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1.   The Lane Realty Advantage     
2.  
How to Pick the Right Agent
  2.1 Picking an Agent
  2.2 What Realtors (and Sellers) Should Know
About Web Sites
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top2.1 Picking an Agent

What are the most important factors to consider when picking a listing agent?

Listing and selling a home is hard work. It can also be stressful. That's why picking the right agent to handle your home sale can make the difference between a mildly disruptive experience and a hair-raising nightmare.

Sellers who don't already have an agent often interview several agents before selecting one to represent them in their home sale. Interviewing agents can be enlightening, but it can also be confusing. How do you know who to trust?

Credibility is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting an agent. A trustworthy agent is one you can count on to do the job and do it well. He or she is sensitive to other's needs and does not act purely out of self-interest. He or she is committed to giving quality service. A trustworthy agent is reliable, steady and dependable. He or she is open and innovative, never dogmatic or rigid.

One of the best ways to find such an agent is to ask for recommendations from acquaintances that sold recently. If you're interviewing agents who weren't referred to you, be sure to ask for recommendations.

The most informative recommendations come from an agent's most recent clients. Ask for their names and phone numbers. Find out what these sellers liked about working with the agent and if they would hire him or her again. Ask if there was anything they didn't like about the agent's work habits or ethics. Be sure to find out how the agent got along with the other parties in the transaction.

When you list your home for sale with an agent, that agent will represent you in dealings with the numerous players involved in the transaction: the buyers, solicitors, building inspectors and lenders, to name a few. Select an agent who works well with everyone. Avoid agents with over-inflated egos or other personality disorders. A successful real estate transaction depends on good communication between all the parties involved.

In addition to integrity and good communication skills, you want an agent with years of experience and a good track record of selling homes in your area. An agent should have enough time to give you the attention you deserve.

Good listing agents help sellers get their homes ready for sale. They suggest fix-up for sale work and they know tradespeople who can do the work. They advise you on which inspections to order before marketing your home. In addition to checking out the agent, find out about the agent's company. Does it have a good reputation? Can the company provide maximum exposure for your property?

FIRST-TIME TIP: Although it's tempting to list with the agent who tells you that he or she can sell your home for the highest price, this shouldn't be the overriding consideration. Pricing residential real estate is not an exact science. In most cases, there's a range of market value for a home.

It's unethical for an agent to knowingly overstate a property's value in order to get a listing. But, there are unscrupulous agents who will do just that. If you pick such an agent, you may be badgered for price reductions when the buyers don't materialise.

THE CLOSING: If you're considering working with an agent who came in low on the price, ask him or her how high he or she would feel comfortable going on the price. An ethical agent would decline a listing if he or she thought it would be impossible to give the property a good marketing effort because of a high list price.

- By Dian Hymer http://www.inman.com/ © Inman News Features.

top2.2 What Realtors (and Sellers) Should Know About Web Sites

What Realtors Should Know About Web Sites

Achieving real estate success on the Internet takes more than just having a Web site. To be truly successful a real-estate Web site must be well designed, consistently marketed, professionally analysed and frequently updated. It is not the Internet medium that gives a Web site power. It is strategic and savvy development, execution and promotion that makes the difference.

Using a Web site strategically begins with understanding that Web sites are not one-dimensional. A Web site is a versatile tool that can meet many goals and objectives. For a beginning real estate agent a Web site is especially useful in giving a prestigious, professional well-established image. A Web site is also an excellent way to paint a portrait of an agent and his or her approach to real estate. It should be strategically designed and written to reflect an agent's style whether it be flashy, folksy, strictly business or best-friend friendly.

The Web site is also excellent tool for real estate sales presentations. It allows visitors a virtual tour of properties, including colourful pictures of homes, tours of interiors and exteriors and highlights on special features. Moreover with the current ability to use panoramic 360 degree images, a prospect can literally feel as if they are inside a home and turning around in a room. For those real estate agents catering to a wealthy clientele, the use of video and sound technology can even be cost-effective. Regardless of how simple or sophisticated, an Internet Web site definitely advances the typical real estate process of exchanging phone calls, sending faxes and using MLS (Multiple Listing Service) into a colourful personal interactive approach.

A Web site is most commonly used by real estate agents to develop new qualified leads. The key here is marketing. Sometimes it seems that marketing is magic. It isn't, even on the Internet. It is a strategic, targeted campaign designed to achieve specific results. Particularly in the real estate industry where there is a great deal of competition, it is absolutely essential to have the marketing basics in place on and off the Internet.

The most important rule of Web site marketing is proper search engine registration. What good is a Web site if no-one can find it? Unfortunately, however, the registration process, is not as easy as it sounds. There are more than 1000 search engines, each with their own idiosyncrasies and bureaucratic hoops. To generate lots of "blind" Internet leads real estate agents must make sure a Web site developer knows the ropes of search engine registration.

Search engine registration is particularly important as a growing number of people use the Internet to help them relocate. Their relocation exploration includes finding a real estate agent whom they can trust to help them get settled in a new home. One feature that will help a residential real estate agent's Web site become more successful for relocating families is the inclusion of links to pertinent local resources. For example, links to various school districts' Web sites can be very helpful for a buyer. Information about city life or weather or maps can all be important information links for people buying or selling homes. In this way, a real estate Web site becomes an important resource centre.

A real estate Web site is increasingly effective in generating leads when used with a well coordinated off-line promotional campaign. Real estate agents should announce their Web site with a press release to the local paper and mailer to all the potential and existing clients. It is also imperative that all printed material include a Web site and e-mail address. Whether it is a business card, brochure, letterhead, notepad, pen, on-hold message, or any type of radio or television advertising, never underestimate the power of Web site address exposure. Moreover, be sure to check your e-mail frequently and respond immediately. Some people simply prefer e-mail.

In many ways, a well-designed, technologically sophisticated Web site enables the Internet medium to be interactive computer commercial. These powerful sites are known by their strong themes, dramatic graphics, advanced technology, creative copy-writing, interactivity, and useful links. These sites entice visitors to explore different avenues within the Web site, encourages them to stay, and excites them enough to return to the site again.

Enticing visitors back to a Web site is often as important as getting them there initially. Analyse a Web site frequently to make sure it is receiving the proper amount of traffic and achieving all its goals and objectives. In addition to advertising the Web site frequent updates, contests, on-line newsletters, as well as changing the theme or design or text of your Web site are all be ways to encourage prospects to return. You can even use e-mail to send out a press release notifying prospects and clients of changes to your site

A Web site can be a powerful sales tool for real estate agents. All it takes is a savvy experienced Web site developer and marketer and a real estate agent who knows how to close a deal.

Written by Lori Barber Thomas http://www.agentnews.com/ © Real Times.

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Last updated 3 January, 2009