Tips for Facebook Ads in Real Estate

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center

Tips for Creating Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are a valuable tool for businesses. They are a cost effective way (Facebook is great for small budgets) to target advertising to a very specific audience and drive brand awareness.

Set a goal and strategy.
What are you promoting? Your website, listing or Facebook business page? When someone clicks on the ad where will they go? Sending a customer to a landing page, where you gather contact information is ideal. Sending a customer to a video of your listing or your listing on your branded website is also effective.

This blog is an excerpt from our Social Media Digest, click here to read the entire December edition.

Target your audience.
Facebook allows you to target your ads according to location, age, gender, precise interests, etc. Choosing a city with a radius or zip codes allows you to narrow
the audience.

Test pictures.
A great image may be the reason a client clicks your ad. Facebook allows up to 6 pictures for 1 ad. Don’t be afraid to upload multiple images. When Facebook sees that one is getting a better response, it automatically pushes that ad more often.

Set a time and budget.
Select a lifetime or daily budget. Start small – $2/day or $25 for the lifetime of the campaign. Then schedule your ad for a specific time period. Click here to create a Facebook ad.

Click here to read our entire Social Media Digest for December, covering Facebook Ads and 2014 Social Media Trends.

Last Minute Shopping Made Easy

Last Minute Shopping Made EasyBy Brooke Balco, Communications Specialist, Regional Support Center

Are you, like myself, a perpetual procrastinator when it comes to gift giving? If the answer is yes then you are probably planning your last minute and incredibly annoying trip to the mall as we speak.  Save yourself the trip (and the headache) with my brilliant gift ideas that will have your friends and family thinking that you put months’ worth of thought in to. My gift to you – the internet!

  • Magazine subscription – For an incredibly reasonable price this gift extends for a full year and can be personalized to any person on your list based on their hobbies and interests.  Dad will love receiving Golf Digest, mom will thank you for Good Housekeeping and your soon to be married daughter will get much use out of Modern Bride in the year to come.  And the real beauty of it is that all it takes is a click of the mouse.
  • Charitable donation – Tis’ the season for helping others.  A perfect gift is one that keeps giving and now websites like World Vision make it easy to honor someone special with a life changing gift in their name.  Some options include providing clothing to poverty stricken children and providing medicine to countries in need.  The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Charitable Foundation is another great option to support Chicago’s local communities.  By making a donation on, all proceeds will be used to impact Coldwell Banker’s housing related charity partners. 
  • Tickets to hot event – Sometimes an experience is even better than opening a physical gift, which is why providing an evening of fun is the perfect gift choice for someone who likes to explore and be out and about.  Try tickets to a sporting event, concert or the theatre for the special couple in your life.

These are 3 easy solutions to your last minute gifting glitches.  All you need for success is a computer, internet and a credit card – and you can do it all from the comfort of your pajamas.  Happy holidays!

#Flashback Friday: Growing up in a Gingerbread House

#FlashbackFriday Growing Up in a Gingerbread HouseBy Amy Eiduke, Director, Marketing Communications, Regional Support Center

Ok, so I didn’t really grow up in a gingerbread house, but I often had friends say that’s what it looked like. I only knew it as home – a place where I felt safe, cared for and loved – a place I treasured.

gingerbread houseBut, as I was decorating a real gingerbread house with my sons this weekend, and then began looking through old photos, I realized that in many ways my childhood home was quite similar to a gingerbread house:

  • My parents were constantly improving, enhancing and decorating our home to make it feel welcome and homey. The house they bought when I was 1-year-old looks quite different than the house they sold 30 years later.
  • Instead of candy adoring the windows we had beautiful flowers, trees and landscaping. In fact, it was so lovely I took the majority of my wedding photos in our backyard.
  • Much like with gingerbread, we had some pieces that broke once in a while – but with a little bit of icing and glue it was made whole once again.
  • A gingerbread house brings joy and happiness around the holidays. My brother and I have wonderful Christmas memories at our house:  Annually decorating the entire place the day after Thanksgiving, hosting festive gatherings, and when we arrived home from visiting out-of-town family we found Santa had filled our stockings while we were away.
  • Finally, my childhood home was fun! From playing basketball and running bases to hanging out with friends to making homemade cookies to snuggling with our dogs and cat to simply enjoying family time there are so many amazing memories I can’t even begin to name them all.

While my house today looks nothing like a gingerbread house, I can only hope to create the same incredible memories for my two boys that I was lucky enough to enjoy in my own personal gingerbread house. Happy holidays! 

Multiple Generations Under One Roof

By Lana Simon, Communications Specialist, Regional Support Center

Have you noticed larger families in your neighborhood? That long-gone college grad is back across the street, and grandma’s moved in, too. The older couple next door has a full house – their son, his wife and two kids. A growing number of homes consist of a wide-ranging blend of age groups and family circumstances. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 14 percent of recent buyers purchased a home for a multigenerational household — a home that had adult siblings, adult children, parents, and/or grandparents in the household. One-quarter of these homes were bought because children over the age of 18 were moving back into the home and for cost savings. One of five multigenerational households purchased because of health reasons and care-taking of aging parents, while 1 in 10 purchase this type of home to spend more time with aging parents.

Helpful Hints:

  • Buyers must be clear about their exact needs. Some families may just want an extra bedroom or two for family members, while others require areas with a separate kitchen, entrance, handicap accessibility or even a larger garage. Desired location may also be influenced by proximity to local hospitals, senior centers or other important activities to family members.
  • Extended families purchasing a home together should consider signing a written contract outlining everything from finances to chores and childcare. Each family should assess their situation individually and find a plan that works best for them.
  • Sellers with “mother in-law suites” or additional spaces that could accommodate a multi-generational living arrangement should highlight this feature. Whether it’s a garage apartment or refurbished basement, this separate space can help the home stand apart from the others.

Check out these homes that would make great multigenerational homes:

This private retreat near Holy Hill in Erin, WI listed by Margaret O’Leary  boasts an entire guest or in-law wing! This special guest space is actually a 700+ square feet attached wing with private front entrance, beamed cathedral ceiling and bay windows.

This gorgeous Woodridge, IL home listed by Alice Chin of our Naperville office, is a perfect example of living space that can be used in a variety of ways. The first floor has a bedroom with an attached full bath, perfect for an in-law suite. Or if you could create an entirely separate living space in the finished basement that includes an area that could be easily transformed into a kitchenette.

Escape the Cold – Warm Vacation Homes

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center

Have you ever thought about a second home? A warm place to escape the Midwest winters for a little while? Did you realize your local Coldwell Banker real estate agent can help you find that vacation home? Some agents even specialize in properties in these exotic locals.

Check out these warm weather dream vacation homes that could thaw out your winter blues: 

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands – Listed by Jed Skae

Oil Nut Bay is a family community located along the Caribbean Sea on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda in the Birtish Virgin Islands. Spanning across 300 acres of land in eight distinctive neighborhoods are 88 luxury homes, each one uniquely designed to give the resort experience within a private setting.

“I am proud to represent a development of this caliber,” said Jed Skae a broker in our Lakeview office. “This is a great opportunity to introduce local buyers to Oil Nut Bay and all that the community has to offer, and I’m confident that Chicagoans will be drawn to the lifestyle of the British Virgin Islands.  In fact, just in the past year there have been four buyers in the development from the Midwest.”

Jamaica is known for the warmth of it’s people, lush interiors full of waterfalls, mountains and rivers…and of course beautiful beaches. Villa Lolita in Hanover, Jamaica is a stunning five-star, premier rated villa. With it’s modern design and luxurious furnishings, it has been awarded Villa of the Year for the last three years. Designed by Chicago architect Tom Reed, it sits on almost 4 acres of terraced lawns landscaped with tropical plants and coconut trees. It’s also just a short golf cart ride to the 18 hole golf course or one or the 9 tennis courts, club house and private beach. A truly luxury vacation home and destination.

Planning to stay stateside? Marco Island, FL was named one of the top 10 places to buy a vacation home in 2013 by MarketWatch. It’s white sandy beaches, sparkling waters and amazing golf are only a few of the draws to the largest island in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. This stunning home is located on one of the best golf course lots in Hideaway Beach. The estate setting has gorgeous panoramic views. An exquisite, spacious interior luxuriously finished with amazing attention to detail has three-bedrooms and plenty of room to entertain.

Where would your dream vacation home be located? 

#FlashbackFriday – Little House on S. High Street

By Derek Light, Manager, eMarketing

This is the house I lived in until I was eight. I can’t believe how tiny it was.  I was the Greatest American Hero and flew off of the front porch, that led to some stitches, I seemed so much taller then (theme).  You can’t see the backyard but it’s about three times the size of the front.  There was a metal swing set, lots of pine cones to step on with bare feet and lots of Spiderman webs to lose. There was a shed in the far back where a snake or frog of sort could always be found. My best friend lived next door, we played every day. His name is Chris, we keep up on Facebook but I haven’t seen him in years. I remember sneaking out of my room one Christmas and seeing so many toys, like the size of the house I’m sure it was smaller than my little boy mind imagined. My best memories are the times watching Monday Night Football laying in front of my dad pretending to hide so mom couldn’t put me to bed. As I write this and look at the house I’m overwhelmed with memories. It seems like a different lifetime.

Millennial Buyers and Baby Boomers

Today’s buyer profile is shifting and two demographic groups are emerging as interesting case studies – Millennial buyers and Baby Boomers.

Coldwell Banker Agent Gianna Burdi offers her perspective on these two growing buyer segments:

Millennial Buyers
According to recent report by the National Association of Realtors, millennial homebuyers (age 33 and younger or born 1980-2000) are on the rise, currently accounting for 28% of today’s buyers. Gianna has had personal experience dealing with millennial buyers and makes the following observations:

  • MillenialsMillennial buyers want to be “in town”, meaning close they want to be close to a town’s downtown area where they have easy access to public transportation, shopping and dining. “My last 10 transactions have all been with young buyers who are adamant about finding a home close to a downtown area,” said Burdi.
    • Millennial’s are very motivated when they look for a home and desire as much data as possible about the home, area and market to make the best informed choice. They are ready to make offers and aren’t hesitant to make multiple offers on several properties.
    • Typical for this demographic, a millennial buyer is very loyal and happy to provide word-of-mouth referrals when they have a good experience. They value wisdom and want to work with agents who have many years in the business.

Baby Boomers
This is one segment group that Gianna is very familiar with – not only is she selling to baby boomers, she also works with one every day – her mother (an agent as well) who is a baby boomer herself. She has been on both sides of the fence and offers the following insight:

  • Baby BoomersMany baby boomers have been in their homes for 20+ years and are unfamiliar with what buyers today are looking for in a home. They need to be willing to re-position their home to overcome some of today’s buyer’s major objectives.
  • For baby boomers, the home selling process is extremely emotional, whereas millennials view the process more as a transaction. “I’ve had a baby boomer client take up to 12 months to put their home on the market, even when they know they need to sell it and downsize. For them, it’s like leaving some of their most treasured memories,” said Burdi.
  • Similar to the millennials, many baby boomers are also looking for “in town” living options. As they downsize, they are looking primarily for townhomes and condos in a desirable downtown area where they can close access to a variety of entertainment and public transportation selections.

Quick Tips to Avoid the Winter Blues

Tips to Avoid the Winter BluesThere’s nothing more beautiful than a fresh blanket of snow outside, but let’s be honest – it’s even more beautiful when enjoying the view from your front window while cozied up to the fireplace. The dreadful gloom of winter weather can easily put a damper on your mood, but only if you let it. Instead, make some adjustments to the interior of your home to brighten up the space and bring it back to life. This can be especially crucial if you plan to put your home on the market. It will also give you an edge above the competition. Contrary to belief, the winter months still draw buyers to the market whether they’re relocating to a new city for a job or simply getting ahead of the spring market. 

These quick tips can help rid your home of the winter blues.

Amp up the lights: The natural light that once flooded your family room may be non-existent during this time of year, so create your own brightness. Try replacing your current light bulbs with higher wattage or hang an eye catching chandelier to replace standard ceiling lights.

A kitchen in bloom: A beautiful bouquet of flowers on the kitchen table can add the aroma of spring outdoors while adding color to a neutral palette. Paired with the right vase, this also makes for the perfect centerpiece.

Turn up the heat: When the temperature drops outside it’s time to turn up the heat indoors. One feature that is sure to blow the socks off of visitors is heated floors. If you’re looking for a more simple solution, try adding soft and plush floor rugs throughout your home.

Highlight upbeat hues: Adding a pop of color to a room can be like a ray of sunshine. Try finishing and painting an old piece of wood furniture, reupholstering an oversized arm chair or even painting an accent wall to get the desired results.

#FlashbackFriday: Home is Where the Grandparents Are

grandparentsBy Brooke Balco, Communications Specialist, Regional Support Center

Growing up I lived many places, everywhere from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Illinois and even all the way across the Atlantic in Paris, France. As I reflect back on my childhood and some of the best memories of my life, the one place that always stayed consistent to me that I could truly consider home was my grandparents’ house. “Grandpap” built the house from the ground up brick by brick with his own hands (I can’t tell you how many times I heard that line growing up!) in 1951 and lived there until the day he died. In rural Pennsylvania at the bottom of the steep hill and miles away from civilization, Grandma and Grandpap raised four daughters. Those four daughters all went on to have daughters of their own, and poor Grandpap was stuck with a house full of females for every holiday to come.

"my name will be cemented there forever...literally"

“my name will be cemented there forever…literally”

So many memories were formed at that house from the tractor rides through the woods, the Fourth of July pool parties and the dreadful creepy basement that my sister and I still had to accompany each other down to as adults. According to my oldest cousin the horse head statues on the walls moved and watched us sleep, which is a ridiculous lie that we somehow still believed to be true.

What was most special about the house was that it brought our spread out family together for good times– creepy basement and all. And although I never lived at that house at the bottom of the hill, my name will be cemented there forever…literally.

5 Questions A Seller Should Ask Before Signing a Contract

5 questions home sellers should askBy Colleen C. Wilcox,  Broker, CNS, CDPE – Hinsdale, IL.

What are the five questions sellers should ask before signing a contract with a potential buyer?

1. What evidence has been provided that the buyer is financially capable of closing the deal?

In the current market, approximately 10 percent of real estate deals fall through between the time of initially signing the contract and the transaction closing. The primary reason a deal falls through is due to the financing. Your realtor can call the buyer’s lender and talk to lender to find out how financially capable the buyers are and if they have the capacity to close.

2. Have I chosen an attorney that specializes in real estate?

Many people think that if they have a family member or friend who is an attorney that the person could just manage their home sale transaction because it’s a cheaper and easy option. However, in the current real estate climate where the deals are often times very complex, the legal aspect of the transaction is not as simple as in the past. In order to ensure that the transaction is handled correctly, you really need to hire an attorney that specializes in real estate law.

3. Do I really understand the risks of accepting contingencies? 

There are a variety of contingencies that could come into play in a real estate transaction. The riskiest one is accepting an offer that is contingent upon the potential buyer’s selling their home. This scenario is not a solid contract, but more of an “if then, maybe” situation. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to look at the house that the buyer is trying to sell to see if it’s priced right and whether other homes in their area are selling quickly. Another frequent contingency is when a buyer’s home has sold, but hasn’t closed which is less risky than the former. Finally, the most common contingency is the finance contingency where the buyers are contingent upon getting a mortgage. Determine with your family which contingencies you’re prepared to accept before placing your house on the market.

4. Have the items I want to exclude been written into the contract?

Take a tour through your home before you draft up a contract and make note of all of the items that you want to take with you including any items screwed into the wall or ceiling. Be sure to write these items as exclusions in your contract. Or take cherished items down before you even put your house on the market. If you wait until the attorney review period to negotiate exclusions it can sometimes be too late.

5. Do I know where I am going and have a plan to be out by the closing date?

While this question is pretty straight forward – it’s one that many people find themselves in if their home sells quicker than they anticipated. With the current real estate market, many well priced homes are receiving multiple offers with very eager buyers. You need to be prepared to close and move out of your home in as little as 45 days. Have a plan in place and start thinking well in advance of signing a contract about what an accelerated time-frame means for you and your family.