1. Storehouse: What is Storehouse? Simply put, it’s visual storytelling at its finest. A picture might say a thousand words, but Storehouse has brought an entirely new meaning to this phrase. Clients want to know what you’re all about, and with this innovative app, you can seamlessly combine photos and videos in a single location to create an eye grabbing collage that illustrates the story of your business like never before. iTunes
2. Mobile Friendly: Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your mobile phone, only to find yourself looking at a page where the text was too small, the links were tiny, and you had to scroll sideways to see all the content? This simple check will test the mobile readability. Google
3. GoPro App: There’s been a lot of buzz around the multi-functional GoPro camera, and now there’s an app that allows you to not only control what you are filming from your smartphone, but also to instantly share the footage you’ve collected with your social networks. Videos are in high demand in the real estate industry and with the GoPro app, you can now effortlessly share HD quality clips whenever and wherever you want. iTunes | Google Play
4. Phramed: Tired of having to switch back and forth between social networks to share the same picture? Phramed simplifies the process of posting to multiple platforms by allowing you to edit, combine and share the same picture(s) with all of your networks without ever having to leave the application. Have a new listing? Now you can snap a few photos of its unique features, add them all to a collage and instantly share them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or even send direct texts to clients who may be looking for a new home! iTunes
5. Nest: The home automation trend is evolving and Nest is leading the charge! Using Nest, homeowners can protect their home and cut down on energy costs right from their mobile device. From scheduling when you want the home to be heated or cooled throughout the day to receiving alerts when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected, Nest offers innovative ways to manage all aspects of a home, even when you’re on the road. Consider providing this as a gift for your next client and they will be thinking of you every time they save money on their electric bill. iTunes | Google Play
6. Pebble: a smart watch that conveniently displays important updates from your smartphone. iTunes | Google Play
7. Genius Scan: With all the paperwork that is involved with buying or selling a home, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you always have everything you need? With Genius Scan you can store all of your important documents in a single location, upload new documents and share them with your clients on-the-go, or even expedite your expenditures as quickly as they come in without ever having to run back to the office. iTunes | Google Play
8. Waze: You know how it goes, you’re on the way to a meeting across town and your commute comes to a screeching halt because of a traffic jam or roadwork. Waze is a community based traffic application that pulls updates on real time road conditions from other users to provide you with the best route to get to your destination on time. Waze gives you the peace of mind in knowing that traffic won’t keep you from getting where you need to go before you even leave the house! iTunes | Google Play
9. Yesware and Mailtracker: Provides real time notifications about when your emails have been opened, what device they were opened on, how many times an email has been viewed and much more. Yesware iTunes | Mailtracker iTunes
10. IF by IFTTT: integrates activity from different apps to work simultaneously. iTunes | Google Play
11. Homes.com Commute Widget: Do clients frequently ask about how far a property is from their office building or a local shopping district? The Homes.com Commute Widget can be embedded into your website, so visitors who are interested in a particular listing can look up the estimated travel times to their most frequented locations. iTunes | Google Play
12. Rhonna Designs: Add personality to your photo edits with Rhonna Designs App. iTunes | Google Play
13. KeyMe: creates a digital copy of any key and stores it on your mobile device, which can later be used to order a new key in case you ever lose the original. iTunes
14. Carrot: a to-do list app that helps you prioritize tasks that need to be completed. iTunes
15. Cloze: pulls relevant information about people that are important to your business from social media, email correspondences and other online resources all to a single location. iTunes | Google Play]]>
According to NAR, 69% of home shoppers who take action on a real estate website begin by typing a local search term into a search engine. This shows that homebuyers care about finding homes in specific areas. In real estate, becoming the local expert and being able to provide local information to potential buyers are both great ways to increase your value as an agent. Here are three ways to form connections with these local consumers and those looking to move into your area.
The current generation is becoming more and more service minded. In fact, 61% of consumers would like their favorite brands or companies to play a bigger role in their local community. Local love is about getting involved and showing that you’re more than just the local real estate expert — you’re a part of the community.
While giving back to the community can be a selfless act, it isn’t necessarily so altruistic. Volunteering can boost you or your brand’s visibility. Fundraising, promoting charity events or even building a house through a community outreach program will get your name out there while giving you the opportunity to practice new skills. These could include anything from learning better promoting practices to hands on home repair skills. In turn, with your new found talents, you can provide even better service to your clients. Give back to your local community and, as a nice perk, you’ll reap the rewards of staying top of mind in your area.
Another way to connect with your local community is by posting local information on your social media pages. In a recent survey, Google found that four out of five consumers want their search results to be customized to their city, zip code, or immediate surroundings, and they are willing to look for an extended period of time to find shops or events that are close to them. Establish yourself as the local expert in your area. Share local events, such as community theater shows, farmer’s markets or concerts, so those in your area will know what’s going on. By doing so, you’ll become the go-to person for all things local.
In addition to this, be sure to use a check-in app, such as Yelp! or Foursquare, to lock in your precise locations and show followers exactly where you like to visit. Through these apps, you can also leave reviews, which allows you to brand yourself as the honest expert. You can even share your check-ins and ratings on your social media pages, connecting everything together.
When it comes to real estate, it’s important to position yourself in front of consumers in your local area. According to Google, half of home hunters begin their formal search 6–12 months in advance, with about three-quarters starting within a year of the purchase. Because of this, it’s important that real estate pros advertise themselves where prospective buyers are searching. While some agents purchase billboards or park benches, there are more visible and targeted ways to attract consumers who are searching online for their next home. Options such as Facebook Ads give you the ability to target both a specific location as well as key behaviors, such as people who are likely to move.
Another great option is Homes.com’s new Local Connect ads, providing you with the ability to target consumers during their home search process. With 90% of Homes.com visitors actively searching for their next home and 80% not working with a real estate professional, Local Connect positions you prominently in front of transaction-ready consumers in your target zip code, showcasing your photo or logo, phone number and endorsements.]]>
How many of your closed clients in the last 12 months gave you an online review? If your answer is “none” or “I don’t know,” then you are missing out on a huge opportunity to be proactive in getting those referrals that your business depends on. Yes, I said referrals. That is what an online endorsement is becoming. No, it’s not as direct as what you think of as a “traditional” referral, but in some ways it can be even more valuable.
Depending on your generational membership, you may be less comfortable trusting the kind words of a total stranger online, but the Millennials, who are projected to grow to a total of 21.6 million households by 2018, are totally comfortable with online reviews. In fact, peer reviews were ranked 68% trustworthy coming in second only to brand conversations with friends and family.
You need to do two things in order to get online reviews that you can leverage to win more business. First, you need to ask for the reviews. Most of you have likely purchased something from Amazon or downloaded an app on your phone. Those companies go out of their way to solicit reviews from you. You need to do the same for your business.
Secondly, you have to make it easy for your clients to fill out the review. When you go to get a contract signed, you bring a pen with you, right? You might even highlight all the lines they need to sign. The reason you do that is to make sure that nothing gets in the way of them completing the task. The same is true for online reviews, you need to set them up to have everything they need to give you that review. This means providing a direct link to where they should fill out the review.
The Homes.com free Endorsement tool was built to make it easy for you to ask for reviews and for your clients to complete the reviews. Step-by-step instructions can be found here, or simply log into your Homes.com Profile and start using it. Once your client has submitted the review and you have read and approved the review, then it automatically posts on your Homes.com agent profile and to your Homes Connect agent website (if you have that product from Homes.com).
Leverage those Endorsements even more with Local Connect ads. Local Connect positions YOU prominently in front of the right consumers at the right time, with branding showcasing your photo or logo, phone number, and endorsements.
Sources: The Demand Institute Millennials and Their Homes: Still Seeking the American Dream; 2013 Ipsos MediaCT/Crowdtap, Social Influence Research Paper; Jan 2014
Before I arrived at Homes.com, our primary business model revolved around selling advertising in real estate magazines. We owned the printing presses, the fleet of delivery trucks, and the magazine racks in local grocery and convenience stores where consumers could pick up their Homes & Land magazine for free while they shopped for groceries. As you might imagine, it was a capital-intensive operation, a reality that was reflected in the advertising rates paid by thousand of successful agents and brokers.
We called it “locally targeted advertising” back then, and it was locally targeted, relative to the time. But local targeting – or geo-targeting as we now refer to it – had an entirely different meaning back then. The economies of scale for printing magazines required local to be defined in broader terms than digital media allows for now.
We couldn’t print magazines for specific zip codes or neighborhoods, so the advertising was at best available on a citywide basis. If you wanted to target wealthy home buyers in an affluent neighborhood, often times you were also paying to advertise to blue-collar neighborhoods. Better than other advertising alternatives at the time, but still a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack proposition.
Fast-forward to today. Homes.com is out of the printing business. Our real estate magazine is now digital, online in the form of a national home search portal, read by more than 12 million unique visitors on a monthly basis, 80% of whom intend to buy or sell a home in the next 12 months, and 90% of whom have not yet selected a real estate professional to guide their transaction.
Even better, the promise of geo-targeting has now been fully realized, allowing our clients to place their advertisements only on the pages that will be viewed by their intended audience in specific areas and zip codes. The needle has grown, or the haystack shrunk, whichever you prefer.
Developing advertising products that generate better leads and results for our advertisers – brokers, agents, builders, and mortgage professionals – is the fuel powering the growth and popularity of Homes.com. I’m excited today to announce the latest innovation in our long history of advertising products, one that will provide better targeting and more measurable results, in the form of better leads and quicker conversions. It’s called Local Connect.
Local Connect was developed with collaborative input from hundreds of brokers, agents, franchise partners, MLS providers, and key industry stakeholders. It’s a natural progression of our current Local and Mobile Ad products, which together have been matching agents and brokers with qualified consumers since 2011.
Local Connect ensures that the role of the listing agent and broker as the legal representative of the home seller remains front and center on the listing detail page. The commitment to clearly identify the listing agent and broker, and ensuring that lead inquiries are always routed to the listing agent or broker, are two of our core advertising principles, regardless of whether the listing is displayed for free or through paid placement.
Local Connect provides the following benefits to our advertisers and consumers:
Local Connect is designed to benefit all parties involved in a real estate transaction. Sellers and listing agents benefit by the scale of exposure their property receives through our high quality audience of buyers, often times for free. Buyer’s benefit through accessibility to accurate property information sourced from reliable MLS providers, brokers, and franchisors. And buyer’s agents benefit through access to their targeted audience of qualified and knowledgeable consumers.
Mark Twain once said, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” We think Local Connect is the right kind of advertising to make our clients successful in 2015! See examples of Local Connect display for desktop and mobile.
Michael Maher, North America’s Most Referred Real Estate Professional and #1 International Bestselling Author of (7L), says that agents need to change the idea of their business approach from one that chases clients to one that uses generosity to reach them. During the most recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, “3 Critical Sales Cycles You MUST Know For 2015,” Maher provided valuable insight about how agents can use happy clients to receive referrals and increase their marketability.
Here are three cycles that Maher says agents should pay close attention to:
1. Chase Cycle The Chase Cycle is also referred to as the Cycle of Discontent. In this cycle, agents often over-promise and, as a result, under-deliver. As the name suggests, in the Chase Cycle, agents chase and corner clients, and pressure them into business. In the end, buyers are left unsatisfied and are highly unlikely to leave a positive referral. Because of this, agents then repeat the cycle with another client.
2. Referral Cycle In the Referral Cycle, rather than over-promising and under-delivering, agents under-promise, giving themselves the opportunity to deliver more than their clients expect. This cycle is geared toward inspiring clients to give referrals since they will be happier with the outcome of events. In turn, these referrals will inspire other potential homebuyers or sellers to contact the agent because of their endorsements.
3. Generosity Cycle In order to power the Referral Cycle and receive those referrals, Maher notes that it is also necessary to implement the Generosity Cycle. In this cycle, generosity leads to prosperity. When you are generous to your clients, they naturally reciprocate this generosity in the form of referrals. These referrals then make you more profitable which leads to prosperity.
Don’t forget to register for this month’s Secrets of Top Selling Agent’s webinar, “FSBO Farming - Top Tips to Double Your Inventory,” with Jim Remley, best selling author and accredited luxury home specialist.