NewsRecent news, business resources and press releases.
This week Sherrie Shaw with Universal Title shared with us the best ways to get a review and how to share them with others.
Reviews are a great way to stand out in a crowd. The sad truth is, many agents are not curating their reviews and sharing them. In the digital age, many people consider an online review to carry the same weight as a personal endorsement. So here are six steps to collecting great reviews.
How To Start
- The first step is to check out how your digital presence is. Use an incognito tab to see what other people see when they google your name.
- Don’t forget to ask for a review. It can be great to get reviews throughout the process, but the easiest way can be after the closing. If you have your phone you can even capture a quick video review to post on your website right after the closing! To make sure you get that written review you can add a nice handwritten card asking for them to let others know how you did
Where Should My Reviews Be?
- In her webinar, Sherrie shares eight websites that you can curate reviews on. These websites include Realtor.com, Google, Homesnap, Yelp, Rate My Agent, Trulia, Zillow, and The Better Business Buro.
- Create a Google Business page. Google is the leading search engine. Because of Google’s incredible search engine optimization, you will want to create a page that integrates directly with Google itself.
- Curating your Facebook page is also a major component of creating a good referral network. By creating a business page on Facebook you can be found more easily and share relevant content with your network. There is also the added benefit of being able to reply to your reviewers and thank them for their time!
- As mentioned above, there are eight major websites that you can be gathering reviews on. Chances are you don’t want to ask your clients to go to every one of these websites. There are great tools out there like Arrivala where you can link all of those review sites. With tools like this, you provide the link to your clients and they can leave their review one time and it will be uploaded to all the review websites automatically. The best part is that you can utilize this tool for free!
Check out some of these great tips and more in the video below!
For our starter, we are suggesting The Path Chardonnay paired with a Cave-Ripened Mild Brie.
For those who are interested in a Rose, we suggest pairing Dark Horse Rose with a Citterio Prosciutto & Mozzarella Rotolino.
For your sweet tooth, a Dreaming Tree Crushed Red with a Chocolate Dome Petite.
If you are interested in a mocktail option Try our FAAR Star! You can make this light drink by combining, 6 oz of sparkling water, 2 oz of white cranberry juice, 2 oz of Orange Juice, and pouring over ice. This drink will pair well with all of our suggested hors d’oeuvres!
Thank you to our sponsors!
REALTORS® are passionate about helping people find a home. A safe place free from discrimination, fear, and pain. As we become more accepting of our differences, FAAR is committed to supporting our members and the community by renewing its focus on promoting Fair Housing and racial equality, encouraging inclusive communities, and advocating for affordable housing for all citizens.
FAAR provides comprehensive Fair Housing and Code of Ethics education and opportunities for engagement from a diverse cross-section of our membership. In the community, the Association is represented on area agencies and supports local housing-related non-profits through grants from the Fredericksburg REALTORS® Foundation. We can always do more. Please provide input on how, together, we can strengthen our commitment to serve the community by submitting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drew Fristoe, 2020 President Pat Breme, CEO
FAAR hosted a panel discussion called “Booming Business: how to capitalize on the growing 55+ market” featuring a stellar group of speakers moderated by 2020 FAAR President, Drew Fristoe. Below you will find a new resource guide with contacts to all of the panel members in pdf form for easy printing and sharing and a recording of the event. Here is the list of panelists with contact information.
Century 21 Redwood
Spring Arbor of Fredericksburg
Healthy Generations, Area Agency on Aging
A question was also asked about how to find qualified local attorneys who specialize in elder care. Kim Moulds was kind enough to share a resource she received from ElderCare Matters. If you’re interested in investigating this resource, please visit eldercarematters.com. FAAR does not have a relationship with this organization nor does the Association endorse using their services. It is being shared for informational purposes only.
Prospecting in a pandemic is different than any other prospecting we have done before. This week Deb Ellis shares with us how we can retool old tactics to work for us in a pandemic.
Build Your Relationships
Do you have a good CRM (customer relations management) program? If you do, Great it is time to break that out! If you don’t, it is time to build one. There are three key things that will contribute to a successful CRM. The first thing you will want to check is your contact list. Do you have a database of all your contacts? A great way to keep track of your contacts can be a simple Google Sheet. You will want to make sure your contacts have the name of the contact, an email address, and possibly a phone number.
The second thing you will want is a collection of notes that help you reach out to people such as the day they adopted their dog, their wedding anniversary, or the day they bought their home. Sending people handwritten notes acknowledging both the big events and the small events is a great way to create a real connection.
Finally, setting up an email campaign to go out once a week can be a great engagement tool. Many times the topics in your “newsletter” don’t even have to be about real estate. Selling real estate is all about selling a lifestyle, so connect your newsletter to lifestyle such as what local restaurant is having a special.
Another great way to do prospecting in a pandemic is to utilize video. Short videos of things around your area, you talking about the great refinancing rates, or even interviewing local businesses about how they’re currently doing business, can get a lot of interaction. Videos are a great way to get face to face time with potential clients and engage them on topics that are relevant to them right now.
Posting videos on Instagram, Facebook, and in your newsletter can get you the greatest reach. Make sure your social media pages stay up to date and relevant to get the most exposure.
Serving your local community can seem nearly impossible in a pandemic. Luckily, there is a great new resurgence of food trucks! Organizing a food truck for your community can be a free marketing tool. It may only cost you time. Organizing an event like this is not only timely, it is fun!
Update Your Bio
Now is a great time to update your bio and your photo. Some experts suggest your photo should be updated every two to five years. Take a look at your bio and see if there is anything new you would like to add or if you would like to reword anything. Check out this great class by Matthew Rathbun on writing a Bio for Success.
Hold a Pandemic Friendly Open House
Get face time and engagement with potential buyers. Better yet, show other sellers how hard you’ll work to get their property out there. Try hosting a digital open house. If you’re not quite sure how Shaw with Universal Title made a great video with a variety of ideas on How to Make Your Virtual Open House a Success.
For more on these great tips and other ideas, check out the video below!
While the staff at FAAR has been hard at work from home, the easing of restrictions on businesses announced by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has the staff excited to come back and serve our members in real life. The safety of our staff, our members, and the public is paramount to FAAR so we have created a phased reopening approach.
The entire office was deep cleaned. At the front desk, plexiglass partitions were installed to minimize person-to-person contact during transactions. We are stocked up on hand sanitizers and disinfectants so that the staff can regularly clean the frequently used areas such as door handles, bathrooms, and classroom.
FAAR is open on an appointment-only basis to start and then will reopen fully with adherence to the Governor’s requirements and with continued virtual capabilities. Check out the full details of the reopening schedule, the staff looks forward to continuing to provide the membership with great service!
May 18: FAAR staff returns to work
- Members are welcomed in the building on an appointment-only basis
- For your safety and for the safety of those around you, we require that face coverings and a 6-foot social distance be maintained at all times
- Staff will wear masks when interacting with members
- We will continue all current services virtually as well as serving you in the office
- Staff will conduct frequent wipe downs of high-touch areas such as the front desk, elevator buttons, shared equipment, kitchen counter, faucets, microwave, refrigerator, etc.
June 1: FAAR resumes normal business hours for all members
- For your safety and the safety of those around, FAAR encourages all members and the public visiting the building to wear face coverings and maintain a 6-foot social distance
- Staff will continue to disinfect high-touch areas on a frequent basis
- FAAR will continue to offer classes, meetings, and events in a virtual format in addition to in-person at the office, as allowed by the Governor’s orders
Enjoyed conducting all of your FAAR business remotely? No need to stop! We will continue to offer virtual processing of all membership services, touchless store pickups upon request, and virtual learning for CE credit.
Digital marketing is an everyday necessity, the need for which is only amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week in our free Tech Time workshop, Chris Muldrow of Fredericksburg Today discussed how you can reach your potential clients through Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and MailChimp.
Digital Marketing through Facebook
Facebook is an excellent way to reach individuals interested in purchasing homes. One major factor, in the effectiveness of Facebook, is that their primary demographic fits with a general targeted market of home buyers. Additionally, Facebook has a wide reach. Before you get started with your Facebook ads, check out these great tips from Facebook Business.
Things to keep in mind when marketing on Facebook
- People browsing facebook like to stay on facebook – Sometimes it is better to push people to an active Facebook page than your webpage
- There are many different types of ad campaigns. Make sure you understand the differences before selecting one.
- Don’t forget to mark that your ad is in a special category to be sure your ad follows fair housing guidelines.
Marketing on Google
As Chris points out in Tech Time, everyone Googles at least once a day. A tried and true tool of marketing is to be where your clients are. Google targets audiences with search histories and habits related to your marketing campaign. Check out how to build a great Google ad from ads.google.com.
Things to keep in mind when marketing on Google
- Ads are targeted based on people’s search history and user profiles.
- You will want to direct people to either a personal website or specific listing (preferably hosted on your website.)
- Ads that run through Google can be built in several different formats to reach a wider audience.
Running a Newsletter Through MailChimp
Out of all the marketing channels discussed, MailChimp is the most direct. Unlike the other two marketing channels where you are looking for new potential clients, MailChimp helps you farm potential clients. By creating a monthly or bimonthly newsletter, you can reach out to your target demographic. Check out what all MailChimp has to offer on their website!
Things to keep in mind when marketing with MailChimp
- With a free account, you can email up to 2,000 people.
- In general, you will want to send out an email once or twice a month.
- You can collect subscribers by offering an option to subscribe on your website.
Tech Time Recording
Check out last week’s tech time below to get these great tips and more and then check out faarmembers.com/calendar for the next Tech Time!
The Fed released a study on the economic well-being of U.S. households, with extra data from April 2020. No surprise that financial circumstances were generally positive in 2019 but that financial conditions changed dramatically for people who experienced job loss or reduced hours during March 2020 as the spread of COVID-19 intensified in the United States.
Click the image to access the Fed’s website with the full report and a short video on the report highlights.
FAAR Releases 2020 Fredericksburg Area Smart Growth Survey
In early 2020, FAAR contracted with the National Association of Realtors® to conduct a survey on growth and development attitudes in the Fredericksburg region. The survey was conducted by the firm American Strategies and reached 425 adults aged 18 or older who indicated they live in the City of Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, or Stafford County. The survey was conducted March 5 through March 8, 2020.
The survey looked at people’s opinions on quality of life, availability of amenities like access to medical facilities, entertainment, restaurants, and places of worship, housing affordability, barriers to homeownership, and priorities of local government. The survey results provide the basis for further consideration by the FAAR Board of Directors about how the Association can continue to advocate for affordable housing and sustained, responsible growth.
While continued governmental restrictions shutter businesses and completely change the way Americans operate in their day-to-day lives, the local real estate market bucked national trends and posted increases in volume, sold price, and units sold. While national news outlets are reporting decreased sales and falling prices, the local market saw sellers receiving 98.9% of their original list price, indicating that we are not seeing downward pressure on prices as a result of the restrictions in place to combat COVID-19.
Sold dollar volume was up more than 12% in April, jumping from approximately $189.8 million last April to more than $213 million this year. The increase in volume was fueled by a nearly 4% increase in units sold and a more than 6% increase in median sold price. There were 598 properties sold this year compared to 573 last April with a median price increase from $318,000 last year to $338,548 this year.
Stafford County led the charge in rising median price posting its highest sales price in the month of April since 2006. Median price in the County for April was $390,000, not too far off from the last highest price of $402,000 posted in April of 2006. Every other jurisdiction except for Orange County saw an increase in median price, and even that decrease was fairly negligible at 3.6%.
Days on market, the time it takes from when a listing enters the market until it receives a ratified contract and is removed from active status on the multiple listing service, fell nearly 24% with houses averaging just 29 days on the market in April 2020 compared to 38 days in April 2019.
Overall active listings were down more than 26% this April compared to last year and new listings coming on to the market were down over 22%. Prospective buyers have just 1,220 homes to choose from right now, with 882 new listings coming onto the market. This is a significant reduction in new listings and active listing from March, indicating that as the area progressed deeper into economic restrictions and fears of contracting the virus, would-be sellers became more reticent about putting their homes up for sale.
“The inventory of homes on the market has been affected as some sellers are reluctant to have buyers tour their homes,” states FAAR Board Member Sandy Pearce. “Realtors® are using creative means to showcase the homes that ARE on the market with virtual showings and Facebook Live open houses, and many buyers are facing bidding wars when they find their home of choice. Some buyers are putting their home search on hold until the time they feel more comfortable being out. All this could portend for a very active summer market as interest rates remain at historic lows.”
How things have changed from January and February! COVID-19 crashed into our market in mid-March and virtually ground life as we know it to a halt, so how did that impact the local real estate industry? The first quarter of 2020 was strong, with increasing volume...
The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® (FAAR) announces its endorsement of Mary Katherine Greenlaw for Mayor of the City of Fredericksburg. The general election was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 and also includes seats for At-Large City...
Despite significant concern over the impact of COVID-19 on the local real estate market, March numbers show increases in sold volume, median price and units sold. FAAR Board Member Linda Fosdick remarks, “Our Lake Anna market enjoyed a robust spring. Even at the...
February continued the local real estate market’s trend of increasing sales volume and median price coupled with decreasing days on market FAAR Board Member Randy Walther states, “The market was active for February continuing a strong winter season. My office was...