By the same token, emotions can work against people who have the financial resources to buy a unit but for some other reason get cold feet when they have a sound (or even great) investment in their hands. When hundreds of sales occur at a single sales event, the atmosphere is like the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange, or like the start of a Boxing Day sale at a large retailer. In this atmosphere there are sure to be some people who buy in the heat of the moment and later get cold feet and back out of their deal when they come to their senses, even if they bought a real gem of a property for a great price. Continue reading
There are different types of Facebook ads and this keeps changing with time. A few years ago when Facebook ads were launched, they did not have half the targeting options they do now. Isn’t it great how often technology improves to make our lives easier?
With Facebook ads, there are two main categories of ads. They are; Sponsored stories and Facebook ads(traditional ads). In the sponsored stories category, you have; Page like story, Check-In story and Page post like story. In the traditional Facebook ads, you have; ad from a page post and new ad message.
With sponsored stories you get exposure for news feed stories published about your page, place or app. It always includes either a story about the viewer’s friends or a story about your Facebook page posts. The categories of the sponsored stories are explained below;
- Page like story – When people like your page, their friends see a story.
- Check-in story – When people check-in to your business using Facebook places, their friends see a story about it.
- Page-Post like story – When people like your page post, their friends see a story about it.
With the traditional Facebook ads, you have the ability to promote a page, event, app or any other destination on Facebook or outside Facebook. You have the ability to specify the ad copy as explained in Part 1 and you have the ability to include a Call-To-Action. The categories of a traditional Facebook Ad are;
- Ad from a page post – As the name implies, this ad promotes a post you made on your page and it is similar to what happens with sponsored stories.
- New Ad Message- This type of ad is an opportunity to write your own ad copy as explained in Part 1. You have the flexibility to write the ad message and the call-to-action for the ad.
When should you use these ads?
After the part 1 of this blog was published, I got the following question in the comment section. A really great well-informed question and i decided to post both the question and response in this section.
What are your thoughts on using Sponsored Stories vs. Traditional Facebook Ads?
The question is whether the facts or circumstances would indicate to the Canada Revenue Agency that the condo was bought for personal use versus buying the unit for potential profit with either the intention of assigning (IE flipping) the deal or making it an income property by getting a tenant to live there.
If a buyer purchases two or more new condo units or has a corporation purchase a residential unit, it is more difficult (perhaps impossible) to try to explain to the Canada Revenue Agency that the primary purpose in buying from the builder was to acquire the unit for personal use as a residence for an immediate family member.
The bottom line is this. When a listing sales rep sees an offer from an assignee they should encourage the assignor/seller to sign back the offer with a condition for approval of the terms of the sale by the lawyer for the assignor/seller.
Salvaging Deals During The Cooling Off Period
By law in Ontario, all sales of pre-construction properties are subject to Continue reading
The circumstances under which HST is or is not applicable to an assignment depends on the original intention the assignor/seller had in mind when they purchased the unit. If the primary purpose by the assignor/seller in buying from the builder was to profit by assigning/flipping the deal, then HST is applicable.
On the other hand, if an the original buyer originally signed an offer to purchase a condo apartment (to be newly constructed by a builder) with the primary intention that the unit bought would be used (for example) by:
(1) a son or daughter when attending University/College, OR
(2) a parent who wanted or needed a place to reside, or
(3) a spouse who planned to separate from the family, or
(4) the buyer(s) who intended to downsize, or
(5) the buyer(s) who intended to use the apartment when working downtown or when visiting Toronto
(6) a son or daughter who was engaged to be married, or
(7) buyer wanted to move closer to a workplace OR to relocate a place of work
in any of these cases the Canada Revenue Agency would typically conclude that HST is not applicable on the assignment/sale if (at a later date) a reasonable change in circumstance resulted in an assignment/sale of the unit if, for example,
(1) such son/daughter chose not to go to University/College, or
(2) the buyer’s mom or dad no longer could use or wanted to use such apartment as a residence
(due to their death or needs a retirement home), or
(3) intention to separate from family changed, or
(4) decision was made later not to downsize, or
(5) the buyer(s) reasonably changed his/their minds about such intended use, or
(6) the engaged son or daughter decided not to marry or decided to live elsewhere, or
(7) the workplace location changed or the intended relocation of workplace changed
Facebook advertising is another online strategy to get very targeted leads that you as a real estate professional will get a lot of value from. There are a few questions you need to answer before running Facebook ads. Once you answer them, it helps you have a clear direction with how to approach your ads and run them effectively. The questions to ask yourself are;
- What farm areas do you service?
- Describe your client?
- What keywords describe your farm area and your target audience?
- Make a list of 20 keywords related to your business.
These questions help you get a better understanding of how you are should run ads effectively at a lower cost. After analyzing who your target market is, there are a few categories you need to get right for your Facebook ad to be effective. These categories are;
- Ad Headline
- Ad Copy
- Ad Image
- Interest groups
- Landing page
Your Ad headline needs to be captivating and have relevant keywords. For example; if you are advertising a listing in the square one area in Mississauga, your ad headline should look like this “$399K Condo Duke of York“. If the price is reasonable for your target, they will immediately click on the ad to contact you. That is how to capture the attention of your target audience.
Hint: You are allowed 25 characters in your ad headline on Facebook. Use it wisely!
The copy of your ad should reflect what is stated in your title and a little more information to get the target to click on the ad. This is where offering an incentive and having a clear call to action comes in. If you have free market reports to offer or want to offer a free consulting phone call, include this information in the ad copy. For example; the listing on Duke of York will have an ad copy like this;
“Condo available for sale $399,000 at Duke of York, Mississauga. Possible discount if you register before 20th April 2012. Register now”
Hint: You are allowed 90 characters in your copy. Make great use of it.
Your ad image should be compelling and should match the message of your ad. If you are talking about a condo, do not put up an image of a house by the lake(Believe me, I’ve seen this). Let there be a correlation with the image and the ad copy and headline.
Select interest groups based on the previous questions you answered. Market research and survey questions are usually very helpful when trying to analyze where these clients can come from and what their interests are. Are you selling to women? Are you selling to the single man or the married couple? These points will help you tailor your ads to specific people that are most likely to do business with you based on interests and based on the profiles they fit.
The landing page you are re-directing your leads to should reflect all the content in the ad. For example, if you are advertising a listing, make sure you are re-directing them to a page that has the information about the listings.
If you have investor clients one of the things you can do to encourage them to buy early is letting them know that you will pay for part or all of the assignment fee if they buy a unit at the launch date, but that you will not pay for the fee if they buy after the launch date and the developer has said the assignment fee will go up in price considerably after the launch date. This can encourage them to buy sooner rather than later because they know the price of the unit will go up, as will the assignment fee payable, making it more profitable to buy now rather than later.
HST Sales Tax On Assignment Properties
An offer to purchase an assignment property (often on an OREA form 140) by a buyer’s sales representative will always state that, if applicable, HST is included in the purchase price (as we typically see in any offer to buy resale residential properties). The sales representative who represents the seller who wants to assign (and who is advising the seller) must be aware that according to the Canada Revenue Agency, there are sometimes situations where HST will, in fact, be applicable and payable by the assignor/seller who is assigning a contract to buy a newly constructed unit/residence. There are also situations where HST will NOT be applicable.
When applicable, HST will be payable by the person assigning the contract (the first buyer of the unit) on the portion of the assignment sale price related to the return of deposits (paid to the builder by the assignor/seller) PLUS the gross profit (IE the difference between the builder price and the assignment price).
What few real estate professionals understand is under what conditions HST is applicable to the assignment and when the sale is exempt. Sales reps should not undertake the responsibility to advise a seller on such a matter. Rather, they should make sure (as a listing sales rep advising a seller/assignor) that an assignment sale which states HST is included in the price is conditional on assignor’s/seller’s lawyer’s approval so that the lawyer for the assignor/seller will be responsible to advise a seller whether or not HST is applicable to the assignment/sale. The idea is to shift the burden of responsibility from the shoulders of the listing sales representative to the shoulders of the lawyer for the assignor/seller.
One of the safest and yet highest yielding investments you can make today is on a pre-construction condo in the Toronto area. When a buyer wants to sell their newly bought pre-construction condo to another investor or to a home buyer before the closing date (IE the move in date), they can assign the contract to another buyer. Assigning is when the outgoing buyer transfers the purchase contract for the condo to another person and gets the contract put into that new buyer’s name, absolving the outgoing buyer of any obligations stated in the contract or rights of ownership to the property.
Investors love assignments because they can capitalize on the market appreciation to their unit during the years it took to construct the building (often 3-4 years, sometimes longer) without having to furnish, maintain or repair the unit, they don’t have to pay any condo fees, nor worry about whether they could rent the property out and at least cover the monthly mortgage costs or be a landlord.
Different developers have different policies on assignment clauses in pre-construction purchase agreements. Some developers are wary of allowing people to assign units because if a lot of investors have bought properties and a lot of assignments happen before the property closes, this can really ratchet up the prices for all prices in the development, making it more difficult for the developer to sell the remaining units in the project. To counter this some developers will require the unit to be occupied for a certain amount of time (eg. 1 year) by either the owner or a tenant before it can be re-sold. Some developers will allow buyers to assign their property at any time but charge a fee (eg. $500-$1500 or more) to do so. This assignment fee can fluctuate, depending on how sales are going with the building, but generally speaking the assignment fee starts at a low figure and gradually goes up as the sales cycle progresses and more units are sold.
“The next day the client called to tell us he had made a mistake and wanted to get the unit we talked about the previous day. We called the developer and the suite had increased in price by $30,000 in one day. Knowing that prices can change quickly adds another layer of pressure to make snap decisions when purchasing pre-construction condominiums and it is very important to have someone by your side who understands how it works.” – from Investing In Condominiums by Randy Ramadhin and Brian Persaud
When all the sales the developer can get through real estate agents have been exhausted the developer will then Continue reading
In time you may enjoy a success story such as the following one told in the Ramadhin/Persaud book Investing In Condominums:
“During the sales cycle, a developer can increase pricing several times, Continue reading
“While agents are told that the worksheets are dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis, that isn’t necessarily true. Let’s say they opened the fax lines on a Friday morning, and worksheets are accepted until Sunday. If you are an agent that the developer has never heard of, it’s likely they won’t give you any units, even if you are the very first agent to fax in (especially when demand far outweighs supply). Developers will look at the agents who they recognize first, put them to the top of the list (whether they are first or last to get their worksheets in), and then deal with the rest on a first-come, first-served basis. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but we’ve seen it play out like this more often than not.
Given that the developers give preference to Continue reading
Remember a few years ago when some crazy people where talking about how social media can be used to generate leads for your business? Do you still think they are crazy? “Facebook is a huge time waster for teenagers. I don’t know what to tweet.” Do you still share these sentiments? Social Media marketing has now become a requirement for most companies in the world today. Everyone is struggling to get on board with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus etc.
Even the real estate industry has not been left out. Most of the successful campaigns have been done through social media; Obama presidential campaign, Old Spice campaign, Charlie sheen #winning campaign etc. Yet some real estate agents still don’t know what to do with their social media accounts. Creativity is now a necessity and for your business to thrive in the world today both online and offline. That is the only trick to success in social media. How creative can you be? Think outside the box, break the rules a little bit but be creative while you are at it.
As a real estate professional in this competitive industry, you need to understand that social media is another avenue to market your products or services. Granted it is a new medium but it should be integrated into your marketing mix and not seen as a separate entity for marketing your services. Before websites were built, you had news papers, direct mail pieces, door knocking, cold calling etc. Social media is the same concept. Its the new inexpensive way to market your information. Here are some vital points real estate professionals need to know about social media:
- It is now a compulsory part of your marketing mix – You have to face the reality of this statement. Stop treating social media as this space-age technology and embrace it because it is not going anywhere. The earlier you learn it, the better for you and the more time you will have to start developing creative strategies and establish your name and brand as the go to real estate professional in your farm area.
- Content is King – This is now a popular phrase on the internet but it is also the key to success online. Whether you write blogs, shoot videos or take engaging photos; as long as you can invoke a reaction from your audience, your marketing message has been effective. For a real estate professional actively marketing through social media, put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Would you be interested in the message you are posting yourself? If you saw it on a different page, would you leave a comment? Would you like the post? Would you share it with everyone? If you can answer those questions, then you are sure to succeed online. Always provide information that your potential target audience is looking for and be creative about it.
- It’s relationship marketing – I have always believed that relationship experts will be great at social media marketing because relationship marketing is aimed at customers that are the most valuable for your business. If you know what it takes to have a great relationship, you will apply the same principle to your social media marketing efforts and realize you get out of it what you put in. How does a real estate agent figure this out? By pre-qualifying the clients before you invest in the relationship with the client. Once you are certain you are going to work with this client, search for them on social media or ask if they have any social accounts and tell them you will add them on their accounts. This way when you are promoting their listing, talking about real estate, they see the work you are doing and they are convinced about the choice they made to list with you. This is also another strategy to justify your commission. These customers expect great customer service and want to feel like they have a relationship with the agent so make sure to build that relationship both online and offline.
- Helps improve web presence – When you do a search on your name, most likely in addition to your website if you have one, your social media accounts will come up. I personally Google everyone I plan on meeting with right before i meet them so i can get an idea of what they look like, the type of person they are and if they have any bad reviews. Where would people find these bad reviews? On social networks. If you Google someone and you see on their Facebook fan page, “who are you?” or “Your customer service sucks” You proceed to do business with this person at your own risk. That is what social networks are great for. As much as they improve your web presence, its also a great place to get clients you have worked with to write great reviews about working with you.
- The ROI is amazing – The return on investment is great once you put in the work. I will not mis-lead you about the work involved with social media. It is hard and it is demanding but the ROI is worth it at the end of the day. Some recently published articles have said SEO may be on its way out and peer-recommendations are all that may matter in 10 years. Why not build your brand based on peer-recommendation from now so that you have enough people talking about you as the go-to real estate professional when you really need it and if SEO does indeed not count in the future. However, to achieve a high ROI from social media, you have to be consistent with the work and it will all pay off at the end of the day.
- Great customer service – As mentioned in my previous point, if you follow up with clients on your social networks and others that have just discovered you see it, they are more likely to do business with you based on how you have treated your previous clients. As much as you can connect with previous clients through social media, make sure you do so. Ask for recommendations, take photos with clients (if they are comfortable) after finding them a house or selling their house and post this on your social networks. Thank them for doing business with them.
- Automation is possible- As much as Google appreciates manual postings, automation software helps you fill in for times when its absolutely impossible to send out information. Hootsuite is a great tool to start with. You can schedule information from your blog posts and from your website to go out at any time of the day that you aren’t present. I would say do more automated scheduling on twitter than Facebook because with Facebook it starts to look like spam but with twitter, since the feeds move so fast during the day, you can schedule posts to go out every 3 hours and these are relevant information to your business and what your followers will want to read about. The response rate for twitter can be a little delayed by a few hours but for Facebook, your response has to be within the hour.
- Don’t over-think it, just do it- Most real estate professionals ask me, “so how do i start?” There really is no magic to starting to post information. Remember, this is information you already know and you are trying to educate people that know nothing about what you know. Before you start promoting your pages or accounts, upload 5 posts. Whether it be a video, photo or links to your site just make sure you have information on there before you start inviting people to “like” your page or “follow” you on twitter.
- Start by inviting people you already know; previous clients you have worked with and then depending on how well you engage those people in conversation and how interesting your content is, they will share it and others will join your page and want to do business with you.
- You could also run Facebook ads to promote your fan page and your website but always provide an incentive when running these ads otherwise you will spend a lot of money and not get any business out of it.
- When running ads, be sure to have a contact form on the page you run the ads to as we all know that the heart of a real estate business is the database. Always look for creative ways to capture emails and you may get referrals or possibly directly get clients from all your marketing efforts.
Our MoneyMaker package helps real estate agents build their real estate business on the web offering free website training, SEO training and social media training. There is an offer for a 10-day free trial to experience MoneyMaker for yourself. Leave a comment below and let us know how you have used social media in the past and what other questions you have about starting.
As with the Elite Buyer phase of the sales cycle, preferential treatment of certain top sales reps and investors over others is the reality of how these sales work at this point in the sales cycle.
The recent book “Investing In Condominiums: Strategies, Tips and Expert Advice for the Canadian Real Estate Investor” by Toronto area real estate professionals and investors Brian Persaud and Randy Ramadhin has many interesting anecdotes from sales reps involved in pre-construction condo sales who shed a great deal of light on how the whole pre-construction sales process really works. In the book one anonymous sales rep related a fascinating anecdote about a particular pre-construction condo project he was involved in: Continue reading