Monthly Archives: February 2007

Most Viewed on BlueRoof.com Last Week

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This fixer in Tooele was the most-viewed property on BlueRoof last week, with 115 people viewing the property details page. Easy to see why it got so much attention, with an all-brick exterior and charming roof-line.

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The home has almost 1700 square feet, 3 bedrooms and a full bath. It also sits on .30 acres of land and has a 1 car garage and 1 car carport. It has been under contract four times with the sale failing, so you might want to make sure you’re pre-approved before writing an offer.

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The property is listed with Melody Waltke (435-843-7282) and  Judy L. Smith (435-849-2560) of Allpro Realty Group in  Tooele (435-841-9765).

How Loyal is Your Realtor?

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CNNMoney recently published an article discussing incentives given to buyer’s agents and where their loyalties lie when commissions vary dramatically selling one house over another. “It’s tough to be objective when the reward for selling one house is much greater than the rest,” says one agent.

This problem is much worse in certain markets and here’s why;

Take a market like Vegas or many of the California markets where prices during the last few years just skyrocketed because of investor speculation and home recycling, or “flipping”. You buy six homes in one neighborhood for $200,000 and remodel them and then sell them three months later for $300,000 each and what happens to the average price of that neighborhood? It goes up 50% in three months! Now, imagine entire cities where this has happened and you see why these markets need prices to correct. So in these markets the prices need to drop or at least the appreciation needs to slow substantially to allow for natural price-growth to catch up. But see, in these markets where it was booming artificially the builders and investors were buying up everything they could to feed the beast and now that their market has slowed they have too much inventory and now they need to sell. So now the investors might offer incentives to sell their extra inventory.

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When I was a broker in East Bay (San Francisco) back in 1998-2001 I remember buyers trying to buy new construction and the builders had so much demand they would have to hold lotteries where sometimes 300 people would be trying to “win” one of 60 homes. In the resale market we would list a home on Thursday for $800,000 and put in the MLS that we’ll accept an offer the following Tuesday. And we’d have thirty offers come in and the sellers would end up getting $900,000 for the home. This was because of demand- way more buyers than sellers, and a demand for the area (during the tech-boom). A lot of people were moving into the area. Then the investors came in full force, and why not? Average sales prices of over $800,000 and lots of buyers meant ton$ of money. Eventually the supply grew more than the demand and now it’s correcting.

In northern Utah right now our market is very strong and prices are rising, but not because of investor speculation and flipping, but because of job growth and demand. Sure there are plenty of investors flipping homes and buying to hold-and-sell, but that’s a small percentage of the market. Plus we appreciated about 20% last year, not 50%- and this year we’ll probably appreciate around 10-14%. Strong, but healthy growth.

I remember years ago when the local market was slower and it was more difficult to sell a house, we would occasionally see an incentive for selling a house, but even then it wasn’t around that much. It really comes down to having a good agent that knows what they are doing and that you can trust on your side.

Find a good agent and stick with them, build a relationship so you always have their loyalty. When you have that relationship with a good agent they will watch your back and give you good advice, no matter what the market is doing. 

(H/T to BlueCollar Agent)

Most Searched For Terms in Real Estate

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When it comes to real estate in America, what do people search for? Before I began writing this I made a list of my own to see just how close I could nail it. I mean, after all, I’m a real estate vet with years of experience and I run a couple of the most-visited real estate web sites in Utah, so I should have some pretty good guesses, right?

Here’s my list of what I thought the most searched for terms that drove people to my websites would be (excluding the website names):

1-“real estate”

2- “homes”

3- “homes for sale”

4- “realtor.com”

5- “real estate for sale”

These are generic terms and not area specific. My top list of terms searched for in northern Utah, my market would be:

1- “salt lake real estate”

2- “Salt lake city real estate”

3- “real estate salt lake city, ut”

4- “utah homes”

5- “salt lake homes”

Both seem like fairly straight-forward lists, so how close am I?

PropBot says:
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This is interesting because on thier site you basically just type in anything, like a search engine, so a lot o fpeople probably search for things like 3bd, 2 bth home in Tulsa. What’s really interesting is that a specific home is ranked #7.0

Escape Homes says the top terms on their site are:

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According to HitWise, the top-searched real estate terms are:

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A lot of people use search engines to type in domain names instead of putting the domain name into the address bar- just out of habit or for the spell-check or something.

RealtyTimes columnist Jordan Glogau did some reasearch and found:

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This is some great research because it shows how people search in different categories. I would think more people would search for California then New York, with more people living there and so many more homes there.

And then for BlueRoof.com. During the last 30 days here are the top search terms people typed into all search engines to find BlueRoof. Of course this is not a list of the top terms searched for- rather, it’s a list of the top keywords that people searched for and then were taken to BlueRoof- it’s still interesting to see which keywords have been used most frequently. I’m sure most sites have the top terms as being their site name, but the top search terms bringing people to BlueRoof.com are:

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So, again many people use the search engines to type in domain names instead of the address bar. And if you take out the people who actually searched specifically for BlueRoof the top keywords would be:

1- homes for sale in Utah

2- salt lake city real estate

3- utah homes

4- real estate utah

5- homes for sale utah

6- real estate in utah

7- salt lake real estate

8- salt lake city homes

9- homes for sale in salt lake city

10- salt lake city homes for sale

So most people are searching for similar terms when coming to BlueRoof. When I look at my other website, which doesn’t have a brand name like BlueRoof does, the top terms for the last month are:

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The main surprise to me is how few people actually searched for the keyword MLS. I would think many more people would. If anyone has any additional stats on keyword searches or on your own website acitivity (you don’t need to share numbers like I did) please share them or give a link where we can see them. 

Local Blogging Classes

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Local blogger Newspapergrl will be teaching two classes on blogging soon. If you are local and are wanting to get into blogging you could do much worse than learning from Janet, she’s an accomplished blogger.

Introduction to Blogging – Learn How to Blog

Wednesday, March 7, 2007
7pm-8pm
Cherishing Place (a private home)
272 South 540 East
Lehi, Utah

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
7pm-8pm
LDS Employment Center by Deseret Industries
437 South 500 East
American Fork, Utah

There is room for up to 30 people at the American Fork class and 15 at Cherishing Place. Contact Janet to get yourself a spot. You can email her at (janet @ affiliateflash.com.)

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Homes Getting Greener

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More than 300 building professionals gathered Wednesday at the second annual Salt Lake Sustainable Building Conference, along with Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon. They discussed new advances in technology and the implementation of green processes and materials.

Green building incorporates everything from using recycled materials and natural lighting to solar panels and wind-generated power and drought-tolerant landscaping in new construction.

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Tree House
Joe Prudden, Architect

According to Dream Green Homes, this home could be close to a “zero energy home” by being designed for passive solar heating and passive cooling.

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Earth-Sheltered Atrium Home
Ferid Abbasher, Architect

This home is fascinating. Due to the oval shape of the inner atrium (the courtyard), the living room, the kitchen and dining and the bedrooms all face maximum sunlight, sometimes from the south, at other times from the east and the west; this allows passive solar heating for these spaces. Masonry walls and foundations are made of recycled concrete blocks with recycled paper fillings. Recycled glass is used or floor insulation.

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Surface water can easily be utilized in this EcoHouse design
to reduce the domestic water consumption expenses. Being
earth-sheltered, the water tank is protected from extremely
low or high temperatures. The earth falls around the tank
are profiled in such a way as to funnel the rainwater into the tank.

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The collected water is then thoroughly treated for domestic consumption using the state-of-the-art StormTreat System™ produced by StormTreat Systems, Inc. Rainwater is treated by 100% biological means and is 100% safe for domestic use.

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One company leading the way in Utah is Kennecott Land, which owns hundreds of thousands of acres along the west bench of the Salt Lake valley and will be developing over 20,000 homes over the next 25 years. In October, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded Kennecott Land a “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” Silver rating for the Daybreak Elementary School and Community Center, which uses a ground-source heating and cooling system and is estimated to save roughly 25 cents per square foot. Peter McMahon, president of Kennecott Land, which owns Daybreak in South Jordan, said while other homebuilders may incorporate some green building aspects, Kennecott Land likely does more. “We capture all of our stormwater,” McMahon said. “We use the lake as both an amenity and in irrigation. We do a lot of natural landscaping. We do a whole variety of environmental management things.”

More at DeseretNews
 

Inman News Interviews BlueRoof

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Glenn Roberts of Inman News interviewed me recently for an article discussing company blogs, which was published today. Along with BlueRoof, the other company blogs included in the interview were HotPads, Zillow, Zip Realty, Sellsius, and The Real Estate Tomato.

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Roberts also covered the launch of BlueRoof back at the beginning of August 2006 and has written a ton of great articles about the industry and where it’s heading.

Blogging gives a company, a group, or an individual a public voice. One of the great parts about blogging is the direct connect it has with readers, the communication and feedback. Blogging can change the way one thinks about their topics and why the blog in the first place. And blogs can be updated as often as the owner wants, so checking back with a favorite blog throughout the day you might find more than one new post.

I think it’s important to give blogs a personality and not stick with only factual postings. Most major blogs have their share of criticizing and opinions about new trends in the industry and that’s part of the attraction, or as Sellsius calls it Magnetism (the ability to bring people back). Even if that means some people don’t like it.

The legs of blog posts are probably the most amazing part of blogging to me. Check out the daily hit report on this post I wrote about Feng Shui.

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As you can see it I wrote it back in August and when I first posted it there were a few people a day who found it, then it went unread for months until January and then this month it just began being read and is averaging between 6-8 searches per day. Not a top post, but it shows the legs a post can have.

The chart represents people who go directly to that post from a search engine or are linked from another blog, not total reads, so you really get an idea of how topics will have interest all-of-a-sudden and will cause people to search for them.

Other posts have similar trends…

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Some are consistently sporadic…

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Other have interest from something in the news- months after they’ve been written

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You just never really know when a post is going to get attention- many times I’ll post about something and it gets read for a few days and then is forgotten…

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but you never know when it will come back again.

LPR- Atlanta Home Builder with A Wonderful Site

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I don’t know anything about the Atlanta home market or builders in the area. I don’t even know much of anything about LPR Homes, except they have a great website. If you enjoy seeing good design check it out. And if you are buying in the Atlanta area, you may want to start your search here.

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This is what a website should be. It’s clean and simple to use. It has wonderful visuals and navigating is a breeze. They use good fonts and their copy is fun to read. The entire presentation is wonderful.

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The layout of homes is simple and appealing. Each page has been designed for it’s visual appeal as well as its function.

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The head of each page changes with great images and information. Simple and fun design with the either up or coming information that buyers want makes this one of the best builder sites I have seen.