Posts in Listing Syndication

2016 Consumer Trends that Impact Real Estate

Real Estate
Real Estate

Times are constantly changing. Are your methods of doing business keeping up? Here is a look at the consumer trends that are driving today’s real estate customer…

What’s most important to 2016’s real estate clients?

  • Consumers want to use their phones – even over their computers.
    That doesn’t mean simply texting. Consumers are looking for a high quality mobile consumer experience – that’s the whole package – from accurate home data on your listing site to financing tips on your blog.
  • Consumers expect rapid response times.
    In this mobile era, the buffer on return contact has shrunken considerably – clients expect rapid response. Providing this to existing clients sets you apart. For an added boost, return responses in kind: Text for text, email for email, PDF for PDF, catering to their methodology likes – not yours.
  • Consumers want syndication.
    Consumer trends show sellers love syndication via video, social media, and property website portals because it means more exposure for them – and a better chance of selling. Buyers love syndication because it allows for a more personal connection to homes. Are you spreading the word? Try kicking it up a notch with the syndication of open houses via live streaming apps.
  • Consumers are actively seeking social connections for every purchase.
    Buyers love searching for homes with the help of important people from their lives, but did you know sellers can take advantage too? 70% of users rely on social data – reviews and opinions – over hard data. Have you considered linking sellers and buyers via social networks? Seller posts are a great way to fill in potential buyers with information on everything from convenient parking and local amenities to photos of the home site and family through the seasons, offering a truer feel and a site-specific emotional connection.

Are you missing out on the latest consumer trends? Properties Online keeps you in-the-know.

How to Help Your Seller Get Top Dollar for Their Home Sale

Tips For Getting Top Dollar
Tips For Getting Top Dollar

Want top dollar when selling a home? For those in the market, these real estate selling tips may offer a reality check.

  • Don’t go it alone.
    Hiring a realtor gives you an edge by providing a broader audience through advertising, and helping your home move faster thanks to appropriate pricing – the single most important factor in netting a great return. It’s a delicate balance best left to professionals: Too high and it could sit; too low and it’ll sell fast – for less than its worth.
  • Upgrade from selfies.
    Professional, well-lit photos are key to getting buyers in the door. Especially in today’s tech-savvy market where potential buyers do a fly-by on Zillow and render a verdict – based on those pictures – as to whether or not a home is worth their in-person time.
  • Bust out the vac.
    And while you’re at it, do some decluttering. Nothing looks worse – or smaller – than a home that hasn’t seen any deep cleaning action since 1972 and looks like it belongs on an episode of Hoarders. This should be on your must-do list before any listing photos are taken.
  • Stop living in the past.
    The Al Bundy-style couch may be comfy, and those sticky tiles in the kitchen may have been a rockin’ deal 20 years ago, but it’ll give buyers the wrong impression of your home. The most important updates to buyers include those that you’ll leave behind, such as new flooring, fresh paint, and more lighting, as well as those that you’ll take with you – current furniture and less clutter.
  • Be ready.
    There’s a reason most real estate selling tips point to move-in-ready as fast to sell. The more readily available your house is for potential buyers to slide into, the more showings you’ll get and the quicker the house will sell.

Do you have the real estate selling tips you need to bring in top dollar? Keep business rolling in with the help of Properties Online today.

The Zillow-Trulia Merger & Your Real Estate Business

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will a Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will the Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

On July 28th, Zillow announced via a press release that “it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia, Inc. … in a stock-for-stock transaction. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.”

Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow, stated: “Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals. Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it’s still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web. This is a tremendous opportunity to combine our resources and achieve even more impressive innovation that will benefit consumers and the real estate industry.”

Pete Flint, Trulia’s CEO, then commented: “Trulia and Zillow have a shared mission and vision of empowering consumers while helping real estate agents, brokerages and franchisors benefit from technological innovation. By working together, we will be able to create even more value for home buyers, sellers, and renters, as well as create a robust marketing platform that will help our industry partners connect with potential clients and grow their businesses even more efficiently. Our two companies share complementary employee cultures with innovative, consumer-first philosophies and a deep commitment to create the best products and services for our industry partners.”

By the (self-reported) numbers:
• Zillow reported a record 83 million unique users across mobile and Web in June 2014.
• Trulia reported a record 54 million monthly unique users across its sites and mobile apps in June 2014.
• Approximately half of Trulia.com’s monthly visitors do not visit Zillow.com
• Approximately two-thirds of Zillow.com’s monthly visitors across all devices do not use Trulia.com.
• “Maintaining the two distinct consumer brands will allow the combined company to continue to offer differentiated products and user experiences, attract more users and maximize the distribution of free content across multiple platforms, apps and channels.”

The Zillow-Trulia merger might not create the “pricing power” juggernaut that many people fear. We’ve been reading comments by agents and brokers all over the web, and the fact is that many MLS boards and independent agents are starting to pull their listings – they simply don’t want to have to pay to advertise next to their own listings. There are also frequent rumblings about the data and Zestimates on Zillow being inaccurate.

Citron Research cites a deal struck between Realogy and Zillow/Trulia. Realogy—the world’s largest real estate agency, comprising Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, ERA, Century 21 and Better Homes—secured a lucrative deal for its agents that “prohibits all other agencies from advertising on their listings” at a cost of less than 95% what any other agency pays. What’s more, Realogy is aggressively pursuing their own online offering that will compete head-to-head with Zillow-Trulia in the consumer-focused online real estate space, with a new product expected sometime in 2015.

“We believe that there is a space in there that we can compete in. It will have features like Zillow and Trulia. It will have features that you wouldn’t put on a real estate brokerage website. An example of that would be Zestimate that Zillow uses. There are certain features that we believe we can effectively do and be able to cast a net outcome, a consumer-oriented facing website arena and be able to capture leads, reviewing [scrub then] as I described, and then put them in the hands of our sales associates so we create the business opportunity,” NRT CEO and President Bruce Zipf is quoted as saying on May 9th during a Realogy Investor Day Q&A.

Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, has been quoted as saying, “It ought to be quite clear to a listing agent or a broker that it behooves their seller to have their listing displayed on Zillow and Trulia or sites that Zillow powers.”

Indeed, Zillow powers some of the internet’s major property search engines, and together with Trulia will indeed have a massive reach. But for how long, with competitors like Realogy making such significant strides, technologically and on behalf of its agents at the bargaining table? And how long before Keller Williams, Remax, Berkshire Hathaway, or other agencies demand and negotiate the same deals Zillow-Trulia have granted Realogy?

Many real estate professionals feel a loss of power in the face of the deal, which cements a growing resentment at having to pay Zillow to advertise their listings. Online forums reveal many of these agents calling for boycotts, while still others agree there isn’t another viable option.

Inman News contributing writer Joseph Rand writes in his Op-ed “Why Zulia doesn’t mean checkmate,” that: “The bottom line is that Zillow needs listings more than listings need Zillow. Which means that Zillow needs the people (brokers and agents) who take those listings more than they need Zillow.” I’d venture that he is bang on with that assessment.

Where does your business fit in? Do you use Zillow to obtain leads? One thing I can say with certainty is that this isn’t over, and we’ll be talking about the Zillow-Trulia merger for some time to come. How do you feel about all of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts from the proverbial trenches.

Craigslist Real Estate For Sale

Why Craigslist is Your Ticket to Home Sale Leads

For all the attention given to Zillow and Trulia, the fact of the matter is that even if you combine their power, Craigslist still drives more traffic to single property websites. Craigslist’s sheer size, volume and community offer a landmine to real estate agents online. This is why Craigslist is your ticket to home sale leads.

Seasoned agents know the truth – when you place a listing on Craigslist, it gets you more traffic and leads than any other real estate portal.

Craigslist was started in 1995 by Craig Newmark with the modest goal of helping people find affordable housing in San Francisco. It is now the most popular online classifieds website in the world, with over 10 million monthly visitors.

“Agents can take advantage of this huge traffic by posting free ads and by scanning ads seeking homes and answering them,” says Amanda Cornelius, cofounder and CEO of Properties Online.

Craigslist is free to use in most locations, making it a valuable, affordable lead generating machine. Create single ads for specific properties, or an ad listing all your available properties for an area, with no coding design or HTML knowledge necessary.

Furthermore, Craigslist is targeted. The real estate section goes a step beyond cities, localities and topics, allowing the agent to select from categories such as apartments/houses for rent, office & commercial, real estate for sale, vacation rentals and more.

Make the most of Craigslist and your single property websites by:

Including images in your ad – pictures prompt responses.

  • Choose your title carefully – be descriptive, catchy and consider words that buyers will use when searching for a property like the one you’re listing/selling.
  • Take advantage of Craigslist Flyers, through the flyer builder program offered by Properties Online. These will generate a snippet of HTML code that will dynamically pull all your listing details, property photos and your contact information. This HTML snippet enables you to easily cut and paste your data into online classified sites such as the very popular Craigslist, Backpage or Ebay. And it’s free with your subscription!
  • Regularly post relevant Craigslist classifieds that point to your listings and include a link to your single property page to drive significant amounts of highly targeted traffic to your property websites.
  • Track your results with ad campaign statistics to see exactly how many views your classified ad received, and how many people clicked through to your listing domain website*.

*You can expect anywhere from 5% to 10% of people viewing an effective ad on Craigslist to click-through to your website. The Properties Online system achieves a 15.9% average click-through rate.

Tech Tools Every Real Estate Agent Should Be Using

The personal touch is still an important component in attracting clients and closing real estate sales, but technology use is quickly replacing charisma as a Realtor’s most important attribute in attracting home selling and home buying clients. According to statistics compiled by the National Association of Realtors, in 2011 87% of home sellers and buyers searched for real estate agents on the internet. Equally important, 88% of all buyers and 94% of buyers in the 25 to 44 age range used the internet to search for a home. Today’s real estate customers are looking for Realtors that make aggressive use of the latest internet tools, mobile technology and social media platforms to market real estate listings.

Tech Tools

The real estate tech products that are attracting the greatest attention are:

  • Listing syndication expands multiple listing service feeds beyond the primary destination website to agent-designated websites. Listing syndication services like ListHub also provide customized tracking services that allow real estate agents to see where their leads are coming from and allocate marketing resources to the most productive real estate sites.
  • Virtual staging provides a time-efficient alternative to physical staging. Instead of physically clearing out the clutter, moving furniture and worrying about proper lighting, real estate agents can snap a series of digital photos and submit them with a floor plan of the home to a virtual staging company. After digital enhancement and photo shop-enabled virtual decorating, the photos are returned to the agent ready for uploading to listing domains, agent websites, eflyers, Virtuet videos, Facebook, etc.
  • Social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and other social networks puts real estate listings where potential buyers and sellers are spending the majority of their internet time. People spend more time on Facebook than on any other social network — 700 billion minutes each month! The recent launch of Facebook IDX now allows Facebook users to access and use multiple listing services to search for homes without leaving Facebook.
  • Mobile apps for smartphones allow on-the-go real estate agents to connect with equally busy customers and respond to customer queries immediately.