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So What’s the Walk Score?

November 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

So What’s the “Walk Score?” is a useful tool which allows you to determine the “walkability” of any address. By entering in an address, you can instantly find out how well a particular property scores in terms of shopping, dining, schools, basic needs, and more.

From the website: “Walk Score’s mission is to promote walkable neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods are one of the simplest and best solutions for the environment, our health, and our economy.”

Use of your listing’s Walkscore can enhance the value of the property. Walkscore offers the following points for discussing Walkscores with your clients. A home’s Walk Score is important because:

  • Walkability and public transit are associated with higher home values
  • Transportation costs are the 2nd largest household expense
  • Commute time and places to walk are two of the most important criteria for home shoppers
  • A home’s location (location efficiency) is often more important than the building’s energy efficiency

For extensive information on how real estate agents can leverage Walkscore, check out this guide provided by the company. It just might provide you with an additional marketing edge in your community:

Learn More About Walk Score

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One Key Metric for Local Real Estate Market Health

August 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

How do you know if your market’s really recovering?

Home inventory icon Regardless of what your buyers and sellers hear in the national media, we all know that real estate markets are localized economic systems with complex factors influencing pricing, inventory, and trends.

So how do you know if your market has hit bottom, is still sliding down, or is showing signs of recovery? What key indicator should most influence your opinion?

According to the talented real estate mind of Bernice Ross, there’s one simple, precise indicator: How many months of inventory are on the market. Here’s Ross’ opinion on market health:

More than 8 months inventory = “rocky buyer’s market”
Between 7 – 8 months inventory = “bottom may be behind you”
Less than 6 months inventory = “good news, early signs of recovery”

To determine “months of inventory” use this equation:

Months of inventory = (total # of active listings)/(average # of monthly sales over the prior 12 months)

Do you use this metric? What other metrics do you use to judge the health of your market?

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Expireds and FSBOs

April 30, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Approaching Expireds & FSBOs: How to Show Them You’re Listening
Are you working the expired niche?

Many agents have turned to expired listings and FSBO (For Sale By Owner) homes as a lucrative niche market. Like most niche markets, this one comes with its own unique strategies for success. Here are some tips to help you, if you’re going to give it a go:

1.  Prior to your first personal contact, begin a “drip campaign” to position yourself as someone with an active interest in helping them solve their sales challenge. This may begin with a postcard, continue with a newsletter, and lead into a personal letter.

2.  When you contact the prospect personally, don’t attempt to overwhelm them with why your sales approach is better. Ask one simple question: “Why do you think your house hasn’t sold yet?”

3.  Be prepared to listen. You’re probably going to hear a lot of anger, frustration, and fear. Maintain sympathy and maintain a reserved attitude. Express genuine interest in seeing if you can help them solve the problem. See if you can arrange a meeting at the property–no obligations.

4.  If you have worked expireds or FSBOs in the past introduce your past experiences in the context of the prospects’ challenges, and how you solved those challenges. For example, never say, “I’ve sold homes with the same lawn problems you have,” but rather, “I have been in situations where my clients have gotten a lot of people off the street and into the open houses once we added some inexpensive upgrades to the entryway.”

5.  One of the benefits of working expireds and FSBOs is that they’ve acquired some market knowledge through hard knocks. Fantasies of quick, high-value sales have vanished for them. Many are ready to do a little work, provided their agent seems actively interested in helping “solve the puzzle of the sale.” That said, don’t devalue the tough time they’ve had. Whatever you do, never make the prospect feel like they’re a picked over carcass, and that you’re “willing to take a crack at it.”

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How to Make Listing Videos Using Only Photos

March 9, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

How to Make Listing Videos Using Only Photos
The Low-cost, high-value way to showcase your listings

As video continues to develop as a dominant force in the future of online marketing and communication, many agents face the difficult question of how to use video when they do not have the time, money, or technical expertise to produce full-featured videos for their listings.

Since we’re always on the lookout for good examples of how to use practical tips and tools to overcome obstacles and build your real estate business, we couldn’t resist sharing this great example of how to create videos without using actual video footage, as demonstrated by Mike Walker of Ohio.

At first glance, Mike’s approach seems very straightforward: He takes photos of his listings and creates slide shows which can then be exported to video for and other video sharing sites. The devil, however, is really in the details with Mike’s videos.

He employs five small, but effective techniques to make his videos more entertaining and more effective at communicating essential information:

1. Mike uses a special effect / transition in the video to draw the eye into or across the photo– typically called the “Ken Burns” effect, this motion keeps the photos from sitting idle in the video

2. Mike incorporates some music to the photos; you could also record audio of yourself talking about attributes of the property (or do both)

3. In YouTube, Mike wisely titles every video with the property address as well as a contact phone number. This way, his contact information TRAVELS with the video, wherever it may be embedded or shared!

4. Inside of each video, Mike makes sure to include the address of his website– this way, individual videos become magnets for traffic back to his site, even if the video is embedded in other pages

5. You’ll notice that Mike uses the same videos for his “Available” and “Just Sold” properties. When a property he’s sold is no longer on the market, he can easily change the text above the video to “Just Sold” to showcase past listings he’s successfully brought to market

If you think video is out of range for you, think again. This is an excellent, low-cost, low-overhead model for increasing prospect engagement on your own website.

Check out more examples here:

Thanks again, Mike, for agreeing to share your technique with our subscribers!

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Adding Pleasant Smells When Showing a Home

February 24, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Q&A: Odors & Home Staging?
What’s the current thought on odors in staged homes?

Q: Is it still a good idea to add pleasant odors (cookies baking, cinnamon, fresh flowers) to a staged home for showings?

A: Not necessarily. Odors do matter, but assuming you know what “a nice smell” is to you buyers could be trouble.

If anything, the house should smell freshly cleaned, but not “chemical.” Your best bet is to focus on eliminating foul or dominant odors. If the house smells stuffy or “closed up” (you know, that “back of the closet with coats from 1974 smell”), concentrate on circulating fresh air first and foremost. Replacing air filters in forced heat/air systems is a good place to start.

The trouble with adding odors such as baking cookies or fresh coffee is one of preference. How do you know what sort of associations buyers will have with the smells you think are attractive? Floral scents may even set off allergies.

Not to mention, you may be adding a “good smell” in an effort to cover up a bad smell. We all know how well that works out.

Finally, many buyers are aware of the “sweet smell” tactic associated with open houses. While your intentions may be good, some savvy prospects may be thinking, “I wonder what that smell is supposed to distract us from?”

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Using “Google Voice” for Real Estate Marketing

February 11, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Q & A: Google Voice?
How to sensibly integrate Google Voice into a real estate marketing program

Google Voice Q: Recently I received an invitation to use Google Voice. Should I start using it as my main number?

A: You should probably not use Google Voice as your main contact number, but there are a few very useful ways to integrate Google Voice into your real estate marketing plan.

Google Voice is a fairly new, free application from Google which allows you to receive all of your calls through a single number. Basically, Google lets you pick a new number, and when people call that number, it rings through to all of your other phone numbers. Additionally, it provides features such as listening in on voice mails (which you can then interrupt and take the call live), record phone calls, switch phones mid-call, and voicemail-to-text translation (meaning the voice mails are converted to email messages you can read). You can manage your Google Voice account from the same easy-to-use interface that Gmail uses.

The challenge, of course, is the same for any phone number change: You have to get the new number out to clients, associates, on your website, your business card, etc. Who wants that hassle? Plus, the service is relatively new, so there may be bugs from time to time.

So how do you use it for real estate?

One great way to use a Google Voice number is to associate it with high-volume classified ads or other situations where you’d rather not have your cell phone ringing all day. For example, if you use or to syndicate your listing advertisements, you could use your Google Voice number instead of your office number for calls. This way, when calls come in, they will be collected in voice mail and translated into text, which you can scan through between meetings or other free moments through the day.

A video overview of Google Voice is available here:

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How to Syndicate Your Real Estate Listings

October 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Useful Info:
Syndicate your classified ads for free? It seems possible…
This year we published our “Craigslist Crash Course for Real Estate Agents” eBook. It’s quickly become one of our most popular how-to guides.

We’ve had lots of great feedback, especially this helpful tip from Terry Driscoll of Allen & Selig Realty in Bath, ME: “I don’t think you mentioned using Postlets to create ads–that’s the way to go.” Logo

It’s true, we didn’t. But thanks to Terry’s helpful tip, we’ve updated the eBook and wanted to pass this tool along to the rest of you. While we haven’t road tested ourselves, it seems to be another powerful free tool for agents. According to, you can “create your listing, post, share, and syndicate it everywhere.”

Thanks, Terry!

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