Saturday, November 30, 2013

Credit Crunch Effects on US Real Estate Markets

Credit crunches or financial crises have great impacts on many industries. And the most evident field that suffers from it is the real estate market. This financial mishap has been around since free-market trading began. It has affected real estate markets all over the world that led to bubbles, meaning there has been a surge in equity prices followed suit by drastic price drops. The main result of these economic cycles in real estate if currently manifested through massive foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Early indicators of market crashes occurred in the 1980s. The United States has been one of the primary areas where saving and loan crises occurred. There had been massive deregulation in the financial industry when savings and loans started having higher interest rates even on short-term deposits. There had been risky investments on questionable deals. Such situations transpired as bull markets of the 1980s seemed appealing for investors.

These bull markets are initially characterized as reflective of an investor's confidence in buying and dealing. But then again through the savings and loans high interest rates at that time, losses began to unfold. The United States' federal government had then formed the Resolution Trust Corporation or RTC which was initially organized to salvage investors' miscalculated real estate property buying and selling. RTC somehow prevented further financial collapse among industries, especially the market. However, at the onset of early 1990s, there are already over 500 savings and loans that were suffering from recession.

Furthermore, the United States' credit crunches in terms of property equities suffered gravely. There had been too much property valuations and overconfidence of real estate key players, particularly the optimistic investors. The RTC efforts to rescue the industry may have had fostered some help but the losses remained to be one of world history's greatest bull market failures.

Japan experienced the same failures. Although the credit crunches in this country were less drastic, the aftermath was of inferior quality. The bubbles experienced in Japan even resulted to the great depreciation of the real estate properties underneath the Royal Palace in Tokyo. Still during the late 1980s, the said real estate property locations amounted to have worth excessive than those in the entire property valuations in California, USA. When prices eventually dropped, the Japanese markets have seriously affected the country's banking system. Japan's economy was then enforced to have a prolonged recession. In fact, the Japanese stocks as the country's 2008 economic status revealed that these were more than 75% decreasing than the highest stocks of 1989.

As of today, the United States has been suffering from here and there housing bubbles. California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida and Arizona are only of the few states that have suffered from declining real estate markets due to financial blows. California alone had ten cities included in nationwide's worst housing markets.

The real estate crises are experienced both in commercial and residential sectors. The credit crunches are experienced through mortgage delinquencies and widespread foreclosures. Although there have financial augments like the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers, credit crunches and bubbles still continue to affect real estate markets and financiers. Without much government assistance in terms of financial aids, then the market would continue to experience failures.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Real Estate Marketing - 7 Keys to Marketing Real Estate Online

Whether you are just starting out in Real Estate or have been an agent for quite some time, there are a lot of marketing decisions that you need to make. Do you focus on print media? Radio or television ads? Online marketing? With the advent of the Internet, more and more people are doing their research online before making a purchase -- whether that is a new car, a new house, or a new pair of shoes. Real Estate agents need to tap into the online stream and make their presence known in order to compete in this day and time. While there are a myriad of ways to market yourself online, there are seven main categories where you can focus your interests.

A blog is short for "web log" and started out as an online diary of sorts. Today, it's used more as a platform to share information with anyone who visits your website. By writing a few paragraphs of information once or twice a week and adding it to your blog, you are letting people know that you are involved with Real Estate in your area and that you are continuously sharing.

Social Media
While many think that social media websites are just for teens, the truth is that sites like Twitter and Facebook are being used for business on a daily basis. People are using these sites to create relationships with other people: prospective clients, future collaborators, etc. By interacting with other people, you show that you are a real person and interested in them.

Yes, you can use your e-mail to help market your Real Estate business! Many people are more comfortable with e-mail contact as it's less intrusive than the telephone but more personal than a "snail-mail" letter. People interested in learning more about you will most likely share their e-mail address with you, while getting their phone number may take some time. Just be sure not to flood someone's inbox with a ton of e-mails.

An online forum is a website where people can go to ask questions and find answers. Sometimes it's used for networking with other people as well. Forums are good places to find answers for your own questions, and then you have the opportunity to answer others questions.

Virtual Tours
As you are probably aware, there are many places online where you can create a tour for your listing. This is a great way to market your listings to those who go online. You can show so much more of a home online than on a print flyer. And with special 360 degree photos, prospective buyers can really see the home "virtually".

Just because we are focusing on online marketing doesn't mean that advertising is passe. There are many ways to advertise your business and listings online. Whether you use a free classified ad source like or pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords, there are many places that people go online where you can advertise. Ads still work, just be sure to place them where people are going.

Listing Website
Another good way to utilize the Internet for marketing is to create a special website just for your listing. This website can just be a virtual tour, or it can be a full website with links to area businesses, utility companies, schools, etc. By creating a "one-stop-shop" for your listing online, prospective buyers will realize instantly that you know your onions and are the expert in your area!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Real Estate Housing Market - Oh, It Is Just Back to Normal - Yea, Right!

"It's just back to normal', "Just a seasonal slow-down', "A normal minor adjustment', "A great time to buy, with a much wider selection', "A cooling market'", "A soft landing", "A slight tapering off" etc. Yes, these P.C. phrases are now replacing the "We should have a strong market for the foreseeable future" industry line prevalent just a few short months ago.

The sad fact is people are still in self-denial here. We're "special" because of our weather. We are known as America's Finest City after all. It's still common to hear someone say, "If you don't buy now, you're going to get priced out of the market!"

Talk about your irrational exuberance in the Southern California real estate market. In a 2004 summer poll in the LA area, residents believed prices would continue to go up by more than 20% a year for another decade!

What will be the industry P.C. phrases we'll be hearing in about six to nine months? "It may well go as: "This home is a great buy, why just nine months ago you would have paid $25,000+ more...what a great savings." Naturally, you would be talking to a buyer. For a seller (who has owned for some years) you might say: "Well, you are still making a profit. Who could have even known that the market would have turned down so fast?" For the downtown high-rise buyer who though they got a real deal on the final phase of their Gas Lamp digs, a real estate agent may be saying: "Well, because the resale value is actually below your 100% interest only trust deed, you really should consult a real estate attorney and/or meet with your lender to propose they accept your deed in lieu of foreclosure".

Are you reading this and thinking I'm way off base? Here are a few recent headlines:

National Association of Realtors reports, in part: Total existing-home sales - including single-family, town homes, condominiums and co-ops - were down 5.7 percent in December from November.

Time Magazine reports that 'Vegas Condos Go Cold."

The Washington Post reports "Real estate groups in the Washington area have also reported declines to varying degrees."

"The bloom is definitely off the housing rose. Housing peaked last summer and has been weakening ever since," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said the real estate market was slowing "dramatically" and only a "miracle" could stop soaring mortgage rates from eating into housing prices. "The real estate market is slowing down dramatically and we're going to have a problem down the road," Bloomberg said.

"If people who want to sell their houses have to wait a longer time before someone comes along and buys it, it would be a miracle if prices didn't start to go down," he said.

"'The market has definitely peaked,' said Jack Kyser, chief economist with the L.A. County Economic Development Corp. 'The fever has broken and now the question people are asking themselves is if there is a crash ahead.'"

This is my own opinion on a realistic view of what lies ahead as far as the San Diego real estate market: A multi-year depreciation that could easily take 30% off the highs which reached this market's peak during the summer of 2005! Plus, I foresee headlines, maybe even national, announcing how the San Diego high-rise downtown boom has turned into a foreclosure city!

As a realistic San Diego Realtor, I provide these facts to my sellers. If their property is not generating meaningful activity within the first month of being listed, it would be prudent to consider a revised marketing plan similar to what many San Diego real estate developers are doing. This would be a combination of value-range reduction as well as agent and buyer incentives to position the property as the best total value for the area.

I think as Realtors we must adapt and not deny. To otherwise will have a dramatic impact on your financial health and community reputation

Copyright 2006 - All rights reserved. any additions/modifications/hyperlinks added to this article will be considered a copyright violation & subject to immediate legal action without further notice.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Residential Real Estate Investing

This is the flip side of homeowners that have found themselves unable to pay for their mortgages payments during the recession. Many individuals with the knowledge, and resources have been able to capitalize on the situation in the form of residential real estate investing. Real estate has long been one of the best vehicles to wealth for many individuals in history. More millionaires have been created in the United States through the investment of real estate than in any other industry.

Since the beginning of the recession in 2007 real estate investors have seized on the opportunity in residential real estate investing throughout the US at discounts prices up to 50% off the properties markets value. How are these prices created you might ask. When the recession started many employers reduced their work forces in large numbers this created a domino effect in the market place. After several months of unemployment many homeowners began to stop making monthly mortgage payments on their homes. Banks and mortgage companies suddenly found themselves with massive amounts of delinquent mortgage payments on their hands more than they could handle all at the same time. In an effort to resolve this problem these mortgages companies and banks started issuing homeowners notices of default in an attempt to get the homeowners to begin paying on their loans again.

This effort was not successful, and on top of that some mortgages that were originated several years prior to the recession had adjustments in interest rate built- in to the mortgage that automatically were scheduled to increase the monthly mortgage payment on homeowners for some $1,000, or more per month which added more troubled mortgage payments as homeowners were not able to pay the increased payments on their houses. This nearly brought the US financial system to a complete standstill which had not happen since the Great Depression of the 1930's. So, with banks and mortgages following through with their normal practices of foreclosing on delinquent homeowners this created a large supply of homes at a bad time for the real estate market as a whole.

Real estate values that had increased from 2003-2007 took a large drop in value almost overnight with an unsteady housing market new homeowners were unwilling to take the chance in getting caught up in the devalue real estate market. This is where residential real estate investing opportunities presented itself. Many of these individuals had been buying, and repairs homes through the boom period of 2003-2007 and had made a lot of profit in the process.

So, they were fresh with cash ready to take advantage of this declining market. Banks had to sell this oversupply of properties as the US government bank regulators requires them to get these defaulted loans off of their books. As the only real buyer in the market banks began one by one selling off inventory at large discounted prices to residential real estate investors. These investors in turn made repairs to the homes, and as months went by some potential homeowners started hearing that there were lower prices available in the market place so they decided that they would take a chance at home ownership. The residential real estate investors started selling their properties that they had purchased from the banks at discounts up to 50% to these new homeowners. The new homeowners were happy as they were able to buy homes that were far less than they were able to buy that same home just a year before, and now they were getting new upgraded amenities that the real estate investor had thrown in such as new stain less steel appliances, upgraded cabinetry, freshly painted property through the home, and new flooring that was used to entice the homeowner to purchase.

The residential real estate investing segment of investors continued to put more in more money into the market to purchase more discounted properties from the banks. They were making money hand over fist some properties were sold to profits of up to $200,000 to $300,000 per unit depending on where the house was in the country. This was good for business for these residential real estate investors. This trend continues to this very day, but the banks who found out how much these investors were making have made changes to their ways of selling the properties. Big profits are still available, but just not quite as big as the beginning days in 2008 through 2010. When the word got out how much money was being generated in the resell residential real estate market for distressed real estate properties new investors joined the group many of whom had never been in the real estate business prior to the recession. If you have ever thought about making money outside of your current employment there are still opportunities to make money in this avenue sometimes without the need for any of your own money or credit.

The opportunity of the large money may not be there anymore, but what is wrong with making an extra $20,000 to $50,000 off of the sale of one property. Two or three property sells per year can put an extra $60,000 to $150,000 in your pocket up and above your current income without you having to leave your current job. This makes the residential real estate investing market alive, and well in 2013.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Marketing Real Estate Now That the Tax Credit Giveaway is Over

For the past few months, real estate professionals have been urging buyers to hurry up and get their offers in by April 30 in order to take advantage of the Federal tax credit. The message has been "If you don't act now, all is lost." Which is very similar to the old proverb: "He who hesitates is lost."

I did a little research and found that the rest of the quote is: "Swift and resolute action leads to success; self-doubt is a prelude to disaster." The proverb goes back to 'Cato' (1713) by English essayist and poet Joseph Addison.

That surprised me, because I thought perhaps it came from something like the Revolutionary War, when hesitating might mean losing your life.

The phrase has been used many times by authors throughout history. Interestingly, one of the more common uses referred to ladies who couldn't make up their minds to accept a suitor.

But back to real estate and the loss of the Federal tax credit. I think many agents are afraid that sales will completely dry up with it gone. But why? Consumers were buying homes long before anyone even thought of a tax credit.

They buy homes because they want and need them, not because the taxpayers are going to give them free money. Some may have hurried a bit more, and real estate agents may see a little slump for the next few months before the next wave of first-time buyers is ready to come into the market, but they will come.

That means real estate agents need to continue marketing, but with a different focus.

All buyers - first time or 10th time - need to be shown that the time to buy really is now.

In my work writing blog posts and marketing copy for real estate clients, I often have occasion to view sales statistics. And what I'm seeing, especially in areas that were hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, is that while average prices have been slowly creeping upward, those foreclosures and short sales are still holding down the overall average prices that consumers see reported in the news. Non-distressed homes are selling for considerably more than lender-owned homes and short sales.

And, since distressed properties make up a larger proportion of sales than listings, in some areas it might not be long before those bargains are gone and prices begin to rise more sharply.

Then there's the interest rates to consider. Financial experts are warning that interest rates are going to rise.

Lower prices + low interest rates mean that those who buy today could be strutting like proud peacocks a year or two from now when they're locked in to a low payment - while those who hesitated are faced with higher prices, higher interest, and much higher payments.

We can't say that "All will be lost," because paying more for a house isn't a life-threatening disaster, but it could mean that those who hesitate now will be forced to buy smaller houses, maintain two incomes, or forgo other pleasures in order to keep up with house payments.

Or, they might have to remain renters - possibly for life.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Real Estate Industry Disappointed with Internet Results

The real estate industry viewed and continues to view the Internet as their portal to a vast population of buyers and sellers in their area and beyond.

Website after website has popped up across the Internet and website designers have created entire businesses around the real estate industry.

Though there are a number of real estate professionals who are pleased with the results of their investment, many real estate professionals are quite disappointed with the results of their often considerable investment.

The reality for many real estate professionals that invested in having a website designed and developed is they simply chose the wrong design firm. Often mesmerized by bells and whistles, real estate professionals lost sight of the true key to success: results!

In real estate location is everything, the same is true for real estate professionals on the Internet. Having the most beautifully designed website on the Internet with every bell and whistle possible is certainly nice, but is it worth the investment?

Real estate brokers and agents must ask themselves how successful they will be in selling the most amazing house they ever saw if they are unable to show it to anyone. If no one sees it - will anyone buy it?

With the overwhelming majority of real estate professionals having a finite budget for website development and marketing it is important to spend that budget wisely.

Though a good portion of a budget should be spent on the design and development of a website, a larger portion should be spent on the marketing and optimization of the website so your newly designed website is seen and can actually be a source of leads for your business.

Investing in the development of a website without investing in the optimization and marketing of the website is akin to building a great restaurant in the middle of the desert. Sure those limited visitors that may come to your restaurant may be impressed, the traffic is simply not strong enough to sustain it.

The most successful real estate professionals on the Internet are investing in both website development and optimization/marketing. Selecting design firms that handle SEO and marketing has proved successful for those real estate professionals that are looking to tap into the great potential of the Internet.

In a business where location is everything, it is time real estate professionals heed their own advice and consider the location of their website in search engine result for real estate.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What Is Creative Thinking in Your Real Estate Business All About?

Look around you. What do you see? Metal, wood, plastics, paper, paint?

Look around again - from a different vantage point. What do you see this time? Machines, buildings, tools, books, pictures?

Once more - look again - from still another point. Now what do you see? Ideas?

Ideas that transformed old, familiar things into new things - new things of utility, safety, beauty? Ideas that produced greater efficiency, pleasure, security, comfort, spirituality, leisure, health?

The day that you have fixed the regular habit of looking at things in this third fashion will be the day that you have really begun to be a highly creative person. In truth, this Third Look is very nearly a definition of creative thinking. If you would like a more formal definition, here is the one that I prefer:

Creative Thinking is the development of new ideas which will satisfy some expressed or implied need of mankind.

That's what this is all about.

"Who - Me?"

"Well, that leaves me out. Why, I could never write a Crime and Punishment, or develop a polio vaccine, or compose a Fifth Symphony, or invent a rocket motor, or conceive a Theory of Relativity, or design a UN Building, or win a Nobel Prize, or anything like that!"

Is this what you have just said, or are saying, to yourself? If so, all right; so be it.

Perhaps you are not another Tolstoy, or Salk, or Beethoven, or Einstein, or who-have-you. And quite possibly you may never create a planet-rocking innovation, no matter how much you might wish to do so. (How will you ever find out whether you can or cannot, by the way?)

But hold on a moment! You may be jumping to a misconception, and missing the point about creative thinking altogether.

There is nothing whatever in the definition of creative thinking which either explicitly or implicitly connotes that a globe-rattling idea is one whit more creative than one having a relatively tiny sphere of impact. Size has nothing to do with it, really. An idea for a new pin is just as creative as an idea for a cyclotron!

Further - as though you hadn't already noticed - there is considerable evidence that the world doesn't even want a constant stream, mass or succession of great, revolutionary, high-powered, magnificent, overwhelming, earth-shattering ideas.

On the contrary, it seems apparent that our insatiable global appetite for new ideas is on a somewhat more mundane level: leaky faucets, job output, the children's lessons, pay raises, letters, tools, recreation, cooking, classified ads, highway markers, marketing real estate...

These and countless thousands of other kindred elements of our workaday life are no less demanding of the attention of creative minds. And if this is where you feel most at home, fine! - for this, too, is the "proper" realm of creative thinking; and even the most modest contribution made on this plane may also move the world measurably and desirably forward.

Creative Thinking is the development of new ideas - of whatever magnitude, on every plane, in any field of human interest and endeavor - which will satisfy some expressed or implied need or needs of mankind. So...

"Who, me," you say? Certainly, you! You, of all people.

And that's what this is all about.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Using Twitter and Hashtags to Market Real Estate

The slow real estate market means agents and buyers need to use every possible method of getting information about a property for sale to buyers and other real state agents. Social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook offer this ability easily and quickly. One of the best methods is posting a property tweet onto Twitter especially if each property post also uses hashtags.

What are hashtags? They are words using the # symbol in front of them, such as #realestate. They direct tweets into the topic or topics of choice depending on what tags are used in the tweet. What this means is when you put a tweet about a specific property for sale not only do your followers have the chance to see it but anyone following the topic can also see it. Many times there will be a much larger number of people following the hashtagged topics than you will have in your own follower list. Some of the poplar tags for real estate are #realestate, #realtor #land but you may also do one for a specific location. Example if a property is for sale in Atlanta the give it the hashtags #realestate and #Atlanta and it will be seen in each topic within seconds.

One great benefit of using hashtags is if you have no or very few followers you can still get your property listing in front of the people who are currently followings that related topic. Also, Google will quickly index the tweet so its possible to have your property showing on Google in a matter on minutes! hashtags are also a great way to get new followers on Twitter.

Next time you post on Twitter for any reason consider using hashtags.

Land For Sale

Marketing Real Estate to Nudist Buyers

When people are looking for a new home the number of choices on the market can be almost overwhelming. Advertisements for homes can be found in the newspaper, in realtor magazines, on billboards, on signs, and online. Online exposure is perhaps the best way to advertise a home to a niche market such as the nudist or clothing optional community. This community typically has difficulty locating properties that fit their lifestyles and because of this may have to look at homes all over the country.

It would not be cost effective for these buyers to travel to each individual location and look at the print advertisements or to drive around looking for signs. Indeed, even calling local realtors for listings can be problematic because a location that sounds good over the phone may be lacking the qualities the buyers are looking for. Instead of trusting a stranger for a description they will be looking for information on their new home online. Sometimes realtors will email individual pictures of homes. However, these emails usually will include more than one home and can become confusing to the buyer.

When marketing real estate to the nude and clothing optional niche realtors need to think outside the box. A company that wants to provide the best service for this niche will need to make their listings comprehensive and user friendly. One way to accomplish both of these tasks is to create a website that features a complete virtual tour of the properties and surrounding locations. This can be done in a number of ways.

The first is possibly the easiest and requires the least amount of technology. A panoramic photo presentation will allow buyers to experience their potential purchase from hundreds or thousands of miles away. The most efficient way to accomplish this is to stand in the center of each room and take pictures while turning in a circle, including pictures of the floor and ceiling. Those pictures can then be edited together to show interested buyers what the individual rooms look like. This same technique can be used for the exterior of the property and for any nearby features that make the neighborhood suitable for the nudist or clothing optional buyer.

The second technique that can be used is similar but instead of taking photographs the realtor would have video taken. This video would then be edited and uploaded to the website for the buyers to browse. Again, the surrounding community would also need to be included.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The 5 Most Effective Real Estate Marketing Tools

Ask ten different real estate agents what the best tools for marketing are and you will get ten different lists. So perhaps the title of this article should have "in Brandon's experience" tacked onto the end.

What I've created below is a list of what I feel are the best ways for real estate agents to promote themselves (and their listings) in the modern economy.

Item #1 - An Effective Website

These days, a real estate agent without a website is an agent who will lose a lot of potential business. Aside from referrals (see item #5), most home buyers and sellers find their real estate agents online.

Maybe they do a Google search for agents in their area. Maybe they stumble across an online article that links back to the agent's site. Or maybe they "stumble across" the agent's website when researching the local real estate market. But for any of this to be possible, a real estate agent needs a solid website filled with useful content, tools and resources.

Here are some of the things you should build into your real estate website:

  • Listing data of some kind
  • Consumer education resources
  • Plenty of original, keyword-rich content
  • Lead generation systems
  • Regular updates, perhaps through a blog
  • Basic website usability and organization

Secret to Success: The number of real estate websites has exploded over the last few years. You need to work hard to make your website better than those of your competitors -- more organized, more informative, and better designed. It takes a lot of time, energy and money to get it right, but the rewards are ever lasting.

Item #2 - Internet Visibility / Web Presence

A few years ago, an agent could publish a 5-page website to generate business. People would eventually find the site, because there weren't many of them competiting for attention. Obviously, that has all changed. In order to be found online today, you need more than a basic real estate website -- you need a highly visible multi-part web presence. This might include the main site, search engine optimization (SEO), a blog, online articles and press releases, and other publishing strategies.

When you increase your online activity in this way, you are capitalizing on something that is already occurring. People are already going online by the thousands to conduct research into their local real estate markets. So when you improve your web presence, you are tapping into an online marketplace that already exists.

Secret to Success: Of course, all of the web traffic in the world won't do you any good unless you convert some of that traffic into leads and inquiries. So while your Internet visibility is certainly important, you also need to focus some of your energy on developing effective lead-generation systems for your website.

Item #3 - Direct Mail (When Used Properly)

A lot of real estate agents waste their time and money on postcard marketing, but only because they go about it all wrong. I know this for a fact because I've worked for more than one direct mail company. But with postcards, it's not the marketing medium that's broken -- it's the flawed technique that many agents use.

One of the primary benefits of this strategy is that you know where your direct mail pieces are going. You can choose certain neighborhoods, a zip code, or your entire city. You can get a list of people who live in apartments and send them a targeted message about moving up to homeownership. You are practically guaranteed that everyone who receives your postcard in the mail is going to at least glance at it (more than you can say for other forms of marketing).

Secret to Success: You need a really good reason to send a postcard out to a large audience. "I'm a new real estate agent in town" is not a good reason. Start with a big idea, an event, a unique product or service, and build your direct mail campaign around that.

Item #4 - The Yard Sign (An Oldie But a Goodie)

Aside from basic word-of-mouth marketing, I would say the real estate sign is the absolute oldest from of real estate marketing. As long as properties have been bought or sold, there have been people putting up signs to direct traffic toward the sale. Okay, so they're not as glamorous as a brand-spanking-new website or a glossy brochure. But they have been getting the job done for decades!

Secret to Success: Don't over-think the process of procuring real estate signs, and don't overspend when purchasing them. All you really need is a professional looking product with basic information on it. Don't waste valuable sign space with slogans or other useless items. Keep it simple.

Item #5 - Great Service Toward Clients

For many real estate agents, referrals still generate more business than any other real estate marketing technique. People are more willing to trust those they know. So when a friend or family member says good things about a real estate agent, it does more to persuade the person than anything the agent might say.

The key to getting referrals, of course, is to provide great service. By being proactive during the real estate transaction, and by keeping your client informed along the way, you will have a better chance of getting referrals later on down the road. Of course, it also helps if you can help them buy or sell a home effectively!

Secret to Success: Don't be afraid to follow up with clients after the sale either. This is a good way to stay in their minds, which can lead to even more referrals. There are many occasions where you can send a brief email or postcard to past clients -- on their birthdays, around holidays, on their one-year home buyer anniversary, etc.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Emerging Market of Real Estate Investing - Part 1

The easiest way to make money in real estate is with emerging market real estate investing. With this type of investing you buy in a market that is about to start appreciating and you hold the property until it comes time to sell. It's very simple, you make your money off the appreciation of the home (and hopefully some cash flow as well).

Let me go into a little more detail. To begin with you need to identify the proper market for emerging market real estate investing. You do this with real estate timing. You analyze real estate markets to see which ones are going up and which ones are going down. That's no easy trick. The best way to do that is with a service that provides you the tools you need to do it. You want to analyze different markets and choose the ones that have the criteria you are looking for. Good criteria are things like solid population growth, strong employment or a desirable location. Maybe a new industry is coming to the area that is going to fuel a population boom. Maybe it's a "newly found" resort destination.

Once you identify the general area, with the proper real estate timing, you need to find where in the location you want to buy your real estate investments. Every city, town, large metropolis, etc. has more desirable locations and less desirable locations. Obviously the more desirable locations will cost more to buy than the less desirable locations. If you buy in the best area you are going to pay the highest price and will have a whole lot harder time making it cash flow. If you buy in the less desirable areas it's easier to cash flow but the homes won't appreciate as well when the market takes off.

I've found it's better to invest in the up and coming neighborhoods, they aren't as expensive yet but are starting to become more desirable. Up and coming neighborhoods have good amenities but may not be as well established as the most desirable areas. What types of amenities are we talking about? It depends on who is going to live in the area. If it's young professionals you'll want close proximity to restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment. These people like to get out and do stuff. If it's a family-oriented area you want good schools, playgrounds, parks and low crime.

Let's review the steps so far:

1. We want to choose our emerging market for our real estate investing - we do this with real estate timing
2. Through real estate market analysis we choose the real estate market we want to invest in
3. We decide where in the market we want to invest - it's best to focus on up and coming neighborhoods

The next step is to select a property to buy. Most people think that emerging market real estate investing means you have to pay full price for a property in a rapidly appreciating market and carry massive negative cash flow. NOT TRUE! True emerging market investing means you buy BEFORE the market takes off. You are buying when most people are selling and the market is down but about to turn. This means that there are LOTS of deals out there. You don't want to pay full price - you want a deal. Make multiple offers on multiple properties and negotiate strongly. It's a buyer's market. Not only that but you also want to look for value options. Value options are things like the only home in the neighborhood without a garage, but you can build one. The kitchen and baths haven't been updated in 30 years - so it's time to remodel. The house is ugly and has no curb appeal - nothing that a landscaper can't fix. In a down market most people won't put money in home improvements because the return isn't there. But if you buy at the end of a down market and put money in improvements you are going to see a return when the market shifts. Remember in emerging market real estate investing you want to focus on buying deals.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

5 Tips to Market Real Estate in a Tough Economy

In an economy where the prices of real estate properties continue to depreciate, how can a real estate agent or a realtor continue to market properties to prospects? There are a lot of things that you can do about it, but we all know that not all of them will be as effective as other methods. So in order to help you understand the best ways to market real estate properties, I will be showing you the top 5 methods that you can use in order to make more sales even while in a tough economy.

Here are the 5 ways to market real estate properties:

Provide better service - if you want to get more customers, you need to provide them with a service that is worth more than the value that they will be spending. If you can give people the service that they need, they will be telling other people about it, and this will be the start of your word-of-mouth marketing.

Look for interested people - one of the mistakes of people when marketing real estate properties is that they are only looking for people who are thinking of buying a house and not people who are really interested in buying one. Make sure that you are only going to contact those people who are interested, because this will make your task easier.

Use different marketing methods - there are hundreds of methods that you can use to promote real estate properties, and all you have to do is to use 5 to 10 methods at the same time. Try different methods and see what will work best for your skills and the time that you have.

Use the Internet - more and more people are using the World Wide Web to find the things that they need, and if you are going to use it, you will be able to reach more people. This will help you increase your customer base, and will make it even easier for you to promote different properties that are listed for sale.

Establish yourself as an expert - if you were able to establish yourself as an expert, you won't have to worry about anything, because people will be coming to you automatically. All you have to do is to give them what they are looking for, and make sure that you are always going to put the interest of your clients before your interest.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Effective Real Estate Marketing Strategies

Congratulations! It's official. You're finally a licensed real estate agent. So, what do you do now?

Newly licensed real estate agents all over the country face the same dilemma; life after real estate agent licensing exams.

Truth is there are more real estate agents than you can shake a stick at, but only a few fully embrace the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the others.

Simply being licensed is no longer enough and there are no guaranteed shortcuts to success. Still, there are scores of companies guaranteeing success if you buy their products.

Well, save your money because there are no guarantees; only hard, focused work coupled with products that'll enhance your success, which begins and ends with 2 simple things;

1. getting prospects, and

2. converting them to paying customers

Getting Prospects

Getting prospects is easier said than done and only when you have some you will you have an opportunity to blend your knowledge, charm and personality to close them.

But the key remains getting them. How do you do that?

Having a real estate listing system is one good way and should be every newly licensed real estate agent's top priority; veteran agents, too if they never had one.

Although you can find real estate listing systems a dime a dozen there is nothing that helps you achieve the level of real estate marketing and sales "success" you want quite like a proven one, whether they're complicated ones at outrageous prices, or simple ones at reasonable cost.

Generally, the more complicated and cumbersome the systems are the more expensive they are. They aren't necessarily better because, just costlier.

The type of system you chose can be as simple as mailing pre- written real estate marketing letters to owners of expired listings, some of which are extremely effective.

Prices range from under $9 - 10 to over $4,000.00; several can be found for less than $50.00.

But as you grow in experience and ability incorporating call in 800 number lead generating systems and websites are almost a must if you want be competitive and ensure your success.

Let's face it - real estate agents need listings and the more they have the more money they're likely to make through their real estate marketing efforts. On the other hand agents who can't get listings don't last in the profession too long.

Real estate listing systems help agents get listings. They can help new agents get off to good starts and recharge the careers of veteran agents who have been around for awhile.

Also, with a good system, expired listings, fsbo's and whatever it might be, newly licensed real estate agents can gain significant marketing exposure in months, rather than years.

Signs with your name on them dotted throughout your community will give you instant credibility and generate more listings. Everybody likes doing business with successful real estate agents, which you'll be thought of as when you have lots of listings.

Another nice thing about farming expired listings is that the sellers are typically Realtor friendly, eager to sell their properties and willing do what it takes to get them sold.

So, if you don' have one, get one. And don't worry if you can't afford the most expensive one. Just get the one the seems best suited to you that you can afford now. You can always upgrade and add to it as time goes by.

Good luck and happy listings!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why is China's Real Estate Sector so Popular?

The Chinese real estate sector has rapidly grown in popularity with international property investors who seek maximum diversification within their portfolios because the real estate market in China is in demand locally and internationally and demand spans both the commercial and residential real estate sectors.

This means that there is maximum room for profits, income and gains from Chinese real estate which makes it an intensely attractive commodity for investors.

The Chinese government are also keen to attract foreign investment into their country and began easing many restrictions to smooth the path for those interested in purchasing property in China back in 1998. Their efforts to boost their economy through the promotion of foreign direct investment proved almost too successful and resulted in the government fearing that speculators would strip the property market of stability. As a result the Chinese government have now made it more difficult for investors to realise short term gains from the property market. Because of this fact the market is now less popular with those real estate investors looking for short term gains and more popular with those looking for a stable market with massive potential for demand and expansion over the medium to long term.

In terms of foreigner's rights when it comes to owning real estate in China, all overseas buyers are protected by Chinese law but actual real estate law and the property buying process in China are new concepts that are relatively immature and unsophisticated. This means that investors who wish to buy property directly in China need to secure the services of a reputable lawyer to assist with the intricacies of the real estate purchase process.

For those who wish to maximise the potential gains available in Chinese property but who wish to remain relatively hands off any investment made, there are a series of property investment funds specialising in Chinese real estate now available. Such funds issued by larger, well established financial institutions are proving increasingly popular with both local and international investors. Such real estate investment funds allow an investor to gain access to the potential of the property market in China without having to commit significant sums of money directly to the market. Furthermore, by investing in this way an investor's underlying money is far easier to access than if it were used to directly purchase real estate in China.

Whichever way an investor decides to approach investing in the real estate sector in China one thing is for certain - never has the Chinese property market been so popular with so many international real estate investors.

Using Twitter to Market Real Estate

For the people out there who are still lost in time or are simply too busy to catch up technology, twitter is a micro blogging website that allows people to send out "tweets" whenever there is an update. These updates are all 140 characters long and are normally sent out to inform some major change or as they say, twitter-worthy material out there. The concept of blogs is not new, but micro blogging has just caught up recently.

Twitter as a concept has taken off only recently. It has a staggering 1,347% growth in users in the last 12 months. The tool is very useful for marketing real estate. There are a number of advantages associated with sites like twitter that real estate agents ought to exploit.

First, consider your investment in Twitter. It is zero, if you look at it directly. The only costs involved are your internet access costs, your computer and maybe a digital camera if you want to put up some pictures. Once you have established yourself on twitter, people will follow you and every time you post an update, they too will get to know about it.

So, if you look at it in its pure form, you are already roping in potential clients and all you need to do is to keep them hooked and send them small interesting real estate updates. That covers three important tasks that you would otherwise have to pay and do. One, you don't need to spend on advertising; it is free. Two, you don't need to follow up on your clients, they have already chosen to sign up with up. Three, you don't need to manually spread across some piece of information if you want to. A simple tweet will get the message across to everyone simultaneously.

Twitter is therefore a great tool to market real estate. For the money you would normally shell out, you can do a lot more and even have the same people made aware of it. It is easy to get carried away and be sucked into the twitter world. But, remember to not do that and avoid "hard selling" to your clients. This would be if you are forcing down something you want them to know against their interest. You might soon be blocked out and lose your potential customers in the process. Always remember to draw a line and stay behind it.

The other challenge is to put in something newsworthy in 140 characters. You should use a headline approach and not reveal too much or too less. You may think that there is barely any newsworthy thing worth reporting on twitter but you will be shocked when you actually get down to it. Twittering does not really have to do with pure real estate. Since it is a fun and trendy medium, you can actually use it to reveal something interesting and then maybe get more people hooked. The entire idea is to maintain visibility because if people want more information, there is always your website or the good old telephone. Ultimately, it is your decision to use the right tools to get the job done.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Making Use of a Bad Real Estate Market to Build Fortunes

If you have received the proper training as a real estate investor, you realize there is no such thing as a "bad" real estate market. The real estate market fluctuates cyclically, driven mostly by the laws of supply and demand. As you probably learned in grammar school, supply and demand drive prices and opportunity based on availability and desire, and this is true in most areas of business. Therefore, in the real estate market, when there is a greater supply of real estate than there are buyers demanding it, you have a buyer's market. When the opposite is true and there are a number of buyers demanding property and few for sale, you have a seller's market.

Unfortunately for the typical self-proclaimed real estate investor, the media drives his or her decisions based on reports that are unfounded and full of sensationalism and hype meant to drive ratings. On the other hand, a real estate investor who has the proper training will ignore what is said on the news, following the trends and using his or her own wits to make important decisions. Of course, the fear that the media can strike into the hearts of the uneducated can easily lead to your profit as a skilled investor.

Take, for example, the occurrence of a buyer's market. What this means to the uninformed is that, because there are too many homes on the market, the value of their property is going to plummet due to a lack of interest. Therefore, in order to get out from under the property before they "lose money", they will be willing to sell the real estate for what you can offer. This means you can get into some great properties at low prices all because of media hype.

Had these individuals received proper training as a real estate investor, they would have realized it would have made more sense to sit on the property and wait for the real estate market to cycle again, creating a seller's market in which they could have demanded any price they liked for the property or get better trained from qualified sources on how to move properties in a slow market.

As a savvy real estate investor, you have several options. You can sit and wait for the next seller's market, demanding a high price and turning over a large profit on the property, or you can set up the property in a manner that allows you to turn it right back around, even in a buyer's market, and make a profit. While any real estate investor can come in and buy up properties during a buyer's market, it is still quite difficult for the average aspiring homeowner to purchase a home, especially since the majority of potential buyers don't have what it takes to qualify for a traditional mortgage loan. Therefore, you can offer lease purchases and seller financing options on the home, both of which actually draw a higher price for the property than straight financing.

Such an option offers a solution to someone who can't get the help they need elsewhere and allows you to draw income from the property. It's a win-win situation, one which was created because you made use of what the media felt should be dubbed a "bad" real estate market.

Marketing Real Estate Online That Will Get You Traffic

With the housing market being as competitive as it is these days you will want to use any marketing tool available in order to gain the advantage. I don't know of any agents who use the principles I'll be sharing with you for marketing Real Estate On-line that will get you traffic. Using these techniques will get your web site or listing on the first page of giving you the best On-line exposure possible. Right now you have enough computer knowledge to implement the process. The out of pocket expense is minimal and you can get this going in your spare time.

Marketing Real Estate On-line
What will get you traffic? We are going to use the same principles Internet Marketers use to build their businesses. First off, you have to have a web site or listing On-line to drive the traffic to. Most of you have your own web page already. Now the secret is using keywords people enter when searching for Real Estate. I'll use my town for the example here. A person Google's...Antioch Illinois Real Estate listings, and several thousand article listings come up. (See where it says results above the listings?) Now do the same keyword phrase in "quotes" and you will see about 2300 article listings for that phrase. Any number under 5000 means low competition for that phrase.

Using the same example you will write a informative article about Antioch Real Estate, writing 300 to 500 words making sure you use the keyword phrase...Antioch Illinois Real Estate listings 3 to 5 times through out the article. Now you must use the keywords in the title of the article as well. The title could look like this...Brown's Realty-Antioch Illinois Real Estate listings. This strategy is excellent for marketing Real Estate On-line that will get you traffic.

Google loves information, and with the low competition you will be sure to rank first page. Once you write the article you will point the reader using a link at the bottom of the page to either a web site or a Real Estate listing page that you want to sell. Simply look over the format of this article and it will give you a good idea on how it's done. There are several "free" article directories to submit the article to. The power of this method becomes clear when you repeat the process over and over again using different keyword phrases related to Real Estate. At first it will appear awkward as you work through it. But once you get it down it will take less than an hour to dominate marketing Real Estate On-line that will get you traffic.

My purpose here was to give you an overview on just one of the marketing methods. You will need to educate yourself on the details of this strategy. The information you learn will open your eyes to numerous opportunities regarding marketing real Estate On-line that will get you traffic. There is nothing more exciting that seeing your work on the 1st page of Google.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Real Estate Postcard Marketing - 3 Fundamental Flaws to Avoid

In my experience with real estate postcard marketing, and in dealing with agents who use real estate postcards, I would put most postcard problems under the following three categories:

1. Over-reliance on technology

2. Over-reliance on weak offers

3. Over-reliance on vendors

Some agents experience one of these postcard marketing flaws, while other are afflicted by all three at once. To avoid these flaws altogether -- and to create the kind of real estate postcards that generate a strong response -- we have to examine each flaw in turn:

Postcard Marketing Flaw #1- Over-Reliance on Technology

You first need to realize that technology alone won't lead you to real estate postcard marketing success. If it were that easy, most agents would enjoy record-breaking responses from their postcard mailings. Obviously that's not the case.

Believe it or not, technology is the most straightforward part of the real estate postcard equation. A postcard marketing service can handle all of the technology for you. But there's the rub. Technology can help you deliver a powerful message, but it cannot create that message in the first place. That's your job. Your real estate postcard message, and everything that brings it to life, must begin with you.

Here's a prediction for you. I predict your prospective customers will never use the following phrase: "Well, the message is a little unclear ... and I'm confused about what exactly I'm supposed to do ... and come to think of it, there's no mention of what's in it for me. But this postcard sure is unique, so let me pick up the phone and call right away!"

Postcard Marketing Flaw #2 - Over-Reliance on Weak Offers

Does this line sound familiar? "Call today for a free consultation." Or how about the wordier version: "Call today for a no-obligation consultation."

I'm betting it does sound familiar. Because while working in the postcard marketing industry, I saw those words on more real estate postcards than I could count. That's the first thing wrong with the free consultation -- it's overused, and it has been for years.

Here's what else is wrong with it. Your prospects expect a free consultation, and they know they're going to get one ... if not from you, then from some other agent.

There's one final problem with the free consultation. Much of the information you'll share during the consultation can be found on the Internet, if you know where to look. And believe me, your prospects know where to look!

Here's the bottom line. A real estate postcard cannot rely on the "no-obligation consultation" as its primary offer or incentive. It will not spur anyone to act.

You Must Be Different to Be Better

Many agents use the same formula when creating their real estate postcards. I call it "mediocrity in three parts." The first part is the agent's photo, the second part is the carbon-copy message, and the third part is the "call today for a no-obligation consultation."

If your real estate postcards follows this pattern, then your postcards match what 85% of your competitors are doing. What, then, sets you apart from the rest? How have you differentiated your services from those of your competitors? Why should your prospects choose you?

Or to state it differently...

Commonality + Overexposure = Invisibility

Your real estate postcards must set you apart from the masses and position you above them. That's the only way to climb the pyramid of postcard marketing success.

Postcard Marketing Flaw #3 - Over-Reliance on Vendors

Postcard marketing vendors can certainly make your life easier. I know, because I've worked for a couple of them. But you shouldn't let a vendor run your postcard marketing program completely. Such vendors are expert at handling the logistics of printing and mailing. But it's unlikely they are real estate marketing experts as well. Trust postcard companies with the logistics -- develop the strategy yourself.

Also keep in mind that postcard marketing is like any other industry in that you'll find a wide variety of vendors. Some of them will truly care about your success. Others just want you to mail a lot of postcards and spend a lot of money, regardless of your success.

I read a lot of postcard marketing articles written by postcard companies, and many of them seem to be saying the same thing:

"Send lots and lots of postcards, and don't question the fact that people aren't responding. Just keep doing it."

These vendors will get you all pumped up with the notion of persistence. They'll have you thinking, "Well, that last mailing didn't produce anything. But they're the experts, and they say I should keep repeating the process."

Translation: "Keep spending money with us, regardless of the fact that you're not generating anything in return. Keep mailing those real estate postcards. Be patient. Don't ask questions. Just keep mailing ... and spending."

In postcard marketing, repetition does help. But it's not a magic cure. The key is to repeat the mailings that work, not just the mailings in general. A failure repeated many times rarely becomes a success.

Focus on building a response-generating postcard before you do anything else. When a postcard generates leads, it can then be repeated (and improved upon). But don't repeat a real estate postcard strategy that fails just because a vendor tells you to. They stand to gain in such scenarios -- you do not.

No postcard marketing company will care about your success as much as you care about it. Seek their advice, sure, but always remember that they make money from the number of postcards printed and mailed, not the number of responses you get.

Good luck with your real estate marketing.

* Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett. You may republish this article online if you retain the author's byline and the active hyperlinks below.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Marketing Real Estate to Senior Citizen Sellers

Senior citizens selling homes are generally at a crossroads in life, and when you recognize and appreciate the feelings associated with that crossroads you'll go far in creating a loyal client.

In general, seniors have four reasons for selling their homes:

  • Retirement offers the opportunity for a new adventure.
  • They miss their kids and want to move to be near them.
  • They are no longer willing to care for a house and yard and are moving to a retirement community.
  • They are no longer able to live alone and are moving to a care facility.

In the first three instances, the move is probably a happy event. While they will experience some nostalgic moments if they've raised their children in that house, or even been there for 20 years, they're still in happy anticipation of the future.

You can empathize with them over needing to part with the symbols of happy memories, and you should. When you recognize and validate a person's inner conflicts, you make them feel better. And you should always strive to make your clients feel good.

The fourth reason isn't so happy, so the best you can do is listen. Sometimes people need to talk, so let them.

Meanwhile - selling a home for someone who hasn't sold a home in many years means you need to take your time. Sometimes agents come across as condescending - even to the point of acting as if the seniors were somehow deficient in intelligence. Don't do that.

Simply recognize that things have changed drastically - even over the past 20 years. Handshakes and verbal promises used to hold some weight. Most seniors wish they still did.

You should be explaining all the forms to every seller, but it is imperative that you do so with seniors. After all, they've been around long enough to be a little leery of signing anything if they don't know what it says and does. So ask if they're familiar with the forms, and if they say no, take the time to go over each of them.

Tell them why the disclosure forms are so important and impress the safety of accuracy. Warn them that you will need such things as permit documents and proof of septic pumping or furnace maintenance, so they can dig through old files and be ready when you need them. Give them a checklist of all the documents you'll need.

After that, give them fair warning about all the steps that take place after you bring them an acceptable offer. They might not realize that until all the inspections are done and contingencies removed, a deal is not a deal. Warn them that the buyer might come back and try to re-negotiate based on the results of a home inspection.

Once you have the listing signed, impress upon them the importance of getting out of the house when buyer prospects arrive. Depending upon their personality, it is sometimes far too easy for buyers or their agents to get them into conversations that reveal too much - and thus destroy their negotiating position.

Which brings up another point - if you're selling for someone who is moving to a care facility, don't tell the other agents. And do remind your seller not to tell them either. The reason for the move is not their business and will damage your seller in negotiations.

Trust is an issue with every seller, but especially so with seniors. So when you're meeting them for the first time to try to get their listing, don't push. Let them get acquainted with you and don't use the assumptive approach. Ask for the listing, show them why you'll market their home and give them better service than any other agent, but don't shove a listing agreement under their noses until they're ready.

And whatever you do, don't be condescending. Unless they give you permission, donot presume that it's OK to call a senior citizen by his or her first name. Say Mr. or Mrs. or Ms until you're told differently. And if you're talking to a very elderly person, resist the temptation to call them "Honey." There are a few who will like it - but most will be very anxious to show you to the door - permanently.

Lastly, never discount the value of their possessions. Don't suggest a yard sale unless they do. Remember that much of what they own may look like junk to you, but it holds memories for them. Be respectful.

As with selling to senior citizens, selling for senior citizens is not really that different - if you're doing your job well with all clients.

Remember to listen well, be respectful, and keep your client's best interests foremost in your mind.

The Luxury Market Can Be Different in Real Estate

"A Rose by any Other Name", is Not Just a Rose. And, a house is not just a house. The luxury home market is truly unlike any other real estate market. Real estate is not simply real estate when the buyers are looking for something other than a solid roof overhead and a piece of property to call their own.

For one thing, people who are investing in luxury homes now are, predominantly, not affected by the rising interest rates---something other home buyers will be considering. The country's luxury home buyers are not being impacted by interest rate increases, and many state they will continue buying luxury items for their homes. As a matter of fact the luxury market is doing very well, and there has only been a slight lowering of sales on the lower end luxury market.

People buying luxury homes are looking for something a cut above. They want the amenities in the home to reflect the leisurely lifestyle they are living. Some of the top features desired in luxury homes are: Security systems, gourmet or designer kitchens, and home theaters, which can seat six or more, and wine cellars.

The families moving into high-end luxury homes are looking for exclusivity, and want homes with private country clubs, golf courses, and tennis clubs. Since buyers in this market are traditionally families with incomes upwards of $500,000 per year, they are more likely to pay attention to lifestyles which afford them personal attention and provide recreational priorities. Many have traveled internationally and a large percentage of those will have traveled first class or by private jet.

Those buying in the luxury home market are also likely to be looking for, or already own, a second home. Second homes or vacations homes are a priority for folks in this market. Contact with a good real estate agent and network is important in this endeavor.

Million dollar home owners are often those younger baby boomers who work for large companies and earn around $500,000 per year. They care about health and recreation and many visit spas regularly, so that amenity is a high selling point.

It is apparently a booming market, and for the realtors who are engaged in this type of home sales, the field is still ripe. Rising interest rates and top dollar prices are not deterrents for luxury home buyers. They want the best and are willing to pay for it. No, "a rose by any other name", is not just a rose; and a house is not just any house when it comes to the luxury home market.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Direct Marketing Success For Real Estate Pros

For many real estate professionals, marketing includes any activity that supports the goal of selling more homes. But to make the most of your marketing dollar, reach your goals and achieve powerful direct marketing results, it's important to define our terms. Direct marketing:

- Requests a response. The requested response may be a phone call, a click-through to a website, subscribing to a newsletter or making a purchase.

- Is highly measurable. The response that makes direct marketing work also enables you to control spending and evaluate effectiveness. By asking for a specific action that you can measure, real estate direct marketers can evaluate and improve your campaign results.

- Transcends mediums. Direct marketing is more than direct mail. It has crossed from old to new media, and exists in both print and online channels. A postcard, yard sign, email, and pay-per-click may all be forms of direct marketing when they contain a call to action. Direct advertising includes print, interactive and broadcast channels.

- Is targeted. As marketing technology advances, so do opportunities to segment, test and target marketing campaigns. One of the main advantages for real estate professionals who work at direct marketing is the opportunity to identify and reach profitable target audiences and niche markets in their communities.

Why is targeted direct marketing so important? As a real estate professional, prospecting and lead generation are the lifeblood of your business. Direct marketing provides a way to make personal connections with people who want and need your services.

Also, a strategic approach puts you miles ahead of real estate pros still using the "spray and pray" approach to send identical communications to generic mailing lists. It's no exaggeration to say that real estate professionals waste millions of advertising dollars each year with ineffective marketing campaigns, sending the wrong offers to the wrong people.

The good news is that wasting marketing campaigns can easily be avoided with a little planning. Act now. With a little research, strategic planning and tracking, you can create an effective - and cost-effective - pipeline to build your real estate business for years to come.

Article excerpt from the eNeighborhoods eBook, Direct Marketing Success for Real Estate.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Real Estate Marketing Online - The 5 Laws of Lead Generation

Here's an Internet marketing observation that may shock you. The average real estate website has more than enough traffic to support the real estate agent's business goals -- but he or she is simply not capitalizing on it.

I've worked with many real estate clients who swore they did not have enough website traffic, based on the fact that they were getting very few leads from their website. After analyzing their website logs or analytics program, I would discover that they had steady streams of web traffic, day after day.

In other words, these folks wrongfully assumed that web traffic equals web leads. This is not the case at all. Traffic equals traffic. You don't generate leads until you put an effective lead generation plan in place. See the mathematical equations below.

  • False: Web traffic = web leads
  • True: Web traffic + lead generation = web leads

I would say website lead generation is the most important aspect of real estate marketing online. After all, you could own three different websites, blog twice a day, and get 2,000 visitors per week. But without a lead generation plan, all that activity and traffic will do you little good.

To illustrate this point further, I've created a few "laws" of online marketing, based on my own experiences over the years. Apply these laws to your online marketing efforts, and you're bound to generate more leads and more business for your efforts.

Online Marketing Law #1 - Traffic is only an opportunity.

My first law of real estate marketing online states that website traffic is only that ... traffic. Until something is imposed upon it, traffic will remain traffic. In order for traffic to be of value, it must be converted into something else. Hence the term, "website conversions."

Let's imagine you have a lemonade stand beside a busy highway. But your stand is located on a narrow shoulder of the road where there's not enough room for cars to pull over. All day long, cars whiz by you at 45 miles per hour, but nobody stops. You have an endless supply of traffic, but your lemonade stand is a failure because nobody stops. The traffic is right there in front of you, but it might as well be a million miles away.

Opportunity only favors those who capitalize on it.

Now let's get back to real estate marketing online. If your website has plenty of traffic but no form of lead generation, then most of your traffic will pass right by ... like those cars passing the lemonade stand.

So before you fall into the typical trap of obsessing over your website traffic levels, ask yourself this: "What am I doing to capitalize on the traffic I already have? How am I actively converting traffic into leads, and leads into clients?"

Online Marketing Law #2 - Value and response are directly proportional.

In the previous "law," we talked about the importance of a lead generation program. But equally important is the value behind that lead generation program. Your website visitors will remain anonymous until you present something useful and valuable in exchange for their action.

Keep in mind that "value" does not have to mean costly. Property listing updates can be very valuable to home shoppers, and many will sign up to get them. But they don't necessarily cost you anything to produce. In this case, value is conveyed through timely information that's beneficial to the audience (home buyers).

That's just one of many ways to add value to your offer. Whatever path you choose, remember this ... response goes up in proportion to the value of your offer. On the contrary, response goes down with a weaker offer.

Online Marketing Law #3 - Attrition is your perpetual enemy.

In your online real estate marketing program, attrition follows you every step of the way. Attrition refers to people who "drop off" along your marketing process, somewhere between first contact and client acquisition.

Usually, there are several attrition points in any real estate marketing process. The good news is, each point of attrition can be improved - that is, you can minimize the number of losses at each step of the marketing path.

Here are some examples of online attrition points, and what you can do to reduce them.

  • Attrition Point #1 - A lot of highly-qualified prospective clients may never even find your website or blog. But you can counter this by focusing on online PR and search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Attrition Point #2 - Of those people who do find your website, many will leave if they don't find anything of value. But you can counter this by constantly adding useful content and resources to your website.
  • Attrition Point #3 - Of those people who (A) find your website and (B) find it useful, some will leave without making contact with you in any way. But you can counter this by using lead-generation techniques on all key pages of your website.

From this brief sample, you can see how attrition shadows all aspects of your online real estate marketing program. On the positive side, you can also see that for every point of attrition, there are things you can do to increase the number of people who continue along in the process.

Online Marketing Law #4 - Successful techniques are not successful for everyone.

A real estate marketing tactic that works wonderfully for somebody else may not work for you. On the other hand, it may work even better for you than it did for the other person.

With any real estate marketing strategy, you have a lot of variables that affect your results. These include the makeup of your audience, the timing, and the way you execute the strategy. You never know what will or won't work for you until you try it. So don't let anyone tell you, "That didn't work for me, so don't waste your time."

There is experimentation, and then there's speculation. Only the former will reveal the truth.

Online Marketing Law #5 - Technology does not change psychology.

Technically speaking, the Internet is a dynamic, ever-changing environment. But while the way we communicate online may change, the communication itself stays the same.

Regardless of how you talk to people, they are still people -- and they are still motivated by the same things as before. You just have more ways to communicate with them than before. Sure, you have to adjust your message delivery to account for new technologies, but the message itself does not have to change.

Whether you communicate with people through email, a blog, a podcast or an old-fashioned sales letter, the following marketing fundamentals still apply:

  • People want what's best for them ... online and off
  • People will respond to well-presented offer of value ... online and off
  • People will ignore a weak message with no value ... online and off

Technology changes the way marketers communicate with consumers. But it does not change the fundamental psychology that leads consumers to take action.


Remember, website traffic is only website traffic until you act upon it. To get those website visitors to act in some way, you need to create a lead-generation program based on value and incentives. If you'd like some help getting started, refer to the website listed below. Good luck with your online real estate marketing!

* You may republish this article online if you retain the author's byline and the active hyperlinks below.

Friday, November 8, 2013

With the Current Stock and Credit Market Crises, Investment in Real Estate Will Make Even More Sense

With the current financial crisis pervading stock markets in the global economy, real estate once again should be looked at as a serious, long-term investment strategy that can help investors further diversify their investment portfolios in the future. The reality is that the current stock market malaise that has decimated so many long-standing financial institutions and subsequently stock investments and 401Ks is not the only major stock market troubles we have seen in recent times. Arguably, there have been as many as three "bubbles."

The dot-com bubble and decline of the stock market helped push investors into other markets where money was cheap and regulations loose. Because of lax oversight and inaction, the housing bubble was allowed to form. The oil market represents a bubble to many as the cost of a barrel of Brent crude went from $100 per barrel in February 2008, to a high of $145 per barrel by July 2008. Brent crude is now trading under $60 per barrel.

Going forward, there are two very real concerns for investors. First, many may be looking at the performance of stock investments over the past eight years and calculating what their true return from those investments has been. Second, many will be asking if their investments can sustain another severe market imbalance in the future. In effect, they are wondering as to where the 'Fourth Bubble" will come from.

All of this gives credence again to having an even broader diversification of investment portfolios. As a result, real estate should once again be seriously looked at as part of an investor's diversification strategy for several reasons.

  • First, property valuations have fallen considerably from market highs. Prices in some markets have dipped to 2004 levels. In some instances, prices have dipped to 2003 levels.
  • Second, real estate has intrinsic value. Unlike stocks and financial-related investments that can see depreciation in their worth down to zero, real estate has inherent value down to the land and will not experience a wholesale collapse in its value to zero.
  • Third, real estate is real. It can be seen and touched, and managed closely by the owner.
  • Fourth, real estate has certain tax benefits that can contribute to the overall performance of the property as an investment.
  • Fifth, a successful rental property as an investment presents an opportunity to create a revenue stream and/or create equity in the home as the renter indirectly is contributing to payment of the principal over time. Regardless of the market and whether appreciation or positive-cash flow rental income is preferred by the investor, the principal is being paid down on the property.
  • Lastly, based on proposals floated by President-elect Obama, we should expect additional legislation that puts guidelines, regulations and accountability in this industry that ensures proper lending practices and reduces the risk for rampant speculation that has battered the markets in recent times.

Of course, there are certainly risks to holding real estate as an investment in your portfolio. For instance, there may be unexpected property repairs, assessments, or other extraordinary costs that the investor has to incur. So, an investor has to look at real estate also as a business with income and regular and extraordinary expenses.

For those investors that are looking for a simpler way to be diversify without the additional headache, a REIT may be a logical avenue to investigate. A Real Estate Investment Trust is a company that invests in income-generating properties to drive returns for its investors. The income-generating properties may be apartment buildings, industrial and commercial properties. REITs allow smaller investors the ability to invest in larger real estate operations that they wouldn't be able to otherwise. REITs also should be able to show their overall historical performance to investors.

Again, investors are faced with the question of how to protect and grow their assets in the future. The stock market's high level of volatility in recent years has many investors questioning the percentage concentration of their portfolios in stocks and similar investments. As a result, the pressure to further diversify those portfolios will mean that other asset categories will have increasingly greater appeal and should be considered for investment.

Overall, real estate presents a great opportunity once again for the long-term investor as outlined above. In addition, the incoming administration has put forth numerous proposals to improve transparency, implement sound business and ethical practices to the industry with the singular purpose to eliminate the probability of a similar crisis ever occurring in the future. All of this will work to give investors options once again for a safer, more consistent and calculable return in the coming years.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Your Real Estate Marketing Niche

Starting in real estate often means being the "jack of all trades" in the area. Your expertise becomes anything related to real estate, whether it be listing homes, selling homes, or maybe even doing a home loan. Your real estate career gets even more clouded as you get involved with the different types of real estate from condos, homes, land, multi-units or maybe even stretching to commercial. Performing this many real estate tasks is a juggling act that very few agents ever survive.

In order to close business every month, have a life, and experience the big rewards it becomes necessary to specialize in a in a niche of real estate. Before we can examine the benefits of specialization let's examine the fears that many people have about selecting a niche:

  • I will lose business by specializing
  • There aren't enough transactions for me to specialize
  • I don't know enough about anything in real estate to specialize

These are all common fears to experience before selecting a niche to specialize in and dominate. As you are considering your niche, I invite you to consider the following question:

If you had a possibly fatal heart condition and you were looking for a Doctor to help you, which Doctor would you select?

A) The Doctor who is a Podiatrist, Pediatrician, and a Cardiologist


B) The best Cardiologist in your state

For most they would select "B" because that Doctor would have handled more conditions than the "A" Doctor. She would have the experience, have run into more problems, have solved more cases and would have to be the absolute best in order to make a living in just one area of medicine.

So, by selecting a niche are you turning away business or are you inviting more of your niche than you ever could imagine?

Selecting your real estate marketing niche will bring you a flood of business for that niche. In order to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area, it doesn't take shouting from the treetops that you are the "expert". Here are some methods that you can do to demonstrate your expertise in a niche and start bringing in more of the business:

  • Write articles - Write articles about the type of real estate product that you have a passion for. For example if your passion is condos write articles about home owners associations, selecting a community, and even choosing the right floor plan.
  • Contribute on forums - There are often community forums where local residents bring up questions about communities or their local city. Participate in these forums (without directly asking for business) and answer questions.
  • Attend community events- This can range from attending a local board meeting of home owners to having a small booth at a farmers market. Wherever you attend make sure it is complimentary to your niche.

There are many different ways to share your expertise in order to bring in more business. The first big step is just committing yourself to real estate marketing in the niche where you have the most passion. To your success.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Real Estate Marketing: Power Up Your Prospecting For 2007 Success

With every deal, agents have the opportunity to gain transaction knowledge and improve skills in negotiating, legal and regulatory matters. On the other hand, many agents focusing on transactions find it challenging to fit marketing activities into their day-to-day routines.

Though the past few years have been characterized by quick sales, rapid price appreciation and record commissions, this prosperous period has had an unexpected downside - many residential real estate pros enjoying their success neglected the marketing basics that are crucial for long-term success. Today, many agents are reevaluating business plans to meet the challenges of slowing markets, increased competition, and emerging technologies. Here are some questions agents might ask to see if their marketing efforts are on target in 2007:

o Research the National Association of Realtors calls a "troubling disconnect" shows that nearly 80 percent of buyers begin their home search on the Internet, but less than 10 percent of real estate marketing dollars are spent online. Most agents are willing to increase Internet marketing activities, but are not sure which online channels and activities will produce the best results.

o Do your marketing materials pack that visual impact? Many agents simply print, copy and paste material from the MLS and other sources that were never intended for consumers. A high percentage of property listings still appear without photos. Today, consumers have higher expectations and want maps, images, and current data wrapped up in a professional presentation. Younger consumers who grew up on video games and 3D graphics strongly respond to color and visual impact. Agents who understand this can use high-impact materials to stand out from the crowd.

o There are many online sources for consumers to obtain information on individual properties. But what about neighborhood and community information? By a wide margin, buyers rank neighborhood quality as the most important factor when deciding where to purchase a home. By providing neighborhood expertise in addition to individual property knowledge, agents can gain a competitive advantage.

o Ready for the end of one-size-fits all marketing? One of the most successful tactics for online marketers is segmentation - developing multiple marketing messages to target specific customer profiles. Today, the U.S. population - and probably your own neighborhood - reflects more generational and racial diversity than ever. That means you need to know your audience and personalize more than ever. It's a challenge because what works for empty nesters probably won't resonate with generation Y buyers coming into the market. It's an opportunity because real estate niche markets can be very profitable, even when broader market conditions are trending downward.

Focus on marketing and prospecting

Real estate marketing and lead management have changed dramatically in the past few years. As Web technology advances, people are able to perform more tasks related to buying, selling and home ownership online. Naturally, more real estate marketing activity has moved online to capture these consumers.

Unless you're fortunate enough to work in an office with a proven lead generation/management system, you'll need to develop these skills to build your real estate practice. Putting aside the larger debate about lead aggregators and which types of leads are good or bad for the industry, the source of leads is an important consideration.

Before the Internet, real estate leads came from referrals, cold calling and open houses. They were usually self-generated and each received a personal follow-up. Contacts generated from databases or Internet may or may not be self-generated, and it's often not practical to follow up on them on a case-by case basis.

They could originate from your agent website, or be purchased from any number of third-party lead sources. Their quality may vary depending on how the lead was captured and other factors. When leads are not generated through your own marketing activities, you must take steps to make them your own:

o Have a system in place to manage your lead pipeline - often shown as a funnel - to ensure you're taking advantage of every lead that comes your way.

o Measure the cost and quality of leads from various sources to determine which types of leads work best for you.

o Handle leads quickly and efficiently so that lead generation and conversion becomes part of your day-to-day agent routine.

Real Estate Marketing Tools: Effective Use of Social Media

In the real estate boom of the '90s, realtors could stick a sign in the ground and wait for prospective calls to pour in. Now, alas, home sales are much harder to earn. One real estate marketing tool many successful agents use is social media. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are now considered key components in all marketing - and realty is no exception. Below, we explore how realtors use these tools to vend properties. We also provide a competitive advantage by highlighting the most powerful ways to use social media as a real estate marketing tool. First, however, let's think about why these tools should be such an effectual way of marketing real estate.

It Offers both Expansive and Targeted Reach

The challenge of marketing real estate these days is getting your message in front of as many people as possible while especially focusing on those who are genuinely interested in your properties. Social media is a potent marketing tool because it is both far-reaching (you can place a public message on your profile) and targeted (you can send a message to just those people who might be interested).

Tricks for using Social Media to Market Properties

Step one in using social media as a real estate marketing tool is to set up a company profile at each networking site. Once your profiles are in order, start participating! It is not like traditional "spray and pray" advertising. It is a two-way conversation. Don't just post your listings - interact with your followers and friends, as well. Your role is to ask questions, leave comments and provide useful information as an expert in your field. Some of the most prosperous real estate organizations in the world succeed online by passing on tips that property owners and buyers will find invaluable. As an example, let's say one of your clients posts a question to your Facebook page about closing costs. Take advantage of this opportunity to show your deep knowledge by posting a quick, info-packed video response. This kind of user-centric approach to marketing real estate on these sites will earn you fans and sales.

Consider Corcoran Group In New York. They are enjoying booming web traffic and overall business thanks to a robust social media presence. All levels of employees, including CEO Pam Liebman, consistently provide helpful content through social media sites. Liebman herself regularly posts video responses to users' housing questions. Once a real estate social media page has been established, you can generate new business directly through your Twitter and Facebook pages, as Corcoran proves.

Syndicating Customized Listings on Facebook and Twitter

Some realtors' social media posts are more engaging than others. A drab, static listing will get far less attention than an interactive, entertaining one. For example, some online services empower real estate agents to create customized home tour videos and eCards. Utilizing such a service ensures that property listing information will be consistent across the web. Moreover, tour videos and eListings are easy to plaster all over the Internet, from Twitter to Craigslist to Facebook. A property tour video features a slideshow of pictures, particulars on each room, charming animation and music. Such packed, engaging content is much more likely to be shared by your followers, extending your social media reach even farther.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Real Estate Marketing

Learning about real estate marketing is probably one of the most important activities an agent can do with his or her time. Although some would argue prospecting is more important, I would challenge that. Because you can spend a lot of time prospecting the WRONG way. Real estate marketing know how will enable you to become very efficient in your prospecting. To be successful, you must pick a niche market and speak to that niche's needs, wants and desires.

Smart real estate marketing starts with education. You must learn the pros and cons of each type of marketing. You have online real estate marketing and then you have off line real estate marketing. Both should play an important role in your over all real estate marketing plan.

Off line real estate marketing uses advertising mediums like classified ads, homes magazines, signs, etc. Online real estate marketing focuses on generating business via the internet.

Depending on the community in which you are looking to market your services, one can be better then the other. For example, if you live in a smaller community that is very rural, your real estate marketing plan should focus on off line marketing mediums because there probably won't be enough internet traffic (people performing searches online for your communities main keyword) to justify an internet marketing campaign. However, if you live in a popular city where there are a lot of internet searches for homes in that area, the internet is definitely the way to go. Generating leads off the internet is the MOST efficient way to market. Everything is trackable and you can control costs - you know how effective your campaigns are and you can keep track of your real estate marketing metrics.

If you do live in a smaller community, one smart thing you can do is take off line traffic and drive it online. For example, advertise your lead capture website on your signs and print ads. Say something like, "Get the most up to date MLS listings for free at []". This works very well as it will allow you to offer information to prospects in a baby step.They will go online before they will pick up the phone and call.

To find out the amount of searches that are being done for your community, go to WordTracker has stats on how many times a certain search phrase was entered for any given keyword. If it looks like your area is getting a lot of searches, set up a lead capture web site, drive traffic to it via pay per click, and make that your main real estate marketing campaign.

We live in a community where we use both off line and online real estate marketing. To see how we incorporate the two and generate a steady flow of leads to our Inbox, check out our free real estate marketing guide, the "Smart Agent's Lead Generation Confidential".

The bottom line is do your due diligence and learn all you can about real estate marketing especially internet real estate marketing. It is the smartest thing you can spend your time on. Without the proper education, you can get real busy yet generate no business.