March 31, 2011
In todays fast paced world, we have so much on our mind, that sometimes we get sidetracked from the most routine things.Have you ever locked yourself out of the house? Have you ever left the house wondering if you ACTUALLY turned off the stove? With the simple technology of home automation, we can monitor just about anything from just about anywhere.
Most applications relate to lighting, home security, thermostat regulation, home theater and entertaining pretty much anything that uses electricity can be included. You can start as simple or as complex as you desire to accommodate any budget. Manyof the systems can be monitored from the internet, any smart phone or iPad, via simple applications that are often free to download. There are also options of remotes, voice command, and text messaging.
It is much easier to install home automation in a house while it is still being built, but existing homes can utilize home automation through wireless systems. There are multiple companies that offer numerous products. The most impressive ones I came across are Home Automation, Inc (HAI) and Control 4. Control4 recently partnered with SubZero Wolf Appliance, Inc. so that you can control and/or receive updates on the appliances. With the Control4 platform, Sub-Zero wine storage unit owners can monitor their units door status to be assured the wine unit door has been properly shut and air is not entering or exiting.
Being in the The William Raveis Exceptional Properties division, I thought I should mention some of the more advanced applications we are likely to see in some our luxury homes. Savant offers whole house audio video, automated shade controls, pool spa, and more. Your home theater room can be automated to cue up your favorite movie, dim lights, close shades, set a predetermined temperature even start popping the popcorn. At the same time you can use the remote control to easily monitor security cameras, obtain the weather and sports scores and much more.
If you prefer to ease into home automation, many home security companies have started to offer different levels of home automation systems. Vivint ADT offer similar solutions including automatic door locks, smart thermostats, and light/small appliance controls. You can set up reoccurring events like having the lights to go off when the alarm goes on and even get notified via text, email or video clip when your child comes home from school or enters a medicine cabinet.
Bill Gates home in Washington, uses an electronic chip on household members to learn their preferences and when two chips are in the same room it even compromises on something both people will like. For the rest of us whether you want to warm up the hot tub on the drive to your vacation house, or you just want to cut your daily energy costs, home automation is a convenience that is becoming more affordable. Check out one of William Raveis current luxury listings in Cape Cod that offers home automation conveniences.
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/03/31/home-automation-conveniences/
March 30, 2011
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/03/30/2439/
March 29, 2011
Over the past several months I have been lucky enough to meet with many of William Raveis 2,700 agents throughout our 75 offices across the northeast. Each of them contributes to The Raveis Difference. I have shared with them marketing and technology advice and taken time to understand the dynamics of their local markets.
After being on the road, I have really come to understand The Raveis Difference.
I cannot count the amount of times I have read about the importance of keeping pace with new technology as a realtor, or keys to negotiation success, or how to communicate with buyers and sellers. And all of this is extremely important I spend copious hours researching these topics! I have been inspired to see agents of every generation utilizing cutting edge technology, such as iPads, smartphones and the newly developed William Raveis Agent Dashboard to better market their listings and increase their client base. I am equally impressed to see Raveis agents refining negotiating skills and other core competencies that are needed to stay competitive in this industry.
But, the real estate feds seem to ignore talking about a key piece of the successful brokerage puzzle. And thats the people. They can talk about tools and tricks till theyre blue in the face, but those must complement the desire of the people, the agents, to achieve success for and help their clients. Raveis agents have this mindset. They build lasting relationships with their clients and provide the support of intimate local market knowledge. Each agent brings unique strengths to the table and has the curiosity to build new skills to better serve the customer.
Their exceptional dedication has helped us earn several awards in the past few years, alone.
- Best Company to Work for by the respected Boston Business Journal
- The Best Residential Real Estate Firm by the Commercial Record
- The Best Residential Real Estate Firm by the Banker Tradesman
- Best Residential Mortgage Provider by Banker Tradesman and Commercial Record
- Best Insurance Company by Banker Tradesman and Commercial Record
- The Best Website in Real Estate from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World
- The Best Residential Real Estate Firm by The Commercial Record
- The Best Residential Real Estate Firm by Banker Tradesman
- The Best Website in Real Estate from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World
As we turn 37, we reflect on our contributions to real estate. We pride ourselves in providing innovative tools to help agents succeed, but are humbled to be represented by such outstanding people. These assets make us different.
And they are The Raveis Difference.
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/03/29/the-raveis-difference/
March 25, 2011
The week has come to an endbut todays Social Juice is just beginning! Read below to see the importance of optimizing your site for viewing in various browsers, how to stop losing business cards by storing them digitally with a cool app called Cardmunch and a twitter tidbit
For Your Viewing Pleasure
Once youve created your real estate site and populated it with great content, you must make sure that it has multi-browser symmetry. Meaning, make sure everyone else is seeing what youre seeing! Just because you are viewing your site as you intended it, does not mean your potential lead in South Bend, Indiana is having the same experience. Viewers may not be able to scroll across the screen, or a full frame may not show up on their page views or images may not load accurately. In addition, some sites may not be easily viewable on older browser versions. Remember this-websites look different in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera etc.
And Google comes to the rescue again. It offers a great tool providing insight into this pesky problem-its called Google Browser Size. This tool will allow you to enter any url and then get statistics on what percentage of people are seeing your site accurately. Below are some sample images from the tool showing how to interpret its information:
The shaded percentage areas indicate how many people can see the site up to and including that area. So, for example, 90% of those viewing the site pictured above can see everything down to and including the Donate Now tab. And in the second image, 70% of people can see the Donate Now tab, but 30% cant. Thats a huge number! This data can be very revealing as to why your website is or is not functioning as youd like. Based on what you see, you can make changes to push more leads and conversions. I encourage you to take a few minutes to check out Google Browser Size. Also, for a great list of Google Tools specifically created for real estate (and discussed by Google) check out this page.
A Place Business Cards Can Call Home
The App world is truly a delightful bottomless pit. I was informed of yet another cool IPhone app through one of my co-workers its called CardMunch. Perhaps many of you are in the same boat, but I think in the past few years alone I have collected more business cards than the total amount of friends I have on facebook (hint, its comfortably above the average of 130 friends). Once you get a business card, Cardmuch uses the phones camera to take a picture of it and then stores it as a contact. The card is then downloaded back to your phone as a digital image. The app ensures the information saved to your phone is completely accurate so you dont have to go back and fix mistaken entries.
And heres another convenient featureyou can immediately import the contact to your email by exporting your list of Cardmunch contacts. Finally, the App allows you to send an instant LinkedIn request and follow up email after the initial contact. Niiiice.
Twitter Turns 5
This week, Twitter enjoyed its 5th birthday. The social giant (has 180 million users and growing) has become an addiction for its users. And for good reason. Twitter is a valuable source of information and up-to-date data on thousands of topics. It has also become a primary business tool. Users are able to forge powerful relationships by typing 140 characters, or less. Real estate agents are realizing the value of this tool to increase their virtual SOI, thereby increasing leads. However, it is still getting misused in the industry (as well as other industries). Perhaps the biggest takeaway from twitter from the real estate perspective, is to follow people within your community. This includes local newspapers, the owner of the boutique down the street or groups formed around certain causes. This way, you are participating in conversation that impacts your community and you can become aware of when someone needs your services. And, this is all free of charge. One of the many great benefits of social media.
Happy Birthday, Twitter! Looking forward to seeing your continued growth in real estate.
Tags: bill raveis, ct real estate, digital business cards, internet browsers, ma real estate, ny real estate, Raveis.com, real estate marketing, real estate social media, ri real estate, social media, technology, twitter marketing, william Raveis Real Estate
One Response to Social Juice: Week 5
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/03/25/social-juice-week-5/
March 18, 2011
Chairman and CEO of William Raveis Real Estate, Bill Raveis, recently announced the redesign and update of the companys world renowned website, raveis.com. The site, which receives 10 million annual visits and 1 billion annual hits, has been further optimized to facilitate an easier online home search experience and provide visibility of other data vital to homebuyers and sellers, such as mortgage rates and YouTube videos giving insight into the real estate market.
90 percent of homebuyers begin to search for their future home online, says Mr. Raveis. The rethinking and redesign of raveis.coms homepage is meant to foster an even simpler and enjoyable home search for site visitors. All the information they need to make an educated home-buying or selling decision is available at the click of a mouse.
The homepages redesign showcases nine featured properties inlaid in the companys trademark logo, a raveis blue crest and border. From the homepage, access raveis.coms popular Find a Home, featuring a flash powered map of the northeast to begin refining a home search. The left sidebar of the homepage also displays 2 widgets providing key buyer and seller information. The first is a Mortgage Rate Watch with real-time updates of current mortgage rates. The second features a 3-tabbed browser of latest headlines from the company blog, blog.raveis.com, a view of the William Raveis YouTube channel and a housing newsletter subscription tab.
Visitors are also now able to access detailed visual tours of nearly 25,000 listings on raveis.com.
In a society where information-gathering on the web has become second nature, raveis.com provides a cutting edge view into William Raveis key divisions and their role in serving clients. For example, The Exceptional Properties Division recently created a Global Marketing Program, an elegant and colorful digital e-zine of the companys extensive marketing plans for luxury homes. To view the piece, available on raveis.com, please click here.
Raveis.com is also an information hub for William Raveis 3,000 agents. Along with the site redesign, the companys agent education offerings have increased to over 300 classes per year. In addition, William Raveis recently launched the first free CRM, business management and marketing tool, Agent Dashboard, to assist agents in steering every aspect of their business with just a single logon identification.
The wholistic nature of raveis.com has earned the site high standing from leading real estate organizations such as Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. In 2009, LeadingRE introduced the WQC Award, recognizing excellence in website functionality, design and creativity. Raveis.com received this honor in 2009 and 2010.
We believe raveis.com is one of the primary reasons we are a leading innovator in the real estate industry, says Mr. Raveis. Our affiliations with respected international real estate organizations, such as FIABCI, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and LuxuryRealEstate have helped us develop an expansive international network, empowered by raveis.com. In addition, our robust E-Commerce Division receives 2,000 call center inquiries per month. We intend to keep delivering innovative ways to redefine the traditional real estate website.
Tags: best real estate websites, bill raveis, luxury real estate, luxury real estate agents, raveis blog, Raveis.com, real estate websites, social media, social media strategies, top real estate websites, William Raveis
March 16, 2011
Scott Elwell, of Al Filippone Associates @ William Raveis, and founder of GreenwichCT.com, breaks down what you need to know about selecting the right Realtor for you in this easy to follow Top Ten list. This post was first featured on Junkluggers blog, a company oriented towards environmentally friendly junk removal.
Find a Realtor that
10 Is familiar with the area.
This may seem obvious, though I cant tell you how many times I have come across other agents who didnt do their research. You should never work with an agent who isnt familiar with the location you are researching. If you get the slightest concern that your agent doesnt know the town, speak up and address the issue. Ive had clients who wanted to look in areas I didnt know well and in those cases I bring along another agent (who I compensate) to help out. Good agents do this all the time and should never feel embarrassed if they dont know something. The bigger embarrassment comes when they get caught pretending they know an area.
9 You get along with.
Some house-hunting searches take months (if not years), so you could end up spending a ton of time with your agent. Make it easy on yourself and find someone that you get along with. There are tons of great agents out there, so dont worry if the first person you meet doesnt fit perfectly with your expectations. This is a major transaction and shouldnt be taken lightly; so dont look for a new best friend, look for someone that can get the job done without driving you mad.
8 That is experienced in the industry.
Im not going to place a ton of weight on this item, though it should be addressed. In many cases, going with the young aggressive agent (especially if you are selling your house) can pay off handsomely. You can get a level of attention that many lifelong all-star agents simply dont have the time to give you. That being said, going with the tried and true is always the safe bet. This is a hard job that isnt for everyone and it takes years to prove that.
7 That is familiar with your type of property/price range.
The town I work in, Greenwich, CT, has an extremely broad range of houses on the market. You can spend $30 million (seriously) or $300,000 on a house. Due to this diversity, it is very smart to find an agent that knows your price point and what you are looking for. There are many agents who cover the whole range and are extremely good at it. Those agents are great to work with and prove that it is ok to cover the entire range. The issue comes up for those agents who dont know certain areas/price points.
6 That is honest.
This is another obvious item, though many clients take it for granted that their agent is honest. Just like any other profession, there are many real estate agents who for some reason choose the dark side and dont really come truthful with their clients.
5 That is familiar with your situation.
There are real estate agents out there who only rent. I dont get it, but its true. There are some real estate agents out there who live in a city and sell in the suburbs. Find an agent that lives in the town you are looking at and one that has actually bought what they are trying to sell.
4 That is accessible.
Ok, some real estate agents are so busy that they cant answer phone calls for days. In that case they should have an assistant. Either way, you should always be able to get a hold of your agent or their assistant within a couple hours. Period.
3 That is aggressive and will fight for you.
Would you rather pay 100 Apples for a house that you love with an agent who you really get along with or would you rather pay 70 Apples for the same house with an agent who you cant stand? See why this is item 3, not item 9.
2 That is respected by their peers.
Your agent isnt going to accomplish much if the other agent (selling or buying) agent they have to work with doesnt respect them much.
1 That has ENERGY!
Get out on the road and pound some pavement. Your agent should be working for you and not waiting on your call.
Tags: bill raveis, choosing a real estate agent, ct real estate, fairfield ct, find a real estate agent, how to find a realtor, local search, ma real estate, ny real estate, raveis blog, Raveis.com, ri real estate, William Raveis
March 12, 2011
Ahh how I love Fridays!!! This week in Social Juice, we got some dooziescontinue reading for information on how Firefox and Internet Explorer are going to help change real estate search, why keywords are important for your website and blog, and..wait for it.THE iPHONE 5 (no punctuation needed here)
1) Better Real Estate Browsing
Several minutes during each of our days on earth are spent clicking on those reliable desktop Internet Explorer and Firefox icons (maybe just firefox if youre a mac-ie) to work, innovate and play online. Yet over the years, Firefox and Internet Explorer (IE) have been harshly criticized on speed, efficiency and overall ease of use. My, how weve hurt their feelings. However, that is likely to change as both browsers are scheduled to release their new and vastly improved iterations- Firefox 4 and IE9- within the next month (date is tentative).
Perhaps the most noteworthy change in these widely used browsers is the support of a fast growing web standard, HTML5. A simple explanation here: HTML5 is a new programming language that creates a more polished online browsing experience, whether you are downloading photos, watching videos or simply viewing a website. For example, as many of you know, before you start watching a video on youtube or if you visit a website that has lots of movement, you will be prompted to download Adobe Flash Player plug-in. How annoying. Well, that wont be the case pretty soon. HTML5 behind Firefox 4 and IE9 will let you experience that video or website seamlessly, without any plug-in puzzlement.
This will open new doors for real estate search. While my above explanation of HTML5 was laughably simple, the changes in real estate search once the language becomes industry standard will be anything but so. One of the biggest changes will be in videoadding more dimension for viewing pleasure. In fact, one of the coolest features in Firefox 4 is the 360 degree videos. With this enhancement, property tours will be given an added boost and more visual appeal.
Another exciting update will be browser geolocation ability. This is very similar to what the smartphones we all now carry in our pockets do. Firefox and IE will be able to pinpoint your exact location based on the computers ip address. By now, we all know how important location is when it comes to real estate. Think about how you can fine tune your marketing being armed with this kind of information!
I will keep a close eye on the release of IE9 and Firefox 4 to see these changes in action. However, until then, you can check out the demo versions of the updated browsers IE here and Firefox 4 here.
2) Keywords, Key Traffic
Ah yes, youve got yourself a wonderful website and blog, both not only featuring a beautiful display of your listings, but also showing off your A+ knowledge as a realtor. So why arent you getting those leads? Could be because you arent fully optimizing your site or your blog. By optimizing, I mean utilizing keywords that generate a lot of traffic. Google AdWords provides a simple solution to this problem.
You will need a gmail account in order to get full access Google AdWords. However, you can still do a more basic search without an account, as well. Simply visit https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. Now, your keyword search can begin!
When creating a blog post or choosing what content to put on your website, you have to remember that search engines like Google pay fairly close attention to the verbiage that you use. Smart usage of highly trafficked terms can get more eyeballs to your site or blog. Lets take an examplesay youre doing a blog post on preparing your home to sell in the spring market. One of the terms you could enter in the Word or phrase box would be selling my home. Once you do so, you will see a list of keywords associated with your phrase, pictured below.
Without getting into too much geeky detail here, try and pick keywords that have medium competition (the competition horizontal bar is only halfway green). I like the first keyword Google gave me which is selling my home because it has a medium level of competition and has a good amount of global monthly searches(the approximate 12 month average of user searches for a particular keyword) -18,100 .
So, when drafting your post, try to throw in the phrase selling your home. You dont have to put it in every other sentence, but once of twice would suffice. Google will be able to tell if your blog posts are chock full of keywords and that can actually work against you. In addition, when drafting a blog, you are asked to provide tags. Selling your home should be one of those tags, along with any other key terms you tested in Google AdWords that are relevant to your post and dont have a high level of competition. Check out this great video giving a simple guide on how to use Google AdWords www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG-42LmFKNE.
3) iPhone 5 This May Be It
As if Apple hasnt been in the news enough lately with the recent launch of its highly anticipated iPad 2, now theres a potential iPhone 5 image rumor to deal with! A leak from China purports that the image below depicts the design for the iPhone 5, due in the summer. One of the biggest differences (and really one of the only ones according to the drawings)-a larger screenaccording to the drawings, it would be close to 4 inches across diagonally. Good stuff! What other updates do you think the iPhone 5 should have?
Tags: bill raveis, geolocation, google adwords, html5, iphone 5, iphone 5 release date, keyword research, raveis blog, Raveis.com, real estate, real estate marketing, real estate technology, real estate website, social media, William Raveis
One Response to Social Juice: Week 4
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/03/11/social-juice-week-4/
March 11, 2011
This week, Chris Raveis, President of William Raveis Affiliates, announced two big events for our companys Affiliate Division. That would bethe grand opening of two new offices to that are now a part of the Affiliate Network! We would like to extend a warm welcome Dolores Person Group in Newburyport, MA and Jordan/William Raveis Real Estate in Nantucket, MA!
The opening of these two locations shows our continued commitment to grow the affiliate program throughout the northeast. William Raveis Affiliates offers affiliation opportunities to leading real estate organization in select markets.
Heres a little bit about each office and their exceptionally talented management and staff:
The Brokers/Owners of Jordan/William Raveis Real Estate, David Callahan and Gloria Grimshaw are seasoned professionals in the real estate industry. Together, they have 60 years of real estate experience in sales, as well as management. Grimshaw worked with Lucille Jordan Associates for 25 years as a broker and Callahan was a broker and office manager for the same company for 15 years. In 2007, both purchased Lucille Jordan, making a transition from broker to principal. Grimshaw and Callahan look forward to the expansion opportunities afforded to Jordan Real Estate through the partnership with William Raveis.
William Raveis won first place in Boston Business Journals 2010 Best Places to Work Survey, said Callahan. The companys exceptional reputation is a huge attraction for us. Grimshaw added, We affiliated with William Raveis to enhance and advance our office technology, provide our agents with additional training and tools and to broaden our contacts through the expansive Raveis network all in order to increase business and grow our company.
Dolores Person will be the CEO/Managing Partner of the new William Raveis Dolores Person Group. She, along with her ten agents and administrative manager, Mary Bilodeau, are looking forward to the opportunities afforded by this union. Prior to the affiliation with William Raveis, The Dolores Person Group existed as a vital partner at Stone Ridge Properties. Persons group has been in business for 22 years and she was named the number one agent in the Newburyport marketplace in 2011.
The support of William Raveis brings national quality marketing and technology to a great team of agents that will truly allow us to provide a dynamic level of local service with the highest quality publicity and advertising available in the real estate industry, says Person.
Both of these offices are representative of the highest level of knowledge, experience and integrity synonymous with the William Raveis brand. We look forward to serving the Nantucket and Newburyport communities!
March 9, 2011
March 5, 2011
Welcome to your weekly guilty pleasure, Social Juice. There were some big announcements this week (hint-IPAD2) that are shaking up the mobile tech world! In addition to that story, I will share a couple online marketing tips that can help you enhance your web presence. Here we go
Kaywa and Lead Generation
I wrote a post a few months ago talking about potential game-changers in real estate tech, one of them being QR Codes. As I mentioned in that post, they are a small square space with encoded data leading to a link or url and can be found on many types of print advertising. When scanned by an appropriate device, likely a smartphone, they can link to any information on the web. If youre an agent, a light bulb should have gone on above your head right about now. You could place QR codes on any and all of your marketing materials, including business cards (which is becoming popular in the industry), on mailers or on For Sale Signs leading to more information about the listing or a virtual tour.
Kaywa will create a QR Code for you in a matter of secondsfor free. Heres how it works: simply visit http://qrcode.kaywa.com/. Type in the url (to your website, or listing, or blog, or a photo or whatever you would like the code to point to), select the size of your code (S, M, L) and then click on generate! Its that simple. You can then save the code and add it to any of your marketing pieces.
What also makes Kaywa cool is its lead generation capability. You can setup your code so when scanned, an automatic message appears to the scanner asking him or her to click send if they want more information on a home or whatever site your QR Code leads to. Once he or she clicks send, you get their contact information (ie. Phone number) and they get to the more information they wanted to see. And thats lead generation at its finest! So if youre lead-looking, you may want to give Kaywa a shot.
A lot of agents have asked me how to measure their success when creating a Facebook Like Page. In last weeks Social Juice, I explained Googles Real Time tool, which give you a snapshot of whats being said about you in Facebook status updates and tweets all over the web. However, for really in-depth data providing implications of the activity occurring on your Facebook page, I recommend using Facebook Insights.
You can access insights right from your Like Pages Dashboard, pictured below.
The data is broken down into 2 sections, Users and Interactions. Within Users, get a comprehensive view of user demographics, daily/weekly/monthly active users, how many people liked your page and the kind of content you post that gets the most views. The second section, Interactions, can be very revealingin a good way. Here, you can see what days of the week or month you received the most likes or comments on status updates you posted. Based on this data, you can get a good sense of what kind of content is important to your fans-a very powerful thing.
You couldnt sift through your favorite news rss feeds this week without reading about iPad 2. The product was officially unveiled on Wednesday and has been the talk-of-the-tablet-world since. Here are some of the features on Apples latest gadget:
- iPad 2 is thinner than the iPhone 4, at a mere 8.8mm thick
- Only 1.3 lbs; lighter than previous 1.5 lb iPad
- Rear and front-facing cameras for recording video, taking photos and for FaceTimeyou get it all!
- Quicker graphics processing with a new A5 dual-core processor
And some really cool accessories:
- Apple has created a smart cover for the new iPad which can actually clean the screen
- The smart cover also automatically locks the device-the case costs $39
- A new accessory cable offers video out to hi-definition tvs for 1080p high def output
And thats all for this week! As always, if you have any tips on any of these stories or would like to share your thoughts, please do so in the comments section below! Have a great weekend!
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/03/04/social-juice-week-3/