Must have iphone App for Agents

I’m not a big Apple computer guy, but I love my iPhone.  I’m from the school that says you don’t need a bunch of technology to be tech savvy in real estate.  But you do need a couple of key pieces of tech to be on the team and an iPhone is one of them.  I’m probably going to get a bunch of flack from Droid and BlackBerry users for that and admittedly the bear minimum is some sort of Smartphone.  But the truth is that the iPhone is a game-changing piece of technology for people in real estate.  And it’s not just the vast quantity of apps that are available but the quality and functionality of those apps.

For example: there is an app called Zosh that allows you to fill-in pdf forms.  Say you get an email with an attached pdf of a form that you need to fill out and send back to your transaction coordinator or broker to complete your file.  You know; that 1-page transaction profile form for all the vital info about your deal, the “get-paid” form as my colleague Leslie in Lake County likes to put it.  Now traditionally you would print this, fill it out, and then hand it or even fax it in.  If you were a real techie, you would figure out a way to fill it out on your computer and email it back, which would probably cost you a pretty penny on either some software or a tablet.  With Zosh you can fill it out, email it back, and even sign it if you so needed right from your iPhone.

There are a couple of hitches but they aren’t big ones from what I’ve found so far.  For one, it costs $3 but what’s that, we folks in real estate blow $3 pulling out of the driveway.  For the other, the interface is easy once you get use to it but it might become a little tedious if the form is really long.  One nice little feature it has, however,  is a “shortcuts” button where you will find info that you have typed before so you can just select and insert it into the document rather then retyping the whole thing.  A definite timesaver on forms you fill out regularly like all those “get-paid” forms for the escrows you’ll be closing because your technology has opened up more time for you to put more deals together.

How to Grow Your Online Presence

It’s amazing how everyone is online these days, isn’t it? It seems like it was just yesterday when marketing folks still felt that a website is no more than “nice to have,” but when we think about it, that was back in the early nineties! Now everyone realizes that a website is an absolute must for any self-respecting business, and that includes real estate agents.

It’s amazing how everyone is online these days, isn’t it? It seems like it was just yesterday when marketing folks still felt that a website is no more than “nice to have,” but when we think about it, that was back in the early nineties! Now everyone realizes that a website is an absolute must for any self-respecting business, and that includes real estate agents.

But the thing is, a website is not enough anymore. It’s a given – as in, if you don’t have a website no one will take you seriously – but these days you need to do much more than maintain a website to be considered a savvy real estate professional.

To truly grow your online presence, ideally you should have a mix of the following:

1. An agent website. Your agent website is your online business card and resume, and should be used to highlight your achievements, experience and expertise and to provide clients and prospects with valuable information.

2. Single property websites. These focus around a single property, highlighting its features and benefits and providing all the information on that property at one place. Sellers and buyers alike love single property websites, and they are great at helping you to win listings.

3. Social media accounts. You need to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Update your social media accounts frequently, add useful info and links, and reach out to new friends and followers weekly. Over a year or so, you can significantly grow these accounts. The beauty of social media is that it functions just like word of mouth marketing, but on a much larger scale.

4. Don’t forget email! Being active and proactive rather than passive when keeping in touch with clients and prospects can make a big difference, and email drip marketing programs are a huge help.

Growing your online presence takes time and patience, but it is also lots of fun and the return on investment is very real.

7 Reasons Why Listing Websites Work

Listing-Domains

Listing websites, or single property websites, are gradually becoming an essential tool in the marketing tools arsenal of savvy realtors. The reasons are simple:

1. Single property websites impress sellers, because they see them as proof that their agent is willing to work hard to sell their property.

2. Property websites are great for buyers because they love the convenience of having all the information about the house, including images, maps and mortgage calculators, in a single place.

3. Agents love listing websites because despite being so impressive, they are very affordable, and very easy to set up. A beautiful listing website filled with info, images and tools take just half an hour to set up.

4. Single property websites include built-in, easy to use tools for sharing properties on a wide range of social networks. Since social media is quickly becoming a must-use tool for agents, this is a huge advantage of listing websites.

5. Since listing websites have the home’s physical address as their URL, they are typically one of the first results to come up when potential buyers search for the property online. Since more and more people start their search online these days, the fact that listing websites are search engine friendly is another huge advantage.

6. Single property websites are a great way to secure listings. Agents can create free demo sites for prospects prior to getting the listing. The demo website can be filled with unlimited photos and documents and can feature music, a voice over, a video and more. Agents can then email prospects a link to the demo site, or demo the site live at the listing presentation. When the agent gets the listing, they can purchase the property website.

7. Property websites work better than virtual tours because they are easier to find. Virtual tours are directed at buyers who have already seen the property someplace else (on the agent’s site, for example, or in the MLS listings). Virtual tours don’t generate traffic in their own right. On the other hand, property websites generate their own direct traffic through online searches, social media and through the sign rider on the property itself.

Just like many other online tools, single property websites are quickly moving from a “nice to have” tool to a “must have tool.” Take advantage of them today!

Niche Websites: What Are They And Why Should I Care?

Niche websites are websites dedicated to narrow areas of interest. Real estate niche websites allow you to be a lot more targeted than you can be on your agent website. This helps you establish yourself as an expert, because if you have an entire website dedicated to, say, a specific neighborhood and filled with lots of info, pictures and tips on that neighborhood, you will come across as an expert, and anyone looking to buy or sell in that area would be more likely to hire you.

Niche Market

While you should definitely have an agent website, filled with information about you and with lots of real estate information, photos, and tools, a wonderful yet often overlooked marketing tool for agents is building real estate niche websites.

What Are Niche Websites?

Niche websites are websites dedicated to narrow areas of interest. Real estate niche websites allow you to be a lot more targeted than you can be on your agent website. This helps you establish yourself as an expert, because if you have an entire website dedicated to, say, a specific neighborhood and filled with lots of info, pictures and tips on that neighborhood, you will come across as an expert, and anyone looking to buy or sell in that area would be more likely to hire you.

SEO Benefits

Niche websites also offer important SEO benefits. It’s generally easier to rank well in search engines for a specific, long-tail keyphrase than to rank well for a general keyword.

Types of Real Estate Niche Websites

Niche websites are easy to build and very affordable, which means you can build as many real estate niche sites as you’d like. A niche website doesn’t have to be devoted to a geographic location. There are in fact three main types of real estate niche websites:

1. Location. This is the most obvious one. The more specific you can get, the better, so don’t hesitate to start a niche website for your city, one for each sought-after neighborhood in your city, and perhaps one for oceanfront locations.

2. Customer profile. You can target first-time buyers with information specific to their needs and worries, retirees, families with children, even pet owners! Answer each group’s specific questions and provide the information most relevant to them and, again, you’ll establish yourself as an expert.

3. Property type. Many home buyers search for very specific property types, such as a single family residence, a condo, or an apartment. Other niches could be luxury homes, starter homes, REOs, Short Sales, fixer uppers – or maybe start a niche site devoted to properties that in your opinion offer a great value to buyers.

Content is King

The most important thing about real estate niche sites is to pack them with lots of information relevant to each niche. Add articles, notes, thoughts, photos, listings, tools and widgets, and of course links to your social media accounts. Turn each niche site into a treasure of useful, trusted information, and chances are, prospects will come to see you as a treasure of knowledge and information. Mission accomplished!

Single Page Niche Websites from ListingDomains.com
Multi Page Niche Websties from RealEstateSites.com

SEO Tips: Choosing The Right Domain Name

Having your own agent website is incredibly important. It’s a great way to build credibility, to demonstrate your expertise to prospects, and to help people find you online. A good agent website that is filled with content and photos and gets updated frequently will help set you apart from the crowd.

SEO

Having your own agent website is incredibly important. It’s a great way to build credibility, to demonstrate your expertise to prospects, and to help people find you online. A good agent website that is filled with content and photos and gets updated frequently will help set you apart from the crowd.

But before you start building your agent website, you will need to pick a good domain name for your site. A domain name is your website’s unique address on the Internet. Here are a few tips for picking a good domain name.

Keep it Short!

A good domain name is a name that would be friendly to both human visitors and search engines. When it comes to humans, you definitely want a short, memorable domain name – something that would be easy for people to remember and to type. You also want a name that you’ll be able to print on business cards – so a long domain name, again, is not a good idea.

Keywords Are Important

When it comes to search engines, you should include – if possible – your main keywords in your domain name. This would enable search engines to properly index your agent site. This often means that you want to include your location in your domain name. For example, if you’re a realtor in Austin, Texas, your ideal doman name would be:

AustinHomes.com or AustinRealEstate.com

While the inclusion of keywords often creates a slightly longer domain name, the SEO benefits are generally worth it, as long as the domain name isn’t too long. As a general rule, don’t include more than 2-3 keywords in your domain name.

Dot Com Is Still The Gold Standard

Of course, most good domain names are already taken – especially the .com names! So you’ll need to be creative and search for the best domain name still available to you.

If you absolutely can’t get a good .com domain name, .net and .info are acceptable alternatives.

Should You Use Your Own Name?

Probably not. Although using your name would help establish your personal brand and help clients find your site, it won’t do much in terms of search engine optimization. After all,  buyers who are starting their search for a home on the Internet will type keywords, not your name, into the search engine search box.

Finding A Name

The website NameBoy.com is a great tool for finding domain names based on keywords. Going back to our previous example, a quick search for the keywords “Austin Realty” shows that AustinRealty.info is available (at least at the time of writing this article).

Once you decide on a domain for your site, you will need to register it with a provider such as godaddy.com, and then renew your registration every year.