By Charlie Allred
We have all heard the statistic that 90 percent of all home searches start online. So how do we capture this online business?
My answer to this question is always: “You need a blog; your website should be a blog.” I use the words website and blog interchangeably because a website without a blog is a static site, there is no new content added to it and it’s basically a yellow pages ad. For your website to be found by your potential client, you need to be adding new articles (blog posts) regularly.
I know this sounds daunting, you sell real estate and now you have to also write articles about selling real estate.
The goal of this post is to make your blog/website easier to manage. I know that maintaining a blog can feel very overwhelming and it’s often the last priority on your to-do list. But just think, when you need to find a location, a store, or a service provider, where is the first place you go to search? I’m sure your answer is the Internet. Real estate agents’ marketing is moving more and more to an online platform because that’s where the potential clients are searching.
In last month’s article, I emphasized the importance of keywords for your Pinterest boards. Let’s take a step back: The purpose of Pinterest is to drive traffic to your real estate website. I define “regular Pinterest users” as those who are browsing Pinterest for fun. These regular users are your potential clients and are potential traffic for your blog/website. If you are a “power Pinterest user,” you always have purpose in your pinning and your main goal is to drive traffic to your real estate website.
In a previous post, I mentioned the four categories of Pinterest boards you should include in your top 12 boards. These categories are:
- Your interests: cooking, exercise, kids, etc.
- Real estate: this is all about helping buyers and sellers.
- Home related: home organization, storage, home decor or anything home related.
- Community: this is everything local. You can, of course, niche it down to “Scottsdale parks,” “Scottsdale festivals,” “Scottsdale kids,” – anything related to community events that bring value to your potential clients.
Once, you’ve done your keyword research for your Pinterest boards, you will have a ton of keywords that can all be used on your blog too. Keep a list of these keywords at your desk to refer to when you’re writing your blog posts.
It’s best to choose four or five topics that you will cover each month on your blog. If you write one article a week, you will cover each topic once a month.
Make sure your real estate blog topics are very similar to your Pinterest boards. If you are regularly pinning to your top 12 boards, you will notice some pins are more popular than others, these popular pins should become blog topics for your blog. Here are some examples:
- Local real estate: I write a Phoenix and Scottsdale market report each month.
- Community/Local happenings: An agent that I coach in Pinterest marketing writes about upcoming neighborhood restaurants in her area.
- Your interests: Utilize your pins that perform well as the topic.
- Home Related: Another area where you can utilize pins that are heavily shared.
If you use a pin topic that is popular to create a blog post, the best part is you can send traffic from Pinterest to your blog post. This creates instant traffic to your website and that particular blog article.
The next step is keeping the potential client on your website.
For example, if a potential client came to my website from a “Scottsdale restaurants” pin and it went to my blog post on the “5 Best Restaurants in Old Town Scottsdale,” I could then direct the visitor with a link to my post, “Districts of Old Town Scottsdale,” or “Top 7 Restaurant Patios in Scottsdale.” These other articles will likely be of interest to this potential client. Since you are writing on the same four or five topics each month, you can link to previous articles on the same topic within your blog.
For a quick starter guide to keywords, you can head to Pinnable Real Estate and download a free list of my favorite keywords in three topic areas (all home related categories): home staging, home organization, and home decor. These top six to eight keywords in each topic will give you a good starting point for using keywords on Pinterest.
If you want to learn more about Pinterest for your real estate business, head to Pinnable Real Estate to register for the Newbie Pinterest Online Course or the Advanced Pinterest Online Course (both are free).
Next month, I plan go more in depth on the topic of blogging. I’d love to hear your struggles and successes in blogging as well.
Charlie Allred is a Phoenix-based designated broker for Secure Real Estate and author of the book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” She is a Pinterest expert coaching agents on how to gain more leads, followers, and clients by using Pinterest. Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.
By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
After making a desperate $50,000 price reduction on her parent’s well-maintained home a “Today Show” viewer asked real estate expert, Barbara Corcoran, if she should remove the dated furnishings. Corcoran’s advice: Never list a home without furniture. Stage it!
Vacant homes aren’t memorable and won’t stand out to buyers particularly in online listings where the majority of buyers begin their home search.
These three different vacant properties, pictured below, are a great example of how unfurnished homes can often look the same in the listing photos and get lost in a buyer’s search. Without furnishings, buyers can’t distinguish one home from another. None of the homes stand out or make it onto their “must see” list.
Regardless of price point, staging vacant homes is important to initially capture buyer interest and take them from the online listing to the front door. Once there, a well-staged home will help buyers emotionally connect to the property, ultimately taking their interest to the next level with an offer.
Our team staged this 1930, $2 million plus historic mansion. Our goal was to showcase the incredible architectural detail of the home — from the crown molding, wainscoting, windows and hardwood floors, to the fireplaces, and more.
“This grand home has a beautiful interior with stunning details,” says Joanne and John Hoye of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in West Hartford, Conn., the listing agents for the Hartford home. “However, most of the time buyers don’t have the vision to see what a room can look like. Larger vacant homes in particular can discourage buyers, who may think they don’t have enough pieces to furnish the home. A professional stager knows how to appropriately furnish a home, selecting the right sized pieces, colors and fabrics. Buyers see an inviting home, rather than a large vacant space, and get ideas on how they can arrange their furniture in the home. Ultimately it [staging] makes the home more saleable.”
Still need convincing or help convincing your sellers? Keep these insights in mind.
· It will sell faster. A vacant property can take up to 78 percent more time to sell than comparable furnished homes, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.
· Buyers will see it as their home. Only a few buyers can visualize a vacant room decorated and furnished. The majority of buyers, on the other hand, cannot envision how they will live in the home or use a room.
· They’ll stay longer. During a showing of a vacant home, I’ve found that buyers unable to connect with the space will only stay on average 5 minutes, compared to an average 40 minutes in a furnished home.
· Their furniture will fit. Empty rooms look smaller to buyers, who more often than not will think their favorite sectional or king-sized bed is too big. In larger homes, buyers will question if they have enough furniture. Either way they’ll be calculating the additional cost of new furniture rather than focusing on the home.
· Details stand out. Architectural details and key features can stand out when a home is professionally styled and staged whereas empty rooms put a spotlight on flaws or needed repairs.
See more examples of vacant home staging at www.PJStagingDecorating.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit pjstagingdecorating.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Show sellers how to get their home back in showing shape after the Halloween fun ends: Brand, print, and hand deliver a free article: “Egging, Toilet Papering: How to Clean Up After Halloween Pranks” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Halloween Home Horrors” article package you can email or share on any of your social media accounts today.
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
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By Brandon Doyle
Whether you’re new to the business or in a growth stage, at some point in your career you’ll need to pick a brokerage to associate with (or start your own). There is no “one size fits all” answer, and there are many factors that go into this major decision. It is important to understand what stage of your career you’re in, how much training, mentorship, and supervision you need. Many of the larger brokerages will have training courses available to you, either paid or unpaid. If you’re in need of more hands-on training, a company that promotes teams and mentorships may be the best route.
Brand awareness is important in the marketplace when you’re going after business outside your own sphere of influence; it lends credibility. You should choose a brand that does business in the style and niche you’re focusing on. Research the area you’ll be selling in, and see who has the most listings and sales. If relocation and out state referrals are important to you, a brand with national presence may be a better fit over a smaller shop. Ideally, your brokerage will have offices in the areas you intend on working, even if you plan to work from home.
Visit multiple brokerages to get a feel for the culture; talk to the brokers and agents. Sit in on a meeting or training if possible, that way you can put together a pros and cons list. Fee structure is important and varies by experience and annual sales volume. Oftentimes, newer agents will only get 50 percent of the commission earned, whereas experienced agents will get 90 percent or more. There are additional fees that your broker will pass along to you, and it is important to find this out before making your decision.
At the end of the day, there are great agents who will do a lot of business at any size or brand of brokerage. No one brokerage is better than the other, you just need to find the one that works for you. And don’t discount your competition, because you’ll never know who has the buyer for your next listing!
Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
Stealing a note from nature, spring green and yellow-green colors are moving into more home interiors. It’s nature’s neutral color, Houzz contributor Becky Dietrich writes in a recent article at Forbes.com, “The Unexpected Color That Goes With Everything.”
And the bright green hue is perfect for staging because it pretty much goes with any other color, from oranges and yellows to grays and creams to even adding an added punch to that all-white bedroom. It also can spice up any style of home, from traditional to contemporary, by giving a room “depth and vitality” while also introducing “oomph and whimsy,” writes Dietrich.
You needn’t do an entire room in the bright color green either. It can serve as a great color pop — like just a glass bowl filled with bright green apples on the kitchen island or table. Or, try it in small doses like the throw pillows or a blanket draped along a sofa; green-colored lamps for added drama to your tables; or even in the artwork. Some are finding it as the perfect color for an accent wall to steal eyes on, say, that arched doorway.
“Anytime a room feels dreary or lifeless, consider adding green,” writes Dietrich.
See how these designers have added the color to enhance the design of their spaces.