Use your agent website to gain credibility

December 1, 2009

Rob McCance posted an article on Agent Genius blog last week, which discusses real estate websites and how they can impact your credibility as a real estate professional among an ever-increasing Internet audience.

“Whenever I see a really bad real estate website, what that says to me is that the person behind the site has a very low attention to detail. Also, they are apparently not overly concerned about their on-line credibility, as is being conveyed by their website.”

McCance goes on to describe 4 basic elements for an agent website to convey a high level of credibility:

Navigation – Is the content on your website easy to navigate?

Most visitors will be looking for one thing, and one thing only – listings!

One option is to make your property search functionality front and foremost on your website.

Don’t make your visitors have to think about where to find your listings or make them click too many times to get to what they really want.

Design – Real estate professionals are operating in an industry where first impressions are critical.

With so much competition out there, it is important to make sure that your website is clean, attractive, and has well-designed elements.

Visitors to your website will quickly pick up on design flaws, sometimes subconsciously, and formulate their opinion of you based on these flaws.

Error-free – This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people post content to their website without first running it through a spell-checker.

Other things like broken links, missing images / documents, and inaccurate or out-dated information on your website will have a negative impact on people’s perception of you as a real estate professional.

Brand – Most sales representatives and brokers are obligated to display their brokerage logo somewhere on their website.

However, you do have a certain amount of freedom to promote a personalized brand, either through a customized logo, caricature, tag line, and/or the overall look-and-feel of your website.

This personalized brand should be something that will leave a positive and lasting impression.


Higher Levels of ‘Walkability’ Linked to Higher Home Values

August 25, 2009

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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.


Property Video Tours Featured on ‘Good Morning America’

April 3, 2009

onlinesaleWith often intense competition for new listings, some real estate agents are looking at the use of video for that added touch when marketing their services to clients.

Once only used by a handful of agents, technology has made it easier for sellers of real estate to capture video and display it for public viewing on the web.

Professional videographers are also popping up, which offer a more polished property video production, usually in High Definition. 

Larry Lohman from Photography for Real Estate blog points us to a recent story on ABC’s Good Morning America, which discusses the power of video in capturing people’s attention. 

You can check out the segment here, or have a look at some tips they offer for creating your own video tour.

  • Don’t pan around too quickly. Give the potential buyer time to take in the beauty of your house.
  • Use the zoom sparingly. It’s one feature that gets old quickly and, if used too often, will have less and less effect on the viewer.
  •  If you’re showing something important, count to 10 in your head with the camera centered on it. Make sure the viewers have plenty of time to take it in.
  •  Consider using a tripod. Even the most steady-handed of us tend to wobble from time to time. Your viewers will thank you.

Re/Max Canada Introduces ‘Fit-to-Sell’ Home Staging Program

March 17, 2009

fittosellAs home selling conditions across Canada shift to a buyers market, Re/Max Canada has taken steps to ensure that sellers have the information required to prepare their homes for sale through staging.

According to Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director for RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada, there are three major factors that come into play when selling a home – location, price, and condition of the home.

The idea behind their recently announced ‘Fit-to-Sell’ program is simple – focus on the condition of the home, as this is the one factor that a seller can influence directly.

Through the assistance of staging expert Carla Woolnough, RE/MAX has created a comprehensive package of videos and checklists on the top 10 priorities for preparing a property for sale, which are available online to the public at www.fittosell.ca.

At Base 10, we also believe that home sellers across the country will have to go the extra mile when marketing a home for sale in an increasingly challenging environment.

Activities such as home staging, professional photography, and single property websites are expected to become much more important during the home selling process.


Sears Canada Launches ‘Certified Agent’ benefits

March 10, 2009

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According to a press release last week from Sears Canada, the company has launched a Certified Real Estate Services program in the Greater Toronto Area.

Certification allows qualified sales agents to provide their buying and/or selling customers with 0.6% of the home’s selling price in Sears gift cards.

For example, a $250,000 sale price will get the home buyer or seller a $1,500 Sear gift card.

Sears Certified Agents are from leading brokerages, and are thoroughly reviewed for their sales abilities, licensing and professional achievements. They possess at least three years experience, and are knowledgeable and dedicated in the complete real estate process including: listing, home searches, negotiations and closing.

Currently servicing the GTA bordered by Oakville, Newmarket and Oshawa, they have expertise in their markets and know property values for the area, understanding unique benefits and issues of their communities.”

We’re not exactly sure how one becomes a certified agent. However, the services is operated by QV Realty Inc. in Toronto:

Phone:       647.728.4817

Toll-Free:     1.877.SEARS.51

Web:         www.searsrealestate.ca

Email:       contact@qvcanada.com