Re-posted from http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2017/06/rules-for-hiring-high-quality-photographer [Editor’s Note: Need a photographer? Give us a call! We’ve got a recommendation!] Don’t let poor listing photos or restrictive copyright terms stymie your marketing efforts. Here’s what to look for in the right photographer for your real estate business. JUNE 2017 | BY ERICA CHRISTOFFER Fourteen of the last 15 homes Erika Villegas has sold went under contract within 10 days. One of them was previously listed by another agent and sat on the market for nine months at $199,000. When Villegas, SFR, a sales associate with ERA Mi Casa Real Estate in Chicago, relisted the property for $209,000 in May, it sold in five days. What made the difference, she says, was the photography. While the first agent put crooked photos taken with a cell phone of the home online, Villegas used a professional photographer. “People are looking online first and foremost,” Villegas says. “They’re seeing these homes and then contacting their agent to request showings. We have to approach marketing from that perspective.” Finding the right photographer for your listings can be a daunting task, especially if you’re a new agent or have had negative experiences in the past. But professional photography can make all the difference in the world to you and your clients. Learn how other real estate pros identified the right photographer for the job and what qualities to look for when it comes to photography services, image rights, and costs. Choose someone who’s familiar with real estate. Villegas says she chose her photographer, Tony Escareno, director of photography at 360 Media Services in Chicago, because he understands the business: His wife is a real estate agent. So, he’s willing to work around an atypical schedule. “He’s not a ‘this is how we do things’ kind of person,” Villegas says, adding that Escareno is open to taking creative, nontraditional listing photos. She adds his photography to Canva and Xpressdocstemplates to create printed marketing materials. “People have been surprised by his work.” You might find photographers with specific qualifications you seek at networking events. Nico Hohman, broker-owner of Hohman Homes in Tampa, Fla., met his photographer, Sean Febre, at a local Chamber of Commerce event. Hohman says he appreciates that Febre, owner of central Florida–based photo and video marketing firm Febre Frameworks, is also a young entrepreneur. Even more appealing is that Febre’s company, which grew from a two-person team to 20 employees in 10 months, focuses exclusively on real estate and isn’t dabbling in other types of photography. Febre’s photography packages start at $100 and increase based on the square footage of a home; virtual tours cost $50; and video walkthroughs are $150. Pay attention to their...

Read More

Re-posted from http://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/top-10-tips-for-selling-your-home-during-the-holidays Attract homebuyers even during the holidays with these useful tips. The holiday season from November through January is often considered the worst time to put a home on the market. While the thought of selling your home during the winter months may dampen your holiday spirit, the season does have its advantages: holiday buyers tend to be more serious and competition is less fierce with fewer homes being actively marketed. First, decide if you really need to sell. Really. Once you’ve committed to the challenge, don your gay apparel and follow these tips from FrontDoor. Deck the halls, but don’t go overboard. Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes. Hire a reliable real estate agent. That means someone who will work hard for you and won’t disappear during Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend a listing agent who will go above and beyond to get your home sold. This will ease your stress and give you more time to enjoy the season. Seek out motivated buyers. Anyone house hunting during the holidays must have a good reason for doing so. Work with your agent to target buyers on a deadline, including people relocating for jobs in your area, investors on tax deadlines, college students and staff, and military personnel, if you live near a military base. Price it to sell. No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions, many real estate agents advise sellers to slash their prices before putting a home on the market. Make curb appeal a top priority. When autumn rolls around and the trees start to lose their leaves, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of snow, ice and leaves. Take top-notch real estate photos. When the weather outside is frightful, homebuyers are likely to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing listings on the Internet. Make a good first impression by offering lots of flattering, high-quality photos of your home. If possible, have a summer or spring photo...

Read More

Re-posted from https://www.moneytips.com/top-5-reasons-to-buy-a-home-during-the-holidays Why it Makes Sense to Buy a Home at Year’s End Few people like to uproot their family and go through the stresses of home buying and moving during the holidays, but for those who do not mind, the holiday season may provide home buying bargains. Here are a few of the reasons why. Less Market Activity – Lots of family, school, and work activities, combined with the weather in many locations, lead to fewer real estate transactions over the holidays. Since fewer people overall are looking to buy houses, you will have less competition for your preferred house – and this gives you leverage. Holiday home sellers often have to adjust their price downward or make other concessions if they want to sell. Keep this in mind as you search for homes. Bargains may be available, and listed prices may be more open to negotiation. Motivated Sellers – People who are selling their homes over the holidays often have great incentive to sell, such as an upcoming job relocation. If a house has already been on the market for some time, that incentive is multiplied. You may be able to use this urgency to your advantage (assuming you are not in a similarly urgent need to buy). Negotiate fairly but firmly with sellers and you should be able to extract a lower price and/or other concessions like paying part of the closing costs. Potential Tax Advantages – If you itemize your taxes, you can deduct any points you paid upon closing, as well as property taxes and mortgage interest. Whether it is to your advantage to buy before or after year’s end depends on factors such as how many other deductions you have this year and expect to have next year. It is best to consult with a tax professional before purchase. Even though you do not want to make a decision on a home purchase strictly for tax reasons, it could be to your benefit to close before the end of the year. Better Interest Rates – Within the general trend of interest rates, there is often a cyclical trend of lower interest rates during the holidays – not from the generosity of lenders but due to limited demand forcing greater competition among lenders. There are plenty of factors that can obscure or swamp this cycle, but in general, you should see preferable interest rates around the holidays compared to the times immediately before or after. Faster Closings – Generally, all parties involved have incentive to complete transactions toward the end of the year. Lenders want to close their books, real estate agents want to receive their commissions before the year closes, sellers want to move on to their...

Read More