You might believe you don't need your own REALTOR® when buying pre-construction or new construction homes, but then who's there to protect your best interests? Most builders and developers have an on-site representative, usually a REALTOR®, who can take care of all the paperwork and who will say they can do everything for you themselves, but this representative also has the builder's goals in mind - to make the sale! Buyers should have their own agent involved to increase their advantage, protect their interests, and for guidance and support.
Buying a new construction home can be a lot more complicated and involved than purchasing a resale home. An experienced agent who understands the development, neighbourhood, construction materials, and sales and market data will be of great benefit to a buyer. An agent will also greatly enhance your search process, saving you time and effort while also providing full access to a search portal and notification system from REALTOR.ca and other sources. Agents also know the reputation of builders, how they meet deadlines, and how they follow-up on issues. Agents can also offer advice on a good time to buy, whether during pre-construction, mid-construction, or after the building is completed and may also have information on upcoming promotions or other development areas.
A REALTOR® working for you will help you to understand all the fine print in a purchase agreement and they will negotiate for the best terms, features, and upgrades. A skilled agent can also spot the upgrades and extras that may not be worth the cost the builders would charge and they can help with the decision on which might be worth including or excluding.
Consider this: builders and developers price their products very carefully and the purchase price for new homes is not typically negotiable because other buyers will be able to see the history of previously sold similar homes and then expect to also be able to purchase the home at that price. Buyers are sometimes led to believe that by not using their own agent to buy a new construction home that the builder will subtract the potential commission from the purchase price, but this risks setting a price precedent on that model of home and builders generally prefer to avoid this. Since the seller usually pays the commission for a buyer's agent, it makes the most sense for you to work with your own trusted agent.
Guidance and Support
There are multiple steps and multiple stages to navigate with pre-construction and new construction homes as well as interacting with many people involved in the process before closing. Decisions may be needed on the design, electrical, construction of the home as well as dealings with financing, home inspectors, contractors, appraisers, alterations, etc. Working with a trusted REALTOR®, who can help guide and support you through the entire process, will make the process less overwhelming, a lot easier, and ensure that all your needs are met. Read a few great tips here.
A Trusted Agent
When buying pre-construction or new construction homes in Winnipeg or the surrounding areas, you can count on me to be your trusted REALTOR® - Andrew St. Hilaire Winnipeg REALTOR®.
If you're considering selling your home or house hunting to buy, you might be wondering why you should use a real estate professional and how much benefit they might provide. Why not list your home for sale on your own or just call the agent on the sign or from the online listing when you see a house you might like? Here are five reasons why you need a real estate agent.
1. Industry Knowledge
Real estate professionals require extensive training before obtaining their real estate license and using the REALTOR® trademark. Agents must have knowledge about developments in real estate as well as actively updating their education. They have access to valuable market data that the general public can't access on their own including the ability to produce a Comparative Market Analysis and other reports that will help to develop a pricing and marketing strategy for the sale of a home or in determining a fair market value when buying. As well, they have real estate industry materials, experience, a network of colleagues and allied resources to further increase their knowledge and value.
2. Negotiation Skills
Having an experienced real estate agent with an arsenal of negotiating tactics and strategies at their disposal is the best way to maximize your results in a deal. A skilled negotiator will help to avoid blunders that could affect your negotiating position which could result in money left on the table. Terms and conditions are as important as the purchase price and having the ability to negotiate the entire agreement with the other party is essential.
3. Working for You
In an agent/client relationship, the salesperson and his/her real estate firm is required to protect and promote your best interests in the transaction as they would their own. The following outlines some of their duties arising out of an agent/client relationship in a typical real estate transaction:
- Loyalty to serve your best interests ahead of anyone else's, including their own, and at all times to exercise good faith and to disclose all known facts and information which may influence your decision.
- Obedience to follow all of your lawful instructions.
- Discretion to keep confidential your private circumstances, motivations, and confidences which you shared with the salesperson or which the salesperson or the real estate firm has learned.
- Competence to exercise reasonable care and skill in performing all assigned duties.
- Accounting of all money, deposits, or other property entrusted to them.
On top of these requirements, an agent helps to leverage your time and does a lot of the work for you. Successfully selling a house with the best outcome requires an effective marketing strategy that can involve promotional materials delivered to the surrounding neighbourhoods, social media posts and other online listing platforms, many phone calls, an attractive and visible yard sign, scheduling and doing showings, open houses, and so on. When buying a house, your agent will get to know your needs and wants and then provide you access to all the available homes that meet your criteria and stay on top of the market and new listings to be sure you see everything that might be a match for you. When buying or selling, an agent will be there to give advise, share market data, provide access to their resources, help you to easily handle all the paperwork, and most importantly, they will negotiate on your behalf.
4. Guidance and Support
Purchasing or selling a home is exciting, but it can also be emotional and even overwhelming. It's one of the largest financial commitments for most people and the place where you'll be making new memories with friends and family if you buy it and where those memories might make it difficult to move on when you sell. A real estate agent can provide guidance and support through each step and will be at your side for every home viewing, helping you to find the right house for you and your family, or working hard to sell your home with experience, advice, and being attentive to what's important for you.
5. Avoid Closing Issues
Everyone wants to avoid obstacles and problems when it comes to their purchase or sale of a home. An experienced agent can foresee any issues and help you to avoid, overcome, and resolve them before it's too late. Closing issues can include:
- Condition deadlines being missed
- Document errors
- Legal risks
- Last-minute requests
- Issues at possession
Avoid these frustrations and other issues by using an experienced real estate professional!
The Bottom Line
It's a lot to learn how to sell your house on your own or to buy a house with no one there working with you, especially for one of the biggest transactions of your life. Agents have access, experience, and knowledge that are incredibly beneficial to their clients. For more information on buying or selling a home with a qualified agent, contact Andrew St. Hilaire Winnipeg REALTOR®.
To sell quickly and for top dollar, staging is probably the easiest and best way to succeed. Home staging allows buyers to see your home in the best light possible. A positive first impression and seeing the potential for each space makes a buyer more likely to write an offer and offer a higher purchase price in their offer. Seeing an empty room or a room with mismatched or outdated furniture, clutter, or lots of personal items makes it difficult to see the true potential of the property in photographs and in person which will result in fewer buyers scheduling viewing appointments, fewer buyers interested in writing an offer, and buyers offering a lower purchase price. Read on for home staging statistics, tips, and benefits that make it clear how you gain by staging your home for sale.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2021 Survey:
- 82% of buyers' agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
- 47% of buyers' agents cited that home staging had an effect on most buyers' view of the home.
- Staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46%), followed by staging the primary bedroom (43%), and staging the kitchen (35%).
- 23% of buyers' agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1% to 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.
- The median dollar value spent when using a staging service was $1,800 (adjusted from USD to CAD).
Buyers Are Informed
With so much information easily available online, buyers know what they want in their ideal home. Staging a home helps buyers to determine if a house meets their requirements and expectations, but with no staging may prevent a buyer from seeing the potential. According to the NAR Survey, 40% of buyers' agents said home staging had an effect on buyers' views of a home while only 6% said it made no difference.
Everyone has their own personal style and taste for the design and feel for their home, but remember that it's the buyer, not the seller, to which the home should appeal the most when selling. Getting buyers through the door to visit your home is key and staging will improve your efforts dramatically if you intentionally stage a home so it has a broad appeal in order to be attractive to the most potential buyers.
Remember, 23% of buyers' agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1% to 5% compared to other similar homes on the market that weren't staged. Among seller's agents, 22% agreed, and 17% say it actually increased the offered price by 6% to 10%. That's a notable increase to the selling price. Also, 0% of sellers' agents and only 1% of buyers' agents said that staging had a negative impact on offering price. It's easy to see the value in the cost to stage compared to the return in the offered price.
Time On Market
Homes that sit on the market tend to become harder and harder to sell since buyers can begin to think there's something wrong with the property. Staged homes tend to sell faster and for a higher price.
Home Staging Tips
A professional home stager might charge between $1,000 to $1,500 for an average staging. They will visit a home for a consultation at which they will discuss staging options, prepare a list and plan for the staging, and make suggestions for de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and what pieces of furniture, artwork, or decor should be left or removed. Professional stagers also typically have an inventory of furniture and decor to choose from so filling a vacant house or making an occupied house look its best can be easier and much less expensive with their services. Working together can produce the best results and here are some tips to consider doing or which a pro might suggest at a consultation.
Entering a room and feeling like it is open and uncluttered makes it look bigger and more appealing. It's a good idea to box up everything you don't need for day-to-day living and store it out of the way until the property sells or you've moved into your next home. It's not uncommon to have a storage container dropped off on the driveway to store boxes and furniture items and have it hauled away for storage until the property sells or even just leave it on the driveway if the costs of moving and storing the container are prohibitive. It's ok to have the container in the driveway so long as the house can show it's best, but even better if it can be stored somewhere else.
Try to create a blank canvas for buyers to be able to picture themselves in a home. Seeing personal photos of the current owners can make it harder for buyers to imagine the house as their own home. Store family photos and any other overtly personal items like toothbrushes, clothes, etc. out of sight.
First impressions are important to get right, to leave buyers feeling positive about making an offer. Clean as deeply as you would if you were just moving into your home after unpacking. If you don't have the time to do the job well, hire a professional cleaning service instead. Don't forget to tidy up outside too by keeping the grass trim, the patio or deck clean, and the yard and garage tidy.
Make time to do any needed paint touch ups, caulking, fix plumbing leaks, replace missing electrical covers on light switches or outlets, replace burnt light bulbs, and anything else you may have been putting off. Buyers may not notice every little thing but they may be keeping a mental list of all these little things and they will add up to a bad impression.
Remember that your taste may not be everyone's taste in style or colour choices. If you have brightly painted walls, or dated colour choices, it might be a good idea to paint with colours that will appeal to the most buyers. A professional stager might be able to help with some ideas at their consultation, or take some photos and ask for advice on social media or from a few experienced people you might know. Paint is relatively inexpensive and painting a few walls will help buyers to see the possibilities for the space instead of being distracted.
Hire An Experienced Agent
For professional advice and information on buying or selling a home with a qualified agent, contact Andrew St. Hilaire Winnipeg REALTOR®.
Deciding whether to buy a house or a condo may be an easy decision for some, but for others, there may be factors that make this decision more difficult. There are pros and cons to each considering resale value, amenities, convenience, and space.
The best approach for deciding is to identify what's most important for you as far as goals, lifestyle, and budget. An experienced REALTOR® will help you to make an informed decision by helping you focus on the things that matter the most for you and looking at the options available in your desired market which will make deciding between a house or a condo easier. You can start by entering your search criteria here to see all the available listings that match your needs and wants between houses and condos in your preferred neighbourhoods.
There are two main types of condos on the market, freehold and leasehold.
Freehold condos include buildings divided into units, row townhouses, and standalone townhouses or homes. Within these freehold condos, there are standard condominiums where you will buy your unit with an interest in the property's shared common areas and elements, but you won't own the land. Common elements condominiums have no units but you own the property and the land on which it sits. Owners within the common elements condominiums community share the ownership of common elements, and they fund their maintenance and repair jointly.
Leasehold condominium corporations don't own the land in the condominium corporation, but the lease purchasers buy a leasehold in units and common elements.
The difference when buying a standard condominium compared to a house is that you're only buying a unit in a building without any of the land. Other kinds of condominiums may be different though.
Most of the time, a condo is more affordable than a house in the same area, but this gap can be wider in some markets, and may not exist at all if it's a common elements condominium. Sacrificing a convenient location in certain cities like Toronto and Vancouver, for example, will significantly influence your decision for a house or condo. The choice is much easier in Winnipeg.
Condos include monthly fees to pay for certain services, maintenance, and amenities. These are usually based on the size of your unit and the number of units in the building. Some condos offer luxurious amenities, like a 24-hour concierge, pool, gym, sauna, theatre, and even a bowling alley. Of course, your condo fees will be higher with the better amenities being offered.
The condo fees generally cover the costs when anything break inside the common areas of the building. Obviously, homeowners bear these costs on their own.
Typically, insurance rates for a condo are much less than for a house and utility bills for heat and gas are also generally less with a condo.
Maintaining the yard, snow shovelling, seasonal repairs are not your problem with a condo so if you hate these chores, a condo might be a good fit. Houses require a lot more work in general.
Location and Lifestyle
Condos usually have central and convenient locations to give owners an easy commute and easy access to public transit, restaurants, and shopping. Professionals may decide these conveniences are a priority over having a back yard of their own or more living space and would prefer to enjoy their free time without performing any maintenance on a house.
If you have children or plan to have any soon, considering living space and yard space, noise, and available privacy in a house compared to a condo may be important.
Condo boards have rules that all owners or tenants need to follow. These rules may limit how many pets you're allowed and what kinds, prevent smoking, restrict visitors in certain areas, prohibit renting out the unit, prevent having a BBQ on patios, among other limitations.
- Not responsible for repairs or maintenance outside of your unit
- Possible access to amenities like pool, gym, concierge
- Better security
- Usually easier to rent in the short term
- May be located in a more central or convenient location
- Usually less privacy
- Limited outdoor space
- Monthly fees
- Possibly pay for amenities you aren't using
- Possible restrictions or limitations
- More freedom to renovate or decorate
- More control of your space
- Like to have more outdoor space
- More privacy
- Responsible for repairs and maintenance
- Utility bills are usually higher
Are you getting ready to put your home on the market? Maybe you’re curious how the pros sell homes faster and for top dollar? Whatever your situation, I’m going to break down the top 10 best tips for selling your home.
1. First impressions matter – Make it count!
First impressions are so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The first time a prospective buyer sees your house will be a huge determining factor in their decision to go ahead or not. Using a professional staging service is one of the best ways to create a great first impression and especially when selling a vacant house.
2. Keep your home ready for buyers.
It goes without saying that if your home doesn’t look ready to show, it won’t encourage buyers to write an offer. Keep your home show-ready for buyers every time, and you’ll sell your home faster.
3. Your kitchen is the most important room.
The money you put into your kitchen generally comes back to you. When it comes to home buyers, the kitchen can make or break a potential sale. If you can’t afford to upgrade, use neutral paint colors and possibly replace the doors and visible surfaces or even simply update the cabinetry hardware.
4. Let buyers imagine the space.
The easiest way to keep your house clean and show-ready is to reduce the clutter. Rent a storage facility and stage your home to sell. Buyers want to imagine the space as their own, and they can’t do that with all your stuff there. The rule to follow is to de-clutter and de-personalize.
5. Don’t go overboard on the upgrades.
While upgrades in the kitchen and the bathroom matter, you don’t want to put upgrades everywhere. Instead, make simple changes for a dramatic effect. Fresh coats of paint, new curtains, new cabinetry hardware, and clean grout can go a long way.
6. Pets don’t sell a house.
This one is simple. Make arrangements to have your pets with family or at a day care or pet kennel and their litter box and toys hidden away. Find more helpful tips here.
7. Clean, Clean, & Clean!
Clean everything! Remember, you’re not just competing with other resale homes, but brand-new ones as well.
8. Bright and light are how it’s done right.
While not all homes are bright and airy, it’s crucial to find ways to let the light in for showings. Add some light features to improve the lighting in your home, and you’ll have buyers feeling the love. Light and neutral paint colours are best to lighten up a room.
9. Leave some space in your closets.
Home buyers want to see space, not clutter. Keep your closets at most halfway full so that they can imagine the space.
10. Price your home based on its value rather than its sentimentality.
It can be hard to look at your home objectively, but by having your agent prepare a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) you’ll have a better sense of the selling price of similar homes in your area. An experienced agent will also help you decide on a pricing strategy based on your timeline and selling price needs as well as considering other factors like a buyer’s, balanced, or seller’s market.
Looking for an agent?
If you’re looking for an agent to sell your home in Winnipeg or the surrounding areas and who can help you to implement these tips, help with strategies to sell within your timeframe, and to get you the best price possible, contact Andrew St. Hilaire Winnipeg REALTOR®.
Keller Williams co-founder and KWx executive chairman Gary Keller has spent decades in the real estate industry – first as an agent himself, and later as an entrepreneur building out the world’s largest real estate franchise. Not only has he seen the business migrate from Rolodexes to sophisticated database technologies, but through Keller Williams’ own Command platform release, he’s played a key role in shaping the future of the industry, a future which keeps agents at the center of the transaction. In a recent livestream, Keller spoke frankly about the ways agents can create a winning business in 2021. Here are six points that stood out:
1. Set a big goal and a big plan
Set a major goal, or a someday goal for a time in the future. Maybe it’s growing your business to be a million-dollar business, or perhaps it’s growing the size of your team. This big goal doesn’t have to be specific. Then, create smaller, more specific achievable goals along the way that will eventually get you to your big goal. Every day, focus on what you can be doing right now to achieve your someday goal, and do it. The number one reason agents fail, adds Keller, is because their plan for how to grow their business is too complicated. “They endorse the idea of complexity,” he says, “instead of whittling it down to something simple.” In reality, top agents find that it’s committing to just a handful of actions or strategies that ultimately determines success. “Then, all the dominoes fall after that,” he says.
Related reading: 7 Common Goal-Setting Mistakes to Avoid
2. Block off mornings for lead generation
“Every real estate agent, their only goal when they get up in the morning should be to lead generate, to feed the data, to fill the database,” Keller says. That’s because the research is clear – top agents regularly engage in three to four main lead generation activities plus three to four minor lead gen activities. “I built my entire organization initially around generating the lead,” Keller adds. If your personality isn’t perfectly suited to lead gen, or you just don’t enjoy it, he says, that’s OK. Commit to putting in the time anyway, so that eventually, you’ll get to a place where you don’t have to lead gen as much. As you lead generate, you’ll also need to make sure you’re properly storing your data. That’s where databases come in.
Related reading: Reclaim Your Time Through Time Blocking
3. View your database as your business
“The basis of all great businesses is the database,” Keller says. Building one, growing it and cultivating it is a key to success. Top agents zero in on their database. They see it as a daily priority above and beyond making a sale. A sale is something nice that happens along the way. “My goal was to see if I could become your Realtor of choice,” Keller says, “or your Realtor for life and get you into my database.” The business relationship follows.
Additionally, top agents calculate and know how big a database they need to achieve their goals and then work toward that number. For example, a database of between 4,000 to 6,000 contacts often eventually translates into a Millionaire Real Estate Agent. “The goal is to be adding people consistently into your database,” Keller says. Then nurture it by consistently and thoughtfully following up with your contacts. “By knowing who my customers are, and knowing who my database is, I can wake up every day and provide them value.”
Commit to adding three new contacts to your database each day – their name, address, phone number and email – and that will translate into 720 new contacts a year.
Related reading: Capture 200+ Contacts in One Day With a Reverse BOLD
4. Focus on referrals
Referrals often pay the highest commission, Keller says, and they – along with past clients – can be among agents’ most loyal leads. “They’re going to pay you the most amount of money per deal commission-wise, and they’re going to be the most loyal to you,” he shares. Agents can help encourage referrals by regularly reaching out to people in their database, says Keller.
When he started his business years ago, KWRI’s own VP of industry Jason Abrams leaned into referral relationships by sharing his mission and value with a fellow agent while at Family Reunion – Keller Williams’ biggest real estate training event of the year. “Months after we met, long after Family Reunion had come and gone, she called to see if I could help her professional football client who had planned to play in her hometown of Miami, but was signed with the Detroit Lions instead,” he says. “I jumped into a limo and showed him a selection of homes. When I got the check for the house he bought three weeks later, it was the most money I’d ever seen in one place.”
Related reading: Tammi Juengst: Turn Relationship Into Referrals
5. Don’t be afraid to delegate
To commit time to lead generation and focusing on building your database, you’ll likely need to delegate tasks to other people on your team, and that’s OK. “Everything else can be delegated,” Keller says. Likewise, once you’ve built up your database to the number you need to achieve your goals, you’ll be able to delegate nurturing your database as well.
The Organizational Model of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent shows agents exactly how to exponentially grow their business by leveraging the talents of others. Hire people for staff positions to handle administrative, buyer and seller duties. Your administrative assistant should be your first hire. Then, once you have more clients than you can handle on your own, you can hire sales staff. Finding talented hires lets you focus on lead generation.
Related reading: The Organizational Model: Leverage Your Way to Limitless Success
6. Put it all together
Take the following steps as you work on lead gen and on building your database:
- Calculate your current database number.
- Set a specific database goal for the future.
- Build a lead gen plan to get there. Keller recommends a minimum of four days a week for a minimum of two hours, though five days a week for three hours is better.
Keller says that with its Command technology, Keller Williams is building the tools to allow a real estate agent to build a database-based business. And, with that in place, “your relationships will come to you, and they will stick with you.”
The real estate market in 2020 has been one of the few positives.
Before the pandemic took hold in March, resulting in massive economic shutdowns, sales were performing well with first quarter sales up 12%. It has to be one of WinnipegREALTORS® strongest first quarters on record. There was every reason to believe the spring market, which always begins in earnest in April with an influx of new listings, was looking promising.
As the pandemic unfolded, this didn't happen. Listings in April were down 42% and 21% in May. Sales were down too, but not to the same extent. Even early on, buyers were more motivated than sellers, and sales in April and May decreased 32% and 18% respectively.
June showed a recovery, with the economy opening up and the industry adapting to new public health orders and protocols to keep everyone safe from Covid-19. Buyers responded in record numbers as sales fell just shy of 1,900, surpassing the previous best monthly record for sales of 1,705 in May 2019.
As sales rebounded, listings also showed a slight increase over June 2019.
The second half of 2020 continued this pattern and as inventory couldn't keep up with buyers, it became a 'seller's market'.
WinnipegREALTORS® and the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) conducted a Probe Research survey in June that backed up strong buyer intentions to purchase a home in 2020 — with the vast majority saying they were undeterred by the pandemic.
The v-shaped recovery continued beyond catching up to the sales deficit created in first half of 2020 and surpassed what the year-to-date MLS® numbers were for the same period in 2019.
July was another record month in which year-to-date sales were ahead by 5% from 2019, but sellers were more reluctant to put their home on the market, so listings dropped 10% in July compared to July 2019.
As a result, listing supply or current MLS® inventory, which was a 'balanced market' at the beginning of 2020, was dropping. What was 4.5 months of supply to start the year became only 3 months of supply available for sale in August, and 2.3 months going into September, with a third consecutive month in August of over 1,800 sales.
2020 likely set a new annual record for sales in October at close to 14,000 and is well over 15,000 sales in December. December represents the seventh consecutive month of record-breaking monthly sales with a 38% increase for the December 1st-15th period.
New listings on the MLS®, up until the end of November, are in fact down 9% from the same period in 2019. This is main reason for double-digit average residential-detached sale price increases in the last few months.
The Steinbach MLS® area, as it has been for years, is the leading MLS® area within the WinnipegREALTORS® market region and it will approach 900 sales this year. No other MLS® area comes close in total numbers. The second most active area is the Morden/Winkler MLS® area with 652 sales at the end of November.
Specifically in Winnipeg, the busiest MLS® area reaching close to 600 by year end is the Waverley West area in southwest Winnipeg. This development has been growing the last few years with newer communities like Prairie Pointe offering new lots to build on.
Rural in 2020 has stood out with a gain in total MLS® market share of 6%. Last year, the split between Winnipeg and rural MLS® areas was 70/30 but is now 64/36. A shortage of listings in highly sought after neighourhoods in Winnipeg have impeded the number of potential sales. Another contributor to rural sales this year is the 70% increase in vacant land sales and 26% in resort property sales as of the end of November. Combined they exceed 900 sales. Vacant lands are mainly located outside Winnipeg with most located in Manitoba resort areas.
The popular resort communities on the west side of Lake Winnipeg (e.g. Gimli, Winnipeg Beach) had 332 sales as of the end of November compared to 231 the same period last year. Similarly the east side of Lake Winnipeg resort communities like Grand Marais and Victoria Beach nearly doubled their sales from 123 to 239.
2020 won't be forgotten anytime soon, but I look forward to what 2021 has to offer with a possible vaccine, re-opening of all businesses, and being free to visit friends and family again. For more information on buying or selling a home with a qualified agent, contact Andrew St. Hilaire Winnipeg REALTOR®.
What does it take to create your brand? A beautiful logo, team colors, a strong slogan, and a well designed website aren't enough.
These are important, but creating a brand is more. It’s the comprehensive way your customers see you and the feeling they get after interacting with your business. It’s your promise to your clients, telling them what to expect from working with you. When done properly, it can be one of the priciest investments into your business.
Branding is no longer a pain point
In real estate, Keller Williams is a leader, helping agents craft their own unique brand by means of Command. Agents may craft a brand that reflects their unique identity without the expense of a high-priced agency or the need for a full communication, marketing, or branding team.
Keller Williams agents can achieve this level of thoughtful branding with Command, using business-critical tools that solve pain points like database management, transaction management, team collaboration, and branding solutions. It empowers agents to take branding into their own hands – creating, redefining, and disseminating – so they can stay top of mind with consumers. Best of all, these tech tools are available at no additional cost.
With Designs in Command, agents have the opportunity to create their own marketing and branding materials, including digital graphics, social assets, print materials, and landing pages. The tool hosts about 1,160 customizable templates created by marketing pros so agents can focus on moving their business forward by easily crafting beautiful brand assets.
Zimmer Real Estate Group, with lead agent Trent Zimmer, has experienced firsthand the convenience of Designs. When the team had a townhome listing they were keen on advertising in a specific neighborhood, they leveraged a pre-existing template in Designs to create a mailer in under five minutes. “Thirty-six hours later, I got a phone call from a homeowner,” he says. By creating the mailer, Zimmer secured a $390K townhome listing. “Let’s just call it a $12K paycheck that cost me $26 in Command,” he says. On a different occasion, the team used Designs to create a flier to share on community bulletin boards. “It took two minutes, and I got two phone calls the next day,” Zimmer says.
Advertising is an essential part of any business’s branding efforts, and Command has a tool for that as well.
With Campaigns, an agent can create a single ad and then syndicate it across several social platforms linked from within Command. Campaigns also give agents the ability to target their digital ads by user behavior, interests, and demographics. The goal is to remove as much of the guesswork as possible, allowing agents to easily and effectively amplify their brand.
A plethora of agents have found success by leveraging Campaigns to create high-converting Facebook ads. For a total cost of $25, the EZ Sales Team advertised a luxury home listing locally in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as Los Angeles, California. For a cost-per-lead of 68 cents, they were able to secure a pre-approved buyer in a short amount of time.
Built-in ad spend suggestions let agents better optimize their efforts so they can get the biggest bang for their buck. In Q2 ‘20, the average cost-per-lead for KW agents inside Command was $1.77 in the U.S. and Canada across social media platforms.
The KW App
One aspect of an agent’s brand that’s harder to measure is the breadth and depth of their own local expertise and how that’s imparted to clients.
Clients searching for a home want to work with an agent who not only knows the ins and outs of the purchasing process, but also has a nuanced and intimate knowledge of the areas they’re living. The KW App – which can be personally branded to the agent – allows them to make their expertise accessible, further fine-tuning the way they’d like to present themselves.
Through the KW App, agents are able to collect valuable consumer insights and lay the groundwork for relationships that last a lifetime while staying wrapped up in their unique brand through their personal touch. The customizable Guide tool allows agents to usher clients through every step of the homeownership journey, while the Search functionality allows them to provide their own recommendations for clients, gather insights from their search activity, and ultimately win their loyalty.
Agents can also flex their local expertise through Neighborhoods, which allows clients to view neighborhood stats, see local reviews, and calculate commute times, giving them a deeper understanding of their new location.
With so many ways to communicate – emails, phone calls, texts, and follow-ups – often, it can be hard to manage client communications, let alone make sure your messaging is consistent and on-brand. We’ve all received a marketing email or text that didn’t speak to who we are or where we are in the buying cycle. And that can leave a lasting, negative impression.
SmartPlans allows agents to create communication workflows so they can respond to a client’s or lead’s needs and actions.
For example, a new contact can be assigned to a SmartPlan an agent specifically designs for new leads. This SmartPlan can include emails, texts, and action items designed to help the contact get to know the agent.
Agents can design SmartPlans to account for any and all types of clients, leads, interests, and behaviors. The application makes it easy to create targeted and intelligent touchpoints instead of mass blanketed emails or texts, strengthening the integrity and meaningfulness of an agent’s brand and letting clients know their agent is truly listening to them.
A Tech-Enabled Brand
With all the options, the noise, and the management that branding involves, agents need a way to streamline, amplify and target their efforts. Through technology, Keller Williams is making it easy – and economical – for agents to share their personality, passions and expertise with clients, and more effectively communicate they’re the best choice among competitors. Eager to learn more about all of Keller Williams’ tech offerings? It goes beyond branding.
Command, a smart CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution and much more, connects agents to clients in more targeted and meaningful ways. Implementing AI, Command places agents in control of their database, business, and future. And, engagement has been explosive because it was built in consultation with agents, via Keller Williams labs, for agents. The Designs app in Command includes a marketing suite allowing agents to customize pre-designed templates or build from scratch for various marketing such as social media, print, email, website, landing pages, and with drag and drop widgets to include neighborhood-specific stats, listing photos, contact information, and more directly into their collateral.
- After 2019 launch has 99,875 active users
- AI referral fueled $12.6 billion in sales volume
- Agents are tracking 406,754 deals across phases of a sales pipeline
Two years after announcing its status as the number one real estate frachise by agent count, closed units, and closed sales volume in the United States, Keller Williams continues to surge past industry giants like RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. What’s happened since has been nothing short of incredible.
Driven by the commitment of Keller Williams’ agents, the company:
- Closed more than 1 million units, generating more than $332 billion in sales revenue in the United States and Canada in 2018.
- Had 174 brokerages that appeared on the REAL Trends 500, representing 34.8 percent of the top 500 brokerages for 2018.
- Was named a Top Workplace for Women by Forbes and a Top Workplace for Veterans by Indeed in 2019.
- Ranked No. 1 in the real estate and urban development category on Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019.
- Was named a top 2020 trend in the Swanepoel Trends Report. The report takes an objective look at what prompted this disruption.
While each achievement is notable, the real story of Keller Williams’ success begins several decades earlier.
Founded in 1983 and based in Austin, Texas, Keller Williams’ first agent, Gary Gentry, wrote the first offer for $55,000 and the starting roster of 32 agents went on to close $28 million in volume. After an auspicious start, the young company’s agents became prime recruits and a few top producers left to work with competitors, leaving the balance of the initial team to struggle in a tough Texas economy.
“It was a difficult time,” Gentry reflects. “But in retrospect it was a godsend, because if you learn how to survive and thrive in hard times, then when things change, you are going to do exceptionally well and you’ve been hardened and strengthened through the process. With the kind of training support that Gary [Keller] and Joe [Williams] gave us, we were constantly learning how to adapt to a different market. On a daily basis, we would discuss what the market was doing and what we needed to do to grow our businesses. A lot of our policy and culture was developed during this time.”
In 1986, Keller convened the first Associate Leadership Council (ALC) to reinvent Keller Williams from a traditional real estate company into one that would disrupt the industry. He shared his vision to create a new type of real estate company, where a world-class culture focused on the prosperity and well-being of its people would become an environment no agent or team ever wanted or needed to leave.
The ALC’s subsequent sessions were the basis of the company’s core belief system, the WI4C2TS. They also developed the profit share program, which treats associates who help the company grow as true business partners. Driven by the philosophy that success lies in shared prosperity, market centers share roughly half of their monthly profit with their team. Since its inception, the profit share program has distributed more than $1 billion to associates who have helped the company grow.
Keller and his colleagues were so focused on helping agents succeed, that in 2002 they brought a team of mega agents together to answer the question, “What would it take to net a million dollars in personal income?” Their brainstorm resulted in models that would later serve as the basis for Keller’s first book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, a national bestseller and a catalyst for the company’s growth.
With the kind of training support that Gary [Keller] and Joe [Williams] gave us, we were constantly learning how to adapt to a different market.
By 2006, through the leadership of executives like Mo Anderson and Mary Tennant, Keller Williams was the fifth-largest real estate franchise in the United States, and in 2011, the company surpassed Century 21 as the number 2 real estate franchise in the country.
As Keller and his leadership team examined their markets, they saw a unique trend emerge among the most successful teams. The strategy was simple: Hold powerful conversations with market center leadership centered on the core activities that would generate results. Through coaching, healthy business practices flourished at the local level and agent production grew. The system was soon implemented in other market centers and regions across the country with the model in hand.
With healthy business practices being implemented at the local level, agent production grew. In 2013, the company was the top real estate franchise by agent count in North America, and in 2014, more associates called Keller Williams home than any other real estate franchise in the world.
KW Evolves to Tech
At the 2017 Family Reunion event in February, the next phase of Keller Williams’ evolution was announced: a commitment to developing the real estate platform that buyers and sellers prefer. As a result of its growth and a strong vision cast by Keller, the company planned to invest $1 billion in technology.
“World-class technology companies need to own their product vision, they can’t rent it. We can’t outsource our road map and vision because no one cares more about what you need to be successful, than we do,” said Josh Team, former chief innovation officer turned president in 2018. “Our observation is the number one challenge an agent faces is the number of independent, disconnected technologies.”
Agents reportedly use up to a dozen software products and systems to do their job. Given this knowledge, Keller Williams strengthened their resolve to provide the kind of resources agents need and want to use.
What was accomplished in the next two years in Labs set the stage for success:
The Keller Cloud Debuts
Both cloud service ecosystem and real estate anomaly, the Keller Cloud contains the data Keller Williams agents have amassed since day one. With the end goal of serving the customer a state of the art experience, the Keller Cloud’s mission is to provide real-time information exchange, in-the-moment data analysis, and unparalleled efficiency for both the agent and the customer.
Kelle is Born
By liberally championing their “Fail Fast” philosophy, the virtual sidekick and AI-powered assistant, Kelle was born. From finding market data to growing an agent’s referral network and expertly navigating other Keller Cloud technologies, Kelle gets it done.
World-class technology companies need to own their product vision, they can’t rent it.
As Kelle churned and learned every day and showed agents her true value, it became clear to the company that they had something interesting to offer. The team turned a corner after entering and winning the NAR Hackathon for Kelle’s cutting edge ability to leverage AI and machine learning to serve the industry. Now, Keller Williams had license to unleash the rest of their power.
Fast forward to Family Reunion 2019: Command makes its debut, bringing a multi-faceted, customizable platform available for immediate use by Keller Williams’ sea of agents. Powered by the Keller Cloud and supplemented with Kelle’s AI and mobile efficiencies, Command positions KW to disrupt the industry again.
More importantly, it is the cornerstone of an end-to-end consumer experience, which no agent or company has been able to achieve, but Keller Williams is prepping to release.
With these innovations, Keller Williams not only raises the bar in its commitment to providing the foremost resources agents need to elevate their business; it redefines the way real estate is done.
“We’re making huge strides in our journey to deliver the end-to-end platform that our agents need to provide the personalized, data-enriched experience their clients expect,” said Team.
This is crucial as companies pour billions of dollars into technology aimed at disintermediating the agent from the consumer. Yet, by its size alone, Keller Williams has the power of collective data and the magnitude to provide its agents with consumer insights no one can match. With this remarkable leverage, the company keeps agents at the center of the transaction, allowing them to build real estate businesses without limits or boundaries.
*Industry leader based on global agent count and U.S. closed volume and sales units. The data was compiled by Keller Williams Realty, Inc., from company websites, SEC filings, industry reports and other publicly available sources.
If you had to use one word to summarize the theme of this year’s State of Your Company at Family Reunion, it would be “togetherness.” KW co-founder, chairman and CEO Gary Keller and president Josh Team entered the main stage of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas – together. The more than 15,000 people in attendance stood up and cheered – together. And, by the final frame of the 2019 Year in Review video, it was clear Keller Williams is winning – together.
This is a big moment. And, it’s going to get better and better and better. – Gary Keller
During their time on stage, Keller and Team made that optimistic premonition seem more like a foregone conclusion: clearly detailing the plan to remove the friction between agents and consumers to formulate an infinite loop of success for the foreseeable future.
Taking Command, Together
The first component of this frictionless experience is Command, the platform built by agents, for agents. Before unveiling five new agent-requested features, Team took a moment to thank all of the Labs participants and early adopters whose feedback made these updates possible. “This is the way that agents get to define the platform and where they want to go,” Team said. One area agents have gone all-in on? Lead generation using Campaigns.
To date, 19,000+ Keller Williams agents have earned over 90 million impressions, generating nearly a quarter of a million leads in Campaigns, all for a fraction of the cost of competitors. “We’re able to generate materially less cost per lead than anyone else,” explained Team. “Get on the dollar-lead bandwagon.”
Team continued by announcing customizable SmartPlans, a highly-anticipated feature that allows users to automate when and how they contact their database. And, speaking of smart marketing, Family Reunion attendees got a peek at SmartVideos –customizable, shareable, data-powered videos that gives clients a taste of nearby neighborhoods.
Also announced were new, robust team features for Command like lead routing and pooling, contact ownership, collaborative opportunities, and exportable reports. “Launching today is the most feature-rich lead routing tool the industry has ever seen,” said Team. “Every criterion can be assigned, built, and managed inside Command.”
Updates to Designs (a library of 2,000 marketing pieces to date and a custom PDF upload feature) and the addition of agent-referral patterns were also well-received, but it was the customizable Guides that underpin the new KW App that really captured the audience’s attention (more on that later).
The individual features of Command are powerful on their own, but the real benefits appear when used in tandem and with best practices in mind. Team and Keller had a few to keep in mind.
The best part of these suggested tactics? Many of them only take 30 seconds or less. For example, by simply adding a home address to a contact, Command automatically associates those contacts with a neighborhood; allowing you to build targeted, hyperlocal marketing that speaks to them one-to-one. And, one of the best ways to create a highly-personalized consumer experience is the much-talked about KW App.
The KW App: Bringing Agents and Clients Together, Forever
While Command and the all-new KW App may seem like two different products, Keller was quick to set the record straight. “Command and the KW App are not separate programs. These are two different screens, if you will, operating on the same platform,” he said, while demonstrating how the KW App feeds client data directly to an agent through Command.
As an example, when an agent creates a custom buying or selling guide in Command, that same step-by-step action plan will appear in the form of the Guide feature on the KW App. When a consumer uses the KW App to begin a home search and starts adding their favorite houses to a custom collection, their agent will see what properties interest them and provide personalized suggestions. And, back at Keller Williams Realty International (KWRI) headquarters, developers are working every day with agents to bring more features to the KW App that will provide even more customer insights for agents, keeping them the fiduciary at the center of the transaction.
The keynote concluded with a heartfelt thank-you from Keller: first to Josh Team for leading this technological revolution, then to all of the KWRI team members who help bring these innovations to life, and finally to all of the agents who are responsible for keeping Keller Williams at the top of the real estate industry. It was a powerful reminder that to achieve success, you have to work together.