Realtor Resources; Real Help

Realtor Resource

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My husband has a tool in his tool belt that he swears he can’t live without called the multi-tool.  It has as wide a variety of uses as a Swiss Knife without all the bulky attachments and in his field as a handyman it has become invaluable in saving him time and getting things done just the way he wants them.  Real Estate Agents and busy Professionals have a tool like that available to them, which harnesses the power of technology allowing them to leverage time and get things done the way they want and need them.

The Virtual Assistant industry does away with the need to maintain offices and the attendant overhead associated while offering the best of both worlds.  Factor in technology and these services don’t necessarily need to be locally offered.  Outsourcing can be done quite successfully right here in the States without state boundaries being a limitation.  GhostbloggerMarie caught up with Michelle Anatasio, owner of  CT Virtual Assistance LLC  for an open discussion about the many benefits a Virtual Assistant provides the savvy Professional.

My company specializes in offering a range of virtual assistant, marketing consulting and concierge solutions to busy professionals, entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Our administrative, creative and technical services can be ongoing or per project basis.    I believe that we are offering affordable solutions and customized alternatives to the need to hire and fund in-house administrative, creative or technical staff.  Our services can be packaged or available a la carte.  We maintain some flexibility in order to meet the need of the client” Michelle shared.

As a value addition to most business models there are three main courses an offsite Virtual Assistant brings to the table:

1)     Relieving clients of tedious administration tasks so they can focus their attention on growing their business

2)     Substantial financial savings

  1. eliminating the costs of onsite staffing
  2. minimizing the need for equipment including repair/maintenance costs
  3. minimizing or even eliminating acquisition and storage of office supplies

3)     Clients receive greater flexibility and reliability for increased productivity when working with  a Virtual Assistant service company

Thought you couldn’t afford the help you need?  You may be very pleasantly surprised to discover that you can indeed afford and receive the help that will free you to pursue greater business growth with a Virtual Assistant corralling those administrative tasks that steal so much of your time.

Your comments and thoughts on this subject are welcome!  

Follow this link for more  information about Virtual Assistance and Michelle Anastasio.

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1 Very good reason all Real Estate Agents should be blogging

Real estate is all about RELATIONSHIPS.  One on one getting to know all about you relating to another human being on an intimate level kind of relationship.  How do you build relationships in a world that’s all about technology?  When everything is online even if you are online how do you make that personal?  How do you share enough with online connections that will turn into personal face to face connections?  Social Media is the general answer, but isn’t there something more specific?  Sure, you can build a following one status update, one tweet at a time, but that is going to take you as long as it used to take agents who made the rounds door to door in their “farm” areas back in the day.

So what is the answer?  Is there a way to engage your audience that isn’t limited to 140 characters, that allows interaction based on meaningful dialog you’ve initiated?  CIO makes an interesting observation in a recent article they wrote about content concerning a magazine John Deere started back in the 1800’s to engage their potential customers and ultimately brand themselves as the supplier of Tractors and farm equipment.   I think they did a pretty good job of it, and I believe the blog as platform on Social Media sites does that same good job for Realtors.

By including a Blog on your website, clients can not only access your site to search for homes, which they can also get on plenty of other sites, but through the blog they can also get personal information, interact with you for questions and answers and by your posts, get to know you personally.  The blog also serves as an excellent SEO tool, as search engines LOVE fresh content and new information.

If you are like most Realtors the majority of your time is best spent out in the market place rather than behind a computer screen.  Although you certainly should contribute personally to your Social Media, a blog about things your potential clients will be interested in doesn’t have to be written by you personally to engage visitors to your site. There are content providers available who provide this service for the busy professionals who haven’t the time themselves.

GhostbloggerMarie provides fresh and relevant blog content, ghost written by this former Realtor and posted to your site under your byline.  Contact me today and start posting fresh, dynamic blog content in as little as one week regularly to your Social Media sites.

CIO article about content

Wending my way through Windows 8

Even with all the talk of Windows 8 being so difficult I wasn’t concerned. After all, I had a perfectly wonderful laptop that came stuffed to the gills with software, a fabulous 17.3 inch screen, plenty of bells and whistles and was just barely 4 years old, so I had nothing to be worried about, right?  WRONG!  Who could have foreseen my darling husband deciding to store his guitar in the cupboard over the couch where I’d been working? Or it slipping out of his hands just as he lifted that heavy case above my open laptop sitting innocently on those cushions?
It put up a good fight, I’ll give it that. The screen blinked a few times before the picture went squewershed and a sound kind of like kineftdmgh came forth from it. A trip to every computer store in town soon revealed that the cost to repair outweighed the cost to replace. And then the fun really started.

* NONE  OF  THE  NEW  COMPUTERS  SEEM  TO  COME  WITH  SOFTWARE  ANYMORE
*ALL  OF  THE  NEW  LAPTOPS  ARE  WINDOWS  8 (unless you buy a Mac, but I can’t afford that until a lot more of you HIRE ME to write blogs for you!)

Now I must ask the all important question:
HAVE  ANY  OF  YOU  SEEN  THE  NEW  WINDOWS  8  OPERATING  SYSTEM?

There is a good reason many of the advance reviews have been less than glowing.  It’s more than just trying to get used to a new look.  This baby is a whole different Starship to navigate!  On a PC, those icons are a little harder to work with than the touch tablets, trust me when I tell you this.  The slightest wind, just breathing too close to them and they swoosh to a place far far away in windows land and you may never see them again.  There is no “back” button, no “undo” button, and there are no real directions to follow, either!windows 8

I will admit this much and no more.  In the first day of trying to work with it, it brought me to tears.  Twice.  And I like change, I like trying new things and I  LOVE challenges!  This was beyond a challenge – this was all out war!  My husband kept offering to take it back to the store and pay whatever it cost to repair my poor guitar abused laptop.  How sweet of him, but all that did was make me even more determined not to be beaten but to triumph over this.

Fellow new computer purchasers, TAKE  HEART!

I persevered for three full days, and now I can honestly say I am finding an appreciation for this new operating system.  The keyboard is still a bit too responsive, but I’ve discovered the escape button brings me right back.  In fact though, I do hope Microsoft makes some user friendly changes I can download.  Like eliminating the extra steps it now takes to accomplish what were quick and simple tasks in the 7 incantation.  And for goodness sake Microsoft, would it really hurt you to give us access to all our windows without our having to search for them?

Windows 8 – not easy to use, but easy to conquer if you’re determined!

Time for Realtors to think PAY RAISE?

It has always amazed me that Real Estate Agents essentially perform a great deal of work related activities for free.  As a consumer and home buyer I wondered “how did they afford it”?  After I became a licensed Agent in 1991 that question haunted me as I attempted to get my business off the ground while sustaining my home as a single Mom caring for my three sons, pay the Office fees required by the franchise I associated with and keep my vehicle full of gas, which was about $1 something a gallon back then, so I could drive potential buying clients all over creation only to have them call the listing agents number on the yard sign to ask a question and be convinced to sign a contract, leaving me out of it entirely! Had I known then what I know now… I am not so sure I would have chosen any differently as I loved selling Real Estate, but I probably would have prepared a whole lot better. And that’s just one instance where we pay but don’t get paid to do business as an Agent.

Yes, I know there are some safeguards in place, now I know that, but back then as a new agent I was largely ignorant and sorry to report that my managing broker failed to protect me and all the other agents like me.  Things may be slightly different now, but only slightly.  However, this isn’t a piece about the fair or unfair of Agent behavior in what is the Real Estate Industry.  This is a piece to explore if maybe the time has finally come that Realtors should raise up and collectively change the way business is conducted in the Industry between themselves and the client.

With gas prices continuing to rise and no end in sight along with rising office fee structures, house prices failing and many other negative changes that I’ve been observing as I read articles to stay current with the Industry now as a content provider for other Realtors, I am just wondering out loud if the time for real change has come?  I’m not going to try to research every nuance and consideration in this piece.  I just want to get you, currently active Real Estate Agents thinking about possible change in your Industry. People do not value what costs them nothing.  Perhaps a fee for your time and resources is in order?

Before I changed career paths in 2007, many things in the Real Estate Industry had me scratching my head and considering if I wanted to become a crusader for change.  The way commissions are structured appears to encourage  cut throat behavior between agents and rarely fosters genuine team work.  I understand we were all independent contractors and therefore competition to each other.  However, we also claim to adhere to a Code of Ethics.  Just before I let my license expire, I actually had a client call my brokerage and ask for me as they couldn’t find my cell number.  The call happened to be answered by another agent rather than office personnel as it was the weekend.  Instead of my cell number, clearly listed on the Agent Roster of the office, my client was told I was no longer ‘in the business’ and they would list the property real estate for sale instead!  Very devious and underhanded, but not as rare as we’d like to think! Shame on that person, but lets not pretend that happens rarely as we know that isn’t the case.

Even after a sale is made, there remains as great a chance you will NOT be paid nor in any way reimbursed for your actual expenses in bringing the sale about than there is that the sale will successfully close and you will receive a commission check.  In negotiations your commission is often treated as a dispensable item which you may find yourself being asked to “give up” a portion of in order to make the deal happen or you may be expected to pay for things out of pocket that wouldn’t be expected in almost any other industry – all with no consideration of your costs and office fees.  You could take the attitude that I’m whining about not being as successful as you are, or you could consider the idea that change may be due in this industry.

And so, a simple question.  Asked only with the intention of stirring the thought process, not to offend anyone.  Has the time come for Agents and perhaps even the National Association of Realtors that collects fees to represent them, to take on the task of making some serious changes to the way the Real Estate Industry conducts business???

Just a little food for thought from your friendly GhostbloggerMarie.

Seeking ways to increase your visibility in the Social Media realm?  Blogs are still the most productive platform to get your message out to the public as minimum cost with maximum returns.  Time and writing talent shouldn’t stop you from pursuing this avenue of marketing!  Make GhostbloggerMarie part of your Team NOW!

3 REASONS TO BLOG & 4 WAYS TO SUCCEED!

I write about blogging…. A LOT.

It could be because I am a blogger or simply that I love to write.  I’ve been journaling on a daily basis since I was 6 years old (I kid you not!) and writing stories, poems, plays and even ad copy for products that haven’t hired me just to challenge myself.

Enough about me, let’s jump right in:

3 IMPORTANT reasons every Real Estate Professional should be blogging.

  1. The blog is a valuable business tool
  2. The Blog is the best platform for internet interaction on a grand scale across the Social Media landscape
  3. A Blog allows you to disseminate information about you and your business far more completely than a 140 character tweet or Facebook status post

In fact, the Blog shouldn’t be about YOU at all.  It should be about your customer, their need and how your business meets that need and offers them the greatest benefits when they do business with you.  I’ve said it before but here I go again.  Blogs are internet #INFOMERCIALS and you are the “celebrity” plugging your wares in the marketplace.

And now, the sad news. 😦   A poorly written, poorly executed blog can easily have the opposite effect.  It can turn customers AWAY and cause them NOT to do business with you.  Think about this a moment.  WHO wants to do business with someone who treats their advertising and marketing in a sloppy manner?  NO ONE, that’s who!  

So here are 4 ways you can succeed with your important Blogging Adventure:

  1. PROOF READ and then have someone else proof read, and then proof read again.  Spelling and grammar errors are the number one reason people dismiss a blog post.
  2. Make sure there’s a natural ebb and flow.  Write as if you are talking to a real person.  You don’t senselessly add words to a conversation just to reach some pre-determined word number goal.  You speak what’s in you’re heart and it flows naturally.  Write that way in your blog posts unless you’re sharing very technical information.
  3. If you are presenting opinion, be sure you state that it’s opinion.  If you represent that you’re sharing facts, do the research necessary to be certain of those facts.  Site the outside source of any facts you use in your blog.  Consumers can tell the difference between truth and fiction.
  4. Invite comments from your readers.  Make it easy for them to comment, then let those comments guide you in future blog content.  Change course if necessary to provide content readers will want to keep coming back to read.

Jsleeping at computerust for reading to the end, here’s a freebie:

TRY NOT TO BORE ANYONE TO TEARS; keep blog posts succinct and relevant.  Most people won’t sit still for a novella length blog.  Three     to four paragraphs, two to three sentences each at most.

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Leave your opinion in the comment section, I really want to know your thoughts, too.

If you are convinced that blogging is an excellent business tool and you want it in your arsenal, but you just don’t have time to write blogs regularly, GhostbloggerMarie offers CONTENT services that just may meet that need and benefit you in the Social Media domination you seek in your geographical business area.  smmsceo@gmail.com  to get started RIGHT NOW!

the Real Estate Agent #Infomercial -Upgraded!

It’s what we all truly desire – to be relevant, important and “of value”.  To ourselves and to others. And we want the things we DO to matter, too. So, are BLOGS relevant?

SHOULD you be blogging?  If so, where to find the time?  Contents great, but GREAT CONTENT is even better.  Great content positions you as a leader in your field and the one others want to connect with for answers and information.

There are a couple of things about the BLOG that I find are even more useful than the short, pithy tweet on Twitter or the FB status update. But don’t just take my word for it, read almost any social media marketers website and you’ll hear in many different forms this same thought;social media outlets

the BLOG is the great home base for all our Social Media platforms. 

You write one short article and with a single keystroke you send it out to ALL the landing places you’ve designated. It gives YOU an opportunity to speak eloquently to the largest audience of perspective clients and current clients in a friendly environment.

 Blogging is the #INFOMERCIAL of the Social Media world!

Instead of high priced, budget busting advertisements, blogs are an extremely cost effective method of getting the message about YOU and YOUR BUSINESS in front of many. A well written, spell checked and grammatically correct BLOG that is interesting, informative and even inspirational may easily find itself going viral, bringing even greater attention to YOU!

An #infomercial is designed to:
• INFORM
• INTEREST
• INSPIRE
Do that and the Social Media world just might “like” “fan” and “tweet” you!

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Chime in and share what you’re thinking! Thanks :o)

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Engaged vs Like – only one is a winner!

Is it Politically Correct to be on a PC these days or has everything gone mobile app?cellphone Just how smart are our smart phones? Does anyone fax anymore? How can we possibly keep up with all the newest and latest and greatest gadgets and sites and social platforms designed to meet our every need to share and tweet and pin and scoop and press and communicate everything to everyone including people we’ve never met in places we’ve never even heard of?

WE CAN’T.
Slow down, breathe deeply and don’t let it all get to you. Sure, just when you’ve finally figured out how to successfully send a tweet out with all the right hashtags (number symbol #) and designed a FB page that you can manage and stay current with-someone mentions something new and exciting and you’ve just GOT to be part of it if you want your business to grow and be seen!

RELAX!
If you tried to do even a little bit of everything that’s out there you’d cramp your fingers typing and permanently cross your eyes squinting and there would STILL be something “new and improved” and the NEXT BEST THING. You’d never have time to look at anything except a screen of some sort if you try to do it ALL. So don’t. Don’t worry about #nimble and #code canyon and #slideshare and #commun.it and #gaggleAMP and #Quozio and #Socialoomph and #hootsuite and #frogpond and everything else .

PICK ONE or TWO PLATFORMS that are working for you and take the time to learn them well enough to make an impact on your desired audience about your desired focus. It just isn’t possible to be everything to everyone. Get really good at one or two things. Then explore some other platforms and if viable to promote your interests -step in and get your feet wet.

Focus on engaged Social interactions rather than a large number of likes, fans or followers. You’ll discover sweet freedom and increased business as a result.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  LET FREEDOM RING!