Archive for the 'Technology Tip' Category
The structure in which you build your real estate marketing campaigns is rapidly changing. One such form of marketing is taking place not so much in your office or home, but in the palm of your hand. That’s right, your smartphone is beyond capable of helping you reach the audience that you deserve.
The 1 billion global smartphone users are setting their sights on a few different options for 2013:
1. Mobile video – Real estate pros have quickly embraced the role that video plays in showcasing homes and communities, and they understand that video will lead the progression from the desktop browser to the mobile device.
2. Responsive Web design - The seamless flow of information from desktop to mobile and back will be highly expected in 2013, as 81 percent of users prefer mobile sites to apps for researching prices.
4. Mobile advertising - It is predicted that mobile advertising will rise 180% this year. With Facebook, Twitter, and Google mobile ads already solidified, these channels provide Realtors the opportunity to leverage a mobile marketing strategy.
5. Mobile wallets - Mobile wallets are an emerging technology that allows you to purchase services and goods using specific applications installed in your smartphone, such as Apple’s Passbook or Google Wallet. Digital coupons and other digital transaction applications will become more and more prevalent this year.
Up until recently, home buyers were unable to find information about pre-foreclosure and foreclosure properties online. Now, Zillow will help the reported 55% of home buyers who are interested in purchasing a foreclosure by making 1.2 million pre-foreclosure and foreclosed properties available at no cost. According to Zillow, these homes are not yet listed and have yet to appear on any Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Zillow says their efforts will make information available to all home shoppers that only certain investors had before. CEO Spencer Rascoff notes, “For the first time, home shoppers are able to see the entire scope of housing inventory in their area, both pre-market and for-sale, side by side. This is another tremendous step forward in consumer empowerment.”
Pre-market inventory includes pre-foreclosure properties, which are homes that have begun the foreclosure process or have been scheduled for auction. According to Zillow, there are currently about 1 million of these properties, and they also have 260,000 unlisted foreclosure properties. Zillow will include its own estimate of the home’s foreclosure sales price, which will include a percentage and dollar discount based on the FMV (fair market value). Other foreclosure details will include the foreclosure timeline, unpaid balance, and the lender, and will be available to those who sign-in.
When people are looking for a restaurant or salon to try, many turn to Yelp, a social networking site that allows users to rate and review businesses. Now, BlockAvenue is aiming to do the same with neighborhoods. The new service rates the livability of urban neighborhoods using millions of data points, including user reviews via social media. The service launched recently in New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston, and founded Anthony Longo says they will expand to other urban areas around the country.
The site’s searchability function is powered by Google Maps, and when users search for neighborhoods, “BlockScores” that are essentially letter grades pop-up on the map. In the same fashion as a report card, the best receive “A” grades while the worst receive an “F.” Additionally, users can see pins for restaurants and other businesses as they zoom in, along with user-generated reviews.
BlockAvenue is still in the beta testing stage, so there are some kinks to work out, like actually seeing all block rankings at every zoom level. They are also looking to integrate with other social media platforms soon, in addition to boosting their revenue via licensing and traditional advertising methods.
Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing sites on the internet. People create virtual bulletin boards where they can pin things and ideas they want to bookmark. Whereas many people used to tear out photos in magazines in the hopes of keeping them safe until they could source the product, these days, people turn to Pinterest instead.
“Home” is the number one category of pins on the site, and real estate agents should take note. Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic back to your own website, but you have to be a presence in the online space. With 17.8 million users, it’s a great place to connect with potential buyers and sellers. Using social media sites like Pinterest help consumers to see that you’re human, who just happens to be a real estate agent. It can help eliminate the sales’y aspect and help buyers and sellers feel more comfortable in soliciting your services.
Pinterest can be a great relationship-building tool, and if it means that more people happen upon your website, that is simply a bonus. Home owners and home buyers are all over the site, collecting ideas for home renovation projects, party planning tips, and more. It’s an organizational tool that consumers trust to keep them on-track with larger projects, and agents and brokers would be smart to create a dialogue in this space. You can create boards with home improvement ideas, one with appliances that help consumers compare prices between manufacturers. Give your potential clients ideas of how they can use Pinterest, and they will see just how creative and helpful you are.
Buying and selling homes is a huge decision for most people, and if you can forge a more personal relationship with them, chances are, they will come to you with their business. Give them a glimpse into your own thoughts and ideas with Pinterest!
Recently, a billion dollar deal was made, and Facebook purchased the mobile phone app Instagram. This merger presents a great deal of growth opportunity for marketers, especially those in the real estate industry. After becoming available to Android users, the app was downloaded by one million people within the first twelve hours! Instagram is now able to utilize all of the resources that Facebook has to offer and will soon have revenue, as well as access to some of the best designers in the industry.
The growth of Instagram can ultimately assist agents by increasing exposure of their properties. They now have the ability to show off listings to a much more diverse user base, and as well all know, everyone loves looking at a good photo! Instagram will also soon be improving their software, making it possible to use the app for more than just posting interesting photos. Instagram is the perfect example of how the web is changing. In addition, visual media is becoming more important, especially on mobile devices.
A recent survey by The Real Estate Book showed that 52% of respondents said they used a mobile device during their home buying search. 68% of that group said they found an agent to view the home based on their mobile search. The study also showed that people are definitely using their mobile device mostly for browsing visual media – 78% used their mobile device to look at photos and videos of homes.
If utilized correctly, Instagram could be the hip new tool for agents to connect with their clients. It combines the two things that people use their mobile devices for most, and has the perfect target audience. Most people using Instagram are between 21 and 34. Agents should perk up at that statistic because 27 percent of home buyers in 2011 fell in that age range.
Long gone are the days of having to go visit a real estate brokerage and flip through a huge book of listings to find what homes are on the market. Now all a buyer has to do is go online! Advances in Smartphones and real estate apps have made house hunting an on-the-go activity. Here’s a list of must-haves to check out for this year’s open house season.
1. Trulia – this app lets you read through user generated reviews of neighborhoods that you might be interested in. You can use their custom search to narrow down your selections, and then save the notes you make on the different locations. Also sign up for email alerts that let you know when new property is available.
2. Mobile apps with GPS capabilities – finding these apps will help you have a more organized plan of action when you’re looking for open houses near you. Easily add the listings to your calendar and then use the GPS to get you there. Move around the interactive map to discover new neighborhoods, and mark off what properties you have been to.
3. Gadgets – use your Smartphone like a pen and paper. Write down notes right in your phone so they’re always conveniently near you. You can also take photos and videos.
4. Social Networks – put Facebook to work! Post photos of the open houses you go to to get friends’ feedback. Also the Trulia app will connect you with Yelp so you can check out what shops and restaurants are in the neighborhood.
5. Message Boards and Blogs – on the Trulia Voices site they offer a community of agents and locals that can answer your questions.
These new technologies are making home buying a much more enjoyable experience. It’s fun to keep track of all the places you look at, get feedback from friends, and compare pictures. It’s a great time to be shopping for a home!
When you’re listing a property online, getting the aesthetics right is a must. Many brokers will put up a blurry photo of a property, or worse, won’t include one at all. Imagine you were searching for a home to purchase. Would you click on a listing or want more information about a property you couldn’t see?
In all likelihood, the answer is no. Humans are looking for instant gratification, especially when they are about to spend a large amount of money on something. So, choosing the right property profile photo becomes paramount to a successful online listing. People shopping online for a home will want to know what their future residence looks like. That’s why it’s critical to pick a photo that will give the best first impression possible to your potential buyers. A clear, crisp photo of the exterior is the best way to give them that.
Choose a photo that showcases the front of the house. A visually appealing image will capture your viewer’s attention, and they will click through your listing to see more photos, gathering more information about your listing simultaneously. Thumbing through professional-looking photos online gives people the sensation that you are professional and worthy of their business, not to mention helps them imagine themselves living in the home that you are trying to sell.
- ColorSnap by Sherwin-Williams—Snap of photo of anything in your home, like your kitchen curtains, and this free app will offer a color-matched Sherwin-Williams paint. Another feature brings up coordinating colors.
- CALCS—For only $2.99, this app has more than 115 calculations you’ll need for home improvement projects, like determining quantities of asphalt or mulch.
- Ruler 2—Spend 99 cents and you’ll always have a ruler or tape measure at-hand. Drag a pointer along the length of an object and Ruler 2 provides you with the length.
- iHandy Carpenter—Looking for a digital toolkit that turns your device into a level, steel protractor, ruler or plumb bob? IHandy Carpenter is the app you need and costs only $1.99.
- Dream Home—Dream Home puts design ideas for remodeling projects in your hand. It’s loaded with hundreds of magazine concepts, but costs a fraction of the price at $1.99.
- I.D. Wood—At $4.99, I.D. Wood is the most expensive app on our list, but helps you understand 160 species of wood, including pictures and tips for working with various types.
With Smartphones becoming more and more popular, the number of people using home computers and laptops as their primary device is going down. By following some simple tips, you can create a better mobile experience for you and your clients.
- Short, sweet, to the point. Long, windy paragraphs used to be in, but on a mobile device, they slow down your clients’ mobile experience. Simplify your site, including eliminating Flash presentations. Not only does Flash drag down downloads, but it isn’t compatible with many mobile devices.
- Try another angle. Google offers a simple but effective tool to evaluate a website’s mobile appearance at HowToGoMo.com. There, you can check the size of buttons and your site’s searchability (to name a couple) to ensure a better mobile experience.
- Safety first. When you’re on the go, occasionally you may find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. “Real Alert” is an app with five crucial features, such as automatic 911 dialing, GPS positioning, and hospital locations.
- Keep the receipt. When you’re on the go, sometimes keeping track of receipts can become a fulltime job. Instead of filling your wallet with paper receipts, try out the “Expensify” app. By making use of your mobile device’s camera, you can digitally track your receipts and eliminate the paper.
- Cover your tracks. Keeping track of your mileage on your mobile device is easy with the “MileBug” app. Whether you use one vehicle or several, MileBug allows you to export the records to your PC so tax time is a breeze.
- Floorplans just like “MagicPlan.” The “MagicPlan” app allows you to create an interactive floorplan with photos. It makes measurements easy and publishing to the web a snap.
- Open houses made easy. With the “Open Home Pro” app, you have a great tool for signing in clients. After they’ve entered their email address, they get an immediate “Thank you” email with your contact information and any other info you want. If there’s a price reduction, the app has a tool to notify all attendees.
As you become more attune to the mobile experience of you and your clients, you’ll be amazed how you ever got along without them!
Savvy real estate professionals are turning to personal landing pages to help grow their businesses. Now, more than ever, it’s easy. DooID.com and other services give you the ability to setup a personal landing page in just a few minutes. Once it’s up, modern-day technology allows your personal landing page to pull content from sources that you regularly use, keeping it timely, relevant and virtually maintenance-free.
Before you start building your personal landing page, decide what kind of personal connection you want to make with your clients. Tell them about yourself: hobbies, family, favorite restaurant, favorite movie. By doing this, you allow your clients a look at the person behind the sign and resonate with you on a personal level.
Since there are so many ways to be in touch these days, your personal landing page can be a virtual contact list for you. You can link clients to your Facebook page, Linked In profile, or Twitter feed, while also allowing them a way to contact you via email. Additionally, you can list all of your phone numbers, office address, and Skype contact information. The more ways a client can get in touch with you, the better.
The most common recommendation is to set up a personal domain (e.g. yourname.com). That way, you not only appear more professional, but you allow your clients to find and see your “official” brand. It also allows them a way to find companies and services that you personally trust.
Your personal landing page can become a powerful tool in your sales arsenal. With some thought and planning, you allow past and present clients a way to stay in touch, while giving them a place to send new referrals. Then you’re growing your business and building your reputation as someone they like and trust!