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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Yahoo Real Estate Updated…. again..

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

In an attempt to remain relevant in the online Real Estate search world, Yahoo has once again made changes to their existing website. Yahoo has tried everything over the last 24 months to try and generate search traffic to their Real Estate database. Most recently, after the expiration of their exclusive agreement with Prudential, Yahoo began the process of opening their search to various MLS listings across the country. (giving equal weight to all listings) This week, Yahoo has increased the size of the photos they display by 4 times the original size, as well as adding automatic updates for existing listings to the site. Today, Yahoo boast just over 3 million existing properties for sale, as well as agreements with about 50 MLS’s. Realtor.com is still the online search leader for all Real Estate related websites. (exceeding the traffic of Zillow and Yahoo combined)

Seasonal Volume dropping in Las Vegas as expected

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

As is the case nearly every winter, the # of properties being listed in Las Vegas is beginning to drop. Today alone there have been less than 35 properties listed in the Vegas MLS. (by any brokerage) Typically by this time of day it would near 100. As a seller,I want to sell my property when the competition is lowest in number. Here is an example of how I took advantage of this situation 2 winters ago in Boise, ID.

I tried to sell an investment property in Kuna, ID in the summer of 2006. I had no luck because of the vast # of listings available during this time period. As winter approached, I noticed that many of the properties I was previously competing against had either sold, expired, or been withdrawn. I placed my property back on the market the day after thanksgiving when there was only 1 other property in the subdivision. Upon receiving an offer within 1 week, I negotiated the close of escrow to be prior to Jan 1st. By doing this, I was ensuring my buyer would close before the new year. I knew that the new year always brought on a large increase in inventory. Basically, I wanted my buyer to close before the selection of properties he had to choose from was going to increase. (my competition)

In short, as a seller, don’t get caught up in seasonal sale figures. Instead, monitor your competition closely and make your decisions based upon competing properties.

The order of your photos online

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, November 6th, 2008

A very common request we receive from homeowners is to order their photos in a certain way. It’s not unusual for the owner to post the photos in a method that resembles walking the buyer through the home. For example, they will start with the foyer, head into the living room, etc…. My personal advice is to always start with an exterior elevation shot of the home. (except in rare instances) Next, use your best photos that draw positive attention to the property. This can be a beautiful view of the city lights at night or possibly your gourmet kitchen. It is in your best interest to use your best photos first. Not all websites pull in every photo from the MLS. Many times, they may only pull in a handful. Another reason to do this is that a buyer might have been sorting through thousands of homes before getting to yours. Their attention span might not be what is was a few hours prior. Hit them with your best and brightest photos first to really grab their attention.

The truth about Realtors(R) and advertising

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, September 29th, 2008

Every now and then you come across an article titled, “what they don’t want you to know”, etc…. basically, it will be an article about how a certain business operates, the ins and outs… etc…  The link below is a direct link to an online forum moderated and produced by full service Realtors(R). The postings are from typical agents all across the country. It is important for everyone to understand that these are Realtors(R) talking to each other. This gives sellers a chance to see how Realtors(R) speak on advertising when they aren’t trying to secure a listing from a seller.

 

http://www.agentsonline.net/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/247285/How_much_do_you_spend_on_avera.html#Post247285 

Sellers can take a handful of information from this link but the most important is that agents are salespeople. Not in the sense that they sell homes, but instead, they sell the seller on themselves – the agent. When an agent comes into your home to try and acquire your listing, they are selling themselves to you.

 

The most glaring post from the link above is from a Realtor(R) who states: (when asked what he spends on marketing a property) 

“Same here, Zero on marketing. If a home is priced correctly it will sell itself. Over 90% of all home sales are done through your local MLS and by other agents, don’t waste your time with the old traditional methods like, postcards, newspapers, etc… I tell all agents and my clients they need an agent who is experienced, an attractive price and a home that is in good condition and the house will sell.”

 

When I read the agents comments above, I think to myself, this post is the best piece of advertising for the flat fee model that I can think of. He is selling our service for us by reminding everyone that price and MLS exposure sell properties.

 

 

 

How National Flat Fee Brokers Operate

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

National companies are not licensed in 98% of the states they do business. Furthermore, they are not members of the MLS’s they promote. So how do they list properties on the MLS? After taking an order, they search the web and try to find someone who is licensed in that state, is a member of that MLS, and will agree to place the listing in the system for a portion of the money paid to the national company.

One problem with national companies that refer out business is that they typically do not know what areas they actually cover. If I receive a phone call at 8am on Monday from a potential client about listing a property in Bozeman, MT, I tell them immediately that we can not cover this area and that I personally do not know of anyone who does. What is interesting about this is that quite often that same day, I will receive this same phone call from at least 3 national companies asking if I can cover Bozeman. So why does this happen? Simple, after the client contacts me, they continue their search online. The problem is that these national companies do not know what areas they cover, thus, they tell the individual, “we absolutely cover Bozeman”. This company then immediately calls Congress Realty asking if we will handle the listing for them. Once the national company realizes we don’t cover it, they have to refund the seller’s money. At this point, the seller will call national company # 2 and the cyle continues again.  This exact scenario plays out at least 2-3 times per week.

As a seller, the thing to keep in mind is that you want to talk directly with the broker inputting your listing in order to get a straight answer to your question. Many times middle man service providers have no idea as to what services that actually provide. Always ask if you can speak to the broker who will be inputting your listing into the MLS before paying.

Jared English

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, September 8th, 2008

Never before have consumers had so many choices available to them in a real estate transaction. Within the past few years, new models have developed and the internet is the vehicle that consumers are using to educate themselves about the different models available. Certainly, our flat fee MLS model is a cost effective way to achieve success in selling your home, however, there are all sort of other choices availabe to consumers. Sellers can literally choose from Flat Fee MLS programs to 8% full service listings. (and everything in between) Attorneys are becoming more common to help close deals and save money on agent fees. Online portals such as Zillow and Craigslist give buyers and sellers a chance to come together without agent interference. On the buy side, buyers have access to rebate brokers, full service brokers, hourly showing services, and much more. When you look at how few choices consumers had just 10 years ago, it really is amazing how far Real Estate has come with respect to consumer choice. Gone are the days of being forced to work with your “neighborhood specialist” at 6%. Regardless of continued resistance from certain associations or certain brokerages, real estate will continue to evolve and produce more and more inovative models in the near future driving consumer choice. It’s a great thing.

All Homes Nearby are not equal

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, September 4th, 2008

A mistake that many people make is assuming property values for neighboring subdivisions are equal or very close in value. As a result, many sellers will try to use comparable sales from nearby subdivisions in pricing their homes. Normally, those properties that fall within your immediate subdivision will be used by any appraiser appraising your property. Typically, an appraiser will only go outside of the subdivision if they absolutely have no other choice. (if there are not enough sales within the last 6 months inside your subdivision) Let’s look at an example in Anthem, AZ. Properties inside the gates of Anthem CC comp out at very different values than those properties outside the gates, despite being a stones throw away from each other. The thing to keep in mind is that distance between properties isn’t always the most important factor in using a comparable sale. A great example of this is in Seven Hills, located in Henderson, NV. This community contains 10-15 small subdivisions within the master planned community. Many of these gated areas feature homes with glorious strip views, while others back to large hills. (with no view other than the upward desert slope) The thing to keep in mind as a seller is that you want to go beyond distance, examine the various amenities and other factors of each property and compare these to yours.

“Million Dollar Producer”

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, August 29th, 2008

http://www.inman.com/opinion/guest-perspective/2008/08/19/the-myth-million-dollar-producer

A must read for homeowners planning on interviewing potential agents in the future. The real question is what do all of these designations mean and how do they benefit the consumer. In the example used in the article, the term million dollar producer adds absolutely no value to the client. It is nothing more than a term certain agents use to help advertise themselves. That being said, there are a few very legitimate designations that show expertise in certain areas. In the commercial field, CCIM is highly respected, on the other hand, CRS in the residential field is greatly respected.

So why do agents continue to put various designations after their name on their business cards, emails, etc.. Realtors(R) are constantly tagged in the professional world as those individuals with the highest potential for income but with the lowest level of education. As a result, rather than actually require stricter educational requirements, NAR sponsors many different designations to help hide the real problem. I’ll give you an example, the designation e Pro is earned by sitting through a 2 hour online tutorial. Any agent can pay the fee and sit through the class. The tutoriol consist of right and left clicking your mouse. At the completion, you’ve earned your e Pro designation!

The point of this entry is to help consumers not be fooled by agents. We wants homeowners to be able to tell the difference in a legitimate expert in their field versus a part time agent trying to make a few dollars on the side selling real estate randomly. The terms million dollar producer, GRI, e Pro, and most others designations used in the Realtor(R) profession rarely equate to a symbol of true expertise.

Realtor.com Searches Up

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, August 25th, 2008

http://www.inman.com/news/2008/08/22/realtorcom-sees-search-surge-in-some-markets

This is a great read for those interested in potential future trends. As expected, buyers are beginning to show more and more interest in distressed markets. Las Vegas, Oakland, etc… are seeing a surge in buyer activity and will most likely continue to do so. Certainly many online lookers are not qualified buyers looking to purchase today, however, the article does show us that there are many people out there on the fence or at least interested in getting back into the market in the future. Looking at the other side of the coin, Realtor.com just released their new search feature and they are planning on publishing their Beta Search in the upcoming months. With competition high between Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Craigslist, etc.. Realtor.com will take advantage of every opportunity for press coverage.

LA Real Estate

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Monday, August 4th, 2008

The LA Times just announced that the Sunday Real Estate section has been discontinued.  There will continue to be real estate articles published in the other sections like home and business.  It was part of the cost cutting measures put in since Sam Zell took over the business.

One has to really question whether it makes sense to market real estate through the newspaper anymore.  This move by the LA Times shows that the income (advertising revenue) does not yield a suitable return compared to the expenses (employee salaries, printing, etc.)  So obviously agents and builders are backing off their newspaper advertising campaigns.  If they aren’t advertising, others should take note.