How to Break the Myth That All Real Estate Agents Are the Same

Tips on how you can stand out from the real estate crowd.

As a real estate agent in California, you may know by now that the industry is full of hot competition. You want yourself as an agent and the services you offer to stand out from the crowd – but so does everyone else. It’s not just real estate agents that suffer with this. Buyers and sellers can often think that it doesn’t matter which agent they choose – they’re all the same. To help you truly shine in this industry and prove you’re different, take a look at these tips.

Think outside the box

When a real estate agent thinks of promotional material, the first thought is often to plaster their headshot on signs, business cards, and benches. However, this can be seen as an outdated method that doesn’t capture that much attention these days. Professionals should take the time to demonstrate a true respect for buyers and sellers. Like most marketing material these days, it should be clean and concise.

Highlight your services

Do you do anything different than most real estate agents and agencies? If so, let your followers and fans know! If you have particularly good reviews and referrals, make sure to share them on your site and social media. People like to know what they’re getting out of a service, especially if it is from someone you have previously worked with.

Leverage referrals

Similar to above, make sure you use referrals to your advantage. A review from a previous client gives more depth to your agency as people see you as a person rather than just another service provider. Make sure to ask for referrals from your clients so that you have a nice accumulation of reviews.

As a real estate agent, you help buyers find their dream homes. The team at Dean Rathbun can help agents grow their reach and book of business. Whether you need an expert network or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

Things to Do for Valentine’s Day in Orange County

Ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Orange County, CA!

It’s that time of year again! Roses are lining the supermarkets and there’s soon to be a mad rush to purchase heart-shaped chocolate and sweet cards. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is almost here. If you’re looking for some sweet ways to spend the day of love with your other half, take a look what you can do in Orange County.

Spend the day at the beach

The weather is warmer and there’s no better place to watch the sunset than beachside. Whether you take a sunset stroll, share a picnic or a dip in the water, Orange County has a variety of beaches with different personalities to suit everyone. Crystal Cove is great for tidepools and Laguna Beach is picturesque for a romantic walk.

Visit Disneyland

Act like kids again and visit Disneyland – a.k.a. the “happiest place on earth”. Couples with a good sense of fun can find all sorts of romance and whimsy at Disneyland, from exploring the different lands to enjoying good food.

Sample Orange County wines

If you aren’t a huge foodie or just want to enjoy a sophisticated day with your loved one, taking a tour of one of the many vineyards in Orange County is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Wine and dine

Enjoy a four course Valentine’s Winemaker’s Dinner in Laguna Beach with your loved one. Enjoy fine epicurean creations paired with artisan boutique wines while listening to live music.

Try new chocolate

Visit Valenza Chocolatier’s Valentine’s Day pop up to experience sensational chocolate. There’s something for everyone at this event, including that special someone in your life.

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

Tips for Giving Your Home a Fresh Start for the New Year

Breathe new life into your property with these tips.

The New Year is an exciting time for all of us, especially homeowners. Although January can feel a bit lifeless and limp, there are certain things you can do to bring about fresh opportunities and a sense of revitalization. This can extend to our homes, too. Take a look at our top ways you can breathe new life into your property this year.

  • Switch Things Up

Make small or large improvements to the property this year. You can move the furniture around to design a new living space, revamp your décor, repaint, upgrade the bathroom, and more! Making changes, however big or small, helps to create a better-designed space for you and your family.

  • Deep Clean

Although spring cleaning duties are still a couple months away, you can get a head start by giving your property a deep clean. A thorough clean and declutter can help to set the intention for the year ahead. Tackle one room at a time, starting with the ceiling and working downwards. Don’t forget to pull out appliances and furniture to clean the space behind them. A sparkling space makes a great start to the New Year!

  • Tend to the Yard

Over winter, the outside of our properties often gets neglected. This year, dedicate some time to revamping your yard, improving curb appeal, and making the property look new and improved. Painting the front door, trimming the bushes, and planting colorful flowers helps to bring out the best in a house.

Have more questions about home improvements? Buying and selling a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! 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 Ask for Client Referrals

Easy ways to ask for referrals to improve your real estate business.

As a realtor, it’s common to feel like you’re bothering clients when asking them for a referral. It’s a service that benefits you rather than them, and many business owners leave this important step out of their marketing strategy. However, if clients are happy with your service, sparing a couple of minutes is not a big ask. Plus, it hugely benefits your business. To help you ask for referrals with ease, read on.

Think differently about referrals. Stop telling yourself that you’re asking for referrals. Instead, think of it as progressing your business and caring about clients. In fact, you could be saving your clients’ friends thousands of dollars. Changing your mindset towards referrals will help you to ask for them!

Establish a referral reward program. Create an easy-to-follow procedure on how clients benefit from referring your business. If your clients know exactly what to expect when they refer someone, they are more likely to do it.

Add a recommend-a-friend section on your site. This strategy continues to be effective time and time again. Have a page or box somewhere on your website that allows people to send an email to a friend recommending your agency.

Ask in your email signature. Your email signature is a block of text that automatically shows up at the bottom of your emails. Most people’s signatures display their name, contact information, and maybe a link to their website. This place is a great opportunity to request a referral, because it’s not a direct email asking a client, but it does allow the reader to quickly forward on your contact information to friends and family.

Hand out two business cards. When you hand out your cards, give everyone two and ask them to hand out the second one. Mention that the second card is for a friend or family member.

Thank referrers on your social media sites. When you receive customer referrals, go to your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and thank the people who have provided referrals out in the open for everyone to see. Not only does this show the referrer how much you appreciate their gesture, which should get you more referrals from them, but it shows everyone else how you appreciate referrals, encouraging others to leave you one!

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

Real Estate Marketing Tools Agents Need in 2019

Don’t leave these essential factors out of your toolkit.

Real estate marketing strategies have changed dramatically over the past several decades. The digital age has opened new doors for marketing to potential clients and most, if not all, real estate agencies have some form of online presence. If you have the right tools and resources, you’ll reach a larger audience and expand your book of business. Whether you’re tech-savvy or still getting the hang of Facebook, take a look at these marketing essentials your agency will need in 2019.

A website that stands out. Your agency and service is unique – so why settle for a templated website? Undoubtedly, your website should look good, be easy to navigate, and have information readily available. Stunning photos should be of high quality to grab the guest’s attention. A fully functioning website is one tool that you do not want to overlook this year!

3D virtual tours. When it comes to online marketing, content is king. A close second, though, is visuals – specifically, video. Still-frame photos are still incredibly important to any real estate agency, but many buyers are enjoying 3D video virtual tours that allow them to get the feel of a property without leaving their own home. Videos are intriguing to buyers and do a good job of grabbing their attention.

Marketing campaigns. Real estate marketers can benefit significantly from running campaigns that have a large reach. Text message marketing, in particular, is often neglected but can be hugely beneficial. With new texting services, you can send market and listing updates with ease and quickly communicate with your clients.

These tips can help you grow your agency throughout the New Year. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make these resources work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.

Tell-Tale Signs Your Buyer is Ready to Make an Offer

Signs that your buyer loves a home.

As a real estate agent, it is your job to sell and find homes for clients. While you know these two processes very well, sometimes, hard-to-read clients can throw you off and it can be difficult to know their emotions when showing them properties. Perhaps they are trying to be analytic about the house and look at it emotionless as many experts advise. A good real estate agent will read these few signs that show the client is ready to make an offer.

They develop an emotional connection. Often, buyers will “just know” or “get a feeling” about the home they want to buy. An emotional connection can be spurred on by something nostalgic, like a swing in the backyard that looks just like the one the buyer had as a child, for example. This emotional connection is the easiest tell by far for most real estate agents.

They don’t want to leave. If your buyer struggles to leave the property, it could be a sign that they already feel at home, which is a great sign. If this happens, it’s wise to strike up a conversation about what they like about the property and then move the conversation along to making an offer.

They compare one house to all the others. Does your buyer keep referring back to a property they viewed recently? Do they compare all the new open houses to this one property? If they are talking about it, it’s likely they are thinking about the property and how much they liked it. Mention this to the buyer, as they often don’t register that they are making so many comparisons. Once they do, they may realize that the original home is for them.

As a real estate agent, you help buyers find their dream homes. The team at Dean Rathbun can help agents grow their reach and book of business. Whether you need an expert network or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

How to Better Communicate with Millennial Buyers

Tips to win over millennial buyers.

As a real estate agent, you may have seen a shift in your client base over the past few years. Today, you may be working mainly with millennials (people aged 18 to 34). Millennials are gaining momentum in the real estate industry as they continue to be one of the biggest groups of homebuyers in America. You may have noticed that millennials have different wants and needs when it comes to homes. They also have different expectations of how and when to communicate. To help you better connect with this home buying group, take a look at these tips.

  • Reach them at the right place.

Millennials were born with technology at their fingertips. As a result, they aren’t going to be browsing the daily paper for homes. Take your marketing efforts to social media to reach the majority of millennials eager to find their dream property. Social media networks, particularly Facebook, allow you to build relationships with millennial prospects.

  • Know that text replaces talk.

Most millennials have demanding jobs that require a great deal of their time. Acknowledge that they may not always be able to pick up the phone, even after hours. However, most millennials always have their phone with them, so it is worthwhile texting or emailing them to keep them in the loop. Talk with your clients individually to discuss their preferred method of communication.

  • Get mobile-friendly.

Everything for the millennial age group is instant. Mobile users continue to rise each year, far outweighing the number of desktop users accessing the internet. This means that your website and social media platforms need to be mobile-friendly. Make sure you capture their traffic by making your website compatible with all devices.

These tips can improve your communication with millennials. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make testimonials work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.

The Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Terms

Words and phrases to help real estate agents be better at marketing.

We are living in a digital world. Businesses and real estate agents need to develop a sturdy and professional online presence if they want to be seen by clients. Even if you think you know how and what to market, bear in mind that the industry is always changing. To help you become a better marketer as a real estate agent, check out these terms you should know.

  • Analytics

Analytics include collecting, interpreting, and analyzing data based on website visits, internet ad clicks, and social media interactions. Understanding your analytics helps you better understand what marketing method is working.

  • Branding

This is when you create a distinctive name, image, or impression that your target audience will understand to be your business.

  • Closed-Loop Marketing

Closed-loop marketing is when you use information from sales to study how marketing efforts impact the bottom line of your agency. It helps you to identify which lead sources are effective so that you can adjust your marketing accordingly.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

As a real estate agent, knowing details about your clients is critical. CRM programs track interactions with existing and potential customers, as well as compile contact information, scheduled events, and notes.

  • Inbound Marketing

This is a strategy of using marketing to attract visitors and potential customers toward your content instead of relying on paid advertising to gain views.

  • Target Audience/Market

A real estate agent should know exactly who is their target audience. Understanding your target market enables you to create more effective marketing content.

  • Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth marketing is a promotion that spreads through recommendations from current or previous clients. Reviews and referrals are great word-of-mouth promotions.

When it comes to marketing, agents need to stay on top of the latest trends and strategies. The team at Dean Rathbun can help agents grow their reach and book of business. Whether you need an expert network or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

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.

Reasons Real Estate Agents Should Prospect During the Holidays

Get to work during the holidays for a successful new year!

As the end of the year approaches, many businesses and real estate agents are winding down for a little R and R. While many take it easy and cut back on their workload, doing so could mean you miss out on some great opportunities. Take a look at these reasons why real estate agents should prospect during the holidays!

1) Low competition but high motivation.

You can count on the fact that many real estate agents will be taking an extended break. While this may sound ideal, getting to work means that you are up against less competition. During the holidays, sellers and buyers are highly motivated. If you meet with buyers willing to talk, tell them why they should take advantage of selling their property now, rather than over spring.

2) For a steady New Year.

If you’ve taken the holidays off, come January you could be a little rusty and without many prospects. Putting the work in now means that you can start off the New Year full of appointments. While other agents are emerging from holiday hibernation, you could be looking at a full book of business.

3) Shows dedication.

When it’s deep in the season of the holidays and you are reaching out to clients, they will see that you are dedicated and hardworking. In turn, this could result in a stellar review and referral that makes you shine as an agent.

At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make the holidays work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.