Monthly Archives - March 2016

The 5 Hottest Features That Help Sell Homes

Homes hardly sell themselves, even if they have amenities that buyers are looking for. It takes a good real estate agent to make a sale, but amazing features certainly help. In fact, some realtors talk to the sellers about upgrading certain features in the home to make a better sale. Need to upgrade a home before it hits the market? These are five areas to consider when it is time to push a sale.

1. Exterior Home Style

The style of the home you are trying to sell makes a huge difference in the way potential buyers perceive it. Architecturally, people often have a specific style in mind when they go out to purchase a home. The most popular style is the Spanish home, which tends to spend less time than average on the market. Spanish style is characterized by a stucco exterior, clay roofing tiles, and occasionally exposed beams. Arched walkways and wrought-iron are also common features.

Traditional styles are also popular. These homes offer modern interpretations of historic themes in addition to formal living spaces, like dining rooms, and fireplaces. These homes tend to have front porches and old-fashioned American charm typical of a suburb.

2. A Fantastic View

Obviously, there is only so much you can do about the view of the home. Cityscapes offer the best advantage for sellers and agents, so playing up features like balconies and big windows is a good idea. Don’t have any of these features? This may be the time to consider adding them. Even if the view is not as spectacular as a distant skyscraper or the sparkling sea, buyers will appreciate a deck. Investing in bigger windows? It’s a good time to consider those that are geared toward energy efficiency.

Features that help sell homes

A city view can make all the difference.

3. Counters

If the home you’re trying to sell has granite countertops, you may be in luck. Laminate and wood countertops just don’t appeal to buyers in the same way marble and granite do. The more modern the room appears, the more compelling it is a selling piece.

Investing in an upgrade is a great idea if the rest of the kitchen is already up to par. Custom-made cabinets can be pricey, but if they change the entire look of the kitchen, it may very well work in your favor.

Essentially, you must consider what you are going to put into the kitchen as well as how much you are going to be getting out of it. Don’t have the time or funds to change the counters? You can still make other changes to the kitchen, like changing cabinet door knobs.

4. High-Quality Appliances

Stainless steel appliances are here to stay, at least in some retail markets. What’s more important than the color of the appliances is the age. Newer appliances are much more likely to meet Energy Star standards, for example. A buyer who knows that he or she will save money with the appliances is a happy one. Additionally, buyers want to know that they are not going to be forced to change out appliances right away.

Features that help sell homes

Kitchens are about appearance and functionality.

5. Size

Most buyers do not consider homes more than 2,000 square feet in size, simply because homes larger than this tend to be more expensive. Plus, larger homes tend to come with more upkeep that a lot of people just do not want to deal with. If you are trying to sell a home with more square footage than is desirable, playing up the open space is a great idea.

Contact us for more information about the features that will help you sell a home quickly.

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Continuing education

What New Jersey Realtors Should Know About Continuing Education

Realtor continuing education requirements are in place in the state of New Jersey in 2015 in order to renew or reactivate a license. Referral agents are exempt from these requirements, along with realtors who received licenses within the second year of the real estate license term. Knowing what courses and hours are needed is important so that a realtor can complete requirements before the time comes to renew licenses.

Mandatory Courses

Twelve hours of continuing education is required for brokers, salespersons and broker-salespersons every two years in order to renew licenses. While the renewal deadline is June 30, 2017, all courses must be successfully completed by April 30, 2017. A minimum of six hours must be in core topics, with two hours of the six on ethics. The additional six hours needed can be chosen from electives.

What Are the Core Topics?

According to the Real Estate Commission in the state of New Jersey, there are eight core topics to choose from to complete your requirements. In addition to the two-hour mandatory course on ethics, you can choose from the following: legal issues, agency, fair housing, disclosure, legal requirements on escrow and recordkeeping, statutes and regulations for brokers and salespersons, and environmental laws and regulations with regard to real estate.

Continuing education

Continuing education courses keep a realtor up-to-date.

What Is Included in the Electives Category?

Electives let you take courses of study that interest you, expand your knowledge and learn more about areas of real estate you might like to pursue in the future. These include property management, financing, valuation of real estate, commercial real estate, transactions involving short sales and foreclosures, seasonal rentals, aspects concerning residential transactions, land use and a course on the Full Disclosure Act and Timeshare Act. Six hours of elective courses must be chosen to complete your 12-hour requirement.

Exceptions for Realtor Continuing Education Requirements

A waiver can be granted under certain circumstances if the educational requirements for relicensing cannot be met. You can get a waiver only if you are on active military duty, have an illness that incapacitates you, have an emergency or some other type of unavoidable but substantial hardship. This does not include obligations that are personal, financial problems or business conflicts. Applications for waivers are available on the Real Estate Commission website for the state of New Jersey. Except for active military, these courses must be made up during the next cycle before a license can be renewed. In other words, if an applicant is two credits short and is granted relicensing due to a waiver, that two credits of education must be added to the 12 hours required for the next relicensing for a total of 14 hours.

Taking Classes to Get Your Initial Real Estate License

For those who are interested in obtaining an initial real estate license in New Jersey, the rules for continuing education are not in force. In other words, under N.J.A.C. 11:5-12.3(a)(2), if a broker course is completed within the licensing term of two years, the requirement for continuing education is considered completed.

Taking Your Required Courses the Easy Way

Real estate salespersons, brokers and broker-salespersons are busy people with irregular hours. It is important for them to be able to take the required realtor continuing education courses for license renewal at convenient times. PDH Academy offers the correspondence and online courses you need for realtor continuing education, and you can study at the office during free periods or in the comfort of your home. We offer unlimited support, group discounts and report your results to the New Jersey Real Estate Commission Board for you. Contact us for more information.

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Virginia real estate continuing education courses

6 Facts to Know About Virginia Real Estate Continuing Education

Virginia salespersons and brokers who have renewed their licenses once must complete Board-approved Virginia real estate continuing education courses in order to activate or renew a license. Changes were made by the Virginia General Assembly to the education requirements, which took effect January 1, 2016. Knowing what the changes are is important to ensure completion of all requirements.

Are There Any New Courses of Study in Virginia Real Estate?

In 2015, HB 2295 was passed in the Virginia General Assembly. This requires real estate salespersons and brokers who are active to include new education in the National Flood Insurance program and areas considered a flood hazard as part of the requirements for license renewal. This section has been added to the Legal Updates and Emerging Trends course. Salespersons and brokers who have inactive status are only required to complete the new flood instruction if they want to reactivate their licenses.

What Courses Are Required for Experienced Salespersons?

Those who are working as experienced salespersons are required to complete 16 hours of education for license renewal. This includes a mandatory two-hour course in fair housing, one-hour course in real estate contracts, one-hour course in real estate agency, three hours in ethics, three hours of emerging trends, contracts and real estate agency and two hours on fair housing. course in legal updates and emerging trends. The Legal Updates and Emerging Trends course covers the required course of study on flood hazard areas and the National Flood Insurance Program. The remaining eight hours of necessary course study can be chosen from the electives.

Virginia real estate continuing education

Taking continuing education courses online makes it easier.

What Courses Are Required for Virginia Brokers

Under Virginia real estate continuing education requirements, brokers with active licenses must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education, which may be by classroom attendance or approved correspondence or online courses. At least 16 hours of course study is mandatory. This includes a two-hour course on fair housing, a three-hour course on ethics and standards of conduct and three hours on legal updates and emerging trends, which includes the new section on the National Flood Insurance Program and flood hazard areas, real estate contracts and real estate agency. Another eight hours relates to courses on management and supervision of agents and real estate brokerage firm management. The remaining eight hours of study can be chosen from approved elective courses.

Are These Course Changes Permanent?

According to the Virginia Real Estate Board, it has the power to adjust course topics and hours on a yearly basis. This includes adding topics considered important by the Board. However, any announcement changes must be made before September 1 of each year.

Are Education Credits Allowed From Another State?

Up to eight hours of continuing education courses approved by the Virginia Real Estate Board can be accepted with certain qualifiers. The licensee must hold a current license in that state, and the credits can only apply to elective real estate subjects.

PDH Can Help You Complete Your Requirements

PDH Academy offers correspondence and online courses for Virginia realtors to complete required courses in the comfort of their homes using hard copy testing materials or your computer, tablet, iPhone, iPad or android device. Once you have successfully completed a course, we report the results to the Virginia Board and give you a certificate of completion. To find out more about Virginia real estate continuing education, contact us for more information.

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Marketing yourself as a realtor

5 Tech Tips for Marketing Yourself as a Realtor

Marketing yourself as a realtor has never been easier than in 2016. Technology has elevated the real estate game, making it easier to promote yourself as a solid choice for potential homebuyers in your area. It’s also important to remember that everybody else will be doing the same. Learning how to better market your real estate business online is essential to making a name for yourself. These tips will help you build a deep, trusting relationship with clients rather than one that is simply on the surface.

1. Become an Authority

One of the components of staying relevant on the web is to continue sharing tips. Many real estate agents blog and post tips that help clients and potential clients understand the process of choosing and buying a home. The purpose of using a blog or social media profile is to build trust by demonstrating your authority in the real estate industry. The more help you can provide, the more a potential client is going to trust you.

2. Implement a Customer Relationship Management System

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is designed to organize information and compile everything you need to accumulate leads for your business. These systems are intuitive and store information easily so you can access it when you need it. Another great thing about CRM systems is that you can access them via laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Managing your business on the go? There’s not much that can beat that, except for their ability to automate your sales and marketing tasks.

3. Create a Professional Website

Making a professional website seems like a no-brainer, but it is actually more difficult than you can imagine. First of all, it pays off to buy a .com rather than a .biz or .net. Second, web design can speak volumes about your trustworthiness. Potential clients want to see a professional design.

Marketing yourself as a realtor

Your website can make a significant impact on the way clients see you.

4. Compile an Email List

Using your website or a paper checklist to compile email addresses helps you create an email newsletter list that reminds interested people that you are available and trustworthy. One way to do this is to create an opt-in incentive. This could be an e-book with tips for buying your first home or a seminar for first-time buyers looking for guidance. The goal is to offer something of value to potential and future clients.

5. Incorporate Vlogs & Videos

Videos add an air of authority to any material you send out, and the Internet’s advantage is that anybody can view them. Your videos can contain helpful tips about buying a home or even show off homes you are currently selling. You can give virtual tours of neighborhoods in your area or define helpful real estate terms the layman may not know. The best viral real estate videos are short, funny, memorable.

Are you still looking for new ways to market yourself as a realtor online? Contact us for more information about reaching out to potential buyers.

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Continuing education

What Indiana Realtors Should Know About Continuing Education

Continuing education requirements for realtors varies from state to state and complying with those requirements means you will be able to renew your license. In Indiana, the Professional Licensing Agency handles all licenses and has requirements for realtor continuing education courses.

Renewing an Indiana Broker’s License

Brokers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education each year for three years in order to renew their licenses. Courses must be completed between July 1 and June 30 each year and are required for both active and unassigned brokers. Referral and inactive licenses do not have this requirement.

Managing Broker Continuing Education

There is a mandatory Managing Broker Course that managing brokers are required to take each year as part of the 12-hour continuing education requirement. Electives may be chosen as the remaining eight-hour requirement.

Post Licensing Requirements in Indiana

If a broker was licensed on July 1, 2014, or afterward, he or she is required to complete 30 hours of continuing education courses within a two-year period of receiving the initial license. Because it is important to have a well-rounded education in the real estate business in order to better serve your clients, these courses are helpful.

Continuing education

Continuing education classes make answering questions easier.

What You Will Find in the 30-Hour Education Courses

This includes six hours of Indiana real estate transactions, which covers the unauthorized practice of law, contracts, listing and purchase agreements, offers and counteroffers and the closing process. The required six-hour course of study in finance covers lending, financing markets and credit scoring. A 10-hour course of study is required in business planning/sales and marketing and includes sections on business planning, time management and goal setting and methods of growing a business. The five-hour course in counseling and negotiating skills includes negotiation principles and phases, factors that can affect the negotiation process, how to deal with cultural differences and how to handle difficult people or situations. The one-hour course in cultural diversity and fair housing includes definitions, federal and state laws, blockbusting, protected classes, prohibited practices, diversity and enforcement. The final course counts as two hours and covers construction from site preparation through the construction phase, building inspection and defects and concludes with green building concepts.

Planning Your Realtor Continuing Education Courses

Continuing education courses are offered in the form of classes and online or correspondence courses. Before signing up for a course, you should ensure that the courses are approved by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. Be advised that duplicate courses will not be counted toward the total and that if you take courses over the recommended number, you can not carry those credits over and add them to requirements for the next cycle. Approved courses and providers are listed on the Indiana government website under “continuing education.”

Reinstating a License in Indiana

Reinstating a real estate broker’s license in Indiana is fairly simple if it has been expired for less than three years. In this case, you can renew your license online. If it has been expired for more than three years, you have to take the licensing exam again, fill out the reinstatement application and pay your fee. You also must have taken the 36 hours of continuing education courses within the previous three years.

Realtor Continuing Education Courses Offered by PDH Academy

While some realtors might prefer a classroom setting, many prefer to take their required education courses in their own home, at the office or on the go. PDH Academy offers online and correspondence courses that fulfill your requirements. Upon successful completion, we provide you with your own certificate and send a copy to the Indiana Board. PDH Academy offers courses in multiple states for the convenience of realtors who have multiple licenses. Contact us for more information about what we can do for you.

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Cummunicate better with homebuyers

How to Communicate Better with Homebuyers

In the real estate business, successful communication and planning are the key to a good relationship and repeat business in the future. Regular communication with a client can build trust and confidence among buyers and while agents who are not good communicators may end up with dissatisfied clients. Since repeat business is welcome to boost earnings, a realtor wants to know how to keep clients happy. In addition to learning how to deal effectively with clients, real estate continuing education is necessary to be relicensed by the Board of Realtors, and planning ahead is a good idea.

Know the Personality Type of Your Client

During your first meeting with a potential client, you have the opportunity to get to know his or her personality. By being observant, you can learn a lot. While some people are direct communicators, others may be emotional, talkative or analytical. Your conversations with a direct communicator can be straightforward. Emotional people are those you more or less have to read since the correct property has to strike a chord with which they feel a certain connection. Analytical types want statistics and facts, such as the distance of a commuter route, nearby schools and activities. Direct types want facts and figures and may base their decision on need, practicality or ability to build equity. By knowing what it most important to them, you can direct them to properties that might prove of interest.

Don’t Assume the Buyer or Seller Knows What They Are Doing

While some buyers and sellers are not new at it and are familiar with what happens when an individual buys or sells a property, others may be completely innocent about the process, the added costs and other factors that go into a house sale or purchase. Explaining how this process works in your area so that you are sure the client understands helps to avoid frustration later and an angry client.

Communicate better with homebuyers

Happy homebuyers can become repeat clients.

What to Explain to the Seller

Tell your seller what happens when the house goes up for sale while searching for a new home, such as placing the home in the MLS, putting up signs and perhaps putting on a lockbox if the house is empty. Explain what is involved when a bid is submitted and how the sale proceeds from there.

What to Explain to the Buyer

Explain what disclosures are, escrow accounts, the paperwork that has to be filled out, what is expected at closing and the different fees paid by buyer and seller, including the realtor fee. If certain inspections are required, such as for radon or termites, don’t forget to mention them, or they could come as an ugly surprise. Never assume that clients know the ins and outs of buying a property.

Keep in Touch With Clients

This is a pet peeve of those who are both selling and buying a home. While buyers are more likely to be proactive in finding a property they like, they should be kept in regular communication with you. One good idea is to ask how often they would prefer for you to communicate with them, even if nothing is going on at the time. In addition, if you are showing properties, ask the buying client for feedback on why he or she is not interested. This helps to narrow the range of properties for buyers.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Most people have a preference in whether they remain in communication via phone or email. While younger persons may prefer text messages or email to communicate, older clients may prefer communicating by phone. For those who prefer a phone conversation, it can be a good idea to follow up with an email to ensure that there is a record.

Real Estate License Continuing Education

Just as learning to communicate as a realtor is important, so is keeping up with your continuing education so you aren’t rushed. PDH Academy offers continuing education courses in real estate online or correspondence where you can study at your own pace in the comfort of your home. We also have discounts for groups, are approved for multiple states and send you a completion certificate when you pass the exam. Contact us for more information or to get started.

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What Do You Learn in Real Estate School?

If you have your sights set on becoming a real estate agent, the first thing you need to do is consider your schooling options. Certain classes are mandatory in order to become a licensed realtor. Curious about the topics you will be learning about in real estate school? These are the central topics discussed in the classes:

Real Estate Principles

This is the basic course that builds a solid foundation for new realtors, especially for those just establishing the basic skills necessary to build a solid reputation in the industry. Students learn about basic skills, including time management while working in real estate. In this course, you will learn to evaluate a property for its value as well as how to list property effectively. You will also learn the best methods for selling properties and closing a sale efficiently. In this class, students also learn about the escrow process as well as how to best inform buyers about real estate taxes.

Real estate school

Learning real estate principles is the first step to getting that first contract signed.

Ethical Issues in Real Estate

One of the biggest ethical issues in the world of real estate is discrimination, which is unlawful. The Fair Housing Act prohibits sales discrimination based on protected class status regarding issues like gender, religion, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, and sexual orientation. Classes will cover best practices for avoiding unethical actions.

Real Estate Industry Practices

While some parts of real estate school focus on the principles of real estate, other aspects consider the implementation of these ideas. Learning how to put ideas into action includes building a better understanding of pricing methods, as well as how to actually find and reach out to potential buyers. You’ll learn what to tell clients as well as how to counsel them as you build a foundation of knowledge for your career.

Real estate school

Attending real estate school online provides a big advantage.

Legal Aspects of Real Estate

As you likely know, there are plenty of myths commonly associated with real estate. Your real estate school courses will dispel myths as well as educate you about contract clauses and your obligations as the realtor. Additionally, you will learn about disclosure policies, which vary from state to state. One of the key factors involved in becoming a successful real estate agent is to avoid illegal maneuvers.

Each state has different real estate practices and obligations for sellers. This is why it is essential that you take a course specific to the state you are going to be practicing in.

Are you ready to start your career? Contact us today for more information about beginning real estate school.

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5 Reasons to Take Real Estate Continuing Education Courses

When was the last time you did something that you knew would enhance your real estate career? You might not realize it, but real estate continuing education can actually increase your earning potential and career prospects. With courses through PDH Real Estate, you can easily complete programs that not only allow you to keep working but also give your career a much-needed boost. If you are still contemplating whether or not to take real estate courses, consider these benefits:

1. State Requirements Call for Continuing Education

Each state has its own requirements for real estate agents. Real estate continuing education is a requirement in states like Oregon, for instance. There, you need to achieve 30 hours of continuing education every two years in order to renew your license. Otherwise, you could be fined or have your license suspended. It is important that you look into your state’s requirements to ensure you are keeping up with educational benchmarks.

2. Online Courses Are Convenient

Many real estate agents do not realize that there is no need to attend seminars and lectures to achieve their hours of study. The reality is much simpler, especially with online and correspondence courses so widely available. Real estate professionals can study on the go with a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. For the less tech-inclined, correspondence courses also offer study through booklets. This means that working professionals do not need to miss out on precious working hours or time with the family.

Real estate continuing education

Online real estate courses are convenient, allowing you to study anywhere.

3. Stay Up to Date with Real Estate Industry Changes

The best way to stay up to date with changes in your industry is through real estate continuing education. Courses specialize in topics like ethical dilemmas and taxes. Ultimately, real estate agents benefit from studying fair housing laws, risk management, and the financial aspects of buying a home, all resulting in becoming a better agent.

4. Explore New Career Avenues Safely

What does the future of real estate have in store? More real estate agents are pursuing avenues related to sustainable housing and eco-friendly options. Those who do not keep up with trending topics in real estate will have a hard time broadening prospects. Additionally, it is imperative for real estate professionals to keep up with legal issues, including those that involve disclosure. For instance, states like California require that real estate agents inform buyers of deaths that occurred in the house in the last three years. Laws change frequently, so continuous education ensures agents don’t find themselves in a legal pickle.

Real estate continuing education

Continuing education can broaden real estate horizons.

5. Build Credibility in the Real Estate Industry

Boosting credibility is a great marketing tactic that no real estate professional should overlook. Not only can agents display real estate continuing education on their websites, but they can also boast newfound knowledge in specific areas, whether it be green living or auction-style sales. When buyers are looking for a real estate agent to trust, those with credibility and the evidence to back it up will be the most compelling choices.

Are you interested in continuing your real estate education? Contact us for more information about taking online and correspondence courses. State-specific courses are available.

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Should You Make a Career Change to Realtor?

With the real estate market swinging upward once again, it only makes sense that so many people are considering a career change. Of course, there is so much more to real estate than meets the eye. Gauging your potential success in the real estate industry is essential. Examining the career change early is essential. Here are a few things, positive and negative, to consider:

Realtors Are Flexible

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a career where you are able to set your own hours? Real estate agents do operate as their own bosses, which can be great for your schedule but tough on your paycheck. You are the one making the decisions, but without self-discipline and a positive attitude, you could find yourself flailing. There are no set hours, which means you could be working less or more than somebody who works 9 to 5. The average is about 40 hours per week. You could be helping a client during a time when you would rather be having dinner with the family.

Beginning a New Career Takes Little Time, Lots of Effort

Becoming licensed to sell real estate takes just a few months, or even a few weeks depending on your state. Still, realtors must invest time and money into studying in the hopes of passing the real estate licensing exam, which differs from state to state.

Realtor

Working and studying at home have their advantages.

Realtors Navigate the World on their Own

As independent contractors, real estate agents must learn about market trends and business practices. Compiling lead lists and networking take precedence, but agents also need to set aside time for marketing and managing the office.

Real Estate Income Isn’t Limited

As a real estate agent, you will not be limited to an hourly rate or an annual salary. The amount of time you invest in your work will correlate to the amount of money you receive. The potential for growth is excellent. Still, it is important to remember that cash-flow may take a while to start out, with the median salary being nearly $41,000. Some real estate agents don’t get to cash a check for months after they begin showing houses. This means that every future realtor should plan ahead.

Realtors Help People Make Important Choices

As a real estate agent, it is your goal to help each client find the perfect property at the right price. Clients are excited to purchase a home, but they are also nervous to fork out the cash. It takes true confidence to help move you through a difficult time.

Realtor

You can be the one who shows a family its future.

Reputation Matters for Realtors

Word of mouth does spread, both positively and negatively.A happy client spreads the word to friends, family, co-workers, and the Internet. So does an unhappy one. Treating clients wisely can make or break a realtor’s business.

If you are passionate about real estate, by all means, pursue it. There are certainly plenty of perks to this career path, as difficult as it may be. Self-motivated people find real estate quite rewarding, and part of that discipline comes from taking the time to learn about the industry.

Contact us for more information about getting certified to sell homes in your state.

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