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For years my real estate team closed a lot of transactions from home buyers and sellers we met through our websites. And now, owning a company that builds websites for real estate brokerages and now hosting over 13,000 real estate websites I’ve noticed that a lot of home buyers seem to have a real challenge filling out forms when they want an agent to contact them.

Many online forms have pre-populated comments to give the home buyer an example of what to ask/say to the agent. These is very generic text that basically just says something like, “I am interested in the property located at…” or “I would like to know more about the property located at…”

ImageThis text is not meant to be the completed text that a home buyer sends in to the agent. When a home buyer sends in this generic text the agent that receives that contact form has absolutely no idea what information the buyer wants or how to help them. Almost all of the information you could want about a property is online now, so the agents don’t know how to respond. Usually, the agent will respond with a questions like, “Thank you for visiting my website. I received your request for more information about the property at 468 Vine Street. Would you like to take a tour of this property or do you have any specific questions I can help with?”

And you would think that would be the best response an online home buyer can get. It’s letting them choose whether they want to see the property or if they have anything they want to know about the property this is the perfect opportunity to say so. But the interesting thing is that usually the home buyers don’t respond when they receive this email reply, even when the reply is sent within seconds of the home buyer sending in the initial request.

I try to put myself in the position of the online home buyer. I’m searching for properties on a website. I’m looking at dozens and dozens of homes, comparing the homes and locations and browsing the photos and reading the remarks. Then, I find one that I’m really interested in and I see the form on the side that lets me asks a question about the property or schedule a showing. I see there is pre-populated text saying, “I would like more information regarding this property” and I enter my name and my email address (which is always required) and click SEND without entering my phone number or any specific information. The agent responds to me within a minute or so asking if I would like to see this property that I’m so interested in or if I have any specific questions and…. and I just ignore it?

What’s the point of that? I’ve just wasted everyone’s time and accomplished nothing. The agent wants to help and the buyer is clearly interested in the property so what is the problem here?  Perhaps the forms should not have pre-populated text and instead require the buyer to enter some text? We all hate being forced to fill out anything so requiring another field doesn’t seem like a good idea. Maybe the forms should say something like, “If you are going to send in this form, please tell us when you want to see this property or let us know what information you want” or something similar?

It’s an interesting challenge… any thoughts?

Why Tech-Savvy People make the Best Realtors

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How do you choose a good Realtor? After all, it seems like you could pick a name out of a hat or use a referral from a friend and your experience will be relatively the same across the board, right? Wrong. If you’re serious about buying or selling in this market, you need a Realtor with a bit more clout. One that has a leg up on the competition.  And the best person for this job is a tech-savvy realtor. What does tech-savvy mean exactly? It can mean a variety of
things. However, there are a few tried and true factors to look for when selecting a technologically skilled agent.

The first thing you should always check for is a website. If you hear of an agent from a referral and you can’t easily find his/her website, you should move along. Other home shoppers are going to click on one of the first websites they see, so if you’re agent isn’t showing up when you search, chances are other people won’t find them either. In addition to simply having a website, your realtor’s site should be easy to use and have a nice design. Your realtor should be connecting you with other buyers or sellers (depending on what side of the transaction you’re on.) So if their web design is scaring off other people your chances of finding a buyer or seller become much slimmer.

Social media engagement is another key element of a tech savvy realtor. Granted, your agent doesn’t have to post, tweet, or like something daily. But simple interaction in the social sphere shows that your realtor knows how important online communication is to modern day buyers and sellers. After all, a good agent can utilize tools like Facebook or YouTube to further communicate their thoughts and ideas with a wider audience.

Finally and most important of all is a solid home search option. Research shows that nearly 95% of all homes sales now begin with an online search. That is a huge percentage of the market and must be catered to accordingly. This data tells us that what almost every homebuyer wants when they are searching a real estate site is a good search option. If you’re Realtor’s search option is difficult to find, or even worse- nonexistent, then you are definitely not working with a tech savvy Realtor. An online home search option is the most important weapon in a techy realtor’s
arsenal, so make sure your realtor is well equipped.

As you can see, finding a tech-savvy realtor is not terribly difficult- you just need to be aware of what you’re looking for. Simple adhere to these pointers and you’ll find the right tech-savvy realtor in no time. Good luck!

Guest Article by @AndrewHill- www.austinhomelistings.com

You’re Not Just Buying a House, You’re Buying a Neighborhood

Everyone is familiar with the cliché that the only thing that matters in real estate is location.

As you browse through local real estate listings though, it may be difficult to consider what the practical application of that advice actually is. Put simply, when you purchase your home you are buying into the neighborhood it is located in. Consider these tips for making a successful move into a new neighborhood.

Ask Questions

Ask questions about any neighborhood that is home to your potential new housing. Is it on the way up? Are there good schools? Are there active neighborhood organizations? These are all very important questions that help determine exactly how a neighborhood functions and who chooses to live there. Thankfully, the answers are likely to be readily available online or in literature found around the neighborhood. It is important to remember not to be too quick to judgment. No two neighborhoods are exactly identical, so it is unlikely that you will be moving in somewhere that is entirely like your old one.
Any new neighborhood you are moving into will have its own vibe and it is important to evaluate that honestly.
Match Personalities
Simply taking a look at local businesses will give you a good sense of whether or not an area is a good fit for you. If you enjoy crafting and the neighborhood is home to a lot of cute boutiques, you are much more likely to enjoy living there. Similarly, if you see kids out playing, you might be spotting some new pals for your own children. There is no exact science to figuring out what kind of neighborhood matches with which kind of personality. There are certain things that are obvious though, such as trying to find an area with people who are similar to you in age. These kinds of similarities foster a sense of community in
a neighborhood and will help you fit in from day one.
Do Research
Researching any potential new home should also entail researching the neighborhood it is located in. Many neighborhoods keep detailed and up-to-date websites that catalog events and goings-on. You can also research the history of a particular neighborhood and possibly discover something that appeals to you.
Ultimately it is crucial to realize that neighborhoods are constantly evolving and it is ok to try living in a place that is slightly outside of your comfort zone. Considering the neighborhood you are moving into simply means taking the blinders off and looking around you at your potential brand new neighbors.
About The Author: Hughes Real Estate Group is a Boise real estate team serving buyers and sellers in Idaho. If you’re looking for a great home in Idaho, you can visit Kevin’s website where you can search real estate including Boise homes, Meridian homes , Nampa homes , and Eagle
homes.

 

Improving Localized Marketing: Simple Suggestions to Improve a Local Profile

With a number of companies looking to build their total marketing profiles online these days, many
businesses seemingly hit the wrong target points. For small businesses and restaurants, a failure to focus
on some local marketing techniques can also lead to a failure to experience full potential and returns on
business development and technology efforts.

Engaging in social media efforts are a must for any business trying to improve its digital footprint these
days, but even more so for those trying to improve their local footprint. With localization of social media
efforts, it’s always crucial to have a profile that’s geared specifically to the customers. With a small scale
company, using these social media profiles should be first used to build a local image.

With social media, one of the growing trends in major marketing is the use of check-in services. These
services have allowed many companies, from restaurants and retail stores, to really build up a larger
local reputation. With check-in services, businesses can offer discounts and benefits in exchange for
check-ins at the location of their business. With a high number of check-ins, businesses will see impact
from two separate ways. First, repeating customers will come back because of discounts and friends of
patrons will see the business throughout social media platforms, attracting new customers.

Along with social media improvements, businesses should also put a large focus on their online profile,
just like companies looking to improve national marketing strategies also do. Local businesses often
struggle to take advantage of some customers because of a failure to build an online presence. Even
though it may not seem normal, local businesses can still find major profits by expanding their websites
and digital footprint.

With a good website, many businesses are starting to look to mobile devices to further spread their
profiles. In a local setting, a restaurant or retail store can benefit from a mobile site by helping to
increase their search optimization. Also, mobile information is critical for potential customers who are
on the go, looking for either information or directions.

Once social media campaigns and a good website are setup to improve brand development, the site
can be spruced up in the content department to reach out to the customer base. The information on
the website can be targeted to remind visitors of the area where the business is located throughout the
site. Also, websites local information can be improved by putting the business’ directions on most of
the pages. By using this strategy, visitors to the website are continually reminded of exactly where the
business is.

A number of businesses are in search of strategies and suggestions on how to properly improve their
marketing footprint from a localized perspective. Many retail stores and restaurants often lack the
proper manpower or knowledge to truly have a great impact in their marketing efforts. For those
companies who may be short on staff or time, using professionals is a great option. For example, a store
or restaurant looking to break into a Florida market could use a Tampa, Jacksonville or Orlando SEO/
Development platform to really kick up their online profile.

-Guest Article by
Melinda Carter
melindacarter204@gmail.com

BlueRoof360 Launches Blog Network Unlike Any Other

BlueRoof360 Blog Network

Blog networks are pretty common now, but the BlueRoof360 Blog Network is different in two main ways- first it’s widgetized, meaning you can put blogs anywhere you want on a website- on any page, and in any size, and put all the different components you would want to have (featured properties, blog search top posts, images, videos, text, etc) anywhere you want around it. So you can build pages of blog content and decide exactly how you want the page to look and feel.

Even if you get a custom WordPress blog- you can’t change and edit it like in our system. With our patent-pending technology it’s all drag and drop. Want a video? Drag and drop it on the page where you want it. Want instant chat or featured properties or a weather report? Drop them where you want them. You don’t need to pay for, and wait for, a professional programmer to do the work- it’s easy and free in our system.

The second way it’s different is the network. Everyone wants blog but many agents don’t want to have to write it all. With our network you can have blogs that write themselves- or rather automate themselves with articles by other bloggers, or by the professional writers we pay to write content for the network.

And if you write a great blog post you can push it to the network and allow other agents to use it, and you get an inbound link from their website. One agent gets the content and the other gets the inbound link- everyone wins!

And of course, this is just one more new feature on our system and there is no extra fee for our clients to have this. They can build as many blogs and put them on as many pages as they want.

It’s all part of the BlueRoof360 system… if you would like more information about our custom website system- just contact us at greg@blueroof.com.

Using SEO to Strengthen Your Brand

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Seth Godin writes another incredible post explaining how utilizing SEO can be much more than trying to own mainstream keywords and delves into the territory that I live in, the territory that I have used to grow BlueRoof.com for three years now. Utilizing SEO as a way to strengthen your brand and help people find you when they are trying to.

When someone is looking for a good real estate buying experience in our area, many of them have heard of BlueRoof.com and the BlueRoof experience from their friends or family members. And when they Google us I want them to find us- and that is the only way I care about SEO for my particular website. I don’t pack keywords and links into my site because people don’t want to use websites that are pack with keywords and links- they want a great experience that is all about THEM, not about getting people to ME…

So, I have to pay for my Google ranking with Pay Per Click. And that’s okay because most of the traffic that comes to our site now is referred traffic- traffic that we have very worked hard to earn by offering the best experience we can to our clients. Helping them find the right home and negotiating and educating and working for the client above all else.

I want to own the keyword BlueRoof and the keyword BlueRoof.com and even Blue Roof (with a space), but not because I want to get any traffic, because I want to help those who are already looking for us to be able to find us easily. That is the best traffic because they already want to work with us  and we want to help them.

Utilizing SEO to get new business can obviously be a good thing, but landing on the front page of Google for any good keywords can be very difficult. It’s important to build your own brand and putting some focus into that might be the best strategy you can take- it’s worked well for us.

BlueRoof360 Launches Mobile Search and Much More…

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In February we launched our new mobile search feature which work on any mobile device with internet. Every BlueRoof360 website has mobile search now by simply adding the suffix of /mobile or/m after the URL (prusantafe.com/m)

Every listed home on the MLS is in the search and each listing includes all the photos directly pulled from the MLS.

Also on the home page of the mobile search there is Quick House Number Lookup which allows someone sitting in front of a house to simply type in the house number and easily find that property. If there are more than one result for that particular house number, our clients listings sort to the top (since those will be the properties with sign riders telling people to type in the house number.)

So, by going to prudentialfloridarealty.com/m on my mobile phone and typing  [a listed house number] into the Quick House Number Lookup it takes me directly to that Prudential Florida Realty listing.

Properties can be saved to your account, just as if you were on the website, and it’s easy to schedule a showing or contact the agent.

But our mobile system is much more than search- agents can access their contacts, see the showings and feedback on their listings, access documents associated with each client, and send documents, all form their mobile account.

And, even better, the agents clients can access all of their listing and escrow information, checklists of items that have been accomplished and deadlines that have been met, or are still pending, they can see all their showings and feedback from their showings, and the clients can also access all of their documents and send them from their mobile device.

BlueRoof360 gives our clients, and their clients, a true mobile “hub” where all the contract, listing, and escrow information is accessed and shared from a central place on the agent’s website.

Inman, showing signs of slipping in their reporting of new technologies first, wrote a too-late article April 10th about a new innovation that we launched along with our mobile hub over a month ago, allowing people to find homes quickly by typing in a house number while they are in front of the house or wherever. Just another innovation we came up with before they even noticed.

Watch for new features we will be launching soon that continue to innovate and lead the industry…