Whiteboard Topics: 5 Ways To Know An Agent Is Not A Lake Expert

The rules of real estate are difficult enough to grasp, but the rules of lake real estate can get even trickier. Lake Homes Realty’s CEO, Glenn Phillips, shares why you need a lake expert, and how to tell if your agent meets the criteria of one.

  1. History: Having general real estate knowledge is valuable, but the lake real estate market is a specific market that only lake experts can successfully navigate.
  2. Water knowledge: Water levels can be affected by a variety of causes such as seasonal conditions, flood preparations, and location. It’s imperative that your lake agent is able to break down the habits of your prospective lake.
  3. Regulations Knowledge: Regulations vary by lake and can have specific restrictions regarding motor crafts, dock additions, and other water activities. Rules like these should be communicated thoroughly by your agent before you make the commitment to live on a lake.
  4. Generic Out-of-Area Marketing: Question if an agent lumps in lake listings with other generic real estate properties when marketing homes. Lake real estate is a unique market, and true lake experts take the extra step to ensure lake properties are reaching a targeted demographic, similarly to the Lake Homes website.
  5. Dismisses Differences: Again, the rules of the lake real estate market set it apart from other generic property transactions. If your agent dismisses fundamental differences within this market, it’s a clear sign they are not a lake expert.

There are so many moving parts when you enter the lake real estate market. The only way to make the most out of your investment, as a buyer or seller, is by ensuring your agent is a lake expert!

Whiteboard Topics: 4 Reasons Sellers Need A Lake-Expert Agent

To understand lake real estate, you have to realize that it’s in a class of its own with rules specific to the market. Lake Homes Realty’s CEO, Glenn Phillips, shares why you need a lake expert to help you navigate the world of lake real estate.

  1. Specialty Property: Your home is unique and requires an agent knowledgeable in the lake market to help you sell it.
  2. Remote Buyers: Out-of-state buyers make up a large portion of potential prospects. With this in mind, it’s essential that your agent is comfortable engaging with and bringing in those remote buyers.
  3. Thinks Long-Term: A lake home is a discretionary product, which can make purchasing one a lengthy process. To combat this, a good lake-expert agent will already have a pipeline of interested buyers with whom they have developed long-term relationships.
  4. Local is Not Enough: Most of the time your buyer pool won’t include your neighbors on the lake. You need an agent who has experience marketing lake homes nationally.

Lake real estate varies from the typical commercial market in a lot of ways. To stay on top of the lake market, be sure to find a lake expert agent to help you sell your home!

Whiteboard Topics: 5 Real Estate Agent Marketing Tactics You Should Ignore

Unfortunately, some real estate agents are known for using catchy phrases and buzzwords to attract unsuspecting homeowners. Lake Homes Realty’s CEO, Glenn Phillips, gives five tactics to ignore when choosing a lake real estate agent.
  1. “No Cost to the Buyer”: There is always a cost because agents are getting compensated for representing you. You want to get the most value because you are paying them indirectly.
  2. “Million Dollar Producer”: A million dollars sound like a lot, but can be misleading. Selling one million dollars of property can be done in four transactions, which isn’t very much.
  3. “The Most Listings”: Having properties available isn’t a bad thing, but the problem arises when those properties have been on the market for long periods of time.
  4. “Largest Local Office”: The size of the office doesn’t determine how motivated a brokerage is to sell your home. Depending on their processes, they can even limit your pull of buyers. 
  5. “Marketed on Thousands of Websites”: Being marketed on thousands of websites means nothing if no one is visiting those websites. You want your properties to be seen on high traffic, real estate-focused sites.
If something sounds too good to be true, that’s because it usually is. Be ahead of the game, and know what you should and shouldn’t take into consideration when choosing your lake home real estate agent!

Lay Lake Agent Named Best Real Estate Agent 2019

Lake Homes Realty agent Stephanie Millard has been named this year’s Best Real Estate Agent in Hoover’s Magazine’s 2019 list of bests.

“I’m honored to have been selected by the community as Hoover’s Best Realtor,” Millard said. “I’m only here because I have the BEST clients, colleagues and support staff!”

Millard also attributes her recent “best” designation to her “client-first” philosophy.

“I’m not just selling homes or helping people buy pieces of property,” she explained. “I’m selling a lifestyle and helping clients invest in their futures. My client-first philosophy not only keeps me accessible and responsive to my buyers and sellers, but also allows me to build relationships with them that last long after closing.”

It’s these relationships and her clients’ happiness, Millard says, that gives her her deepest sense of satisfaction as a real estate agent.

This is the first year Millard has received a Hoover’s “Best” award; however, it is not the first recognition she has received for her work in the industry.

In 2018, Millard was named a Lake Homes Realty premier agent and Aqua Award winner for having closed more than $5 million in transaction volume for the year.

“Stephanie’s recent accomplishments are a testament to her work ethic and dedication to her clients,” said Lake Homes Realty CEO Glenn S. Phillips. “We are proud to have her as part of our Lake Homes Realty family and to see her hard work pay off.”  

Finalists for the 2019 Best Real Estate Agent designation included Renee Hamilton, Jennifer Harris, Gwen Vinzant, Amy Wingo.

For a full list of this year’s winners, visit http://www.hooversmagazine.com/hoovers-best-winners-2019/.

Top Qualities of a Solid Listing Agent

A 2017 article by Money.com reported only 10 percent of homeowners successfully sold their homes without the help of an agent. The other 90 percent chose to work closely with real estate professionals who were familiar with their local markets.

In lake real estate, working with agents who live, work and play in their local markets is key to successful real estate ventures.

These veteran experts are intimately familiar with the many nuances of their lakes — such as which parts are most active or best for fishing, and what the off season looks like — but more important, how to best gauge current market conditions.

So, what should you look for when it’s time to hire a listing agent for your lake home? We can help with that.

Listing Agent vs. Selling Agent

It’s important to learn the distinction between the roles of listing agents and selling agents, because though they sound like the same thing, they are quite different.

A listing agent works on the homeowners’ side of the real estate transaction and in the best interest of the seller.

These agents list properties on their MLSs (multiple listing services), which make them visible to other real estate agents who have clients looking for similar homes. Additionally, these MLSs feed a host of real estate websites, like LakeHomes.com, Realtor.com and Zillow, providing national exposure to their listings.

Listing agents also help the sellers price the home, assist in contract negotiations and serve as trusted advisers on various other real estate-related minutiae.

A selling agent works with prospective home buyers. Most often referred to as buyer’s agents, selling agents are responsible for representing the buyer in the transaction.

In-Depth Market Knowledge

Perhaps one of the most important things to take into consideration when hiring a listing agent is how familiar he or she is with your market. In fact, in 2017, 80 percent of sellers named local market knowledge as one of the top deciding factors when choosing an agent to work with. In specialized markets, like lake real estate, local market knowledge can be invaluable.

For example, how to price your lake home is typically one of the biggest questions you and your listing agent will face because traditional estimated value programs often incorrectly evaluate these properties.

Tools like the Zillow Zestimate use public records such as property tax records, and user-submitted data to approximate the value of a home.

Public records don’t always properly reflect the actual size and configuration of certain homes, and because much of a lake home’s value is determined by factors like proximity to the shoreline, lake views and nearest access points, public and user information can only give homeowners a rough estimate.

At Lake Homes Realty, lake home listing agents utilize resources like our Lake Real Estate Market Report — which features real estate data from more than 100 MLSs across 23 states — to analyze market trends, compare prices, and determine how local markets fit into the state market as a whole.

Armed with this wealth of information, lake-focused agents are best equipped to price your home objectively and appropriately for your market’s climate.

Strategic Marketing Plan

You can’t sell a secret, and if your listing agent hasn’t laid out a strategic marketing plan for your property, you might consider finding someone else to work with.

Many lake home buyers come from out of state, which means your listing agent must go beyond putting your home on the local MLS in order to reach these prospects.

One of these best ways to do this is to target marketing efforts via search engines and social media campaigns.

Lake Homes Realty agents tailor listing promotional efforts using Google Analytics web-traffic data to determine which areas are most frequently shopping their sellers’ markets.

This powerful tool not only shows sellers how visible their listing will be on a national level, but also shows the age demographic most interested in homes on their lake, gender and how frequently users are shopping on LakeHomes.com.

From this information, listing agents can determine who sees their listing advertisements by specifying it only be shown to males, ages 54 to 65 within 25 miles of Nashville who are interested in fishing, boating and real estate.

Trust Level and Responsiveness

How trustworthy and responsive a listing agent is are the two most important qualities sellers look for when hiring. A strong sales history, positive online and peer reviews, certifications and performance awards are all key indicators of these.

Red flags that may signal a less-than-effective listing agent include the agent encouraging the highest possible initial listing price, an unusually low commission split and unfamiliarity with your specific type of property.

Also, the best listing agents are full-time real estate professionals. This enables them to be more easily accessible to answer any questions sellers may have, provide advice on offers and to provide peace of mind that sellers have made the right choice in choosing to work with them.

Additionally, a good listing agent will respond to every client, every time, to make sure his or her client’s transactions go as simply, effortlessly and conveniently as possible.

 

If you’re considering listing your lake home, check out LakeHomes.com’s additional resources “Solving the Unspoken Nightmare of Selling Lake Real Estate,” and “Why FSBO Isn’t Worth Your Time.

Facebook Advertising for Agents: Anti-Discrimination Policies

There’s no argument that Facebook advertising has become an essential marketing tool for businesses, real estate included — just ask the more than 1.45 million people who log on to the social media platform each day.

Not only is advertising on social media an easy way to reach potential clients, it’s also relatively inexpensive.

Ad content may vary in type and desired audience, but the basic principles of organizing a successful Facebook ad campaign are the same.

The following is Part I of a three-part series designed to help real estate agents navigate Facebook’s ad policies.

These polices are constantly changing and cover a wide range of restricted, prohibited and acceptable content.

While we cannot detail each of these, we can point out a handful of common mistakes many real estate agents make.

Facebook Advertising Policies

When it comes to advertising for real estate, agents should take all measures to prevent violating Facebook’s anti-discrimination policies.

Most often, this occurs when agents exclude certain classes of people in an ad’s target audience or verbiage. Many times the agent isn’t even aware he has done anything wrong.

If an agent has ever used the term “family home” to market a listing, used the age range “30-45” in his verbiage or targeted “married women only” in his audience demographics, it’s likely the agent has broken at least one fair housing law, be it state or federal.

In the example above, the qualifiers “family” home and “married” women exclude any potential clients who are divorced, engaged, single, childless or otherwise. This characteristic is called “familial status” and is one of the classes protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Additionally, the agent has specified a particular age group in his target audience. Use of this qualifier violates Facebook’s personal attributes restrictions.

Protected Classes

According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, there are seven classes against whom it is illegal to discriminate. These include color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status.

Facebook policies currently state the platform prohibits advertisers from “using audience selection tools to wrongfully target specific groups of people for advertising or wrongfully exclude specific groups of people from seeing their ads.”

Facebook no longer allows advertisers to filter audience demographics by multicultural affinities such as ethnicity and race; however, agents can still filter for a number of Fair Housing-protected classes, sex and relationship (familial) status included.

Personal Attributes Restrictions

Beyond these, Facebook policies restrict the use of personal attributes in ad language.

Such attributes are a person’s philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation or practices and medical or physical condition. Others include financial status, criminal records and gender identity.

The platform’s policies state that an ad’s content can neither directly nor indirectly assert or imply any of these personal attributes.

To simplify, an ad for a retirement community cannot read “join other seniors at Green Acres.”Instead, it should read “join the seniors at Green Acres.” The first implies intended audience members are senior citizens. The second simply states there are senior citizens living at Green Acres.

Another example may target upper-class audience members, but the ad’s language cannot explicitly state so.

An ad that reads “Rich and looking for a lake home?” will probably go unpublished. However, if the ad were to read “Looking for luxury lake real estate?” it has a better chance of being approved because the wording does not imply the audience member is of a certain financial status. Instead the latter sentence implies the property itself is luxurious, not that it is available to wealthy people exclusively.

Though these policies create a fine line between what can and cannot be in an agent’s advertising, this line is navigable with careful attention and planning.

 

For a full list of Facebook’s advertising policies and guidelines, please click here. And be sure to check out Part II, “Facebook Advertising for Agents: Words to Avoid.”

The Importance of Hiring a Lake Expert Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent can help you to secure a property faster and at a more reasonable price, so it is always worth hiring one when you are considering purchasing a new home.

man in suit holding out a Lake Homes Realty Lake Expert business cardThey offer a level of expertise in the market that you simply won’t have and can help in a variety of ways.

In addition to this, lake real estate often comes with many complications not seen when dealing with normal residential properties.

Advice

A good real estate agent will be able to provide solid advice relating to the property you are looking at buying.

This information could include the general history of the home and if there are any issues that need to be resolved should you choose to make the purchase.

Significant information could include lending standards and short sales.

A good real estate agent will also be able to advise you on the actual value of the property in comparison to the asking price.

Agents will be able to let you know when it is a wise move to negotiate on a price or when you have found yourself a good deal.

To facilitate this, agents will often bring in other professionals to carry out home inspections.

Inspectors will be able to determine if there is anything wrong with the property that hasn’t already come up in an initial walk-through. Should you still be interested upon seeing the findings, any issues discovered can then be used as leverage once it comes time to negotiate price.

Legalities

Buying a house comes with a minefield of paperwork, legal documentation and additional complications.

It’s a hazardous place to wonder into on your own, which is why it is a good idea to bring a real estate agent along for the journey.

Their expertise will ensure that you get all of the right paperwork completed on time and have it ready to go without complication.

When it comes time to close on the deal, most people will aim to get things completed within a short time frame.

Having somebody to guide you through the processes involved can be a lifesaver.

Niche real estate

And these are just the reasons you need to hire a real estate agent for a normal transaction!

When it comes to making a purchase of lakefront real estate their are other hidden dangers to be area of.

These can include water levels and water views that fluctuate during different seasons, leased lots that can’t be purchased outright, watercraft regulations and shoreline management rules.

A true lake expert will know all the nuances of the lake and will help you navigate your transaction, keeping you informed, sometimes on things you didn’t even know you had to worry about!

It is perhaps unwise to try to complete every stage of a house purchase on your own. Even if you feel like you have things well in hand it is always worth at least consulting with an expert before moving forward.