8 Best Practices for Real Estate Professionals for 2008

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The housing bubble has popped. Never before have home prices fallen so broadly on a national basis. Want proof, well even the usually optimistic National Association of Realtors® is predicting a decline for 2007, which will mark the first annual drop in home prices since the 1930 Great Depression era. Uncertainty rules in real estate and will most likely continue throughout 2008 and maybe even into 2009. According to the latest UCLA Anderson forecast the U.S. economy will fall perilously close to a recession in 2008.

There are fewer traditional transactions to go around, and that means less money in the average agents' pocket, but it does not have to mean less in yours

For a great many agents that have never experienced anything other than the housing frenzy of 2000-2005, 2007 as well 2008 - maybe even 2009 - will be the first time they'll be learning how to deal with a declining market, says Dr. John Tuccillo, former chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.

"There are fewer traditional transactions to go around, and that means less money in the average agents' pocket, but it does not have to mean less in yours," says Bill Shue, President of RealtyU, the largest career development comapny in the real estate industry, educating over 250,000 real estate agents every year. According to Shue downturns can be the right time for good agents to improve their market share.

With these thoughts in mind, here are the Top 10 practices Shue recommends a true real estate professional should consider adopt to enhance their real estate career in 2008:

1. Business Plan the Road Ahead
You can manage any kind of market if you have a sound real estate business plan. Learn how to write and good real estate business plan or subscribe to an online monthly business planning and accountability web-based program at http://www.CreateaPlan.com.

2. Fine Tune your Skills
A slowing real estate market is always the best time to invest in improving your knowledge, skills and even get all your required CE credits out of the way. The RealtyU® Group is the largest network of real estate schools and educators in the U.S. Visit http://www.RealtyUschools.com to find the campuses nearest you or browse the huge selection of online real estate, appraisal and home inspection course.

3. Learn to Stage a House
The National Association of Realtors® recently announced that property inventories are at an all time high. Staging a home for a sale showcases the benefits of the house in the best possible light. Now agents can take a home staging training course online and gain comprehensive understanding about real estate staging. Go to http://www.StagingSpecialist.com to learn about staging.

4. Get a Mentor and Follow Success
Don't re-invent the wheel when just about every real estate success strategy and marketing tool is already being used by a top producing agent somewhere. Mentoring company iSucceed (http://www.isucceed.com ) has it all documented for you. Hundreds of hours of audio and thousands of pages of information with Top Producers of just about every company including RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, EXIT Realty, Prudential and many more are available with just a click.

5. Learn to Blog
Research seems to indicate that the first blogs in the real estate space were started toward the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003. Numbers being bandied around claim that by 2005 the number of real estate bloggers was 35,000, rising to 50,000 in 2006 and well over a 100,000 in 2007. Here are some cool real estate blogs to check out Sellsius, Bloodhoundblog or Realblogging.

6. Get a Designation
In the 2007 National Association of Realtors® Member Profile, agents who had earned at least one designation had nearly double the annual income of Realtors with no designations. So be smart add a new designation to your skill set every six months like a: Seller's Agent Expert (ASR) Neighborhood Expert (CNS), Luxury Homes Expert (ALHS) or a Staing Expert (AHS). To take any of these courses online visit http://www.RealtyUonline.com

7. Website Optimization
Survey after survey impresses upon us that in excess of 80% of all home buyers use the Internet in some shape or form when searching for a home. One survey even disclosed that 92% of Internet buyers found their agent on a website and 63% found them through an Internet search engine. So, if customers can't find your great website you're your window to the world isn't open. Learn more about search engine optimization and how to improve the ranking of your website on Google, Yahoo and MSN.

8. Check out Social Networking
If there's a consensus in technology, it's that the next big thing after Google is blog social networks. People of all sorts are joining this online digital world. It's no longer just kids - it seems to be everyone. And now that there's starting to be real money in the business, as every major consumer advertiser realizes that if you can engage effectively with these newly networked hordes they become agents of your brand. We have of course all heard of MySpace and Facebook but the ones to watch in real estate are ActiveRain or RealTown.

Staying Ahead in 2008
"The real estate brokerage industry is very dynamic and market shifts can alter a competitive advantage very quickly," says Stefan Swanepoel, author of 13 books and whitepapers. Fortunately, his annual his 150-page report titled the Swanepoel Trends Report (http://www.ReTrends.com) summarizes the best of what's happening every year and provides brokers and agents with interpretations and guidelines as to what to expect each year. "His report is a must-read" says John Reinhardt, President of Fillmore Real Estate. To get your copy of the new 2008 report at a 20% saving of the cover price visit http://www.RealEstateBooks.org and use the promo code Advance08.

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