Real estate tips from computer geeks, not sales people

December 20, 2007

scientist.pngMuch like Zillow.com has done, the guys over at Redfin.com are now leveraging their vast data holdings to add value to their service with the release of their ‘Seven Tactics for Selling Your Home’ report.

Taking a scientific approach to examining the home buying and selling process, along with extensive research of real estate academia, Redfin has come up with a list of data-driven recommendations for home buyers and sellers.

Here are some of Redfin’s recommendations:

  1. Don’t overprice your property – Price reductions can further encourage aggressive bargaining.
  2. Set your price to show up in web searches – A home selling for $350,000 will be seen significantly more than a home selling for $355,000 because the $355,000 home will be excluded by buyers who set $350,000 as their maximum price.
  3. Debut on Friday – Redfin’s website traffic listings that debuted on Friday got on average 7.7% more visitors in their first seven days than those that debuted on the worst day, Thursday.
  4. Market the property online – a craigslist posting about a listing generated an average of 6.8 visits to that listing on Redfin‘s website.
  5. When selling your home, stay put – vacant homes were 9.5% more likely to undergo a price reduction
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Century 21 Canada examines first-time buyer market

December 16, 2007

resizeimage.gifCentury 21 Canada recently published results from its national survey of typical first-time buyer homes in 128 neighbourhoods within 55 cities across the country.

“First-time buyers often enter the market with an unrealistic list of expectations, but soon find they need to decide on a smaller house or accept a longer commute time,” says Don Lawby, president of CENTURY 21 Canada.

According to Statistics Canada census data, home ownership among Canadians is continuing to increase year after year. The number of homes owned has increased from 6.8 million to 8.5 million, or 24%, between 1996 and 2006, while the population of the country has increased from 28.8 million to 31.6 million, or 10%.

According to the survey, the most expensive cities for first-time buyers based on price per square foot are Vancouver, where a 412-square-foot condo in the downtown is $281,000 or $682 per square foot; the Toronto suburb of Thornhill, where an 800-square-foot bungalow on a 3,500-square-foot lot in East York is $480,000, or $600 per square foot; and downtown Toronto, where a 340-square-foot condo in trendy Liberty Village is $200,000 or $588 per square foot.

The least expensive cities for first-time buyers based on price per square foot are St. John’s (2,150-square-foot two-storey bungalow, $170,000 or $79 per square foot), Halifax (1,408-square-foot semi-detached house, $129,900 or $92 per square foot), Windsor (850-square-foot 1½-storey house, $91,000 or $107 per square foot), London (1,000-square-foot townhouse, $120,000 or $120 per square foot), and Sudbury (969-square-foot 1½-storey house, $140,000 or $144 per square foot).


New immigrants to Canada a growing market segment for real estate

December 13, 2007

immigrants.jpgAnyone who has read the news lately may have noticed talk of a growing number of immigrants coming to Canada. In fact, freshly released 2006 census data from Statistics Canada estimates that 1,100,000 immigrants came to Canada between 2001 and 2006.

What does this mean for real estate professionals? Well, a recent survey  by Genworth Financial  suggests that 52 percent of recent immigrants will purchase a home within 3 years of arrival to this country, indicating that it is an emerging market segment that should not be ignored.

This was, in fact, the topic of discussion at the recent RISMedia 18th annual leadership conference, where a panel of real estate marketing specialists discussed the reasons why this emerging market is so important to real estate professionals.

Although, much of the discussion was from a U.S. standpoint, a number of valuable tips were provided, including the need to hire multi-lingual staff within agencies, as well as an increased participation in specific community groups and networking opportunities.

In Canada, an excellent resource for recent immigrants can be found on the Genworth Financial website with its ‘Recent Immigrant’s Guide to Homebuying’, available in 7 languages.

A good start for real estate agents to reach out to the various immigrant communities would be to update their website to include a link to Genworth’s multi-lingual guide.


Digital imaging software provides do-it-yourself slideshow solution, easy export to YouTube

December 7, 2007

image002.gifImagematics, producer of a digital imaging software called StillMotion, recently announced a product update, which allows users to publish slideshows produced with StillMotion directly to YouTube.com! (thanks to Larry Lohram over at the Photography for Real Estate blog for making us aware of this!)

StillMotion is described as an easy-to-use and affordable slideshow oriented multimedia presentation product.

In essence, the product lets you create slide show presentations from a set of property photos – an ideal tool for real estate agents wishing to go the extra mile for their selling clients.

According to the Imagematics website, their StillMotion software provides a highly visual menu system that quickly lets even a beginner create professional and compelling presentation of their images.

Once complete, users can export their presentations to YouTube.com with the help of an easy-to-follow set of instructions.

This software offers a great complement to our single property website solution in that we feature seamless integration with content posted on YouTube.

UniqueHomeSite users simply copy the unique URL that is assigned to their YouTube video, and paste it into their UniqueHomeSites.com control panel.


Pick a Niche Real Estate Market and Become the Expert

December 4, 2007

niche.jpgIf you ask any real estate coach or marketing expert what you should do to stay competitive as a real estate agent, they will likely tell you the same thing – choose a segment of the market that you are most familiar with, and become the expert.

Ubertor blog posed this question in a recent interview with Seth Godin -internet marketing expert and frequent speaker at real estate conferences.

Ubertor: If you were a Realtor what one way would you market yourself differently?

Seth Godin: I would specialize obsessively. On a neighborhood or a market segment. (For example), I’d only sell restaurants, or condos, or to the gay community.

According to the marketing professionals over at the MarketingLaunch.com blog, market segmentation involves dividing your market into smaller (and more manageable) sets of prospects who share certain characteristics.

Here are some types of market segmentation for today’s real estate professionals:

Demographic segmentation: Target age, gender, socioeconomic status or education

Lifecycle segmentation: Target different stages of life (young singles, married couples, families with kids, empty nesters, or active retirees).

Specialty segmentation:  Target a narrowly defined market (i.e. luxury homes)

Geographic segmentation:  Target specific neighbourhoods or communities.

Vertical Industry segmentation: Target a defined group in the real estate industry (i.e. FSBO’s or new homes)

Job segmentation: Target migratory or temporary or out-of-town workers.  

Taking this idea a step further, blogging is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your chosen market segment.

See our recent posting, entitled ‘Knowing Your Audience is Key for Real Estate Bloggers‘ for tips on how to get started.