5 Ways Realtors Can Adjust During the Coronavirus Crisis

5 Ways Realtors Can Adjust During the Coronavirus Crisis

78 percent of realtors say the Coronavirus isn’t keeping home buyers away, but there are still some things you can do to keep your pipeline filled until the national emergency has passed.

Has Coronavirus Impacted the Real Estate Market?

In general, the impact of the Coronavirus has not yet made its way into the real estate market. However, that may change nationally or in local regions should larger outbreaks occur or state and regional authorities issue restrictions. According to the National Association of Realtors’ March 9-10 Economic Pulse Flash Survey,

  • 37% – Home buyers’ enthusiasm over low mortgage rates exceeded concerns about stock market fluctuation
  • 78% – Novel Coronavirus has not changed levels of buyer interest
  • 16% – Buyer interest decreased due to Coronavirus (of note, 21% of California responders and 19% of Washington responders – states with higher instances of the virus – said buyer interest had waned)
  • 87% – Coronavirus has not had an affect on the number of homes on the market
  • 5% of Washington members and 4% California members reported sellers taking homes off the market vs. 3% nationwide

View NAR’s Economic Pulse Flash Survey full report

Will the Coronavirus Impact the Real Estate Market?

In March, the President declared a national emergency due to the potential spread of COVID-19 virus in the US. International travel and guidelines for social distancing for everyone in the United States. Understandably, this could impact real estate investors, home buyers and sellers in the immediate future:

  • Home buyers fearful of attending open houses or touring homes due to risk of exposure
  • Home sellers who do not want to open their homes for open houses or home tours to strangers who may be contagious
  • Categorically at-risk prospects who are limiting all out-of-home activities
  • Home buyers, sellers and real estate investors who are staying out of the market temporarily due to economic or financial uncertainties

For that matter, you, as realtors, also must consider your risk of exposure as you meet with prospects, hold open houses, give home tours, interact with title companies, home stagers, cleaners, contractors and so forth.

How can you practice social distancing while also fulfilling your responsibilities, and while addressing the factors that might be prohibitive to members of your team as well as home buyers, home sellers and real estate investors?

5 Ways Realtors Can Adjust During the Coronavirus Emergency

1. Embrace remote work

Social distancing does not mean isolation! Thanks to technology you have what you and your team need to work remotely together, and most of it fits in the palm of your hand.

  • Use productivity apps like Trello and Slack to set goals, encourage accountability, and track and measure results
  • Meet up with prospects via free video calling on Skype or Facetime instead of at the coffee shop, the prospects home or your office
  • Use online meeting platforms like StartMeeting.com to hold buyer and seller seminars or team meetings

Bear in mind as well that some of your staff may face childcare challenges at this time due to school closings or daycare closings. These remote work-friendly tools can help ensure you don’t lose valuable employees and give them the means to continue to contribute as a member of your team.

2. Virtual tours

While in-person home tours and open houses give prospective buyers a real sense of a property, they are not 100% necessary. Thousands of real estate investors and home buyers purchase real estate properties every year without ever setting foot on them.

Real estate photography, videography and drone photography and videography can provide prospective buyers with layout, condition and other characteristics. You can also hold virtual open houses using your smartphone or in partnership with your real estate videographer (for higher quality production). As an added bonus, these “live” open houses are also then recorded, so they can be played back at any time by interested buyers.

3. Spring for inspections and appraisals

Virtual tours only provide prospective home buyers and real estate investors with part of the picture. When partnered with professional inspections and appraisals, you give buyers confidence in purchasing a property they may be unable to visit personally. Doing this work for prospects up front increases buyer confidence and acts as a buying incentive.

4. Leverage low rates

Historically low borrowing rates are another incentive that stimulates the real estate market. The U.S. Treasury is lowering rates even more to help curb negative economic pressure. Make sure your on and off-line marketing highlights the benefits of taking advantage of low interest rates to home buyers and real estate investors, including that this is likely a time-limited opportunity. If you have a preferred lender, they can be a great resource in helping you share scenarios, case studies and real life examples.

5. Make “clean” part of your story

Whether you hire professional cleaners to do a deep clean of a property before going on the market, before and after an open house, or before a home buyer takes ownership of a property, cleaning is another tool that can incentivize home buyers and sellers. Professional cleaning and sanitizing of a home can give both buyers and sellers confidence and help to overcome fear they have about health risks related to home tours or open houses.

When you hold events such as open houses or home tours, wipe down all door handles, countertops, faucets, cupboard pulls and any other surfaces that are commonly touched with germ-killing wipes or disinfectant. Provide hand sanitizer to prospects before entering and upon leaving the property. Buy branded hand sanitizer to send home with prospective buyers or sellers or to give away at client meetings.

If your office remains open to the public and/or employees, make “clean” part of your story there, too. Have your office professionally cleaned and make the same wipe-down process noted above part of your office protocol. Equip your space’s entry and common areas with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes so that people are empowered to create a safer space for clients and co-workers.

From buyer incentives like pre-paid inspections, appraisals, professional cleaning and low interest rates to actions you take to protect yourself, your team and your clients, you can help to ensure that your real estate pipeline remains active during the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) emergency. Even after the crisis has passed, you may even determine that many of these changes stay part of your real estate practice going forward.

5 Ways to Compare Commission Advance Companies

5 Ways to Compare Commission Advance Companies

Commission advance companies give realtors and brokers access to working capital that might otherwise be tied up in pending transactions that take weeks – or months – to close.

What should you look for when comparing commission advance companies?

All commission advance companies basically provide the same service, a financing tool realtors can use to get an advance payment on commissions they have already earned. However, all commission advance companies are different, and understanding what to look for can help you make the most of this debt-free financing tool.

The amount offered to you in an advance (usually a high percentage of the pending commission amount) as well as the cost of factoring commissions (usually a low percentage of the pending commission amount) is important, but it only gives you part of the picture. By comparing the offers and programs of two or more commission advance companies side by side, you can maximize the benefits of factoring real estate commissions whether you factor a commission on a one-time basis or you are looking for a commission advance company to work with over the long term.

5 Factors that Impact the Benefits of Commission Advance Financing

1. Advances and fees

The advance amount is the amount of working capital offered to you by a commission advance company. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount of the pending commission.

For instance, if you factor a $6,000 commission with a 93 percent advance rate, you receive $5580 as a commission advance.

Want to try the math yourself? Use the Commission Advance Calculator here to see how much working capital you could unlock from pending commissions by factoring them instead of waiting for transactions to close.

Enter the amount of a pending commission you would like to factor to see how much working capital you could unlock with commission advance financing:

Fees – and hidden fees

Fees (also referred to as financing fees or factoring fees) also impact your ability to maximize cash flow by factoring commissions instead of waiting for transactions to close, and for escrow and title companies – or other brokers – to release commission funds.

Some commission advance companies charge fees for notifications, account management and set up, due process, and other administrative tasks that drive up your financing costs. Some companies even offer what looks like a low rate but is in reality a compounding rate (assessed weekly or daily from day one) that dramatically increases factoring fees depending on how long the transaction takes to close and for the parties involved to release commission funds.

We want to earn your business by being an effective financial partner, which means transparency in our fee structure.  In most cases a low factoring fee will be your “all in” cost when you choose Corsa Finance, but depending on how you choose to have funds distributed, a wire fee may apply as well. We would be happy to provide you with a free quote, including a rate schedule – scroll down and request a quick quote below or apply online.

2. Process 

From the application process to the request for an advance on a specific commission to the ability to submit documents electronically, the speed at which commission advance companies process your submissions is important.

We understand that speeding up cash flow and taking control of your pipeline is your ultimate goal in factoring commissions for an advance, so we look for reasons to say “yes!” – often providing same-day answers and funding in 24-48 hours – or even less.

In addition, commission advance financing is not dependent on your credit score, so there are no checks on your credit. A low credit score that might make it difficult for someone to obtain traditional financing shouldn’t impact your ability to get an advance on pending real estate commissions.

3. Contract requirements 

Commission advance minimums can come in more than one form. One type is that a pending commission must rise to at least a minimum dollar amount to qualify for financing.

Another type is that you, as the realtor, must agree to factor multiple commissions or even all commissions earned over a period of time. Or that you provide notification of a desire to stop factoring commissions (or factor with a different commission advance company) months in advance, with financial penalties for canceling your contract.

We offer clients flexibility to factor only those commissions they want to factor, and we are one of the few commission advance companies that will give an advance on small commissions as well as large ones. And we don’t require clients to commit to long term contracts. We want you to stay in control, so you can always do what is best for your business.

4. Use of funds

Since they are business revenue, tying use of funds to business purposes makes sense, and commission advances can be used for nearly any type of business purpose. Realtors may want to gain fast access to working capital for many reasons, such as:

  • marketing and advertising – including both digital and print
  • holding home buyer or seller attraction events
  • paying for property staging, photography, video or drone videography – or other vendors
  • meeting payroll for office staff or assistants
  • paying state and/or federal taxes
  • paying for a new work vehicle, or for work vehicle repairs, maintenance, etc.
  • traveling for business, such as attending conferences
  • continuing education and licensing expense
  • lease, office and operating expenses

5. Customer service

High advances and low fees can’t make up for poor customer service, slow decision making or delays in funding. When comparing commission advance companies, consider the level of service offered and the relationship that you want to have with your account manager.

At Corsa Finance, we are interested in knowing more about your business and how we can help service its financial needs over both the short and long term. We want to earn your repeat business and referrals, and we know the only way to do that is by providing a high level of professional and courteous customer care.

Get a free, no-obligation quote:

We would be happy to provide you with more information about factoring real estate commissions or give you a free, no-risk quote to help you decide if an advance would be beneficial to your agency. Contact us at 855-882-6772 or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you with answers.

8 Mission Critical Realtor Apps and Tools for a Thriving Brokerage

8 Mission Critical Realtor Apps and Tools for a Thriving Brokerage

If you want to grow your real estate business more quickly, these must-have realtor apps and tools are literally right at your fingertips.

Homes stay on the market an average of 65 days, but in hot housing markets that time might be just a few days – or even hours. Speed and efficiency are of the essence for realtors who work with sellers and buyers in fast-moving markets, but that doesn’t mean that quality doesn’t count. Real estate agents who successfully attract and engage more buyers stand a better chance of bringing in higher offers for their clients, which is a win both for the home sellers and the realtors.

Many of the realtor apps and tools you need to compete at a high level as a realtor are right at your fingertips – in your smartphone, tablet and laptop. There’s more computing power in mobile devices than ever before, and their usefulness extends far beyond the basics. The realtor apps and digital resources listed below can help you run your real estate business more effectively and efficiently.

8 Realtor Apps to Use to Grow a Real Estate Business

1. Mortgage Calculator App

There’s no getting around the fact that homes are a big-ticket purchase for most home buyers. Having a mortgage calculator among the realtor apps on your smartphone, tablet and laptop puts the numbers buyers need right at your fingertips.

Not only is it useful in helping home buyers determine if they can afford the home of their dreams, it can also be helpful in working with buyers who have not locked down financing and mortgage pre-approval yet. You can also use this to help buyers decide what amount of down payment they need to put down for various types of loans or to avoid PMI (mortgage insurance) which can significantly increase the amount of their monthly mortgage payment.

Financept’s Mortgage Calculator (available in the Google Play store, compatible with all devices) has a 4.6 overall rating from over 1800 users, and its features include:

  • Calculate mortgage and loan payments based on principle, interest and term (length of loan)
  • Yearly and monthly breakdowns
  • Ability to save and print results
  • Mortgage amortization schedule (shows totals paid toward principal and interest over the length of the loan)
  • Mortgage amount with / without PMI (mortgage insurance)
  • Mortgage amount with taxes
  • Impact on the mortgage amortization schedule of making extra payments

2. Virtual Conferencing – Video and Screenshare

Eliminate email and phone tag by setting meetings with multiple participants using StartMeeting.com’s low-priced platform. At a monthly cost equivalent to the price of one lunch, you’ll have a virtual business meeting conference room that enables participants to call in or view from a smartphone or computer. This versatile tool provides you the ability to:

  • Share your screen to give a presentation, review documents or use your camera for a virtual “face to face” with prospects, buyers and sellers
  • Show property photos and videos, explain documents, put offers together, review counter-offers – great tool especially when working with remote buyers such as military home buyers
  • Review offers with sellers, review inspection reports, craft responses, etc.
  • Invite multiple parties to eliminate conflict schedules, the need to meet at a brick-and-mortar location and increase communication efficiency
  • Hold educational webinars for home buyers or home sellers (up to 1,000) in lieu of (or in addition to) local workshops for client attraction
  • Capture all meetings via recording for later playback, reference or documentation

3. Expense Tracking

Sure you can simply take a photo of receipts with your smartphone, but ReceiptBank goes a step further in automating scanning of receipts, bills and invoices on the go, storing them on the cloud so you can access them when you’re doing your office accounting or to send to your bookkeeper. It’s AI (artificial intelligence) reads your receipts, eliminating the need for data entry.

You can track profit and expenses and find tax deductions you might otherwise have missed starting for free using hurdlr. The free level includes:

  • unlimited mileage tracking
  • add income and expenses
  • tax calculations summary
  • ability to export / email reports

From there, for less than $10 a month (currently $7.99 month to month or $60 billed annually) you can expand hurdlr’s abilities with automated expense and income tracking, speed tagging, get real time calculations for state and federal self-employment taxes, and organize your office by setting work ours and creating rules. And don’t forget – the cost of apps and programs like these may all be tax deductible as well.

4. Scanners

JotNot Pro turns any iOS or android smartphone or tablet into a scanner, and features additional applications including Fax (send any Word or PDF document by fax), Invoice and Signature. Each of the apps currently cost $4.99 US.

Easy Inc.’s Simple Scan is a free app that turns your mobile phone into a scanner. It’s got a user rating of nearly 5 stars and has been reviewed by more than 73,000 users.

5. Selfie and Property Videos

Video. It’s everywhere! From selfie videos that let you introduce yourself to prospects on social media, your website and in email marketing, to videos you shoot at a home or property, video can take your real estate marketing to a higher level. However, a lot of self-produced video ends up looking very amateur and the still-shots aren’t always flattering.

Problem solved! Load Adobe Premiere Clip onto your phone, tablet and/or laptop along with your other realtor apps and get the extra editing tools you need to improve your videos, add effects, music, transitions, text, voice-over, set beginning and end slides – and more. Once complete, share easily onto your website, social media, YouTube channel, email marketing and more.

6. Cash Flow Tools

While Corsa Finance’s realtor commission advance doesn’t technically fall under the category of “realtor apps,” it is a must-have realtor tool for expediting cash flow. As soon as a purchase and sale agreement or lease agreement has been signed around, the clock starts ticking, and you start waiting to receive the money you earned on the deal. The clock might tick on for weeks – or even months. Meanwhile, the expenses you incurred to do the work of the deal have already been billed to you, and maybe even paid.

Waiting on a commission for weeks or months could result in a cash flow shortage for your real estate agency. A real estate commission advance resolves this cash flow shortage by giving you access to working capital that would otherwise be tied up in commissions payable to you at a later date, but without impacting the transaction’s closing date, buyers or sellers.

You might also like: 4 Ways to Use a Commission Advance for Realtors

7. Lead Management

If you need more relationship management than Outlook alone can provide, Zillow’s Premier Agent offers the ability to manage leads, set meetings, track interactions and keep track of your lead generation pipeline, alone or as part of a team. The program can connect leads from more than 35 sources so you can manage them all in one place. You can also record your phone calls and have them sent to your inbox in case you need to review them again later.

  • Robust lead management
  • Lead distribution and monitoring
  • Task management
  • Listings management – although some tools are not available to Android users

8. Prospecting – Demographics

If you want to know the general demographics of a city or zip code, check out the wealth of free data available to real estate professionals on claritas360 (formerly claritas Prizm). Enter in any zip code and find out about its demographics by lifestyle, social group, income, household composition, age and ethnicity.

Another great resource for realtors to discover information about specific cities or zip codes is City-Data.com. Instantly find historical statistics about:

  • population
  • number of homes, condos and apartments
  • real estate property taxes
  • profiles of local businesses
  • education
  • ethnicity
  • income
  • median home pricing – and more

Demographic data can be of great use to you when looking for trends, identifying prospect-rich neighborhoods or even tracking which are likely to be the next up-and-coming areas where buyers will want to live.

Do you have favorite realtor apps you can’t live without? Leave your recommendations in the comments below. 

5 Signs Real Estate Buyers Send When they are Ready to Pull the Trigger

5 Signs Real Estate Buyers Send When they are Ready to Pull the Trigger

Despite the advice to sales pros proffered in the iconic movie, Glengarry Glen Ross, “Always Be Closing” is not a good selling strategy. Here are five signs real estate buyers send when they are ready to make a decision.

Trying to Close Before You See Buying Signs Can Bring on Rejection

Trying to close a sale before your buyer is ready to make a decision can negatively impact relationships with decision-makers or even drive them away. Here are five signs both commercial and residential property buyers send when they are ready to sign on the dotted line.

5 Signs Real Estate Buyers Send to Let You Know It’s Closing Time

1. They ask about the process.

Clearly, if a commercial property or residential home buyer is asking you what the next step in the process is, they are at – or nearing – the point where they will make a buying decision. This is your opportunity to see just how painless and easy you can make it for them to take the next step in the real estate buying process.

2. They ask if the “best offer” is on the table.

While this might mean the most recent offer was not good enough, it could also mean they are ready to accept it and just hoping for one more concession. If the sellers have made a fair offer, it may be best to say that the best offer is on the table, rather than potentially opening up a new round of negotiations.

On the other hand, if there is a way to sweeten the deal that may be especially meaningful to your buyer, you might consider offering additional incentives for signing on the dotted line (along with an offer expiration date!) in the form of a “here’s our bottom line” number.

3. They ask about options or alternatives.

If a real estate buyer asks about add-ons, buyer bonuses, upgrades, HOA or maintenance fees or other options, it could mean they are ready to make a decision and want to be sure they will have what they want most, or it could be an indication that they are comparing the property to other options. In either case, it’s an indication that they are ready to make a buying decision but want to be sure they are getting the best deal for them. Find out which of these “extras” are most important to your buyers and see if you can deliver them; it might set your property apart from all the others they are considering.

4. You overcame or satisfied objections or concerns voiced by buyers.

Addressing real estate buyer concerns, providing education, comparisons and specifications, providing guarantees or offering buying incentives can all be the means of overcoming buyer objections, and it’s a natural time to ask the buyer to pull the trigger or ask “trial closing” questions (see below).

Alternatively, objections raised can also be a signal that a buyer is not quite ready to make a decision or is having second thoughts, especially if the buyer is raising new objections after you have addressed their initial concerns. It’s also important to be aware that buyers may not always provide you with the real reasons they are not ready to buy. Don’t be afraid to take a step back to give them time to re-consider their decision or to evaluate whether you have correctly identified what’s really holding them back.

5. Readiness has been identified using “trial close” questions.

The “trial close” is usually a type of question asked to determine if the buyer has any additional concerns or objections that have not yet been discovered yet, such as:

  • Do you need any more information before you buy? (or sign the contract, etc.)
  • Do you want to see any other options?
  • If all concerns / buyer requests are met, are you ready to make a decision?

Trial closing questions can help you evoke buying signs and determine how close a buyer is to making a final decision. They also help ensure that you don’t lose a sale simply because you didn’t ask for one, but without putting the buyer into a final “yes” or “no” position.

While many in sales use the term “closing” to refer to what they do to motivate buyers to take action, the “closing” of a sale is simply the final step of a transaction, whether that involves a buyer signing a contract or submitting payment. In commercial and residential real estate, the buying cycle can vary widely in length, with some buyers arriving to the process nearly (or completely) ready to make their final buying decision, and others needing additional information, incentives or time.

Regardless of the length of your buyer’s individual cycle, it’s important to pick up on buying signs that can tell you where they are in the buying cycle, so you don’t scare them away by demanding a decision too early or lose a sale because you never asked for one.

4 Ways to Use a Commission Advance for Realtors

4 Ways to Use a Commission Advance for Realtors

When a real estate commission is factored, it generates a commission advance for realtors that can be used for nearly any business purpose, including expenses that can help a realtor grow their business faster.

How Can a Commission Advance for Realtors Be Used?

1. Real Estate Brokerage Operating Expenses

A commission advance for realtors could free up funds that you need to pay just about any of your business’s expenses:

  • Lease or mortgage
  • Office furniture and supplies
  • Accountant or tax preparer fees
  • Utilities
  • Subscriptions
  • Taxes
  • Computers, equipment and software
  • Unexpected expenses such as the need to make repairs

And more. If you need to unlock working capital to keep your brokerage going and growing, a commission advance can help you bridge a gap or offset a seasonal slowdown.

2. Marketing and Advertising Costs

Some real estate agents hold back on marketing until the market slows down. In reality, when the market is healthy and sales are moving well is the time to be marketing – in anticipation of any future seasonal or cyclical slowdown. This means that whether the market is slow or fast, you should be executing an effective and consistent marketing and advertising strategy that helps you get found online and keeps your brand “top of mind” with prospective buyers and sellers. Expenses that fall into this category could include:

  • Print, digital, TV or radio advertising
  • Building a new website or refreshing your existing site
  • Graphic design (logo, brand colors, ad copy and layout, etc.)
  • Postcards and flyers
  • Targeted paid ads and boosted posts on social media
  • Email marketing
  • Networking and memberships (Chamber, Rotary or similar groups)
  • Vehicle wraps and clings
  • Agency signage
  • Customer appreciation
  • Branded SWAG and gifts
  • Zillow, Trulia and similar paid-listing accounts and ads

Real estate marketing is a smart investment in any economy. It’s the only way to reach new prospects and maintain top of mind awareness in your network, which can make all the difference in being the agent contacted when a buyer is ready to make a move or a seller needs an agent.

3. Professional Expenses

You can use a commission advance for realtors to gain access to the money you need for licensing, insurance, continuing education, exam fees and more. Trade shows and conferences also fall under this heading, as do the travel-related expenses that often accompany them. You can also use a commission advance for realtors to access the money needed for professional memberships, such as membership in the National Association of Realtors, a local or regional association, women or minority associations, and so on.

4. Transportation Costs

The average realtor logs about 3,300 miles a year on their vehicle (National Association of Realtors). Since it’s basically a requirement for doing business as a real estate broker, transportation costs including vehicle purchase, vehicle leasing, repairs, insurance and other expenses may be appropriately funded by a commission advance for realtors, even if the vehicle is also for personal use.

Why Use a Commission Advance for Realtors?

The business of a real estate broker is unique in many ways. People who work for a salary put in their time and are generally compensated with a paycheck every two weeks that is in a predictable, consistent amount. By contrast, realtor commissions that are earned and on the books represent a percentage of the sale amount and could take weeks – or even months – to go from earned income to dispersible funds.

The gap between a signed around purchase and sale agreement and the property’s closing date (which the broker may have little to no control over) can put a financial strain on a real estate brokerage. Bills have to be paid, including payroll. Membership fees come due. Lease payments come back around. Unexpected expenses pop up – the list goes on and on.  A broker may even find that closing and disbursement of funds could even be delayed past the anticipated date, further straining the finances of the real estate business.

Real estate commission factoring is a tool that can alleviate the financial strain on an occasional or even a regular basis. Instead of waiting weeks or months to receive the income you’ve already earned, you can use a commission advance for realtors to access as much as 93 percent of an earned commission right away – without impacting the closing date, and without impacting your buyer or seller at all.

Request information about a commission advance for realtors using the form below or apply online: