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 … Continue reading Using SEO to Strengthen Your Brand

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 … Continue reading BlueRoof360 Launches Mobile Search and Much More…

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” … Continue reading Most Active Online Home Shoppers

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 … Continue reading New BlueRoof Website Includes Phoenix and Denver Markets

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 … Continue reading Business Card Design Makes an Impact (or not)

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 … Continue reading Top Ten Suburbs to Sell A Home

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 … Continue reading How the Real Estate Industry Could Destroy the World

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

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

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 … Continue reading The Best and Worst Cities for Jobs Right Now

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 … Continue reading The Most Important Stat to Track on my Website

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 … Continue reading Warren Buffet’s Advice- Buy While Others are Feaful

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 … Continue reading BlueRoof360- Industry Best Realtor Websites, Lead and Client Management

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 … Continue reading Top States for Unemployment Rates

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 … Continue reading World’s First Master-Planned Metropolis Being Built

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, … Continue reading Chad Shares the Secret to His Pineapple Martinis

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) … Continue reading 66 Cities to Buy a Home In Now

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 … Continue reading More Accusations Against Trulia- Now Cloaking?

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 … Continue reading Utah Government Workers Move to a Four Day Workweek

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 … Continue reading Florida Home For Sale, Includes Wife

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 … Continue reading Building a Killer Real Estate Website

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 … Continue reading Ready to Connect?

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 … Continue reading Trulia’s Integrity Called Into Question

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 … Continue reading RE Bar Camp at Inman Connect

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 … Continue reading Redfin Becoming What They Hate… Traditional

The Carnival of Real Estate

  Welcome to the 81st Edition of the Carnival of Real Estate! Step right up and get ready for a wonderland of writing styles and topics. Reading through the entries I was reminded of the last time I hosted the Carnival back in September 2006, and how much blogging has grown, especially in the real estate industry, since then. Five years ago when I started blogging nobody read my blog and I didn’t read anybody else’s. Today blogging has become a legitimate, and important, means of communicating between large spectrums of people. The Winner’s Circle for this Carnival includes four well-written … Continue reading The Carnival of Real Estate

Carnival of Real Estate Comes Home to BlueRoof

  The Carnival of Real Estate will be here, on BlueRoof, again, next Monday, March 10th. As some of you may remember, BlueRoof hosted Week 4 of the Carnival, way back in September, 2006. Now we’re on Week 81 and between then and now there have been some amazing posts, and from every good real estate blogger on the web. I’m excited to see posts from bloggers I have gotten to know, and maybe some I have yet to meet. For those not familiar, the Carnival is where real estate bloggers submit their best blog posts, and the “winners” for the week are … Continue reading Carnival of Real Estate Comes Home to BlueRoof

Top Ten Cities to Buy a Home in 2008

Forbes released an article on Feb 7, 2008 naming the top cities for buying a home in 2008. These are “…markets where job growth is strong, foreclosures are relatively low and inventory is high. With these factors in place, buyers can still dictate terms of sale and negotiate prices, but aren’t as exposed to the economic and lending risk problems that have sunk many markets around the country.” Salt Lake City tops the list, again, as being the #1 place to buy a home this year, saying, “Of the major metros in the U.S., Salt Lake City is adding jobs … Continue reading Top Ten Cities to Buy a Home in 2008

Realtors Beware- Learning From Home Depot

  Rob at The Notorious R.O.B. (Rob works at OnBoard, a data aggregation company) wrote an excellent post about the damage that can be done to brokers and agents by using Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow, and other third-party listing aggregation websites. From Rob’s post; “[The] consumer then has a relationship (or at least an experience) with Trulia or whoever; it’s how they found the house, and found the real estate agent… …But the brokerage?  Or the brand?  Just like I couldn’t remember the name of the contractor that did my windows, would any consumer remember RE/Max or Coldwell Banker or whatever? … Continue reading Realtors Beware- Learning From Home Depot

Dustin Luther Gets 4Realz

  Dustin Luther is the author of one of my favorite real estate blogs, some even call him the “Godfather” of real estate blogging because he put together Raincityguide, which was the first (that I know of) real estate blog with both a consumer focus and with many contributors. It’s also important to note that the contributors are not all real estate professionals. He has worked with Move.com (which runs Realtor.com), and he’s a good all-around guy. Now, Dustin (along with Jim Marks of Virtual Results) will be sharing his experience with Realtors who are interested in learning about technology. I’ve seen Dustin speak and … Continue reading Dustin Luther Gets 4Realz

Realtors are Just too Damn Old

Ever been out with friends at the local bar filled with 20 and 30-something’s having a drink and you notice the old horny dude in the back just sitting, watching? He’s probably a nice guy and has a lot of great stories about the “good old days” when he actually belonged at this college hangout, but he doesn’t quite fit in with the vibe and environment. Many Realtors are that old dude. Experience is good. Knowledge is good. Stories wrapped in nostalgia can be good. Being  outdated and unwilling to evolve and offer effective service because you’re too (old, lazy, experienced, … Continue reading Realtors are Just too Damn Old

Cry-Baby Board of Realtor Associations and MLS’s Continue Desperate Rule-Making

The Northwestern Wisconsin Multiple Listing Service, operated by the Realtors Association of Northwestern Wisconsin, is realizing that it is a lame monopoly that is going extinct, in fact, an MLS system. And they have decided to take the same ridiculous position that the Regional MLS of Minnesota and the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois and Northwest MLS in Washington have taken… They cry about it and demand that the term “MLS” is theirs and demand that people stop using it. Do they have a copyright or trademark on the term, you ask? Of course not, but that doesn’t matter to these cry-baby pissy-pant’s- … Continue reading Cry-Baby Board of Realtor Associations and MLS’s Continue Desperate Rule-Making

2007 Magnificent 7 Finalists

  Larry Cragun at RealEstateUndressed just released his 2007 finalists for his Magnificent 7 awards. I’m honored to be among the nominees for an article I wrote in August. I met Larry last year when we both shared a speaking role (about blogging) at the Inman Connect convention. I am pleased to say that he wasn’t undressed. That would have made things a bit uncomfortable. The cool things about Larry’s award is that it is specifically for articles written for consumers, which knocks about 95% of the articles written on real estate blogs right out of contention. There is a lot of … Continue reading 2007 Magnificent 7 Finalists

Video is Over-Rated

Video has been the “new” thing now for while and some people are really into using video for blogging and for real estate tours. But not everything that is new is better.  I have not embraced using video in real estate sales or in blogging (vlogging), and here’s why… The written (typed) word inherently allows you to go at your own pace– read fast or slow, re-read over and over- stare at and study, or speed-read at a very fast pace. Moving video of something standing still (rooms in a home) accomplish nothing more than a still-shot photo does. Moving around a room with … Continue reading Video is Over-Rated

Point2 Agent Shaken Up- Good For Consumers and Agents

  I don’t know as much about Point2 Agent  as a company as many agents do, but I am a member and have used the system. It seems to me to be an entry-level type service with a template website given and then you pay for add-ons and additional services. One thing I do know is that the company, as far the real estate piece of what they do, is centered around template websites. I think it’s important for our industry to evolve and maybe it’s time to begin to step-up to a higher level of website than templates offer. … Continue reading Point2 Agent Shaken Up- Good For Consumers and Agents

The Media Says Now is a Good Time to Buy

  That wacky media, and it’s incredible contradiction… From the Deseret Morning News come this article talking about how Salt Lake’s stellar economy and job growth are shielding it from the same harm some other markets are facing (sound familiar?) From MSN Money comes this article  about buying real estate now, and this one  saying now is a good time to invest in builder stocks because the market is collecting a strong pent-up demand from homebuyers. From the Article, “Employment is still strong and plenty of folks who have the desire and the means to buy aren’t doing it. Why? … Continue reading The Media Says Now is a Good Time to Buy

Speaking at NYC Inman Connect Jan 9th-11th

  The annual New York InMan Connect Conference will be January 9th through the 11th, hosted at the The Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  I’ll be speaking at the event in a session titled, “Tapping New Methods for Finding Buyers.” From the InMan Speakers page; Real Estate Connect provides the highest quality content and speakers to create an unparalleled learning and interactive experience. Speakers include prominent executives, entrepreneurs and innovators from real estate, mortgage, finance and technology’s leading companies. In addition, you’ll find the celebrated and controversial, including key journalists, authors, influential bloggers, and visionaries who track industry trends. Featured … Continue reading Speaking at NYC Inman Connect Jan 9th-11th

Why Do People Move?

  According to the 2006 Census Bureau American Housing Survey, more than 19.3 million Americans moved last year. 3,051,000 moved to establish their own residence (1.2 million changed from renter to owner) 2,869,000 needed a bigger place 2,308,000 moved for a new job or job transfer 2,330,000 wanted to be closer to work or school 2,792,000 wanted a better place 476,000 moved because they got married 588,000 moved because they got divorced 53% had their expenses go up when they moved 23% had their expenses go down 24% stayed the same 5,335,000 say they chose the neighborhood based on it’s convenience to work 4,375,000 chose the neighborhood because it … Continue reading Why Do People Move?

What’s Right with Real Estate

It’s interesting to me to read all the conflicting opinions about real estate and Realtors. Public opinion of Realtors is rising in studies, yet I read about how all the new companies are trying to fix the broken system. Technology geeks are telling buyers and sellers to use their services instead of agents because they can do it better, news reports offer conflicting accounts about Realtors, and FSBO’s have their opinions. But what’s really interesting to me is that the people slamming Realtors most are…. Realtors! It seems to be the thing for agents with blogs- Become the consumer’s advocate- … Continue reading What’s Right with Real Estate

Things I Like About the Current Market

  The current market in Salt Lake is this; Lots of inventory, some people are watching to see what’s going on, lenders are beginning to realize they don’t have to completely shut down all loans to stay profitable, and lots of people are buying and selling houses still. Still, regardless of the good and bad and everything- there are hundreds of people buying and selling homes every week in Salt lake county. And of course hundreds more are being bought and sold in surrounding counties as well. Here are some of the things I like about the current market… Everyone … Continue reading Things I Like About the Current Market

Fed Chops Half-Percent Off Rates/ Utah Job Market Still Strong

  Pick up a copy of the Tribune today and the whole front page talks about the .5% rate cut the fed just announced and how Utah’s job growth represents 5% of the entire country’s job growth. What does this mean for our local real estate market? Not much, actually. People with adjustable-rate mortgages will have some relief and people will get lower rates on home-equity loans and, but our job growth has been leading the nation for over a year, interest rates are a very low 6.25% right now (locally) and our local economy has been super strong for a … Continue reading Fed Chops Half-Percent Off Rates/ Utah Job Market Still Strong

Renting Costs More Than Owning

  USAToday published an article last week titled Housing Costs Punish Family Budgets. The article spoke of the costs of buying a home and taxes and the rising costs associated with home-ownership. It also discussed how many people are spending so much of their income on their mortgage payments and how that hurts these families.  Aside from the too-easy “Why didn’t you buy a house in your price-range” argument, let’s instead look at an article they published two days later, titled Housing Crunch Hits Renters Hard. This article discusses how rents have gone up so fast that many can’t afford to pay … Continue reading Renting Costs More Than Owning

Home Builders Now Willing to Play Ball

  Some home builders are very straight-forward with the way they sell homes. They build a product and they market that product at a price they believe is fair in the market and will also bring them a profit. One example would be Ivory Homes. Ivory has always treated my clients well and my clients have always seemed very pleased with their purchase. Ivory isn’t trying to be the lowest-priced home builder and they don’t compete simply on price- they compete on value and quality. And they tell the buyers this from the beginning. Their product is semi-custom, meaning you choose one of their … Continue reading Home Builders Now Willing to Play Ball

Utah Foreclosures Rates Far Below National Average

  According to it’s National Delinquency Survey, released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the percentage of Utahn’s with loans in foreclosure at the end of the second quarter 2007 dropped from 0.74% (second quarter 2006) to 0.55%. This puts Utah’s foreclosure rate 61% lower than the current national rate of 1.40% for the quarter. As the Salt Lake Tribune points out, some of the factors include Utah’s economy creating jobs at one of the fastest rates in the nation, local unemployment rates at record lows, and our continued strong housing appreciation, which allows people to sell their homes and pay closing cost … Continue reading Utah Foreclosures Rates Far Below National Average