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.


Create Quality Content to become the Neighbourhood Expert

September 20, 2009

teresaThe legendary real estate blogger Teresa Boardman of Saint Paul, Minnesota gives us the goods on the power of content in developing community connections.

Posted on ‘The Real Estate Tomato – Juicy Blogging Advice for Realtors’ blog, Boardman highlights the multiplier effect that creating unique and interesting content can have on your business as a real estate professional.

We all know that measuring the actual return on investment for social networking is difficult, if not impossible.

However, anecdotal evidence from ‘veteran’ real estate bloggers, such as Ms. Boardman (4 years!), are a great motivator to get out there and own your niche!

New to real estate blogging? Check out the Saint Paul blog and do what they do….seriously.


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


Fishing for Sales with Good Photography

July 29, 2009

bassAt UniqueHomeSites.com, we like to share ideas regarding real estate marketing on the Internet.

Today, we want to discuss something that many in the industry seem to ignore – great real estate marketing begins with great photos!

For consumers, there is nothing more frustrating than finding a listing through a search portal that passes the initial search parameters (i.e. price, location, size, etc), but fails to offer additional photos.

The typical reaction to a lack of photos is that something is wrong with the property.

In some cases, the listing agent may do this on purpose so that only the most interested home buyers will contact them personally for more photos.

Regardless, we feel that properties listed for sale on the Internet with only one or two photos are missing out on a huge opportunity to present their listing to as many Internet eyes as possible.

This is particularly true in today’s Internet age, where web surfers are becoming accustomed to open and instant access to information on-line.

One expert in this area is Larry Lohrman, operator of the Photography For Real Estate blog.

He offers some great tips and techniques for real estate photography, including the following tidbit:

“…the front shot is THE most important shot for marketing purposes.

Not only because Realtors have to use the front shot in all their marketing, but because of web site designs that make the thumbnail of the front shot the “lure” (as in fishing lure) that usually motivates the potential home buyer to take the first action (a click to look at more photos) that leads to a home buyer towards a home purchase.”

Fish on!


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.


Swanepoel Discusses Web 2.0 for Realtors

March 30, 2009

trendsThe 2009 Swanepoel Trends Report came out last month. The Report is widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive Report covering change in the real estate business.

This is an annual report, authored by Stefan Swanepoel, which summarizes the preceding year and details the most significant trends, innovation and new business models impacting the real estate business.  

Although, there is a price for this report, you can check out a great video below of Mr. Swanepoel describing the latest social networking and web 2.0 tools available for today’s real estate agent.


Twitter How-to Guide for Real Estate Agents

March 23, 2009

twitter2Word up to Mike Andrew’s Real Estate Tips & Technology blog for pointing us to Twitter for Real Estate – A Guide on How to Do It.

The guide was originally put together by Nicole Nikolay from MyTechOpinion and is ideal for those real estate agents looking to generate leads through social networking.

For those who don’t know about Twitter, the best way to describe it can be found on the Twitter website: 

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it is one of those things that sounds totally ridiculous and stupid when you first hear about it. But once you start using it, you realize how much fun it is.

Not only is it fun, it is a fast and easy way to connect with like-minded people, such as home buyers and sellers.

After reading, we decided to create an account of our own and were amazed by the results.  Check us out at http://twitter.com/uniquehomesites

Within 48 hours of creating a Twitter account, we had established a connection with over 70 individuals in the real estate marketplace across Canada, North America, and worldwide.

The number of people who Tweet is now around 6 million and traffic to the web site has grown a staggering 600% in the past 12 months.

You or your sales agents need to download this guide today!