Question answered: "Why would I spend money on listing marketing in a seller's market?"

Sign Rider In Front Of House Square With MLS Number 500pxWe call our home real estate market the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, as some of our employees live on the Peninsula, a few minutes from San Francisco, others along the Monterey Bay and our HQ is in Santa Cruz. This is a territory of 50+ miles radius with common real estate market characteristics of very limited real estate inventory and very high real estate prices (in absolute and relative terms). It's a seller's market.

One of the questions we hear over and over again is why would an agent spend money on listing marketing in a seller's market, when the property "sells itself" quickly anyways, if priced correctly? The answer is not obvious at first glance, but a bit of elaboration shows many distinct benefits of marketing listings aggressively even in seller's markets:

First and foremost: When you are selling a particular property, you are also using that activity to get positioned for your next transaction. Below is a quick list of the many ways you can utilize an existing listing for pushing your overall business forward:

  1. Impressing current seller can lead to listing referrals: We heard of many stories and saw it first hand how a proper listing marketing process impresses the current client, who will then be way more likely to refer you to friends and family. Just make sure that the seller knows that you invest in his marketing whether it's a seller market or not, and demonstrate all that you do for them online and offline.
  2. Impressing neighbors can lead to listing referrals: Listing marketing technologies used at the house, including for example our RealBird SMS text code marketing can make neighbors notice your efforts. In a seller's market where the perception is that anyone can sell a properly priced home, this may very well be the differentiator that you need to win the next listing. It makes you stand out of the crowd. Nothing is more convincing than professionals who walk the extra mile.
  3. Growing your buyer side business: The more private-labeled technology you provide with your listing marketing, the bigger the chances of double ending your transactions. While double ending transactions may or may not be part of your business practice, getting buyer leads while selling a property ensures a healthy lead pipeline for future transactions by growing your prospective buyers database.

So how exactly does RealBird's technology help you in a sellers' market:

  1. Create single property websites for your current and past properties to impress the current seller and build and compound your online footprint. Make sure you let your seller know about it and share it with neighbors too, if possible.
  2. Syndicate and market your listings via social media and with listing widgets using the RealBird all-in-one toolkit
  3. Use our new all-inclusive Homes By SMS sign riders in front of your current property for sale and provide SMS mobile access to property information. You will impress your current seller, the neighbors and can capture buyer leads for future transactions during, before and after business hours. Automatically, 24/7.

We'll be writing more "Questions answered" type posts in the future, but we thought highlighting the benefits of listing marketing on a seller's market might be a good start. What do you think? 

Should you have questions about the new Homes By SMS text code marketing service for listing promotions and buyer and seller prospecting, please don't hesitate to contact us.

-- The RealBird Team


Homes By SMS now works with your existing IDX website

Sherrie Snideman Photo
Homes By SMS
- our all-inclusive buyer prospecting text code marketing service - can be configured with your existing IDX search service, in most cases.

As a quick overview: Homes By SMS allows you to provide a mobile home search tool to prospective buyers, going through a texting interface. You can use different call-to-action messages on print flyers, sign riders, postcards, sweepstakes and online landing pages, asking home buyers to text a location to your dedicated SMS phone numbers. The system then returns them a link to the search results and captures their contact information for your CRM, right away, at first interaction.

As an example, see the current capabilities of the Homes By SMS implementation for Sherrie Snideman's (of Century 21 Everest Realty Group in Midvale, UT)

Her website at UtahHomeDetective.com has its own IDX search feature and we configured her Homes By SMS service to handle the following location and keyword types, directing home buyers to deep linked result pages on her own site:

  1. City – home buyers can text any cities to the Homes By SMS phone number
  2. Zip code – similar to the city search but more targeted search result is provided
  3. Neighborhood – neighborhood search is a great option for seller prospecting via postcards for example. Just ask them to text their neighborhood’s name to your Homes By SMS phone number and see what nearby homes are selling for
  4. Full address lookup – buyers can look up properties on the MLS using the full address
  5. MLS Number lookup – buyers can look up properties by their MLS number

As with the rest of the Homes By SMS implementations, the setup fee includes a free sign rider and 50 free postcards to jumpstart the marketing.The monthly fee includes the texting/SMS messaging costs for up to 100 leads each months ! It's all-inclusive and you can get started right away.

Learn more about RealBird's Homes By SMS service and ask for a demo

 

 


6 Ways to Convert Your Garage Into More Living Space - Guest Post by Houzz on RealBird

In a recent Ideabook we addressed the need for some of us to accommodate our "boomerang" children and aging parents. In that piece we addressed converting attics and basements into more living space in a home. There are, however, some houses that don't have basements (for example, homes in Florida) or where the attic can't be converted to living space for a variety of reasons (the roof pitch may be too shallow to allow for adequate head room). But there are many houses with either attached or detached garages, and these garages can be turned to very nice living areas. In fact, there are 1940s and 1950s-era houses with single-car garages that beckon to be transformed into something livable. Whether you'd like an extra bedroom, home office, music room, craft room, playroom or some other living space, these garages can be ideal candidates. As with any such project, you'll want to make sure that the converted garage will have enough light and space, comply with local ordinances and building codes as well as be warm in winter and cool in summer. As always, consult with a qualified professional before undertaking such a project. Related: Find an Award-Winning Architect Near You

Modern-kitchen-2
 

1. The floor. A converted garage is made into a bright and spacious living space. The new concrete floor is raised above street level to keep water out of the interior.

More often than not, the existing garage floor concrete slab is sloped, cracked and quite a bit lower than the house floor. So converting a garage to living space usually requires installing a new floor structure. There are several options for doing this. One is to build up a wood framed floor that aligns with the floor in the main house. Another is to install a wood framed or concrete floor that is a step or two down from the main house (as in the sketch above). An advantage to installing a concrete “topping slab” over the existing floor is that a radiant heating system can be installed within the concrete.

2. The opening. When converting a garage to livable space, there's always the issue of what to do with the garage door opening. Because this opening and the garage doors have such a large impact on the overall look of the house, it makes sense to fill the opening with a large-scale element. For example, a good solution is to keep a garage door in the opening while making sure the door is weather tight. This is the approach taken in the next photo.

Standard carriage-style garage doors are also good options, as they can be a featured element on the interior while maintaining the original garage look on the exterior.

Another approach is to have large windows or doors fill the opening. Something like these large folding glass doors can be a good option provided there’s a fit with the overall aesthetics of the exterior. Related: When and Why to Use Pocket Doors

3. Windows. Additional windows will more than likely have to be installed, as garages typically have few, if any, windows. It's important to check and comply with any local building codes and ordinances when sizing and locating these new windows.

4. Additional plumbing. Adding a kitchen or bathroom to a garage conversion can be difficult because tying into the existing plumbing lines is problematic. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be done as, say, an additional bathroom is always a nice amenity to have. So investigating ways (such as building up the floor to provide a space for plumbing pipes) to overcome the technical difficulties is well worth doing.

Some reworking of the exterior walls with full-height glass windows and doors leaves no trace of the original garage space in this conversion.

This master suite with a new bathroom occupies what was once a large garage. The addition of a the gas fireplace certainly makes the room special. And having the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom makes for a nice master or guest suite.

5. Ceiling height. Though the type of framing used at the garage roof will dictate what can be done economically, increasing the height of the ceiling is a possibility if the garage is free standing or has no second floor above it. A vaulted ceiling, as in the next photo, will certainly add to the room's overall spaciousness.

A converted garage keeps the vaulted ceiling for spaciousness while various architectural elements such as the ridge beam increase the room's character.

6. Temperature control. And don't forget that the new living area will need to be heated and cooled. Depending on the size of the area and its location, you may not be able to use the existing "central" heating and cooling system. Mini split systems can be good options if this is the case. This post was written by Bud Dietrich AIA, Houzz and posted by RealBird with permission.


The Most Important Tool for Rental Marketing on Open Listing Markets Is...

 

Open Rental Listings Marketing

The most important tool for rental marketing on open listing markets is the one that let you capture the leads contact information at the first interaction. Our recent post on Homes By SMS explains the value of lead capture early in the process with SMS text code marketing, and how it is crucial with open rental listings, where many can represent a property and compete for the business.

You can read the full post and get started on that blog, but here is a quick overviews:

Homes By SMS allows you to provide access to your home search application (rental searches in this particular use case) via text messaging. The main benefit for you is that you capture the lead at the very beginning of the search process, at the first interaction; and for your prospective clients the option provides a convenient way to easily start their search by simply texting (at places where that's the most convenient interaction)

In open listing rental markets, having access to lead information including name, email, demographics via the advanced caller ID option can be the difference between lead turned into a client and lead being lost.

Homes By SMS can integrate with the different RealBird search options (IDX, national search etc.) but it can be also set up to work with your existing search engine and application. We'll have more post about one of our recent custom search integrations, but you can get started with Homes By SMS with one of the many search engines it already supports.

-- The RealBird Team


10 Pro Tips for Home Photography That Makes an Impression - Guest Post by Houzz

So much living happens in a home that we can easily forget its beauty and character outside of daily routines. The house is nearly living too, as history and relationships are encoded in the personal world that those who live there have created. In photographing our homes, we’re invited to view the familiar with fresh eyes and capture the dynamics of our environment. We can observe color and texture, light and shadow, the flow of spaces and the way that people move, feel and express themselves in them to capture meaningful and lasting impressions. Whatever camera you’re using, you can take beautiful and compelling images that reflect the spirit and nature of your home and life. Here are 10 tips to help you take your photos to the next level. Related: Get More Pro Tips from Nearby Home Staging Companies

1. Read the light. Observe how the light changes in different rooms over the day and into the night. Highlights draw the eye, and shadows can reveal depth and dimension, but if either is too dominant, you might be missing details that are desirable. Adjust the blinds or curtains; look at the effect of lights on and off. Experiment with the camera’s settings to find an exposure and a look that feel good for you. Try mixed light sources — cool/warm, sunlight/tungsten or sunlight/flash. So much is possible, and there is no right or wrong.

2. Experiment with composition. Experiment with wider shots and closer shots. Look from a different angle. Consider visual harmonies and curiosities in color, lines and texture. Can you vary the focus to bring attention to different aspects? Depending on your objectives, you may settle on a consistent look and tone, or choose to vary it.

3. Move! Don’t be afraid to move around the space and subject to see things differently — crouch, lean, perch, lie down, stand closer or farther away. Think big, small and sideways.

4. Look through to a room and see around it. For a more documentary feel, try looking from outside the space you’re photographing — for instance, from a hallway or through a window. This can yield interesting results, creating frames within frames and greater dimensionality. Related: Top Strategies for Arranging Living Room Furniture

5. Don’t be a slave to symmetry. The mind naturally prefers symmetrical images, in which the elements are even and in balance. However, consciously working against symmetry or offsetting it, particularly in medium-distance or closer shots, can be interesting and bring more of your way of seeing to the home and pictures.

6. Think about image resolution. Consider what you would like the images to do. Do you want to print them? Frame or publish? Are they only for electronic and social media? The higher the initial photo resolution, the more options you will have for better image quality across a variety of media.

7. Consider the environment and people. What surrounds a subject in a photograph can express a lot about them; it is a kind of dialogue. Think about how the immediate environment or location relates to the person you’re photographing and what kind of background and detail would be most meaningful (or entertaining).

8. Create ease with portraits. One of the lovely aspects of photographing people in their own home is the familiarity they feel in their surroundings. Nevertheless, not everyone is comfortable with a camera fixed on them. Encouraging your subjects to talk about something of interest (camera in hand) can help minimize their self-consciousness in the case of a posed portrait. Often the more natural, personal moments come when someone’s attention is elsewhere for a moment. Be ready to capture those moments.

9. Observe things as they happen. Photographing people engaged in activities, movements or interactions can produce the most candid and telling portraits and stories. Whether people are working, playing, cooking or socializing, the stuff of daily life is rich and revealing. For greater depth and complexity, you can vary your perspectives to tell more of a story with a mix of wider establishing shots, observational portraits and closer shots and “cutaways” of particular details: a glass in the hand, vegetables being chopped, the fire burning brightly.

10. Remember the pets. If you have them, you already know: Animals are as much a part of the life in a home as people. It’s not easy to “direct” your pets, but you have a personal relationship with them and the benefit of their trust. And you know their routines and favorite places. There are many natural scenes between pets and people in the course of each day. And if your dog or cat (or pig or ferret) wanders unexpectedly through the frame, go with it. They are a part of it all. Related: Bring Nature into Your Photos With a Birdhouse

The post was written by Niobe Syme, Houzz and posted by RealBird with permission