Canva Design Tutorial for Real Estate Agents

Do you ever wish you could hire a Graphic Designer? Well, I have over a decade of experience as a Graphic Designer and even I yearn for the day when I can! Yes, I do have fun designing, but if you know me at all then you know I’m a busy bee who dreams of being able to duplicate myself. #honest

I recently created a Market Update graphic that I shared on Instagram and since then I’ve received a lot of DM’s about HOW I created it. The easiest way for me to share that know how would be through a video tutorial. So here it goes!

Step-By-Step Guide: How To Design Your Own Canva Template for Real Estate Agents

Paradox Marketing - Instagram Tips for Real Estate Agents

Have you ever considered hiring someone to manage your social media content marketing strategy? I’m a big fan of outsourcing, especially for tasks that aren’t one of my strong suits. I was excited to connect with Tina Balais, from Paradox Marketing, to have a conversation about social media marketing for real estate agents. She’s a Canada based marketing agency, but she’s able to help clients nationally. We have a great conversation about Instagram – what works and what doesn’t work for real estate agents.

Mastering Instagram to Build Your Real Estate Business and Personal Brand

Have you ever really thought about the power of social media and what it can do for your business? I met Erin Bradley on Instagram and while she’s based out in Colorado, we were able to connect! She invited me to be a guest on her Podcast “Pursuing Freedom” (available on iTunes and Youtube). She has featured an incredible line up of real estate rock stars and I’m so honored to now be a part of that list!

View More Episodes on Her Youtube Channel

Episode #35

Mastering Instagram to Build Your Business and Personal Brand" with Amanda Bohorquez

featuring Amanda Bohorquez and Pursuing Freedom Podcast host Erin Bradley

Want to see what I’ve got going on over on Instagram? Click here.

Was there a topic we covered that you’d like a more in depth lesson on? Comment below and I’ll make it happen!

Creating a Real Estate Property Tour Video On a Budget

Are a Real Estate Agent on a Budget? It can be tough when you're just getting started and paying $150 - $500 for professional photography and videography seems impossible. Part of my role at Ian Alexander Realty Group is closely analyzing how our marketing content performs. Here's the CAN generate leads and create buzz with videos created on your smart phone. 

The other half of the truth: Do professionally produced videos perform better? YOU BET!! Chances are, if you're reading this, your budget might not allow for it. That's okay, because I'm going to show you a simple way to do it on your own.

(For now...but trust WANT the professionally produced content.)

Let's begin!

The App I Use To Create Real Estate Property Tours with My Smart Phone 

Visit your App Store and search for Magisto. The free version of app is good enough, but if you want more flexibility and access to additional "Editing Styles," I recommend upgrading to the "Professional" membership.


How I Use My Smart Phone to Shoot Real Estate Property Tour Videos

I hold my smart phone horizontally with two hands and use the main camera (not the front-facing aka selfie-side). I shoot from just about chest height and focus on keeping my hands as steady as possible! The less camera shake the better.

Next, I shoot about 5-8 seconds worth of the front entrance. Then, 5-8 seconds worth of footage of the living room, then dining room, then kitchen, additional rooms, bathrooms, etc. These are all shot separately, but I do my best to match the speed of my movements while recording. 

TIP: Like a true professional would, be sure to turn on all the lights for optimal brightness, and remove any unsightly clutter. 

Uploading Your Videos To Magisto App

This part is pretty simple and awesome! Just open the app, click on the green plus sign on the bottom right corner and you’ll be taken to a collection of all your videos and images sorted by date. Select the video footage you want to use by tapping them individually. From there you’ll be prompted to choose your preferred video Editing Style, Soundtrack, and how long you want the video to be.

If you decide to upgrade from the free version, you’ll have a lot more Editing Style options, as well as the ability to add your own logo and business information at the end of the video.

How Did You Add The “Under Contract” and “Search Homes For Sale” Graphics?

In order to create the ending clips I used Canva – a free online tool (and app) that allows you to create custom graphic designs. It’s very user friendly and I’ve got a tutorial coming your way soon!

These videos were also created using Magisto:

What Is In My Camera Bag (For Real Estate Agents)


One question I’m asked often is what kind of photography and videography equipment I use to produce content for myself and the team at Ian Alexander Realty Group. After 10 years in the photo industry, I’ve had the opportunity to play with some super high-end dreamy photo/video tools. Does a $3,000 camera lens make videos look AMAZING? Oh yes…but it’s not necessary to create high quality content on a consistent basis. So let’s get into the equipment list!

The Camera(s) I Use

I personally use the Canon 5D Mark ii and the Canon Rebel t4i as my go-to camera bodies. The first is a full-frame professional grade camera that I use on a daily basis. The second is a crop-frame sensor starter camera. Both are great quality and I use them interchangeably. If you’re new to photography and videography, I highly recommend starting with the Canon Rebel series cameras.

The Camera Lenses I Use

I’m a BIG FAN of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. It is the lens I use the most and it’s the exact lens that creates those creamy backgrounds in my videos. Not only is this lens awesome, but it works with both cameras and it’s under $150. What this lens isn’t good for is wide angle shots. As a real estate agent, you either need a wide angle lens or you need a photographer on your team who has one! I started off with the Canon 18-55mm Kit Lens that comes with the Canon Rebel Series camera.

While it’s only compatible with that particular camera type, it’s a great starter lens that you can use for documenting vlog content or shooting property photos/videos. When it comes to property photography, I do highly recommend you hire a professional real estate photographer and videographer.

The Audio Tools I Use

I use a few different mics to record content. The first is the Rode VideoMic Me Directional Microphone for Smart Phones and this is specifically for when I’m shooting video on my phone – on the go. If I want to record high quality audio directly from the camera, I use the Rode VideoMic GO On-Camera Shotgun Microphone. This is a great mic for interviews or documenting on a bigger camera on the go.

The third mic I use is the Lavalier Lapel Microphone which is my go-to mic for my own videos that are shot indoors. At just $15-$17 the quality surpasses the price. I own 3 of these mics and also use them when we’re filming BUY. SELL. INVEST.

My On-the-Go Tripod

I’m 5’3, weigh 132lbs, and have a love hate relationship with the gym. Lugging around a heavy $400 tripod was just never feasible for me – especially since I prefer to document vs create content. This is why I went with this Camopro 70 Inch Tripod . Are there better quality ones out there? Yes! Do I like this one? Yes! It doesn’t weigh down my camera bag and honestly, at under $50 I wouldn’t shed a tear if it ever did break on me.

The Embarrassingly Awesome…Selfie-stick

Yes, a selfie stick. For years I mocked selfie-stick users. I used to be one of those photographers who detested the purchase of one…now I own TWO! Why? Well…for #AdvancedSelfie creation, video stabilization (it’s better than my shakey hands), and group photos! This Apexel 2-in-1 Extendable Bluetooth Selfie Stick has been worth it and then some. Don’t shy away from a selfie stick – you’ll get used to using it.

Those are the main pieces of equipment that I use regularly. If you’d like to see a longer list, shop here.

What Your Real Estate Instagram Profile Should Have


Whether you’re new to Instagram or you’ve been on it for a while, I hope you understand the importance of utilizing it for your real estate business. You don’t need to have 10k+ followers in order to generate free real estate leads on the platform, but you do need the following:

#1 Your Professional Headshot

Let’s graduate from the selfie – unless it’s a #AdvancedSelfie …more on that later. If you haven’t already, get a professional headshot and use the SAME IMAGE across all platforms. Why the same image? It makes your face easily identifiable with your brand. In sales, repetition within your branding efforts builds trust with potential home buyers and sellers.

#2 Your Actual Name

I’m shocked by how many profiles I come across that don’t have the agent’s name. How can I write you a nice message without knowing your name? If I want to call you, who do I ask for? “Hi, can I speak to @your-no-name-realtor please?” Most real estate associations and states require your name be present on all marketing and advertising materials. Your Instagram profile is no exception to the rule.

#3 Your Location

Worse than no name, is no location. You cannot position yourself a the go-to local real estate expert if a person can’t tell where your “locale” is. City and State should be clear on your profile.

#4 What Do You Do?

I’m not kidding. I see it so much it hurts. If your hope is for people to send you a DM or call you regarding their real estate needs, they’ll need to first know that you are even in real estate. Make sense?

#5 CTA - Call To Action

What is a CTA? A Call To Action is common marketing and advertising term to describe the next step you wish a consumer to take. Who is the consumer? Your ideal potential clients. What is the next step you want them to take? Well, that’s totally up to you! Since I cater to a wider audience, my CTA is Learn More. If you’re a realtor looking to attract first-time home buyers, your CTA could be “Download FREE First-time Home Buyer E-book” and have that link to the downloadable. You can have all kinds of CTA’s and change them regularly. Have fun with it, experiment, but most of all: track the performance of your CTA’s. This will help you make data driven decisions in your future digital marketing as a real estate professional.

What is your Instagram Account? I’d love to check it out. Comment below.

How I Became a Real Estate Agent in Queens, NY


Ever since I was 7-years-old I dreamt of becoming a professional photographer. By the age of twenty-four I had a thriving photography business that was headed on the path I had always hoped for. I was my own boss, and I couldn’t have been happier! During the slower months of the year I focused on helping small business owners build their own websites and photograph e-commerce images. This led to me being offered a full-time job at an award-winning makeup company in Manhattan. Sounds amazing, right?

Well things got tricky from there. It was my first corporate experience – not to mention my first time being on a salary. I had no idea how demanding it would be to juggle a full-time job as a Multimedia Producer for a multimillion dollar grossing beauty brand, while simultaneously running a photography business. As the universe would have it, my busiest and most successful year in photography happened the same year I was promoted…enter ROCK BOTTOM.

The corporate environment wasn’t my cup of tea, and the heavy demands juggling so many photography clients was beginning to take a major toll on my mental and emotional health. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wasn’t enjoying the photography, and I wasn’t enjoying corporate life. What was I going to do? I worked so hard to make this dream come true and it turned out it wasn’t what I had hoped it would be? Naive, I agree…but something crazy happened next.

My personal life took a turn. I came out to my best-friend of almost 8 years (at the time) that I was madly in love with him. Turns out…he was in love with me too! Can you take a guess what happened next?


Well, he’s a real estate Broker. As our romantic relationship developed, I also began to see what the business side of things looked like for a real estate agent. One day, I jokingly said that I was going to get my real estate license. That little side joke turned into a real thought. A few days later I signed up for an online 75-hour real estate licensing course and BOOM! The crazy journey began.

I quit my corporate job, negotiated to go freelance in order to earn a transitional income, closed my photography business, and focused on developing my skills as a real estate agent! Slowly I began to find opportunities for myself, and my boyfriend’s brokerage, where my specific skillset could help increase business tenfold.

Like a fairy-tale power couple would, we became business partners, revamped the brand, and built an awesome real estate team in Queens, NY. It was all an unexpected twist of fate that has brought me to a place of true freedom, happiness, massive growth and so much opportunity.

How did you get into real estate?

How To Get Free Real Estate Leads On Instagram

In this video I cover strategies real estate agents can use in order to generate leads on social media, for free, for their real estate business. These tips apply to any business, but they're super useful for real estate professionals.

Are you on instagram? I’d love to connect!

Why Your Real Estate Facebook Ads Are Failing

In this video I cover the 5 most common reasons real estate agent’s Facebook Ads can fail to bring positive results. As someone who has run ads within all kinds of budgets and ad types, I’ve learned what has worked well, and what….well…doesn’t!

Have you tried running a Facebook Ad for your real estate business?

How To Get Your Real Estate License

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Getting my real estate license was as much of a surprise decision to me as it was for the people around me. As I progress in my career and network with likeminded individuals, many of them say the same. Usually, there's a yearning to OWN real estate on the investment side, but naturally the thought is to get your real estate license first. Note: It's not a requirement and you can read about that here.

This article is intended for those looking to get licensed in New York State. So here we go!

Requirements for Licensing 

In order to qualify for the New York State Real Estate Salesperson License, you’ll need to first take a 75-hour pre-licensing course. This can be done in-person at a place like NYREI or online (where I took mine as I worked a 9-to-5) at Real Estate U. I highly recommend the in-person course.

Once you complete the course, you’ll be required to take the school exam. Typically you’re allowed to retake the exam up to 2 or 3 times (depending on the school).

Next, you’ll schedule a date and time to officially take the New York State administered Real Estate Exam. You can learn more about scheduling your exam and the requirements here.

Passing Your Real Estate Exam

While the exam is multiple choice and solely based on the 75-hour pre-licensing course, you do want to study. It’s not uncommon to fail the exam the first time. If you’re 110% confident that you’ll pass the first time around, schedule 2 exam dates for “just in case.” My team and I host jeopardy game nights to help others study for the real estate exam. Most schools offer free study materials and practice exams to get ready.

You Passed! Now What?

Now it’s time to hang your license with the brokerage of your choice! Easier said than done. There are over 54,000+ brokerages in New York State alone. Winding up at the wrong one can cost you your career – let alone thousands of dollars. I explain the top 3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Real Estate Brokerage here.

Once you choose a brokerage, you’ll apply to become an agent at that office via eAccessNY and they should guide you through the rest.

Are you thinking about getting your real estate license? What state are you in?

Real Estate Investor vs. Real Estate Agent

The chicken…or the egg. Have you ever considered owning multiple income properties and earning monthly cash flow that would take you out of the Rat Race? If this sounds brand new to you, then stop immediately pick up a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and get your feet wet! Assuming we are on the same page, let’s dive in.

What is the Difference Between a Real Estate Investor and a Real Estate Agent?

Great question! Simply put, a real estate investor finds opportunities to profit long-term and/or short-term off of properties that are either selling for below market value, belong to a distressed home owner or could earn them monthly rental income. There are tons of creative strategies involved in real estate investing, and if we’re being honest, some of the wealthiest individuals in the world became so through investing in real estate.

A real estate agent on the other hand helps individuals find properties that suit their particular criteria based on factors such as location, price, amenities and style. Often times, real estate agents work together with real estate investors to create win/win deals.

Do I Need a Real Estate License in Order to Become a Real Estate Investor?

No. You 100% do not. In fact, you don’t even need a high school diploma. ACTUALLY, you don’t even need to have money – yourself. What you do need is some real estate know-how, a great team, and a highly recommend a mentor. Wholesaling and/or utilizing hard-money lenders are a great way to begin your real estate investing career. If you’re still slightly confused with some of these terms, I promise that book I mentioned will blow your mind.

Can I Be a Real Estate Agent and Be a Real Estate Investor at the Same Time?

Yes, but more importantly is whether or not you want to be both. Some real estate investors are anti-real-estate-agent. (I have no clue why, I find us rather helpful!) Also, in certain states you can actually run into some legal grey areas when it comes to certain investor activities that real estate agents shouldn’t really do. Yes, I’m being vague, but I didn’t attend law school and I prefer to stick to what I know. Consult an attorney about this part to be sure about your states rules.

Who Makes More Money? Real Estate Agents or Real Estate Investors?


Now this one is tricky! Both incomes fluctuate, but I will say that the opportunities to create long-term generational wealth weigh heavy in favor of real estate investors. While there are multiple ways to earn as a real estate agent, unless you intend on opening a brokerage, the generational wealth potential just isn’t there. Your “wealth” ends…well…not to be morbid, but when you end. As an investor, you can build up an immense portfolio of real estate across the globe, 1039 Exchange your way to even more wealth and create a legacy.

If Becoming an Investor is Better Than Being An Agent, Why Aren’t You An Investor?

You’re so inquisitive!! Now, I never said being a real estate investor is better, I only said the opportunities to create long-term generational wealth weigh in its favor. As a co-owner of a brokerage, I fall into the category of real estate agents who are creating a legacy within that realm. Do I plan to invest in real estate? HECK YES! One would be crazy not to! My brother, Esteban Alfaro, is a real estate agent and a real estate investor. My very next step is to take the investor plunge and document every minute of it.

Are you an investor or agent? Do you agree or disagree?

3 Things To Consider When Choosing A Real Estate Brokerage

I had been licensed for just a few months and I began to see a pattern I didn’t like. I’ll admit, when I first became a real estate agent I didn’t “shop around” brokerages. My boyfriend, and best-friend of 8 years (at the time), was the Broker/Owner of Ian Alexander Realty Group in Queens, NY and we both just assumed I would hang my license there. Shortly after passing the exam, I started looking into other brokerages.

Many Real Estate Brokerages Are…

Outdated. Poorly operated. Robbing agents blind – the list goes on. There are some amazing brokerages out there that have so much to offer. Sadly, many new real estate agents do not understand the part that a brokerage should play in their business. That’s right…their business! YOU OWN A BUSINESS.

#1 What Tools Do They Offer?

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If all a brokerage is offering you is a desk and a phone in exchange for $1200/m then you’re pretty much being robbed. That would have been valuable back in the 1980’s, but this is 2019…where’s the technology? Are they offering a starter CRM? As a new real estate agent it’s important to consider your options and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to interview the brokerages and ask what tools they offer.

#2 What Support Do They Offer?

Imagine you’re a new real estate agent and you just got your first deal under contract. What happens next? If you don’t know the answer – they really don’t teach it in school – who will you turn to for help? Find out if there are mentorship programs available within the brokerage. Is there an office manager who has transaction know-how that can help? Does the office offer a transaction coordinator? Is there a Knowledge Base with articles and videos to help you when you’re stumped at 1:00am and there’s no one to call?

#3 What Portion of their Agents Are Actually Producing?

Now this might stump some brokers if you ask, but it’s a valid question that you’re entitled to know the answer to. As a new real estate agent, you want to surround yourself with those you want to be like. If you’re surrounded by agents who hang at the water cooler, attend all the networking open bars and have ZERO clients…get out of there. If your plan is to build a rock solid real estate business and be a rock star, well…go find some rock stars!

Why the Commission Split Isn’t On This List…

There are certain brokerages that take 40% of your commission, plus transaction fees, but in return you have access to so many tools and support it would be impossible to fail. Then there are brokerages that offer 100% commission and a small transaction fee, but they only exist online and their is NO support. Most brokerages live in between the spectrum. Your job as a new real estate agent is to identify what level of tools and support you feel you’ll need and what those are worth to you.

Happy Shopping!

Are you a real estate agent in New York? Learn more about Ian Alexander Realty Group