Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Internet is a Big Place. Make Sure People Can Get Results on Search Engines.

Don’t Use Yet? “Unthreatening” Chatbots Are Changing Real Estate Search.

In this week’s real estate selling tips, we’ll cozy-up to the latest Chatbots – software that automatically responds to client/guest questions and requests with the help of a messenger-style widget. Powered by artificial intelligence, these rockin’ robots are more than automated answering machines, capable of understanding conversational language and responding in-kind. And with over 83% of buyers and renters beginning their home search online, they may prove very kind to you!

Chattering Chatbots
Many homeowners are familiar with chatbot technology in the form of Alexa and Siri – they just take it for granted. And the who’s who of the tech community jumped aboard last year, including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. Since then, the tech has gone forth and multiplied – possibly arriving at a brokerage near you – due to the life-like, conversational services of the system. It’s so realistic that chatbox users feel as if they’re communicating with a real human representative on the other side of the screen.

Helping People & Making Businesses More Efficient
Rather than replacing agents, as is a common fear in the real estate community, chatbots offer integral support – but nothing that can replace a flesh-and-blood agent’s ability to handle transactions. While you’re researching leads, preparing for property viewings, and closing sales, a chatbot can…

  • Handle initial client contact
  • Organize duties as per client requests
  • Qualify/prioritize leads
  • Provide you with necessary knowledge prior to meetings
  • Manage a large number of inquiries

Chatbots also save money, providing 24/7 customer service access to home shoppers that would otherwise be expensive to maintain with a live telephone or in-person customer service chat staff. This allows you to focus on the core part of your business, rather than taking requests, tracking your endless to-do list, or qualifying clients.

Don’t get overwhelmed by your real estate responsibilities, find the real estate selling tips and tricks you need to make life easier with the help of Properties Online today.

Crunching Numbers? Here's the Latest on Real Estate.

Online Real Estate Site Outs Agent to Agent Commission Deals

Flat-fee real estate agency Trelora is at it again, publicizing Denver area agents’ home selling commissions. Trelora considers the information among public service real estate selling tips, aimed at giving buyers “access to all of the information so they can make the best possible decision during their home buying process, and not worry that they’re being pushed toward a more expensive home because it affects their agent’s income,” according to Trelora CEO Joshua Hunt.

Not the First Time
The last time (in February 2015) the Denver-based company attempted to provide information on buy-side commissions with its online listings, they were served with a cease-and-desist order from the region’s MLS, REcolorado, citing a violation of Internet data-exchange rules regarding the display of MLS information.

How’d They Pull It Off This Time?
Per an agreement reached with REcolorado, now those looking to take a gander at commission information can set up a secure account with Trelora, signing a non-disclosure. The agreement is non-exclusive, allowing potential clients to continue to work with other firms.

The Devil in the Details
55,634 homes worth $22.2 billion were sold last year in metro Denver, according to the area Association of Realtors. Trelora estimates commissions at around $1.25 billion. Denver-based Trelora promotes a flat fee of $2,500 per buy-side commission, regardless of home price, unlike the percentage-based fee structure of traditional residential real estate companies. The company touts if all agents charged the same flat fee, consumers could have saved $970 million in commissions. “Trelora was founded on a belief in transparency and in offering the highest level of service and representation to our clients,” said Joshua Hunt, CEO of Trelora. “It takes no more work for an agent to help a client buy a $700,000 house than a $350,000 house.”

Do you have the real estate selling tips you need to prove your true worth to clients? Add value with the help of Properties Online.

Marketing Videos... The Key To Success.

The Most Popular Marketing Methods for Promoting Real Estate Video

Video use in real estate marketing is reaching an all-time high. Do you have the tips and tricks you need to get your content seen? You’ve put a lot of effort into your video – and you should be putting the same amount of effort into getting your masterpiece seen by the right people: Prospects who are likely to convert into leads, and (hopefully) clients down the line…

The Secret to Your Success
You don’t have to be a video marketing expert. This simple checklist will work for brokers of any age, experience, and niche, giving you considerable mileage for your real estate video marketing efforts:

  • Flaunt what you’ve got
    Your website is an ideal location to flaunt video messaging – your premier place for hosting. Splash your home page with a promotional video, alongside listing videos and informational “vlogs,” ensuring they are properly search-optimized for exposure. Great options for inclusion in your campaign include:

    • Agent/Brokerage promo videos
    • Property listings
    • Area & community features
    • Informational videos
    • Interview videos
    • Client testimonials
    • How-to advice
    • Market updates
    • Special offer videos
    • And more!
  • Be social
    Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram are prime places for real estate video marketing promotion. Pin status updates to the top of your social pages featuring top-performing videos, and splice-and-dice for sharing on Instagram and Pinterest, gaining maximum exposure by sharing them over the course of months – versus weeks or days.
  • Send a note
    Email is a powerful marketing tool for direct communication with leads and clients, allowing you to custom-tailor videos by individual needs, in-turn moving prospects down the marketing funnel. Because you can’t embed, however, be sure to include a photo from the recording (linking to the video landing page), inspiring prospects to take a look.

Looking for a little help with video use in real estate marketing? Properties Online has you covered. Discover more today.

Are Your Communications Secure?

Smart Home Hackers: What Agents Should Know

In this week’s real estate selling tips: Is smart home technology putting you and your clients at risk? Purported to bring convenience, security, and improved connectivity, smart services are instead bringing unauthorized surveillance, loss of privacy, and compromised data, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).

What’s the IoT?
The combined/synergistic use of mobile apps, cloud storage, big data, automation, sensors, and more, attached to everyday items, processes and systems, part-and-parcel of everything from your phone and laptop to your TV, appliances, door locks, and security. Case(s) and point(s): Recent WikiLeaks on the CIA’s (and other hackers’) ability to spy on you via TV – not to mention last October’s massive, internet service disrupting, distributed DDoS attack.

The IoT-DDoS Conundrum
Each of these devices relies on the cloud to operate, either for analysis or as a communications path to other devices, forming a “botnet” of devices. But there is no magical “cloud” – only someone else’s computer, such as company Dyn’s DNS system – the one hacked last October. Protection of botnets, to date, is woefully insufficient, and devices are so prolific that if a mere portion of those in homes were comprised, it could prove disastrous. The best protection? Keeping these devices out, as even password-protected gadgets are NOT secure, and informing clients of smart home risks.

Isn’t Technology Grand?
The magic of the cloud comes at a price…. Continual transfer of personal data (habits, speech, possessions) funneled away to an assortment of third parties is a privacy rabbit hole that leads to technological nightmares.

  • A 2016 Nest’s smart thermostat glitch caused batteries to drain, leaving consumers without heat – in January – with no way to turn it back on. The fix: Nine-steps, included a 3-hour charge-cycle.
  • Samsung’s smart refrigerator photograph contents – great if you lost your shopping list; bad for advertising your prescriptions – and allowing insurers to peruse your dietary choices.
  • Beware of “smart’ tech terms of service, which limits damages, prohibits class action lawsuits, and requires resolution via arbitration.

Spy any good real estate selling tips? Properties Online has you covered.

Marketing via Drone Video is a Whole New Way of Seeing Real Estate!

Why Overlooking Video is a Massive Marketing Mistake

Not ready yet to jump onto the bandwagon when it comes to video in real estate marketing? You could be making a massive marketing mistake. Eighty-five percent of buyers and sellers WANT an agent who utilizes video marketing – and that’s not just for “show.”

  • Video boosts Google rankings, increasing organic traffic 157%.
  • Consumers are more likely to select video results over text.
  • Video listings get four times the inquiries of those without.
  • Adding videos to your emails doubles click-through rates – and reduces opt-outs 75%.
  • Using videos massively boosts sharing – 1200% more than links and text messages combined.

On A Budget? Get the Most Bang for Your Marketing Buck
Though video does cost more than simple photos, it is still quite affordable. Statistics show the best way to focus your video marketing to earn the biggest and best return-on-investment include…

  1. Focusing on property videos and community videos.
    Videos most-popular use: 70% of online home shoppers use video to tour the inside of homes without dragging agents to listing sites. 86% also use it to research a particular community (bonus: it’s slow to “date,” making content evergreen and recyclable).
  2. Syndicating to YouTube.
    Holding a 51% audience share, YouTube is the top video research destination for house hunters. So setup your own channel, organize a playlist, and familiarize yourself with user-friendly keyword protocols and take advantage. (Don’t neglect a bio to build your brand!)
  3. Sharing those videos on social.
    Paste your YouTube link into the local MLS, your own website, emails, Facebook and Twitter posts, and more for automatic embedding to ramp up web traffic and views. Properties Online’s line of products includes this service, with most social sites offering FAQs for the uninitiated.

Still on the fence about video use in real estate marketing? Hop over to the other side and experience the benefits with the help of Properties Online’s fast and easy video builder tool today.