Recent Survey Profiles Canadian First-Time Homebuyers

February 26, 2008

fthome.jpgA recent report by Genworth Financial profiles the first-time homebuyers market in Canada using results from a survey it conducted in December 2007 among 963 Canadians who recently purchased their first home, or were intending to do so.

Here are some highlights:

  • Canadian first-time home buyers remain confident in the stability of the housing market and are not overly concerned about the potential for declining home values.
  • The top concerns identified by respondents are high monthly payments (63%), rising interest rates (59%) and increasing property taxes (56%).
  • 68% of first-time buyers would prefer a newer home, and 65% want a modern, open floor plan
  • Roughly half of respondents (52%) sought 5-year mortgage terms, with almost one-quarter (23%) preferring terms of seven years or more.
  • Roughly 48% of respondents were very likely to use the Internet to research the homebuying process or to search for the neighbourhood that meets their needs and lifestyle

For complete details, check out the Genworth Financial Canada website or click here to access the report directly.

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Introducing Alex Lukey as Approved UniqueHomeSites Photographer

February 22, 2008

alex.jpgOttawa-area real estate professionals can now benefit from having a UniqueHomeSites single property website, complete with the professional real estate photography services of Alex Lukey Photography.

As an approved vendor for UniqueHomeSites, Alex is able to provide his photographic services package to real estate professionals in the Ottawa area for a competitive price.

This includes a visit to the property to capture up to 20 web-ready still photos, and 3 panoramic images, and all the features and benefits associated with a UniqueHomeSite, including a unique domain name (i.e.www.123UniqueStreet.com) and hosting of the site for one year.


Educated consumers = less work, more money for Canadian real estate professionals

February 21, 2008

internet.jpgLloyd Frink, president of Zillow.com, posted an interesting article on RISMedia.com, entitled For Tech-Savvy Consumers, Real Estate Agents are Still the Experts’.

The article discusses the recent phenomenon of websites (including Zillow.com) offering consumers easy access to a wealth of information on local housing market conditions, neighbourhood information, and other homebuying tips.

This is a drastic change from the pre-Internet days when real estate agents were the gate-keepers of this type of information.

Should real estate professionals be concerned?

Not so, explains Mr. Frink: 

“A recent study by the California Association of Realtors reported that home buyers who used the Internet as a significant portion of their home-buying experience spent an average of two weeks with a Realtor looking at homes, compared to those who did not use the Internet, who spent an average of seven weeks looking for their home.

The wealth of tools and information available online takes away a lot of the “hand holding” traditionally expected of real estate agents, which allows them to take on a higher volume of clients, and ultimately, make more money.”

In fact, single property websites from UniqueHomeSites.com offer Canadian real estate professionals the ability to harness the power of the Internet by automatically ‘pulling’ together relevant information from a variety of sources into a neatly packaged website, dedicated to a single listing.

With a UniqueHomeSite, consumers can browse everything related to a specific property, including photos, property descriptions, video, local schools, neighbourhood demographics, plus much more.

Not only do consumers benefit from the wealth of information available on the site, recipricol links back to the agents website makes it easy for them to make contact when they are ready to engage the agent to start a transaction.


Web services allow for easy distribution of real estate video podcasts

February 18, 2008

tubemogul.jpgReal estate professionals who produce video for their property listings can now benefit from a FREE video podcasting service offered by TubeMogul.com.

For those who don’t know, a podcast is a collection of digital files which are distributed over the Internet, often using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers.   

The TubeMogul web service provides its user with a single point for deploying uploads to the top video sharing sites such as YouTube.com, Google Video, and Yahoo Video.

TubeMogul’s analytic technology also aggregates video-viewing data from multiple sources to give publishers improved understanding of when, where and how often videos are watched to effectively measure the impact of their marketing campaigns.

According to a recent RISMedia.com article, video has moved online in a big way and it’s use can be a huge differentiator for real estate professionals, helping build trust among existing and future clientele, as well as create a strong brand impression.

“Video can make a big impact on your marketing program, and of course, the Internet is where the buyers are. A big advantage of video over fixed content is that video involves more of the senses; it sells you and your service using sight, sound and emotion. When you communicate with your prospects through more of their senses, they become more engaged, and therefore, more likely to understand your message.”

Another popular video podcasting service is available at MLBroadcast.com, which is designed specifically for real estate professionals.

Michael Price, Co-Founder and President of MLBroadcast.com, was quoted as saying;

“Our service was designed to help real estate professionals take advantage of syndication technologies to distribute their listings and community content. Video sharing sites have matured into syndication destinations that provide not only additional traffic, but vast improvements in the ability for listings to be found in organic searches.”


Do quality real estate photographs help sell a home?

February 15, 2008

As an extreme (and hilarious) example of why good photography is important in marketing a property for sale on the Internet, here are a couple of YouTube videos showcasing some of the worst real estate photographs ever.

Amazingly Bad Videos of Homes For Sale

Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photo Hall of Fame

Homebuyers want information before talking to a Real Estate Salesperson

February 11, 2008

home_buying.jpgAn article appeared on the Winnipeg Free Press website last week, discussing how the Internet has changed the way consumers shop for real estate.

The author, Deborah Bowers, draws interesting comparisons with other consumer market segments such as electronics, music, and books.

Real estate is a market segment in which the Web is having significant impact. In the past, interested customers would phone a Realtor’s paging service, leave their phone number, and wait in trepidation for real or perceived pressure to buy, sell or at least set up a meeting.

Today, the Internet has given even tire-kickers the expectation of being able to find out what they want, when they want it — in virtual anonymity.

To help Canadian real estate professionals cope with an increasing demand for more information, UniqueHomeSites.com packages information from a variety of sources into a content-rich single property website, offering a ‘unique’ online experience for homebuyers.

An easy-to-use site building wizard automatically generates integrated links for the real estate agent, offering neighbourhood mapping and demographics, property video, a school locator, unlimited photos, and a mortgage calculator.    


Homes and Land Magazine expands to new Canadian centres

February 7, 2008

hal_logo.gifAs further evidence that print advertising is not dead, real estate media company Homes & Land announced this week that it grew its magazine franchise division by 7.5 percent to 340 franchises in 2007.

While most agents will agree that placing their listings in these types of magazines likely won’t sell a home any faster, they will certainly agree that selling clients love to see their home showcased in high-gloss print.

Furthermore, prospective homebuyers (and the general population) love to browse through magazines like Homes and Land to see what’s on the market, which raises the profile of advertising agents within the community.

To help leverage their investment in print advertising, some of our clients have found that the unique domain names (i.e. www.123UniqueStreet.com) that come with our single property websites are a great way to ‘drive’ traffic to their presence on the web.

When readers see the easy-to-remember domain name, they are more likely to visit the property online, where they can access more photos, video, school information, and neighbourhood demographics.  

Additional Homes and Lands franchises can now be found in Red Deer and central Alberta; Muskoka, Haliburton and Parry Sound, Ontario; London, St. Thomas and Woodstock, Ontario; Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, Ontario; York Region, Ontario; Niagara Region, Ontario and Montreal to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.