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Digital Marketing Strategy Wins Agent 3 Transactions from 1 Inquiry
How would you like to win multiple transactions from a single online inquiry? That's what happened to Realtor Terry Grayson of The Grayson Group when a lead from realtor.com referred him to family members who owned a construction company. And although those referrals already had a decades-long relationship with another agent, they decided to transact with Terry because of the online exposure they knew their listing would get. We recently spoke with Terry to learn how he differentiates himself online, his secrets to converting more leads, and more. Today's topic is multiple transactions from one inquiry. Apparently, you have been able to make this happen with your online leads? How did you get started with this and what triggers the "extra business" from your online marketing? In 2014, I started off with purchasing leads from two of the national websites. Also, the company I was with at the time would send me their brokerage overflow leads if the listing agent did not pick up. This introduced me to the whole concept of online advertising and reaching out to clients when they have an inquiry about a property. When I switched over to realtor.com, I could just see a difference in the quality of the lead. The others were not as serious or as ready to engage immediately. As an example, I have a realtor.com customer right now that I'm working on. This one realtor.com lead turned into three transactions so far because he was not only a buyer looking for property; his parents have a construction company that does concrete work and they met me at the showing. They came along just to make sure that my buyer made the right decision and they were looking at the structure of the property. Six months after we closed, his parents reached out to me and they went forward with me to list their property based off of that relationship. It was an interview process because I was competing with a more well-established real estate agent that had a 25-year track record in the community. And yet they felt that I would do a better job listing their house and selling it—just due to the fact that they knew they would get online exposure. What is it that you can offer your buying customers on the listing side to facilitate double-ended transactions? The likelihood of the house selling would be better than if it were just to be put online because I have the realtor.com branding. With this new Local Expert product, we are coming up 50% of the time in local home searches. I own market share in ten different markets, and I'm showing up in the fourth position on the front page for all of them—and so are my sellers' properties. This is really awesome because they can see that they're going to get that exposure where the other competing real estate agents wouldn't. I've already have used it for listing presentations, and it worked out perfectly. It's quite impressive that you can just show up 50% of the time in somebody's neighborhood. Do your clients take notice of your branding? Yes, and if they're using, for instance, Facebook, it attaches itself to that and all of a sudden my ad pops up. I've had customers come back to me that are still actively looking for homes (they like to do their own house search even though I send them listings through the MLS). They come back to me and say, "Terry I see your face all over the internet—you're everywhere." Since you have closed an abundance of customers you met online, how does this position you to get additional listing business, repeat sales and referrals? It really is pretty impressive. I feel very confident that the past clients that I serviced realize that I am the agent of choice in the area because my face just continually pops up everywhere they're looking. When they come back in the market to move again, they're the ones really looking online on a daily basis and they see us over and over and over again. Sample of a flyer that Terry uses in his business:
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Market Dominant Yet Still Marketing: One Agent's Secrets to Success
If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: the biggest ingredient for marketing success is consistency. That's the secret to Realtor Rosemary Allison's success as well. The luxury real estate veteran of 40+ years still diligently markets her brand across her market area. In this interview, she shares the online and offline methods she uses to become one of the most recognized names in her local real estate market. Your brand, your name and your image is associated with real estate all over Ventura County. Tell us what this does for you. I think it's very important to my success. I spend a lot of money to make sure that people know who I am. But at the point when they're thinking about who they're going to call for real estate, I think it's real important that they remember to call me. I believe that they go to the name that they recognize. Of course it is in support of the most important branding I have going, which is having good client relations. I make sure they're happy with my services because most of my business, honestly, is referrals. One thing I'm proud of is that at this point I've been selling real estate full-time since 1975. I am now selling the children of previous clients their homes. That's really neat to me. The fact that the parents are recommending me to their children really says that they did know that I gave them the best service and that they could trust me to handle their real estate needs. The branding reinforces these bonds and reminds them I am still serving the community. How are you directing your marketing to reach the consumers you will be most successful with? What I try to do is target market towards the buyers of the homes that I'm selling—the luxury market. I have a kiosk outside Nordstrom's, and advertise in Homes and Land, Society Magazine, and Westlake Magazine. Then, of course, I've got realtor.com, which is branding for a precise community. When you specialize in an area, you pay the money to get those additional imprints. You're getting attention from the potential buyers and sellers for your area. I find that realtor.com not only is a wonderful website, but it's one that brands you very well when you specialize like I do. I focus on an area of Ventura County, Calif. The mall kiosk is almost industrial branding, but it's not something that's specifically targeting real estate prospects. It's not going to give you return, which realtor.com can. When we have someone going to realtor.com, they're most likely either looking to sell a home (they want to see what the homes in their neighborhood are selling for), or they're interested in buying in a particular area. Are you able to track the success of your branding on realtor.com? Honestly one of the great things about realtor.com is that I see inquiries in my contact base. I can see people that are asking about properties and asking me questions. It's very easy to track, because with the realtor.com dashboard, you can see activity. I utilize that not only for potential buyers, but I think it's also a great tool to show sellers the tracking of the imprints of people interested in their home who have clicked or viewed their home. How are you using this on the seller / listing side? I now have the Local Expert city tool and I am so excited! I just did my ads and I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do with it. Basically, on a listing presentation, I can tell my clients their home will be featured first and it will not go down the scoreboard on realtor.com because I've paid for the Local Expert ad. You said that your primary business is referrals – has this had an impact on repeat business and referrals? People you know three, five years down the line. I got a call recently from someone from decades ago when I sold them their home. Although I hadn't spoken to them, they had seen the other branding I do and when they looked at properties online, they saw my picture pop up. Of course they said they were going to call, but reminding them to do so and making it easy to contact me helped make sure they did.
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From Restaurants to Real Estate: How One Entrepreneur Closed 79 Transactions in 1 Year
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Realtor.com Launches Commute Time Search Filter for iOS
Realtor.com just made it easier for real estate buyers to find a home that matches their lifestyle needs. On Monday, the property search portal released a new commute time search filter that allows consumers to search for homes that fall within their desired commute time from work. The filter, currently available only on the iOS version of the Realtor.com mobile app, lets users select their preferred commute length alongside search criteria like number of beds/baths, house size, and more. Home buyers can search in increments of 10 minutes up to 60 minutes. They can also use the "With traffic" option to filter by commute lengths at rush hour or at off-peak times. Once the maximum preferred commute time and other criteria are entered, listings that match are displayed: Realtor.com® said that the commute time filter was created in response to consumer feedback. According to a survey of 600 realtor.com® users, 85 percent of respondents would sacrifice home features like lot size, home size, and home style in favor of a shorter commute. Forty percent of those surveyed said that they wanted to reduce their current commute by up to 45 minutes. "Our goal is [to] go beyond helping consumers search for listings by providing them with the tools and information to make decisions about which homes are right for them," said Chung Meng Cheong, CPO of realtor.com®. "With a more holistic view of their drive to and from work, people are able to make more informed decisions about where to live, and hopefully reduce some unnecessary stress from their daily lives." The commute time filter is only available to iOS users currently, but realtor.com® plans to release launch the feature on its Android app and website in the near future.
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Why an Up-to-date Agent Profile Helps You List More Homes
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How Agents Can Benefit from the Zestimate
The Famous Zillow Zestimate Zillow defines its Zestimate as the "estimated market value for an individual home," and one that is "…a starting point in determining a home's value and is not an official appraisal." Sounds harmless, no? While the Zestimate's goal to assist in the automation of home valuation is well intended, the challenges it has created for real estate agents, home buyers, and home sellers has left Zillow, and those who followed in its path, with an arduous defense battle, inclusive of actual litigation (more on that below).
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Real Agent Story: Online Branding Key to Winning New and Past Clients
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How to Turn Online Leads into Commissions in 3 Easy Steps
"I've already spoken to someone, thanks." *click* That's exactly how you DON'T want your first conversation with a new lead to go. And it doesn't have to if you have a system in place for attracting, following up, and nurturing home shoppers. No system? No problem. Today, we'll show you the "three Rs" that one successful agent uses to convert online leads into sales. Ready? Let's go!
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Kendrick Realty Clones Business Model to New Locations
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Realtor.com Introduces New Web Experience for Home Search
Realtor.com today introduced its new home search web experience which emphasizes visually engaging design to support a faster, simpler and smoother home search experience. Consumers using realtor.com's desktop and mobile web platforms can explore the new search experience starting today. "Searching for a home is a very stressful process, especially in today's market. The new realtor.com web experience puts more listings at our users' fingertips and makes it easier to compare homes side-by-side," said Chung Meng Chung, realtor.com's chief product officer. Realtor.com's new web experience better equips users to access the information they want quickly and efficiently. A few key highlights: No "FOMO" - New Listings and Open Houses: For serious home shoppers, the "Fear of Missing Out" is real. Users can now see at first look how many hours ago the listing was added to the site as well as the date of any upcoming open houses. More listings per page: Users can now see more properties per page and make visual comparisons, as total listings per page increased from 15 listings to 48 on desktop and from 50 to 60 on mobile web. Updated listing page design: See the listing information you want, when you want it. Listing page sections, such as "Property Details" and "Property History," are collapsed upon page opening for easier navigation without overwhelming the user. Listing pages load up to 10 times faster: Navigating between search results and listings is now up to 10 times faster, saving users time as they explore multiple listings. More immersive photo gallery experience: Mobile users will now see all listing photos in a single page rather than needing to swipe through each photo. "Mobile is our fastest-growing platform and our new web experience is designed to make it even simpler for people to search for homes on the go," said Suhail Ansari, realtor.com®'s chief technology officer. "Consumers can now seamlessly transition from one listing to another, browse property photos on a single page, and easily connect to a real estate professional."  
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Homes.com Nails New Website Design
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Positioning Your Value Proposition Against Zillow Instant Offers
We've been talking a lot about Zillow Instant Offers. At some point, there will be buzz in your office about them and agents need to know how to clearly articulate their value. In our last post on this topic, we talked about what they potentially mean for agents and how important it is to continue to provide comfort and trust to their clients. But what does that mean in tangible terms? How does one properly position themselves then? Providing value, client satisfaction, and being the trusted advisor to all clients is easier said than done. To review, Instant Offers works like this: It connects homeowners with investors, helping them receive multiple offers based on their "home details and comparative sales." All the homeowner has to do is answer some questions, submit some photos, and pick an offer from a verified investor. They then schedule a free home inspection and close on the date they choose. Simple, painless, virtually no work done by the homeowner. There is an option to use a Realtor, but the fact that homeowners don't have to is the key. Here's how you can combat this and position your value proposition against it:
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3 Questions to Ask Before You Share Your Listings Online
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DOSS Launches Smart Voice Search Tool for Real Estate
Look out, Zillow and Trulia, there's a new property search player in town—and it may just be the smartest kid on the block. Today, DOSS debuted a real estate search tool powered by advanced artificial intelligence. Ask DOSS is an app that lets users search listings with their voice, in a way that's very similar to interacting with Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. Users can say, for example, "DOSS, find me two bedroom condos in Biloxi," rather than typing a traditional search query.
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How to Win Over 'On the Fence' Clients — Once and for All!
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Realtor.com Launches New 'Search by School' Feature
The home search process just got easier for families with school-age children. Realtor.com today released a new feature that allows consumers (and their agents) to search for properties within the zoning boundaries of specific schools. To use this new feature, realtor.com visitors can simply type the name of the school they're looking for, and the site will display a list of matching schools in the search dropdown list:
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Agent tried online leads and received a lead that closed on day one!
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How to Deal with Buyers Who Love Property Portals
Ask any agent, and they're likely to agree: the Realtor-client relationship became more complicated when property search portals came onto the scene. Rather than relying on agents to find a home, today 51 percent of consumers find the home they buy online themselves, typically on search portals. And once consumers start using a home search platform, they seldom switch to another, even if their agent recommends it. This worries many Realtors, as their clients are exposed to competing agents while browsing property portals. But it's clear that property search portals are here to stay—and that consumers love them—so what's an agent to do? For veteran Realtor and broker Jesse Zagorsky, the answer is threefold: Understand client behavior Adapt to client behavior, don't change it Educate Zagorsky has years of experience in advertising on sites like Realtor.com® and managing portal leads. Here's his practical advice for dealing with portal loving clients. The First Step to Success: Understanding Client Behavior Realtors have a new role in the digital age, according to Zagorsky. "The value proposition has changed," he says. "Our role as an agent is not as much just to find the house as it is in executing all of the other elements of the process." In fact, you may have experienced, as Zagorsky has, a client that came to you with a listing from their property app or portal of choice—even though you know you already sent that to them in an MLS alert. "Once a buyer starts a pattern of search, they prefer to go back and look on their own again on the first site they tried," he says. "They still like to find it themselves. So we don't fight that."
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Realtor.com's Mobile App Gets Spiffed Up for Spring
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Realtor.com Introduces Augmented Reality to Its Mobile App
At the end of last year, there was a lot of chatter about augmented reality being one of the "trends to watch" in 2017. Well, it looks like the pundits are already being proven right, with a major real estate player announcing two brand new augmented reality features in their consumer facing mobile app. Today, Realtor.com launched "Sign Snap," a feature that lets consumers snap a picture of 'for sale' or for 'rent signs' with their smartphone to view property information. Sign Snap uses GPS and image recognition technology to search Realtor.com's database and display that information to users of their property search app for consumers. The feature is available now for Android devices, with iOS deployment expected this spring. Next Up: Street Peek Also slated for a spring deployment is Street Peek. This is where the augmented reality fun really kicks in. This feature lets users point their phone's camera at a house, group of houses, or even an entire street and view property information overlaid on the camera's feed. Users can pan around a neighborhood to see data like the listing or rental price of every home, recently sold price (if applicable), estimated value, and the number of beds/baths.
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Best of 2016: I Didn't Hire FOUR Listing Agents!
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Homes Portal Jumps Into Responding to Consumers
The top online real estate search destination Homes.com recently announced a new lead conversion tool that solves one of the industry's most puzzling weaknesses—timely consumer responsiveness. More than half of real estate consumers consider response time before selecting their agent. Yet, research by WAV Group indicates that 48 percent of buyers never receive a response and those that do wait an average of 15.5 hours. The Instant Response Technology (IRT) by Homes.com, comprised of a fresh Lead Concierge service and a location-based application called TalkNow, aims to boost REALTORS' ability to successfully capture those leads by enabling faster direct communication with online leads. Zillow has been doing this for a number of years now. The Lead Concierge service saves REALTORS' valuable time by pre-qualifying online leads before transferring them directly to the agent. Experienced call center assistants answer initial inquiries from prospects and vet their home-buying readiness by eliciting information such as whether they already have agent representation or financing. Qualified leads, or those that do not have a REALTOR and are poised to buy soon, are immediately connected to an agent or broker. Leads that are less time-sensitive are forwarded to the REALTOR's online dashboard for later follow-up. "In effect, we're providing real estate agents and brokers with a personal assistant to help them never miss a call," says Homes.com President David Mele. "No one can always be available; if they're actively engaged with a client, they can't stop to answer a call or respond to a text. Homes.com Lead Concierge will perform that service for them, and more importantly, will help qualify and prioritize leads."
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How Do Homes.com and Realtor.com Compare?
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4 Tips to Attract Sellers and Win More Listings
Housing inventory is low in many parts of the country, and competition is high among agents looking to win their area's best listings. What can agents do to ensure they're the one that sellers contact first? Here are a few ideas. 1. Claim Your Profile on Property Search Portals We know--agents sometimes have a fraught relationship with property search portals. Regardless of your personal feelings, however, consumers love portals because they offer information in a way that's more user friendly and accessible than many agent and broker sites. Portals rank well in search engines, too, and are often the first result consumers see when searching for real estate information online. Because of portals' dominance with consumers, it's crucial that you have a presence on each of the top sites. Don't worry, though; this is as simple as setting up a free agent profile so sellers can learn more about you. Here are some crucial elements that you should be sure to complete on your portal profiles: Profile photo - A recent, professional looking headshot is the first step to winning sellers' trust. Consumers want to know who they're considering hiring--and profiles without a photo are typically passed up in favor of those with a photo. Contact information - When brokers send their listings to portals, your contact information is usually bundled in with data. However, it's not uncommon for the contact information that the brokers send to be incomplete or incorrect. That's why claiming your profile is so important--it gives you a chance to correct any errors and add other vital details, like your agent website or alternate phone numbers. Agent reviews and ratings - What's your sales track record like? That's what sellers want to know when researching listing agents online. By building a robust collection of reviews from past clients, you're letting prospective clients know that you're an agent they can trust. Don't have reviews yet? Reach out to satisfied past clients and ask for a review. Then, going forward, make asking for reviews as routine as giving a closing gift. Claim your listings - The major search portals will let you claim your listings, both active and solds. It's another big way you can show consumers your track record of success. If you are unable to claim your past listings (a crucial part in wowing sellers), ask your broker if they're including sold information in the data feed they send to portals.
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Zillow and Move/NAR Settle Lawsuit and End Trade Secrets Battle
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Realtor.com Launches Overhauled Version of Their Consumer Mobile App
Realtor.com launched a new version of their iOS app today that seeks to simplify the home search process for consumers. In addition to offering users a "streamlined search" experience, those with limited memory on their phones will be happy to learn that the updated app now takes up 40 percent less space. This pared down version of the app, dubbed v9.0, now puts the search experience front-and-center, sending consumers directly to a map of listings upon opening. The updated app is only available to users of Apple devices running iOS 9, and it taps into the new features that this operating system offers, like 3D Flyover. With 3D Flyover, mobile users can see listings and nearby attractions from a bird's-eye view, as demonstrated in the screenshot below: Other features include property details organized into sections that expand to display more information upon a quick finger tap, the ability to view nearby amenities like restaurants and stores, and the ability to share listings numerous ways, including via text, email, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest, and more from within the app.
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I Didn't Hire FOUR Listing Agents!
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Realtor.com Launches Content Sharing Hub
Realtor.com has launched a Content Sharing Hub, a one-stop place where agents can find and share real estate related videos on their websites or social media profiles. The Hub features over two dozen videos, the majority of which are aimed at educating consumers on real estate topics like mortgages and the home buying process. The idea is to offer Realtors a suite of high-end educational content that they can use to connect with clients and leads. The highlight of the videos is Realtor.com's award winning "Learn with Liz" series, starring actress Elizabeth Banks. Like Banks herself, the videos are entertaining and relatable. Because of their (and her) wide demographic appeal, the videos offer a promising level of engagement with your sphere. Here's a breakdown of the type of videos currently available in the Hub: Learn with Liz - Humor mixes with practical advice in this sequence of five educational videos that walks viewers through the entire purchase process--from knowing when you're reading to closing the sale. These would be especially helpful on your website's first-time buyers page. Homebuying 101 - This series of five videos dives even deeper into the homebuying process, touching on everything from submitting an offer to common homebuying myths. Share these on your website's resource page for first-time buyers, or in individual blog posts that touch on a single video's given subject (like the closing process, for example). Mortgage 101 - A series of six educational videos on everything from the role credit plays in securing a mortgage to down payments.
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5 Best Practices for Advertising on Property Portals
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Best of 2015: Discussing the Zestimate in Your Listing Presentation
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in April and is #7 in our countdown. See #8 here. As a real estate agent, you understand plenty about the real estate market. One of the more awkward experiences that you can have is discussing the Zestimate in a listing presentation. The best way to discuss the Zestimate is to go in prepared. It is likely that your prospect has already looked at the Zestimate or discussed it with another REALTOR® or a friend anyway. Step 1: Getting Prepared Although it seems pretty logical, many real estate agents do not take the time to look up the Zestimate of the subject property before going on the listing appointment. You should. The Zestimate on an unlisted home is a published price opinion. It factors into the opinion of value on a property. You may even begin by asking the sellers what they think of the Zestimate price as a way to open the pricing discussion. Step 2: Explaining the Zestimate The Zestimate is the efforts of savvy mathematicians to crunch together a bunch of information about property to predict home values and home value trends. The subject property is a data point. There are two considerations of value. The sales happening around the home and the attributes of the property like the size of the lot, the square footage of the house, the year it was constructed, number of beds, baths, garages, etc.
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A Look at Zillow's New Premier Agent App
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6 Ways to Get More Real Estate Leads From Zillow and Trulia
Lead generation is a business task that the best agents dedicate time to every single day. It can take months, sometimes years, for the effort to pay off. How can you get results sooner? Leverage your Zillow and Trulia agent profiles. They are free, easy to set up and centrally manage, and can expose your information and expertise to millions of website visitors across Zillow Group, the largest online real estate network. Once you set up your profile, there are a number of ways you can use Zillow and Trulia to get more leads. 1. Provide valuable local information Fill your profile with information that buyers and sellers find valuable and useful. Provide information and links to things like schools, weather, local events, transportation, tips, local resources and more. It shows you are the expert in that location and—by being helpful—could result in a potential client contacting you. Once you fill in this information on Zillow, it automatically populates your Trulia profile to save you time. Pro tip: Get creative with short videos. Many agents have confirmed that adding a personalized video to their profile has also increased their volume of contacts. Besides profiling your listings, showcase your local expertise by posting videos that include restaurant reviews, neighborhood explorations and customer testimonials.
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Your Past Sales Are Crucial to Your Current Reputation
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Zillow and Trulia – New Sold Listing Benefits For Agents with Agent Hub
If you have been paying attention, there are a lot of benefits that are being created by the merger of Zillow and Trulia. All of the integrated services are delivered through Agent Hub. It's your one place to manage all things on both sites. The first benefit is that you can now manage your profile in one place instead of two. It makes keeping your profile current a lot easier. Another benefit is a single place for client reviews. Before the merger, you had to invite your past clients to go to both sites and provide a review. We all know that it is hard enough to get past clients to do one. Doing both is double duty. Now your past client reviews happen in one place and publish to both sites. Recently, Zillow announced the next step to system integration between the two websites – managing past sales. We all know that providing evidence of your past sales is a truthful indicator of the experience you deliver as an agent. Again, managing past sales on two sites was painful, but today, you can now manage your past sales all in one place.
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Appraising Your Digital Property: Where Agents Should Be Online
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Should You Be Advertising Your Listings on Zillow?
In the months following its merger with Trulia, Zillow Group is looking to cash in on the benefits of its former rival. Currently, 63 percent of new real estate listings are from existing Zillow advertisers, but the megalithic realty site wants more. Over the next several years, it will be making its play for your real estate listing advertising dollars job number one – to the tune of spending about $100 million this year to grow its audience. Are you game? The benefits: Unlike most broker sites which feature only local MLS listings, Zillow has close to complete coverage in most markets, including every property – not just those for sale or rent. This is a huge boon to buyers searching by neighborhood, giving them access to nearly 100 percent of property data versus the roughly 3 percent of homes listed on the MLS. With the addition of Trulia, the benefits are even greater, including consumer – not agent driven – information such as neighborhood crime maps and crime density as well as a far more robust offering of data on schools, market trends, past sales, and more. The drawbacks: Aside from the most obvious, including inaccurate 'Zestimates,' incorrect data, and paying for the leads garnered from your own Zillow listings, Zillow is far from a real estate listing advertising utopia. Barclays cites slowing web traffic growth resulting from market saturation as a long-term concern, and Zillow's termination of agreement with ListHub in April hasn't helped matters, resulting in declined listings following the dissolution, putting Zillow behind Realtor.com as it attempts to duplicate ListHub's comprehensive and accurate real estate listing advertising database. The merger itself has also sent customers on the hunt for alternatives.
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Have Home Sellers Lost Their Status to Real Estate Portals?
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Discussing the Zestimate in Your Listing Presentation
As a real estate agent, you understand plenty about the real estate market. One of the more awkward experiences that you can have is discussing the Zestimate in a listing presentation. The best way to discuss the Zestimate is to go in prepared. It is likely that your prospect has already looked at the Zestimate or discussed it with another REALTOR® or a friend anyway. Step 1: Getting Prepared Although it seems pretty logical, many real estate agents do not take the time to look up the Zestimate of the subject property before going on the listing appointment. You should. The Zestimate on an unlisted home is a published price opinion. It factors into the opinion of value on a property. You may even begin by asking the sellers what they think of the Zestimate price as a way to open the pricing discussion. Step 2: Explaining the Zestimate The Zestimate is the efforts of savvy mathematicians to crunch together a bunch of information about property to predict home values and home value trends. The subject property is a data point. There are two considerations of value. The sales happening around the home and the attributes of the property like the size of the lot, the square footage of the house, the year it was constructed, number of beds, baths, garages, etc.
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Best of 2014: Beating Zillow and Trulia at Their Own Game
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Best of 2014: 4 Lead Generation Sources - Which Should You Budget for?
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in January and is #3 in our countdown. See #4 here. In December, we explored how Virtual Office Websites (VOWs) can be used to generate leads. There are many more sources for online leads, though, so we're kicking off the New Year by taking a broader look at our options. After all, now's the time when many agents and brokers turn budget- and process-minded, and examine what is working for their business and their budget. Some sources, like social media and Craigslist, only require an investment of time and motivation. But at the start of a new year, many real estate pros are more concerned about paid sources of lead generation and where--or if--they fit into their annual budget. With that in mind, today we're going to take a look at four different sources of online lead generation. Each will be evaluated according to cost, time and effort, and quantity of leads. Custom or DIY Websites Do-it-yourself websites come in all shapes and sizes. They can be anything from simple Wordpress sites to full-blown custom designed web destinations. Some who take the DIY route plug-in a third-party IDX search like Diverse Solutions to their site, or use only an MLS or association provided search widget. Others provided limited or no search capability. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. I'm particularly fond of this website for local brokerage the Davies Company. Why? Because it's clean, uncluttered, and makes it easy to find exactly what I need. There's no sense of being overwhelmed by property search options or other features--a feeling many generic template sites often convey.
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Why Listing Portal Dominance is the Best Thing to Happen to Real Estate
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Why the Zillow/Trulia Merger Will Benefit Agents Forever
It was only a matter of time. The merger was inevitable. Zillow and Trulia operate the same business model and go after the exact same clients. Combine the two, and you have one very dominant consumer real estate search portal. Zillow's recent surge in market capitalization to $5 billion enabled the deal to make sense. Interestingly enough, Zillow and Trulia combined for only $341.2 million in 2013 revenues compared to the annual $12 billion real estate marketing spend. This is tiny percentage of the overall market, leading me to believe that they are not the end-all solution for agents. The other $11.5 billion is spent to make the industry go round. The merger has done a great job of capturing the attention of the American consumer, and has successfully secured access to listing data across the country one way or the other. Essentially, they have democratized the housing search for consumers to the point of no return. Consumers now demand elegant search features optimized for every platform imaginable. Anything short of an addictive user experience is guaranteed to fail. What does this mean for agents? Agents are now forced to market themselves beyond the gatekeepers to the MLS and become local data and homeownership experts. Anything short of this becomes extremely difficult to communicate your value proposition to new clients, specifically Millennials. As the consumer becomes more tech savvy, agents must provide insight that cannot be easily found on the portals or Google. The point I want to stress is that success in real estate is grounded in relationships, and from my experience growing up in the business, relationships continue to remain the one constant--no matter what technology, the economy, or any other external factor is doing. On next page are three tips to win business with the modern real estate consumer.
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Friday Freebie: The Property Search Portal that Doesn't Want Your Money
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5 Tips For a Better Online Profile
You could say that the team at Househappy are experts on what makes a great online profile. After all, the visual search portal hosts thousands of free agent profiles on their site. We got them to dish on what it takes to create a profile that attracts consumers. A professional online profile is a meaningful tool for lead generation and building brand presence. After all, more than 90 percent of prospective buyers search online during their home buying process. So how do you make the most of your profile? Check out these tips for building a better online profile. 1. Be visual. Photos matter—and not just the images of property listings. Statistics show that more than 60% of an individual's impression is formed within seconds, and their decision is heavily weighted by your visual appearance. "I love the new Househappy Agent Profile because you can change your cover image to display your most recent property for sale, or to your updated logo or team photo," says Nick Krautter, principal broker at Keller Williams Portland Central. Team photos can be tricky. Pat Pendley, principal broker at RE/MAX Integrity, captured his three-person real estate team by staggering his associates into a triangular formation. Pendley and his team look directly into the camera with friendly open faces. Strong eye contact helps create a visual connection that buyers will remember during their search.
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Introducing Househappy
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Beating Zillow and Trulia at Their Own Game
What if I told you that just about everything you find unfair about the way that Zillow and Trulia display your listings can be changed? Guess what? An insider understanding of how these sites work has allowed thousands of listing agents to get hundreds of dollars worth of free marketing on these sites without paying a dime. Before I go on, do not stop reading this article just because you do not have a listing. Print this article out because there is a listing in your future. Carry this article around in your pocket or your briefcase as a reminder of what you are going to do to improve your business when you get your first listing. In fact, even without a listing, you can take this advice and lay the foundation for your future success today. If you can spend about 15 minutes of your day, today, performing the steps that are outlined in this article, you will be the master of your listings on those websites. You see, the truth is that Zillow and Trulia have both learned that if an agent has not set up their profile on their portal, they are unlikely to ever respond to a consumer who inquires about the listing. Even REALTORS® who uphold the REALTOR® Code of Ethics™ are ignoring consumers who inquire about their listed properties. Today more than 50% of the consumer inquiries on Zillow and Trulia never get a response. What's worse is that, when the listing agent does respond, it typically takes 15.5 hours rather than the 15 minutes that consumers expect. I am about to show you the path, but there is one other thing that you must understand first. What savvy real estate professionals know is that leads on your listing fill your buyer pool. Having a listing is the greatest way to pump up your business. One listing generates dozens of buyer leads. If the buyer doesn't land on the house you have listed, you can show them something else. And guess what? Those buyer leads are usually seller leads, too. We all understand that every homeowner shops where they want to live before they list their existing home for sale. This is where all of the magic happens.
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4 Lead Generation Sources: Which Should You Budget for in 2014?
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We are Not Borg
There's a kerfuffle going on (isn't there always?) in the real estate industry. One of the largest real estate portals has started experimenting with a system to "rank and review" real estate agents, so buyers and sellers can "search and match up" with one. For some in the industry, rating and matching salespeople is a logical evolution in online marketing: Everyone reviews everything these days - restaurants, smartphones, airlines - in the have-your-say-Yelp-ish world. So why not real estate agents? But for others, marketing agents as "data sets" of listings, closings and statistics seems like the ultimate un-differentiator: turning value propositions into "just the facts" of MLS data. For me, the idea is bogus, but for a much simpler reason: We are not Borg. This isn't just a real estate issue. Salespeople everywhere should be concerned about the "rate, rank and match" trend in marketing and lead generation. It started with websites like AngiesList, TripAdvisor, and Amazon. "Tell us what you think about your purchase" became a norm that can make - or break - products in a fast, powerful, and permanent way. Perhaps you've decided - or undecided - to eat at a restaurant, stay at a hotel, or complete a purchase after seeing how many "stars" or "likes" had been earned from other people (strangers, really). Yet ratings aren't Consumer Reports or JD Powers, who rely upon expert testers to measure comparative performance. Rather, today's internet is filled with feedback from everyone and anyone: expertise notwithstanding. We're now are at the mercy of the nameless, faceless mob. The Borg.
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Choosing a Property Search Solution
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The Pros and Cons of National Real Estate Sites
This post comes to us from the Market Leader blog: Sure, it may sound trite, but it's nonetheless true: Agents have a love/hate relationship with the national real estate sites. ActiveRain is full of complaints from agents regarding the mistakes commonly found on the sites and about how chasing after these dead-end leads for their clients wastes precious time. Love them or hate them, agents still need to deal with the national sites because, as one ActiveRain poster states, "You can spend all of the time and money you want on your own website but the big three are still going to get the major rankings." Let's take a look at some pros and cons of working with "the big three." Pros Probably the biggest thing going for the national real estate sites is the fact that they rank at the top of most real estate-related Web searches. This means millions of real estate consumers visit these sites. That's a lot of eyeballs to have on your brand. Since most people don't visit these sites unless they're actively looking at property, their audience is most assuredly focused on real estate – another mark in favor of national real estate websites. Most of the sites allow agents to restrict their ads to be seen only by consumers searching in a certain geographic area. Finally, there's the branding benefits that appearing on these sites provides. Whether agents like it or not, the big real estate sites lend agents credibility – and that's what helps win more clients.
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Friday Freebie: Agent Profile on realtor.com®
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[Infographic]: Home Buyer Search Habits
Spring is here! Birds are chirping, the air is warmer, flowers are blooming and the beginning of a busy real estate season is upon us. To help prepare real estate pros for another busy season of "wheeling and dealing," Homes.com would like to share some valuable insight on homebuyer search trends. Recently, we surveyed consumers about their home search habits and have compiled them into this handy Home Search Habits infographic. Highlights: Make sure your properties are on national listing sites like Homes.com. Almost 70% of consumers reported that they search for properties here. Not only that, 40% indicated that they search online for homes every day! Get your fingers nimble because over half of consumers (52.8%) prefer to communicate via email. Deal breaker alert: Be sure to showcase eye-catching property photos as a whopping 90% reported that they're less likely to see a home in person if the listing has no photos. No photos. No deal. We hope that these trends will help you with your leads and client growth. Do these results represent your clients? We would like to know if these results are helpful and related to your own database demographics. Comment below or discuss with others on our Facebook page.
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Luxury Agent Leads the Way With Home Auction
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Consumer-Facing vs. Professional Mobile Apps
Do you understand the distinction between consumer-facing and professional mobile applications? Does there have to be a distinction? After all, particularly when it comes to applications built primarily for property search, don't many professionals and consumers want the same thing? We chatted with Phillip Charles-Pierre, CMO of Smarter Agent - one of the industry leaders in developing white label or branded apps for franchises, brokers, and agents - to find the answers to these questions and more. What Consumers Want "Most consumers want to be able to search for homes, obtain accurate data (which might be a problem when they're using an app from the aggregators who don't always pull directly data from MLS data feeds), and want to be able to search by GPS as they walk or drive a neighborhood of interest," Mr. Charles-Pierre explains. He goes on to say that consumers want to be able to refine their search with advanced features to narrow down results. Further, they want to be able to receive alerts for new results that meet their criteria. Ultimately they just want to find the right home for them with not too much fuss. What Professionals Want Agents want these same things, Mr. Charles-Pierre explains, because it is how their clients are searching. However, they also need to have secure access to view additional data in their respective MLSs that cannot be shared with consumers (listing price history, agent remarks, compensation, etc.). "Many agents also want their clients to be able to contact them directly through the app," he says. "This makes communication during the buying process seamless and fully controlled by the client.
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My Husband’s Love Affair with the REALTOR.com iPad App
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Should You Buy Trulia Local Ads?
Trulia Local Ads refer to the faceplates that show up around the Trulia website in a zip code when consumers are looking at homes. There are a number of templates to choose from, or you can upload your own. If there is availability in the zip code you want, you will find that you will pay about $31 per 1,000 impressions for your advertising. This is premium pricing for advertising, but in theory you are advertising to a target rich environment – a place loaded with buyers and sellers looking for home, and to some extent, a REALTOR®. I am not a big fan of advertising that contains an agent photo. Indeed, despite the beliefs of real estate coaches and gurus, lead generation on advertising that contains agent photos has lower response rates than advertising without the agent photo.
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A Secret about REALTOR.com
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How Real Consumers Used Search Sites in 2011 [INFOGRAPHIC]
The nice folks at REALTOR.com shared this infographic with us: Here’s an infographic that shows exactly how real consumers used search sites in 2011: *Data sourced from National Association of REALTORS 2011 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers. Click onto the next page for a link to the full-sized infographic.
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Trulia Social Search
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Product Review: Immobel’s Multi-Language Website IDX and REAL-Buzz
Although we set out to write a review of Immobel’s Multi-Language IDX Translation, a look at REAL-Buzz was inevitable. Thus, our review covers both. Many REALTORS® who invest in IDX translation to market to global buyers will also choose to participate in the (free) REAL-Buzz.com portal.
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REALTOR® Marketing is Changing with New Lead-Generation Service
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Meeting Gen Y's Demand for Online Transparency and Information
I interviewed a top-producing agent in San Francisco a few days ago. We were talking about the role of technology in the real estate process. It was a fascinating discussion. She is on the top of her game. Many listings, many successful transactions with buyers this year and yet she struggles with how to stay relevant with her younger clients. She told me:   “I am absolutely frightened of new technologies, and yet I KNOW I need to communicate and provide information differently than I used to. I believe it is much more difficult to create a deep personal relationship with younger consumers because they don’t want to sit down and talk about what their real needs are. They want me to provide information on my website so they can do their own research and then tell me what they’ve found. They require that the agent provide as much information as they can to empower the consumer to get comfortable with the information themselves.”
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