Smart Homes: A Rising Opportunity for Real Estate Agents

Smart technology is on the rise, and real estate agents are in a unique position to lead and guide homeowners as they navigate the home tech scene.

A study done by Coldwell Banker Real Estate in 2016 found that “almost half of all Americans either own smart technology or plan to invest in it.”

The question is, does smart technology in a home really pay off?

According to a survey conducted by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, 65 percent of almost 22,000 home buyers said that they would be willing to spend more on a home equipped with smart technology like security cameras, smart HVAC systems, and network-connected appliances.

Smart home technology presents a few opportunities for agents to serve as a guide for their clients.

  • Agents can recommend appropriate technology to increase property value when it’s time to sell. Focus on devices that control utilities for cost savings, or buff up home security.
  • Agents can draw attention to smart features when clients are looking for homes. Help people see past smart products that seem shiny on the surface but don’t add much value, and point out products that result in money saved or peace of mind. Do your research and make sure smart devices are adequately equipped to connect to other devices in case the client wants to add to their smart home later.
  • Become an expert. Smart home technology is constantly evolving. Keep up to date so you can provide your clients with the best recommendations possible. When you find a brand you believe in, consider reaching out to the company to start a partnership, especially if that company is up and coming. In many instances, real estate agents can be the gatekeeper to the smart home device makers’ customer base.

Special Offer:

Makers of the smart home security system, Abode, have a special partnership offer tailored specifically to real estate agents. Email and mention “Real Estate Partnership” to get information on this exclusive offer.

Learn more about Abode’s home security solution here.

This article is for information purposes only and TPMC has no corporate ties to Abode nor do we receive any financial benefits.

Building Trust with your Clients

With trust, Realtors® become confidants, motivators, helpers, and friends. Implementing effective trust techniques takes practice. Try some of the following trust-building tips to strengthen your relationship with your prospects and clients:

Look for barriers. Things like stress, body language, and focus can all be hindrances with trust building.

  • Never multitask during a conversation. Focus on and directly engage with clients to show your undivided attention.
  • Body language shouldn’t be closed off or contradict what you’re saying. This confuses, rather than confirms trust. Keep arms and legs uncrossed, maintain eye contact, and don’t clench your fists.

Engage. An engaged listener is an engaged Realtor®. Being fully in tune with clients reinforces a personal connection.

  • Focus on what clients are saying and how they’re saying it. Also pay attention to cues in their body language.
  • Never interrupt or redirect a conversation. Let the speaker continue until finished and then pose questions or offer suggestions.

Avoid conflict. Don’t make clients feel threatened or stressed.

  • Compromising is fundamental to building trust. Have backup plans ready for clients.
  • Use humor to defuse tense situations.

Think Positive. Positive affirmation can help the client work through insecurities, uncertainties and frustrations.

  • Show positive feedback to encourage clients to be more engaged with you. Smile, nod your head in agreement and watch your tone of voice.
  • Focus conversation around things your clients like rather than what they dislike.

Be Assertive. Assertiveness, not combativeness, means knowing yourself and your clients.

  • Explain thoroughly and concisely, and stick to your point while retaining a sense of empathy.
  • According to Harvard Health, showing empathetic assertion demonstrates sensitivity. Recognizing clients’ wants, but still being politely assertive demonstrates an ability to hold the clients’ best interests at heart while showing viable options or alternatives.

Follow these points to leave a lasting, positive impression with your clients that will lead to long-term relationships.

Social Media Buzz: Instagram for Realtors®

Social media passed 600 million users last year and is still on the rise. For relationship-based Realtors, this makes Instagram another platform you can use to connect with your audience.

Instagram users look for aesthetically pleasing images that are personalized in a way that connects them to larger groups of people. Keeping your account fun, informative and interactive encourages clients and prospects to stay connected. Use these tips to get started.

Profile. Introduce yourself to your audience with a short description of yourself. This is the only place on Instagram you’ll be able to link back to your website.

Hashtags. Hashtags are a collective organizing system on social media using the pound sign (#) before a word or phrase. People can search hashtags to find posts relevant to the content they are looking for. Make sure your hashtags are relevant, and only use a few in the description. To make your post show up in more places, comment on your own post with a list of hashtags to keep from cluttering the caption. Some popular Instagram real estate hashtags to put in the description box include #realtor, #realestate, #realestateagent, #realtorlife, and #realestatelife.

Videos. Record and post videos of property walk-throughs from your phone (up to 60 seconds long). Point out features of particular interest focusing on things that may be hard to see in typical online photos. Use Instagram’s Live Video function to make important announcements or provide insider information that would otherwise be inaccessible. Caution: live videos are not stored and will be removed the moment the broadcast ends.

Instagram Stories. Your story allows for a collection of photos or videos to be stored in sequential order for easier viewing. Use your story to string together pictures and video clips of properties that would otherwise clog up news feeds. These disappear in 24 hours. Think of story clips as information that would be of special interest to your clients who are on the lookout for your updates already.

Comments. Interact directly with your audience in the comments. To respond back to a client, use @username to tag that user. Keep up with your notifications, so you don’t miss opportunities to connect with people who are using Instagram to communicate with you.

Chat. Send text or photos over chat in private messages to clients you are already connected with. This allows for a certain amount of privacy between Realtor® and client.

Tags. Using @username in a photo or video description will automatically alert an organization, company or client that they have been referenced in your post. Use tags to give a “shout out” to various industry players including designers, landscapers, manufacturers, or contractors. Tags will put your post in front of a wider, relevant audience and help build relationships with more people in the housing industry.

9 Reasons Print Newsletters Work

Print media is not dead! Especially print that is personal, colorful and delivered right to a mailbox. In fact, 67 percent of people report that physical mail is more personal than electronic, and 55 percent say they look forward to getting their mail every day, according to a 2015 Compu-Mail report.

So why choose print newsletters as a form of marketing? It's easy:

  • Print materials are saved much longer than emails. They have better retention rates in households and increased chances of being read by others in the home.
  • Print newsletters are not restricted to electronic file size like enewsletters. More images can be added allowing more freedom and creativity to be shown.
  • Print materials can be more appealing to the eye immediately. When a well-designed, colorful piece of mail shows up in a mailbox, it’s hard not to look. When it shows up as a black-and-white subject line in an email inbox, it’s easy to ignore.
  • Physical mail gets delivered whereas enewsletters might be deleted instantly, put in spam folders or get blocked by the email provider.
  • Print newsletters are more personal. People like seeing their name on a piece of mail. Note: Be careful to double-check the spelling of your clients’ names. Nothing will turn them off faster than getting their name wrong.
  • Print materials are generally considered to be more legitimate or trustworthy. This is found to be true for all age groups.
  • Think people over 65 are the only ones reading physical mail? Not true! In 2016, a study from InfoTrends reported that millennials are the most likely to read physical mail. Further, 92 percent of millennials indicated that they are influenced in purchasing decisions based on direct marketing rather than email.
  • Print materials send a message that companies care about their clients. When surveyed, people responded saying that personalized print materials are more strongly received than email because they acknowledge that companies spend their own time and money to design and send out physical mailings.
  • Print media does not mean electronic media is out. Add URLs or social media logos to advertise an online presence. QR codes are also an option and can be used to link to websites, social media sites, or other online information.

Personal marketing through print media is anything but dead! It’s thriving and well-established. When considering how to best market to prospects and clients, print newsletters truly are a proven success.