Category: Real Estate

3 Real Estate Marketing Tips for the Holidays

Put these holiday marketing tips into practice for a merry season.

The holidays are the time of year when real estate agents kick back and relax. Although the numbers of homebuyers and homes on the market do dip during this time of year, if you aren’t gathering leads and marketing during the holidays, you could be missing out!

Working with buyers and sellers during the holidays means you have less agent competition and your clients are usually extremely motivated. According to the stats, internet searches for real estate peak during the holiday months, which means any marketing you do could bring more interested prospects to your website. Check out these creative marketing ideas for real estate agents during the holly jolly holidays!

  • Give

The holidays are a great time of year for people to do some extra service for those in need – after all, it is called the Season of Giving! A great idea to show your community spirit is to host a local service project, such as a toy drive or collect supplies for an animal shelter. Partner up with your nearest non-profit to get people involved and network with the locals.

  • Host an Open House Holiday Party

It’s that time of year when families gather and enjoy the season. A holiday party is a great way to get to know people, as well as show them what you have to offer. Host the party as an open house for a home that you’ve listed (get the seller’s permission first). Provide holiday snacks and listen to holiday music to bring out the festive cheer.

  • Send Holiday Cards

Send a hand-written holiday card to your leads to generate some interest and show them you truly care. When you provide a personal touch to your prospects, you make people feel important and closer to you.

From the team at Dean Rathbun, we hope that you and your family enjoy the holidays! Contact us for all of your home loan needs.

3 Ways to Stand Out as a Real Estate Agent

Top tips to help you stand out from the real estate competition.  

Today, there are more and more real estate agents and individuals flipping houses, getting into the market, and driving up the competition. Because of this, you need to find a way that gives you an edge over your competition. Sure, you can just try to shout louder and hope to be heard above the noise, but there are better strategies you can implement to stand out. Take a look at these three tips to get started!

Be active in your local community.

A great way to generate local business is to get active in the community. If you want to be seen as an expert in the area, be a part of the local community. A great way to do this is to be active on social media. Follow local groups, bodies, and organizations so that your brand starts to become a familiar name in the area.

Have consistent branding.

One of the best pieces of advice when it comes to branding is to keep it consistent across the board. Choose a font, color scheme, and logo and stick to it. If your business cards look different than your website, which also looks different than your social media accounts, consumers are going to get confused and wonder if you’re a legitimate agent.

Go the extra mile.

An agent who goes above and beyond is more likely to get referrals than one who does the bare minimum to scrape by. Take the time to get to know your clients, their needs, and only show them homes that suit their specifications. Follow up often (but not too often) and check in with people after the sale to see how they’re settling in. Thoughtful gestures can go a long way in a stellar referral review.

These tips can help you stand out as a real estate agent. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make testimonials work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.

Tips to Effectively Show a Property

Prepare to show clients homes with these tips.

A real estate agent doesn’t just represent the seller, but they also represent the buyer. That means you, as the agent, may be required to get into a car with your clients and show them homes that you have decided meet their needs. When you’re going to be showing homes to clients, you should prepare properly. For a safer and easier process, here are a few things you should consider.

  • Research the properties.

Before you take your clients out to preview homes, make sure you have all properties in order. You should research the property listings before taking your clients out to preview them to make sure you have the most recent list available. The danger of researching properties too far in advance means that homes may have already been sold.

  • Know the routes in advance.

It’s embarrassing to get lost on your way to the houses. Drive the routes to all of the listings the day before you show properties to your clients. This way, it will be a seamless transition and your clients can rest assured knowing that you’re very familiar with the area.

  • Prepare a buyer information packet.

Your buyer’s packet should be printed and ready to be inspected by the client. The buyer packet includes information about all the properties that you’re going to be viewing that day. Print one for yourself and one for your buyer to take notes about each property.

  • Guide them through an initial walkthrough.

Many buyers tend to linger in one area of the house. While there’s no need to rush them, aim to keep them moving by offering an initial walkthrough and then allowing them time to retrace their steps at the end. It’s important to stay on schedule so that viewings don’t fall through the cracks.

  • Leave everything just how it was.

Before you leave, make sure the property is left the way you found it. If you opened windows and balcony doors, remember to close them.

  • Review the viewings and follow up.

After you’ve shown all of the properties, schedule a time to sit down with your clients to discuss each property. Review the notes they took and make sure you have a better understanding of what they liked and didn’t like. If they loved a property, advise them on the next steps. If they aren’t ready to make an offer, schedule a follow up with them shortly.

As a real estate agent, you help buyers find their dream homes. Purchasing a home is a huge decision, and it may be necessary for buyers to view a property more than once. Buying a home can be a minefield. Luckily, the team at Dean Rathbun can help homeowners and agents alike. Whether you’re looking for the right home loan or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

The Important Role of Testimonials in Gaining the Trust of Clients

Client testimonials and their power in marketing.

People can often be skeptical when choosing a realtor. If they hear even one not-so-great story about your services, it could send them running to your competitor. If you want to become a real estate agent people trust, gaining the trust of clients, showcasing your success, and displaying testimonials are essential.

How Testimonials Help

One of the best things you can do for your business is to gather testimonials. The effectiveness of testimonials is rooted in the concept of ‘social proof,’ which states that people are more likely to do something if others who they respect and know are informed and are already doing it. Testimonials provide a window through which clients can visualize what it’s like to do business with you. They can even highlight your strengths and expertise. In the crowded and competitive real estate market, this can set you apart from the rest of the field.

Effective Testimonial

For a testimonial to be effective, it has to be authentic. People can spot a fake testimonial and may be put off your business for good. A good testimonial is one that:

  • Reflects your strengths and expertise
  • Refers to how you address the client’s specific needs
  • Compares you to the competition favorably
  • Sounds sincere and credible

Collecting Testimonials

Whenever you have a positive experience with a client, it’s wise to ask for a testimonial. Staying engaged and maintaining a good relationship with your clients even after a sale has been completed will make it easier to request reviews. You can also adopt a system that allows you to ask for testimonials without having to chase clients. A great way to do this is to include links, auto-responders, call-to-action features, and similar tools where clients can easily leave feedback.

Testimonials can help land you the trust of clients and prospects. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make testimonials work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.

Steps to Re-List a Property That Isn’t Selling

Listing not moving? Here’s what to do.

As a real estate agent, you may come across a property in your career that doesn’t budge when you put it on the market. It can be difficult to know what to do and how to handle it, especially as the market can fluctuate often. For tips on how to re-list a property that isn’t selling, read on.

Firstly, you need to determine why it isn’t selling. Perhaps the homeowners are too unrealistic with their sale price, perhaps they need to remodel to attract the right buyers, or perhaps you need to dig deeper into why it’s not compelling possible homeowners.

Next, you’ll want to do the following three steps:

  • Talk to the homeowners face to face. Make sure all the decision makers will attend.
  • Know your audience. Before the meeting, make an effort to understand the seller’s point of view. If you don’t, you may be out of rapport with their perspective.
  • Make sense. Let the homeowners know the national, state, and city stats versus what is happening locally in the market. Show them what is happening right on their doorstep.

You’ll want to give the homeowner three options. Instead of simply presenting comps to a homeowner and mutually agreeing on a price, it’s advisable to utilize this three-option pricing strategy to make the home as compelling as possible.

Above Fair Market Value (Not compelling) – Talk about pricing above the fair market value, and how having the higher pricing strategy hasn’t worked so far.

Fair Market Value (Compelling) – Pricing at the fair market value is based strictly on the comps. This will make the property more compelling, and that certainly has its advantages.

Below Fair Market (Most compelling) – What really makes a property more compelling? When you set a price that is competitive for the local marketing. You may spark a bidding war and feeding frenzy around the property.

Talking to the homeowners will help you to understand their expectations and move forward in the re-listing process.

Re-listing a home can be a minefield. Luckily, the team at Dean Rathbun can help homeowners and agents alike. Whether you’re looking for the right home loan or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

3 Ways to Research a Property Online

Find out about properties before you purchase.

These days, nearly every home search starts online. Sorting through listings, photos, floor plans, and descriptions is a great way to suss out the market for those who are just starting to house hunt. When you find a home you love and are ready to bid on it, it’s wise to find out as much information as you can about the property before you place your bid. Fortunately, there are a few ways to find out more about your chosen property!

Check Building Records

Nearly all public information and documentation is now available online, so you can check the building’s permit history. The law requires most sellers to disclose previous work done on the property. However, there may be a history of earlier work that the seller didn’t know about. For example, if there is a newer kitchen but no history of a permit for a work, there may be a chance that someone did the work without a permit. This could be an issue, especially if they violated health or safety codes.

View It On Google Street

Simply type in the address to Google Maps and click on the street view. Street view provides a snapshot of a property at a particular moment in time, which can provide insight into the recent history of the property or neighborhood. Keep in mind that the image that pops up may not accurately reflect the home’s current state. You may spot something that raises questions about the neighborhood safety or the structure of the home. For example, if there were bars on the windows previously, then you may question why there are no bars on the windows now.

Download a Neighborhood Crime App

A variety of crime reporting apps for mobile devices show recent crimes that have been reported on a map, including assault, theft, robbery, homicide, vehicle theft, sex offenders, and quality of life (which often means noise complaints). This is an easy way to get an overview of how easy and safe the neighborhood is to live in.

Being prepared for a home sale or purchase is critical. Ensure that you know how to handle it by relying on the expertise of a professional mortgage corporation. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Compete with Cash Buyers

Don’t have stacks of cash lying around to spend on a new home? Don’t worry; you can still compete with these kinds of buyers.

“Money talks” is a phrase that rings true in almost every corner of the world, from sports to real estate. All-cash means that there will be no mortgage, and that means that you won’t have to rely on lenders for anything. The housing market is firing up again, and bidding wars are the new normal. Unfortunately, sellers tend to favor an all-cash offer than those that depend on a mortgage approval. But not everyone has hundreds of thousands of dollars in between their sofa cushions, so what is one to do? Worry not, for here are three ways in which you can compete with cash buyers in a seller’s market.

  1. Bid higher – The highest offer doesn’t always guarantee a sale, but it can’t hurt to hike your offer up a bit. In order to beat the competition and temptation of cash, you’re going to have to make your offer more attractive. Sometimes the extra $1,000 on top of the listing price can be the determining factor in the seller’s eyes.
  2. Know what the seller needs – What are the terms the seller is seeking? Does the seller need extra time in the property to find a new home? Looking for a quick close? Having a real estate agent who can handle this early on will only increase your chances.
  3. “As is” can be the magical words – What can be more attractive to a seller than a buyer taking the home “as is”? They won’t have to spend any money on repairs or even lower their price.

Not having cash doesn’t put you out the game; you just have to find a new way to play it. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Stage Your Home for Selling Season

Selling your home is an art form that works well if done correctly. Staging your home is an important part of this process.

Open houses are a great way for many people to look at your home and consider buying it from you. One of the key ways they decide if your home is the home for them is to imagine themselves in it. This is where staging can make or break the potential sale. If potential buyers can’t imagine themselves in your home, they likely won’t make an offer. If you want to sell your home, here are a few tips that can help you make the sale.

Clean the Exterior

First impressions are important. If your house looks like the Addams Family’s home from the outside, you can bet clients will run from your home faster than the pace at which Cousin Itt’s hair grows! Trim the shrubs, mow the lawn, wash and paint the walls, and add a new doormat.

Use Natural Light

Natural light is something that homebuyers always look for when buying a home. Clean the windows and open the curtains to let the light flood the room. Natural light also makes any room look bigger, which will play to your advantage.

Feature the Home’s Best

Do you have a walk-in closet? Marble countertops, a breath-taking view from your dining room? Don’t be shy and flaunt the best things your home has to offer from the get-go. Anything that may hinder the appearance of such a feature, we suggest you move or remove it to better represent the quality of your home.

 Leave Your Pets Elsewhere

Your pet is a part of your family, not the buyers’. Make sure to deep clean any carpets and upholstery to get rid of that pet odor you have gotten used to. Additionally, leave your pets with a sitter when you show your home. A home that pleases the noses of your buyers puts you one step closer to selling your home.

Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to sell your home. We are happy to help you!

The Mortgage Strategy for Millennials, Gen X-ers, and Baby Boomers

Buying a home is a big decision for everyone, no matter the age, but each generation faces its own set of unique challenges.

Millennials are just coming to their own and living independently and tend to be light on cash. Gen X-ers are in the midst of saving up for retirement as social security is all but secure. And Baby boomers are now facing less income. Each of these generational home-buying differences requires different mortgage strategies to clear the hurdle presented to them. No matter your age, here are a few tips on how you can make smart life decision when it comes to your mortgage strategy.


Millennials have not been in the workforce that long and so many of them tend to be short on cash. If you can’t wait to live in a house AND you don’t have enough money for a 20 percent down payment, worry not because you still have options. The trade-off comes in your monthly payment. The lower your down payment, the more you will have to pay every month. Before you decide to go with a cash to close, make sure you can afford the monthly costs of owning a home.

Gen X-ers

Gen X-ers typically balance spending and saving. On average, they make more than Millennials, but they have other costs to consider like their children and their future, that is, retirement. Do they save up the entire 20 percent down payment or pay more monthly, while also funding retirement and children’s future? A mortgage financial advisor can help run different scenarios and run the numbers for you.

Baby Boomers

Retirees are living on less income, which is their primary concern. If you are a baby boomer with equity in your home but have less income, there are a few options for you.

  • Get a reverse mortgage
  • Get a home equity loan

Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you!

Mortgage Issue: What to Do If Your Partner Has Bad Credit

If your partner has bad credit and the two of you have decided to buy a home, it may be possible, but may not be the best course of action for your first big purchase together. 

In terms of credit score, you are the Eddie van Halen of the world: you pay all of your bills on time, you work hard to earn more and so you earn more, thus, save more. A true rock star! Your partner? Eh. Not so much. Maybe they were too lax on their bills and debt earlier in life and now suffer those consequences. What’s a serious couple to do in this situation?

Understand why the credit score is low

Before you plead to your lender for that mortgage approval, you have to understand why your partner’s score is terrible. Buying a home should not be done simply because society demands it, it should be done because you and your partner want it. Once you understand why it is bad, you can work on fixing it. Once

Take the mortgage under your name

If you truly want a house now, you can always apply for the loan under your name only. Before you take this route, make sure that your finances and budget are ready for this commitment. Thinking of worst-case scenarios are often avoided by most people, but it is important to remember that it is your name on the dotted line and will be responsible for getting the bank its money back.

Before you and your partner commit to any of these options, you have to be one-hundred percent sure that this is the best course of action right now. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you!