Posts by Properties Online (page 89)

iPad Is Becoming a Must Have at Real Estate Open Houses

The popularity of the iPad is on track to close the door on traditional real estate open houses. Since its introduction, iPad sales have soared. An estimated 50 million people now own iPads or their Android tablet computer clones. Their slim size, light weight, portability, internet connectivity and compatibility with mobile technology have made iPads the marketing tool of choice for real estate agents.

Easier to use and display and even more portable than laptop computers, it didn’t take iPads long to replace laptops at open houses and client meetings. Their larger screen size also gives tablets a considerable edge over smartphones when it comes to displaying property listings and running walk-through videos for home buyers.

iPads have become de rigueur at open houses. Real estate agents find tablets a convenient and eye-catching way to showcase other area properties. Touch technology still engenders a certain “oh, wow!” response that impresses home shoppers. Some real estate agents have found it profitable to join in sponsoring neighborhood open houses. Tablet tours at each property entice home shoppers to visit other area open houses. But numerous industry watchers believe that tablets and the rise of mobile communication have already rung the death knell for traditional open houses. Time-crunched home buyers would rather check out property video tours on their iPads than spend time traipsing from house to house.

The marrying of tablets and mobile technology allows real estate agents to interact with clients anytime, anywhere. Video conferencing is replacing office visits. Tweets are replacing emails. iPad and iPhone apps allow real estate agents to forward listing information and video tours to clients as soon as new listings are posted. House hunters can now peruse real estate listings from the comfort of their home or while they’re on the go. With an iPad, home buyers can check out new listings while they’re commuting to work or sitting in the parking lot waiting to pick up the soccer car pool. Tablet technology frees real estate agents and home buyers from time and place constraints, opening a new era in real estate.

If you have an iPad, you might want to check out this cool app called Open Home Pro

New Real Estate Listing Network Challenges MLS

The launch of a new real estate listing network aimed at real estate franchises challenges the supremacy of the real estate industry’s traditional multiple listing services (MLS) and is generating a lot of discussion among U.S. Realtors. Developed by behemoth real estate syndicator ListHub, the new Real Estate Network (REN) will expand property listing syndication to the websites of the nation’s biggest real estate franchises. Owned by Move, Inc., ListHub is offering participation in its new Real Estate Network to real estate brokers and multiple listing services as a free and voluntary online real estate tool. RE/MAX, Century 21, Coldwell Banker and Realty Executives International were the first to jump on the bandwagon.

The launch of Real Estate Network will allow the 43,000 real estate brokerage firms, 376 multiple listing services and numerous real estate franchises that currently participate in ListHub to expand their real estate marketing reach by choosing to send their property listings to one or more network members. Members of the new network retain the right to pick and choose the network members with whom they will share property listings and may refuse to share listings with select network members at their discretion.

In the Real Estate Network launch announcement on PR Newswire, Move CEO Steve Berkowitz called the new network “an industry-friendly initiative” that “maximizes and ensures broker control” over the promotion of real estate listings. While Real Estate Network rules are similar to the Internet Date Exchange (IDX) listing parameters imposed by multiple listing services, the game-changing difference is that Real Estate Network mandates a uniform nationwide listing standard.

Several aspects of the new network are generating talk in the real estate community. The possible demise of multiple listing services seems to be the greatest potential impact the new network might have on the real estate industry. Some industry watchers are also predicting that online realty lister Zillow will suffer from competition with a new, broad-scale listing network. The biggest winners may be smaller real estate firms that stand to benefit from free access to real estate tools developed by their bigger brethren.

Twitter Best Practices for Real Estate Agents

Most consumers have a love-hate relationship with Twitter. They love the immediacy Twitter affords but are quickly annoyed when someone clogs their feed with spam-like tweets. When used effectively, Twitter can be a powerful communication and brand-building tool for real estate agents. On the flip site, real estate agents that tweet too frequently or fail to provide value in their tweets run the risk of alienating current and future clients. Opinions about the most effective way to use Twitter as a social media tool have been split fairly evenly between broadcasting and conversation, Twitter’s two most prominent uses; however, a study by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, tips the scales decidedly toward broadcasting.

In an analysis of actual Twitter usage posted to his blog, Zarrella found that broadcast tweets generated a higher re-tweet rate than conversation tweets. Zarrella equated higher re-tweet rates with superior ability to spread information and disseminate marketing messages. In his study, Zarrella discovered two interesting correlations that real estate agents should be considered Twitter Best Practices:

  1. Tweets that contain links have a noticeably higher re-tweet rate. Zarrella found that Twitter feeds with a 60% to 80% link percentage resulted in the highest re-tweet rates.
  2. Tweets that generate few replies also enjoy high re-tweet rates. Zarrella discovered that Twitter feeds with 0% to 10% reply rates enjoyed the highest re-tweet percentages.

Zarrella’s take-away: Broadcasting interesting and information-rich content is a more effective use of Twitter than conversation.

Twitter “conversations” appear to be a fad that is nearing the end of its 15 minutes of fame as Americans tire of the glut of trivial tweets that clog Twitter feeds. The ascendency of far more versatile smartphones as the nation’s go-to communication device has ensured the eventual demise of Twitter as a conversation medium. However, Twitter’s broadcast value still makes it an effective real estate tool. Sending out 2 to 3 information-rich tweets per day can help you build your brand and expand your client base.

For information on how Properties Online can help you optimize the use of social media to grow your real estate business, visit our website.

Top 5 Social Media Must Dos for Realtors

Are you using social media? Are you making the most out of it? If you don’t, you might find yourself behind the real estate professionals who do! Social media is a wonderful tool for reaching out to prospects and letting them know about your services and your expertise. It’s also a valuable tool for staying in touch with existing and former clients.

Are you using social media? Are you making the most out of it? If you don’t, you might find yourself behind the real estate professionals who do! Social media is a wonderful tool for reaching out to prospects and letting them know about your services and your expertise. It’s also a valuable tool for staying in touch with existing and former clients.

Here are our top five social media must-dos for realtors:

1. Create a business page on Facebook

It’s important to keep your professional social media presence separate from your personal account. A Facebook profile is appropriate for keeping in touch with your friends, but most of the information you post there will not be relevant, or interesting, to your clients and prospects. For example, your clients will not want to hear that you are going out drinking with your friends this weekend! By keeping these accounts separate, you can keep in touch with your friends AND with your clients, providing each group with the information they would actually like to get from you.

2. Don’t keep your social media presence a secret!

Include prominent links to your social media accounts on your agent website, in your email signature and on your print media. The more fans your Facebook page has, the more viral it will become and the more valuable it will be. Make it easy for people to find it.

3. Update your social media accounts regularly

A Facebook fan page should be updated about once a day – more than that could be an imposition on fans and could cause some of them to hide your messages, which is the last thing you want! A Twitter account can be updated multiple times each day. Include short updates on new and sold listings (Real Estate Sites automates this process), and general observations on the real estate market.

4. Be helpful and knowledgeable

Social media is about forming connections, having conversations and sharing information. It’s important to use social media to show your expertise and share tips and information with clients and prospects. A blog is the best tool for this, but writing regular notes on your Facebook page will work too.

5. Make it fun and worthwhile

Research consistently shows that one of the main motives for people to join a Facebook page is when you offer them an incentive. It’s a good idea to offer the occasional discount for new fans, or new blog subscribers, run contests, and include interactive tools on your agent site that make it fun for people to join.

Leveraging Social Media to Help Your Real Estate Business

Many of us were quite suspicious about social media at first, taking a “wait and see” approach, unwilling to invest the time and work needed to participate in social media. But it’s becoming very clear that social media is here to stay, and that not participating in social media is quite costly in terms of lost business opportunities. Here are a few tips to help you leverage social media to promote your real estate business.

Accept That You Need To Be There

The first step is accepting that you need to have a social media presence – that social media should be part of your marketing mix and is just as important as email marketing or printed brochures. The main reason you should be there is that a big part of your audience is there – more and more people are using social media, and many are using the Internet, including social media, during their search for a home.

Choose Your Social Media Channels

There are lots of ways to connect and interact with prospects, including a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare and more. But you don’t have to be everywhere. We think that a blog and a Facebook page are a must. All the rest are optional, and you can experiment with them as you go along and see if they work for you.

Why You Need a Blog

A blog is great for helping your search engine rankings, especially if you make sure you optimize your blog posts for search engines – figure out your main keywords, the words that people will use to find your agent site, and sprinkle them throughout your blog posts, but don’t overdo it! Always make sure your text reads naturally. In addition to being great for SEO, a blog is also a wonderful way to build your brand, show your expertise and establish credibility.

Why We Love Facebook

Facebook is such a rich social network, no wonder people are putting up with its less-than-stellar customer service.  You can create a personal Facebook portfolio, or start a Facebook page for your business. In either case, you can fill your Facebook page with notes, photos, videos, comments, and lots more – there are tons of Facebook apps that make this platform an amazing tool for showcasing your expertise and for interacting with others.

Do it Gradually

Social media can be overwhelming at first. Our advice is to enter this space gradually, starting with just one channel, and adding more channels to the mix only after you have mastered the previous social media channel.

Manage Your Time Wisely

Our last tip is perhaps the most important one. Social media can be a huge time suck – it’s very easy to spend hours writing your blog, adding plugins and tweaking with your blog’s theme, and the same is true for Facebook.  But you have a business to run after all, so make sure that you limit the time you spend on social media activities each day. We recommend spending no more than an hour each day doing social media activities.