social mediaMarch 2018 — Many companies will tell you that referrals are the bread and butter of their business. And how do they come about? That's simple—word spreads quickly when you offer a good product. But, it's not as easy as sitting back and waiting for that word to go viral. To keep the business coming, you have to keep the testimonials going up on social and across the internet. Here's how you can take your reviews to the next level:

Create Unique Testimonial Opportunities

The days of posting only simple written reviews are gone. Consumers want to see excitement and engagement in your company and changing up the testimonial format is a great way to show that. Let your clients choose from a variety of testimonial options so that you have different ways of promoting a review, which will also help your clients feel more comfortable.

Video testimonials are a little more personal and have a higher chance of going viral. Since social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are becoming more popular, you need to continue putting out digital content to stay relevant. These can be simple, selfie-style videos that your clients shoot themselves and then send to you, or you can ask them to pop into the office or film them in front of a branded background. Some buyers and sellers may be wary of being in front of a camera, so find out what they're most comfortable with. 

Piggy BankMarch 2018 — The three most powerful words in real estate are "mindset, model, and marketing," said Tom Ferry, author of "Mindset, Model and Marketing!" and New York Times bestseller "Life! By Design."

Ferry is also the CEO of Tom Ferry International, a multimillion-dollar, full-service sales and marketing business. He leads more than 200 business motivation seminars a year across the United States and is Swanepoel Power 200's No. 1 Real Estate Educator. He's been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, REALTOR® Magazine, and many other national publications. A popular speaker among REALTORS®, this is his fourth time on Secrets of Top Selling Agents. This time, Ferry spoke about the top three real estate trends REALTORS® should look into. 


Mindset matters—perhaps more than anything else. The only glass ceiling you're going to hit is the one you create for yourself. With every request made of you, your mind automatically moves to a "fixed" or "growth" mindset, Ferry said. People with a fixed mindset believe qualities like intelligence, talent, or networking and social skills are fixed traits that can't be improved on.

smallhouseFebruary 2018 — Trends are an excellent way to predict things like homebuyer behavior over the coming months or years. Unlike a fad, which ends quickly, a trend is something that may continue on for 10 or more years.

Each year, Fixr conducts a survey of influencers within the building and design industry—those professionals who are helping to shape the trends that impact homeowners and homebuyers alike. This year's survey results have shown some surprising (and not so surprising) trends that real estate professionals can use to help sell homes more quickly and influence homebuyer behavior. 

Pay close attention to these five trends to help make the most of all your real estate transactions in 2018:

Smart Home Technology
The No. 1 trend influencers say homebuyers are going to be looking for in 2018 is smart home technology. Smart homes have taken off in the last few years with the introduction of systems like Apple Home and Amazon's Alexa. Adding smart home features to a home makes it much more attractive to younger homebuyers who currently make up the largest population of buyers.

UpFebruary 2018 — Confidence in housing is breaking new records, soaring in January in the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI). The HPSI overall posted 89.5 in January, 3.7 percentage points higher than the month prior and 6.8 percentage points higher than the year prior.

The ascent can be attributed to homeowners recognizing sale value, says Doug Duncan, chief economist and senior vice president at Fannie Mae. Moreover, prices are rising steadily, and the belief that they will continue to do so is tracking up.

big houseJanuary 2018 — If you’re getting ready to paint, make sure you’re on point with the latest color trends. Consider the recently released 2018 Color and Design Trends Report from Dunn-Edwards Paints, featuring five color palettes.

To predict what will be trending next year, blogger and Dunn-Edwards color expert Sara McLean looks at the big picture of the many influences that drive color and design trends—everything from world events, lifestyle, fashion and food to trends in travel, wellness and individuality. According to Dunn-Edwards, here are the five color trends—and the inspiration behind them—that are set to be big hits in 2018:

1. Memories. This trend symbolizes a return to the classics of the 1940s French fashion chic, art deco and art nouveau. The color palette evokes a romantic spirit, with a design that is luxurious and feminine. Colors include blue-greens, lacquer red, dark-brown wood hues and bronzed caramel, lightened with touches of grayish pink and gold.

uscapitolbuildingJanuary 2018 — The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could bring changes to homeownership, as well as the real estate business as a whole. With many of the modifications affecting buyers and sellers, real estate professionals need to approach the subject carefully to reduce the chance of miscommunication. Educating clients on matters outside of the services agents are licensed to perform can be a liability; therefore, agents should direct their clients to a tax professional, instead of providing advice themselves.

While agents and brokers need to be knowledgeable about how the new tax law could impact homeowners and prospective clients, they should also be aware of the implications these changes could have when it comes time to file their own taxes. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), these are the tax policies that could have the biggest impact on real estate professionals.

social mediaDecember 2017 — Posting on social media a few times per week may not be as effective as it once was without the right marketing, regardless of the industry you work in. In a cyber world that is inundated with a continuous stream of digital content, it is more important than ever to not only post more, but to stand out. That's where brand consistency comes into play. In order to become a trusted source for real estate information on the internet, consumers must first develop an understanding of what you have to offer, and that translates into recognition of your content and your value proposition.

Follow these guidelines as you work toward creating a strong brand with a loyal following:

Build a trustworthy brand. To maintain consistency, you need to have a brand in the first place. Your brand should be based around a set of core values that consumers will be proud to stand behind.

paintbrush1December 2017 — Getting your home into prime showing shape is essential to helping it sell in the shortest amount of time for the best possible price. But while a professional home stager can work wonders, it just might not be in your budget. Don’t despair - here are some great ways to inexpensively stage your home all on your own:

Get rid of the the excess. The first thing every home stager will do is get rid of the clutter. And that is something anyone can do on your own without spending a dime. Get some boxes and storage bins and start removing whatever you can, including: framed photos; anything hanging on the fridge or anywhere else; knick knacks; most books (save a few nice ones for staging); trophies and awards; kitchen gadgets; personal effects, such as glasses, keys, jewelry, etc. The golden rule? You can’t remove too much.

smartphoneNovember 2017 — From virtual tools to tangible gadgets, there are some things every real estate professional should have on hand at all times. Learn which ones can help carry you to success, from a vibrant online presence and abundant, accessible internet file storage to the right mobile apps and more.

New technology has made it easier than ever for real estate professionals to help keep up with the latest industry trends, schedule and track meetings, connect with clients instantly and resolve customer service issues swiftly—and that's just a sampling of the offerings available to make business less of a chore.

On the Road:
Think about all the time you spend in your car, driving back and forth from showings to open houses to client meetings. In fact, you probably spend so little time in your office that being prepared for any and all business dealings while you're on the road is a smart move. Here are the latest tools that will serve you well and make every on-the-go minute count:

Maximize voicemail, minimize effort with Slydial. Need to get in touch with a client, but only have a couple of minutes before your next appointment? Simply dial 267-SLYDIAL. After the prompt, dial your client's phone number and you'll be sent directly to their voicemail.

loanNovember 2017 — Appraisal disappointing? You have options, according to the Appraisal Institute.

"Homebuyers and sellers should first understand what an appraisal is and how it's used," says Jim Amorin, president and acting CEO of the Appraisal Institute. "Real estate appraisals for mortgage finance applications are prepared for the bank or financial institution so they can better understand the collateral risk in making the loan. This can be confusing, because homebuyers typically pay for the appraisal and receive a copy of it."

In some cases, the appraisal may not match the contract price—but just because an appraisal comes in below (or above) the listing or contract price doesn't mean it's flawed, Amorin says. The agreed-upon contract price may be above market value, for example. In those situations, the buyer and seller often renegotiate the contract at more favorable or balanced terms.

Homebuyers should ask their lender for the qualifications of the appraiser, including whether they are designated by a professional association like the Appraisal Institute, says Amorin. A qualified and competent appraiser knows how to conduct a thorough market analysis and make appropriate adjustments.

peopleNovember 2017 — Dogs - It's no secret that us millennials love our dogs. In a recent industry survey, research showed that millennials are now more likely to buy a home because they want a place for their dogs to run around rather than because of the birth of a child. In the top five list, more space for a dog fell at No. 3, with 33 percent of respondents answering such. The birth of a child was the fifth reason, with just 19 percent of respondents answering that way.

Millennials are factoring their pet's needs when looking to buy a home. Top things we're looking out for are homeowners associations that would restrict certain breeds and proximity to dog parks, as well as access to doggie daycare options.

Only more living space, 66 percent, and the opportunity to build equity, 36 percent, were noted by more millennials as reasons they bought their first home.

The industry survey also revealed that among millennials who have never purchased a home, 42 percent say that their dog—or the desire to have one—is a key factor in their desire to buy a home in the future.