are with your show.

4. Don’t discuss CMA. No matter how good you are, many sellers make the mistake of listing with the agent who promised to sell the house for more money that it’s worth. So how can you leave without disclosing price? Simple, take notes while looking at the house and after presenting your marketing plan ask for an appointment to come back and present your CMA. If you think the sellers will see you as an inexperienced agent, don’t; dazzle them with an amazing marketing plan and you’ll see how easy is to set a second appointment. Of course you can always show all your cards, but now they have plenty of information to compare you to your competition and the odds of losing the listing increase.

If you graduated from one of my workshops, then you already have a marketing plan like no other; are you still using it? I hope I gave you some ideas to help you get more listings.

Profile of the Internet Consumer

With an estimated of 67 million people looking to buy, sell, rent or finance a home on the Internet, and real estate professionals who want to land their business are making a huge mistake, they are treating them all the same way. They are treating them as someone who is ready, willing and able; instead, we should look at them as four distinct audience segments.
A white paper commissioned by Yahoo Real Estate, “Embracing the Online Real Estate Market,” offers loads of practical advice about marketing to each group.
Passionates. Are the smallest group, an estimated 6% of the audience but the most attractive target as well. The study found 79% are in the market to buy, 82% to finance, and 45% to sell real estate in the next six months; their average income is $202,000.
Passionates are “advanced” Internet users, early adopters who visit multiple real estate sites early in the buying process with specific goals in mind, the study found.
“Since Passionates spend a lot of time online on multiple Web sites, it is important to reach them where they are online,” the study recommended. “Authoring your own blog, being present on mainstream social networks and industry-targeted communities, and participating in other consumer focused (question-and-answer) sites are great ways to reach Passionates.”
Conventionals. Because they tend to use offline sources such as printed advertising as a first step in the real estate research process, real estate agents are the most important source of information for “Conventionals.” This segment represents about 14 % of in-market real estate consumers. Average income for the segment is $69,000, with 82 percent owning property with an average value of $349,000; 53 percent are male. Although Conventionals may begin the research process offline, 83 percent eventually get online when buying a home, and 40 percent turn to MLS sites as the first place they do research.
Because they may start the process offline, it’s important to think of reaching Conventionals online “as an extension of your offline marketing efforts,” the study said. Offline marketing copy “should reinforce your presence online, including your Web site URL, your blog URL, your e-mail address, or your social network profile names. Keep in mind that even though their name implies that they are offline, Conventionals spend time researching online to supplement their offline activities.”
Actives. Actives are the second-largest group of real estate consumers, at 19% of the audience. Most Actives, 71% are financing properties, while just over half are buyers and about one in four are sellers. The typical Active is a highly educated 44-year-old married male with an income of $87,000, and 82% own property with an average value of $410,000.
Actives seek out information in a thorough way, often using online sources as a first step. Most use multiple sites and many tools, with no single source considered a “one-stop shop,” the study found.
Because Actives use multiple sites, “you should have a presence on many real estate Web sites,” comScore recommends. “In particular, real estate professionals should distribute their listings to as many real estate search and portal sites as appropriate. Actives are also busy financing, so partnering with mortgage brokers, both online and offline, is a great way to reach them by sharing referrals.”
Online real estate agent directories are also used by Actives, an important consideration since repeated “impressions” in front of this group “is critical, as Actives are still contemplating what service providers to collaborate with.”
Future Prospects. Future Prospects who are “just looking” are the largest group of active real estate consumers, comprising 61% of the category. They mostly go online to view listings and follow the market, and less than 10% are working with or even looking for a real estate agent. But that doesn’t mean they should be ignored.
“Once this segment becomes more serious about home shopping and buying they will rely on a real estate agent to assist them, so investments that get you in front of their selection process are important,” the study recommended. “For this group, awareness is the most important marketing objective, and marketing investments should be geared toward consistently putting your brand front-and-center. Graphic media campaigns on newspapers sites and real estate sites that enable local targeting, search-engine marketing in your local market, and listing your profile in the emerging category of online real agent directories should be considered in the marketing mix for this segment.”
The typical future prospect is a 45-year-old married female with an average income of $69,000, with two-thirds owning property worth an average of $324,000.
“Since they are the least knowledgeable about real estate compared to the other segments, Future Prospects are more likely to enlist outside help,” the study advised.
Treat them all different, create different approaches and most importantly don’t stop marketing.

Sarah Breedlove Walker

I’d never heard of Sarah Breedlove before today. I saw a small tag line on an email saying that she was the first “millionairess” in the world after developing of hair care products. I had to know more. Upon delving further I found out the following which continued to blow my mind:

• Sarah was born to freed slaves in Louisiana, USA in 1867
• Married at 14, she was orphaned and widowed by the age of 20
• Upon retirement Sarah built a house beside tycoon J.D. Rockefeller
• The Guinness Book of Records lists Sarah Breedlove as the first female (black or white) who became a millionaire by her own achievements

In her own words: “There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is one I have not found it. For if I had accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard.”

After watching the recent election in America many people across the world are amazed to see what someone of African American descent is able to do right now. How phenomenal is it to then consider what Sarah Breedlove Walker was able to accomplish as a female African American, over a hundred years ago.

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