What Millennials Look for in a Home

Millennials have grown up in a world of technology, connectivity, and awareness that distinguishes them from the baby boomer homeowners before them. Be prepared for their differing interests, hobbies, and priorities that may shape their ideal home sweet home. We’ve provided an easy to read infographic to help you navigate a home sale and find the perfect fit for your millennial home buyer.

Remember, each client is different. While this may serve as a guide when selling to millennials, always communicate with home buyers to understand their individual needs. Click on the infographic to take a closer look!

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Questions for Every Room of the Open House

Open houses provide more than the opportunity to showcase your clients’ listed homes; they also allow you to exercise your knowledge as a real estate agent by fielding questions from potential home buyers. While these questions can range from the common to the rare, most of them are focused on the house or neighborhood in general. However, as they walk through your open house, different rooms may inspire inquiries that are a bit more specific in nature. With CENTURY 21® Real Estate’s insight, you may find it easier to anticipate these niche questions and prepare for them in advance. Take a look at what questions each area of the house might elicit from potential home buyers.

The Front Door

Some, if not most, potential home buyers are already taking stock of the house before they step in the door. Just seeing the exterior of the house in its neighborhood may lead to the following:

  • When were the windows installed?
  • How old is the roof?
  • What are the neighbors like?

Structural renovations, such as replacing drafty windows or aging roofs, may be costly. Since roofs tend to need replacement every 20 or 25 years, the home buyer will want to factor in maintenance costs. Neighbors are not so costly, but they may affect quality of life. Try talking up positive aspects of the relationship between the current homeowners and their neighbors.

The Kitchen

This room is often the hub of family homes, so it’s important to know its quality beforehand. Expect questions similar to the following:

  • What are the cabinets made out of?
  • When were the appliances installed?
  • Is the countertop sealed?

Cabinets made of solid wood tend to last longer, and newer appliances usually function better. Answer honestly and accurately, but remember to focus on the positive or memorable aspects of these features.

The Bathroom

Maintenance issues with this room are often the most inconvenient, for obvious reasons. The home buyer will want to make sure that everything is functional before they commit. You might hear things like:

  • How old is the plumbing?
  • Where does the sewage lead to?
  • Has it ever been treated for mold?

While these aren’t the most glamorous of topics, they’re key to the quality of the house. Be truthful about the facts, but this might be an area where you stay away from anecdotes.

The Basement

Whether or not the basement is finished, potential home buyers are sure to take a look at it. After doing so, they may ask:

  • How old is the wiring?
  • Have you ever experienced water damage?
  • Has there ever been flooding?

Here, it’s crucial that you discuss past issues you may have had because they may pose an indication for future events that the home buyer should be aware of. For example, if the basement flooded only once during an unusually strong storm, just tell them. It might not be a deal breaker, but it may be something they’d like to know to prepare for in severe weather. Just be sure to include information on how the current homeowner dealt with the problem, and the precautions they took to prevent it in the future.

Develop answers to these questions for your next open house and you may enhance the home buyer’s experience while showcasing your skills as an agent who’s SMARTER.BOLDER.FASTER.®

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How to Be an Eco-Friendly Agent

Many people and industries today are taking a step back and considering how their actions impact the environment around them, and we believe that real estate and real estate agents should do the same. Join the trending conversation by practicing eco-friendly real estate marketing habits that may have a positive effect with your clients. Adjust your marketing efforts slightly with these tips and you may see larger results.
 

Enhance Email Marketing

Flyers can be effective when marketing open houses, but they’re just not enough in today’s technological world. Instead of relying on larger quantities of physical handouts, turn your focus towards email marketing. This waste-free option allows an instant connection with your clients, and opens up communication channels since someone can always reply back to you. Not sure where to get started? We’ve got some tips.
 

Utilize Social Media

Along the same vein of emails, social media is an online marketing tool that eases your impact on the environment. While we certainly don’t recommend tossing out your business cards, consider alternative avenues for networking such as participating in online communities and forums. Online interactions allow you to deliver information electronically, which not only reduces waste of notes or flyers, but allows your clients to retain information more easily. When you communicate on social media, there’s no fear of accidentally losing a slip of paper.

 

Encourage Public Transportation      

When advertising the location of your open house, don’t just list driving directions — include public transportation options as well when possible. While many clients may still choose to drive, giving other options subtly shows that you’re conscious about eco-friendly alternatives. If some clients do choose to take the public transportation route, their bus ride, train stop, or walk will be a great introduction to the area. It can even serve as a conversation piece about the neighborhood of their potential home.

 

Market Green Homes

Associate yourself with green homes whenever you can so that clients may see a connection between you and the environmentally-friendly. For example, if one of your listings has a feature or product that consumes less, don’t be afraid to point it out. Clients may appreciate knowing how solar panels, LED lights, or energy-efficient appliances can save both the environment and their wallets. Put features such as these first and they may stand out as more memorable.

 

Use your next open house to start aligning yourself with these eco-friendly practices. You may reduce your impact on the environment while increasing the efficacy of your real estate marketing efforts.

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How to Turn Your Yard into a Home Soccer Field

Excited to spend summer days outside with your family? Upgrade your fun in the sun with a home soccer field right in your backyard. As the official real estate company of U.S. Soccer, Century 21® Real Estate knows that the sport has the ability to unify communities. Give your family the best experience possible with their own place to practice with these four easy steps.

Prep Your Yard

Understandably, you might not have a backyard capable of fitting a full-sized field at 75-by-120 yards. Instead, create a rectangular field with smaller dimensions such as 15-by-20 yards or 40-by-50 yards. Remove any debris, then mow your lawn to create an even, trim field.

Level the Ground

Unexpected ditches or holes in your yard can be dangerous to those running around. If you find any low spots in your yard, fill them in with a mixture of two parts topsoil, two parts sand, and one part compost. Pack this filler into holes and add water to make sure it’s compact. Wait at least one week before walking on it to make sure that it has properly settled. Then, continue to perfect your green field by planting grass on the top layer of the newly leveled area.

Mark the Field

Use stakes to mark off the four corners of your soccer field. You may find it helpful to use a tape measure to ensure the lengths are symmetrical to one another. Tie a string from one stake to another and pull it taut. Double check that the shape you’ve created with the string and stakes is a rectangle with four 90 degree angles. Once you’re sure, spray paint over the string to create the field. Remember to add a midline in the center.

Add Goals

Depending on you and your family’s needs, you can choose between various sized goals made from different materials. A four by six-foot goal is optimal for children as young as six years old, with larger sized goals increasing with age. In terms of materials, plastic is recommended for low-impact play, since it is lightweight and portable. However, if your family is more serious about the sport, metal frames prove to be more durable. Whichever one you choose, make sure to anchor it into the ground properly.

Get started today and give your family a fun space to play one of their favorite sports all summer long. Who knows, you may have a professional soccer player in the making!

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How to Inform Potential Buyers About the Neighborhood

C21_May_NeighborhoodWorksheetCENTURY 21® Agents don’t just sell houses, they sell future homes. Potential home buyers must be able to envision their future in a particular location. To do so, they must consider every aspect of the home, including the surrounding area. While you should always be prepared to answer questions about nearby schools, hospitals, parks, and transportation, CENTURY 21 wants to help you go above and beyond client expectations. We’ve provided a professional template for you to customize according to each neighborhood where you have an open house. Download the image below to get started.

Hand these out during your next open house and you may stand out in the mind of potential home buyers. This is just one of the ways that the CENTURY 21 System helps you to be smarter, bolder, faster.

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How to Use Social Media Groups

Think you’re a master at social media when it comes to real estate marketing? Think again. Even after you’ve created a profile, established a following, and learned how to hashtag, there’s still more to learn. Social media groups, or communities built around a common interest, are yet another invaluable facet on social media platforms. To ensure that all CENTURY 21® Agents are smarter, bolder, faster, here’s some insight as to what these groups are and how to use them effectively.

What are Social Media Groups?

As mentioned previously, these online communities are formed around those who share a common interest. For you, these interests may be real estate, professional organizations, or those living in a certain geographic location.

Where Can I Find Them?

These networks live on Facebook and LinkedIn. To search for them, simply type in key words in the search bar at the top of your page and suggested groups will appear. Note that privacy settings may differ per group. An open group means that anyone may join, while closed groups require either an invitation or permission in order to be a part of them. However, it may not be the best idea to join any group at random. Start by asking friends or colleagues for recommendations or referrals.

Why Should I Use Them?

Social media groups play a different role in your marketing plan. While a Facebook or LinkedIn profile may be the best place to promote you and your business, these groups function better as a place to network, build your reputation, and develop skills. Depending on which group you join, you may be introduced to agents or homeowners you may not have met before. You can also engage in conversation to offer and seek advice.

What are Best Practices?

Think of these groups as an ongoing relationship — you have to put in what you take out. Genuinely participate in conversation, don’t just fill up the page with your own thoughts, requests, or promotions. You may post about an open house or two if you think others in the group would be interested, but make sure that you actively share other users’ content as well. If you’re seeking advice, such as whether homeowners in your area prefer one thing over another, take criticism in stride. If you’re offering advice, make sure your comments are constructive and not belittling.

Join a couple social media groups today to get started. Observe how the particular community functions, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself!

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The ToolkitCMA™ Features You Need to Know

C21_CMAToolkit_Blog-HomeAs part of our promise to be smarter, bolder, faster, the CENTURY 21® System now provides its agents with the ToolkitCMA™ at no additional cost. The product, which is used by over 100,000 agents across the country and priced at around $200, is just one of the many resources that CENTURY 21 offers in order to support its members at the local level.

Among its features that you can view on the right, the ToolkitCMA offers the following:

  • 98% Market Coverage
  • Mobile & Tablet Branded Presentations
  • MLS Interface
  • Marketing Flyers

C21_CMAToolkit_Blog-FlyersWhat does this mean for you as an agent? Professional quality marketing, along with easy-to-read content from virtually any MLS in North America. Here, we’ve provided small sample of the various styles and formats in which you can create flyers, but you’ll find even more options one you’ve signed in under your account.

Of course, the ToolkitCMA allows for customization, as seen in the preferences tab of the program below. This way, agents can tailor the product to their individual work.

C21_CMAToolkit_Blog-PreferencesRemember, as part of the CENTURY 21 ® System, you’ll receive all of this at no additional cost. This is just one way that our brand gives you the edge you need to succeed in real estate.

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Lessons from Mom That Help You Be a Better Agent

This Mother’s Day, CENTURY 21 ® wants to showcase the values that the women in our lives have taught us to uphold, since they align with the ones that make our brand what it is today. These life lessons from Mom, Grandma, or even your Aunt, not only guide you through your personal life, but may also help you be a better agent.

  1. Do Your Best

While you may have first heard this saying in school, laboring over a late night project or term paper, this phrase fully applies to the real estate world. As an agent, you should always present your best work, whether it’s in the form of fully researched market analyses and listing presentations or well-staged open houses to elicit offers from potential home buyers. While only you can put in the effort, CENTURY 21 offers the support and resources you’ll need to make Mom proud.

  1. Learn from Others

Opportunities for growth aren’t just limited to the classroom, and Mom emphasized this at your young age when talking about your friends, coaches, and relatives. Now, take this lesson to heart when networking. Everyone you meet, from clients to fellow agents to industry leaders, has something to offer. It’s your job to discover what that may be with genuine conversation and active listening. Attend networking events, join social media groups, and chat up potential home buyers during open houses.

  1. Embrace Change

Moving to college may have been daunting when you were younger, but Mom was right there supporting you. Use this tactic with your clients who might be making an especially big or stressful move. Focus on the positives of the experience and instill confidence by showing them a new home sweet home that’s a perfect fit for their future life.

  1. Put Family First

Mom didn’t even have to mention this since she practiced it each and every day of your childhood. Today, make sure your clients know how important family is to you, by fully understanding and accommodating their family needs. For example, if you’re working with a couple who expects kids in the future, focus on neighborhoods with nearby schools, parks, and family friendly recreational facilities. You can even ask them which structural features are important to them when raising kids, such as the master bedroom placed close to the other bedrooms, or a finished basement that provides extra room for activities.

A strong career in real estate may be as simple as going back to the basics with these four core lessons. CENTURY 21 thanks all the women who have helped shaped our agents with their wisdom. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Popular Real Estate Hashtags

When you have a new house to sell, you can maximize the momentum behind posting its listing through social media. However, posting can get complicated; you want the right people to see AND interact with your content. To target the right people, use hashtags. They’re an easy way for someone to look up a specific subject (in this case, homes for sale) and find relevant content all in one spot. So what hashtags do you use, and when? Here’s a breakdown.

  1. #RealEstate, #Realtor, or #Realty

Let’s start with the basics. These three hashtags are the most obvious, which means that you’ll probably be pulling from the largest pool of users. For example, #RealEstate has been used over 3 million times on Instagram alone. When using these tags on their own, your content could get lost in the sheer number of posts. So what should you add next?

  1. #ForSale and #NewHome

These two hashtags are very popular. #ForSale might just as commonly feature a home being sold as it could a car. #NewHome could also come from people who have just moved in. Their popularity leaves an opportunity for you – especially when using them in tandem. Add the two consecutively, such as in #NewHome #ForSale, and people may easily find your listing.

  1. #DreamHome

This hashtag essentially shows off the beauty of the home you have to offer. So, if you have a great listing, #DreamHome is the perfect hashtag to use – especially on Instagram, which focuses primarily on photography. People might search for this hashtag at any point in their process (because, who doesn’t like to dream?). Consistently post great photos with #DreamHome, and you may build up your following, attract some long-term clients, and potentially find buyers for other homes you’re listing.

  1. #OpenHouse

This is an essential hashtag for the event. Posting a photo and hoping that someone will make an appointment isn’t always a reliable plan, but putting that news out on social may improve your turnout. It’s also a good practice to add the neighborhood or city of the open house as a secondary hashtag, to make it easier to find for potential buyers.

  1. #Renovation, #HomeMakeover, #OldHouseCharm

These hashtags are getting more into a niche market. If you’re selling a home that is a fixer-upper, this is a great way to go. Many people look specifically for homes that need a little renovation help – either to save money, or to flip. This way, being upfront with your hashtags may help you in the long run.

  1. #MillionDollarListing

On the opposite end of the spectrum, agents selling expensive real estate can take a page from the luxury lifestyle when trying to land a deal in the seven figures. #MillionDollarListing consistently appears on lists of the best real estate hashtags to use – and for good reason. Photography of luxury homes performs well on social media.

Hashtags can be incredibly useful in real estate if done right. Do you have a favorite hashtag to add to your tweets or Instagram posts?

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How to #Hashtag

The (#) is an ever-evolving symbol. Some may remember it as the pound sign. Others may think of it as the number sign. A small number may even know it as the octothorp. Today, you know the sign as a hashtag, a social media feature that may benefit your online marketing presence as a real estate agent. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of hashtag use, including which platforms suit them best and the difference between trending and custom tags. You’ll also hear about the dos and don’ts of hashtags such as the pitfalls of overuse and tagging without research.

What are Hashtags?
A brief refresher: Hashtags serve as keywords in a search function. You can identify one by the pound sign (#) followed by a word or phrase, as in #RealEstate. When used this way, hashtags group pieces of digital content on social media that share a common theme to create searchable topics. So, a search for #RealEstate on Twitter gathers all recent and popular content with that tag in one location for you to view.

Which Platforms Support Them?
Hashtags may be used on any social media post, but only on certain platforms. Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and Vine are all ideal because users can easily search for content and receive a list of posts containing a particular tag. Facebook has a similar search function, but doesn’t work as well due to a high number of private profiles. In turn, this makes tagging less prevalent on that network. Hashtags are not supported on Pinterest, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, so avoid using them on those sites altogether.

How Do I Label Content?
All hashtags should follow a certain format, and each platform has different guidelines for them. When using ones that contain multiple words, as in #RealEstate, do not separate them with a space, punctuation, or symbol. This means that signs like the ampersand (&), dollar sign ($), and even the pound sign itself (#) should not follow the hashtag. While there is no actual limit to length, six characters are optimal . Stay away from longer tags, as they’re harder to read. In terms of number of hashtags, you may find more engagement on Twitter with just two. You can add more on Instagram posts, since the platform allows up to 30. However, it’s not recommended to use such a high number because they may make your post seem cluttered. On Facebook, however, your content may actually fare better without any hashtags at all, due to their unwieldiness within the platform.

Which Hashtags do I Use?
Since the basic function of hashtags is to reflect the content of the post, consider descriptive terms. For example, a photo of a loft in Boston might have the tags #Boston and #loft in it. As a realtor, you may want to incorporate industry terms, such as #Property, #ForSale, #JustListed, or #DreamHome to reach others interested in real estate. Make sure to search for the hashtag before using it to avoid obscure or even controversial topics. A seemingly innocent phrase may not be so. Try a search for your local area (#Boston, #Springfield, etc.) plus #RealEstate in order to find popular local tags your potential clients use. You could also utilize tools to find popular hashtags in your area, but only use ones relevant to your content. Your loft photo won’t benefit from the popular hashtags #foodie or #love.

Now that you know the ins and outs of hashtags, you can start using them like a pro!

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