Need help writing good real estate ads and copy? Real Estate Copy Rocket is here to help!

Writing compelling ads and copy is a vital part of selling homes and any Realtor worth their salt will make an effort to market their properties with as much gusto and creativity as possible. It sets them apart and gives their clients an advantage. You can see when you read the descriptions of properties whether or not an agent is really doing their best to promote their clients listing. You can tell if they just slap a few sentences together or do a feature dump of the property. You can also tell when an agent has thought out their remarks and they…

How to Fill Out an Online Form

For years my real estate team has closed a lot of transactions from home buyers and sellers we met through our websites. And now, also 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…

Why Tech-Savvy People make the Best Realtors

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…

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…

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…

BlueRoof360 Launches Blog Network Unlike Any Other

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.…

Using SEO to Strengthen Your Brand

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…

BlueRoof360 Launches Mobile Search and Much More…

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…

Social Media is not a Social Life…

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity“ – Albert Einstein I remember riding around the neighborhood as a kid, stopping at friends houses until I found someone who could play. I usually didn’t even call first. I just got on my bike and rode.  I would see kids I wasn’t even going to see and we’d hang out and go see other friends together. The neighborhood was our meeting place. The park, the school, the church lawn, or just riding around until we found each other. When I was in high school we would meet after school…

What if Twitter Got Serious?

I enjoy seeing new technology and I love change. And I like to see new apps and ideas change how business is done. These are exciting things for me. But Twitter, with all of its potential, is just not very useful. Using Twitter is like slamming my head into a wall and then eating some delicious ice cream, and then slamming my head into a wall again- It’s really great and really painful. I understand certain applications for it and how they are valuable (sharing experiences about a convention or family trip, feeding your updates to a website, audience participation during a…

Real Estate Mobile Phone Apps- Cool New Tool or Just a Waste of Time?

BlueRoof360 will begin building our mobile app soon because a new broker client has requested it. We will spend a week or so designing how it will look and work and then spend whatever time it takes building it (we anticipate a few weeks to a month) and I can already think of a few things that will make it stand apart from other mobile apps available. I have one idea in particular that sounds like it will be really cool to build into our app, and, as the owner of a technology company, thinking of a new idea is exciting because…

How About a $15,000 Tax Credit for HomeBuyers?

The Senate voted unanimously tonight to include the Isakson Amendment, a tax credit of 10% of the sales price (up to $15,000), for home purchasers buying a primary residence  into the Stimulus Package. This would not need to be paid back and would be available for one year if it passes. It still needs to make it into the final draft, due to be signed by the end of next week and hopefully this is one provision that will make the final cut. The housing markets across the country could really use a boost and this could help. Many people are waiting…

SEVRAR Technology Fair Coming to Phoenix- Jan 27th

The Southeast Valley Association of Realtors (SEVRAR) is holding it’s first annual  Technology Fair this month on Tuesday, January 27th and it looks like it’s going to be a great event. There are speakers (including myself) and discussions touching on a number of relevant topics, including SEO, social media, blogging, websites and more. It’s good to see the booths and see what new products are available for Realtors, learn from the sessions, and I’ve always liked the networking that happens when you get people who have common interests but new ideas. I’ll be speaking about Website Strategies,  discussing website design, current and…

Most Active Online Home Shoppers

The real estate industry has reluctantly been pulled online during the last three years and today most agents and brokers know that people are searching for homes online. Hopefully this will be the year that brokerages start building great websites- and hopefully they will hire a great website design company like BlueRoof360 to do it. But which areas are people most actively looking online for homes? Using Google Trends we can see which states and cities are the most active searching for different terms. Let’s look and see where people are really looking online… For the term “homes for sale” Salt lake…

Healthiest US Cities For Women, Men

MSN just released a report, in conjunction with Men’s Health, naming the healthiest cities in America for women and men. From MSN; To compile our first annual survey of America’s Best & Worst Cities for Women, we joined forces with Men’s Health to analyze how 100 U.S. metropolises stack up when it comes to health, fitness, and quality of life. (Check out this month’s issue of Men’s Health to find out whether your city is guy-friendly, too.) Our number-crunching team tallied 38 factors, including cancer rates, commute times, air quality, and the number of residents who swipe their gym passes regularly. When…

New BlueRoof Website Includes Phoenix and Denver Markets

Since BlueRoof first launched three years ago we have accomplished a lot- we’ve been voted “Best Real Estate Website” three years in a row, we’ve won the W3 Award (Silver in 2007, Gold in 2008 ) for Best Homepage, Visual Appeal and Navigation, we’ve sold hundreds of homes/year with only a few people, and we’ve built a strong brand in the Utah market with very devoted clients. And although I have been offered (over two dozen times) to expand into new markets, I haven’t. Don’t get me wrong, the plan has always been to grow, but so far I have not had…

Business Card Design Makes an Impact (or not)

Many real estate people will be traveling to conventions this year- big ones, small ones, technology, real estate, blogging, design, etc. I really enjoy these conferences because they give me a chance to get away, meet some interesting people with interesting ideas, and enjoy a tax-deductible vacation. Sweet! When I return home I will surely have piles of business cards from all sorts of people from different companies and positions. Some I will want to keep in contact with, and some I will want to remember the conversations we had. And while I am perusing the assortment of cards I will, no doubt, be…

The Most Digital Cities in the Country

Government Technology released this month its annual Digital Cities report naming the cities in the nation that are the most “connected” to the populace. Some familiar cities made the list again this year (Aurora, Colorado and Lincoln, Nebraska both topped their categories last year as well.) The first-place winners in each of the four population categories are: • Aurora, Colo. (250,000 or more population) • Lincoln, Neb. (125,000 – 249,999 population) • Roanoke, Va. (75,000 – 124,999 population) • Lynchburg, Va. (30,000 – 74,999 population) Tuscan and Mesa, Arizona both made the top ten in the 250,000+ category and Salt lake City,…

Top Ten Suburbs to Sell A Home

MSN today posted an article about a Forbes.com article that lists the Top Ten Suburbs to Sell a Home right now. To make the determination of which cities were the top, they took data from Altos Research. They took suburbs in the country’s 75 largest Census-defined metro areas based on the last 90 days of sales activity, then narrowed it to those cities with an inventory of at least 75 homes on the market. They then eliminated suburbs where it currently takes more than 125 days to sell the average home and eliminated any suburb where year-over-year price declines were steeper than…

Top Ten Healthiest States

Vermont is the healthiest state in the nation for the second straight year, according to MSN. According to the report, Vermont scores high with these stats;   Prevalence of Obesity (percent of population): 6 Air Pollution (micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter): 10 Lack of Health Insurance (percent without health insurance): 10 Immunization Coverage (percent of children ages 19 to 35 months): 29 Primary Care Physicians (number per 100,000 population): 5 Poor Mental Health Days (days in previous 30 days): 14 Cardiovascular Deaths (deaths per 100,000 population): 10 Cancer Deaths (deaths per 100,000 population): 13   The rest of the top…

How the Real Estate Industry Could Destroy the World

I’ve done some thinking research into what happened to the dinosaurs. How did such a powerful and broad range of species become extinct? Was it a crater slamming into the Earth? Or a volcano eruption that blacked out the skies? No, it was neither- but something far worse and much, much more dramatic… And today we are facing the beginning of a similar fate and it is being brought on by the real estate industry! I attended a couple of closings this week at title companies different from the one I am used to using and I noticed, well, actually remembered, how thick every…

Leaders, Visionaries, and Great People in Real Estate- A Top Ten List

There are many great people in, and around, the real estate industry. Some lead by example, some inspire with their words, and others lead with their ideas. There are great companies and people all around the industry right now and as a whole (partly because of these people and these companies) the industry has grown more in the last three years than in the previous twenty. Here are ten of the great thinkers, leaders and of the industry right now; Dustin Luther has not only pulled blogging into the mainstream for real estate agents and pioneered the first great collaborative real estate…

Realtors Getting Screwed and Listening to Idiots- A Top Ten List

Almost daily I am again reminded at how ridiculous the business of selling crap (services and ideas) to Realtors has become. The real estate industry has enough problems right now- we don’t need people trying to screw us over and so many idiots preaching about stuff they don’t know anything about. Here I name ten of the worst offenders. From people preaching to agents about the business to companies that are screwing you over, I’m going to spell it out. 10. Inman News and Rismedia charging hundreds of dollars/year to become a “member” so you can read their articles or watch videos or read the “breaking…

The Best and Worst Cities for Jobs Right Now

MSN published a report today naming the best and worst states in the nation based on unemployemnt rates. Some of the areas may surprise you. Just as real estate markets are local, so are economies. Some areas have better run governments, different zoning and business licensing laws, better access to resources, or events that happen (military base closing, new company moving in, major employer cutting back or hiring, etc) which cause job demand to fluxuate. Eight of the worst cities are in California, while three of the top cities are in Utah. According to the article, here are the top 15 cities for jobs based…

2008 Election- Obama/McCain Proposed Policies Explained in Plain English

BusinessWeek published a really great non-partisan article that clearly explains the differences in the two candidates proposed policies. Whether or not you are decided, and especially if you haven’t yet decided, this is simple guide to the man who will soon be our next president… From the article; Where the Candidates Stand As Nov. 4 draws near, many Americans are still undecided about for whom they will cast their vote. While many elections in recent memory have been close, none seems to be quite so momentous. Not only because of the historic implications of electing either the nation’s first black President or its…

The Most Important Stat to Track on my Website

There are a lot of statistics for me to follow with my website, BlueRoof.com. Some things are interesting to watch (what states people are visiting my site from, what web browsers they use, etc.) and every stat has some value (where to spend marketing, which browsers to optimize my site for, etc) but some stats are more significant for me to watch than others. There are some stats I watch more than others. Here are the things I check daily: Overall Traffic (and compare to the following Day, Week, Month) Unique Visitors (and compare to averages and following Day, Week, Month) Average Time on Site Traffic…

Warren Buffet’s Advice- Buy While Others are Feaful

Warren Buffet wrote an article for the New York Times yesterday where he explains where he is putting his money right now and his philosophy on when to be greedy. In short, Buffett says; “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” It makes sense. The best time to buy is when the prices are low and the best time to sell is when prices are high. Or as Buffett says, “…if you wait for the robins, spring will be over. A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on July 8, 1932.…

BlueRoof.com Wins W3 Awards Again

With BlueRoof.com about to be re-launched  with some cool new features, we are very pleased to announced that the W3 Awards were just announced and we were notified this morning that BlueRoof.com has won some more awards. Last year we won three silver medals, with Zillow taking the Gold for Visual Appeal (the award I really wanted). This year we take the Gold Medal for “Visual Appeal” We also won Silver medals for these categories; Overall Real Estate Website Homepage Structure/Navigation Watch for a new BlueRoof.com to be launching in the next few weeks…

BlueRoof360- Industry Best Realtor Websites, Lead and Client Management

Custom Websites for the price of a template… In 2007 we closed 114 homes because of our website. Last year, in 2008, we closed just under 100 without me selling (my buyer team agents did the selling). While the majority of real estate agents were seeing their businesses slow down significantly and the overall market lose energy, our business has stayed, and is still staying, very consistent. You may not even want to be a top-producing agent, but I’m sure you wouldn’t mind an extra sale or two each month.  Technology does not take the place of personality and personal contact but, when…

Top States for Unemployment Rates

MSN released a list  of the top states (and the worst) in the country for unemployment rates. With the economy and housing markets around the country feeling the pressure, it’s always nice to know how the local economies are doing. One thing we have all been realizing lately is just how much Real Estate markets and housing affect the economy. There are a lot of issues that go along with a real estate market, for instance, when someone buys a home they put a lot of people to work- their Realtor, the title insurance person, the mortgage lender, perhaps a home warranty person…

World’s First Master-Planned Metropolis Being Built

At a total estimated cost of $35Billion, and slated to be completed by 2014, Songdo International Business District, the world’s largest commercial development ever built will house more than 65,000 residents in Incheon, South Korea. The development is being built on over 1500 acres and will include an amazing 50 million square feet of office space, 30 million square feet of residential accommodations, 10 million square feet of retail, five million square feet of hotel accommodations and 10 million square feet of green space. The mix of offerings will include an international school, hospital, ecotarium and museum. And here’s the kicker- it’s…

Chad Shares the Secret to His Pineapple Martinis

My friend Chad has decided to do a social experiment on Facebook and throw some parties (which are always a blast) and give away some tips on his famous drinks and food (always awesome)… This is the first video from Chad. Listen along as he shares his process for building the best pineapple martinis!   Chad really is the ultimate bachelor. But he is finally ready (he claims) to find the right girl to settle down with, which some people think is crazy because he is very successful at being single and is very well off so he can afford to stay single successfully. Anyway, Chad hates loves…

66 Cities to Buy a Home In Now

According to MSN, there are 66 cities where it makes sense to buy a home in right now, and 34 cities where it might be better to rent. Of course, it’s all speculation, especially in the local markets I am familiar with, and they don’t take into account some important aspects of home ownership, like the tax breaks and simple pride of ownership. Personally, I wouldn’t want to rent again, unless I was transient or uncertain of my ability to pay my mortgage. Four of the top five cities (McAllen, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas) are in Texas. Texas has (relatively) low home…

More Accusations Against Trulia- Now Cloaking?

Trulia has been caught in some allegations recently that question the integrity of the company, and imply that Trulia is involved in some shady practices that help it’s own site at the expensive of the agent/brokers/partners who work with it. Most of the accusactions have to do no-follow links (temporary 302 redirects) that give Trulia links, but prevent links going back to the “partners” it works with, so it can cause it’s own site ranking to go up and hurt the ranking of the partner sites. Now, accusations of cloaking, or displaying different content to web visitors and search engines to gain one-way inbound…

Utah Government Workers Move to a Four Day Workweek

  Beginning in August, Utah state employees will begin workweeks of Monday-Thursday 7am-6pm, instead of 8am-5pm, and have Fridays off. The radical new move will result in some frustration for some finding new daycare arangements and such, but will save millions of dollars in energy costs and will reduce traffic congestion. The order issued by Gov. Jon Huntsman will affect about 17,000 out of 24,000 executive-branch employees. It will not cover state police officers, prison guards or employees of the courts or Utah’s public universities. Also, state-run liquor stores will stay open on Fridays. Lisa Roskelley, the Governor’s spokesperson, says turning off…

Florida Home For Sale, Includes Wife

For the guy who is not afraid of commitment, look no further than Devon Traboscia, a single mother of two, who lives in Florida and is offering herself for $288,800, oh, and you get the house, too. On Craigslist she says; Marry a Princess Lost in America Create the Magic with this Fairy Tale Princess Traveling Lady in immediate need of her Prince Charming, someone who wants to share & create magical moments, imaginations & fantasies for LIFE!!! If you want to live the never ending dream and experience the real love, life and the romance you have always felt was a…

Building a Killer Real Estate Website

  Since I’ll be speaking on this topic at Inman Connect in July, I figure I’ll throw out some of my thoughts on the topic now to sort of get the ball rolling. What makes a website a “Killer Website”? Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works.” This is an important idea to me. The concept that great design incorporates function along with aesthetics and visual appeal. A great website is visually appealing, but it also works well, is intuitive and easy to use, and, of course, has good information for…

Ready to Connect?

  Inman News will be holding it’s 12th annual Inman Connect convention  July 23rd-25th in San Francisco at the Palace hotel. For the last few years, Connect has been the best place to meet industry leaders and visionaries, see the newest in technology and real estate-related products, and share a drink with like-minded individuals. There is a heavy emphasis on social media and new trends. The conference is all about the joining of technology and real estate and the conversation around how the industry is evolving. The most innovative companies and the most entrepreneurial people are all at Connect. There are great speakers, interesting discussions and…

Trulia’s Integrity Called Into Question

Galen from Estately writeson Bloodhound about Trulia’s practice of running listing links through a temporary (302) redirect, which essentially stops Google from following the link and making Trulia the original source of the content (in Google’s eyes), which boosts Trulia’s search engine ranking for the addresses instead of the actual content provider (the listing partner who gave them the listing information to begin with). Sneaky… but is it really so surprising that Trulia is bullying brokers out of top search positions? Trulia’s model is built around using broker information to position itself above brokers, hence becoming valuable enough that brokers want to use the…

RE Bar Camp at Inman Connect

Anyone planning to attend the Inman Connect convention in San Francisco this July should also plan on coming a day early and attending the Re Bar Camp. What is the Bar Camp? No, it’s not a meet-up to discuss your favorite alcoholic drinks (Damn!), but rather; “RE Bar Camp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.” These Inman Connect events, for those who haven’t been, are not only a fantastic way to learn about new technology in real estate and what’s…

Redfin Becoming What They Hate… Traditional

Redfin today announced that they are taking yet another step toward becoming that one thing that they so desperately are trying to position themselves as NOT being… a traditional brokerage. They began as an online-only brokerage, touting themselves as the first online brokerage and making a lot of noise about their unique value proposition. Buyers found the home they wanted to buy, made the offer on redfin’s website, and got a cut of the commission check. Then… Redfin began offering property tours for a fee. Then… They began offering more tours. Now… They’re offering tours through homes the way traditional agents do,…

Will Zillow Begin Competing with Itself?

  Rich Barton, founder of Zillow, has raised a few $Million (along with however much of his own money) and is launching a new company called Glassdoor, which some are speculating could be a real estate-related venture. That does make sense, after all, “The name itself suggests transparency within real estate” and Glassdoor’s website points out right from the beginning that it’s founders “are a team led by ex-Expedia and Microsoft executives that have a history of using new technology to rewire old industries.” If they are doing something within the real estate space, my guess is that it would be on the…

Utah Liquor Laws- Oh, My My My…

  The LDS fanatics state legislature has decided to “simplify” the incredibly ridiculous Utah state liquor laws again. Will this stupid and absurd “musical chairs” of liquor law rule-swapping ever stop? Under the new rules, the limit to how much alcohol that can be poured into a drink has been increased from 1 once to 1.5 ounces. That’s the only sane part. But, now you can no longer order a “sidecar”, or an additional shot of that alcohol that we locals have been forced to order so we can “spike” our drinks and give them a normal ratio of alcohol. You can have…