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Real Estate Mistakes

October 21, 2014

Importance of REALTOR Safety

self defense 300x199 Importance of REALTOR Safety Being a real estate agent can definitely be a difficult job at times. From managing several buyer and seller clients at once, to tracking paperwork and juggling upcoming closings. But he thought that your real estate career can present you with some dangerous situations, hardly ever enters your mind. Some scary stuff in the news lately is driving home the fact that Realtor safety should become a priority.

Realtor safety concerns are nothing new. Several years ago, when I worked in the front office for a major real estate company, the company had decided to offer self defense classes to their agents which some thought was silly. Since the subject came up, my broker then told me this story:

She was working with these first-time buyers, showing them several properties on the weekends over a few weeks. One Saturday morning, she was setting up a few showing appointments for the day, and called one particular owner-occupied home where a pleasant gentleman answered. He said it was the requested appointment was fine and he would make sure to be out of the home.  

Since this was the first appointment of the day, she decided to get to the property ahead of her clients to preview it herself, open up curtains, turn on lights, etc. When she unlocked and opened the door, about 10 feet in front of her was a man sitting in a chair with a shotgun in his lap, starting straight at her. She quickly apologized for disturbing him, backed away, closed the door, and got in her car. She had her clients meet her at the next property instead.

Now that scary situation turned out to be ok for my former boss, as she was unharmed. But it has stuck in her memory and has always taken extra safety measures ever since.

The news tell us that some agents have not been so lucky.

Last year, two Realtors were found murdered in separate incidents, one found shot in a vacant home he was showing, and one found in burning home.

Back in April, an Iowa Realtor was found murdered at an at a model home open house.

In July, a Tennessee agent was attacked and robbed during a showing appointment.

Just last month, an Oregon broker was targeted in his office and shot by a revenge seeking gunman.

A few weeks ago, northern Ohio agents were warned that a man was calling female agents for evening showing appointments, to possibly lure them into vacant homes and sexually assault them.

The sad list goes on.

Real estate can be a risky industry. Agents can often find themselves traveling alone, meeting with and showing properties to people that they don’t really know well or at all. There’s worries that violence against Realtors is on the rise. And it is not just women that are victimized. (check out his report)

What can you do to keep yourself safe? Though past violent incidents don’t always have a common thread, and there is no way to prevent every crime, agents should certainly take any step necessary to protect themselves.

  • Take a self defense or martial arts class.
  • Google new prospects prior to initial meetings to sniff out anything fishy if you can.
  • Meet them for the first time in a public place, such as your office during business hours.
  • Call or text  someone to let them know where you’ll be and who you’ll be with showing properties.
  • Use a tool such as Moby, which is a mobile app  for your smartphone that can alert chosen contacts with a need for assistance and also tracks your location. And it’s FREE!

Do what you can to increase your awareness and fine tune your gut instincts. Please stay safe out there!

 Importance of REALTOR Safety

 Importance of REALTOR Safety Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing – There Is No Magic Bullet

bullseye 300x200 Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing   There Is No Magic BulletOld school vs. the new school. Traditional marketing methods vs. Social media marketing. Ways of the past vs. the wave of the future. Around the online real estate world, a small debate was going on about the different schools of thought on  real estate marketing methods such as social media and online marketing, and the more traditional routes such as cold calling, door knocking, and direct mail.

Some have quickly taken one side over the other, dismissing the validity of the other point. The “old school” folks cheer on the statement that social media is a total waste of time. The “new school” people think the ones who deny the potential of social media are dinosaurs of the industry that should step aside. I think the the bigger picture here in this debate is that a balanced approach using both old and new methods is necessary to succeed in this market.

Is social media a complete waste of time?  I don’t certainly think so. If you know me, you know that I am a big social media fan, and use things like Facebook and Twitter quite often personally and for my business. I have even signed new clients that I’ve met via social media.

Social networking can certainly have potential to be a time waster, with the virtual farms, virtual mafia, and the penchant to announce what one had for breakfast. Certainly if you spend too much of your time living on Facebook and Twitter, you are not going to get much done in general, or be able to effectively work with your clients. But if you handle your social networking activities correctly (strategically), you can get potentially attract new business through your social media engagement.

It is also necessary to have the right mindset and expectation about the potential business social media marketing can bring you. Connections that you attract through social media can take a long time for them to convert to actual business, much like other internet leads. But if you look at the bigger picture, social networks are a great tool to foster new relationships with prospects by engaging with them and repeatedly be out in front of them.

Through some of the more traditional methods of cold calling, and door knocking, most of the “old school” gurus direct agents to go through their database, sphere or lists looking for buyers and sellers that are ready to make their move RIGHT NOW. And then they’ll instruct them to cross the prospect off the list and move on the the next if the are not ready to do business in the immediate. Where this differs from social media marketing is that you are spending little time incubating those warm or cold leads, and going directly for the hot ones. While this approach may be successful for some, it is not for everyone, and even some prospects find this type of communication a total turn off (Hello Gen Y?).

Both social media marketing and more traditional prospecting methods both have their place in today’s marketing plans.  Cold calling for hot leads can help you generate business that is ready to move right now, while social media marketing can help fill that pipeline of incoming leads that can eventually warm up to actual business too. I believe a balanced approach in your marketing plan is best.

There is no one  marketing method that is the magic bullet. But use any combination of them with the right approach and mindset, and they will bring you new business.

What side of the debate do you stand on? Or what marketing methods have yielded the best results for you? I want to hear from you, so please comment below!

 Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing   There Is No Magic Bullet

 Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing   There Is No Magic BulletMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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You’re Doing it Wrong

wrong way 300x199 Youre Doing it WrongAre you frustrated with not getting a steady stream of quality prospects from your real estate website? Suffering from too many visitors leaving your website and never coming back?  If you are having a tough time getting new leads and visitors to sign up for your list and contact you, take a long hard look at your site.  Chances are, you are probably doing it wrong.

You Are Doing It Wrong if…

1.   Your site is a stale static site that does not have regularly updated content like a blog.

  • If you are not updating your site regularly with new content, like blogging, your site stays stale, uninteresting and totally irrelevant. And blogging doesn’t have to be strictly written articles. You can regularly post videos and pictures relevant to your market area that will provide content that people will come back to see.

2.   You have pictures of palm trees and beaches all over your header and pages, but your local market is in Denver Colorado.

  • If your site does not reflect you and your local market, what is the point? How would anyone know if you are the local market expert when your site displays a complete disconnect?

3.   You have a forced sign-up immediately just to be able to start a property search or to view IDX listings.

  • I know this is a common tactic to garner leads, so some may disagree with me here. But from my own experience as a consumer… when I am looking for homes and you make me sign up just to search or view them, I will bounce out of there and go where I can view homes unimpeded. It’s a personal annoyance of mine, but I know many consumers share the same experience.

4.   It is too hard to find the top THREE things visitors to your site want most: Home Search, “What is my home worth”, “How is the Market”

  • If those top three things are not above the fold or in a most obvious place on your site for buyers and sellers to find, you are missing the mark. Your site will lose credibility with visitors right away if they have to search too hard to find the information they want the most. So they will bounce out and find it elsewhere.

5.   Your website is all about you and nothing much about your local market and what your visitors want (see the top 3 items above).

  • Truth is, consumers don’t much care about the agents when they start their home search. When you go car shopping, do you first start by searching for the best car salesman you can find? My guess is that you don’t. The same goes for home buyers. They start searching for HOMES not for Realtors. So drop the ego and make sure your site is geared towards the consumer. Answer the question, “What’s in it for them?”.

6.   You’re not offering buyers and sellers something of actual value to them for signing up for your list or updates.

  • Those cheesy, canned “free reports” provided by template sites don’t count. (does anybody really sign up for those?) Try something like the Market Snapshot system, a special buyers guide, offer IDX listings to their inbox, or free foreclosure lists.

7.   Your site has no links or way to connect with you on social media.

  • Social media gives web visitors the opportunity to observe your activity, a bit of your personality, and build up that trust factor over time. And since many visitors are not usually ready right then to make contact with you, provide them links to your Facebook business page or Twitter feed for them to get to know you from a distance. This is especially appealing to Gen Y’ers since they are way more likely to reach out via Facebook than pick up the phone or send an email.

8.   There’s no clear call to action on your site.

  • If you don’t have clear consistent calls to action to tell your users what you want them to do with the information  you provide them, you’re doing it wrong. Tell them to call or email you for more info. Tell them to leave you a comment about their own experiences or questions. Tell them to sign up on your form to receive market reports on recent solds in the area.

9.   You have no contact forms on your site for visitors to actually contact you when they are ready.

  • Only having your phone number or links to email you may be hurting your site’s ability to capture leads. Having no (or very few) contact forms on your site, you’re not making it easy for visitors. It can be especially difficult for those who primarily use a web based email client like gmail or they happen to be at work. In fact, it is important to have some sort of contact form on every page. Make it easy on your users to contact you!

10.  You say you are different from the rest, yet you are using a templated website that looks identical to 50,000 other agents’ sites.

  • Using a template site that is provided to you by your broker or from from some other web vendor, does you no favors. Those template sites hardly reflect your local market or your own brand and you can get easily lost in the shuffle. How can you stand out from the rest if your site looks exactly the same as the next guy and does nothing to set you apart.

If you took a good look at your site and saw that your are doing one, all or any combination of the above, it is probably time for a new approach. Your website should be your hub, your engine for delivering exactly what consumers want when they search for real estate info. If you are not making it easy, not making it all about them, you are losing them. Stop doing it wrong.

Consider utilizing a Real Estate Virtual Assistant to help you do it right.

Seen other ways people are doing it wrong?  Have any questions on how to do it right?  We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below and let us know.

 Youre Doing it Wrong

 Youre Doing it WrongMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Choose Your Social Media Friends Carefully

networking 300x200 Choose Your Social Media Friends CarefullySo there’s enough talk about Social Media being the latest and greatest marketing tool and why it’s necessary to have in your marketing arsenal. It’s starting to be overkill, so I’m sure by now you are getting the idea.  I want to dig in a little deeper and to talk about adding “friends” and connections that can be beneficial to your overall marketing strategy.

So you’ve set up your social media profiles, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts. Now what? Now it’s time to add your “friends”. You can accomplish very little in social media without friends, or connections. Who is going to see your posts, videos, or updates if you are not connected to anyone? It’s like shouting out to an empty room.

The great place to start out is by adding your own family, your friends, current and past clients that you regularly keep in touch with. But it is a good idea to be strategic about the kinds of friends and connections you make on your social networks. You want to make connections with people that will bring you business or have the potential to bring you business. And though this may be controversial to some, I am of the opinion that agents should not be spending too much of their social media time connecting with just a bunch of other real estate agents.

When some agents just start out in their social networks, they get caught in the trap of spending a lot of time adding, and friending only other agents, and ignoring the potential client base they can find from their sphere of influence and local area. Networking primarily with other agents may be fun, may generate an occasional referral, but other agents are not the people that a majority of your business will come from. In some cases, they are your direct competition (but not always). You want to connect with real potential sellers and buyers in your area, people that would want to use your services.

Say you opened a new business selling widgets. You wouldn’t necessarily want to connect primarily with other makers of the same widgets. You want to connect with people that are interested in buying your widgets. You want to get front of mind awareness with THOSE people because they are the meat and potatoes of your business.

Now I am not saying that you should ignore and not connect and network other agents on social media completely. You should spend some of your time networking with other agents. You can find some great agents out there to inspire you, to learn from, to joke with, commiserate with. Heck, in my own business, I network with a ton of other Virtual Assistants on Facebook, Twitter, etc. But it is a good idea to balance it out and strategically build your friends lists with clients and those potential buyers and sellers.

So choose your friends and connections on your social networks carefully. Be sure to spend your time networking with a good mix of potential business and other agents. And don’t forget to provide that great content! Entice people to network with you. Provide them great information in a friendly way. Do that, and you will eventually have people clamoring to be connected to YOU.

 Choose Your Social Media Friends Carefully

 Choose Your Social Media Friends CarefullyMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Are You Available 24/7/365?

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Are you available to your clients 24/7/365? Have you tried but burned out? Balance in business and life is a good thing. I run into this in my own business. I’ve had past clients think that because their business is 24/7, mine should be too. No thanks! It really is a good idea to set regular business hours and to set good boundries with your clients.
This is a great post on this from Active Rain. Now go read it!

Posted via email from megbarberva’s posterous

 Are You  Available 24/7/365?

 Are You  Available 24/7/365?Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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The Touch Stone: How Hunting “Hot” Leads Is Bad For Business

media httpactiverainc IFkFv.jpg.scaled500 The Touch Stone: How Hunting Hot Leads Is Bad For Business

This post from Active Rain is a fantastic read. Internet leads have a tendency to take a long time to convert. You need to incubate them and create front of mind awareness for a quite awhile before they are ready to make their move. Many agents give up on these “cool” or slightly warm leads and chase after only the “hot” ones. Have patience and be consistent in your marketing efforts. Go read this great post!

Posted via email from megbarberva’s posterous

 The Touch Stone: How Hunting Hot Leads Is Bad For Business

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Three Reasons You Can’t Afford That High Maintenance Client

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I know in real estate you run into the “high-maintenance” client probably more often than most businesses. Today I stumbled upon this great post via Twitter – Three Reasons You Can’t Afford That High Maintenance Client. It is a fantastic read and something you should really take to heart. As bad as you think you “need” the money and take on any listing that comes your way no matter how hard headed the seller is on that way-too-high price, it ends up costing more of your time, sanity and money in the end. Click on the above link below the photo and check it out.

Posted via web from megbarberva’s posterous

 Three Reasons You Can’t Afford That High Maintenance Client

 Three Reasons You Can’t Afford That High Maintenance ClientMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Success Simplified – The FIX or Fire It Method

media httpagentgenius drlvm.jpg.scaled500 Success Simplified – The FIX or Fire It Method

Excellent post coming straight out of Agent Genius that you must check out. Re-evaluate what is going on in your business model, your life, etc, then Fix it or Fire it and move on! AG rocks!

Posted via web from megbarberva’s posterous

 Success Simplified – The FIX or Fire It Method

 Success Simplified – The FIX or Fire It MethodMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Not a Good Realtor – A little funny from YouTube

Gave me a good laugh for today. icon smile Not a Good Realtor   A little funny from YouTube

Posted via web from megbarberva’s posterous

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Reasons To NOT Use Your Own Name As Your Domain

picture2 300x197 Reasons To NOT Use Your Own Name As Your DomainReal estate websites have become one of the mainstays of a Realtor’s marketing plan. And one of the first things one needs when starting a new real estate website is a great domain name. A common thing that I notice is that many agents decide to choose their own name as their domain name. But what I don’t think many agents realize, is that choosing their own name as a domain, is a big mistake. Picking your own name as a domain is easy, but is it right? From one of my favorite real estate marketing books, Real Estate Rainmaker Guide to Online Marketing, author Dan Gooder Richard mentions as one of the "New Rules" – Your brand should never be your name. Let’s think about the big picture here. When building an internet presence or an overall marketing presence, you are building a brand.  Building your brand can take a significant amount of time an money to promote and make successful. Well after a time running a successful real estate business, someday you may wish to retire. Can you see where I am going here yet? Essentially you want a brand that is attractive and "saleable" to potential buyers that may want to take on your business once you decide to retire. And if your brand is something that can be easily transferred to a new buyer, that obviously makes it worth a lot more money. Well if you are using your name as your brand, or as your domain name, how easily transferable or attractive would it be should you decide to sell the business you worked so hard on? I don’t believe many agents haven’t give this much thought when developing thier websites. How attractive would a brand that was by some other person’s name be to you? So how should you go about choosing a great domain name for your site? Take the ego out of it. Your real estate site is not about all about you but about the consumer. Think about the areas you serve and the consumers you want to reach and what they may be interested in. Think of a geographical area or specific property type that you specialize in. Have you already chosen your own name as your domain name? Don’t fret! Landing pages can be your answer! Without having to completely change to a new site or completely change the domain over to something new, you can still use great targeted domain names while still keeping the main website. You can buy several domains like (and these are just for the sake of example) YourTownHomeBuying.com, YourTownCodos.com to target certain property types or market segments, and take them to landing pages that correspond to that item. Same with domains that target certain geographical areas and landing pages in your site to go with. Good luck and happy naming!


Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC,  and runs blogs, The BVAS Connection and The Virtual Perception. Megan has been in a Virtual Assistant for 4+ years and has spent 10+ years doing the “behind-the-scenes” work in the real estate industry assisting agents with their real estate marketing and transaction needs.

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