September 30, 2011
First of all, my sincere apologies for not posting a Social Juice in the past few weeks! Been alot happening in the real estate world, so wanted to make sure we were getting you all the information. But, the Juice is back! This week, I will talk about what is on everyones mind.whats up with the sweeping changes on facebook? Ill focus particularly on timeline and why you should look at it as a positive change. I will also talk about Kindle Fire, Amazons new release attempting to set the tablet world ablaze. Read on, dear friends
Lets Talk Facebook Changes, Shall We?
So, as Im sure youve all noticed, facebook has rolled out some significant changes to its interface that will impact how you interact with your friends and connections on the network. There are several changes that will be rolling out in the coming weeks, but I would like to focus on one in particular: timeline.
I think facebook is really trying to make using its network an experience again-much like it was when the network first exploded on the social scene in 2004. Zuckerberg wants to evoke emotion from users everytime they login. And thats clever thinking because it keeps users coming back. This is what timeline does, as he explained during the f8 conference last week (I highly encourage you to check this out for a full debriefing on facebook changesand for an awesome Zuckerberg impersonation from Andy Samberg). With this feature, you can scroll to a particular year within your profile and see exactly what happened through past status updates and photos. Think of it almost as flipping through a photo album-but much better because you can actually see what your friends and family thought of what you were sharing through past comments and likes.
Your timeline can go as far back as you would like. In fact, facebook has created a way back section where you can add stuff from your past-baby photos, your first home sale, etc. A sample of timeline view is below (also, if you watch Zuckerbergs keynote, fast forward to 14:02 to see him start talking about timeline).
A couple of quick points I would like to make about timeline. I think it will be very easy for realtors to abuse this new feature by putting up too many photos that portray them as, well, realtors. I would not take advantage of the new, more visually alluring format to do what you see below:
This picture came from an awesome post by Chris Smith at Inman News, talking about how realtors may abuse the new facebook layout.
As tempting as it may be, try your darndest to not create whole sections of your timeline devoted to listings or receptions for awards ceremonies or your first $4 mil+ sale. Stick by the hard and fast rule social media senseis have tried to relay: the 1: 10 ratiofor every 1 real estate related post you put up on your personal profile, put up 10 other items that just express who you are-such as how much you love your ipad, baking your first pumpkin pie, thoughts on Justin Biebers hair, you get the idea. Or better yet, reserve real estate posts for your Like page (also known by the real estate community as a Business Page). That is really where you are supposed to be promoting your business.
I am looking forward to seeing how real estate embraces timeline. I guess only time will tell!
Amazon released the latest iteration of the Kindle-Kindle Fire early this week. And let me tell you, its gonna kindle some fires. Amazon redefined the traditional Kindle with this model, creating a tablet for media consumption-music, video, web browsing and reading. Also-it has only a 7 inch window for increased portability. Perhaps the most intriguing part of it all is the cost: The Fire is charging a fraction of the iPad2to be more specific, the iPad 2 is $499 and the Kindle Fire is $199! The cost differential alone is what has helped Amazon achieve so much press in the past few days since the product launch.
Humongous price difference aside, Amazon may be onto something here and other tablet makers should take notice. While there is some basic hardware that is missing-example, no cameras and only 8 hour battery life-it does have an impressive dual core processor and its own browser which is super fast, called Amazon Silk. Silk uses cloud computing to deliver an incredibly efficient, speedy browsing experience. Also, users will have access to Amazons wealth of content, including books, music, and movie streaming.
I believe Fire will be a great alternative to those who dont care for the bells and whistles many of the higher priced tablets out there. It is certainly extremely fast, offers ease of browsing and access to Amazons entire portal. And of course, its cheap. There are the makings of a future tablet rivalry here.
You can pre-order one now and look for the Fire in stores on November 15th.
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/09/30/social-juice-week-25/
September 30, 2011
Given the choice, most homebuyers would opt for new construction over existing housing. New construction allows homebuyers to customize many features of their new home to suit their personal preferences, taste and lifestyle, such as flooring, kitchen cabinetry and counter finishes, energy-efficient appliances, decorative trim and moldings and much more.
Many buyers also prefer new construction because todays homes are designed to suit the contemporary lifestyle. Unlike many older homes, newly built homes are more likely to:
- Maximize the usability and functionality of space
- Embrace an open floor plan and natural light
- Better meet the needs of todays buyer with larger closets and more spacious bathrooms
- Offer more energy-efficient construction materials and appliances (See my July 29, 2011 post, Rising Energy Costs: A Compelling Reason to Buy New.)
- Hold their value because new neighborhoods are not as likely to contain bank-owned properties that pull down the values of surrounding homes.
In addition, older housing particularly foreclosure propertieswill more likely contain pre-existing damage or need repairs that are not always readily apparent. Financially-strapped homeowners may have deferred maintenance for years prior to putting their homes on the market. New home construction eliminates that risk, and most reputable homebuilders offer and most states require a warranty on work and products that protects homebuyers.
You may have assumed in the past that new construction is beyond your reach. While new construction typically costs more per square foot than pre-existing housing due to the cost of construction materials, there are several reasons why new construction is more affordable today.
- Reduced demand has spurred builders to do more to remain competitive. Many builders are shrinking lot sizes and total square footage to make new construction more affordable for buyers. Many are also offering incentives such as upgrades that are worth thousands of dollars, as well as home warranties that provide peace of mind for buyers.
- Record low mortgage rates make financing your purchase ultra-affordable. On this day in late September 2011, you could be eligible for a 15-year fixed, conforming loan of 3.25% with an ARP of 3.353%. The current rate for a 30-fixed, conforming loan is 3.875% with an APR of 3.938%. Interest rates for a 5/1 ARM are as low as 2.75%. These are the most affordable rates homebuyers have enjoyed in nearly 50 years.
- Prices for new homes are also much more affordable than they have been in years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Urban and Housing Development, the median sales price of anew home sold in August 2011 was $209,100.
If youre in the market for a new home, research the possibilities of choosing new construction. You may be pleased to learn that you can afford quality new construction and the best that modern home-building offers.
September 27, 2011
Pricing a home for sale involves a lot of contemplation and analysis of your local market. It can be tempting to price irrationally high to make the most of your investment, but be careful, this can have repercussions, as well. As William Raveis Legends Agent, Phyllis Lerner, explains, you need to stop and think before overpricing your home. Her post originally appeared on her ActiveRain blog, which you can find here.
So, you are selling your home. But, you are deadly afraid of low-ball offers coming in. And therefore you think itbest totack something on to the estimated fair market value of your home, just to have a buffer for the anticipatedback and forth negotiations! But, seriously, why would anybody want to over-price their hometo counteracta low-ball offer?
Just look at this scenario. Pricing a home at or below the currentmarket value will attract many more potential buyers, especially if its a home that shows really well. Therefore, youll most likely receive a higher number of offers.The moment buyers hear that there are other offers it willinduce anincreased sense of urgencycausing them to fight over it (they really wantyour home it shows wellits priced right).
Value pricing takes much of the anxiety and stressout of the home-selling process.
Nevertheless, many sellers stillfear,even if they price their home for the market, buyers will still send them low-ball offers.Guess what that is going to happen no matter what!But, a sensibly priced home will invariably also attract much more serious buyers that understand that they are competing withother motivatedbuyers. If a house is priced rightthis still happens. Buyers will compete for it. And the serious buyers will offer exactly what it takes to get what they want, leaving the low-baller in the dust!
Isnt this type ofno-nonsense pricing approach a much better idea? It entices instead of turning potential buyers off youll catch many morebees with sugar than vinegar or so, the saying goes?!
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/09/27/stop-overpricing-your-home/
September 24, 2011
Last night, William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage Insurance was awarded 1st place in Fox News and Hartford Courants Top Workplaces in Connecticut survey. William Raveis was the only real estate firm to be nominated amongstnearly 800Connecticut companies, nonprofits and public agencies. Awards were based on thousands of employee surveys completed at companies of varying sizes.
Fox News caught up with Kent Hanley, Executive Vice President of William Raveis Connecticut, at the Awards venue, Aquaturf of Southington. He discussed why respect and value for employees is vital to William Raveis company philosophy. As the old saying goes, treat people the way you would want to be treated, he said. I think that really goes a long way. Its a core value for a happy family, and we treat our employees as family!
WorkplaceDynamics LLC, a research firm in Exton, Pennsylvania, conducted surveys on behalf of the Hartford Courant and Fox News. A total ofnearly 800firms were invited to participate and 12,685 employee surveys were completed. The survey covered myriad aspects of workplace culture, from employee appreciation to quality of wages and benefits.
Top Workplaces is one in a slew of awards William Raveis has been awarded this year alone. A big highlight for the company was receiving Inman News Most Innovative Brokerage or Franchise award for William Raveis Agent Dashboard, the first free-to-agent CRM and marketing tool. Additional accolades include Best Residential Real Estate Firm, Best Mortgage Company, Best Insurance Company all from Banker Tradesman, placing as a finalist in Boston Business Journals Best Places to Work survey, and being the only real estate firm to place as a finalist in Fairfield Countys Top Workplaces survey.
A special insert, titled Getting it Done will profile William Raveis and other winners in Sunday, September 25ths Hartford Courant.
September 23, 2011
Lets face ittimes have changed and so have buyer and seller preferences! Todays highly affluent consumers are putting more thought into the value and quality of homes; and are doing more in-depth research on their own. Internet research has made finding information consumers need as easy as a finger flick on a smartphone. Therefore, real estate agents are looking to continue their education of the luxury marketplaces and being able to spread that knowledge just as quickly. Consumers are in need of instant gratification from their real estate agents. They want the best for their money (amenities that are suited for their families) which is a given for anyone making such an expensive luxury purchase. So exactly what are consumers looking for in an agent these days?
Recently, Luxury Portfolio International has conducted a study with Harrison Group that talks specifically about what todays luxury consumers need. First and foremost, they want an agent that will have knowledge of global reach. Other criteria include reputation with colleagues, length of time for past sales, the number of homes currently listed and level of trust with the agent. You want to make sure that you are choosing the right person with your home. Trust also includes knowing that your agent wont let you down and will continue to keep you informed throughout the selling process.
Comprehensive marketing will always help the real estate agent get a listing. According to Luxury Portfolio, when consumers were asked about the qualities of an organization that they would like their own agent to be affiliated with, 82% responded with,is part of a strong network. And because William Raveis Real Estate is affiliated with Luxury Portfolio International, our agents are getting the best global representation for our high-end real estate consumers.Consumers also want to seethat the agent is promoting homes online-via websites, social media, digital magazines, etc. In the survey, about one-quarter of affluent and wealthy consumers say that it is desirable for their agents company to have their own dedicated real estate magazine. (Something that our Exceptional Properties Division does offer! Take a look at our most recent magazine: http://www.raveis.com/zmag.asp?id=f845f17dtype=D).
Good web tracking tools are also a key component in attracting the high-end consumers. The right tracking tools will allow the consumers to see how many people are looking at their property and from where they are getting the most views-whether by country, language or currency. This would help the agent with knowing where to focus property advertising and what sources receive the most traffic for online home searching.
Needless to say, todays highly affluent consumers are in the know when it comes to picking the right agent. So ask the right questions, know the consumers interests and passions; and youll be guaranteed a new partnership!
Posted by Leah Portale, Global Marketing Coordinator, William Raveis Exceptional Properties in Exceptional Properties, Market Trends, Selling Your Home, Social Media, Technology, housing affordability
One Response to What Todays Agent Needs to Satisfy Luxury Clients
September 21, 2011
September 17, 2011
Welcome to this weeks Social Juice! Today I will cover a developing mobile technology, called augmented reality, talk about updated video editing on YouTube through a partnership with Picnik and provide information about the iPhone 5, due in early October.
Back to Life, Back to Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) may very well be the next big, cant-live-without tool in real estate technology. If you havent heard of it, prepare to be wowed within the next couple of sentences. Using a smartphone, AR systems superimpose graphics and information on top of real-world display. Smartphones are perfect candidates for AR apps as they combine elements essential for the technology to workcameras, gps and detailed graphics display. Heres an example of AR in action- lets say you hold up your phone to view a building that is under construction. With augmented realitys graphic overlay system, you could see, right on your screen, additional information about the part of the building you are capturing, such as what materials are being used in construction, who is working on the project and when the project is expected to be completed.
Ive heard of even more mind-blowing examples of AR technology. For instance, for those living in (or visiting) New York City or London, there is an AR app that will allow you to take your phone, look down and see what subway lines are underground. Then, pull your phone up in front of you and get turn-by-turn directions of how to get to a certain subway line.
There are tremendous potential applications to the real estate industry here. Think about how much faster buyers could find out details about a home- price, sales history, days on market, number of rooms, bathrooms, information about the listing agent-and the list goes on. Or, think about an augmented reality app that could allow for a full house tour on open house day! While the tour is ongoing, a listing agent could superimpose their photo and contact information on the bottom of the screen, providing the viewer an easy way to get in touch.
While AR is still nascent in real estate, there are some really cool apps you can explore to become familiar with the technology.
1) Car Finder-this free app will help you never forget where you parked again. Once youve parked, tap Car Finder and your phones GPS will lock in the location of your vehicle. Then, once you need to find your car, your gps will give you turn by turn directions to help you.
2) Wikitude- This free app lets you explore the world around you and learn about major landmarks that are written about in Wikipedia articles. This app is especially cool in cities where there are numerous landmarks and points of interest.
3) Metro AR-I mentioned this app a few paragraphs ago- Metro AR will help you locate the nearest subway lines in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Paris or London. A must for any tourist. $2.99.
I will keep my eyes peeled for how AR develops in real estate-because it is sure to!
Editing YouTube Videos is a Picnik
YouTube has ramped up the basic video editing software built into its interface. Through a partnership with Picnik, the free photo editing software, YouTube now allows you to edit your video while looking at the updated version side-by-side to the original. While on your video list, just click on Edit video to see an advanced menu. You can adjust the start and end times of your video, rotate clips, and even stabilize (remove shaky elements of a clip). You can also play around with the color and saturation levels of your video. Add such color effects as black white, sepia, Lomo-ish and cartoon. YouTube even provides audio tracks that you can swap for the audio you are currently using.
All in all, these are some nifty updates youtube has made available to help you add finishing touches to your videos.
iPhone 5 To Debut Early October
Yes, we have been waiting quite sometime now, havent we? Typically, next generation iPhones are released in the summer months, but Apple detoured from its expected itinerary this year. Now, with our appetites whetted, heres a quick rundown of what we can look to expect from iPhone 5:
- There are rumors of a new design, though the body will remain the same as iPhone 4
- Larger Display-4 inch edge to edge screen
- Near Field Communication (NFC) Capability
- 8 megapixel front camera and 5 megapixel rear camera
- More RAM is expected-possibly 1 gb extra
- iOS5,including iCloud
- 3-4 internal antennas for both GSM and CDMA networks
Will you be getting the iPhone 5?
Tags: augmented reality, augmented reality apps, best augmented reality apps, edit youtube videos, iphone 5, iphone 5 release date, near field communications, Raveis, raveis blog, real estate marketing
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/09/16/social-juice-week-24/
September 16, 2011
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2011/09/15/doing-the-numbers-6/
September 14, 2011
Recently I read a Tweet and blog post from an Agent who believes that Public Open Houses Are A Waste of Time For Sellers. I read his arguments and disagree. Heres why
Without a doubt, the most important aspect of selling a house is maximum exposure. The more people that know about a property the better the chances of selling it. Since an open house contributes to the visibility of a home, I feel it is important to do open houses.
What kind of exposure are we talking about? Buyers find out about open houses through open house directional signs, print advertising, their own Agent, Social Media like Facebook and Twitter, neighbors, friends and of course through online sources.
Nay-sayers who dont believe in open houses constantly quote that only 1-2% of homes actually sell from an open house. Critics perpetuate concerns about nosy neighbors and casual lookers (and yes, there will always be a small percentage of them out there). Sellers dont realize that neighbors can help sell their home. I have heard countless stories of people who have asked a friend or family member to alert them if a house ever came up for sale in their neighborhood.
I do agree with the bloggers statement that in the majority of casesserious buyers are looking at homes with Realtors. Yes this is true, but they are still attending open houses. This is backed up by the responses of our Raveis open house sign-in sheets that ask attendees if they are currently working with an agent. I find that the majority do have an agent.
So what does this all mean? Serious buyers ARE going to open houses! But why, you say? Why wouldnt they just schedule an appointment with their agent to view the house? Here are some reasons:
- A buyer receives an email notification through their Listingbook account (set up by their agent through the Greater Fairfield County MLS system) alerting them that there would be an open house at a particular house that Sunday.
- A buyer had seen a listing previously with their agent when it was listed at a higher price, and now that the price has been reduced for the open house, they want to take a second look.
- A buyer called their agent to make an appointment to seeahouse on a Sunday. In setting up the appointment the agent found out there was going to be an open house there. Buyer decided to go on their own.
- Some buyers prefer to not bother their agent if they can view homesunpressured.
In the National Association of Resltors 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 45% of all buyers used open houses as a source in their home search process. NARs survey shows that these old-fashioned open houses have remained consistently useful to consumers, even in the age of online house hunting. Would-be buyers are as likely as ever to use the informal walk-through as a buying tool.
A well-organized open house can earn more offers andmaybe evenhigher offers from buyers especially if it is scheduled during the first week or two that its on the market. Having manyindividuals visit your house during an open house will make your home appear as ahot property and could spuran interested buyer to make their offer quickly.
Open houses also provide a great forum for feedback for sellers on how well their house shows, and howits positioned price-wise compared to its competition. Of course if my home seller client rather not have an open house, even afterI explain the benefits, I of course would oblige andnever pressure.
If open houses werent effective in some way, then why does NAR continue to promote their Realtor Nationwide Open House weekend each year? This year it was held June 4-5, 2011. Real estate offices even work in conjunction with one another to organize mass events. My company William Raveis holds their own company-wide Open House events. They draw a lot of attention to our listings and the results pay off in homes going under deposit. Over the years I have sold 3 homes from hosting open houses.
Also according to NAR, since 2001 the number of buyers who said they found the house they bought through an open house or yard sign remained constant at about 15%.Im not convinced that this 15% couldnt be higher. Heres a scenariowhat if a buyer sees an open house online but cant attend; they call their agent to see it on that Monday after work. If they ended up purchasing that house, and were later surveyed, what would their answer be as to where they found out about the house: 1. Online, 2. Open House, or 3. Agent? I dont knowwith so many marketing vehicles absorbedby a buyer, these sources can overlap and blur.
At the end of the day, I believe that the positives outweigh the negatives in this debate. Give your home the opportunity to have the right amount of exposure and generate some buzz around it! Getting a house sold is a culmination of all marketing efforts so why not do them all?
One Response to Are Open Houses Worth It? The Debate Continues
September 8, 2011