The Buying and Selling Costs of Real Estate Transactions in Kenya

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As would be expected, there are several transactions involved in buying and selling property, which attract fees and taxes. In Kenya, you incur charges from the moment you begin searching for feasible investment ventures.

While some costs are set, such as registration and requisite search fees, many costs associated with buying and selling real estate in Kenya are highly variable and based on:

  • The type of real estate
  • Location of the property
  • Commissions and fees charged and earned by the various professionals (which are also often based on type and location of the property)
  • The type of transactions
  • Documents you want or need

The estimated sum for round trip transactions can range from 4.5% to 6.8% of the selling/buying price of the real estate.

Real-estate Agent Fees

  • Searching fees: rates vary depending on the type, size and cost of property with an urban apartment in upmarket neighborhood costing as much as Ksh5,000
  • Viewing fees: varies among real estate agents but usually ranges between Ksh500- 1000 for residential houses and over Kshs5,000 for commercial properties
  • Listing Fees: varies depending on size and location of property with landlords paying from 2% the value of the property
  • Agent’s commission (buyer & seller): 1.25% of the sale price

Property Requisite Search Fees

  • Preliminary requisite search fee: Ksh500
  • Costs of obtaining requisite completion documents (seller): Kshs500

Registration Costs

  • Registration fees: Ksh500
  • Banker’s cheque fee: Kshs600
  • Land rent clearance certificate: Kshs 7,500

Stamp Duties

Stamp duties are taxes tied to documents and real-estate sale/purchase transactions. It’s usually based on the sale price of the property.

  • Duly signed sales agreement: Ksh200 for original copy and Kshs20 for each copy
  • Property transfer (properties within municipalities): 4% flat rate
  • Property transfer (outside municipalities): 2% flat rate
  • Mortgage: 0.1% of the amount of mortgage
  • Property leased for less than 3 years: 1% flat rate
  • Property leased over a duration of 3yrs: 2% flat rate stamp duty

Taxes

  • Income tax (non-residents): 30% of gross rental income
  • Income tax (foreign companies): 37.50% flat rate
  • Annual property tax: varies across locations and property value but is usually 1% of the property value
  • Land tax: varies by location of the land and is most costly in major towns such as Nairobi with rates as high as 8%

Legal and Mortgage Fees

  • Legal charges related with taking mortgage

    • Depends on amount of mortgage you take (higher mortgages mean higher fees) but mostly the rates are between 0.5-1.5% of the value of property
  • Property insurance: varies with duration of loan repayment and lender
  • Mortgage life policy: charged at 0.3% and 0.6% of the mortgage loan per year
  • Mortgage negotiation fees: although it varies, most lenders ask for 1% of the mortgage amount
  • Mortgage indemnity insurance: often ranges between 5 – 10% of the value of property
  • Legal fees related with lawyer overseeing sale process: 1.5%

Other Important Costs

  • Survey fees: Ksh 5, 000 consultation fee.

    • Survey fees are determined by the survey work done
  • Valuation charges: usually Kshs5,000 consultation fee

    • However, the actual valuation fee depends on property value. For instance valuation charges for urban properties valued Ksh10 million means Ksh40,000
  • Residency permit fees: accompanied by non-refundable processing fees and the fees vary depending with the type of permit you need. For instance:
  1. Class D- Kshs200,000 annually with 10,000 non-refundable fees
  2. Class I- Kshs5,000 with Kshs1,000 non-refundable fee
  3. Class A- Kshs250, 000 and 10,000 non- refundable, etc.

Company setup costs: depends on type and size of company and its location

Utility reconnection fees include

  • Electricity deposit fees: standard Ksh2,500
  • Water deposit fees: standard Ksh1,000

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Source by James E Harrison

Using Color Psychology to Sell Your Home

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When painting your home for resale, choosing the right colors can make a huge difference in your paycheck at closing. For instance, did you know that the exterior color of houses selling most quickly is a certain shade of yellow, but that choosing the wrong shade of yellow can kill a sale?

You’ll find many brochures in paint stores, showing various combinations of exterior paint colors. But most people don’t realize that most of those combinations actually include three colors, and not just two. Limiting your exterior paint scheme to just two colors also limits your income potential.

For a fast sale, think fun colors and go for a third, or even a fourth, exterior color. Think „Disneyland Main Street,“ where every shop is painted in glorious multi-colors. Adding more colors will also add definition to the various architectural details of your home. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.

The Psychology of Exterior Colors

When choosing exterior colors, take the sales price of your home into account. Certain colors, especially muted, complex shades, attract wealthy or highly-educated buyers, whereas buyers with less income or less education generally prefer simpler colors. A complex color contains tints of gray or brown, and usually requires more than one word to describe, such as „sage green,“ as opposed to „green.“

On the other hand, simple colors are straightforward and pure. Generally, houses in the lower price range sell faster and for higher prices when painted in simple colors like yellow or tan, accented by white, blue, or green trim.

The Psychology of Interior Colors

Using colored, rather than bland, white walls will increase your profit potential. Lynette Jennings tested the perception of room size and color, and discovered that a room painted white appeared only appeared larger to a few people when compared to an identical room painted in color – and the perceived difference was only about six inches! Most people also look better when surrounded by color, and feel happier, and since buyers pick houses that make them feel happy, that knowledge can put dollars in your pocket at closing!

Entryways should bring the exterior colors into the house. Repeating shades of the exterior throughout your home will make the entire home seem to be in harmony. Living and family rooms painted in a slightly lighter shade of the exterior color will ensure that you’ve picked a color your buyers like, because if they didn’t like your exterior colors, they wouldn’t have bothered to look inside. If they loved the exterior colors, they’ll love the interior, too.

When choosing interior colors, consider the use of each room. For instance, kitchen and dining areas that are painted in „food colors,“ such as coffee browns, celery greens, and scrambled egg yellows, feel natural.

Since, deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity, I like to paint master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink. (See the chapter on the Psychology of Color in my book „Joy to the Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology“ for further information.)

Selling Season

Always consider your selling season (the time of year you’ll be marketing your home) and climate when choosing colors. Estimate the amount of time you’ll need to get your home ready for sale, and then add on extra days for unexpected delays. Use cool colors, such as blues, greens, and grays, to sell during spring and summer, and warm colors, such as yellows, reds, and maroons, when selling in the fall and winter.

Color Intensity

My husband and I usually use lighter colors when painting the exteriors of our investment dollhouses, because it makes them appear larger. On the other hand, our cabin in the woods looks richer when painted a darker color. When we decided to have it painted, I considered the usual cabin colors of dark brown and barn red, but fell in love with Olympic’s gorgeous „Gooseberry“ plum color.

When getting ready to paint your house, look at the colors of neighboring houses and choose colors that harmonize, yet stand out from the crowd. Colors that clash badly with other houses will detract from the overall neighborhood.

At the beginning of the article, I told you that homes with yellow exteriors sell the quickest. But which shade of yellow sells best? First, the yellows to avoid: yellows with green undertones look sickly to most buyers, and yellows with orange undertones give buyers an impression of cheapness.

The best-selling yellow exterior color is actually a pale, sunny yellow, especially when complimented with one or more carefully-chosen accent colors. For instance, a semi-gloss white trim will give your home a clean and fresh look, and adding a third color, such as green, can make your home even more attractive to prospective buyers.

Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of Color Psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

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Source by Jeanette Joy Fisher

How to Take Good Pictures in Selling Your House

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Home buyers usually scan real estate advertisements and see if there are any photos available associated with the property. Mostly, they ignore listings that do not have available pictures making it a tremendous loss to the home owners who are setting up their properties for sale. Potential home buyers want to have all that information gathered in one profile with pictures that tell if they like the house or not.

Home buyers would first start canvassing house properties online since it’s the easiest and fastest way to narrow down choices. It is then wise to advertise your real estate via the Internet and upload clear photos that would interest the buyer. However, taking pictures to sell your property does not equate to just having a few random shots. It takes precision and distinctive angles for home buyers to notice that something special about your property. To boost the quality of your house property, it is essential for you to display your real estate at its finest.

Clean up the house

Do away with unnecessary clutter. You certainly do not want prospective buyers to be turned off by how messy your home appears in your pictures. Sort out your messes, organize your décor items, clean your tables and counter tops and even position your appliances in such a way that it looks a bit more arranged. Take note that you are taking snapshots of every nook and cranny of your home, from the kitchen to the bathrooms, from the bedroom to the living room.

Do away with photo cameos

Home buyers may find it amusing, or worse hilarious, if you pose in your photos. These photos are supposed to promote your house, not with you in it. Also, do away with having other people around and that includes your pets. Home buyers should be attracted by the sight of your property, not with the living extras in it.  The best way to showcase your photos is to have nil presence in the house, just pure furnishings, rooms or the front lawn. Furthermore, shut off your television sets or buzzing computers since they contribute to distraction as well.

Exhibit your property’s best feature

Do not just take a few shots of your home. Taking good photos enable you to hone your creative skills. Choose the best angles for your pictures. You can take a shot from above the stairs to take in the sights of your living room or kitchen or you can slouch down and shoot a picture by tilting your camera up. Experiment with various angles until you have scored the perfect photographs of your property. Not only will it lure in a slew of home buyers, you can always pat your back for a job well done without shelling out a few bucks for a professional photographer.

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Source by Maria

An Expired Listing Letter Will Make Your Phone Ring

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An Expired Listing Letter can help you generate more leads, get more listings and make more sales. It’s a fact that many top producing agents can validate. However, don’t expect an agent in your market to actually do it, because doing so could ruin their business.

On the other hand I have nothing to lose by sharing this commonly known but underutilized tool with you. Why? Because chances are we’re not in direct competition with one another. So, if you aren’t conducting a letter writing campaign you should think about it.

5 Reasons For Starting an Expired Listing Letter Campaign Today

1) Expired listing campaigns are effective lead generators and when using them you can expect to generate listings on a consistent basis. So, let me ask you a question. How many listings are you currently generating on a weekly basis? That’s what I thought. Want more? Then target expired listings… and start today.

2) Every letter you mail is highly targeted and goes to someone known to be interested in selling their home; someone who may be more motivated to sell when they list with you than they were during previous listings. In fact, not only can you expect the owners of expired listings to price their homes competitively, you can insist on it.

3) Farming expired listings is easy to do and a good letter makes it even easier. Mail ten letters a day, which takes on average less than thirty minutes, and you’ll quickly be on your way to a renewable source of leads.

4) When you place a „For Sale“ Sign & Rider on an expired that you convert to a new listing it’ll enhance your stature as a successful agent in your community. Every passerby, property owner, renter, visitor and investor in the neighborhood will potentially look to you as an agent to do business with – and that will generate even more leads, listings and sales.

5) Finally, an expired letter writing campaign can also generate investment opportunities. Sometimes owners are willing to sell in a hurry, thereby creating attractive investment opportunities. You can establish relationships with real estate investors to buy some of the homes you list, or potentially line up investors to finance your purchase of them.

The Sound of Success

So, don’t procrastinate. Get yourself an Expired Listing Letter set and start mailing letters today. And when you do know that your phone will start ringing and when it does be assured that callers will be wanting to do business with you. Can you ask for anything better?

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Source by Lanard Perry

Open Houses – Is it an Effective Marketing Tool for Home Sale

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Open Houses – Is it an Effective Marketing Tool for Home Sale Selling your house in the vast and highly competitive real estate market is a very challenging task to take. However, if you do it right, you will discover just how much it may give you in terms of profitability in your ventures. Thus, if you are looking for marketing tools to use and maximize, you may opt for innumerable ways observed and practiced in real estate particularly activities like open houses. There are some debatable premises as to the effectiveness of this tool however you need to understand certain criteria to make it an efficient way of advertising and selling your house in no time. You would know that open house is beneficial for you if you carefully assess some of the components relating to this venture. The location of your property is of utmost importance if you are planning to hold this kind of activity. Is your house located in an area where traffic is relatively abundant? If that is the case, then you may invite more visitors to take advantage and drive by the property to see it. Remember that location also determines how many people find it convenient to drop by your place anytime. Houses in new communities where there are many model homes are also great prospects for an open house. Those who are seriously considering buying a house without waiting for construction of a new property may offer you a great deal in purchasing your home. The overall impact and curb appeal of the property is also influential of the effectiveness of conducting this type of activity. Houses that have high quality purchasing features are the ones that benefit greatly in open houses. Make sure that your house is in good shape and condition to turn casual visitors into potential home buyers who gives you qualified home purchase offer in a sure and eligible way. This is why home staging is also important prior to your decision of putting your house into such events. Houses which are priced just right also have higher chances of getting sold in a quick and efficient way. The listing price of your house makes a great impact on the outcome of the open house activity. You will surely get a great number of potential visitors and home buyers if your house is priced right or competitively. If however it has a much greater value and asking price compared to others in the same market, then conducting an open house is a total waste of time, money and effort. It may even draw gawkers and other frauds who are taking advantage of home sellers who want to insist on their hefty listing price. Open house is a good material to use in marketing your house or property if only you carefully assess everything that may affect its outcome in the market. It is your responsibility to conduct a thorough and comprehensive study of what you ought to do before even jumping to this type of activity. It may have its downfall and setbacks, but if you know how to use it wisely, it may give you astounding results in the future.

Selling your house in the vast and highly competitive real estate market is a very challenging task to take. However, if you do it right, you will discover just how much it may give you in terms of profitability in your ventures. Thus, if you are looking for marketing tools to use and maximize, you may opt for innumerable ways observed and practiced in real estate particularly activities like open houses. There are some debatable premises as to the effectiveness of this tool however you need to understand certain criteria to make it an efficient way of advertising and selling your house in no time.

You would know that open house is beneficial for you if you carefully assess some of the components relating to this venture. The location of your property is of utmost importance if you are planning to hold this kind of activity. Is your house located in an area where traffic is relatively abundant? If that is the case, then you may invite more visitors to take advantage and drive by the property to see it. Remember that location also determines how many people find it convenient to drop by your place anytime. Houses in new communities where there are many model homes are also great prospects for an open house. Those who are seriously considering buying a house without waiting for construction of a new property may offer you a great deal in purchasing your home.

The overall impact and curb appeal of the property is also influential of the effectiveness of conducting this type of activity. Houses that have high quality purchasing features are the ones that benefit greatly in open houses. Make sure that your house is in good shape and condition to turn casual visitors into potential home buyers who gives you qualified home purchase offer in a sure and eligible way. This is why home staging is also important prior to your decision of putting your house into such events.

Houses which are priced just right also have higher chances of getting sold in a quick and efficient way. The listing price of your house makes a great impact on the outcome of the open house activity. You will surely get a great number of potential visitors and home buyers if your house is priced right or competitively. If however it has a much greater value and asking price compared to others in the same market, then conducting an open house is a total waste of time, money and effort. It may even draw gawkers and other frauds who are taking advantage of home sellers who want to insist on their hefty listing price.

Open house is a good material to use in marketing your house or property if only you carefully assess everything that may affect its outcome in the market. It is your responsibility to conduct a thorough and comprehensive study of what you ought to do before even jumping to this type of activity. It may have its downfall and setbacks, but if you know how to use it wisely, it may give you astounding results in the future.

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Source by Marikor Hidalgo

7 Cheap and Easy Ways to Generate Mortgage Leads

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Need a few more loans but don’t have the cash to do some serious marketing? Have no fear. In this issue I am going to reveal 7 fantastic ways to generate leads almost for free. These methods are super cheap (most are free) and work like gangbusters.

How do I know? Because I shared them with my coaching clients and they had excellent results.

These 7 methods are just a few of the over 30 cheap marketing methods I share in one lesson of my 24 lesson Jump Start Your Mortgage Career E-Class. This new class is for any loan officer who is new and struggling or any verteran that just needs a little help with their marketing. It took me over 2 years to create the content for this 12 week, 24 lesson class, and I can honestly say there is nothing available out there that compares to this class.

If you could use more loans, then do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself. http://www.mortgagebrokertraining.com/jumpstart.html

Here we go…

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip # 1. Join an Association

People join associations for one of three reasons:

Social – they want to build or maintain friendships and influences that may have taken years to build;

Promotional – they want to offer their own products or services to others in in a cost effective and positive way;

Educational – they want to see what their competition is up to, and find out about the latest developments within their industry

Grow your network and your database by joining groups of already established people. By socializing with people who have something in common with, it makes it easier to generate business. People like to do business with people they like and trust. Most people like others who have the same interests as they do.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #2: Use Book Stores

One of the questions I keep asking all my coaching clients is „How can you tell if someone is getting ready to need a mortgage? What do they do? How do they act?“

This is the million dollar question. If you can answer this question, you can easily be rich in the mortgage business. By being able to identify that they want a mortgage before they start looking for one, you can get a jump on all the other loan companies. This is one area of our business that still annoys me. Most other businesses, have a way to identify when someone will need their service and can market to them accordingly. Like when someone buys a new home, they most likely will be buying furniture, blinds, home accessories, etc. So if we were selling any of these items, all we need is a list of new homeowners to market to. And that list is easily available. But how the heck do we figure out who is „thinking“ of getting a mortgage?

The answer one of my coaching clients came up with was that they might go to the bookstore or library to read books on home buying, or mortgages, or real estate in general. And that’s true. Every bookstore has a real estate section. And most of the books are for consumers who are buying and selling real estate.

So my next question is, „Now that we have identified what they do, how do we get our message in front of them?“

And my client came up with this simple method: Go to the bookstores and libraries and insert a business card into each book.

After doing it for a couple months, he came up with some simple observations:

First, he learned that the best place to put the card was somewhere in the front. Try for the first chapter because not everyone reads the whole book.

Second, pick the books with the best covers and graphics inside- they sell the best.

Third, not all books sell and some are sent back to the publishers.

Fourth, having a USP on the card helps boost response.

Fifth, it takes about 10 minutes per bookstore.

Sixth, he averages 3-4 calls a month, and one loan per month.

Seventh, he now has his assistant do it. And she goes once a week.

Eight, the people who call are in search of more information, so offering them unbiased advice and more resources really turns them on.

If you have the time, and are brave enough to be seen doing it, try it and see what results you get. I wanted to test it in my market. So I went to three bookstores and put in about 120 cards. I got 2 calls, and one of them is a very serious prospect. If I do it more often, I have no doubt that it would work for me as well.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tp #3: Orphan Files

When a loan officer leaves a company the clients he/she brought to the company are called orphans. These clients now belong to the company. Ask your manager to see if you can contact any orphan files in your office to see if they need any mortgage or real estate help. Be nice enough, and they will allow you to add them to your database.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #4: Tradeshows

Another coaching client of mine goes to tradeshows. But not the ones related to our business. He goes to unrelated trade shows: electronic shows, design shows, car shows, and his favorite: women’s trade shows.

Most of the time, he is the only mortgage company there. And he is averaging 2-3 loan applications per show. The trick is to tie in your business with the show. If it is a car show, you can advertise that you can help anyone buy any car in the place.

If you can pre-approve someone at a car show for a cash out refinance, they can go and buy that hot car they have been salivating on for the last 2 hours. Instant gratification.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #5: Join A Local Real Estate Investment Group.

Every major city has one. And they are full of people buying and selling houses. They need money to buy houses, and they need money to help others buy their houses.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #6: Realtor Open Houses

Stop by at realtor open houses on the weekends. Offer to leave some financing materials.

When you get to know a realtor, you can offer to do open houses for her where you sit in the house instead of her. It is not a fun way to spend an afternoon, but you might get some good leads out of it.

If you decide to go this route, make sure the house is in a well trafficked area and easy to get to. And make sure the agent does some advertising and lends you signs and balloons. You do not want to sit in a house, where no one shows up because it is hard to find or no one knew about the open house.

Another tip is to meet the neighbors of the home you are holding open. See if they know anyone wanting to move or buy. Chances are someone will know of a family wanting to move into the neighborhood.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #7: Realtor MLS

Want a source of thousands of people who will be getting a mortgage within the next couple months?

It’s sellers. And the Multiple Listing Service used by Realtors is full of them. Do a search of homes for sale, get the owners‘ name from the tax records and you have yourself a good prospect list.

Mail them something about you or an offer for free information. Call them if you can get their phone number and they are not on the Do Not Call list, or just drop by their house if you have the guts.

This is exactly what one of my coaching clients does. He calls Realtors who have listings and asks them if he can market his services to the home sellers. Many Realtors say yes. When they do, he contacts the sellers, and tells them that their realtor said it was OK to call on them.

He tells me the majority of home sellers he talks to are willing to talk to him and he gets several loans a month using this trick.

If you liked the above lead generation tips and would like more, check out my Jump Start Your Mortgage Career E-Class today. As I said these are just a few of the dozens of cheap lead generation techniques I share in one lesson of the course. The other lessons cover every aspect of mortgage marketing that you need to succeed in this business.

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Source by Ameen Kamadia

5 Powerful Tips on How to Sell in an Economic Downturn

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Copyright (c) 2008 Gavin Ingham

1. Believe you can and stay positive!

One of the problems with all of this talk about recession is that once people believe there is going to be a recession they start to feel negative about their business prospects and only tend to see what they believe rather than believing what they see. Once you believe that there is going to be a recession you tend to only notice articles, comments and statistics that support your beliefs.

What’s more, your negative beliefs quickly affect your outlook and the way that you feel about your business prospects.

If you thought 2008 was going to be a great year for business, your best year yet; how would you feel?

On the other hand, if you thought this year we’re going to have a major downturn and you and your business would be badly affected; how would you feel?

Mighty different huh? And remember, nothing’s changed here other than your belief. Having a positive and supportive belief structure is essential if you want to succeed in any market but it is vitally essential if you want to keep on selling in a tough one.

Having a winning belief system does not mean that you need to be deluded however! In the middle of the darkest recession you don’t want to have your eyes shut! But you have to understand that in a downturn clients want to partner with the best companies. Suppliers that they can rely on. Suppliers that support them. Suppliers who are going to be around tomorrow. And if your competitors struggle, that means more sales and more business for you.

2. Get proactive

You need to be more proactive. Much more proactive. You need to do more marketing and more selling. You need to attend more events and do more networking. You need to do more promotion and more canvassing. You need to increase your sales activities, maybe dramatically.

In a recession many companies cut their sales activites. They figure, „If we’re not going to sell anything, what’s the point?“ Many individual salespeople do this too.

Cut your activity, cut your sales. You’re a living, breathing, self-fulfilling prophecy! You believe there is not much business out there, so you feel negative. That in turn affects your activity and your activity destroys your sales results.

Even if there is not as much business out there, then you need to be more active, more focused and more targeted. If your competitors are easing off a little, now is the time to up the anti and grab your share of the market. Even if there is a blip, you will be strongly placed when activity picks up.

One of my friends went down to our local estate agent this week to put his house on the market. He was told that maybe he should wait as he might not get the price he wants right now. They told him the market was quiet and that might not be able to sell the house at all. Better to wait for the market to pick up. I walked past their offices later on that day. They were all sitting, chatting and drinking coffee. They were probably moaning about what a bad year it’s going to be. If I’s have been in that office, I’d have taken my mates house on and I’d have been on the phone drumming up some viewings. 50 calls, 100, calls, 500 calls… Whatever it takes. I’d have found someone.

Talk about killing your own market! If you see less business then you need to do more sales and marketing, not less. That’s common sense.

3. Sharpen your sales skills

If a workman needs a spade and a farmer needs a horse; a boxer needs a defence and a chef needs a recipe; what do salespeople need? The answer’s obvious – it’s sales skills.

Most salespeople do not spend enough time working on improving their sales skills and techniques. Sales training and development is not something that many salespeople spend their time on out of choice. Perhaps they can get away with this in a booming marrket when sales are easy. Perhaps not. But things will always change if the market tightens. Sales success will go to the salesperson who really understands why people buy and can help people make the right business decisions. Salespeople of this calibre stand to benefit from possible changes ahead because there will be more business for them as their competition falls by the wayside.

Sales will not go to the journeyman salesperson, the mediocre wannabee or the 9-5 order taker. Salespeople like these could well be in for a rough time.

When did you last read a sales training book on selling? How many sales training audios have you listened to over the last month? How many sales training seminars have you atteneded in the last 6 months? For 80% of salespeople reading this, the answer is zero.

4. Improve your service and focus on relationships

As I write this many companies will be working out how to cut corners. They will try to save money by tinkering with their business offerings. They will try and eek extra profits out of their clients by cutting the bells and whistles from their offerings. This is not a good idea. A Swiss cow with no bells is just a cow and no-one would send postcards of them home!

If business is tight you want to be wowing your clients with the best service that they have ever had, from you or from any of your competitors. You need to be going the extra mile. If a recession bites many companies will try and discount to survive. They probably won’t (survive), but you don’t want your clients going to them as they try to keep their heads above water! You need to „lock in“ your existing clients now so that they won’t even think about going anywhere else.

Spend time with your clients. Build stronger relationships with your clients. Make sure you truly understand them, their concerns and their businesses. Find ways to help them and add value over and above what they could have ever expected.

5. Leverage your efforts

In a soft market many salespeople only chase the easy stuff. They don’t chase the tough stuff. They’re doing ok, they don’t have to. They’re making sales right?

Wrong.

Most salespeople have all sorts of opportunities which they squander every day and every month because there are seemingly easier things that they can be doing. This is particularly true in an industry or a company where leads have been relatively easy to come by, where sales targets are relatively soft (I could tell you which industries but I’m not going to) or where salespeople are overpaid so don’t crave the business (again, I’ll keep this to myself!).

In a tough market you must leverage all of your efforts. This is basic sales 101 and should be stuff that you do every day anyway… Here are just a few ideas.

Always ask for referrals. Referrals are great business but most salespeople do not ask for them because clients often say no. Learn how to ask for a referral properly and then build asking for a referral into your sales process and ask for one every time.

Upsell and cross-sell. Whether though laziness, lack of knowledge or lack of ability many salespeople sit on accounts where there is so much more business than they are currently leveraging. Extending your business with existing clients will not only make you more money, it will also strengthen your relationships with and value to them and their businesses.

Contact dormant accounts. Most companies have hundreds if not thousands of „dormant“ accounts. There may be multiple reasons for this from changing business practises to fall-outs with the client. Dormant clients may well be redeemable and may have been „lost“ purely because someone forgot to ring them or a salesperson moved on. Get in touch with them!

Follow up on all leads. I recently contacted 5 health insurance companies over the web. Only one replied. You should not be burning leads like this in any market. Follow up on all leads professionally using a proven sales system like the ones I teach in my sales training seminars and programmes and you will close more business. New business is the lifeblood of any business in any market.

So there we are, 5 tips to help you to sell in a recssion. This year may well prove to be an interesting year for some businesses and individuals. Some of this will be down to the market itself. Much of it will be down to you and how you react and respond to what might be a challenging year.

Here’s my prediction for the year…

There will be winners and there will be losers. Which are you going to be?

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Source by Gavin Ingham

For Sale By Owner Marketing Generates Mortgage Leads

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One of the best ways to generate mortgage leads is through working with home sellers

who are going it alone as For Sale By Owner or FSBO.

The key to FSBO marketing is creating partnerships with home sellers. Since almost

every buyer needs a mortgage, you provide a necessary service that will enable

a seller’s home to be sold. Real estate agents traditionally refer buyers to loan

officers during the home-selling process, but with FSBOs, there is no agent. That

means the seller assumes the role of referring buyers to loan officers and that’s

where you come in.

Most sellers are not very familiar with the process of selling real estate and won’t know that they should require interested buyers to be pre-qualified prior to accepting an offer. Helping sellers understand that you can save them oodles of time by pre-qualifying their potential buyers is a literal gold mine. You could also prepare a flyer on a variety of loan types and payments for a mortgage on that seller’s home. FSBOs want to sell their home and, therefore, they will give your business card to everyone that comes through. That means fresh mortgage leads for you, whether for this property or another one.

The most effective way to secure relationships with for-sale-by-owner sellers

is to offer more than pre-qualification services. FSBOs need marketing help like

a free ad on a for-sale-by-owner website and promotion to buyer lists. They also

need sample contracts and disclosures, industry contacts like title companies

and appraisers, yard signs, and even home flyers. These items can be bundled together

into a „for-sale-by-owner kit,“ which can be offered to sellers in exchange

for the opportunity to pre-qualify all buyers showing interest in the home.

You can use a variety of sources to locate FSBOs in your area, including:

  • Local Newspapers
  • Yard Signs
  • Paid service that scours websites and newspapers every day

Some of the popular methods of contacting FSBO sellers are:

  • Phone
  • Direct Mail
  • Door Hangers
  • Web Links

Most FSBO sellers will be very enthusiastic about the services you can offer them and will gladly refer buyers to you. Additionally, the sellers themselves will most likely need a loan to purchase their next home, and, having established a professional relationship of trust with them, you put yourself in a great position to provide that loan. That’s another mortgage lead.

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Marketing Management In Walmart

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Introduction

Walmart is the largest retail store in the US. It has over 3, 700  stores countrywide and many others internationally. Despite these positive results, there is a need for injection of new ideas in order to ensure that the retail giant sustains its position as a market leader. The essay seeks to examine its marketing strategies in the present and possible strategies to ensure future growth. (MSNBC, 2007b)

Walmart Strategic business goals and objectives

Walmart has always aimed at increasing sales through its friendly prices. This image has stuck with the company for a very long time. Not only is the company associated with low prices, but it has a variety of items under one roof. These qualities favor the rural clientele.

The company is driven by a commitment to business excellence. This is seen by the quality of care accorded to customers once they report to their retail stores. This is ensured by the participation of employees in this business goal. The company has cultivated a culture of perfection in that they always want to be on top. The Walmart marketing manager has said that Walmart’s major business objective is to ensure that their sales are always increasing. It is one thing to get to the top but remaining there is different. The company ensures their growth rate does not stagnate. Other companies usually work on increasing their performance and once they have reached those targets, they choose to relax. However, this does not apply to Walmart; the company ensures that they always look for ways of sustaining their competitive advantage.

The Company is driven by the pursuance of technological improvements. This is achieved through the use of new technologies in service delivery. Creativity and innovation is another business objective for the company. Through the efforts of their employees, the company aims at maintaining their market positions by brainstorming and looking for new ways of attracting potential clients. (MSNBC, 2007b)

The Company also values being considered as a strategic community partner. The company’s mission is ‘saving money to live better‘. This is an image that the company has worked on very well. Many people consider Walmart as a consumer friendly retailer. The company has cultivating this image through a number of ways. First of all, through their consumer friendly prices, through their satisfactory customer service, and also through their convenience as a one stop shopping centre.

Walmart uses the aspect of availability as another business objective. The Company has opened up a series of locations in different parts of the country. This means that customers are not inconvenienced when trying to locate them. Additionally, it becomes very difficult to ignore the store when one can see it in virtually all parts of the country. This aspect of availability is one of the reasons why the company has done very well in the past. (MSNBC, 2007b)

Analyzing Walmart’s situation

Walmart is dealing with attacks from a range of stakeholders in the retail industry. For instance Trade unions, human rights organizations and former employees. these groups have all accused the retailer of abusing its employee’s rights. They assert that Walmart discourages its employees from participating in trade unions. Employee rights groups argue that the company’s enumeration package does not reflect the rich profit margins that the company enjoys currently. In the year 2006, Maryland legislature passed a law that would force Walmart to spend a specified amount on health insurance. However, this law was reversed by a federal court. Additionally, some groups have been formed to specifically give anti-Walmart remarks. For instance WakeupWalmart protesters assert that Walmart’s advertisements on their corporate responsibility efforts indicate that Walmart wants to fool the eyes of the American public. Such an image could damage the company’s public relations and this could drive away certain precious clients.

The company has expanded rapidly over the past years. With its three thousand seven thousand retail chains located in the US, the retailer has saturated the market. It is difficult to get to a certain town without locating a Walmart store. This means that the company might face severe obstacles in its expansion procedures. It would therefore be wise for the country to consider other parts of the world such as China and India. However, efforts to replicate this success in other countries have not bore fruit as the country has not done very well in South Korea after recording low profits for a while, the company was forced to close its subsidiary in Germany. The company had to sell this subsidiary at a throw away price in order to stay ahead. Therefore, expansion strategies need to be done systematically (MSNBC, 2006)

The corporation is also faced with the challenge of continuously attracting clients into its stores. Clients have already decided on what they want to buy in Walmart and it is difficult to convince others to join in. This is the reason why the company’s client traffic has been reducing in 2007. The company has reached saturated levels in the US market and it is difficult to convince other individuals to continue with the company. (MSNBC, 2006)

Walmart is faced with the challenge of making its stores more convenient. The company’s representatives asserted that they may consider reducing the sizes of their stores in the future because it is difficult to navigate the stores for just one particular item. There is a need for the company to change its image from its large rural base into smaller, urban and more convenient stores. The company’s major competitors have already embraced this concept as Tesco of the UK has small stores specializing in specific products. (MSNBC, 2006)

Strategic goals for Walmart’s future growth

Walmart needs to target external markets. However, the company should change its market entry techniques. It should focus on customizing its business objectives within each country.

The retail giant needs to make product quality as part its major business strategy. Quality in this regard refers to both the customer service and the nature of the products in its stores.

The company needs to reinforce an image of a community based organization. This means that its employee practices should be enhanced and it should also maintain its low price offering. (MSNBC, 2007a)

Strategic marketing program marketing objectives, targeting and positioning

The Company needs to change its marketing objectives in such a way that they can attract a different market segment. In the past, the company has been associated with the middle class or low-income earners. Affluent clients tend to shy away from the retail giant due to the misconception that Walmart’s products are of lower quality. Most of them use the store for pharmaceutical and grocery shopping and pay no attention to the stores when it comes to other options. The Company has tried to establish this concept in the past. In the year 2006, the company opened up stores with this objective in mind. They stocked a wide range of sophisticated products such as jewelry, electronics, a sushi bar and a variety of electronics. The affluent market is crucial in the company’s efforts to secure new markets because they have saturated current ones. Almost all middle class shoppers prefer Walmart. Therefore, in order to sustain its position, the company needs to assess what competitors are doing to boost sales. Target – Walmart’s rival – has managed to attract affluent consumers. Consequently, Walmart must try and give these shoppers a reason for shopping at the company. Affluent shoppers appreciate quality and need to be assured that they can find it at Walmart. The reason why the company failed in its 2006 efforts to target these clients is because it went about implementing this goal in the wrong way. First of all, the company needs to improve the appearance of their stores through creative store displays. This is particularly important for stores allocated in affluent neighborhoods.

Walmart needs to work on the quality of its items. Some of the affluent consumers believe that Walmart has failed in this regard. In instances where the perceptions about the company are totally wrong, then the company can improve this image by marketing its products in a different way. They could talk about the quality of their items with particular emphasis on merchandise that affluent workers prefer. However, the company should be very careful about the type of products they choose to sell. In the year 2006, the company wanted to follow their rival- Target’s product portfolio. However, this did not work very well because they tried including designer labels in their apparel section. This is a very tricky item to sell and may not necessarily give positive responses. Designer items fluctuate from season to season and it may be difficult for the company to keep up with the trends. It would have been wiser if the company stuck with electronic items as these are less susceptible to change. Additionally, the company needs to make this transition slowly. All successful entrepreneurs agree that there is no need to change a winning team. Therefore, even if Walmart plans on targeting those affluent consumers. They must ensure that these changes do not scare away current clients. Walmart should do a thorough market analysis to find out the most appropriate manner of attracting these clients. Other retail stores that have made a name for themselves among these affluent shoppers have been working on this image for centuries. Consequently, Walmart should not imagine that they could do this overnight. (MSNBC, 2007b)

Additionally, the company should venture into other countries. Despite the fact that the company has done very poorly internationally: it closes one in every three stores overseas, there is need to expand operations. Since the company has reached saturated levels locally, then there is a need to tap some of the internationally resources. First of all, the company should exercise a lot of selectivity before choosing a particular country. Part of the reason why the South Korean outlet had to be closed was that the company still used the same marketing strategies applicable in the US. Different countries have different preferences, the company’s strategy of saving money to live better may not be feasible everywhere. The company should not enter international markets directly. It could collaborate with local leaders in those respective countries in order to work with a winning formula. Alternatively, the company should test an international market by beginning with fewer and smaller stores. If the response is good then it could proceed to expand. Countries chosen for expansion should be economically secure. Therefore, increasing the number of stores in China and India is probably a good idea. However, this should be done slowly and after thorough research. (Pallavi, 2007)

Marketing program

Product

The company should not abandon its idea of attracting the affluent client. However, this should be done sequentially; the Company had introduced Metro 7 stalls in 1,500 stores. These stores offered jewelry, expensive wine and other expensive commodities. The reason why this did not work very well was that the change was introduced rather drastically. The company should introduce expensive products only in stores located in affluent neighborhoods. (Pallavi, 2007)

Additionally, the company needs to exercise selectivity in the types of products chosen. The company should stay away from designer clothes or organic foods because these did not yield good results in the past. The focus should be on electronics.

The company needs to inject more creativity in its product offerings. It indicated this through its partnership agreement with Canopy furnishings. During the month of March this year, the company introduced a range of furniture items from Canopy and it is very optimistic that this would do well. The company should follow such an approach. For instance, the company should partner with other brands for household items and electronic companies. By securing well-known suppliers, the corporation can offer better quality products thus attracting the eye of the affluent clients who are particularly interested in these items.

Place

Since the Company has already saturated the local market, then the focus should be on international markets. However, entry into those international markets should be done tactfully. Walmart should choose economically secure countries. The stores found in these areas need to be located strategically. (Pallavi, 2007)

Price

The pricing aspect of Walmart’s marketing mix is part of the reason why the company has done so well so far; this is its winning formula. The company should maintain their low pricing strategies but they should merge this with product choices. They need to improve on the quality of service and their items in order to make themselves more appropriate in this scenario.

Promotion

One of the most notable promotional strategies in Walmart is the use of public relations. The company takes part in charitable events and has marketed itself as a community based institution. However, there have been a number of accusations in the media that Walmart exploits its employees. The company has had to grapple with lawsuits centering on this poor image. The company has already embarked on this program by marketing the company as a fair employer; it provides its employees with a good health insurance pan. The following issues have been highlighted in an advertisement posted in support of Walmart’s corporate responsibility

  • The retailer is the nation’s largest employer
  • Its offers affordable health plans starting from $ 23
  • The company contributes close to 245 million dollars in charitable events annually(MSNBC, 2007a)

Instead of using advertisements such as the one shown above, Walmart should place more effort in improving their staff management policies. The problem with such advertisements is that they take so long to change consumer opinion. As a matter of fact, they may engrain negative perceptions because clients will see that the company wants to improve a tarnished image. Instead of spending millions on such advertisements, the company could direct those funds to improve their reward systems. A good employer does not need to advertise their employment practices as they will speak for themselves. The company should boost its health insurance plans because other companies offer better health programs yet they earn less than Walmart. This will go a long way in improving company image. (MSNBC, 2007a)

In line with this argument, the Company need not convince the public that its employees are actually happy to work for the company. These employee opinions should not be communicated to the public. Walmart asserted that, it has been found that a whooping eighty one percent of the company’s staff would recommend one of their friends to become Walmart employees. This kind of approach will not work for the company because the company is adopting a defensive strategy. The accusations made against the company could be embraced and turned against the counter accusers by improving organizational policies.

Lastly, the company should embrace the idea of hospital partnerships for its retail clinics. The company already announced that it plans on expanding the number of in-store clinics from fifty five to a whooping four hundred by the year 2010. While it may be a good idea in itself (given the fact that Walmart will be enhancing its corporate image as a company that cares for the community), there is still room for improvement. Walmart has been in the news for a number of wrong reasons. One of the accusations labeled against the retail giant is the fact that their employee health insurance plans do not fit their status as market leaders. Consequently, the company needs to look for ways of improving this image through a number of avenues. First of all, they could offer their employees access to the in-house clinics. This will go long way in enhancing their employment practices. (Pamela Lewis Dolan, 2008)

Conclusion

Walmart has done a lot in the past in order to secure its position as a retail market leader. These include offering low prices, offering good customer service and constant innovation. However, lately the company has grappled with low customer traffic. Market saturation in the middle income market segment, poor international performance and bad public relations as a result of their employee practices. The company should adopt the following strategies in order to ensure future growth; adopt penetrative strategies international markets, introduce good product packages for products favored by affluent clients and improve health insurance plans within the company. These will go a long way in sustaining the company’s positions as the US’s retail leader. (Pallavi, 2007)

reference:

MSNBC (2006): Wal-Mart turns attention to upscale shoppers, The Associated Press

MSNBC (2007a):Wal-Mart to air ads countering attack, The Associated Press

Pallavi Gogoi (2007): Wal-Mart goes abroad for growth; The McGraw-Hill Companies

MSNBC (2007b): Wal-Mart considers not-so-Super centers, The Associated Press

Pamela Lewis Dolan(2008): Wal-Mart partners with hospitals to rapidly expand in-store clinics, retrieved from

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/02/25/bil10225.htm accessed on 9th July

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Source by Carolyn Smith

Will a Real Estate Agent Sell My House For Top Dollar?

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Some of the benefits of selling your property to a real estate agent are that they can tell you how much your property is worth (retail value) and sell it close to that price. Unfortunately for most sellers, their houses are typically worth a lot less today than they would like. Neither an investor nor a real estate agent will be able to be help much with this aspect of home selling because a seller’s house is worth what the market is willing to pay. To find out what the market is willing to pay for your house a real estate agent uses comparable sales. „Comparable sales“ is a real estate term for nearby, similar houses that have sold recently. Anyone can now check the value of their house based on comparable sales with websites such as CyberHomes.com and Eppraisal.com. You can find the value of your property through an agent but now through the internet, you can also figure out the value yourself.

Can a real estate agent sell your house close to your house’s actual value or greater? In my local area most houses are selling for about 90% of their value. Subtract the 6% real estate fee and most home sellers are getting 84% of the value for their house. On RealEstate.AOL.com you can check the average house value and average house sale prices for your local market – right now you will find a discrepancy with the sale price being a lot lower than the value.

However, the higher the price your house sells for, the more money your agent will make, so therefore an agent has more motivation to sell your house quickly, right? Consider this, the average home sale price (in my local market) is about $180,000. Your agent will make 6% of the sell price or $10,800. This commission is shared between the listing agent and the selling agent. So now, your agent will get $5,400 for your house. However, the real estate agent needs an agency since it is illegal for a real estate agent to represent buyers or sellers in a real estate transaction without first signing with a broker’s agency. Each agency requires different commission splits from a 50/50 split with a novice agent to an 80/20 split with an experienced agent. So now the agent has $2,700. The agent is taxed on their income rate plus 15.3% in „self-employment income.“ That may be 30% + 15.3% taxes on the $2,700. $2,700 – 45.3% is about $1,500 leftover. So for your $180,000 house a real estate agent will make probably a little more than $1,500. Let’s say that he or she works very hard to market your property and gets you an extra $5,000. The agent will only earn $41 ($5,000 x.06 – 50% (list agent and buyers agent) – 50%+ (agency) – 45.3% (taxes)). How likely is it than an agent will do the work required to bring you $5,000 and then get paid $41 for their efforts? The chance of this happening is nil.

However, if a real estate agent lists your house lower, it will sell quicker. If your house sells quicker the agent can sell more properties and earn money faster then they can by negotiating a high sale price on fewer properties.

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Source by Jonathan Hendrix