Business Trends For 2016

2015 has been a crazy year, filled with excitement and ups and downs.  It might be hard to believe, but the new year is almost upon us, and it seems that a lot of the business trends of the past year shall continue.  I recently came across an article that discussed some of the year’s highlights, and how you can leverage them in 2016.  Listed here is what this article had to say:

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Internationally expanding your business: Not being a part of global real estate means missed opportunities.  This doesn’t just mean plugging into a global agent or broker network, but translating marketing materials into multi-lingual websites and brochures, having multi-lingual agents and understanding how people in different parts of the world do business.

The sharing economy: Having just an office and a great website isn’t enough.  Global connections helps to make you part of the Sharing Economy, which promotes peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services through community-focused online technology platforms.  Uber and Airbnb are some of the companies leading the way in this field, and the concept is just starting to introduced into the real estate industry.

Keeping up with consumer expectations: While there has been more attention paid to this, it’s still a relatively new concept in the real estate industry.  Agents still rely too much on independent contractors to consistently deliver a great experience before, during and after a sale, although the sad fact is that it doesn’t always happen.

Promote your performance at the hyperlocal level: Positioning yourself as an expert in local markets is a great way to stand out against the competition, both local and national.  Instead of talking about how great your company is, talk about the information about the market that you have.  This is one of the foundations of delivering a great consumer experience.

Responsive design can’t be ignored: While responsive design has been around for years, in 2015 it appears to have really established itself.  Mobile usage has skyrocketed and now directly affects how the real estate industry communicates and collaborates.  If your site isn’t built on responsive, mobile-friendly design, then your clients won’t have a good experience and could look elsewhere.  Google’s algorithms will recognize if you aren’t responsive, which in turn will damage your site’s rankings.  If you can be an early adopter of responsive design, your site will look great and give you that edge over your competitors.

Digital marketing is cheaper, faster and better: Although this one seems obvious, brokers aren’t always quick to pick up on it.  Using digital marketing means tracking analytics, trends and other important factors to help you save money, run your business better and make the right choices.

Misconceptions About Real Estate

There’s no shortage of misconceptions about real estate, which make many people reluctant to get into buying or selling homes.  This is a shame, because those misconceptions are just that: misconceptions.  Here is a list of some of the top misconceptions about real estate, based on an article on the site Zillow:

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You don’t need a real estate agent to buy a home in the information age: Even when you can find most things online, it’s now more important than ever to have a great local real estate agent.  While the reason for using an agent isn’t as much focused on their access to proprietary data, they’re great to have on your team as advisors, since they have a lot of experience in something that you ultimately don’t experience yourself that often.

You need 20 percent down to buy a home: This is the biggest misconception for millennials, many of whom are burdened with student loans but still want to be homeowners.  Lenders tended to be strict after the credit housing crisis, and financing spelled the end of mortgage deal after mortgage deal.  Yet today, you can get a loan with as little as three percent down, although it isn’t that simple; you still need to have great credit, verifiable income and assets that can back you up.

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My home’s value is whatever the appraiser says it is: The market value of a home is determined by what willing buyers and sellers agree upon in an open market.  Yet other than that, a homeowner or would-be seller can only rely on a recent appraisal for a bank refinance.  Typically, a home’s appraised value comes in below the market value, and such factors as views, finishes, fixtures or neighborhood specifications can all affect an appraisal.

You don’t need to have open houses to sell homes: While the advent of online listings might make open houses look unnecessary, that’s not always true.  Open houses are the blood of DNA real estate, and you’ll have a better chance of selling your home if you make it more available to potential buyers.

Real Estate Investing: A Team Business

Working as a team when in investing in real estate has many advantages over going it alone. If you’re considering getting into the real estate investment market, you should take the time to decide if you can go it alone or if you should work with a team. Many small business owners are quick to think that it can be done alone, but realize when it is too late that they don’t know quite as much as they thought they did. There are only 24 hours in each day. No amount of knowledge can overcome a lack of time, which is why Jason Cohen Pittsburgh’s investments are always a team effort.

Because you’re building your team from the ground, you get to decide which roles will be represented and who will fill those roles. Some roles are necessary at an early point while other roles can wait until your business grows. Some of the essential roles are bookkeeper, assistant, and a communications specialist. All these positions can be filled by one person at the onset, but be sure to stay aware of when changes are necessary.

As a small business owner in the real estate investing industry, you need to know where you stand financially with every deal you make. You must know your budget. If you don’t know how much money is in your bank account, you can quickly add hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees. You also don’t want to be in the middle of a deal and have your credit turned off. It’s embarrassing and unnecessary. The function of a bookkeeper is to keep track of your finances, pay your bills, and help you stay on budget. If you are not ready to add staff just yet, you can look into hiring a service or a freelance bookkeeper.

Having an administrative assistant may sound like a luxury, but there may come a time when you realize that it is a necessity. If your list of phone calls to return is growing, if your voicemail is filling up on a regular basis, and if you’re forgetting to appointments, it may be time to hire an assistant. The main function of an administrative assistant is to answer calls, schedule appointments, type memos and reports, and assist with any other organizational tasks that arise.

A communications specialist will handle your marketing functions. The main function of this individual is to create your presence to build your reputation by telling the market all about you and your business. Online, a communications specialist will create your website and social media sites. Offline, a communications specialist will create your advertising campaign. Without a communications specialist your administrative assistant won’t have many appointments to schedule.

As your business grows, you’ll add more positions. You may hire a contractor to help with major repairs. A property manager and a handyman may become necessary if you are going to have tenants. You should also develop a close relationship with your insurance agent and loan officer.

When you have the perfect team, you as the investment business owner, can focus on what you do best while your employees and consultants do what they do best. You are the real estate investment brain. At Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, we know that with the right team, you can grow stronger in the field and have a better chance of success.