Fun ice breakers at our Windermere RMS class with @nik_nik

Well the last few days was awesome. Windermere’s 40th Anniversary Symposium was heald at the Seattle Sheraton.

There many great classes to chose from. I have to say however that there was one class that really shined. This class had really great agents attending and one particular instructor that started one of the mornings off with a row row row your boat rap. This was one of the better ice breakers that I have seen.

Thanks Nicole Nicolay for generating so much positive energy.

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 8:43 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Interesting stuff, Living, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Just for fun!

This post is  about the fun we have here at Windermere Services. It is great when you come to work every day and love what you do, but it is even better when you have fun with other great  individuals.

Every year we play a Services softball game. From the beginning I have been one of the coaches, coaching the (Boston Tubesox) and then Cass Herrin has been the other Coach, coaching (The Sock Monkeys). We divide up the offices and play a fun softball game at the UW womens field followed by a BBQ. We even have a huge trophy that has the wins and losses for each year we play the game. I just thought I would share some of the pics form the game this year. Enjoy!

Posted on August 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Living, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

The person in the room with the most information wins.

A recent stat I saw a few days ago stated that 73% of Realtors make most of their income from non real estate work. Scary! What if you walked into a coffee shop and the person making your latte was your doctor? I don’t know about you, but that would not instill very much confidence in me about the skill set of my doctor. I know I’m being a bit flip but I really want to drive a point home.

Buying or selling a home today is not easy. Buyers and Sellers want to hire a professional to help them with this process. How professional are you? Are you coming to the table with the most information?

Here are some great sites that can really help you to put together information that will help a seller better understand the market they are about to list a property in, and info to help a buyer understand what their new investment might do as far as appreciation is concerned.

PMI-US

Keep in mind these guys have money on the line when it comes to mortgage insurance. Their research on the future of certain markets tends to be very accurate.

Housing Predictor

Housing Predictor provides independent real estate market forecasts on home prices and mortgage rates for more than 230 cities in all 50 U.S. states, plus news and analysis on the housing market.

FHFA

The Act gave FHFA the authorities necessary to oversee vital components of our country’s secondary mortgage markets – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

City Data

They have collected and analyzed data from numerous sources to create as complete and interesting profiles of all U.S. cities as they could.  They have over 74,000 city photos not found anywhere else, graphs of latest real estate prices and sales trends, recent home sales, home value estimator, hundreds of thousands of maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment…), geographical data, state profiles, crime data, registered sex offenders, cost of living, housing, religions, businesses, local news links based on our exclusive technology, birthplaces of famous people, political contributions, city government finances and employment, weather, tornadoes, earthquakes, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, air pollution, latest unemployment data, time zones, water systems and their health and monitoring violations, comparisons to averages, local poverty details, professionally written city guides, car accidents, fires, bridge conditions, cell phone and other towers, mortgage data, business storefront photos, a forum and a social network with 1,000,000 registered members and 18,000,000 posts, blogs, 5,000 user-submitted facts, 27,000 exclusive local business profiles with photos, restaurant inspection results, and more demographics. If you ever need to research any city, zip code, or neighborhood for any reason, from considering a move there to just checking where somebody you know is staying, this is the site for you.

Posted on August 3, 2011 at 11:07 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Real Estate Related, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Blogging does matter.

As Windermere gets ready to launch their new agent.com websites that are based on a wordpress platform it will be a huge opportunity for many of you to think about having a blog. I for one truly believe in blogging. That said there will be many of you that may not think that blogging adds any value to your business. I recently saw this video and Seth hits the nail on the head as to why blogging is important, whether you get many viewers or a small amount of viewers. (It’s important) I really hope you make the most of your windermere.com website and think about using the blogging option.

Posted on August 3, 2011 at 8:07 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Real Estate Related, Technology, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Social Media does not generate business, relationships generate business!

Yep you heard that correctly! I just attended an amazing Windermere Installation taught by Larry Kendall from the Group out of Fort Collins Colorado.  The entire premise of the Ninja program is based around being in the FLOW, and understanding that Real Estate is a CAREER!

I’m always amazed when I talk to groups of Realtors and ask the question. “How many have a facebook page or a Linkedin page or a twitter account?”  Lately almost every hand will go up. Then I ask the question, “How many people interact and engage daily on their various accounts?” Usually 75% if not more of the hands go down.

Here are some numbers that you may not be aware of.

  • 1-2 days is the normal time a customer takes to pick a Realtor.
  • 8-18 months is the time they take investigating the market.
  • 11% of buyers used the same realtor they used previously.
  • 18% of Realtors followed up with customer after closing.
  • 73% Realtors  are making their primary income from a        source other than Real Estate

It is pretty clear that on average the typical Realtor just isn’t in the FLOW. It could be because they don’t see Real Estate as a career.  This article might explain some of the problem.

Not sure about you but I’m not going to use a Doctor that is also a barrista on 4 out of the 7 days a week.

The key to being successful in Real Estate is about having knowledge in the industry, Being trustworthy, and having relationships with your customers that span far beyond the transaction. What Social Media allows you to do is to interact and engage with your customers daily, however remember that the best relationships come from genuine engagement. If all you do is re-post content and drop in from time to time without looking for the opportunities to have face to face interaction then you are wasting your time in the Social Medial world. Remember it isn’t who talks or post the most it is the person that creates value on a consistent basis. Social Media is just another channel that connects you to individuals that you are wanting to establish relationships with. Once a relationship is created then business can happen.

Would love to hear how you are successfully connecting with your client base.

Posted on July 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, customer services, Interesting stuff, Real Estate Related, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Be Smart when using a QR code.

So there seems to be a big buzz these days about QR codes. I’m seeing them pop up all over the place. The idea behind the QR code is great but I’m finding that Realtors aren’t really thinking about the content behind the code.

Let me give you a few examples.

So  you have a website that you love. You just found out that you can now put a QR code on your news letter that you mail out monthly. Great this is going to be so cool!

Ask yourself this question when you scan a QR code. “What device am I using?”  Yep, you got it your using a hand held smart phone in most cases.

So has that great site of yours been mobile optimized? What will your site look like on my Droid when I snap a shot of the QR code? What will the experience be for me? Will I be able to read all your great info?  Will I be able to see great high res pics of the homes you have listed?

Many times web pages look great on a computer screen but transfer them to a mobile device and they look horrible. Many companies today are making sure that they are building mobile optimized solutions so the experience the customer has when they find your QR code will be the best experience on the device they use to view your site.

Here is a good article that talks about some of the points I make in this post. Popular! But are they effective?

BTW Mark has done a good job making sure his site has been mobile optimized.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Technology, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

To what extent do you go to offer great customer services?

When your a real estate professional sometimes your services doesn’t just extend to your customers but what about the customers on the other side?

Recently I sold my home and my home uses oil for heating. The tank for this home is underground and as some of you may or may not know at some point tanks will deteriorate and this can be a huge problem in both clean up and expense.

When I owned the home I made sure I had the PLIA’s Heating Oil Pollution Liability Insurance Program in place. The thing about this program is that it doesn’t transfer from home owner to home owner. What this means is that the new owners must go  in and fill out this form and doing so they now have protection in place should that oil tank have problems.

While taking my name off the oil account I was informed that they had not heard form the new owners and wanted to make sure they knew about the need to complete this form. They also wanted to make sure the new owner continued on with the services contract for the furnace.

What this told me is that the buyer’s Realtor most likely did not inform them of this and so here we have an opportunity. I quickly called my Realtor and he decided to call the other Realtor and pass this information along.

Paying attention to detail like this can set you apart in this business. The level of customer service will not go unnoticed. Also how happy will buyers be knowing that your looking out for their best interest?

Posted on June 8, 2011 at 11:34 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, customer services, Real Estate Related, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Stop and think before you post a listing to your facebook personal page!

Photo courtesy of marriedtothesea.com

So I know there are some of you out there that will read this and then keep posting your listings to facebook and that’s just too bad but hey, how does the saying go? “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make  him think!” or something like that.

I recently read an article from www.mytechopinioin.com called “the art of social listing exposure.” Great article and I highly recommned you read it. Especially the part about terms of agreement with FB.

So when your in the home buying mode how many of you wake up and say to yourself, “I’m going to log into facebook today and look for a home to buy!” My guess is that just doesn’t happen.

Here is my analogy on this topic. What if my neighbor was a geologist and about 3 times a week he would drop off new dirt samples on my doorstep. That would get annoying real quick and I’m sure I would politely ask him to stop. The polite way on facebook to ask someone to stop something is to un-friend them.

Let me share with you my 3 strikes and your out policy. I happen to really get annoyed when i have someone post listings that appear on my wall. If all I ever see from you is listing posts without any other good quality posts that provide value then after the 3rd listing post I’m clicking the un-friend button.

What if that same geologist neighbor did something a bit different. Instead of dropping off dirt samples they instead took time once a week to educate  my kids about how cool volcanoes are or talk about how mountains are formed. There is value in that, and far more interest.

When you post your listing’s you assume that all your friends are looking or know someone that is looking to buy a home. That happens to be a very small percentage of people.

A better way to look at this would be to find something of common interests that may be connected to this new listing of yours that appeals to a much larger audience.

What is so great about the neighborhood this home is in?

What are some of the great amenities that are in walking distance to this home?

If you owned this home how would it stack up as a great investment in say 9 years?

Take a look at the article I mentioned above, they give you some great examples of good and bad ways of posting data.

Remember that Social Media is about being

Real, Relevant, and engaging. If all  you ever talk about is your new listings that gets old real quick and adds little to know value.

If after reading this you still want to post your listings to facebook then do it on a Fan page not a personal page. That way I can still interact with you on  your personal page but it doesn’t clutter up my wall with your listing posts. Also take the advice from the MTO team and get creative so that you aren’t so boring and you generate greater BUZZ!

Posted on May 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, featured-listing, Interesting stuff, Technology, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

A blog vs a website!

As  Windermere solutions gets ready to launch their new agent.com tools set there will be lots of discussion on the topic of blog vs website. 8 years ago a website was a good idea. Today that has shifted especially when it comes to having a website that lives in the world of Real Estate. Today we are seeing a greater need for both living under one URL.

Lets do a comparison between what a website can offer you vs what a blog can do for  you.

The typical website today tends to be very static, techterms.com states that a static website is the following “A static website contains Web pages with fixed content. Each page is coded in HTML and displays the same information to every visitor. Static sites are the most basic type of website and are the easiest to create. Unlike dynamic websites, they do not require any Web programming or database design. A static site can be built by simply creating a few HTML pages and publishing them to a Web server.” Many of the sites I see today are static with the addition of a data driven IDX search tool embedded into the HTML code. This is a bit better but still very uni directional when it comes to interaction with the end user.

A blog on the other hand combined with a dynamic website can  offer  much more.

A blog is interactive and it allows you to have a voice that you get to control while at the same time allow others to contribute to that common voice. Blogs are immediate and if done correctly they build loyalty because then tend to bring together other individuals with common interest.

They are a great way to build content for social media and they give you content that helps to create great conversation.  They can also be a gateway into SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)

Where I tend to see blogs fail is when they do not have a focus and are not offering the reader base value as it relates to the specific topics.  Many times you will see a blog start up but die a slow death because the creator didn’t stick with it. I think the most successful blogs will be very focused, up to date with relevant information with interactive linking off to useful sources of like information.

I have attached some helpful articles that I have read recently that give you some good idea and specifics on the  differences.

Should I change my website into a blog?

Blog vs Website whats the difference?

The online debate blog vs websites?

Posted on April 27, 2011 at 11:59 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Interesting stuff, Real Estate Related, Technology, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Selling a home the right way!

Well inspection is complete and everything looks good. Closing set for 20 days from now and I couldn’t be happier. So what are the take aways from this process I just went through?

1. make sure your working with a skilled Realtor that knows the market your home is in.

2. Listen to what they have to tell you about the value of your home and the things you need to do to the home to present it in it’s best light.

3. Like my Dad use to say “every pot has a lid”.. point is, there is a buyer for your home and it only takes one good buyer to get your home sold.

4. Making sure your Realtor has skills when it comes to negotiation on your behalf. Marketing the home is one thing but then when an offer comes in there are decisions to be made and leaving money on the table is never a good thing.

5. Working with a Realtor without an Ego. Meaning that they work in an office with other highly skilled Realtors and they aren’t afraid to ask for price opinions and will run scenarios by others to make sure they are getting the best outcome for their client.

6. Listen more talk less.  You may think that you know how to sell your home but believe me there are more ways to do it wrong then there are to do it right.

7. After your Realtor has worked hard on your behalf show your appreciation by, recommending them on sites like Yelp, and Linkedin, and Zillow. Refer your friends to your Realtor it is the best compliment you can give to them.

Posted on April 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Real Estate Related, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,