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Old 09-17-2008, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Montana
2,203 posts, read 8,997,704 times
Reputation: 1128

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I'm hoping for some insightful input from agents from around the web.

I'm on a committee to help increase participation in our office home tours. How is the agent participation in your company? What motivates you (or agents in your company) to tour your office's listings?

A big THANKS to all for any feedback you can give me. We have our next brainstorming meeting on Friday morning, and I'd love to pass along your suggestions.
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
2,124 posts, read 8,543,971 times
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Gretchen, I am always surprised that agents won't caravan. I just think it is very important to know your inventory and you cannot get an accurate picture with just the internet. But I know it is very difficult to get them to participate. However, I find those that are the busiest, high producers tend to be the ones that participate...

anyway, some ideas:
a) if you have a listing on tour you must be on tour, for the ENTIRE tour.

b)IF you take 3 or more people in the car with you, you get a $10 gas card to offset gas.

c)Raffle off some kind of ad. Everyone who submits their comment cards for all properties on tour, is automatically entered for the "special" ad or feature for the agent or their property(ies).

d) have the admin prepare the comment cards / papers in advance, with a mapquest of all the addresses, in order. Make it easy to attend.

e) New construction is also important, so once in a while plan a trip to view some new construction. usually a builder will do the dog and pony with some kind eats for the agents. these can be a nice distraction from the regular caravan.

We also used to plan to get lunch (on our own dime) after caravan. The agents came to look forward to these opportunities to get caught up. Even if only 2 agents attend. Find a place near the office so those that can't attend, can get back to the office.... but also, those that couldn't (or didn't) attend caravan can come to lunch and it may encouraget them to start attending.

Finally, consistency. Keep it up!!

Good Luck.

shelly
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:29 AM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
40,063 posts, read 45,731,710 times
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Our office has now discontinued office home tours due to lack of interest, time issues and the expense. It's one of the old ways that is fading where agents can use their time more productively elsewhere.

We try to use the time for education, having title attorneys speak and other beneficial items for the agents.
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,963 posts, read 43,003,340 times
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Our office has just started having "virtual tours" for those properties that are vacant (where the seller doesn't need to see the office caravan coming through their house). The virtual tour of the house is shown and the agent talks about it, answers questions, etc. We can see several houses in the time it took before to see one or two, if you include driving. This is at the end of our weekly sales meeting (where we have the educational and informational offerings that Rakin mentions above every week already), just as the original caravans were. Once a month, we do the regular drive around and look caravan. As I said, we only just started doing this, and it will be interesting to see how well it works, but it solves several issues agents were having with the caravan.
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:28 AM
 
610 posts, read 2,628,218 times
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We don't caravan, our area is just too big and have lisitngs all over. However, we started something new this year and it seems to be working pretty well. We do caravan tours to evaluate homes. We do this every two weeks and each agent signs up if interested. In order to have your listings critiqued you must visit the other listings of the period. So, if I have three new listings I can add them to the next tour. The agents go out and tour the homes on the list and we have a survey form to fill out on each house that goes to the agent. We respond about price, condition, pros/ cons, etc.... We offer marketing suggestions, share experiences we may have had in the area, etc.... Sometimes there are just a few homes on the list, sometimes more. We do this every two weeks and the only requirement is to have your listing(s) evaluated you must do the same for the others that day.

Caravans are not that popular overall in my area. I tend to go out with a few friends (who actually work at other offices) to see what is out there and to have lunch Some offices may have a few agent who travel together and share the cost of the gas but I don't see large groups enter my homes on tour much these days.

Good luck to you.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Montana
2,203 posts, read 8,997,704 times
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Great input, guys! Keep it coming. Presently we do offer feedback on each others listings and that's often helpful for an agent that's trying to get their seller to face reality when it comes to pricing or the need to declutter.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:18 AM
 
930 posts, read 2,336,513 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen B View Post
I'm hoping for some insightful input from agents from around the web.

I'm on a committee to help increase participation in our office home tours. How is the agent participation in your company? What motivates you (or agents in your company) to tour your office's listings?

A big THANKS to all for any feedback you can give me. We have our next brainstorming meeting on Friday morning, and I'd love to pass along your suggestions.
Hire hot agents.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Houston-ish, TX
1,099 posts, read 3,582,546 times
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We do a Video Tour, and the agent whose listing is being toured stands up and talks about the house. Sellers like it because more agents will "see" the home and they don't have to vacate. Of course agents prefer it because we save gas and time.
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Barrington
63,948 posts, read 44,039,851 times
Reputation: 20645
Default Dopey but True Story

Back when, my managing broker "awarded" floor time to new agents after they toured/previewed all listings.

I took this literally and toured/previewed almost every listing in my area. Imagine my surprise upon subsequently learning she meant office listings, not the entire MLS, for our area. Well I felt foolish for about 5 minutes and then realized, that at that moment, I had better first hand knowledge of the market than most agents. I knew where the value was because I had done my homework.

I have remained religious about touring, ever since. The turnout this year, is less than half of what it used to be. It's probably a combination of agents' relying on pictures, the cost of gas and a lack of qualified buyers.
So many listing agents put their new listing on "lock Box" tour rather than hosting. I am still trying to figure out what's more important to them than showcasing a new listing, especially in this market.

I continue to believe there is value-added in knowing the dirt and not seeing a property for the first time, with a buyer, in tow. There is only so much that one can infer from the MLS and pictures. There are gems with lousy pictures and dogs that photograph well and the only way to know the difference is to get out the door and see them for yourself.

I do however, draw the line at feedback, especially when the listing agent is looking for feedback on pricing. Come on now, it does not take a village. Do your homework, know the competition and have your facts in place.

I suspect that by the end of this week, many of the non-believers who persisted in their fantasy that their home/listing was different and somehow imune to overall market conditions, may see the light and if they are serious about selling, will do what has to be done to get sold.
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Montana
2,203 posts, read 8,997,704 times
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Great input, MAM! I especially agree the pictures on the MLS sometimes do lie.

I personally think it's great when I have a buyer and I can tell them some additional info about a property because I've toured it before hand. Sometimes I've seen it earlier due to our office caravan, but other times I've just gone ahead and done some previews on my own.

Most agents have more time on their hands now than they did a couple of years ago, so it doesn't seem that "not having enough time" to go on the office tour should be a problem.

Do any of you think that the "slow market" is producing "slow agents" that are becoming discouraged, unmotivated, and overwhelmed trying to keep up with the current glut of inventory?
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