Category: Real Estate

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!

How to Financially Prepare to Buy a Home in 2017

If you want to buy a home for 2017, make sure to follow these important and necessary steps to make it a smooth process. 

If you want to purchase a home for 2017, be sure to follow these great and helpful hints on how to financially prepare for this journey.

  1. Check Your Credit Score – A credit score is a numerical representation of all of your credit history. These scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher your score, the better you look to banks and other lenders. Good credit will get you the best mortgage option with low-interest rates. The lower the rate, even if it is a percent or two, could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
  2. Do Not Open New Credit Cards – A new line of credit is the last thing you need when looking to buy a home. The credit line that is created when you open a new credit card can change your whole application and mess with the numbers so that your mortgage payment is higher.
  3. Keep an Eye on Interest Rates – If you hear that interest rates are near historic lows, you should not assume you’ll get that rate. This is where knowing your credit score can come in handy. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so make sure to talk to your agent/lender to get the best rates possible.
  4. Interview Real Estate Agents – The right real estate agent can help you find a home quite easily. Make sure to interview them to ensure you have the right one.

Buying a home can be tough, but if you know the simple stuff, you can make it a lot easier for you and your real estate agent. 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 Stage Your Home (While You Live There)

Selling your home is an art. To stage your home is an art that you must master to give your home the best chance at being sold.

Trying to sell your home while you are still living in it can be quite the challenge. Prospective home buyers expect the home they will be looking at to be spotless because it gives them a better ability to imagine themselves living in the home. So, you can imagine that if you live in the house, it may be hard to sell due to your presence. But it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips on how you can stage your home while you live there.

  1. Put Away Your Junk
    Before you list your home on the market, go through all of your stuff and only keep what is most valuable. You do not have to throw it away–you can put it into storage–but it does have to leave your home.
  2. Go Neutral
    If you have rooms painted in bright and popping colors, consider repainting them back to their neutral colors. Whites and beiges may be dull and boring to live in, but they present your potential buyers to imagine whatever color they may think goes best with their personality and feel.
  3. Make Rooms Seem Bigger
    You can make small rooms look big by removing large pieces of furniture if, that is, you don’t need them. Placing a mirror opposite the window will also allow more light to reflect around the room which will make it look much bigger.

Staging your home while you live in it may be a bit hard to do, but you will be glad you did it when it sells quickly! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Decorating Your Home for the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, you should try to draw inspiration from these great holiday decorating tips. 

It’s time to strip away the Thanksgiving decorations and deck the halls with boughs of holly. The holidays are here and it’s time to get festive! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or nothing at all, decorating your home puts you and any guests you may have over in the winter mood. Here are some quality and creative holiday decorative tips for you and your home.

Snowy Fruit

Even if it doesn’t snow where you’re from, you can still have snow-covered fruit in your home. Mix three parts white glitter to one part silver glitter. Then coat the plastic pears, limes, and grapes for a sparkly centerpiece.

Wreath of Ornaments

Spherical ornaments can serve more purpose than simply hanging on tree branches. With a bit of glue and a bit of patience, you can create your very own wreath made of ornaments! (Pro tip: We advise buying plastic ornaments, instead of glass ones to eliminate the cuts.)

Staircase Stockings

Your staircase railings can add the holiday feeling if you know how. From the railings, you can hang stockings with matching patterns. Then with a string of light, you can twirl it all the way around the railing.

Snowflake Coasters

Stitch up snowflake coasters for the holiday party if you’re rather skilled with a crochet and needle.

Decorating your home for the holidays is fun, but not as important as knowing your mortgage. Mortgages may seem like stressful contracts to obtain, but with the right preparation, they don’t have to be! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.