Monthly Archives: June 2017

Trying to Break into the Luxury Home Real Estate Business?

It’s Been Confirmed, It’s a Seller’s Market

Fistfights breaking out at your brokerage over the possibility of gaining a listing? Just in case the dog-eat-dog listing races and woeful number of affordable homes on the market for buyers weren’t enough of a confirmation of real estate trends, Trulia and Realtor.com statistics have finally confirmed: It’s a seller’s market.

Strongest Seller’s Market Ever
Brand-new spring housing market numbers have confirmed the trend, looking to statistics from the country’s 100 largest metro cities. Boiling the trends down by zip code, it uncovered a shortage of homes nationwide – a deficiency that hasn’t been this bad in 20 years.

Inventory for March is down 6.6% from a year ago, and unsold inventory a 3.8 month supply. (A balanced market is a 5-6 month supply.) This has led to monthly rises in home prices, up nationally 5.7% for February, year-over-year.

Slim Pickins
As buyers frantically search for affordable homes, the market is getting increasingly competitive, with first time buyers experiencing the greatest hardship. Even as more homes enter the market for the popular summer sales season, they’re flying off neighborhood shelves fast. And at entry-level, where demand is greatest, sellers remain firmly in the driver’s seat.

Heavy Competition
There’s no shortage of people on the lookout for a new home. And though people prefer a home that’s move-in ready over one they have to upgrade, its concession-time in a market where bidding wars are par for the course. Sellers are optimistically pricing their homes – and most are selling anyway.

To compete, buyers are dropping contingencies and coming in with cash. Multiple offers are the new norm. Worse, real estate trends of home appraisals regularly coming in well below sales price are dropping a wrench in the works for would-be first-time, mortgage-dependent buyers.

What are you doing to rise above the competition in today’s seller-centric market? Stand out with the tools and technology of Properties Online today.

Market Your Properties for Success With Specialized Tools

What Smart Home Technology is Trending in Real Estate?

Hey Alexa, will the next listing looky-loo really care that my home is smart? 80-million smart home devices were delivered in 2016 – up 64% from the previous year, and expected to climb even higher in 2017. In today’s spotlight on real estate trends, we’ll take a look at what smart home technology is trending, why – and how being in-the-know on smart tech can give your business a boost.

Getting On-Board with the IoT and Smart Tech
Eighty-six percent of millennials and 65% of baby boomers are willing to spend more to rent a home with smart tech. And it stands to reason they’ll spend more to purchase a home harboring it as well. Smart tech can make it easier for you to market and sell homes, especially to younger audiences.

Which Tech is in High Demand – And Why??

Smart Thermostats
HVAC consumes the largest amount of energy in the home. Smart programmable thermostats save money, adjusting temperatures when the home is occupied (and not) to save on electricity – some 12-23% of power costs.

Smart Home Security
A growing concern, studies show 60% of convicted burglars are deterred by the presence of home security. Smart security offers effective, affordable protection, with cloud-storage and incident support as little as $10/month. An easy sell for agents.

Leak Detection Sensors
Safety devices like smart fire and smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, radon, and moisture detectors are a large part of what qualifies a home as ‘smart’ to buyers. And the benefits are obvious. What’s more, when used on older homes they can instill a sense of confidence in home dependability.

Smart Watering Systems
An easier way to plan restriction-compliant watering – and track usage.

Smart Garage Doors
Forget to close the door? Unexpected visitor? Problem solved!

Being in-the-know on smart tech makes smart business sense. Take advantage of the latest real estate trends with the help of Properties Online today.

Bucking the Trend: Dropping Mortgage Rates

Despite expected real estate trends, the average interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have experienced an unexpected drop. Typically, when the Fed raises interest rates, mortgage rates likewise climb, as seen in recent short-term hikes as recently as March (and with two more that are expected later this year).

However, for the first time since November 2016, Freddie Mac reported rates below 4%. In fact, as of the week following Memorial Day, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.94%, dropping to rates even lower than the same time last year, reaching a new 2017 low.

What Gives?
As nail-biting would-be buyers raise their eyebrows, Wall Street investors are nodding their heads – because while mortgage interest rates are influenced by the Fed’s short-term interest rates, they’re more closely tied to the 1-year U.S. Treasury bond market. Investors consider the short-term bond market safer than volatile stocks.

When investors get spooked (think: market downturn or an unpredictable government administration), they shift their money into bonds, which mortgage rates are an inverse reflection of: Bonds up = mortgages down.

How Long Will it Last?
As lower interest rates translate into lower monthly payments for buyers, many are watching the market with a hopeful eye. Even 15-year fixed-rate mortgages and five-year adjustable rate mortgages are riding the downward trend, pushing buyers into a home-buying frenzy. And with good reason: Rates are expected to continue their gradual climb.

However, with today’s financial and political uncertainty, the ‘when’ is anybody’s guess. Meanwhile, home shoppers are trying to take advantage of added opportunities to up-scale (size, location, amenities) as even mere fractions of a point could add up to hundreds more per month in mortgage payments.

Feel like you’re riding the crazy train when it comes to today’s real estate trends? Stay up to date on the latest sanity-saving suggestions and lock-down your marketing arsenal with the help of Properties Online today.

Tips to Making Your Seller’s Home More Photogenic

Let’s face it, unless you’ve won the luxury home marketing lottery, chances are your latest listing is facing some presentation challenges. Bric-a-brac explosions, dated décor, and even cluttered, dirty surfaces are all par for the course in the listing photos game.

Unfortunately these photo flops can quickly turn would-be buyers off. Is there any way to work around the norm and find a magical solution to better photos for video usage in real estate marketing?

Tips to Creating a Picture Perfect Home:

• Get the seller in on the gig.
If sellers want top-dollar (and who doesn’t?), explain to them the importance of letting go of a few things momentarily and putting in a little elbow grease so they can make the most of their sale (and upcoming home purchase). Ask them to bring in an honest friend to point out things they’re ‘not seeing’ anymore.

• Cut clutter.
70% of surface items should be hidden (where the camera won’t capture), including family photos and knickknacks, fridge magnets – even paper goods and small appliances. Consider ditching many small items for a large centerpiece or trio.

• Let the light shine in.
Natural lighting creates a high-end look, adding depth and highlights. (This includes lit fireplaces!)

• Brighten up the boudoir.
Use a handheld steamer, add pillows and throws, and make the bed look as neat as possible. Secret tip: Soft textures and muted colors work far better than TV-test-pattern spreads.

• Lower artwork.
Hang art lower, emphasizing more horizontal pieces, to camouflage low ceilings, or show off high ceilings with huge vertical art.

• Boost curb appeal.
Move cars, rake, mow, and especially prune trees that obscure the home. Take covers off everything (like grills) unless hopelessly damaged.

• Treat pets like kids.
Remembering you love your own most – leave them out of photos.

Put video usage in real estate marketing to work for you with those beautiful photos. Uncover the latest video-builder tool from Properties Online today.

How to Optimize Tags as Keywords in YouTube to Boost Search Rankings

Increase Youtube Target Keywords

Seeing lackluster results from video usage in real estate marketing? It may be tag optimization issues. Does that sound Greek to you? No worries. We’ll cover it here…

What are Tags?
The term ‘tag’ can be confusing, because it refers to two types:

1. Public tagging.
This is how viewers label, organize, and manage their YouTube content. ‘Crafts,’ ‘Recipes,’ ‘Workouts,’ or ‘Homes to See,’ for example. (Viewers create their own.)

2. Publisher tagging of keywords.
These describe your video so YouTube’s search algorithm can understand what it’s about. ‘Realty Tips,’ ‘How to Stage a Home,’ and ‘Home Staging Tips,’ for example. With this info, YouTube can rank your video based on search terms (ranking = more views), and pop it up as a recommended video for those searching similar snippets.

Finding & Optimizing Tags
Unfortunately, there’s no magic tag solution for every realtor. Each is unique. But you can develop your own system for boosting views:

• Brainstorm
A good place to start is considering terms you might search if you were looking for a similar video. Develop 5 possible searches/keywords (limit 500 characters/per).

• Widen Your View
After narrowing your search down, think broader, looking for at least 3 more general keywords. Think: ‘Real Estate + Area/County/State’ or ‘Find a Realtor.’

• Narrow Things Down
On the flipside, consider very specific keywords, maybe a goal of 3. For example, ‘Fix and Flip in City/Neighborhood,’ or ‘3 Miles from Area Elementary’.

• Research Competitors
See what tags they’re using – but don’t copy them exactly. You can uncover professional tags with browser extension VidIQ and TubeBuddy.

• Try a Tool
Like Keywordtool.io and Ubersuggest.

• Ensure Maximum Searchability
Use singular and plural, varying word order, video suggestions that come-up next to your search, and even common misspellings.

• Don’t Neglect Your Title/Description
Tags are only part of the SEO puzzle.

Ready… Set… Go play ‘tag’ with these tips for video usage in real estate marketing from Properties Online today!