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October
14

With vaccination rates flagging and an ambiguous timeline for the end of the pandemic, the answer to this question is a resounding "Yes!"

Of all industries transformed by the pandemic, real estate moved the fastest — because it was essential to protect agents, brokers, and their clients. Giving up with the finish line in sight doesn't make sense.

But there is a flip side. Research shows many supervisors are nervous about this new work-from-home world. If they can't see people doing their work, they worry nothing is getting done. It's affecting teams in all kinds of industries.

Luckily, real estate is a little bit different.

An independent streak has always been a big part of success in real estate. Even with perks offered by the largest agencies and brokerages, individual real estate professionals know they need to be true self-starters if they're going to reach the heights of their profession.

A lot of that energy comes from having personal goals. Nothing can replace it.

On the whole, it's not unreasonable to think real estate is near the top when it comes to industries that are well-prepared for working from home. A greater number of agents' daily tasks are done with digital technology than ever before, clients have come to grips with Zoom, and virtual tours are available.

But there is a flip side. Agencies and brokerages also need to be able to deal with the risks.

Not the risk their teams will be sleeping in until noon and checking out at three — rather, the very real ambiguities, complexities, and issues that come with moving to an all-digital workflow in a matter of weeks. Everyone needs to be sure they are taking the right precautions to succeed.

There are really two aspects to that:

  • The technology side
  • The productivity side

Let's look at best practices that should be communicated to everyone.

All Agents and Brokers Should Make Sure At-Home Technology Is Safe and Secure

Let's face it — although we all know not to give our bank details away to the Nigerian prince in our spam folder, not everybody knows the ins and outs of cybersecurity. In an office environment, all it takes is a little common sense. In today's remote work, though, things can be a lot more nuanced.

These tips will help you close the door on common home office vulnerabilities:

  • Secure Your Home Network
    Your router – where the internet signal comes from — came with a default password and username, but they should be changed to something unique as soon as possible. The network itself should also have a strong password. Optionally, a VPN can boost your security when accessing sensitive files.

  • Use a Separate, Dedicated Computer
    Make sure you're not using the family computer for work. Even if you set up a different Windows login, your files could still be compromised. A dedicated work laptop is the way to go, and it also means you have complete control when it comes to keeping your antivirus and Web browser up to date.

  • Back-Up Your Files
    Your agency or brokerage may have a solution for regular file backups, such as a cloud storage app. If there's a plan in place, follow it. If not, there are many reputable software programs that can enable you to back your files up daily, protecting you in the event you get hit by ransomware.

Remote Work Productivity Strategies for Real Estate

Working from home demands a whole new set of skills not everyone has. However, it can be easier than it looks if you get off on the right foot. That means holding yourself to the same professional standards you would at the office, and a few important cues can get you there:

  • Set Goals for the Day and Week
    While you might not have the exact same schedule you once did, it's still critical to set goals — targets for the day that will add up to a productive week. To pin down what your goals should be, start with what you want to accomplish by the end of a month, then work backward.

  • Find an Accountability Partner
    The latest psychology research shows involving even just one other person in an effort to keep yourself accountable makes it much more likely you'll reach your goals. Look around for a colleague you admire so you can work together to develop a support system based on healthy productivity.

    Establish a Workspace
  • Your workspace is one of your most valuable assets. That's not only because it keeps you organized, but because your mind associates it with your most productive habits. Eliminate as many distractions as possible and set an understanding with family or housemates so you won't be disturbed.

Contact us today to find out more about today's digital productivity best practices.

August
6

One of the most challenging eras in American history is entering a new phase.

The worst of the pandemic is hopefully over. Vaccination rates may be seeing a rebound as more people take action to protect themselves from new COVID-19 variants. But many areas of the economy are stuck in slow motion, and it has proven difficult to return to ordinary office life.

In this environment, it's no surprise real estate is still in an adjustment period!

There's no going back to the way things were, and the future is coming fast. The threat of infection may be waning, but structural changes will not end here. To excel in 2021 and beyond, estate professionals at all levels will need to adapt. The question is: where should they invest their limited attention?

Let's look at some of the forces that will continue to reverberate through real estate:

Changing Consumer Preferences Mean Digital Will Remain King

At the height of the pandemic, properties that may not have seen much attention in the past were suddenly hot commodities. Families needed separate spaces for everyone to use as home offices or classrooms. They were looking for broad entryways set apart from the rest of the home and kitchens with lots of storage space.

Real estate trends move on, of course. But what about clients' basic ways of thinking?

Virtual tours, a major adaptation to the safety risks of COVID-19, are here to stay. Not only are they convenient for sellers, but they allow buyers to extend their search radius without needing to travel. Virtual open houses even have the potential to displace traditional face-to-face tours in the long run.

Buyers now want a full video-based experience before they will even set foot in a home. For their part, sellers expect evidence their agent is doing everything possible for them, and digital provides the hard data to prove it.

The Overheated Real Estate Market Will Cool Down

Record low interest rates drove many Millennials, for whom homeownership was a reach, into the market. Even the younger Generation Z got in on the act. However, peak opportunity has now passed by. In many areas, homes are selling for far more than the market would normally bear and buyers are dropping out.

Research has shown that Generation Z is motivated to achieve homeownership earlier than their parents and perhaps even their grandparents. But now that the perfect storm has ebbed, they will need plenty of help from well-informed agents who know how to navigate first-time homebuyer programs.

At the same time, sellers who missed out on the frenzy will need to temper their expectations.

Precisely how the market adjusts will depend a great deal on the broader economic recovery. Agents need to tune into the specific forces affecting their markets, then let their brand and marketing message evolve to fit in.

Climate Will Become a Factor in Client Decision-Making

Properties that once looked like the ultimate luxury homes are less enticing when they're at risk of destruction every year. Wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and heat waves are making their presence known and beginning to influence buyers' thinking. Many sellers will uproot, moving across multiple states to reduce these risks.

No one can predict the weather, but it's crucial to prepare for tough questions if your market has been affected by hazardous weather patterns over the last few years. Your customers will look to you for an understanding of how safe their investment will be and whether it will be possible for them to truly enjoy the community.

Real estate agents with a broad network will have an advantage in capturing the cross-state economic activity most will not be prepared for. If long-distance moves have traditionally been part of your business strategy, now is the time to capitalize on the more strategic vision that younger buyers are bringing to the table.

Elders at a Crossroads in the Real Estate Market

Elders are traditionally more likely to see a home as a safe and reliable investment. Home equity is a major tool for a comfortable retirement. Seniors often downsize into a smaller home before retirement to further reduce their cost of ownership and ensure that their property matches their retirement lifestyle.

During the pandemic, a significant number of families bucked tradition by seeking larger homes suitable for a multi-generational lifestyle. Economic pressures on younger and middle-aged family members might continue to make this an appealing proposition throughout the economic recovery — however long it may take.

No matter what changes in the world of real estate, agents and brokers will be well-served by digital marketing automation that lets them achieve more in less time without sacrificing the personal touch. Delta Media Group makes it possible to reach more of your ideal clients. Contact us to learn more.

May
13

Few industries changed as much or as quickly as real estate at the outset of the pandemic.

Working together, real estate professionals from all walks of life were able to re-imagine traditional approaches. The drive to improve safety for colleagues and clients alike has had a tremendous impact. What started out as a matter of necessity has given rise to innovations like digital showings, poised to redefine business as usual.

With vaccinations increasing fast, real estate professionals will soon find themselves with the opportunity to return to something like "normal." But precisely what awaits in the future is a matter of considerable debate.

Real estate has been one of the biggest bright spots in a pandemic-battered economy. While nobody can see the future, the general outlines of what tomorrow's real estate market might look like are fast becoming clear.

Here's what to expect from real estate after COVID:

  • Bankruptcies and Foreclosures Influence Housing Stock
    Mortgage-holders and renters alike have benefited from several moratoriums to help them weather the effects of the pandemic. With those protections slated to wind down, bankruptcy filings are likely to increase sharply. Real estate professionals should brush up on the expectations around short sales and bank-owned properties.

  • Mortgage Rates Increase After Long-Term Record Low
    Mortgage rates have had a historic low streak, enabling millions of Americans who might otherwise have waited to enter the housing market. Rate increases are inevitable, which will shut out some would-be buyers. Still, it may be a long time before rates rise dramatically and restructure the availability of financing.

  • Millennial Buyers Will Continue to Drive High Demand
    Robust demand has been one of the engines behind real estate's standout success in 2020. Millennial buyers make up an expanding share of homebuyers, and they will continue to be alert for market opportunities. The younger cohort is aging into homeownership while many elders make strong progress on savings and debt.

  • A Proposed Tax Credit Is a Powerful Wildcard
    Congress is now considering legislation known as the First-Time Homebuyer Act. If it becomes law, this bill will provide a tax credit for first-time homebuyers equal to 10% of the property's purchase price, up to $15,000. The bill is targeted to lower and middle-income individuals and families.

  • Down Payment Assistance May Be Coming, Too
    Separate legislation is in the works that may make down payments more attainable, too. First-time, first-generation buyers could qualify for substantial down payment assistance in the form of a grant at closing. Both bills will expect a buyer to use the qualifying property as a primary residence.

  • Millions of Renters May Still Become Buyers
    The cumulative effect of the two legislative proposals on the housing market suggests more than nine million people may still seize the opportunity to buy their first home. Demand is expected to vastly outstrip supply, creating intense competition in the most desirable housing markets around the country.

  • Video and Virtual Tours Will Remain Common
    In 2018 and 2019, video was already seeing massive growth in popularity for real estate marketing. Now, buyers and sellers alike are accustomed to video in the form of digital open houses and tours. Their convenience, along with the ability for buyers to stretch their search into a wider radius, mean these trends are here to stay.

  • Brace Yourself for the "Big Box" Model of Real Estate
    Large digital brands are consolidating their influence over buyers and sellers and extending their operations into more areas of real estate. They will continue to press for a less personal and more homogeneous real estate experience that prizes volume over value — deep local expertise is the antidote.

An Exciting New Era of Change Awaits Real Estate After the Pandemic

Just as they discovered opportunity in the midst of tragedy, real estate agents and brokers have a vital role to play in tomorrow's economic resurgence. In late 2021 and beyond, real estate could grow from an isolated success story to a bellwether of future prosperity for a great recovery.

Whatever changes, one thing is sure to remain the same: the importance of digital marketing.

Real estate agents who spend time implementing and learning marketing automation technologies now will be more resilient against the unknowns of the future. Done right, your real estate website can become a lead engine that informs, educates, coaches, and qualifies leads — bringing them to your door when they are ready.

A strong lead pipeline will help agents maintain their independence and strengthen relationships in the community, essential considerations as large digital-first brands and speculators seek to transform real estate to their advantage. Your digital marketing highlights your unique skills and perspective, which are irreplaceable.

To learn more about the future of real estate digital marketing, contact us at Delta Media Group today.

March
25

For more than a year, the world has awaited the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Thanks to the hard work of so many scientists and healthcare experts, not to mention an enormous logistical undertaking involving Americans from coast to coast, vaccination is finally materializing.

There are now two COVID-19 vaccines in wide use throughout the country, with a third entering circulation. More than 13% of all Americans have been vaccinated, with vaccination rates in some states reaching a third or more. While there are no doubt challenges still ahead, it looks like the worst is behind us.

The real estate industry was one of the first to begin responding to the pandemic. One could argue it changed the fastest, and perhaps even the most: to keep the industry from foundering, it was necessary to move it virtually in a matter of weeks, adjusting to public health guidance as researchers uncovered more data.

So, it's reasonable to wonder "what's next?"

Even as restrictions fade and more employees return to the office, it's unlikely things will return to how they were. New tools, new ideas, and even whole new business models arose from the pandemic. While some people will be glad to return to what they knew, old ways are by no means set in stone.

No one can predict the future, of course, but certain trends are already coming into view.

Here's what real estate professionals should prepare for as widespread vaccination continues:

  • Home Values Continue to Increase
    At first, it wasn't clear what effect the pandemic would have on home prices. In most areas, prices remained steady or continued to climb, reflecting the fact that people need homes no matter what else is happening. As the economy rebounds, values are likely to hold an upward trajectory.

  • Interest Rates Begin Rising, Too
    After reaching historic lows in the midst of the pandemic, interest rates are sure to increase as soon as it seems safe to do so without inviting inflation. This will tighten the market from the buyer side, forcing many buyers to keep a closer eye on their budget than they've needed to over the last few quarters.

  • Goodbye to Low Housing Stock
    Sellers' behavior drove some of the biggest changes of 2020. Many sellers avoided crowds in their homes, so virtual tours took off like a rocket. Now, things are about to change again. Brace yourself for the clash between more active, motivated sellers and fewer qualified buyers!

  • New Construction Rebounds (Eventually)
    Demand for new construction is also poised to take off due to pent-up demand meeting the economic recovery. However, it may take longer than industry-watchers would like. Builders often rely on a large and diverse contingent workforce, and it will take time for vaccination coverage to reach the majority of employees.

  • Fewer Conventional Offices, More Automation
    Real estate has always been a nimble industry. Now, agents are learning even face-to-face client interaction is not always a "make or break" part of business. Remote teams have learned to collaborate effectively, and few miss their commute. The right technology will continue to save time and make a distributed staff model work.

To flourish, real estate agents will need to continue doing what they do best — adapting and adjusting to change. To learn about how digital marketing automation fits into your post-pandemic strategy, contact us today.

March
30

Digital Marketing for Real Estate
How can real estate professionals continue to excel in the era of COVID-19?

In many markets, showings have slammed to a halt and new listings have slowed to a crawl. Still, there will be a future after coronavirus. Sales Associates who continue their outreach will be best positioned to help their community when lockdown orders start to expire.

Digital marketing is a wise idea for many reasons. In this difficult time, it ensures that you can practice social distancing and minimize the safety impact of your business activities. In the long run, it is key to developing a strong lead funnel and the work-life balance you want.

Many people have put their real estate plans on hold, but the market may look very different later this year. Potential clients will go online to continue their real estate research. Interacting on your site and social media helps you stay connected with the needs of those you serve.

Digital marketing is powerful, but it can be complex. No one technique has the reach or staying power to capture full attention. Now is the best time to figure out a strategy that works for you.

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March
27

Coronavirus on My Business


On Monday I talked about trending data as we are seeing it now. You can find that article by clicking here, and you may want to read it before reading this article.

Additionally, I did a follow-up article to the one I did on Monday where I discussed Rate of Change analysis methodology that I use from ITR Economics. That article can be found here and I also recommend reviewing that article first before you read this one.

For this article, I want to discuss analyzing the lead flow into your business from your web site. I will caution that you need to consider multiple factors when tracking and analyzing your lead flow. I'll mention some of these below.

Click Here to Read More...

March
25

Live Webinar
Delta Media Group will be hosting a live webinar on Friday, March 27th at 2:00 PM EST. Mike Minard (CEO of Delta Media Group) and Victor Lund (Managing Partner of WAV Group) will be discussing the impact Coronavirus is having on the Real Estate Industry and Brokerages. They will be analyzing the latest trends that they are seeing as well as metrics brokerages should be paying attention to as we move through these uncertain times. The webinar is geared toward broker-owners and managers.

Please register here for this webinar.

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