Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Effects of Distressed Property Sales

Video: – Distressed Sale Data

<a href=”http://media.uqast.com/flvVideo/3706_5121_DIstressed_Sale_Market_Impact.flv.mov” mce_href=”http://media.uqast.com/flvVideo/3706_5121_DIstressed_Sale_Market_Impact.flv.mov”><img src=”http://www.uqast.com/globals/inc/image_output.php?image=http://media.uqast.com/VideoThumbs/3706_thumb.jpg&cap=http://www.uqast.com/tpl/iqast_new/en/images/logo_large.jpg” mce_src=”http://www.uqast.com/globals/inc/image_output.php?image=http://media.uqast.com/VideoThumbs/3706_thumb.jpg&cap=http://www.uqast.com/tpl/iqast_new/en/images/logo_large.jpg” alt=”” height=”281″ width=”500″></a>

More about Ray Zabielski by Ray Zabielski

Why You Should Be On @Twitter #Twitter

Twitter. There seems to be two very distinct camps on the subject, one who find Twitter to be an invaluable resource, and the other, completely befuddled by it. I am firmly in the “you need to be on Twitter” camp.

Why, do I have a slobbering love affair with Twitter? For one, it’s a fast and relatively easy way to engage with people (either prospective clients or like minded professionals). The list continues: you can access all kinds of news and information simply by “following” certain people/business/sources, your tweets allows others to learn about you the person, instead of just knowing of you professionally.

Not to mention the wealth of statics regarding Twitter:

175 Million People use Twitter, and the number of twitter users increased by 300, 000 every day.

Twitter is free- what better way to get publicity, for very little effort.

The video below will illustrate the basics on setting up a Twitter account, but generally, this is what you will want to do:

1. Set up your Twitter profile by going to www.Twitter.com – if it is a business related Twitter profile, you will either want to use your name, perhaps “Jane_Realtor” Or “Jane-CRR” or if you have a branded name (say 630homes.com) then your Twitter Handle could be “630Homes”

2. Personalize your profile. Input bio information – Keep it 70% Light/personal (i.e. “Golfer, Mom of 3, Reality TV Junkie” etc and 30% Professional (Realtor with Charles Rutenberg Realty – Specializing in the Fox Valley) and be sure to add your website!

3. Once you are set up with your picture, bio etc, and use the “Search” function to find people to follow. Here are ones I suggest you follow:

– Me, of course @Melinda_CRR
– Charles Rutenberg Realty @CRRChicago
– National Assn of Realtors @REALTORS
– National Assn of Realtors Info @ASKNAR
– IL Assn of Realtors @ILRealtor
– Your local Assn : CAR, MORE, RANWC, etc
– MRED @MREDLLC
– Realtor Magazine @RealtorMag
– Chicago Agent Magazine @CAMagazine
– The Chamber of Commerce Specific to the area you work (If you work Naperville- Naperville Chamber is @NaperChamber)

From there, you can then branch out, and search for local restaurants, stores etc within your specialized area.

I would also suggest following local news outlets (@Triblocal @NaperSun) for local news stories

Once you have all of the people you want to follow, you start tweeting.

Tweeting is much like Facebook, in that you post “tweets” as you would “Status Updates” in Facebook. Just brief informational tidbits about what you are doing, or information that people who are following may find useful.

You can access Twitter from the Web: www.twitter.com
You can also download all types of Twitter Apps to your phone. I personally use Tweet Deck (on my desktop) which allows me to manage multiple twitter accounts at once. It is also a useful tool if you only have one Twitter account, but would like the ability to schedule tweets to go out intermittently throughout the day.

Just remember when sharing on Twitter- it’s about Quality not quantity. Pick and choose what you want to share.

Ex of good tweets: “Showing houses today to 1st Time HomeBuyers in Aurora/Naperville”

“Had Lunch at XYZ Café at 123 Main Street in {your local area}.
TIP: (It’s also great if you are following said lunch spot to give them a shout out in your tweet… so it would look like this

“Had lunch at @XYZCafe (this would be their twitter handle) – Great as usual!”

Bad Tweet: I’m at the grocery store picking up soap, razors, canned soup and fruit

Most of all have fun with it- and don’t be afraid to show your personality.
(Ex: Let’s Go Bulls! (Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks, Bears etc)

Getting More Business With #Zillow

Getting More Business With Zillow

Did you know that Zillow has a 90% non-duplicated audience?  This means that consumers search Zillow by going directly to Zillow, and use it as their primary searching resource.    If you have not registered with Zillow and claimed your listings, this means that there is a possibility someone else is gaining the lead from them.

Zillow allows Realtors to register with their site for free and claim their listings.

Watch the video below and see how you may be potentially missing out on leads from your listings:

Are The Pictures You Take Hurting The Exposure of Your Listing?

Every once in a while, when I am looking over a file that one of my agents has turned in, or I’m looking up an address on MLS, I will flip through the pictures posted on MLS for the property.  I wanted to use todays blog segment to address the most common mistakes I have seen when putting up your pictures for the properties Virtual Tour.  These things could potentially be detering buyers from your listing.  Numerous studies, articles, and speakers, have repeatedly informed us that most buyers shop online multiple times before finally contacting a realtor about a property.  The online virtual tour is key to generating interest about your listing.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking pictures of your listings:
#1.  Using Appropriately Sized Pictures-  I can’t tell you how many times I have come across pictures that are thumbnail size.  If I can’t  make out what the picture is supposed to be, prospective buyers can’t either.  Most likely they are sailing right past your listing and moving on.
#2.  Not Having Enough Pictures-  Listings that have only one picture get passed by,  as previously stated, potential clients are shopping online long before picking up the phone.  Don’t you want them to have incentive to linger over your listing a bit longer?  They want to see what they are buying from the inside as well.
#3  Having Too Many Pictures  –  I’m sure that your clients rose bushes are charming, and chandelier that is hanging in the foyer is simply stunning; however, most prospective buyers don’t need to see the minutae.  Try targeting your photos in a broader scale.  Showcase the bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, front of the house and the back of the house.  If there are selling points you find particularly spectacular (like the floor to ceiling cabinets in the garage)- showcase those as well.  Leave the rest for them to discover when they view your home in person.   Remember, you are selling the rooms of the house, not the owners decorative style or furniture.
#5  Improper Balance of Pictures –  Be sure to have a combination of pictures of the outside and inside.  Showcasing just the outside of the house or just the inside of the house does not provide prospects with a well rounded view.
#6  Pictures That Are Too Dark –  Dark pictures not only impede a buyers ability to get a sense of the room, but also could hinder a prospects opinions of the rooms.  When taking pictures, be sure to make the areas as well lit as possible.  If this means opening up the blinds, turning on all the lights in the room, and using your flash-  do so.  Additionally,  most computers come with Photo Editing Software.  If a picture comes out darker than expected, try using the “Brightener”  setting in your photo editing software.
#7.  Pictures Taken Into the Light  –  If you are taking pictures in a well lit/sunny room, take pictures with your back to the brightest source of light.  The glare from bright light sources can make pictures look over exposed and draw the focus away from the main features of the picture.
#8  Pictures That Are Not To Scale –  When walking into a room to take a picture-  make sure that your camera is at it’s most neutral setting (Neither zoomed in, or expanded)  and get a few shots from each angle.  I have seen many pictures of a kitchen where half the fridge and cabinets are showing, because the camera was zoomed in too close.   When taking pictures, think about how best to showcase the room-  and shoot from multiple locations-  and pick the best shots once they have all been downloaded onto your computer. .
#9 Pictures That Are Out of Focus-  Most cameras these days have such a high Megapixel count that they take a while to completely focus in and absorb everything in the shot.  Rapid fire shooting results in blurred pictures.  When taking a picture, wait a few more seconds to allow the camera to auto focus before taking the picture.
#10 –  Keeping the Pictures “Fresh”-  Especially the outside ones.  If you took a listing in the Winter – as soon as Spring comes, take a new picture and update.  Otherwise, you risk unknowingly revealing to potentials buyers how long the property has been sitting on the market.
These days, with technology rapidly advancing, our culture has become reliant on visual engagement.  As Realtors, we can service our customers best, when we remain focused on how best to position their homes for maximum exposure and the quickest sale.
Every once in a while, when I am looking over a file that one of my agents has turned in, or I’m looking up an address on MLS, I will flip through the pictures posted on MLS for the property.  I wanted to use todays blog segment to address the most common mistakes I have seen when putting up your pictures for the properties Virtual Tour.  These things could potentially be detering buyers from your listing.  Numerous studies, articles, and speakers, have repeatedly informed us that most buyers shop online multiple times before finally contacting a realtor about a property.  The online virtual tour is key to generating interest about your listing.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking pictures of your listings:
#1.  Using Appropriately Sized Pictures–  I can’t tell you how many times I have come across pictures that are thumbnail size.  If I can’t  make out what the picture is supposed to be, prospective buyers can’t either.  Most likely they are sailing right past your listing and moving on.
#2.  Not Having Enough Pictures–  Listings that have only one picture get passed by,  as previously stated, potential clients are shopping online long before picking up the phone.  Don’t you want them to have incentive to linger over your listing a bit longer?  They want to see what they are buying from the inside as well.
#3  Having Too Many Pictures –  I’m sure that your clients rose bushes are charming, and chandelier that is hanging in the foyer is simply stunning; however, most prospective buyers don’t need to see the minutae.  Try targeting your photos in a broader scale.  Showcase the bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, front of the house and the back of the house.  If there are selling points you find particularly spectacular (like the floor to ceiling cabinets in the garage)- showcase those as well.  Leave the rest for them to discover when they view your home in person.   Remember, you are selling the rooms of the house, not the owners decorative style or furniture.
#4  Improper Balance of Pictures –  Be sure to have a combination of pictures of the outside and inside.  Showcasing just the outside of the house or just the inside of the house does not provide prospects with a well rounded view.
#5  Pictures That Are Too Dark –  Dark pictures not only impede a buyers ability to get a sense of the room, but also could hinder a prospects opinions of the rooms.  When taking pictures, be sure to make the areas as well lit as possible.  If this means opening up the blinds, turning on all the lights in the room, and using your flash-  do so.  Additionally,  most computers come with Photo Editing Software.  If a picture comes out darker than expected, try using the “Contrast” or “Brighten”  setting in your photo editing software.
#6.  Pictures Taken Into the Light –  If you are taking pictures in a well lit/sunny room, take pictures with your back to the brightest source of light.  The glare from bright light sources can make pictures look over exposed and draw the focus away from the main features of the picture.
#7  Pictures That Are Not To Scale –  When walking into a room to take a picture-  make sure that your camera is at it’s most neutral setting (Neither zoomed in, or expanded)  and get a few shots from each angle.  I have seen many pictures of a kitchen where half the fridge and cabinets are showing, because the camera was zoomed in too close.   When taking pictures, think about how best to showcase the room-  and shoot from multiple locations-  and pick the best shots once they have all been downloaded onto your computer.
#8  Pictures That Are Out of Focus–  Most cameras these days have such a high Megapixel count that they take a while to completely focus in and absorb everything in the shot.  Rapid fire shooting results in blurred pictures.  When taking a picture, wait a few more seconds to allow the camera to auto focus before taking the picture.
#9 Showcasing Too Much of The Owners “Stuff” –  The main feature is the house. It’s bones. It’s rooms etc.  Try to get as little as the owners possessions in the pictures as possible.  Granted this is not always the easiest thing to do, but even asthetics aside, you don’t want to broadcast the fact that the owner has an abundance of AV equipment or a room full of expensive computer equipment either.
#10 –  Keeping the Pictures “Fresh”–  Especially the outside ones.  If you took a listing in the Winter – as soon as Spring comes, take a new picture and update.  Otherwise, you risk unknowingly revealing to potentials buyers how long the property has been sitting on the market.
These days, with technology rapidly advancing, our culture has become reliant on visual engagement.  As Realtors, we can service our customers best, when we remain focused on how best to position their homes for maximum exposure and the quickest sale.

Staying Connected to Your Clients #SOC

We’ve spent a lot of time lately discussing how to stay virtually connected to clients and prospects, but I still firmly believe that nothing “I’ve Been Thinking About You”  better than a good old fashioned stamped & mailed card.  I don’t  mean a traditional mailer that you do once a year to all your clients with a magnet or calendar on it, but a card sent out, especially for them.  Be it, on the anniversary of their home purchase (always a popular one)  or perhaps you know (through social media maybe)  when their birthday or wedding anniversary is –  sending out a card keeps you top of mind with your past clients (or  even ones who have worked with you, but have taken some time off from searching for a while).

I use a company called  www.cardswithgifts.com  which is a fabulous and affordable tool to have in any business that utilizes maintaining past customers.  In addition to being able to maintain contacts, and keep their important dates on your calendar,  you can also manage campaigns (sending out the same postcard or card to multiple people), and- what I think is best of all-  create your own personalized cards with pictures.  You can send ala carte cards for $2.99 (including uploading pictures)  or purchase an account for as low as $100.

Personally, I feel it is a $100 investment well spent, because the types of cards you can create really stand out in people’s minds.  I use it both personally and professionally, and I always have people commenting on how great the cards they receive are.     Check it out, it definitely is an excellent investment.

A Profile of Today’s Consumer

Recently, with the technology boom  and the integration of social media, today’s consumer is marketedly different than they were say, ten- or even- five years ago.  The role of a Realtor has shifted from “Sales Person” to Trusted Advisor & Collaborator.

This is a consumer centric era, and Realtors will need to adapt to what consumers are looking for.  Agents no longer can sit at their desks in their office and wait for prospects to come in.  This is the time that Realtors need to navigate their own way through the market, and take command of the things that you can control.

Of consumers today:

  • 84% text from their cell phones
  • 78% use some form of social media – and may incorporate more than one form
  • 66% utilize mobile web
  • 57% download and use mobile apps
  • 86% will pay more if they like a product or service

What does this mean for you?   Agents need to embrace the way that business needs to be done today.  We live in a technological word, and you need to stay abreast of advances in technologies and determine which would be most beneficial for you and your business.

Focus on your branding strategy.  Agents need to veer away from generalist marketing and really focus on branding themselves as a Neighborhood or Community Specialist.

Of recent buyers, according to an industry poll:

  • They are accustomed and familiar with free technology
  • Office Space is no longer important to them.
  • They are working with an Agent because of the agent’s reputation, not because of the name of the company they work for.
  • They pick companies where Service Excellence is built into the DNA of the company
  • Aggressively use Social Media and Social Technology

What does this mean for you, the Realtor?  First, you can be confident in making smart decisions for your Real Estate business.  If you have wanted to switch brokerage companies, but have been afraid of the impact of the change, rest assured the company name means little to the client.  Secondly, going the extra mile for a client is becoming increasingly key.  Business wide (not just industry specific) new marketing campaigns from Fortune 500 companies to Mom and Pop shops, is about surprising and delighting a customer to ensure repeat business.  Third, you must have a social media presence.  Many consumers are searching the internet and doing research long before they ever pick up a phone to call a Realtor.  Be sure that your name is one that they see.

If social media perplexes you, spend down time at open houses between prospects to sit down and scope out the different avenues of social media, and of course, keep checking back to our blog for updates on social media tools.

Post is provided by:  Charles Rutenberg Realty