5 Treats to Avoid Tricks When Showing Homes This Fall
Real estate sales: who knew it could be so dangerous. After recent events, let's all beef up our efforts to safely show homes. And since this is trick or treat season, I wanted to share some technology treats (with a few funky song phrases to act as your mnemonics) that will stop devious tricks when you attempt to simply show a home, especially to a random, internet lead that no one in your sphere knows first-hand.
"I always feel like somebody's watching and I have no privacy..."
Whether or not you remember that hit 1980s song by Rockwell (yup I just dated myself), in this internet/social media age you may share this sentiment. Now you can begin to watch your watchers! Visit Brand You to create a profile and control what prospects and other online looky-loos see about you.
Bonus - when you click "boost", this site will also tell you what you need to do to rank higher on Google once you link your various sites to this page. As a point of caution, please only share the details that you want the entire WEB to see - forget about points, Google rankings and the like if the data requirements veer into your privacy zone.
When someone "googles" you and finds your profile, Brand You can tell you that person's:
- Referring URL (ie. where they found your profile)
- What they searched for to find you
Now the watched can become the watcher!
"Now tell me, who that, who that? That do that, do that?"
Iggy's not the only one that can be fancy. Let's get fancy, real estate agents, in our quest to stop going on "blind" showing appointments by learning as much as possible about prospective home sellers and buyers. Add Rapportive to your Firefox or Chrome web browser and instantly learn more information about a person with a LinkedIn account that emails you about one of your fantastic real estate finds. You can see the person's photo, how close in proximity they are phyiscally to you and those that you may know in common.
Also, have you every simply searched online by someone's email address (with no other identifiers like name or location, etc.)? Try it and see what pops up about the person. Don't be afraid to leave page one of the search results because you may find out something intriguing buried in subsequent page results.
And of course do not forget to check all of your social media networks (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) for that person.
"I can't get no satisfaction 'cause I try and I try and I try."
If this Rolling Stones song has become your new mantra because you cannot dig up any information on social media (maybe you aren't on a particular social network), then visit Pipl.com (pronounced people). This site will pull preliminary information for someone from any site they may have been mentioned on, including social media.
Truth be told, if someone is watching you, they have probably studied your online profiles. It's not that you want to one-up them in the "crazy department" but you should be as informed about them as they are about you for your safety and the safety of the seller, whose home being showed could even be a burglary target like what happened in metro Atlanta a few weeks ago.
"It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark."
As autumn leaves roll around the ground, the dark of night falls sooner and sooner to the point where 6 pm can seem as dark as midnight, making you feel like you are straight out of a scene from Michael Jackson's Thriller video (cue zombie line dancing).
Yet, that is not an unreasonable time to be out since many of your clients may have just gotten a free moment due to work and family schedules. But take an extra precaution by actively using Next Door. This fantastic app will help everyone in your community stay alert about strange happenings through an online neighborhood watch group, which can send timely alerts. Plus, you can use this timely app to promote and participate in relevant community events that may not get the same publicity in your town's local paper.
"I can count on you like four, three, two. You'll be there."
Bruno Mar's catchy song chorus should also serve as a reminder that we have others (our realty office, our family or friends) that can help us in a crunch but the key is that we keep them informed about our daily goings-on and whereabouts.
Remember, only go on planned visits, where the person has provided you with the information you require to do a showing (such as a photocopy of a driver's license, etc.). Share the details with your office, relative or friend using bSafe or the Find My Friends app. You can alert your crew to where you are with both apps but with bSafe you can also send yourself a fake call if you need to make an excuse to leave. The perk with the Find My Friends app is that you can use any cell phone that has text messaging enabled, not just smartphones.
It is that time of year where children (and even some pets) dress up as ghouls and goblins, who rarely strike fear in our hearts with their adorable costumes. However, in real estate sales, there are very real predators lurking around so hopefully these apps can help you better ward them off.