Implement Your Vision with Caruso!


If you’re a realtor, marketing begins with figuring out your goals, your vision, and how these can combine to create your brand. A marketing strategy also describes the niche market you will be working with. However, many people are unaware of the various realtor marketing tools that can help a real estate agent set his or her plans in motion. Read on to discover the marketing tips from NAR & eCommission for accomplishing just that.

Vision/Brand Consistency

After defining your realtor marketing ideas, set about determining whether your current processes and marketing materials support your new vision. For instance, if your new approach centers on providing environmentally-friendly and tech-savvy real estate service to eco-conscious families, you might decide to switch from a paper to a digital newsletter. You could even take it a step further and offset your newsletter energy footprint with clean energy credits. Analyze your company culture and collective habits to bring your brand vision into line with your actions.

This step is about more than just “being honest” to your marketing vision. Brand/vision integration also streamlines your marketing by creating a consistent, clear message.

Distribute Branding Throughout Realtor Marketing Tools

A new brand vision calls for new marketing collateral, including websites, realtor eCards, online listings, paper fliers, and business cards. Consider redesigning these elements when you put your new marketing strategy in place. Ideally, your natural enthusiasm for your real estate marketing ideas will see you through this update. Let this new energy fuel your research into current procedures. If certain organizational habits are out of alignment with your new brand vision, let them go.

An outside realtor business consultant can help you gain outside perspective on where your brand and your dealings do not match. A realtor business consultant is an expert who can provide an unbiased appraisal of your marketing circumstances. She or he will also be capable of delivering an assessment of your brand integration. One final benefit is that a consultant is sure to bring you dozens of excellent realtor marketing ideas.

Incorporate Realtor eCards To Boost your Realtor Marketing Results

As you comb through your marketing processes, you may find yourself releasing certain marketing techniques, and picking up more up-to-date approaches. As an example, if newspaper advertisements were one of your most central realtor marketing tools in your old model, you might switch to Google AdWords. Or, you could drop your paper newsletter in favor of an online real estate blog, replete with handy tips for homebuyers. Realtor eCards are an exceptional tool for stepping to the forefront of real estate marketing. Basically, a realtor eCards are online videos that showcase property photographs and descriptions of property amenities. Animation and music are also included, to convey the property’s personality and engage potential buyers. Realtor eCards are simple to make – all an agent has to do is type in a few details and upload property photographs. Local attractions, policies, and the price can be displayed at the video’s conclusion ends. And here’s the best part: it’s a cinch to share realtor eCards across online venues, including blogs, digital listings, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Caruso’s Tips for New Agents!



If you’re a new agent just getting started in the Real Estate industry here are the top elements that are not only crucial to you but crucial to your business. It is very important to make sure before you start anything to have all of these fundamentals done.


-Secure your own domain name


-Make sure you have a standalone website that can easily grow with you


-Have your own IDX (MLS search tool)


-Put together a letter that you can send to your sphere of influence


-Get to know Craigslist


-Become a “GURU” of your market.


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900




Caruso’s 5 Most Effective Social Media Tactics!



After reading from here are the 5 most effective Social Media tactics that have given the best results for our clients in the real estate industry.

1. Property Search tool with a Facebook Page
This technique works great for Realtors. It allows your FB page visitors to search your available properties right from the Facebook page. Now that Facebook uses Iframes for all its pages it is easier to add more web functionality to a Facebook page. One of the most fundamental aspects of a Realtor’s website is the property search tool so it makes sense to allow customers to use this tool without leaving Facebook.

2. Youtube T.V. Channel
Youtube Channels can be hugely powerful for the Real Estate industry if done professionally.  Most Realtors add video “Walk Around” or slide shows to show interiors of property. These videos are uploaded to Youtube. Using Youtube will improve online visibility and SEO for the company’s website.

3. Youtube App for Facebook Page
Get a Youtube app for the Facebook page. Everything you upload to the Youtube Channel will automatically be fed to the Facebook Page making it easier for your Facebook page visitors to view more of your clients’ properties. The App recommended by is the Involver Youtube App. It’s free for a start and it doesn’t divert the viewer straight to Youtube to be bombarded by Realtors who have uploaded similar videos. It keeps the viewers on the current FB page allowing them to view more videos or engage in other ways on the page.

4. Geo Location Keyword Search
Perfect for realtors! Tools like Hootsuite have this fantastic feature. It allows you to keyword search for potentially prime customers who are looking for property in a particular area.
5. Use Linkedin to find Clients

LinkedIn has many purposes for the Real Estate Social Media Manager. If you would like to find landlords, property developers, home builders, etc. in order to rent or sell those properties on their behalf, then the LinkedIn property groups are a perfect place to start.


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900


Caruso’s Tips for a Better Listing Presentation!


1. Start with a guesstimate. Before your listing presentation, have a price range in mind. A quick chat or two with your colleagues and your own understanding of the neighborhood can help you come up with an informed guesstimate.

2. Firm up with comps. A search through recent comps as you work up your competitive market analysis will help firm up the price range.

3. Look for price trends. Bring to your presentation a summary of price trends in the neighborhood. Be prepared to share it – even leave it – with the sellers. That can help ground sellers who may be reaching for pie in the sky.

4. Case the community. As you drive up to the house and walk in, size up the neighborhood and the condition of the house. How does the home visually compare with the homes around it? How will that affect the price?

5. Take the economic pulse. Review your cities general economic forecast for the next several months. If economics makes your eyes glaze over, you need keep only one key factor in mind, say economists: local employment. Local employment – not national – is the key to housing turnover in communities and an indication of how long houses stay on the market in your area. Is employment high in your community? Or has a major company just laid off a significant number of workers?

6. Are there new houses? Check out the kind and quantity of new housing construction. That could change the balance of supply and demand and give you a clue as to how long your listing will stay on the market.

7. Consider the sellers urgency. Sellers anxious to get out of Dodge may be willing to come down or even start low. Ask the sellers why they’re selling; listen to their answers and watch their body language for hints on what your follow-up questions should be.

8. Ask for a built-in price reduction up front. Get an agreement from the seller up front that if the house hasn’t sold in X weeks or months, you may lower the asking price to a preset figure.

9. Know when to say no. An unrealistic selling price can strangle the transaction or get so time consuming you don’t have a moment to develop new business. The homework you’ve done in steps 1-8 above has prepared you to make this vital call. If the sellers refuse to set a listing price you consider realistic, be prepared to walk away from the listing.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Caruso’s Techniques to Build Inventory!



1. Advertise a Free Phone Appraisal:

There are potential sellers in you market that are curious about how much their home is worth, but they won’t call an agent because they fear the hard sell. With the free phone appraisal approach, you create an ad encouraging homeowners to call for a market analysis over the phone. The ad says there’s no obligation and, in fact, there isn’t. During the phone call, you could get a general property description and offer a wide range of possible selling prices, depending upon certain factors. Of course, if the seller would like a more specific estimate of his or her home’s value, you would be more than happy to drop by for a visit.


2. Offer Free Special Reports:

If you do offer free special reports, then you will capture them when they call. I know of a company that provides special reports of interest to sellers. Titles such as How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes When Selling Your Home or How to Prepare Your House for Sale can save the seller thousands of dollars. Advertise for these, and leave an 800 number with an extension. When callers reach your line, they leave their name, address and phone number. But, even if they don’t, your 800 number captures their identity, allowing you to see the details of who made the call – whether or not they choose to volunteer their information. Make sure your 800 service provides this call-capture feature.


3. Pursue Old FSBOs:

There are people who were trying to sell their home a few months ago, were unsuccessful and then stopped advertising it in the paper. You can locate them by going to the library, reading through old newspapers and making photocopies. Then call and introduce yourself and your service.


4. Adopt an Orphan:

These are folks who already bought or sold a home through your company, but the agent who was involved in the sale is no longer around. You can Aadopt these orphans by calling them, introducing yourself as the appointed agent with your company and letting them know that if they need anything, they can call on you. You may find some people who bought four to seven years ago who might be thinking of selling within the next 30 days.


5. Visit Current FSBOs and Expired:

I’ve always been a proponent of calling FSBOs and Expired listings rather than knocking on their door. But some have been more successful by going face to face. The key is, when you knock on their door, tell the owner that you have a new marketing plan that can get them more money that what they were expecting. Or, pick something else that you feel is unique about what you would do for them and focus on that.


6. Practice Cause-Related Marketing:

Get involved in your community; participate in career days at local schools and tell children what you do for a living. Hand out pencils, magnets or other goodies for kids to take to their parents. In addition, you could promote good will by volunteering at local hospitals, speaking before Rotary Clubs, sponsoring charity events to raise money for breast cancer awareness, and so forth. Whatever you decide to do, don’t be ashamed to have a photo taken of yourself and send it to the local paper, along with a caption, to publicize your good deeds.


7. Go After Rental Owners:

Homeowners who are presently renting their property may want to stop being landlords. Call them; tell them you’ve noticed that they’re trying to rent their home.


8. Don’t Neglect Past Clients:

Any six-figure producers I’ve met drive 75% of their business from referrals. Plain and simple, you need some kind of system to stay in touch with your past clients at least four times a year. Get a database such as Top Producer and create a consistent follow-up program. Whether it’s a newsletter, postcard, flyer or a simple letter, it’s imperative that you keep your name (and face, when possible) visible.


9. Create a Web Presence:

There are a lot of savvy sellers today who make decisions in part based on an agent’s technological know-how. With this in mind, show potential sellers that you can promote their property on the Web. It’s an impressive tool and it works. Use the office web site as a tool.


10. Become a Specialist:

As is in most any field, specialists make more money. Therefore, you should develop a niche in which you want to concentrate and keep working it. For instance, one possible specialty is waterfront properties. Let’s say you enjoy selling these homes and develop a good reputation. Well, you can stay in touch with past customers and future prospects by sending them mailings that would be of interest to them. If your niche is older Colonials and Tudors, you can forward articles to those customers about doing home improvements. How about golf course properties or equestrian areas?   


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900


What a Turn Off…


A savvy seller wants to know what turns buyers off, so they can get their homes sold as quickly as possible, for as much as possible.  But buyers take note–there is minefields of seller turn-offs you can trigger that hold the potential to keep you from getting the home you want at the best price and terms, or to unnecessarily complicate dealings with your home’s seller.


If you think all of today’s sellers are under the gun and will just put up with whatever behavior buyers dish out, be aware that there are still many multiple offer situations in which buyers have to compete with each other to get a home–buyers who trigger these turnoffs tend to lose in those scenarios.  Also, avoiding these seller turnoffs can create a transactional environment of cooperation and avoid things turning adversarial.  That, in turn, can empower you to score a better price, get extra items you want thrown into the deal, and even negotiate more flexibility around your escrow and move-in timelines – all perks that can make your life easier and your budget go further.


For sellers, these turnoffs pose the potential of irritating you out of an otherwise good deal –maybe even the only deal you have!


Here’s a few of the most common buyer-perpetuated seller turnoffs, with tips for sellers on how to keep an emotional (and economic) even keel, even if your home’s buyer makes some of these waves:


1. Trash-talking. Trash-talkers are the home buyers who think they’re going to negotiate the list price down by slamming the house, telling the sellers how little it is really worth, how the house across the street sold for nothing, why the school on the corner should make them desperate to give the place away, etc. This strategy never works; in fact, when you attack a seller and their home, you only cause them to be defensive, and think up all the reasons that (a) their home is not what you say it is, and (b) they shouldn’t sell their home to you! 


Sometimes this happens with buyers who actually love a house and just walk around it fantasizing about all the ways they would customize it to their tastes while a seller is there.  Sellers: avoid being at home while your home is being shown.  Buyers: save your commentary for your agent; if you do encounter the seller in person keep your conversation respectful and avoid critiquing the house or the list price.


2. Being unqualified for mortgage financing. When a seller signs a buyer’s offer, most often the seller agrees to effectively pull the home off the market, forgoing other buyers who might be interested.  As such, the only thing worse than getting no offers on your home is getting an offer, getting into contract, then having the whole thing fall apart when the buyer’s loan falls through–especially if that could have been predicted or avoided up front.


Sellers: Work with your agent to vet your home’s buyers’ qualifications, including their loan approval, down payment and earnest money deposit – before you sign a contract.  It’s not overkill for your agent to call the buyers’ mortgage pro before you sign the contract and get a level of comfort for how robust their qualifications are.  Buyers:  Get pre-approved-seriously!  And make sure that you don’t buy a car, quit your job, deposit lottery winnings or do any other financial twitchery between the time you get loan approval and the time you close escrow on your home.


3. Making unjustified lowball offers. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of.  And sellers generally know the ballpark amount that their home is worth, as well as what they need to sell it for to get their mortgage paid off.  Yes–the price you pay for a home should be driven by its fair market value, rather than the seller’s financial needs and deals are more available in a market like the current one, in which supply so vastly outpaces demand. But just throwing uber-lowball offers out at sellers hoping one will hit the spot is not generally a successful strategy, especially if you really, really want a given property.


Sellers:  Don’t get overly emotional about receiving a lowball offer; counter at the price you and your agent decide makes sense based on the total circumstances, including your motivation level, recent comps and the interest/activity level your listing is receiving. Buyers:  Work through the similar, nearby homes that have recently sold before you make an offer to factor the home’s fair market value into your offer price–also factor in how much you want the place, too.  Don’t be amazed if you make an offer far below asking, and don’t get a response.


4. Renegotiating mid-stream. Sellers plan their finances, moves and -to some extent –their lives around the purchase price a buyer agrees to pay for their home.  If you get into contract to buy a home, find out during inspections that costly repairs that need to be made, then propose a lower sale price, repair credit or even actual repairs to the seller, that’s sensible and fair.  But if you were aware that the property needed a lot of work before you made an offer on it, then you come back asking for beaucoup bucks’ worth of credit or price reductions midstream, expect the seller to cry foul.  And holding the seller up two weeks into the transaction because you caught a case of buyer’s remorse? Not cool and not likely to foster the spirit of cooperation you may need to get your deal closed.


Sellers: avoid mid-stream price renegotiations by having a full set of inspection reports and repair bids at hand when you list your home. Buyers: try to avoid renegotiating the entire deal unless you get some major surprises at your inspections or inflating small repairs to try to justify a major price cut.


5. Misleading or setting the seller up.  Remember when we talked about buyer turnoffs?  Being misled by listing photos or very fluffy property descriptions was high on the list.  The same goes for sellers. Offering way over asking with the plan to hammer the seller for a reduction when the house doesn’t appraise at the purchase price-LAME. Making an as-is offer planning the whole time to come back and ask for every penny ante repair called out by the inspectors? Lame squared.


Sellers:  If you get multiple offers and are tempted to take a sky-high one or one that claims to be all cash, consider requesting proof that the buyer has sufficient funds to make up the difference between what you think the home will appraise for and the actual sale price, and statements showing the cash truly exists. 


Buyers: Don’t be lame. I’m not saying you have to tell the seller exactly what your top dollar is, but making offers with terms designed to intentionally mislead is really, really bad form–and can result in losing the home entirely if and when your bluff gets called.

Caruso’s Do’s & Don’ts of Emailing


Do you remember when it was called Electronic Mail & very few used it? Well Email has become an essential part of your life & an essential part of your real estate practice and can be a great tool if managed well.  These guidelines can help you communicate more effectively with clients and other contacts in your daily life. 


1. Organize and Prioritize. Create prioritized folders with a labeling system that makes sense to you. Customize folders for “Reply ASAP,” “To Do,” “Friends,” etc. Searching for buried email is a time waster, so shift messages to their respective folders as soon as you open your inbox. 


2. Act Now. More often than not, your clients have come to expect a response within 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day. The first time you see an email, respond immediately, delete it, and set it as a task to accomplish at a specific time, or move it into the appropriate folder.


3. Bridge the Gap. You can’t always get back to every sender with the information they want immediately, but make sure they know you’re not ignoring them. Send a short note explaining you’ve received and read their email, and you’ll need to get back to them about it later. The simple act of acknowledging their message will most often encourage patience, and can make all the difference between a positive and negative impression.


4. Keep it Short. Try to keep your responses as concise and to-the-point as possible. Summarize requests so they understand your response in context. For example: “You asked if we could meet Wednesday at 4, but I won’t be available until 5:30 that day. If that won’t work for you, please let me know how Thursday morning looks.”


5. Structure Your Message. Use short paragraphs and include blank lines between each one. This layout is easier to read, and will make your message more approachable.  


6. Proof It. Using a spell checker is important, but it might not catch everything. Typos and errors can form other valid words (e.g. contact vs. contract) that may not be corrected, so be sure to reread your message before sending it. And keep in mind that some phrases or thoughts might get lost in translation. Sarcasm, irony, and humor are often misinterpreted via email, so make sure your meaning is clear.


7. Create a Personalized Signature. More than likely, you send out quite a few emails daily and many of those may be forwarded to other recipients. Use each message to market you and your listings by simply including a link to your website, blog, or social networks in your email signature.


8. Exercise Email Etiquette. Greet your recipient by name (Hello, Mike) and close with your name on its own line (Regards, Tom). It only takes a few seconds, but can change the tone of your message and establish a certain level of respect. AVOID USING ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS; it may be interpreted as shouting. Don’t send unsolicited attachments, as many users have become wary of potential computer viruses. Get permission before sending large files, as they can tie up the recipient’s mail while being downloaded. Use acronyms (BTW, LOL) and emoticons sparingly.


9. When in Doubt, Send Plain Text. Using special characters (bullets, ampersands), images, fonts, and colors, runs the risk that your recipient might not be able to view your message properly.


10. Stay in Touch. Having a client or prospect in your database isn’t worth much if you don’t communicate with them. Send your contacts periodic updates on the market in their area, tips on home buying and selling, and even personal notes on birthdays and anniversaries.


11. Keep Your Contacts Current. Some of your contacts may have moved or found a new job since you last spoke with them. If their information is out of date in your address book, your emails may be undeliverable. Keep your list fresh by using a system that automatically searches the web for any updates, and then sync them to all of your devices.


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900