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…

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…

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…

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…

Top State Governments

  The PEW Center on the States has released it’s report grading all the states on how well their governments work and accomplish goals and objectives. They look at a lot of factors, including; • Elected officials, the state budget office and agency personnel have appropriate data on the relationship between costs and performance and use these data when making resource-allocation decisions. • Agency managers have the appropriate information required to make program management decisions.• The governor and agency managers have appropriate data that enable them to assess the actual performance of policies and programs.• The public has appropriate access to information…

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. There are…

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 while now.…

Utah Job Growth Shows No Sign of Slowing

  Utah has been atop the country’s lists of states with major job growth for the last couple years and the unemployment rate in Utah has been at record lows. Now local employers are saying that things are only going to get better (or, would that be worse?) The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released on Tuesday, shows that 52% of Utah’s employers plan on adding to their staff during the next six months, while only 3% would be decreasing their numbers. Much of the news surrounding the area’s job growth has centered around certain companies and industries, but this survey is over the…

There’s No Room at the Top for Wimps

  We’re all prone to having our moments of weakness, where things aren’t going our way or everything seems to be falling on us at the same time. Especially in a sales industry like real estate, with the financial ups and downs and the pressures that come with it, it can be draining emotionally. Sometimes I need to retreat and spend time with family just to keep my sanity. Sometimes the pressure turns to anxiety and it’s tough to stay focused on the road ahead. But I know that’s precisely what I need to do to make things right and take care…

Your first home should be a good investment

Actually, all of the real estate you buy should be a good investment, but first time home buyers often overlook the investment for the emotional pull of upgrades, proximity to friends and decor. A home is a personal thing for sure, but the reality is- buying a home is not like finding that one true soulmate you will spend your forever with. Rather, there are many houses in any given area that one could buy and be very happy living in. A house is a shell of wood, brick and windows- it’s the people that make it a home. It’s the memories and the…

Real Estate Marketing- Good, Bad and Ugly

  Let’s face it- not all marketing is good. A lot of marketing is horrible, some is simply bland, some is very good and some should be burned immediately. Good marketing people are not always easy to find, and once you do find them they are often very busy because of the aforementioned difficulty in finding them to begin with. Selling real estate effectively requires marketing. It takes people looking at your ads so they see the homes. Whether it’s on the internet, magazines, newspapers, postcards, or wherever- sellers want buyers seeing their property and buyers want to find good homes. The…

Believe in What You Do or Don’t Do It

Driving home today I saw a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) directional sign directing people down a particular street. On the sign was a phone number and the words “owner/agent”. I recognized the phone number as belonging to an agent who used to work for me. What does this tell me? It tells me a few things… – I didn’t teach him well enough to believe in what he’s doing – His clients are losing out working with someone who doesn’t believe in what’s he doing – He may want to re-think his career choice because currently it has no integrity I…

Five Things About Successful Salespeople

I’ve heard it said that we’re all in sales, in one form or another. And there’s probably some truth to that. Having children means selling them on the benefits of brushing their teeth and going to sleep at a good hour and sometimes we try to sell our friends on why we should eat at this restaurant or to try out this new golf club or go see that movie that we thought was so good. But for actual salespeople, or those of us who’s work it is to assist people in the actual sale of a product or service, there are some…

Does Your Website Make the Grade?

  Most of us who own websites like to get as much feedback as we possibly can, especially if it’s from someone we don’t know. Well, here’s an online website evaluator that will test your site in less than 30 seconds. Testing BlueRoof it says that the Google pagerank is 0, when it’s actually 3, but other than that it’s probably pretty accurate about its assessment (which is obviously an on-paper assessment, not taking into account design, UI, or programming). (H/T Newspapergrl)

Blogging Stats, Facts, and Growth

  Millions of people have registered blogs, almost 800,000 on WordPress alone, but there are 300 million people in America and billions around the world. How many blog? What are the trends? What are the numbers? C|Net says 30% of People Blog 52% Believe bloggers should have the same rights as jounalists 80% Do not believe that bloggers should be allowed to publish home addresses and other personal information about private citizens 72% Favor censorship of personal information about celebrities 68% Favor censorship of personal information about elected or appointed government officials 39% Say blogs are less credible than newspaper articles According…

Website Design Flaws and Pet Peeves

       Some websites are getting pretty fancy and some are remarkably plain, yet we all have our own taste for design and functionality so there is no definitive design solution. Having said that, there are definitely elements that annoy most people and should be avoided. Here are my top five website pet peeves; 1- Pop-ups. I don’t mind a box already on the site that asks if I want to take a survey or something, but pop-ups are horrible. 2-Requiring registration to get information. Give me value and let me decide if I want to register. 3-Websites that have no design. Template sites…

Investing in Student Housing

  As a broker for a large real estate company in Boulder, Colorado I learned the benefits of investing in student housing when my agents would tell me about their clients. Parents who would buy an area property, rent it out to the friends of their kids, and then sell it after their child graduated for a lot of profit. Many times their kids didn’t even need to pay any rent because it was covered by their friends renting rooms. And having a student with friends is better than any property management company when it comes to finding students looking for a…

Inman News Interviews BlueRoof

       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. 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…

Top 200 Websites for Your Attention

  Compete.com gives us a new metric for measuring websites- attention. The Compete Attention 200 is a list of the top 200 websites for length of visits. MySpace, YouTube, eBay- I understand how people spend a long amount of time on these sites, but what are people doing on paypal that takes so long? Realtor.com is the only real estate site on the list at #66- most of that time is spent trying to figure out how to find the addresses of properties and/or contact info for the listing agents, which, of course, doesn’t appear unless the agents pay for it- and obviously most…

Where Realtors Really Make Their Money

             Being in the real estate industry for over a decade I’m aware that the general image of real estate agents could be much better. Especially now, with all the people who have jumped into the business in recent years, with its low barrier to entry and all the tape peddlers “self-made millionaires” on the television and radio infomercials. Historically the real estate professional has ranked in polls somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to professional trust and integrity from the public. Poll Question: Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these…

Utah to Add Over 1300 Jobs in Outdoors Sector

   The already record-low unemployment rate of 2.5% in Utah may be in for another shock as three companies announce the addition of 1335 jobs to the state. The announcements came yesterday at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show. Utah already has about 36,000 people employed in the outdoors industry, contributing a direct annual impact on the state of $4.5 billion, according to trade show president, Frank Huegelmeyer. “The best incentives are free in the state of Utah.” he said. “If you want to own the mountain, you have to be on the mountain.” Backcountry.com, which already employs 430 workers in the…

HouseValues Feeling the Pain

      Real estate lead-generation siteHouseValues.com is not doing too well and their trajectory is looking pretty bleak. They lost $1.5 Million in the third quarter of 2006 and on the 24th of this month they announced they are laying off 60 workers, or 12% of their total workforce and they eliminated the COO position altogether. They also announced they are doing away with their mortgage lead-generation business and said they will be “scaling back or eliminating initiatives that are not critical to its real estate agent customers.” It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of their business model, but it’s not easy…

BlueRoof + Sellsius =

  A photo- op apparently.  And I still can’t figure out to get that cool little degree symbol at the end of their logo. So Rudy comes in town to ski in Park City over holidays and we get a drink. And he tells me about Sellsius (degree symbol) and shares some of the company’s history, which is interesting. So we all got the Meme that was passed around a couple weeks ago but this is my reverse meme… Five things you don’t know about Rudy Bachraty III at Sellsius (degree symbol) 1- Rudy hasn’t worked in a year Dude must be…

The Internet Makes Giants of Us All

            Every Saturday morning millions of kids all across the country lay on the floor watching cartoons. Usually they are so glued to the TV programming that they don’t even realize they are also seeing hundreds of commercials for toys, hamburgers, other TV programs and whatever else can be pushed at them. Once in a while they remember the ads because they feature a character or person they recognize or the ad is funny or cool or something. And these ads work. They sell a ton of product and services. And all day long people are watching TV programs and seeing…

Could Google’s Success Be Its Undoing?

  Google became successful very fast because it offered a simple solution to a problem we all had, namely finding results on the internet. It gave us the best results and it was extremely simple to use. And these reasons for success could also be ways for someone else to take that business. Today there are many search engines that do the same job, and some arguably give better results than Google. And they are all just as easy to use and offer a similar UI. This is why Google is investing in so many auxillary programs such as spreadsheets and money…

What Do Home Sellers Want?

        I have taken hundreds of listings in my fourteen years in the business. And I’ve sold my own homes so I have been the home seller myself. I’ve had successes and failures and through the years I’ve tried to gain a better understanding of the consumer and see the trends. But one thing I have learned is that home sellers don’t really care about price, they care about value. And I include myself in this assessment. See, lately I have been focusing on price (commission), and we’ve taken a good amount of listings (70 in the 150 days since we launched BlueRoof.com) but…

Bloodhound on the Tomato

         Jim over at The Real Estate Tomato has a great interview with one real estate’s premier bloggers, Greg Swann of BloodhoundRealty. Swann has amassed a cool collection of writers to contribute to his blog, which I think is the way to go. I would do this as well if I could figure out how to do it on wordpress- you know, for someone who is online so much I am completely dumb to programming. My favorite line in the interview, “Buyers seem to me to pick their agents in the same way teenage boys pick their girlfriends: The one who smiles back first wins.”

BlueRoof, Our First 100 Days – Part 1

     When we first opened as a brokerage at the end of July we knew this would be a ride, but it’s been even crazier than expected. We’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of stress, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. BlueRoof began by accident, really. I had decided to do a re-design of a website that I’ve had for a few years, but after meeting with my web-developer and seeing some mock-ups I decided I would build a new website altogether. So I did a ton of research on names and logos and everything else and…

HouseValues Loses Big in Third Quarter

                Crappy Real estate lead-generation website, HouseValues.com says in its recent press release that it lost over $1.5 Million in the third quarter of 2006. Probably because its one of the lamest business models and websites in the known universe of market conditions, costs associated with additional support staff, and the increased cost of marketing. Look, here’s the thing about HouseValues. It is a lead generation tool that deceives the public into thinking they are getting free information about the value of their home, but really just collects their information and sells it to the highest-bidding real estate agents. And it’s not like they give…

The Power of Reputation

                                The real estate industry is interesting. One way it is interesting is that each agent, with each company is actually competing with each other for the same business. If a home-buyer is looking to buy a home and meets three real estate agents from the same office of the same company, they are handled the same way as though they met three agents from three separate companies. Each agent wants that business and is competing for that business. Realtors and real estate agents are independant contractors, so each have their own business and do things a bit differently than the others. And…

Top 40 Business Expansion Markets for 2006

            ExpansionManagement.com released it’s findings yesterday for the Top 40 expansion markets in the country. Heading up the list for growth potential this year is New Orleans with its rebuilding opportunities, followed by Tulsa, El Paso, Burningham and Oklahoma City. Salt Lake City makes the list at #23, showing the Utah real estate market’s continuing strength. And ranks #50 on it’s list of America’s Hottest Cities. That list puts Nashville at the top spot ahead of Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio. Describing where the information comes, the company says, “As in years past, the primary sources of data for the Top 40 Real Estate Markets…

People Love BlueRoof! (or hate us)

I was reading Inman Blog and came across a post from Tuesday (no linkbacks) that mentioned this post from Real Estate 2.X which talks about how companies are buying the domain names of their company with the word “sucks” after it so people can’t buy that domain name. So, of course, I went and bought http://www.blueroofsucks.com because, like I mentioned on RE 2.X, if anyone’s going to talk about how much I suck, it’s going to be me. And then in my emal this morning Mike (our prez) sent me this photo from a fan, which I actually like quite a bit (ahem…)                And it got me thinking…

Chasing Tail

     In business, we’re all chasing after something, or should I say, someone… Whatever your business is, whether it’s real estate or racquetballs, swimming pools or politics, it relies on the consumer- the customers and clients. And whether or not your company puts most of its resources into marketing or none at all, what the public thinks of your organization is important to its survival and growth. And this is where the act of marketing comes in. Magazine spreads, radio, television, Internet banners, pay-per-click, pay-per-call, pay-per-Digg, pay-per-view, pay-per-text, pay-per-blog, pay-per-lead, word of mouth, direct mail, billboard and outdoor signs, bus wraps and benches, public relations, newspaper, movie…

Is Blogging a Job or a Hobby?

When I began blogging a few years ago my posts were basically just me describing things in my personal life and how I felt about them. Nobody was really blogging then, so there wasn’t much chance that anyone I knew would ever read my blog. I didn’t get too personal, but it was certainly much more personal than I would write about now. I would share my views on parenting or things my kids would do, and I also wrote about business some. But it was a hobby. It was something I did once in a while, like once a month.                  …