April 29, 2011
This week, there was a huge update in the social sphere, more specifically, on facebook. Since this is so big, Ive decided to devote most of todays Social Juice to this piece of information that is juicier than Prince William and Kates balcony smooch post-wedding nuptials (in my opinion!). Read on for more
A BIG Facebook Update
This week, facebook announced a new social feature that could potentially change the way users interact with and share content. Its called the Send feature. Ever come across an article or piece of information that you just wanted to send to a few people on facebook, say, your clients? Thats what send does. The button is designed to make it easier for users to share content with close groups of friends, said Facebook product manager Austin Haugen. When you click on the send button, a pop-up appears (much like if you were to click on share from an outside website) and you can select to whom you would like to send the interesting tidbit you found on the web. You can send the article to an email address, facebook group or to facebook friends. Pretty cool stuff. Takes away the burdensome task of having to copy and paste a url of an article, then pop it into and email and then send it.
Kudos to facebook for creating a plug-in that allows for a little more intimacy. With send, you to really decide who should see the information you find on third-party sites. You could not do that with the simple like or share feature (though these features are still essential to share great content with masses of people, say your followers on your Like page).
I think this is a great development for real estate professionals. Facebook is filled with real estate broker and agent Like pages and they are increasing their virtual SOI and business as a result. A lot of agents are also starting niche groups on facebookwhether they be devoted to first time homebuyers, downsizing or local area happenings. This is a great way to connect with a group of people (who also may happen to be your clients) in a more personal way (groups allow for more privacy than Like pages because you have to be invited to become a member). With the new send feature, a realtor can send an article from an outside site to the entire group or to select members of the group.
50 sites and counting have launched the send button, including Gilt Groupe, 1-800-flowers, the Wall Street Journal, Orbitz, The Huffington Post, People.com and The Washington Post. If you are interested in placing the send button on your site, copy and paste the code snippet from the Facebook Developers Website to the backend of your blog/site.
Below are a couple screenshots of what the send button looks like on a website:
White is the New Black
The white apple iPhone went on sale in numerous countries yesterday. This long-awaited color option is available in the U.S. from Apples online store, Apples retail stores and ATT and Verizon wireless stores (yes the white version is available for both service providers).
The white iPhone was announced early last summer, but experienced delays due to paint mixture issues. Delay notwithstanding, at least one Wall Street analyst believes the mystique surrounding the elusive device will boost sales, even as rumors of the anticipated fifth-generation iPhone heat up, according to AppleInsider.
Several industry experts see Apple boosting iPhone sales due to the new color option. 1 to 1.5 million units of white iPhone 4s are expected to be sold in the June and September quarters, leading up to the release of the iPhone 5.
Will you be purchasing the white version?
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/04/29/social-juice-week-9/
April 29, 2011
The post below from agent, Scott Elwell, first appeared on his widely read blog, greenwichct.com. Youre highly encouraged to check it out
I dont understand why some realtors always sell the same story. This is a great time to sell. This is a great time to buy. It makes no sense to me how someone could be pushing the same line for the past 5 years, as if the market hasnt changed at all. Mary Meeker (during the internet bubble) comes to mind as does a broken record.
If we were selling an item that we, or our company, possessed (like a car, clothing, computer, whatever) I might be able understand how the message could always stay the same. The intrinsic difference here is that we arent really selling anything. We are advising our clients on HOW to best buy or sell something. We are paid on the transaction, not the increase or decrease in value. If values go up in a town, but transactions decrease then guess what, the realtors in that town (on an aggregate) will make less money vice versa.
For this reason, I am a strong believer that my true job is to provide my insight on a market and NOT to push my clients to do anything. If it is a good time for them to buy or sell then great, but it does my clients a complete disservice to be yelling the same thing (Great time to buy/sell) over and over again. If it were a great time to buy, then wouldnt it be a bad time to sell? The story is much more complex than any one-line sales pitch and requires some serious research catered to each individual client. Im in this game for the long haul and, just like the market I want my message to adjust as the market does. As far as I see it, my job is to provide information and insight, and that is what Im trying to do with this post.
These are some of my thoughts on what the real job of realtor is. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments below!
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/04/28/the-real-job-of-a-realtor/
April 26, 2011
William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage Insurance, the largest family-owned real estate company in the northeast, recently boosted its standing amongst other renowned brokerages, ranking #9 nationwide in sales volume and maintaining its standing as the #1 family-owned business in the northeast. These numbers were recently released by RisMedias 2011 Power Broker Report, an annual assemblage of the top 300 real estate companies in the United States.
Bill Raveis, Chairman and CEO of William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage Insurance, credited the companys associates and staff for innovation and persistence in a challenging real estate market.
We were able to increase market share and grow in an environment where real estate companies are consolidating and downsizing, said Mr. Raveis. This is a testament to our drive for providing innovative technology tools, education and competitive advantages to our agents, as well as our customers. Agent and customer needs are evolving along with an ever changing digital landscape and we are continuously thinking of and producing creative solutions to surpass their expectations. I believe this is one of several reasons William Raveis has become a national and international leader in real estate and the full suite of home services.
William Raveis achievements in 2010 were impressive. In addition to increasing its market position, the company further expanded its footprint in the northeast. Seven new offices were opened in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and experienced agents hired totaled a volume of over $800 million in sales production.
The firm also created the nations first free CRM, business management and marketing platform for its 2,700 agents, called Agent Dashboard. This tool enables increasingly mobile sales associates to manage their business anywhere, anytime.
April 22, 2011
Week 8 folks! Social Juices 2 month anniversary! Here are this weeks stories:
Timing is Everything
So youre posting great content on facebook from your blog, wonderful information on your local market and engaging your fans (Likes) by asking questions, posting multimedia or putting together contests (or whatever other creative ideas you think of!). Thats the raw material needed for an active facebook Like page. However, you could be missing out on attaining maximum exposure for your posts because you are overlooking an ingredientand that is timing. Social media gurus, SEO experts and web geeks alike have spent much time discussing the importance of timing when distributing content on social networks. And the conclusion is, punctuality is a great commodity in the social sphere.
So, when should you be putting up facebook posts to get maximum response and views? According to a study from Buddy Media, approximately 60% of posts were published from 10am through 4pm, indicating that brands are most active with their posts during core business hours. This could make sense- most people are wired in to their computers or workstations during those hours, so why not post during this time? Well, many of those people are not paying attention to their facebook or twitter accounts during this time period because they are, well, doing their other jobs.
Buddy Media reported that brands who post outside of normal business hours (early morning, after work or after hours) had engagement rates approximately 20% higher than average. Thats a pretty big difference!
Conclusiontake when you post into account. It could impact your brand development and lead generation on facebook!
One of the newest iPad apps that can really help you better plan your day with clients, is Keyoobi. Keyoobi helps you plan routes and schedules for your appointments with clients, using Google Maps. Let me tell you, this is some pretty cool stuff. Since much of an agents day is spent in a car, this app will be your best friend. Once your clients are stored as contacts on your iPad and youve decided on meeting times with them, Keyoobi will display your day as a Google map route. According to The Future of Real Estate Marketing blog:
- Integrate with Contacts, Calendar and Maps
- Work for Enterprise users who synch their calendar and contacts with Exchange servers or Gmail
- Display appointment times and Color code routes based on travel time and appointment time
- Group Contacts with customizable pins and categories that are shown on the route map
- Route your next appointment in real time based on current location.
This app could help you find the best routes to get to your appointments, showings, and theres a plethora of other possibilities. Check out this video to get more information on Keyoobi. Let me know how the app works for you!
Tablet WarsThe Drama Unfolds
Ive been throwing a lot of information (hopefully helpful!) at you in the past 2 months with Social Juiceso as a breather from info overload, I thought I would srpinkle in a little light tech drama, as well. Keeps life fun, right?
Seems like every waking hour there are reports on the variety and advancements of tablets, whether they be the iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Blackberry Playbook etc. With all this activity, there was bound to be some theatrics. It has come in the form of a few lawsuits, starting with Apples intellectual property suit against Samsung. In the filing, Apple accuses Samsung of copying the look and feel of their hugely popular iPhone and iPad. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apples intellectual property when companies steal our ideas, said an Apple spokesperson.
Well, Samsung decided it wasnt going to take this assault lying down. The company filed its own suit (multiple, actually) alleging Apple stole Samsung technology in the development of the iPhone and iPad. As a Wall Street Journal article reports, The Samsung lawsuits dont directly respond to the Apple suit. Instead, they accuse Apple of violating patents covering cellphone transmission technologies. This is the latest in the rivalry between the two companies, and believe me, Ill have my eyes peeled to see how the cat-fight ends.
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/04/22/social-juice-week-8/
April 21, 2011
April 20, 2011
This post was first featured on Raveis agent, Debbie Huschers blog, http://connecticutpulse.com/. Read below for her tips on how to address basement flooding!
April showers bring May flowers.and flooded basements. A harsh winter and a rainy spring thus far for most of the northeast, have left many in the area knee-deep with flooding basements. What a tricky issue, mostly because it can be costly with a capital C to eradicate wet basement problems. The basics can be summed up in two words: ground water.
Did you know that 95 percent of the earths fresh water supply (excluding polar ice caps) is beneath us in the form of groundwater, some seeping deep into aquifers? Ground water is a plentiful and renewable resource, but it wreaks havoc for homeowners. Its no wonder homeowners are having problems since rain needs someplace to go, but what should you do to fix it? If you have water in your basement from time to time, you need to figure out how much money to throw at the problem. Click on the link for a technicaloverview of the solutions homeowners might explore to fix wet basement woes.
The first and most simple approach is to access your home site by evaluating gutters, downspouts and surface grading around the house. A professional can help you with this and make recommendations. Solutions in this category are often affordable, and can sometimes be done by homeowners.
The next tier of solutions entails interior or exterior drainage systems which basically channel water either away from the foundation of a home in the case of exterior drains, or route water to sump pumps via channels built into the basement floor for an interior drainage system. This approach can cost thousands of dollars.
Some people opt for the less is more approach. Maybe they invest in a quality sump pump (and backup) like a Zoeller, and a couple of good floor squeegees and a wet vac from a home improvement store and gut out the wet seasons. This can work for some (especially if the home mechanicals arent in danger and the water levels remain really low), but its still a huge source of stress for homeowners. As for mold, it is a big deal as well as a health hazard, but Ill save it for another blog. While Im sure there are a ton of reputable companies that offer dry basement solutions, Ive included a link forConnecticut Basement Systems because they exhibit at the Durham (my hometown) Fair (commercial building) every year.
At the end of the day (should you ever decide to list your home for sale), many home buyers still turn up their noses at a house with wet basement issues. And dont forget, sellers have to honestly represent their home and any related problems when they sign and date the Sellers Disclosure form.
I hope your basement is dry and stays that way!
April 15, 2011
Sustainable building, i.e. green building, is here to stay! The town of Westport just last week has become the 14th town in Connecticut to take on the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Energy Program funded by the Department of Energy. The town of Greenwich is participating in the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program. (CCEF) and sponsored an all day Energy Conscious Home forum show at the Greenwich High School on Saturday, April 2nd, 2011. I attended the event and represent William Raveis and received a lot of positive feedback from the public.
Payback on sustainable building is immediate and will continue to return for as long as you operate the building. Below is a list of low cost green features instead of conventional practices that can be incorporated when a building owner is doing a renovation, addition or new build.
- Properly installed insulation Zero Cost
- Better yet cellulose or foam insulation Payback in a few years
- Caulking of exterior holes, protrusions of envelope avg. $5-$75
- Recycle waste cans, paper, cans, bottles Free
- Programmable Thermostats $25-$100
- Dual Flush toilet or HET toilet Zero Cost
- Efficient water fixtures. EPAs water sense program
- LED lights, bulbs last 10- 20yrs. Payback avg. 2 years
- Lowers cooling loads needed, bulbs produce less heat average bulb uses 75 watts the LED light will be at 20 watts.
- Bamboo, cork, Linoleum, reclaimed flooring Zero to min. add. cost
- Recycled Green Label carpeting Zero to min. add. cost
- Recycled Kitchen Counters Zero to min. add. cost
- Low to No VOC paints Zero to min. add. cost
- Energy Star appliances Zero to min. add. cost
- Upgrade AC to SEER 14 or higher Small premium,big benefits
- Energy Star Boiler/Furnace payback in 2-5 yrs
- MERV 8, 10, 13 Air filters avg. $500 to install, $35 per filter. A healthier interior environment creates an increase in productivity, less sick days and helps controls allergies.
- Front door grate to catch dirt off shoes $300-$1000
- Mudroom and shoe shelves
- Instant Hot Water, why do you need to keep 40, 50, 60 gallons of hot water??
- Saving by not constantly reheating stored water, payback 1 to 3 years.
- Master Switch to turn off all unneeded lights at end of day, great for offices, retail stores and hotel rooms.
- Solar Tube, allows natural light into interior of building resulting in electric light to be off.
- Low e, gas filled replacement windows, minimal up cost if replacing existing windows, need to pick correct windows for climate region.
*NOTE: - Every house has its own issues and you need to hire an experience contractor to find out the cost for your own individual situation, the cost above are just average costs.
1. Provides a healthier more productive environment.
2. Sustainability, we have finite sources on the earth and need to use common sense on how to use them.
3. Less maintenance = less money spent on repairs.
4. Considering the little to minimal added costs compared to the whole project cost you are looking at 0-4% additional cost which will give a pay back within a few years but offers continual savings.
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/04/14/low-cost-green-solutions/
April 13, 2011
2010 brought many positives for real estate that helped buoy demand for housing, with such incentives as the home-buyer tax credit and historically low interest rates. Now, in a new year and freshly out of first quarter, 2011, we are seeing more of a mixed bag regarding major market indicators.
While average sales prices increased or were stable in March 2011 compared to March 2010, unit sales of single family homes were down across much of the northeast for the first quarter. Mortgage rates are continuing to creep upward-the 30 year FRM was at 4.87 % last week and the 15 year FRM was at 4.10 percent. Late last year, 30 years could be attained at 4 percent and 15s at a mere 3.5 percent. However, rates are still at incredible lows compared to this time last year (which were approximately 5.21 percent for 30 year FRM and 4.52 percent for 15 year FRM).
Perhaps the greatest silver lining for the real estate industryis encouraging employment reports. According to Frank Nothaft, Vice President and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, The economy added 216,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month to 8.8 percent marking the lowest rate in two years. Additionally, the private sector has gained 560,000 workers in the first quarter of this year, which represents the largest quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2006.
To put all of this into perspective, below is a breakdown of key market figures in the northeast for first quarter, 2011:
When reflecting on the first quarter of this year, it is also important to remember the northeast was a victim of some pretty violent domestic abuse by the hands of this past winter season. As a result, many sellers opted out of putting their homes on the market and buyers postponed any house hunting. This likely put a huge damper on unit sales for the first Q.
With one of the worst winters in the northeasts history behind us, buyers and sellers can once again participate in, buying and selling. Now is a great time to list your home, as there is demand out there! And, of course, rates are still extremely low (great for buyers and sellers alike).
A quick tip for sellers, however. There is an increasing trend in buyers looking for move-in-ready homes. If you show your home and it has signs of dilapidation, or disarray, this can be a huge turnoff for buyers. You should think about putting in some extra cash towards overall presentation of your home prior to placing it on the market. Some extra dollars could go a long way in the final sale.
April 8, 2011
While there are a lot of unpredictables in the real estate market today, one thing you can rely on is new innovations in technology to help make everyday business simpler. Heres some of the latest and greatest tech innovations and updates for this week
iPad App Decisions
Trying to decide which apps to download for your iPad that would help you better manage your business? Well heres one-its called Dropbox. This tool has actually been around for sometime, but there are some cool features with the latest version for the iPad. Dropbox lets you sync and share files online across many different computers. Essentially, you can share/store files from your home laptop or desktop to your iPad.
The newest version, 1.3.1, lets you save photos and video taken with your iPhones camera to your Dropbox, export Dropbox files to other apps, Favorite files, and quickly swipe through photo collections.
In order to get the free app, all you have to do is sign up for a Dropbox account. You can do so by clicking here.
Feed Your Listings to Facebook and other Social Media Sites Automatically
The word automatic should have got your attention. Is there a simple way to add my listings to facebook?- That is probably one of the most often asked questions by realtors who are getting serious about social media marketing. There are many ways you can feed your listings to facebook and other social networks, but Postlets is a good place to start. Postlets is a tool created specifically for real estate that helps automate the otherwise tedious process of manually entering listings on facebook.
Yes, Postlets is free. All you have to do is sign up and you can do so at http://www.postlets.com/home.php. Once you have signed up, you can create your listing in a few simple steps and then share it on various social media sites with a couple clicks! As the site says, you can get your listings on Facebook, Twitter, Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo Real Estate, HotPads and more. I encourage you to check out Postlets-it will help streamline your online marketing!
*Note- I am doing some investigating on a facebook app, Social Rss, which would automatically populate listings from your website to your facebook page. I am just checking to see if it works with a simple url or if you need a specific RSS or ATOM feed. Will get back with more details.*
BlackBerry Torch 2 Will Ablaze In Spring
For the BlackBerry fanatics out therethe BlackBerry Torch 2 has been tested and highly approved by several noteworthy tech publications. Looks-wise, its practically a spitting image of its older brother, Torch. But Torch 2s speed could set its predecessor on fire. The 1.2GHz processor is running on a brand new operating system-OS 6.1. Other specs include a 3.2 inch 640480 display, 8GB of storage, 512 MB of RAM, a 5 mgpx camera with flash and GPS.
The only potential issue? Seems like ATTs got its hands all over this oneno mention of the V- wordyet
Ciao for now!
One Response to Social Juice: Week 7
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/04/08/social-juice-week-7/
April 7, 2011
The article below announcing the partnership between William Raveis and Zillow comes from the Zillow blog, http://www.zillow.com/blog/. Enjoy!
Zillow is excited to announce a partnership which enables William Raveis Real Estate, the largest family-owned real estate company in the Northeast, to automatically feed all of its listings to Zillow on a regular basis. With this syndication, properties listed with William Raveis Real Estate are now accessible on the Zillow/Yahoo! Real Estate Network, the largest real estate entity on the web (i), and across Zillow Mobile apps on the iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry.
With thousands of for-sale listings in key markets throughout the Northeast, the partnership is extremely valuable to home shoppers.
Welcome, William Raveis!
Thank you, Zillow!