Are you being seen – or are you a best kept secret?

Marketing, aka advertising, is always an important segment of the real estate profession, whether it’s property related or personal promotion related.

In many sales situations, where you are advertising can be equally as important as what you are advertising.

Historically REALTORS® have been faced with many choices and challenges when it comes to utilizing their marketing budget.

For example, a home that has been listed for sale can be advertised in many venues, such as local newspapers, real estate flyer supplements, on cable television, or through social media, such as Facebook and YouTube. It is important to know whom you are marketing to when you decide where to place the ad. Research says that over 85% of home buyers go to the internet when they first begin the home buying process. If you are only advertising in print media, you are missing a very large part of the buyer pool. On the flip side, if you are marketing a property that appeals to a select local market, you would be missing the boat if you did not participate in a local newspaper that would reach your likely buyer audience.

Social Media opportunities open up another large facet of the advertising choice. YouTube has become one of the major search engines, and is certainly somewhere you want to advertise property. A video tour of a home can spark interest in a buyer much faster than a photograph of the front of the house. A video lets the viewer get a feel for the home, almost as good as a walking tour of the property. These videos can help buyers narrow down the list of homes they wish to visit in person, and can create an urgent need to view a home that might otherwise not have been selected.

While I have commented primarily on advertising property so far, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on personal marketing by individual REALTORS®. Today’s real estate consumers expect their REALTOR® to be connected. They look for websites that are informative and interactive, which provide current, concise information with links to sites with related topics. Consumers today also have the opportunity to prescreen many REALTORS® through promotional videos created and placed on YouTube for just such a reason. YouTube provides a great opportunity to reach consumers, providing a more personal touch than a marketing brochure or a website write up.

As an example, here are a few websites to check out

Also, have a look at this YouTube video

Are you READY to buy???

Whenever I’m discussing real estate with a potential client I always ask the question, “Where are you in the buying cycle?”

 Most consumers start their home search anywhere from 6 to 12 months prior to when they think they want to move.  Statistics show approximately 87% of buyers start their search on the internet. By the time they are considering a REALTOR® they have already decided what type of house they like.

 When buyers are about 6 months out they may start to attend open houses. They do this for two reasons. First, is to actually go through houses that are the style they think they prefer to see if it really suits their needs. Second, they are checking out the REALTOR®. So, all you REALTORS® out there make sure you are on your game because every open house is a job interview.

 When buyers are at this stage they should also be investigating all the other service providers they will need to complete the sale, such as, lenders, home inspectors, lawyers, contractors, and movers to name a few. Their REALTOR® should be able to assist the buyer in this area as well.

 About 3 months prior to when they want to move buyers will start viewing homes with their REALTOR® and because most buyers have done their research they are in a good position to make the BIG decision.

 As a REALTOR® I feel it is very important to know where the buyer is in the buying cycle because the type of assistance I provide will depend on where they are in the cycle. When a buyer is at the beginning of the cycle REALTORS® should be helpful with market information. This will help start building the relationship with the buyer. This is where many sales reps drop the ball because the buyer is not buying immediately so the sales reps don’t bother with them. If the buyers are helped at the beginning stages and the relationship is developed properly – this will be a sure sale!

 As the buyer moves forward in the process this is when the REALTOR® needs to ramp up their service helping the buyer get all their ducks in a row – financing, lawyers, etc. Then when the buyer is ready to start to view homes they are already prepared to put in an offer.

 Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate Sales Representatives providing Ultimate Service® are ready to assist buyers every step of the way through the buying cycle. Happy HOUSE HUNTING!!

Why Mentoring is Important to a Real Estate Career

Let me introduce you to our guest blogger, Daniela Tofano, Sales Representative with Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate;

Daniela joined Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate in October of 2010, as a full time sales representative.  She has become a proven top producer, who works confidently with buyers and sellers.  She believes strongly in honesty, respect, and fairness and with those values does her utmost to serve her clients needs and protect their interests, while guiding her clients through the entire process of buying or selling, ensuring they have the best possible experience.

We recently asked Daniela what she thought was the most important assistance that was provided to her when she commenced her real estate career with us.  Mentoring was her immediate answer.  Daniela is passionate about our profession, so we asked her to tell us why mentoring was important.  Here is her answer;

“A Mentor: a trusted counsellor or guide; tutor or coach; and to any new professional, the most vital resource you could ever have when starting your business and career. Real estate is no exception. Not every brokerage offers a mentoring program, but I was happy to discover when I was interviewing the big name brokerages in Hamilton that Coldwell Banker Pinnacle provides just that. The mentoring program was one of the many reasons I chose to begin my real estate career with this organization. The program is not mandatory for new REALTORS®. The brokerage allows you the opportunity to request a mentor once their six week training concludes. The managers will connect you with a willing, experienced, and successful REALTOR® who will take you under their wing for a three month period and show you the ropes of the industry.

Traditionally, or from the stories I hear at the office, new REALTORS®  were and are often still let loose in to the market and those who manage to stay afloat, survive. There is no way you can predict who will swim or who will sink. The Ontario Real Estate Association provides the three licensing courses required to become a licensed REALTOR®. The information is helpful; however, it is all theory. The courses are not providing you with the basics on how to handle yourself in the industry, from a practical stand point. That is left to your brokerage. Again, traditionally, new REALTORS® are released into the real estate world to fend for themselves. No one is there for you on a daily basis, to take you by the hand and tell you or rather show you what to do when you are working with buyer clients, how to obtain a listing, what formalities should be demonstrated when sitting at the offer table no matter which end of the table/deal you are on, or how to handle other REALTORS®.

Joyce Hodgskiss and Ken Rossiter, a husband and wife team who have been with Coldwell Banker Pinnacle for about 15 years and share 30 years of real estate experience, were, still are, and will always be my mentors, despite our three month contract ending back in April 2011. I was lucky with my match. Joyce, Ken, and I have personalities that mesh well, which is why I grew very comfortable with them and continue to rely on them for help while I build my business.

Joyce and Ken performed all basics requirements of the mentoring program. Of course, they answered a multitude of questions and I had many! I watched them work professionally and confidently while having fun. I was their shadow on the wall in many listing, buyer, and offer presentations; I was the extra passenger on buyer client viewings; I became a sponge and sat in their office daily getting all the advice I could. Most importantly Ken and Joyce guided me through my own initial transactions/deals. For example, Joyce made herself available by phone through my entire first deal. In between every single counter offer I called Joyce to ask for advice, to vent my frustration, to ensure I did the right thing in every instance. She deserves a medal for putting up with me, because I was a wreck! In addition, they allowed me to host countless open houses for their listings, which enabled me to begin building my own leads, through their business. I also feel that Joyce and Ken went beyond their mentoring duties by allowing me to review their personal and exceptionally developed seller and buyer packages so that I could in turn use them as a guideline for my own packages.

I wouldn’t trade my time with Ken and Joyce for anything. It was educational and fun! I am often told at conferences and real estate events that to succeed in this industry you should surround yourself with fellow REALTOR® that share the same goals, work ethic, and mentality. You need to be inspired. Joyce and Ken inspire me to be a better REALTOR® and to work towards success similar to theirs. Joyce and Ken taught me a great deal about real estate that a book could never teach.  I might have gotten lucky with my mentoring match because as I stated above, after the mentoring period ended I continue to work with Joyce and Ken and always go to them first when I have any questions or need some advice in regards to my business.  I believe I have also made good friends and confidants in this overly competitive industry.”

I am sure Daniela would love to hear from you.  Perhaps you have benefited from her first class service, or would like to connect with her to ask her for more information.  She can be reached through her office at 318 Dundurn St. S., or by telephone 905-522-1110 or email her directly at

Or, even better, leave a comment below.  She will respond to any questions or comments you may have.

Being Part of a Brand – Why it’s good for you and me

Back in November, Gary blogged on the choice of brands, whether it be the furniture store, or your REALTOR®, and I want to build on that, and shall I say explain why I am part of a brand and why I think that is good for you and me.

A successful brand builds an awareness of what they stand for, and what a consumer can expect from them every time. With a real estate company I think that is especially important since we rely on our customers and clients to refer us to their friends and family. Each of those clients refer us based on their experience with each of us individually, and expect that the service they received will be the benchmark for the service their friend will receive. By being part of a brand, I have been offered the ability to create a business model that is supported by the experience that Coldwell Banker has had in the real estate market. Nowhere else will I have the chance to draw on over 105 years of experience as to the best way to serve my clients.

An example of this is Ultimate Service, a program created by my brand to ensure that my clients receive the best possible service. But, not only that, my clients benefit from the fact that this program has been tested by thousands of homeowners, and found to work. So, I have an outline to work with that we all know will work.

Another example is, should a client be looking to relocate to an area that I do not or cannot service, I have the ability, through my brand, to refer them to a qualified REALTOR® at their destination. I know that my client will receive the very best service, because I have referred them to someone who shares my values and ideals. This makes the move that much easier for my client who can be confident of the same level of service they would have received from me.

Any one who is looking for the service of a real estate professional, should know what the brands stand for. I know that Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate stands for full service, from knowledgeable professionals, with a high degree of ethics and integrity.

Just a thought…

They say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I wonder what doing the same thing over and over again knowing you will get the same result is? Perhaps Brand Power!

December Real Estate Statistics for Hamilton-Burlington Area

Courtesy of the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington

December better than average for home sales

(January 5, 2012 – Hamilton, Ontario) The real estate market in the Greater Hamilton, Burlington and outlying areas saw an increase in the number of listings and a small decrease in the number of sales and average sale price when compared to the same month last year, according to Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) statistics released today by the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB).

After several months of strong sales, the residential condominium market experienced a drop in number of sales of just under five per cent when compared to December of last year. The same market also saw a 9.9 per cent increase in average sale price over the same month last year.

In the residential freehold market, sales dropped less than two per cent from last year at this time while the average sale price increased by two per cent.

While sales were down compared to last year, listings and sales were both higher than the 10-year average for the month.

“The December market performed well compared to the average for the month over the last ten years,” said RAHB President Cameron Nolan, “and the average sale price continues to rise in our area.”

Every community in RAHB’s marketing area has their own localized residential market with larger swings than are evident in the overall numbers. In December Hamilton Centre, Dundas, Flamborough and Glanbook all saw significant increases in numbers of sales, while Hamilton Mountain, Ancaster, Waterdown and Caledonia showed drops in sales compared to the same month last year.

Ancaster and Dunnville  saw decreases in average sale price compared to the same month last year while Hamilton East, Hamilton Mountain, Grimsby and Glanbrook had the greatest increases in average sale price.

“No one should take these monthly snapshots of local markets as trends,” added Nolan. “They are merely a report of what occurred in a particular month and can change wildly from month to month, especially in areas with lower volumes of sales.”


Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y, Are We Really Communicating?

I don’t know how you folks see it but I see the world of communication as an ever changing landscape, especially with the Gen X’s and Y’s. Generation X are people born after the Babyboomers 1965-1979 and Generation Y are those born after 1980. Now these time frames may vary depending on the “expert” you are talking with. These three distinct groups have totally different styles of communicating. Being a Baby Boomer myself, along with the majority of you REALTORS® out there, we need to stay on top of all the methods of communicating for the various age groups.

Let’s start with the Xers. This group was referred to as the “Latch Key Kids”. Both parents worked, they were home alone after school and learned to be very independent at an early age. They like to be in control of the situation. As a REALTOR® I tend to back off a little as the Xers are well educated and qualified, but are skeptical of authority. The demands of family, children, high debt, keeping up with the Jones’ has created financial and emotional stress. These people are so busy you really need to identify, in the early stages of the relationship, how they would like you to communicate with them. I am finding this age group is being influenced more and more by their children (Gen Y) on how to communicate in today’s world. Xers are very internet savvy and if you want them to find you on the ‘NET’ make sure you have a strong website that is always changing with great information to ensure they keep coming back.

Now I’d like to talk about Generation Y and or the Millenials as they are often called. I find this group very challenging as I am dealing with it every day with my own children. This group was raised in a time when parents arranged play dates for their children. They did everything as a group. I see that with my own children today – they will not participate in anything unless their ‘Group of Friends’ are participating as well. They were taught to ‘respect the other children’ and maybe that is why they have little respect for their own parents. This group grew up multi-tasking and talk to several friends via text, Facebook, and Twitter simultaneously. I find it very frustrating with my own children when they are texting while I am talking to them. However, when I ask them a question about what I just said, to my amazement, they answer correctly. They are definitely a different breed. I have learned that Gen Y prefer text messaging for communicating. They will not respond to voice or e-mail for days or maybe not at all, or even respond to a telephone call, but will reply to a text within seconds.

Today’s REALTOR® must be willing to adapt to the ever changing world of communication. If you pay attention to the science fiction writers of the past and present you will be able to get a heads up on what the future will bring. In the late 1800’s H.G. Wells wrote about man going to the moon. In the Star Trek series of the sixties the communicator became the flip phone of the 90’s. In Star Trek The Next Generation the communicators were a badge on their shirt that they would tap – Bluetooth!  Talking to someone on another spaceship on the big screen – Skype! Who knows what the future will bring – maybe we will have the ability to read people’s minds. Oh, but wouldn’t that be a privacy issue???