Posts Tagged as agent

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.

What’s new for you in 2015?

January has always been known as the month for resolutions. It is also a great month for predictions. I love seeing what experts anticipate for the coming year in areas like technology, marketing and real estate. Each new year is full of possible, and things unknown yet to come. So, what’s new for you in 2015? Where will your real estate business take you? Will you (continue to) embrace digital technology and social media marketing to better market and sell your listings? Will each of your listings have its own single property website? We’d love to be part of your resolutions.

January has always been known as the month for resolutions. It is also a great month for predictions. I love seeing what experts anticipate for the coming year in areas like technology, marketing and real estate. Each new year is full of possible, and things unknown yet to come. So, what’s new for you in 2015? Where will your real estate business take you? Will you (continue to) embrace digital technology and social media marketing to better market and sell your listings? Will each of your listings have its own single property website?

I’ve been scanning 2015 prediction lists, and when I do I end up smiling. Mobile, social media, video – they’re all buzzwords again. And we’ve got you covered in all directions.

We are looking forward to an incredible year. Before I go back to our more typical posts next week, I just wanted to take a moment to talk about what we’re doing and what we’re excited about at Team Properties Online. We live and breathe real estate and technology. Getting to put them together has been fun for over a decade now.

We are committed to a bigger and better 2015, and we’re excited to have you on the journey. One of our tasks as an online real estate marketing firm is to watch trends. Video is not a trend. Video was the future. Now it is the, well, now. In addition to our top-of-the-line single property websites and agent websites, we are offering new video solutions in a big way. In addition to our easy-to-use Video Builder solution, we are in love with Virtuets, our video marketing, website content and property videos solution. You can incorporate Virtuets Video for Real Estate into any of your Properties Online products or services, dramatically increasing their impact. Have a look HERE for sample content to see just what I’m talking about. You can be using these videos on your real estate websites right now! Articles and video are now the most popular formats for content marketing, and as you can see, we make sure you can do both.

Did you know that the 45-55 age group is now the fastest growing age group on Facebook, and that Facebook adds 600,000 new mobile users every single day? Did you further know how easy it is to put your listings on Facebook with our Facebook App? You see, we have everything you need linked to everything else you need.

A whopping 91% of customers say they’d give referrals, but only 11% of sales people ask for them. Crazy, right? Did you know that when you use Properties Online for your agent and single property websites, we have a feedback and referral system built right in? You hardly have to lift a finger to get the results and information you need. We like it that way, because we know you’re bending over backwards for your home buyer and home seller clients.

What I’m getting at is that I hope we are part of your New Year’s resolutions for 2015. I hope you want to join us on the fabulous journey that is real estate and website technology. We’d truly be honored to help your business grow this year.

It’s Time to Up Your Game. Are You Ready?

William Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

I can’t help but think of that quote when I look at statistics on real estate marketing – particularly what buyers and sellers want and how many real estate professionals are able or willing to meet that demand. Home buyers and sellers are consumer. They, like all consumers, want accurate information immediately, in ways convenient and flexible to their ever-changing needs.

William Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

I can’t help but think of that quote when I look at statistics on real estate marketing – particularly what buyers and sellers want and how many real estate professionals are able or willing to meet that demand. Home buyers and sellers are consumer. They, like all consumers, want accurate information immediately, in ways convenient and flexible to their ever-changing needs.

Did you know that, according to NAR:

• 92% of homebuyers used the Internet as an information source
• 73% of homeowners say they’re more likely to list with a realtor who offers video
• Only 4% of agents actually offer video as part of their marketing package to home sellers
• 75% of Internet homebuyers drove by or viewed a home they saw online
• 43% of buyers first found their home on the Internet
• 56% of home buyer prospects expect to be contacted within 30 minutes of expressing interest in a property

According to Forrester Research it is 50 times easier to achieve a page 1 ranking on Google with a video. And NPD tells us that mobile and tablet shoppers are three times as likely to view a video as laptop or desktop users.

If your response to this is “So what?” you have got to get with the program! Mobile is here. Which means your websites (agent website, single property websites, etc.) better have responsive design. Your clients—homebuyers and home sellers—want you to respond to their needs FAST. Meeting that demand requires an investment in technology, like Smart Lead Capture. And video simply must be part of your real estate marketing offering.

I’m reminded of another quote, this one from Albert Einstein: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

It’s time to up your game. Are you ready?

Real Estate Concierge: Should You Hire One?

This week I’m doing things a little differently, by sharing with you an interview I conducted with forward-thinking Northern California-based licensed real estate agent Jenna Evans. Jenna, in true entrepreneurial fashion, used her real estate license and vast experience in real estate to create a new career as a Real Estate Concierge.

This week I’m doing things a little differently, by sharing with you an interview I conducted with forward-thinking Northern California-based licensed real estate agent Jenna Evans. Jenna, in true entrepreneurial fashion, used her real estate license and vast experience in real estate to create a new career as a Real Estate Concierge. Without further ado …

Q: What is a Real Estate Concierge?
A: “When I think of a concierge I imagine being taken care of, someone I can go to for help when unfamiliar or overwhelmed. I coined the phrase Real Estate Concierge to evoke this feeling, as well as to showcase the versatility and breadth of services I provide to real estate professionals.”

Q: How can I find one?
A: “As far as I know, I am the only Real Estate Concierge there is, but I’m hoping that will change. One can find a virtual assistant through a variety of reputable online companies, but VAs typically do not have the real estate experience or the personal connection my company offers. For my local clients, I also provide in-depth knowledge of our area, which proves invaluable.”

Q: What do you get asked to do most?
A: “Most real estate agents and brokers need help in their marketing efforts, which generally ranges from brochures to social media, marketing packages, designing a website, optimizing a website and blogging. These are all important tools every real estate professional has to focus some of their energy on in order to properly market their listings. Unfortunately, most agents and brokers do not have the time to consistently maintain these marketing platforms.

“Preparing a home for a photo shoot and staging are also big on the list of needs. I have a long history in high end retail, interior design, and photography. I have a strong sense of what looks good in a shot and which image is going to be best for a brochure cover. There is a lot to be said for good photography in your marketing pieces. It is best to get it done right the first time!

“Overall, I can and do act as a silent licensed partner just waiting in the wings to take on whatever needs to be done. I represent my clients at property showings when they have conflicting appointments or are unavailable. This helps them meet the demands and expectations of their buyers and sellers. An agent can relax and be in two places at once, maximizing their time and money.”

Q: Who are your clients?
A: “Most of my clients are focused on residential sales, although I do represent a few clients that sell businesses, wineries and land.”

Q: Who can benefit most from using a Real Estate Concierge?
A: “Any realtor or broker who is looking to grow their business, someone who may be strong in all other aspects of their business but does not have an eye for reading a home for the market, someone who has a good client base but not enough hours in the day, or a realtor just starting out that needs a little help in marketing their services.”

Q: How is it cost effective?
A: “I think if you look at the overall cost of hiring a full time, licensed, assistant, and all the costs associated with one versus contracting me on an as needed basis you can see the cost effectiveness pretty easily. I think flexibility is important, and I offer my services by project, monthly retainer, or hourly. There are no commitments and no hidden costs.”

Q: What should I look for when hiring a Real Estate Concierge or VA?
A: “I think you need to make sure they are licensed, detailed, well informed, educated, meticulous, intelligent, know the region well, and have an obvious willingness to help you and your business grow. This is not just a job for me. I am personally invested in each and every one of my clients and work very hard to help them achieve their own success.”

Q: What questions should I ask?
A: “How long have you been licensed? What do you know about my location? What steps have you taken to educate yourself on my business? I would like to see a few samples of marketing packages you have done, brochures, blogs you have written and social media posts.”

Q: How do I know if I need a Real Estate Concierge?
A: “If you are not 100% happy with your income vs. workload, you should look into hiring a Real Estate Concierge (REC). RECs can help with your time burdens and increase your income at the same time. If you find yourself spending over 50% of your time in the office shuffling paperwork or learning how to post your latest sale on multiple platforms rather than out showing property, you can benefit from concierge services.”

Q: Does a Real Estate Concierge have to be local or can he/she be virtual?
A: “I think it depends on the project or scope of work the Realtor is looking for help with. Ideally, hiring an REC service professional in your area would be best because they would be familiar with some of the key professionals, events, advertising opportunities and real estate market. But a virtual REC service professional can accomplish quite a lot on marketing packages, brochures, websites, social media, blogging, mailings, etc. I think it ultimately depends on the services required at time of hire, and you’ll want to weigh that when looking for the right person. If it’s something that doesn’t require a local body, you’ve just opened yourself to a much wider base.”

Q: Where can I find out more information?
A: Check out: http://www.evansrealestateconcierge.com/

Do you know someone who would make a great interview for the Properties Online blog? Let me know; I’d love to talk to them!

Get More Traffic to Your Blog

Blogging. Do you do it? As a real estate professional on the Internet, you’d probably have to be living under a rock to not have heard of some of its many benefits. It takes time, yes, but once you get into the habit it really isn’t so hard. What can be difficult is getting people to actually find and read your blog. That’s why I was so excited to see Josh Coffy’s FlightMedia Blog post “25 Bite Sized Action Steps to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog.” In his fantastic article, he outlines 25 relatively simple things you can do to get more traffic to your blog.

Blogging. Do you do it? As a real estate professional on the Internet, you’d probably have to be living under a rock to not have heard of some of its many benefits. It takes time, yes, but once you get into the habit it really isn’t so hard. What can be difficult is getting people to actually find, read and share your blog. That’s why I was so excited to see Josh Coffy’s FlightMedia Blog post “25 Bite Sized Action Steps to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog.” In his fantastic article, he outlines 25 relatively simple things you can do to get more traffic to your blog.

1. Coffy starts with a blogging MUST: Write killer content. He calls it “epic” content. Same-same. Call it whatever you want, but it has to be good. It has to be error-free, interesting and it needs to serve a purpose.

2-3. Next, he wants you to increase your tweeting and set up Twitter cards. Now, you might not be using Twitter yet. Maybe you think it’s not for you. But it really is a great tool for conversations and relationships. And Twitter can help you build you brand recognition.

The rest of Coffy’s list includes:

4. Email your list.
5. Practice good web design.
6. Thank everyone who shares your content.
7. Take the 30-Day Content Challenge. [What Coffy means here is challenging yourself to write a blog post every day for 30 days. It’s been shown to get results. In fact, he says that the first time he challenged himself, he went from 814 monthly visitors to 9,575 visitors by the 30th day.] 8. Create a social posting schedule and schedule your posts out. [Hootsuite is one of my favorites for this.] 9. Pin all your articles to a “Blog Posts” board on Pinterest.
10. Write an “Authority Roundup” post.
11. Ask a question in a Twitter auto-direct message and then respond.
12. Guest blog and accept others guest blogs.
13. Leave 100 comments on other blogs.
14. Host a giveaway.
15. Run some Facebook ads.
16. @Mention social influencers in your social posts.
17. Set email follow ups.
18. Cover relevant, trending topics.
19. Write headlines that get shared.
20. Practice good SEO.
21. Start a podcast.
22. Use Click-to-Tweet.
23. Keep your posts short.
24. Follow other people.
25. Interview influencers.

I love, love, LOVE this article!!! Read the entire thing—complete with all Coffy’s explanations for each tip—right HERE. That’s the best part, really. His explanations and reasoning behind each recommendation are pulled right from his own personal experience of what has worked.