Internet turns Forty, but still a teenager

November 12, 2009

2158610The Internet quietly turned 40 years old last month, as Leonard Kleinrock and others at the University of California celebrated the first time they (or anyone) got computers to ‘speak’ to one another.

It was on October 29, 1969, that Kleinrock and his team are credited for giving birth to the Internet by getting a computer at UCLA to “talk” to another one at a research institute.

One small step indeed, considering where we are today, with the proliferation of online social networking and content sharing that is now commonplace in society.

But Kleinrock is quick to note that, although 40 years have past, the Internet is merely coming of age in terms of its impact on society.

 “It’s a teenager now. It’s learned some things but it has a long way to go. It’s behaving erratically, but it’s given enormous gratification to its parents and the community.”

Interestingly enough, this view is shared by Gary Vaynerchuk, who is currently leading the way for a new wave of individuals leveraging web 2.0 and the whole social networking movement via the Internet.

In a recent speech, Gary proclaims ‘the Internet hasn’t even had sex yet!’

Not sure how this applies to selling real estate?

Check out this video of Gary’s speech, where he describes his ability to successfully “scale up” his customer service and brand building by networking with people across the Internet using web 2.0.


Higher Levels of ‘Walkability’ Linked to Higher Home Values

August 25, 2009

walkscore-logo.gif

As reported on BuzzBuzzHome blog (weird name, great blog!), a new study shows that higher levels of ‘walkability’ are directly linked to higher home values.

The report, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities,” looked at 94,000 real-estate transactions in 15 markets across the U.S.

The report was commissioned by a group called CEO’s for Cities and uses the Walkscore web service that we have integrated within all of our UniqueHomeSites.

WalkScore allows you to view the ‘walkability’ of any known location, drawing in community points of interest from Google‘s vast directory of local stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. to calculate a walking distance score.

You can even interact with Walkscore to improve the walkability of your listings.

To improve your listings’ Walk Score, you can easily add and delete amenities yourself.

1. From the local amenities link on your UniqueHomeSite click on the “bigger map” link in the top right corner of the Walkscore box.

2. On the right, above the list of amenities is a link titled “missing something“. Click on this and follow the instructions to add the missing amenity to Google maps.

For any point of interest, you only have to add it once. It will be available for all your future listings for that neighbourhood. 

Its a great way to provide potential homebuyers with valuable information and perhaps fetch a higher price for your listings!


Reinforce your real estate expertise with free educational handouts from NAR

August 13, 2009

education.jpgReal estate professionals looking for content to add to their marketing material should check out this comprehensive list of informative handouts for buyers and sellers, courtesy of the National Association of Realtors).

According to the NAR website, anyone is free to print copies of the handouts or customize them with their own branding. These handouts are perfect for newsletters, Web sites, and promotional kits.

For Canadian real estate professionals, keep in mind that the information is from an American perspective and may need to be modified slightly to reflect the Canadian marketplace.

Nonetheless, this is a great resource!

If you are a Canadian realtor in need of a website for your business, give us a call or email and ask about our UniqueHomeSites website product and services.

1-866-9UNIQUE or sales@uniquehomesites.com

Get Ready for Homeownership
10 Ways to Prepare for Homeownership
5 Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes
Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®
Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR®
7 Reasons to Own Your Home
Tax Benefits of Homeownership
Take the Stress Out of Homebuying

Finance Your Home
Specialty Mortgages: Risks and Rewards
Loan Types to Consider
6 Creative Ways to Afford a Home
Lender Checklist: What You Need for a Mortgage
Get Your Finances in Order: To-Do List
Budget Basics Worksheet
What You Can Do to Improve Your Credit
5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score
How Big of a Mortgage Can I Afford?

Buyers: Find the Right Property
8 Tips to Guide for Your Home Search
How High Tech is Your Home?
5 Property Tax Questions You Need to Ask
10 Questions to Ask the Condo Board
Your Property Wish List
Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood
Tips for Buying in a Tight Market
Pros and Cons of Going Condo
10 Questions to Ask Home Inspectors
What a Home Inspection Should Cover

Buyers: Prepare for Closing and Beyond
5 Things to Know About Homeowner’s Insurance
Tips for Lowering Homeowner’s Insurance Costs
5 Things to Know About Title Insurance
What’s a Home Warranty?
What Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-through
Common Closing Costs for Buyers
Moving With Pets
Closing Documents You Should Keep
17 Tips for Packing Like a Pro

Sellers: Before You Sell
Does Moving Up Make Sense?
8 Reasons Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®
12 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your REALTOR®
5 Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market
Understand Agency Relationships
What is Appraised Value?

Sellers: Get Ready for Showings
Simple Tips for Better Home Showings
How to Improve the Odds of an Offer
How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale
Prepare Your Home for a Virtual Tour
Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home’s Exterior
12 Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor
5 Feng Shui Concepts to Help a Home Sell

Sellers: Prepare for Closing and Beyond
Understanding Capital Gains in Real Estate
What to Leave for the New Owners
10 Tips for Moving With Pets
Moving Checklist for Sellers
Forms You’ll Need to Sell Your Home
Checklist: 17 Service Providers You’ll Need When You Sell
Open House Safety Tips
How to Prepare for the Open House
Is Your Buyer Qualified?
Tips for Pricing Your Home


5 To-Do’s for Real Estate Brokers to Improve their Marketing Reach

May 4, 2009

reachThe folks over at 1000 Watt Consulting placed an interesting post on their blog the other day, which we believe hits the mark for real estate brokerages operating in today’s Internet age.

The post discusses 5 things that brokers should do to improve their marketing.

Here is a summary:

  1. Start thinking like a media company

    Listings and Market Knowledge = Content… Start broadcasting them!

  2. Perform a vendor audit

    Costs for things like bandwidth and online storage have dropped significantly in recent years, and new web-based applications are increasingly available at a fraction of the cost.

    Have a look at new technologies and services and compare them to those offered by your existing vendors. 

  3. User Testing

    Conduct live user testing on your website to discover what they like and dislike.

    Also, use free analytics software to analyze and track the performance of the content and design of your website. 

  4. Perform a website makeover 

    Do some research and you will find that many of your competitors have poorly designed websites.

    Stay ahead of the curve – Consider a redesign or cosmetic upgrade to your brokerage website.

  5. Differentiate! 

    Stay abreast of new applications or tools (i.e. Twitter, Facebook) and give consumers something to talk about!

    Try to set yourself apart from the competition by offering something different.


Use Wikipedia Content in your Web Marketing

December 14, 2008

wikiWe’ve discussed on this blog before about creating a niche for yourself in the real estate marketplace.

Indeed, many sales and rental agents have achieved success through marketing to a specific group or community, ranging from student rentals to luxury sales.

If your niche is geography-specific ( or any niche, really), you can easily enhance your web presence using neighbourhood content from wikipedia.com.

Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia project. There are roughly 10 million articles written collaboratively by volunteers around the world… this includes articles about your neighbourhood!

By searching wikipedia’s vast library for your neighbourhood, you will likely find valuable demographic, historical, and community events information, which can be re-used on your own web page.

You can start your search here:

Neighbourhoods in Alberta

Neighbourhoods in British Columbia

Neighbourhoods in Manitoba

Neighbourhoods in New Brunswick

Neighbourhoods in Newfoundland and Labrador

Neighbourhoods in Nova Scotia

Neighbourhoods in Ontario

Neighbourhoods in Prince Edward Island

Neighbourhoods in Quebec

Neighbourhoods in Saskatchewan


Century 21 reaches out to Consumers with Web 2.0

March 19, 2008

c21.jpgWith many real estate agencies stuck in the Internet dark ages, it is refreshing to see how companies like Century 21 have enhanced their web presence with consumer-friendly initiatives.

Take Century21.ca, for example. Their website was recently recognized by Joel Burslem, founder of Future of Real Estate Marketing, as one of his favorite real estate search experiences on line today.

It includes a blog and an awesome new Google map search functionality, which displays the locations of their listings. 

Meanwhile, Century21.com just launched its own YouTube channel. Aimed at sellers, buyers and enthusiasts, the Channel will provide the opportunity for customers and agents to create and submit user-generated content. 

“The CENTURY 21 System understands that in order to serve our clients and meet the demands of today’s market, we must lead the industry with the most current home buying and selling platforms,” said Robert Schwartz , vice president of national marketing for Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “During the next year we will continue to build on this momentum with additional Web-based innovations to help our agents and our clients navigate the world of real estate in a digital era.”

At Base10, we promote the use of web 2.0 and thats why we have an integrated set of features in our UniqueHomeSites.com product, which allow Canadian real estate professionals to better serve consumers through compelling web content.


Facebook Marketing for Real Estate Professionals

March 13, 2008

facebook.gifJoel Burslem, on his the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog, recently describes how Facebook does not allow real estate professionals to post their listings on its free marketplace.

However, Facebook does permit the display of listings on their pay-per-click Social Ad network.

Social ads are basically small advertisments that are visible to users as they browse Facebook to connect with their friends.

Each ad consists of a small photo, a brief text, and a hyperlink to more details – ideal for a property listing!

The good thing about a Social Ad is that you specify how much you want to pay when people click on your ad.

It also allows you to target Facebook users by age, gender, location, and interests, which means your ad will only be displayed to those most likely interested in what you are selling.

You could even try targetting your selling clients’ social network so that they (or their friends) will see their home on Facebook! 

With Facebook, you can also build a customized ‘Page’ for your business, where you can post photos, video, announcements, etc..

Benjamin Bach, a commentator from Kichener-Waterloo on the agentgenius.com blog, provides some advice to real estate professionals on how to enhance their social networks and generate more leads via Facebook.

He suggests building a profile with your target client or market in mind and warns of the negative impact a bad profile can have in today’s information age.

Bach explains, “There is one Broker / Manager of a real estate company here who currently has this up on his profile: “Dieter is a High School Stoner.””

Dieter could be the best agent in town, but would you really want to list with him if this was all you knew about him?