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How to build a pipeline from online leads | REM

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Once your sphere/database has been exhausted you need a new source for clients. There are offline methods for developing leads and clients such as open houses, door knocking and cold calling, but online is where it’s at these days.

I know your first thought may be to scroll through this article because it is long, but each point is truly is critical. This article, in order, will deal with why online lead generation is the new big thing, the different ways to generate leads online, how to convert those leads and how to turn them into over $100,000 a year in income.




Why are online lead-generation strategies permeating the new Realtor zeitgeist? There are a number of reasons:

  1. They work so you don’t have to. Online lead-generation strategies work round the clock; they work while you’re with clients, sleeping and while you’re taking a day off.
  2. They work continuously. They keep generating leads for the long term, which helps avoid the boom-and-bust cycles of real estate. This keeps you from getting too busy with clients to build your pipeline, then get desperate when those deals are done, then do mega marketing, get busy and repeat the cycle again.
  3. They can target your ideal client type – you choose who you target.
  4. People research real estate online before they find a Realtor. By the time they are actively looking they either already have a Realtor, or they at least have a shortlist.’

How to generate leads online

Websites:

“I have a website but don’t get leads, so online lead gen doesn’t work.”

Just having a website doesn’t generate leads because people don’t know it is there. If your search engine optimization is on-point and you’re at the top of Google, then sure, that will work for lead gen. You just optimize your website for viewer-to-lead conversions. If your SEO doesn’t have you at the top of Google, then be prepared to invest tens of thousands of dollars in hiring a company to get you near the top of web searches over the next year. Yes, it takes that long. If you don’t have the money to hire a company, then spend time on courses and improving your own SEO…but it will still take that long. And realistically, 95 per cent plus of Realtors quit before they start getting results because it is such a grind and they quit/burn out before they succeed.

Another way to get leads from your website is to do paid advertising. This can be done with either online or offline advertising. But to get leads from a website you need the traffic that converts into leads. If you’re wondering how much traffic you need to get leads, keep this in mind: the average website conversion is one to three per cent (and Realtor websites are generally less than one per cent).  So, if you convert let’s say one in 50 leads, you’ll need 50 leads…which will require at least 5,000 viewers.

Organic social media marketing:

Generating leads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is the new holy grail of online business. Most Realtors, however, are more “The Knights who say Ni” as opposed to a social media ninja.

Social media marketing works for lead generation, but it is also a long-term strategy. You need to first develop your audience…because without an audience you have no strategy. Then you need to engage and grow that audience. Then you need to turn them into leads and clients. Once you have an avid follower, turning them into a client is significantly easier than a cold call or cold lead.

The challenge of social media marketing is defining your brand, establishing your audience and building it. While it’s about establishing a great connection through marketing, it is a numbers game partially. About one per cent of the population is buying or selling a house at any given time. So, if you want four clients a month you need at least 4,000 engaged followers – and that is if every person following you who is thinking of buying and selling uses you (and not their husband’s mother, cousin or best friend’s best friend). You’re not going to sign every follower looking to buy or sell, so you need a large group of ACTIVE social media followers. If you don’t have that now you need to grind to build a bigger following or do paid promotions to build your audience.

Social media ads:

I specialize in social media ads – especially Facebook lead-gen ads, and here’s why: your website isn’t going to spontaneously get leads. Your social media isn’t going to go beyond your current sphere of “friends” or “followers” without getting more exposure. To get leads online you need traffic/viewers. Period.

You can get traffic to your website or social profile, then hope someone follows you or contacts you (a low percentage), or you can get the lead from the get-go. Ad types like Facebook’s Lead Generation gets you the name, email and phone number, then you immediately pick up the phone and start a conversation. If you do paid advertising to send people to your website or social media profile(s), you’re going to lose 96 per cent plus of that traffic. And the ones you do capture then need to be nurtured just to become a lead.

The way I look at things is that instead of spending your time getting traffic to your website or social profile/page/group, only for most of them to leave and the rest to be nurtured over time to turn into a lead, spend that time/money turning them into a lead immediately. When you get right to the lead stage you take out the time nurturing them and instead turn them from a lead to a client. It cuts out the middleman.

Check out my article on ways to do authentic Facebook ads.


How to convert online leads

You have online leads – awesome! Now what?

Online leads aren’t referrals or a warm lead from your second cousin. There’s no magic bullet solution here, unfortunately. They take work. If you don’t want to work to get their business, sorry but I can’t help you (and I don’t think anyone can).

There are two major approaches to converting online leads into clients:

  1. The email list /drip campaign marketing: For those getting a large amount (at least a thousand a month) of leads from their website, have social media marketing and/or paid advertising and are too busy to reach out to each lead individually, there’s the drip-campaign (email marketing game) option. This can work well if you have a large number of leads coming in and have a great email conversion campaign. Your conversion rates will be low though, between one and four per cent.
  2. The phone call: I am such a huge fan of the good old-fashioned phone call. You can send a thousand emails and get nowhere but make 20 phone calls and get a meeting.

Choose wisely.

To convert leads you really need to connect with them on the phone, which is the precursor to in person (the only real closing capability for leads). If you want to convert online leads, you need to talk to people. Period. You can work up to a conversation, but you’ll never get their business without a meeting.

To book meetings you need to block time – and stick to that – every day to follow up on your leads. You will not succeed without this and you’ll be stuck in a boom and bust cycle forever. You need to call people one to three times a day until you reach them, almost every day. If you’re sincere about helping them they will thank you for not giving up on them.

The final thing is to look to lead-conversion training. Online leads aren’t warm referrals…they take hard work. You don’t learn how to convert online leads in real estate licensing school. There’s a ton of agents who think they are amazing at converting online leads, but when push comes to shove…. they aren’t. Do not be afraid of that. Your favourite electrician couldn’t sell real estate and you couldn’t rewire a house up to code if your life depended on it. Look at learning online lead conversion as learning new strategies that build on what you already know. The best of the best are always learning and expanding their knowledge and skills.


How to turn online leads into over $100,000 a year in income

While leads are a numbers game to a certain extent, I never believe that leads should be treated like a number. These are people, and my top clients truly care about every person they talk to. Having said that, despite how much you care about each person you talk to, not every one of them will become a client.

For online lead conversion (from lead to client) you’re looking at a rate of at best four per cent. Most of my best converters get three per cent but the bulk are at two per cent.

So, you know what it takes to get a client online. Now let’s reverse engineer your income. If you want just $100,000 a year you need to look at your average income per deal. For example, if you make about $5,000 per deal (after paying expenses), then you need 20 deals a year. That’s 1.66 deals a month.

Let’s reverse reverse engineer that. If you need two deals a month (I’ve rounded up because some deals will fall through) to make $100,000, you need at LEAST 50 leads a month.

Boom – a pipeline that will increase your business to over $100,000.

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Real Estate

5 ways to reduce your mortgage amortization

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Since the pandemic hit, a lot of Canadians have been affected financially and if you’re on a mortgage, reducing your amortization period can be of great help.

A mortgage amortization period is the amount of time it would take a homeowner to completely pay off their mortgage. The amortization is typically an estimate based on what the interest rate for your current term is. Calculating your amortization is done easily using a loan amortization calculator which shows you the different payment schedules within your amortization period.

 In Canada, if you made a down payment that is less than the recommended 20 per cent of the total cost of your home, then the longest amortization period you’re allowed to have is 25 years. The mortgage amortization period not only affects the length of time it would take to completely repay the loan, but also the amount of interest paid over the lifecycle of the mortgage.

Typically, longer amortization periods involve making smaller monthly payments and having a much higher total interest cost over the duration of the mortgage. While on the other hand, shorter amortization periods entails making larger monthly payments and having lower total interest costs.

It’s the dream of every homeowner to become mortgage-free. A general rule of thumb would be to try and keep your monthly mortgage costs as low as possible—preferably below 30 per cent of your monthly income. Over time, you may become more financially stable by either getting a tax return, a bonus or an additional source of income and want to channel that towards your principal.

There are several ways to keep your monthly mortgage payments low and reduce your amortization. Here are a few ways to achieve that goal:

1. Make a larger down payment

Once you’ve decided to buy a home, always consider putting asides some significant amount of money that would act as a down payment to reduce your monthly mortgage. While the recommended amount to put aside as a down payment is 20 per cent,  if you aren’t in a hurry to purchase the property or are more financial buoyant, you can even pay more.

Essentially, the larger your down payment, the lower your mortgage would be as it means you’re borrowing less money from your lender. However, if you pay at least 20 per cent upfront, there would be no need for you to cover the additional cost of private mortgage insurance which would save you some money.

2. Make bi-weekly payments

Most homeowners make monthly payments which amount to 12 payments every year. But if your bank or lender offers the option of accelerated bi-weekly payment, you will be making an equivalent of one more payment annually. Doing this will further reduce your amortization period by allowing you to pay off your mortgage much faster.

3. Have a fixed renewal payment

It is normal for lenders to offer discounts on interest rate during your amortization period. However, as you continuously renew your mortgage at a lower rate, always keep a fixed repayment sum.

Rather than just making lower payments, you can keep your payments static, since the more money applied to your principal, the faster you can clear your mortgage.

4. Increase your payment amount

Many mortgages give homeowners the option to increase their payment amount at least once a year. Now, this is very ideal for those who have the financial capacity to do so because the extra money would be added to your principal.

Irrespective of how small the increase might be, in the long run, it would make a huge difference. For example, if your monthly mortgage payment is about $2,752 per month. It would be in your best interest to round it up to $2,800 every month. That way, you are much closer to reducing your mortgage amortization period.

5. Leverage on prepayment privileges

The ability for homeowners to make any form of prepayment solely depends on what mortgage features are provided by their lender.

With an open mortgage, you can easily make additional payments at any given time. However, if you have a closed mortgage—which makes up the larger percentage of existing mortgages—you will need to check if you have the option of prepayments which would allow you to make extra lump sum payments.

Additionally, there may also be the option to make extra lump sum payments at the end of your existing mortgage term before its time for renewal.

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Real Estate

Mortgage insurance vs. life insurance: What you need to know

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Your home is likely the biggest asset you’ll ever own. So how can you protect it in case something were to happen to you? To start, homeowners have a few options to choose from. You can either:

  • ensure you have mortgage protection with a life insurance policy from an insurance company or
  • get mortgage insurance from a bank or mortgage lender.

Mortgage insurance vs. life insurance: How do they each work?  

The first thing to know is that life insurance can be a great way to make sure you and your family have mortgage protection.

The money from a life insurance policy usually goes right into the hands of your beneficiaries – not the bank or mortgage lender. Your beneficiaries are whoever you choose to receive the benefit or money from your policy after you die.

Life insurance policies, like term life insurance, come with a death benefit. A death benefit is the amount of money given to your beneficiaries after you die. The exact amount they’ll receive depends on the policy you buy.

With term life insurance, you’re covered for a set period, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. The premium – that’s the monthly or annual fee you pay for insurance – is usually low for the first term.

If you die while you’re coved by your life insurance policy, your beneficiaries will receive a tax-free death benefit. They can then use this money to help pay off the mortgage or for any other reason. So not only is your mortgage protected, but your family will also have funds to cover other expenses that they relied on you to pay.

Mortgage insurance works by paying off the outstanding principal balance of your mortgage, up to a certain amount, if you die.

With mortgage insurance, the money goes directly to the bank or lender to pay off the mortgage – and that’s it. There’s no extra money to cover other expenses, and you don’t get to leave any cash behind to your beneficiaries.

What’s the difference between mortgage insurance and life insurance?

The main difference is that mortgage insurance covers only your outstanding mortgage balance. And, that money goes directly to the bank or mortgage lender, not your beneficiary. This means that there’s no cash, payout or benefit given to your beneficiary. 

With life insurance, however, you get mortgage protection and more. Here’s how it works: every life insurance policy provides a tax-free amount of money (the death benefit) to the beneficiary. The payment can cover more than just the mortgage. The beneficiary may then use the money for any purpose. For example, apart from paying off the mortgage, they can also use the funds from the death benefit to cover:

  • any of your remaining debts,
  • the cost of child care,
  • funeral costs,
  • the cost of child care, and
  • any other living expenses. 

But before you decide between life insurance and mortgage insurance, here are some other important differences to keep in mind:

Who gets the money?

With life insurance, the money goes to whomever you name as your beneficiary.

With mortgage insurance, the money goes entirely to the bank.

Can you move your policy?

With life insurance, your policy stays with you even if you transfer your mortgage to another company. There’s no need to re-apply or prove your health is good enough to be insured.

With mortgage insurance, however, your policy doesn’t automatically move with you if you change mortgage providers. If you move your mortgage to another bank, you’ll have to prove that your health is still good.

Which offers more flexibility, life insurance or mortgage insurance?

With life insurance, your beneficiaries have the flexibility to cover the mortgage balance and more after you die. As the policy owner, you can choose how much insurance coverage you want and how long you need it. And, the coverage doesn’t decline unless you want it to.

With mortgage insurance through a bank, you don’t have the flexibility to change your coverage. In this case, you’re only protecting the outstanding balance on your mortgage.

Do you need a medical exam to qualify? 

With a term life insurance policy from Sun Life, you may have to answer some medical questions or take a medical exam before you’re approved for coverage. Once you’re approved, Sun Life won’t ask for any additional medical information later on.

With mortgage insurance, a bank or mortgage lender may ask some medical questions when you apply. However, if you make a claim after you’re approved, your bank may ask for additional medical information.* At that point, they may discover some conditions that disqualify you from receiving payment on a claim.

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Real Estate

5 common mistakes Canadians make with their mortgages

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This article was created by MoneyWise. Postmedia and MoneyWise may earn an affiliate commission through links on this page.

Since COVID-19 dragged interest rates to historic lows last year, Canadians have been diving into the real estate market with unprecedented verve.

During a time of extraordinary financial disruption, more than 551,000 properties sold last year — a new annual record, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Those sales provided a desperately needed dose of oxygen for the country’s gasping economy.

Given the slew of new mortgages taken out in 2020, there were bound to be slip-ups. So, MoneyWise asked four of the country’s sharpest mortgage minds to share what they feel are the mistakes Canadians most frequently make when securing a home loan.

Mistake 1: Not having your documents ready

One of your mortgage broker’s primary functions is to provide lenders with paperwork confirming your income, assets, source of down payment and overall reliability as a borrower. Without complete and accurate documentation, no reputable lender will be able to process your loan.

But “borrowers often don’t have these documents on hand,” says John Vo of Spicer Vo Mortgages in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “And even when they do provide these documents, they may not be the correct documentation required.”

Some of the most frequent mistakes Vo sees when borrowers send in their paperwork include:

  • Not including a name or other relevant details on key pieces of information.
  • Providing old bank or pay statements instead of those dated within the last 30 days.
  • Sending only a partial document package. If a lender asks for six pages to support your loan, don’t send two. If you’re asked for four months’ worth of bank statements, don’t provide only one.
  • Thinking low-quality or blurry files sent by email or text will be good enough. Lenders need to be able to read what you send them.

If you send your broker an incomplete documents package, the result is inevitable: Your mortgage application will be delayed as long as it takes for you to find the required materials, and your house shopping could be sidetracked for months.

Mistake 2: Blinded by the rate

Ask any mortgage broker and they’ll tell you that the question they’re asked most frequently is: “What’s your lowest rate?”

The interest rate you’ll pay on your mortgage is a massive consideration, so comparing the rates lenders are offering is a good habit once you’ve slipped on your house-hunter hat.

Rates have been on the rise lately given government actions to stimulate the Canadian economy. You may want to lock a low rate now, so you can hold onto it for up to 120 days.

But Chris Kolinski, broker at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based iSask Mortgages, says too many borrowers get obsessed with finding the lowest rate and ignore the other aspects of a mortgage that can greatly impact its overall cost.

“I always ask my clients ‘Do you want to get the best rate, or do you want to save the most money?’ because those two things are not always synonymous,” Kolinski says. “That opens a conversation about needs and wants.”

Many of the rock-bottom interest rates on offer from Canadian lenders can be hard to qualify for, come with limited features, or cost borrowers “a ton” of money if they break their terms, Kolinski points out.

Mistake 3: Not reading the fine print

Dalia Barsoum of Streetwise Mortgages in Woodbridge, Ontario, shares a universal message: “Read the fine print. Understand what you’re signing up for.”

Most borrowers don’t expect they’ll ever break their mortgages, but data collected by TD Bank shows that 7 in 10 homeowners move on from their properties earlier than they expect.

It’s critical to understand your loan’s prepayment privileges and the rules around an early departure. “If you exit the mortgage, how much are you going to pay? It’s really, really important,” Barsoum says.

She has seen too borrowers come to her hoping to refinance a mortgage they received from a private or specialty lender, only to find that what they were attempting was impossible.

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