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Elevate Your Real Estate Marketing Success with an Elevate Educational Boot Camp
It's no secret that brokers and agents need to continually self-educate in order to stay competitive and tackle new technology, but not all education is made equal. Busy real estate professionals can easily waste time and money on "educational" training programs that are nothing more than thinly masked sales initiatives that provide little actionable takeaways. Luckily, there's the educational field team of Elevate to save the day and ensure that brokers and agents walk away with tips, tricks and strategies that can easily be implemented the moment they walk out of the room. What started with a single Social Media Boot Camp has grown into a nationwide phenomenon due to the Elevate Field Team's high-energy, interactive educational style. Brokers and agents alike are treated to an experience designed to inspire and empower, led by a group of industry professionals who help turn marketing "toys" into "tools." Although the Elevate name may be fairly new to the real estate space, the founders and stakeholders behind the company are seasoned professionals coming from top technology companies, franchise organizations, and investment firms who've joined together to develop Elevate, the highly anticipated CRM and digital marketing solution that recently hit the real estate market. But no technology can succeed without strong education, training and understanding, which is where the Elevate Boot Camp series enters. Collaborating with MLSs, mortgage companies and brokerages across the country, Elevate's Boot Camp series has evolved to include a variety of one-hour, two-hour and half day educational sessions, including the ever-popular Social Media Boot Camp, Secrets of Lead Generation Boot Camp, and the hot NEW Broker-Only Mastermind. Custom deep dives are also available on such hot topics as Facebook intensives, developing engaging content for consumer audiences, agent recruitment and retention strategies, and developing a website designed to capture and convert. Want to see if a boot camp is coming to your area? Visit tryelevate.com/events for the upcoming schedule, or call 844-812-8914 to inquire about booking a boot camp in your office or MLS. Bondilyn Jolly is the Managing Partner at 3sixtyfive.agency. You can contact her at [email protected]
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Hosting Events to Build Your Real Estate Business
A party with a purpose... You need many different lead generation sources to create a dependable stream of new leads. Online leads and referrals are dependable, go-to options for the first two, but if you're still looking for another reliable lead source, hosting lead generation events may be a good option.
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Why You Should Host a First-time Buyers' Seminar
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Helping Consumers Make Better Real Estate Decisions, Confidently
Moving into a more normalized market, you are bound to face some hesitation from clients. Here are a few tips for getting them off the fence and to the signing table. The problem in real estate today is not due to a lack of information. It's the opposite, in fact. Consumers quite literally have the world at their fingertips to find information about where the market is going, whether average prices are going up or down, what the going mortgage rate is, etc. And most will have done plenty of research before they consider meeting with an agent. Not only can this lead to information overload, but oftentimes the information they find is either false or misleading. Confusion can make people fearful of buying or selling their home. So how do you get even the most hesitant buyers and sellers off the fence? And more importantly, how can you be sure they are confident with their decision?
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Understanding the Real Estate Market to Generate More Sales in 2019
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5 Tips for Your First Year as a Real Estate Agent
Whether you're already in your first year as a real estate agent or thinking about a career change, you've probably had an image of agent life in your head. Whatever notions you might have about life as a real estate agent, it's important to manage those expectations and build a solid foundation for your business. Here are five things to do in your first year to make sure you're building toward a successful career:
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Rewind! The Top 5 Educational Webinars for Agents from 2018
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16 Definitions Every New Real Estate Agent Should Know
You're a new agent, and you're swamped by all of the things you need to learn. From the ins and outs of setting up your website to managing your time to stay productive, there are many skills and details that you need to know for succeeding in your first few years as an agent. A key component to understanding the general lay of the land as an agent is to get a handle on the language real estate agents use every day. We've compiled the top 16 definitions you need to know to jumpstart your real estate vocabulary and set you on the path to being a rock star agent!
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How to Join Online Meetings and Webinars
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Rewind! The Top 4 Educational Webinars for Agents from 2017
From earning passive income from referral fees to using sophisticated algorithms to target likely sellers, there are many ways to grow your bottom line. This year, we hosted a series of live webinars that took an in-depth look at the top strategies and new technologies that can help hard-working agents work smarter. With the holiday craziness finally dying down, now's a great time to take a breather and start formulating a plan of action for 2018. This list of our top webinars can help you do just that. So curl up with your laptop (and maybe some leftover eggnog), play a webinar or two, and take notes on your favorite strategies for success in the year ahead!
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Chris Smith Will Be National Speaker for Homes.com
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Best of 2016: How to Educate Buyers to Make Good Offers
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in February and is #9 in our countdown. See #10 here. As Realtors®, you see this again and again. As a listing agent, you are required to submit all offers to your seller, even the lowball offers. It is a horrible situation for the agent. Indeed, it is probably a horrible situation for the buyer’s agent, too. It is embarrassing for a buyer’s agent to submit a lowball offer to a seller. As the listing agent, you need to reinforce the price. Respond with the data that was used to set the listing price. You did a CMA, just update it with current comps. When you counter to the buyer, include the facts that support your pricing. The buyer’s agent is unlikely to argue, especially if you are drawing those facts from the same MLS. Another piece of information that you may want to include is the graph showing the sales price as a percentage of the Original Price. The graph above is a good illustration of this. Real estate professionals understand that there is seasonality to pricing. You can see that the spring market is hotter for sellers than buyers. The buyer market gets slightly stronger in the fall, and is red hot over the holidays.
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10 Must-Read Books All Agents Need to Study
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Mastering Market Literacy
Perhaps the most valuable lesson that real estate consumers learned from the housing crash was that home values can fall as well as rise. More than 7 million families lost their homes to foreclosures and short sales; a brutal wake-up call that though homeownership is safer than most investments, it still involves risk. Today's buyers are very aware that a single wrong decision or factors beyond their control can cost them dearly. That is one reason 90 percent of today's buyers think it is very important to have an agent with knowledge of the real estate market. Successful listing presentations and CMAs are rich with local data and analysis. Agents who demonstrate a fundamental understanding of local market trends win more business and become trusted advisors because of their knowledge. Market "smarts" have become an important marketing strategy. More and more agents and brokers, as well as real estate websites, appraisal companies, franchisers and data analytics firms, use the latest data to publicize market trends as a way to communicate their expertise. You do not need a degree in economics to become market literate, just an understanding of how local real estate economies work, fluency with the terminology and good sources for local data on sales, prices, values, and inventories. Add your professional expertise and your skilled observations of the latest trends in the charts and numbers and you have a winning formula. The Basics: How Real Estate Markets Work Ideally, real estate markets follow the laws of supply. If the supply of homes for sale is greater than demand, the market will put pressure on prices to fall until supply and demand come into balance as buyers take advantage of bargains and fewer sellers list their homes. Home will take longer to sell. Should the supply of homes for sale be too small to meet demand, homes will sell faster, and prices will tend to rise until more sellers list their homes and buyers wait for better prices.
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Real Estate Smarts: 51 Resources to Pass Along to Clients
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Summer School: 3 Online Training Opportunities for Real Estate Agents
The kids may be out of school, but class is still in session for agents who want to gain new skills this summer. Just this week, we learned of three new educational opportunities in areas like listing photography and social media. All options are offered online, too, which means that you can work through them at your own pace while powering through the busy season. Here's a quick rundown of each: #GetSocialSmart Academy For years, Katie Lance has been real estate's go-to guru on all things social media. It's likely you've heard her share her knowledge on stage at real estate conferences, or read her name in any number of industry publications. On Tuesday, Lance launched her latest knowledge sharing venture, the #GetSocialSmart Academy. It's a web-based "learning portal" featuring social media training videos, downloadable materials, and live webinars. The content is based on Lance's 6-week coaching program, and covers topics like content strategy, blogging, Facebook advertising, Instagram, Pinterest, video marketing, livestreaming, LinkedIn, Twitter, and beyond. Until June 30, Academy membership is available at a deeply discounted "early bird" rate. Check out GetSocialSmart.com to learn more. Looking for similar training opportunities? Check out The Paperless Agent and/or their Real Estate Digital Marketer (REDM) certification course.
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How Technology Training Revolutionized One Realtor's Business
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How to Educate Buyers to Make Good Offers
As Realtors®, you see this again and again. As a listing agent, you are required to submit all offers to your seller, even the lowball offers. It is a horrible situation for the agent. Indeed, it is probably a horrible situation for the buyer’s agent, too. It is embarrassing for a buyer’s agent to submit a lowball offer to a seller. As the listing agent, you need to reinforce the price. Respond with the data that was used to set the listing price. You did a CMA, just update it with current comps. When you counter to the buyer, include the facts that support your pricing. The buyer’s agent is unlikely to argue, especially if you are drawing those facts from the same MLS. Another piece of information that you may want to include is the graph showing the sales price as a percentage of the Original Price. The graph above is a good illustration of this. Real estate professionals understand that there is seasonality to pricing. You can see that the spring market is hotter for sellers than buyers. The buyer market gets slightly stronger in the fall, and is red hot over the holidays.
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The Paperless Agent Launches New Digital Marketing Certification
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6 Online Resources for Real Estate Education
Looking to complete CE credits? Find software user tips? How about discovering new sales techniques to leverage? Whatever your particular situation, you can satisfy just about any educational need online. The big question is--where to start? A search for "real estate education online" turns up 358,000,000 results on Google. The problem isn't a dearth of information, but an abundance of it. To help you cut through the noise, we've created this quick guide to our favorite online educational resources for real estate. Check it out to find six great places to start your learning journey. Through your Broker, MLS or Association We'll start with the most obvious. Checking the educational offerings of your brokerage, MLS, or association should always be the first thing you do. They often offer training in conjunction with their technology partners on tech solutions used within the organization or offered as a member benefit. Your MLS or association should be your go-to source to find continuing education opportunities. Start by checking their website for more information. If your organization's website is a little thin, don't hesitate to call or email them directly. And don't forget to check out NAR. Their REALTOR® Education page offers a wealth of information and links to learning resources: http://www.realtor.org/education
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Crime Prevention for Real Estate Agents: An Introduction
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Edutainment
Oh, the endless parade of marketing buzzwords. You know what I'm talking about – "synergy," "thought leader," "edutizing," "advertainment." They are obnoxious when you hear them all day long. Unfortunately, they're usually based on a principle that has actual value. That's what I'm going to talk about today, a word I use to describe a vital concept that can make or break your online marketing strategy: Edutainment. Let's begin with a rough definition. Edutainment: marketing materials that offer the dual benefit of educating and entertaining consumers, resulting in improved engagement and increased leads Let's talk about what isn't edutainment. Sending a "Just Listed" eFlyer to a recent buyer client isn't either educational or entertaining for them. Neither are customized sports team fridge schedules, agent calendars, recipe post cards, or QR codes on digital eCards. "What's wrong with those examples?" you may ask. Well, the biggest problem is quite simple: they aren't taking the recipient into consideration. If your marketing materials don't provide value to consumers – in the form of entertainment, education, or both – they are not going to pay attention. Now that we've talked about what isn't edutainment, let's talk about what is.
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Always Learning and Growing: 10 Tips from NAR
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Secrets from a Tech Trainer
The key to success with any technology tool is using it properly. Smart tech companies have recognized this fact and offer substantive training programs to ensure adoption and product loyalty. Technology training specialists play a crucial role in keeping the company healthy and the consumers happy. We were interested in learning more about this side of our industry, so we interviewed a volunteer from zipLogix®, Product Trainer Cassandra Davis. Davis conducts regular live training sessions and user group forums for zipLogix® users, and works with brokerages and associations nationwide to provide tools to help real estate professionals leverage online tools and work toward paperless transactions. Here are some valuable takeaways from our conversation with Cassandra. 1) Why do you think it's important for real estate professionals to learn about the technology they use? It makes their lives easier. Of course, most agents know they can save time if they learn about shortcuts in zipForm® like the Fast Fill option, but few realize they can also access tools to reduce their risk and improve their client's satisfaction with the transaction until after they have attended a training. There are a lot of technology tools that can help agents through every file. Learning about the tools built in to the software they use every day can help agents improve the transaction experience for themselves and for their buyers and sellers. The training tools provided by zipLogix® can help agents to learn how to leverage the technology they already have, from reducing risk with saved clauses to face to face online meetings with zipConsult®.
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5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Designations
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4 Ways to Help Buyers Prepare for Higher Mortgage Rates
After years of historically low mortgage rates, home buyers are seeing the tide turn and wondering how much higher rates will inch up. What advice should agents give them? 1. Plan ahead. In many markets, higher rates have arrived in tandem with inventory shortages, forcing buyers to think harder about ways to improve their negotiating position. The best first step? Encourage buyers to shop for a lender and secure pre-approval on a mortgage before shopping for homes. Of course, this will be more difficult if a buyer has any blemishes on their credit history. Even though higher interest rates could dampen refinance activity and free up more money for new mortgages, lending standards are expected to remain tight. Help buyers resolve any credit issues early to avoid future disappointments. 2. Submit a winning offer. In a rising rate environment, time means dollars. Encourage buyers to consider the potential cost of having their offer rejected and needing more time to find and submit a winning bid on another property. Viewed this way, a buyer may prefer to adjust their negotiating position and make their offer more attractive. For example, consider telling a seller that you'll accept a higher mortgage rate if rates change before you're able to lock. Sending a signal that you won't back out of a contract could tip the scales in your favor—and may ultimately cost much less than playing hardball while rates creep even higher.
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Do’s and Dont’s for Thriving in the Electronic Information Age
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Friday Freebie: Home Zone Real Estate Marketing System
We've got a double Friday Freebie going into the holiday weekend! Jumpstart your autumn sales with a free webinar that demonstrates how to create winning listing presentations. Attendees will then get the opportunity to practice what they've learned with a free 30-day trial of the Home Zone Electronic Real Estate Marketing System. Read on to learn more! Free webinar and 30-day trial of the Home Zone Real Estate Marketing System Home Zone knows the secret for winning the listing presentation every time and wants to share it with you! They're offering a free webinar that shows agents how adding just five minutes to your presentation will prove to prospects that you are the expert when it comes to marketing the listing and generating qualified leads. When it comes right down to it, most listing presentations are much the same. But a listing presentation is a competition, and only one agent will win--based solely on what that agent provides over other agents. Agents that deliver a well thought out electronic marketing strategy have a competitive advantage. Outline exactly how your cohesive marketing campaign will sell the home faster and for more money, and your expertise will stand out in the seller's mind. This involves demonstrating a tangible example of what you do that most other agents don't. Join Showcase Technologies CEO, Tom Emmendorfer, for this free live webinar and learn how to win the listing by demonstrating a tangible technology edge over your competition. Plus, receive a free month trial of The Home Zone Electronic Real Estate Marketing System. Sign up for this free 30-minute session at www.learnremarketing.com.
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5 Business-Building Tips for Buyer’s Representatives
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Three More Down Payment Assistance Myths Debunked
Guest contributor Down Payment Resource says: Preconceived ideas often keep us from investigating further. In the case of down payment assistance, myths like "it's only for first-time homebuyers" and "it's difficult to qualify" prevent potential buyers from exploring all viable paths to homeownership. According to the 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey, more renters are now thinking about purchasing a home, up from 25 percent to 36 percent. Many of these renters have the income and credit qualifications to buy a home, but simply need to overcome the down payment hurdle. Too often, long held myths about homebuyer programs hold them back. We debunk three more surprisingly common myths about down payment assistance. Don't miss our first installment where we debunked Myths #1 - 4. Myth #5: Down payment assistance is only for inexpensive homes Many people focus on the word "assistance" in down payment assistance, believing it is only for narrowly defined homebuyers and "targeted" neighborhoods of very inexpensive homes. In fact, homes in any neighborhood may be eligible with sales price limits typically ranging from $200,000 to over $700,000 in high-cost markets. On average, 70% of all homes for sale are eligible for one or more programs. Some homebuyer programs can have income limits of up to 120% AMI and higher, which can amount to well over six-figure incomes in countless markets across the country. In addition, some may offer tiered assistance dollars at varying income levels so higher incomes might yield lower assistance amounts, but higher income isn't an automatic disqualifier. Income limits are almost always based on household size, so limits for a family of five are significantly higher than for a single person.
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Real Estate Glossary for Your Clients
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Everything You Need to Know About ISAs (Licensing)
This post comes to us from the BoomTown blog: So you've decided to switch over to the ISA (Inside Sales Agent) model. Kudos to you! I bet you have some questions about the specifics of it all. Our own BoomTown users have also been asking some very good questions regarding ISAs. I've gathered some insights (from our awesome BoomTown owners!) on the most frequently asked questions in our forum. Should ISAs Be Licensed? Agents and Brokers Who Say No Although ISAs are typically licensed, there are some real estate agents who prefer their ISAs to be unlicensed. Their reasoning is that often times, the consumer just wants a quick answer to a question and then they will be off the phone. If the ISA is not licensed, they have a good reason for transferring the lead to a buyers agent who is better qualified to not only answer their question, but also to steer the conversation toward closing a deal. A particular broker shared that he would rather have the agents qualify the leads themselves, instead of the ISA. This broker felt that this way the consumer was more likely to step into the physical office, where the agent has a better opportunity to "sell" their company, and in turn, to sell homes.
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Consumer Education: The Why
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Learn How to Increase Your Revenue with Professional Development
In today's competitive market, professional development is one of the best ways to hone your skills and advance your business. Real estate market influences are ever evolving and, now more than ever, successful agents must keep current on trends and issues related to their business. First, you must determine what the best professional development path for your business is. For example, if you are only representing sellers and want to start working with buyer clients, it would be beneficial to learn the practice of representing buyers, how to fulfill your buyer clients' real estate needs, and how to ensure that transactions proceed smoothly. A course in buyer representation can teach you the necessary skills to ensure you are representing your buyer clients to the best of your ability.
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Consumer Education First for Success
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What is a Real Estate Technology Accelerator?
If you've been paying attention to industry news lately, you've probably heard the term "technology accelerator" in reports. NAR runs one called REach™, and even Inman News has jumped into the game, announcing Inman Incubator earlier this month. So what is a tech accelerator? In short, it's a program that helps young technology companies grow by providing them with education, mentorship and, in some cases, funding. In the case of REach™, the program specifically grooms companies for success within the real estate industry. Teaching Startups About Real Estate REach™ differs from other incubator programs in a few key ways, foremost being NAR's stewardship. By supporting companies that can, in turn, support its 1,000,000 members with innovative new technology, the National Association of REALTORS® looks to secure the future of itself and the industry at large. That support includes intensive education on things like execution strategies, how to measure success, and insight into the real estate customer. "There are some intricacies and nuances of the industry that we need to understand at a deeper level," says Conor McCluskey, founder of BombBomb, the first company admitted to REach's class of 2013. "Overall, we expect to benefit from the relationships we'll make with industry leaders, with brokers and agents, and with like-minded companies serving the industry."
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Top 4 Real Estate Success Principles that Every Agent Must Follow
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4 Common Down Payment Assistance Program Myths Debunked
Today's homebuyers are doing significant online research before beginning their home buying search, yet there are still many misconceptions about home financing and down payment assistance programs. Home prices, along with down payments, are increasing, and assistance programs can help make buying a home as affordable as possible. Are these common myths keeping you from investigating homebuyer assistance options? Myth #1: Down payment assistance programs are only for first-time homebuyers. First-time homebuyers are defined as someone who has not owned a home in three years. And, not all programs specify that you must be a first-time homebuyer. It's important to know that assistance programs are for homebuyers, not investors. Most housing agencies will require that the home is occupied as a primary residence in order to qualify. In addition, homebuyers purchasing a home in a designated target area (typically for revitalization efforts) may receive special benefits such as higher assistance amounts, more lenient income requirements and the first-time homebuyer requirement may be waived. Veterans are often eligible for a first-time homebuyer waiver, too! Myth #2: Assistance programs are no longer funded. There are many public and private-funded programs available. In fact, there are hundreds of millions of dollars in down payment assistance, tax credits, affordable fixed-rate mortgages and rehab loans available throughout the country.
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Real Estate Tech: Terminology and Definitions
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Write Listing Descriptions That Sell
Sometime between your first real estate listing and your 20th, it will probably hit you: writer's block. You'll sit down to write a description for the MLS or your website or wherever and suddenly feel at a loss for words. After all, you've probably been throwing words around all day already – emailing associates, calling prospects, chatting with peers. And now your seller expects you assemble a few sentences about his or her house that will get the buyers to flock. And we've all been stung by the jokes about real estate agent "code" words e.g. using "cozy" when we really mean small or "charming" to hint that, well, the house has been painted purple, inside and out. So what's an agent to do? Relax. Help is on the way. First, we have some easy writing tips. Then we have a recent keyword study, focused on words that sell houses. And, finally, a few examples. See? We've got you covered. Easy Writing Tips Don't exaggerate. You will get caught. Today's buyers will use Google Earth to discover that your listing's "secluded wooded lot" is actually a forest of dead trees waiting to catch on fire. Just tell the truth. Do be specific. Numbers and materials and name brands are your friends; they add credibility to your listing. Instead of "spacious," include the square footage. Instead of "great kitchen," try "granite countertops."
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Learn how to be a Paperless Agent™ with the GoodLife Team and RE Technology!
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The Beginner's Guide to Editing Video with Windows Movie Maker
A recent joint study from NAR and Google shows that consumers are turning to video more than ever before during their home search. What kind of video are they searching for? According to the study, everything from virtual tours, customer testimonials, community information, and to learn more about hiring a real estate agent. So if you haven't been using video in your online marketing, there's no better time to start. No experience creating and editing video? Don't worry. You don't need fancy editing software. In fact, your Windows PC comes with everything a beginner needs. Windows Movie Maker is a basic, easy-to-understand video editing program that even the greenest rookie can use. That's why we're happy to introduce My Computer Works latest video tutorial,"Create Movies Easily with Windows Movie Maker." In it, you'll learn everything you need to know to start editing your property videos in under five minutes. If you're ready to integrate video into your marketing strategy, take a look at Leading Agent's Real Estate Video Idea of the Week series for inspiration. For advanced shooting and editing tips, check out Stephen Schweickart's collection of video tutorials. For everything else, see RE Technology's library of video and virtual tour articles. Click through to the next page to learn how to edit video with Windows Movie Maker.
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The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Facebook and Twitter
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The HomeFinder.com Agent Makeover Teaches Agents How to Revamp Their Business
It's been a rough few years for real estate, particularly for agents. In 2011, NAR reported REALTOR® membership declined over 20% in the wake of the economic crash, indicating that many professionals have been forced to leave the industry for other fields. With this in mind, HomeFinder.com created the HomeFinder.com Agent Makeover Sweepstakes. Almost 10,000 real estate agents entered for a chance to win a business and style makeover. "The volume of entries no doubt highlights a hunger on the part of real estate professionals to grow and learn as we prepare for the next wave in real estate," said Doug Breaker, CEO, HomeFinder.com. Last month, five lucky winners flew to Chicago for a chance to remake both their online and offline business image. They were treated to four educational sessions designed to help them improve their real estate business, as well as a wardrobe and style makeover. "We succeeded at providing a unique educational experience for five agents," said Breaker. "We want the chance to offer all of the real estate agents in our space insight into the best practices and expert knowledge." HomeFinder.com has made a video series of these educational sessions available to all real estate agents. Now you, too, can learn how to makeover your business.
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Weekend Homework: Improve Your Real Estate Business
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Name That File Type!
Have you ever received an email with an attachment and, from the file extension, had no idea what type of file it was? Yep, I have too. Today, that ends. Prepare yourself for a list of the most common file type extensions. Although this list isn't complete, I think I've hit all the high notes. Bookmark it so you can reference it the next time a mysterious attachment appears in your inbox. Text Files .doc - Microsoft Word Document .docx - Microsoft Word Open XML Document .msg - Outlook Mail Message .pages - Pages Document .rtf - Rich Text Format File .txt - Plain Text File .wpd - WordPerfect Document .wps - Microsoft Works Word Processor Document Image Files .bmp - Bitmap Image File .gif - Graphical Interchange Format File .jpg - JPEG Image .png - Portable Network Graphic .psd - Adobe Photoshop Document .thm - Thumbnail Image File .tif - Tag Image File Format
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Stop! Check Your MLS Before Making That Purchase
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Electronic Signatures FAQ
Electronic signatures have been among the hottest technologies in real estate this year. In chatting with Prabakar Mahalingam of GoPaperless Solutions, a leading provider of electronic signatures, I was curious about what obstacles, if any, stand in the way of further industry adoption. His response: lack of information. Real estate professionals and their clients may be reluctant to adopt this technology if they have unanswered questions. With all the benefits of electronic signatures – financial, environmental, practical – these questions should be answered. So, with Prabakar's help, I'm going to provide answers to some of the top electronic signature FAQs. These questions are primarily from the agent's perspective, however consumers share many of these concerns. How do electronic signatures work? There is a surprising array of different types of electronic signatures. Perhaps you've heard the term "digital signatures" tossed around – this is actually a subset of electronic signatures, one that uses a digital code that is unique to the signer and the document. Digital signatures are click-to-sign, as opposed to handwritten. Electronic signatures, unlike digital signatures, can be handwritten using a stylus. These are often called "wet" or "biometric" electronic signatures. Need help understanding this distinction? Check out our article, Not All Electronic Signatures Are Created Equal.
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Weekly Video Tip: Advanced Editing Technique Part I – Time-Lapse and Fast Motion
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How to Clear your Browser Cache
How often has this happened to you: you make an update on your website, yet when you go to see the live changes they are not visible? Where did all my edits go? That is one of the most commonly asked questions we receive in the Lone Wolf Support Department, and is easily remedied by completing a quick process known as "clearing the browser cache." Cache is information that is downloaded from internet servers onto your computer temporarily in order for websites to load faster upon revisit. Factor in the browser cache you accumulate from all the websites you visit, and your cache can become quite full. Why do browsers use cache? Advantage: It allows quick reloading of pages you have just accessed. Disadvantage: It shows old or "un-refreshed" page views, and uses additional computer memory. Examples of situations clearing the browser cache can remedy: Your profile picture has been updated in WOLFconnect, but the new profile picture is not displaying on the office website, or your agent website. You are trying to 'view/print' the showing activity on one of your listings, but it is not displaying the correct information. You have made some changes to a custom web page on your website and pushed it live, however your updates are not displaying on the website.
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Listing Syndication Definitions
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4 Steps to Find the Perfect Tenant
Rental professionals want to fill vacancies quickly – but not at the (significant) cost of choosing the wrong tenant. After all, what's the value of a tenant that does not pay their rent and fails to care for the property? Sometimes, the perfect tenant may seem elusive, but RentJuice is making the process easier with their "lead qualification kit." We'll share a few of the key steps here, but for the full scoop – including sample pre-qualifications questionnaire, rental application, rejection letter, and much more – download the free whitepaper. 1) Phone first. Meeting a prospective tenant in person requires a large time commitment. When you consider the fact that many of the people who contact you about the property will not be qualified, it's easy to see that in-person meetings with each and every one of them can become a major waste of time. This is why RentJuice recommends running through some basic pre-qualification questions over the phone before scheduling a showing. (They've included sample pre-qualification questions in their whitepaper.) If a phone interview reveals that the prospective tenant is qualified for the property in question, invite them to a showing. If they are not a good fit for this particular property, but they have potential for future properties, gather their information into a lead tracking system and tell them you'll keep them at the top of your list for a better fit. 2) Meet in person at a showing. As we mentioned above, if a prospect sounds qualified over the phone, your next step should be to schedule a showing. RentJuice says, "Don't skip this step, no matter how perfect prospective renters sound during pre-qualification." RentJuice offers some other interesting tips for showings: Invite several prospective renters to the same showing. This increases their interest in the property and creates a sense of urgency to move through the application process. Offer applications right at the showing. (You can find a sample application in the RentJuice whitepaper.)
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"The Cloud" 101
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Do You Subscribe to the RE Technology Newsletter?
You can get career-enhancing information about real estate technology delivered right to your inbox with the RE Technology newsletter. If you aren't already signed up for our newsletter, there are a few simple steps you can take to get signed up. Sign Up for the Newsletter or RSS Feeds 1) Visit RETechnology.com. If you aren't already, log in in the upper right-hand corner of the site. 2) In the top menu bar, select "More," then "Subscriptions."
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Tech and Marketing 101 for New Agents
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Keeping Up with Political Changes
RE Technology does not favor a specific political party - we favor the real estate professionals that we serve. This article is about a potential source of information, not about advocating any political agenda. Alright, enough disclaimers, let's get down to this article (written by RE Technology CEO, Victor Lund). Now more than ever, the REALTOR® community needs to pay close attention to the Federal Government's actions regarding the housing industry and economic policy directed toward improving the economy.   Here is information about a free app that you may enjoy. Admittedly, this may be just one side of the story (Republican), but there is lots of information about bills going through the House and Senate that are unbiased (sort of). We feel that it offers a good source to stay informed about activities that impact our future in real estate. Here is a lighthearted video about the app and a link to download.
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What’s driving the changes in the real estate market and how will they impact your business?
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HomeGain Releases 2nd Quarter 2011 National Home Values Survey Results
Guest Contributor Louis Cammarosano from HomeGain Says: Fifty percent of surveyed real estate professionals nationwide expect home values to decrease over the next six months; Sixty-five percent disapprove of Obama’s performance as President. HomeGain, the first company to provide free instant home valuations online, announced the results of its nationwide second quarter 2011 home values survey. Over 750 real estate agents and brokers and over 2,600 homeowners were surveyed. Most real estate professionals and homeowners continue to expect home values to decrease or stay the same through the middle of the year. Fifty percent of agents and brokers and forty-two percent of homeowners think that home values will decrease over the next six months. In the first quarter 2011 HomeGain National Home Values Survey, thirty-nine percent of agents and brokers and 30 percent of homeowners thought that home values would decrease over the next six months.  
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Tuesday Tech Tip with Maya Paveza of TheHipRoof.com
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How Branding Builds Trust and Familiarity for REALTORS®
Every type of business needs to pay close attention to branding, real estate included. Most potential clients don’t know anything about your business until you establish and build relationships with them. Their first impressions and perspectives of the company will come straight from whatever branding they’re exposed to. Even after clients know you, branding continues to affect how they view the company. It serves as a reminder that the company is successful and always ready to help them connect with the property of their dreams.  
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Tuesday Tech Tip with Maya Paveza of HipRoof.com
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Top 10 Grammar Mistakes to Avoid (Part One)
If you're like most people, writing isn't much fun. Just because you're not a gifted scribe doesn't mean you shouldn't share your thoughts. After all, as an experienced professional, you've got valuable insights that could enlighten your peers and market your services, insights that would be best expressed in writing. You need to be sure that your literary gems have a basic level of grammatical accuracy if you don't want your message to get lost through the "noise" of your mistakes. We all have a few pesky bad grammar habits that we just can't seem to break. If you're a victim to any of the mistakes I'm about to mention, it's time to tape the list up on your wall, stick a post-it on your laptop, or have a colleague proofread your work. I'm going to cover the first 5 mistakes here. Part Two will cover the next 5 mistakes.
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Meeting Gen Y's Demand for Online Transparency and Information
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Don’t Have a Real Estate Website or a Blog?
Don't have a real estate website or blog? No problem this page is all about you. We’re going to help you get up to speed today. Have a website and/or blog but no web traffic? Don’t feel bad, most Realtors really don’t have a clue!
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Get the 411 on Facebook Secret Groups, MouseFlow and More!
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The Queue Episode 3: Facebook MLS App and More
Welcome to this week's TechSavvyAgent webshow episode 3!  We have had a great response to the first two videos of this series. This week's episode number 3 of the Queue is action packed! I covered an innovative new Facebook App that brings the full MLS Search to your Business Page. I did a how to video on adding Google Street Views to your website or blog which is sure to impress both buyers and listing prospects. I highlighted an amazing site called Which Test Won which will help increase your conversions online and get the phone ringing more. Lastly I discussed Klout which is a measure of your social influence that is really taking off and can quantify the ROI of your social media efforts. As always if you have any questions or feedback please leave them in the comments below and please help share this information on Facebook, Twitter and by emailing the link to the other agents in your office.
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How To Take Listing Photos in Wintertime
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Getting Comfortable With RSS – Part 1
So much information, so little time. Newspapers, magazines, podcasts, blog posts, books, webinars – we are overwhelmed with information from a myriad of sources. Most of us probably have our “towers of shame,” those stacks of must-read books beside the bed or our favorite chair. How would you like to be served filtered business, local and national news, blog posts, videos, and other items of interest, directly to your computer in real-time? An extremely simple and efficient way to manage day-to-day information is through the use of an RSS reader and subscriptions to RSS feeds.
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Want the Inside Scoop about 5 New Products? Be the First to Know!
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How Facebook Likes Increase Impressions and Brand Awareness
Our friends over at TechSavvyAgent offer a numerical illustration of the value of a “like“: In the top image Tech Savvy Agent received 10 Likes and 12 Comments which led to 4,892 Impressions of the status update. In the bottom image we received 472 Likes and 44 Comments which led to 22,466 Impressions of the status update.
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Use QR Codes to Avoid Facebook's Pay-per-Click Charge!
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Keep Your Eye On Data Privacy!
I've been in the data privacy and information security business for more than 20 years and there sure have been a lot of changes. I have really seen this industry grow up, particularly in the last nine years since I founded Privacy Solutions. Now privacy has its own official day- January 28th is International Data Privacy Day. To commemorate the day in true Privacy Guru® style, here are four easy things you can do which will do wonders to help protect you, your family and your business. If you want, you can even let me know you’ve done them by posting “Done” on the Privacy Solutions Facebook page.
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Want to be Tech Savvy? Tune in for Weekly Videos!
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When It Comes to QR Codes, What About Clikbrix?
QR codes are addictive, especially for those of us who like to walk around entertaining ourselves with our high tech phones.  Each time you scan there is a sense of excitement and anticipation – especially with those QR marketing campaigns that purposely hold back information that is ultimately translated to your phone. It’s like getting the white mystery flavored Skittle in your bag of colorful candy and finding out a whole new flavor like root beer! If you are curious, go to m.clickbrix.com on your mobile browser. It will magically pick the right reader for your phone. Once you have loaded the QR reader to your phone (as mentioned in the first part of this series), scan the QR code to the left for a special offer.  A great site to find the QR Reader of choice is http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-software/ QR codes are popping up everywhere now: billboards, price tags, websites, newspapers, blogs, and other marketing mediums. Now they’re also popping up in the real estate space! And tech savvy vendors to the real estate industry are embracing this technology in a variety of ways – linking to profile pages, linking to property pages, linking to virtual tours, linking to neighborhood tours, etc. This week we were able to preview the Clikbrix QR code solution for real estate professionals. We spoke with Erik Goldhar, co-founder of QR marketing agency, ‘QRe8 Mobile Experience’, the parent company of Clikbrix.com. Goldhar has a background in Canada’s digital marketing and ad world. Clikbrix and QRe8.com have been working on QR codes for the past 2.5 years and saw a gaping opportunity for this technology in the American real estate space. During this call we were able to understand several of Clikbrix’s points of view regarding the following: 1.) What are the benefits of using QR codes to promote real estate business?2.) What are some industry challenges you see with QR codes for marketing?3.) What solution is Clikbrix offering to the industry?
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How to Select a Good Point and Shoot Camera
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Using QR Codes to Market Each Property Listings
Where else could QR codes be flaunted to attract the eye of homebuyers trolling neighborhoods, looking for their dream home?  For Sale signs!  Homebuyers cruising around on a Sunday afternoon pursuing attractive neighborhoods can scan a QR code from a For Sale sign from their car and view photos, property details, pricing, open house schedule and the listing agent’s contact information.  In an era of convenience and catering to the consumer, QR codes start to look for attractive in promoting real estate listings. This week we were able to preview a marketing solution by Homefinder.com that provides a QR code component for real estate professionals. We spoke with Mark Tepper, VP of Business Development and Sales, specifically with regards to QR codes.
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Virtual Tours: Naughty or Nice?
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Correcting Barrel Distortion
Have you ever tried photographing a room, but couldn't fit it all into one shot? Have you ever had sellers ask you to make their house look as BIG as possible in the listing photos? Have you ever felt cramped for space when shooting interior photos? Of course you have—it's all a part of photographing real estate. If you've been confronted with these problems enough, you may have broken down and purchased a ultra-wide angle lens or fisheye lens to extend your field of view. These lenses work great for real estate purposes, but your photos may inevitably suffer from barrel distortion.
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When It Comes to QR Codes, What About Clikbrix?
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Utilizing Facebook to Drive Agent Referrals
Facebook is a hot topic in business these days, but most businesses are still trying to “figure it out.”  The problem is particularly acute in financial services.  Among big companies, Facebook participation is hit or miss.  Allstate (~22,000 fans) and Citibank (~7,000 fans), for example, have fewer fans than they have insurance agents and loan officers.  Among small and mid-sized companies, participation is even worse. Meanwhile, individual Facebook users aren’t having any problems.  Facebook is reportedly on track to become the first with a billion users in 2011, and seemingly all of Austin, Texas is following the 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas page. What’s going on here?  Rick Grant offers a handful of explanations in this recent HousingWire article, and I agree with his overall assessment.  While it’s easy for banks to cite “lack of clarity regarding financial services regulations” as a reason to stay on the Facebook sidelines, the explanation rings hollow given their reputation for exploiting every regulatory loophole they can find.
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Don’t Ignore Client Needs, Instead Become the Educator
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Social Media Likes - To be Taken Seriously
Several months ago Bing and Facebook announced a partnership to bring Facebook ‘likes’ into search results. More recently Google started testing social search as well. ‘Social search’ is when the data from social networks and search engines combine to provide a more personalized experience for everyday consumers. Google will display results from people in your social network on the first page of search results. This social-search-meld, I think, has huge implications for real estate agents. Given that the 30- to 45-year-old demographic turns to the Web to research people and things, agents who are active online and build connections with their customers and prospects through social media will have a huge advantage over agents who don’t.
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What are QR Codes?
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What Is In Your Twitter Toolbox?
If you set out to learn something, you might as well learn from the best. One of the pioneers of social media marketing is Chris Brogan, founder of New Marketing Brands. He works with large and mid-sized companies to improve online business communications like marketing and PR. With a vast Twitter following and a number of tools by his side, Brogan consults and speaks about how to better utilize Twitter for business developement. What type of tools does he use to make Twitter easier to use, and more effective? Keep reading to find out.
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Steer Clear of a Tax Audit for 2010
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Social Media Increases In-Person Contact and Referral Filtering of Information
As we keep our ear to the ground with social media, two new trends seem to be emerging from social media that have direct impact to real estate professionals.  Social media spurs in-person interaction and filtering of Internet information is moving towards friend referrals rapidly. All this begs the question: what does that mean for real estate? The face of the industry is changing, and the best way to change along with it is to stay informed. A common fear for real estate professionals, when looking to use social media to grow their business is that they lose the personal touch that sets them apart from their competition.  Certainly as sales people, personality and face-to-face interaction is vital to building relationships and eventually closing business.  Many feel it is better to work in-person connections more than trying to build virtual connections.
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How to Shoot Listing Photos at Dusk
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Want to Make Your Office Smart?
What makes a smart office is? A lot of things. Smart people are part of the equation. But they’re not the only factor, or perhaps even the most important. I’ve had the opportunity in the past to work with some very smart people – much smarter than me, in offices that were less than successful. Innate human intelligence alone doesn’t always pay the bills. At the end of the day, every office has processes that need to be performed, decisions that must be made, research that has to be handled, and so on. These things pay the bills, and more. How intelligently these functional aspects of day-to-day office life are carried out can play a big part in the making of a smart office.
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Save $350 on Upcoming Real Estate Marketing Summit
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Have Writer's Block?
One question I get consistently any time I talk to people about real estate blogging is, “What do you write about and where do you find the time?” And a darn fine question it is. Actually, it’s two questions. We’ll attempt to tackle the first one now, ans the second one in a follow up article. What to write about Here is where I differ somewhat from many “blogging experts”. Personally, I don’t think a real estate blog needs to be exclusively about real estate. You don’t need to go all “hyper local” to have a successful real estate blog. “Blasphemy!” someone is saying.
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The Two Best Tools for Blogging
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He Said, She Said - Manage Your Online Reputation with Naymz
Congratulations, you have now activated your personality in a lot of great places where people can easily find you and interact with you through the popular social networks. You have a Plaxo profile, LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, MySpace profile, Twitter profile, profile on your broker website, profile on your personal website, virtual tours, and probably a number of other places people can find you on the Web. Now, how do you keep it all straight? With Naymz. Naymz is an excellent way to pull it all together and manage your online reputation, and, of course it is also free! With Naymz, you can have a webpage built around your name and link to all of the information about you. The really cool thing that we have noticed about Naymz is that they drive traffic to your profile on their network by investing in Pay Per Click keywords at Google using your name, so you don’t have to. They do not promise to do this, but I noticed that they do. The great news about Naymz is that you can tell anyone to “Google” you and click on your Naymz profile to find you everywhere online!
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Keep Your Business Social
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Secrets to Making Market Analytics Work For You
If you are looking to add a new tool to your arsenal that could be the difference between winning a client and being side-stepped by another agent, consider market analytics.  The local variability of the real estate market has created uncertainty and hesitancy with many consumers. Have you ever considered learning about these trends and being able to calm buyers and sellers with local market awareness? This week I spoke with Michelle Carter, VP of Sales & Operations at Trendgraphix and we discussed the value of real estate agents using market analytics to drive their business.  Michelle is clearly passionate about the value of market statistics to the agent. “Real estate markets vary constantly both regionally and across the country.  As a real estate agent, if you don’t understand what is happening on the local level you can’t compete as easily,” explains Carter.
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Make Noise and Build Traffic with Twitter
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MySpace - Stake Out Your Space
MySpace works similarly to Facebook, but the pages can be made fancier with themes, which can be downloaded for free, or purchased. It also appeals more to people who like to share information on music, hobbies, sports teams and TV shows. Where Facebook has more pull with college students and professionals, MySpace has more pull with teens and pre-teens. As a result, it is a goldmine for parents who have MySpace accounts used to monitor their children online. Through the process of checking on their children, they connect with other parents and find that MySpace is actually quite fun and easy—hence, the reason why they have amassed more than 100 million members.
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Want an Easy New Way to Share Your Expertise Online?
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Connect the Past with the Present Using Facebook
Facebook is the most popular social network by professionals stretching from college age students on up. For most, about 20 percent of the people you know are already using Facebook. Facebook reports around 400 million accounts. The younger you are, the more people you will find. Also note some of the most recent Facebook statistics: More than 500 million active users 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day Average user has 130 friends People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook More than one million websites have integrated with Facebook Platform More than 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month There are more than 150 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices
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Want an Easy New Way to Share Your Expertise Online?
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Confused by Social Media Lingo?
By 2010 Generation Y has come to outnumber Baby Boomers and 96% of them have not only joined a social network, but also spend considerable time using it. We also wanted to share some of our thoughts and experiences in using social media for our business. As you read through this guide, we hope that you will find the information useful in forming your business's social media plan. Why do I take the time to use social media like Twitter and Facebook? Because after spending considerable time learning and using social media, I can safely say that we should expect our lives to radically and exponentially be changed by social media and social networks over the next few years. Many traditional forms of media that we have been using for decades are being eclipsed with a growth in membership numbers and adoption rates that we have never experienced before. Consumers no longer want or trust advertising to the same levels they did a decade ago.
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