About Stephanie Sievers

Stephanie Sievers is Senior Editor for the Illinois REALTORS®.

Leigh Brown: Set your real estate business apart by being consumer centric

Leigh Brown

Consumers want information on the real estate market and they are looking for REALTORS® who really connect with them and can offer them the personal touch and community expertise they won’t find scrolling through online sites, says REALTOR® and trainer Leigh Brown, the opening session speaker at the Illinois REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Collinsville.

Many consumers may not be aware of the level of professional expertise REALTORS® bring to the home buying and selling process. Successful agents are those who are consumer centric and focus their energy on providing the information and service that today’s clients want, said Brown in her session, “How to Defeat External Threats.”

Brown shared a few tips to help REALTORS® put consumers first:

  • Contact clients from your five most recent closings and ask them for real feedback on the transaction. Finding out what they liked and disliked can help REALTORS® fine-tune their efforts.
  • Be quick to respond when prospective clients contact you. Don’t let phone or email inquiries languish. Consumers will move on to a more responsive agent.
  • If you pay for an email drip campaign program, don’t rely on the stock outgoing message. Edit it to reflect your own “voice.”
  • Present a professional image whether it is in the way you dress (always slightly above your marketplace) or the way you answer your phone (always mentioning your name, your company and the fact that you are a REALTOR®.)
  • Professional listing photos are a must. Don’t skimp and think you can get by snapping photos with your phone.
  • Remember that REALTORS® offer something that online listing sites can’t – personal knowledge and expertise about the local market, community and everything both have to offer.

Leigh Brown is a partner at RE/MAX Executive Realty in North Carolina and the broker-manager of its Concord office. She is the owner of Leigh Brown Instruction and is a sought after industry speaker.

Morning Minute: More U.S. homeowners are gaining equity in their homes

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The home equity picture is improving for more homeowners as the number of seriously underwater properties fell 1.2 million in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago, according to the Q1 2017 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report from ATTOM Data Solutions.

During the same time, the number of equity rich properties (those where the combined loan amount is 50 percent less than the estimated value) climbed by 1.4 million since last year. Illinois still ranks among the states with the highest share of seriously underwater properties, coming in third with 16.5 percent. Read more from RealtyTrac.

In other headlines:

Area home sales down 13.2 percent in April – State Journal-Register

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market – Keeping Current Matters blog

7 Questions to Ask at an Open House That Uncover the Truth, Warts and All – Realtor.com

Morning Minute: Home improvement projects that will boost your home’s value

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Make the most of your remodeling efforts by focusing on the improvement projects that will bring you the best return on your investment. The HouseLogic article, “Home Remodeling: 6 Improvements to Increase Home Value,” outlines six projects that can make a difference including replacing your front door, upgrading your kitchen, replacing your garage door and more. Read more from HouseLogic.

In other headlines:

How to Sell a House: 4 New Rules That Can Make or Break a Sale – Realtor.com

New-Home Prices Surge: The Real Reason – Forbes (via NAR Daily Real Estate News)

Morning Minute: NAR’s Lawrence Yun weighs in on strong jobs report

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that the nation’s employers added 211,000 new jobs in April and unemployment fell to 4.4 percent, the lowest levels in nearly a decade, ABC News reports.

In a statement, National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the positive jobs report bodes well for the economic outlook.

“This good jobs report for April should dispel any notion of a potential economic recession. Moreover, the continuing low levels of people filing for unemployment checks, as well as the high numbers of job openings, do point towards further job additions in upcoming months. The Federal Reserve will surely raise interest rates two more times before the year ends. The rate hikes are due to continuous improvement in economic conditions,” Yun said.

In other headlines:

6 Surprising Revelations You’ll Have Purging Your Stuff Before You Move – Realtor.com

10 Unexpected Ways Paint Can Reboot Your Curb Appeal – HouseLogic

CFPB begins process to review the mortgage servicing rule – HousingWire

Morning Minute: Mortgage rates remain steady this week, says Freddie Mac

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Mortgage rates held steady this week with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.02 percent, down slightly from 4.03 percent last week. The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage remained the same at 3.27 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Sean Becketti, chief economist for Freddie Mac said, “The 10-year Treasury yield remained relatively flat this week, as did the 30-year mortgage rate which fell 1 basis point to 4.02 percent. Markets have been erring on the side of caution following a weak advance estimate for first-quarter GDP and the FOMC’s broadly expected decision to leave rates unchanged.”

Read today’s full news release from Freddie Mac.

In other headlines:

What Realtors® are saying about the Housing Market in March 2017… – NAR Economists’ Outlook

The Force Is Strong in These 4 ‘Star Wars’-Themed Bedrooms – Realtor.com

How to find the perfect real estate agent, in 4 steps – Business Insider