Home Sweet Home – TV Spot Debut

We all know what it feels like to be home. Not in your physical location, but truly “at home.”  That is what the new Coldwell Banker TV spot conveys with the help of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home.”

The commercial officially debuts during the Grammys airing on Sunday, January 26th at 8 p.m. on CBS. To join the Twitter party, follow us and use the hashtag #HomeRocks. Tweet us what you think!

25 Content Ideas for Your Real Estate Blog

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist

SMD_OHIO_January-1-25-blog-ideasYou are starting to blog – now what? Generating topic ideas is half the battle, so we brainstormed and created a list of possibilities.Remember, blogs don’t need to be long… just full of useful, sharable content.

Click here to download our entire Social Media Digest for January, including an article on Google+ in 2014.

1. Answer a real estate question you’ve been asked
2. Analyze local market updates
3. Create a video blog instead of writing
4. How-tos for buying, selling, staging, etc
5. What to do before you buy/sell
6. Mortgage facts
7. Neighborhood updates and things to doblurb
8. Neighborhood history
9. Story about buying
10. Story about selling
11. Beautiful photos of a home
12. Design inspiration
13. DIY home ideas
14. Your local community organizations/charities
15. Video tour of neighborhood or property
16. Why you became a real estate agent
17. Local business profile
18. Tips to buying a foreclosure or short sale
19. Final walkthrough tips
20. Home safety tips
21. Types of mortgages
22. Down payment Q&A
23. Favorite local shops
24. Home maintenance tips
25. Kid or pet-friendly housing ideas

SMD_CBRB_January-1-SMALLClick here to download our entire Social Media Digest for January, including an article on Google+ in 2014.

Behind the Scenes TV Shoot – Day 1

We’ll be unveiling some of the fun behind the scenes videos from our 2014 commercial shoot. The first 2014 ad will be running during the Grammy Awards on January 29th and is called “Home Sweet Home.”

The video above is from Day 1 of the commercial shoot in Santiago, Chile in December. Check out the video and watch for updates on Twitter, Facebook or this blog.

PS. You can get involved in the fun by using #HomeRocks in your tweets/posts.  

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.

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.

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.

Google Authorship: Your Picture in Search Results

Google Authorship

We’ve all seen it. You Google something and magically a person’s image appears by an article, website or blog. Now, your photo could pop up by your listings in the search results if you set up Google Authorship.

Why set up Google Authorship?

  1. It gets you noticed. Photos catch the eye and increase visibility and clicks.
  2. Content claimed by an author is viewed as more credible than unclaimed content.
  3. Most people and/or companies haven’t set up Google Authorship yet. So break through the clutter.
  4. People trust a friendly face. Get your face in search results.
  5. Google Authorship can improve clicks by 30 to 150%! (Source: Catalyst)

Once you’ve set it up, Google automatically displays your image by any content you have authored.

Click here for a tutorial on how to set up Google Authorship.

SMD-RES-NOV_p1Please note: it may take Google a couple hours or a several weeks to show your image.

Click here to download the entire Social Media Digest for November. 

Videolicious: Create and Share Your Own Property Videos

Videolicious & Coldwell Banker

Videolicious is now available to Coldwell Banker agents for free. This branded version, includes unlimited video length, unlimited photos or video clips, full music library and branded ending shot.

1. Download the Videolicious App to your iPad or iPhone. Open the app, sign in (using your Coldwell Banker email address). If you have problems signing in, email Videolicious@ColdwellBanker.com.

2. Choose your photos and/or video clips.

3. Tell your story. You can now narrate the video, clicking on images to the right
as you talk.

4. Select your music and the sound level from tons of musical selections.

5. Now share your video via email, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or FTP, all at the touch of a button.

SMD-RES-NOV_p1Watch the video below for a brief overview of this new tool. 

Click here to read our full November Social Media Digest.

The New Generation of Homebuyers

Guest blogger: Brooke Balco, Communications Specialist

Brooke Balco

Brooke Balco

According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, millennial homebuyers are on the rise, currently accounting for 28% of today’s buyers!  That is only 3% behind Gen X, the age group that accounts for the largest group of buyers.    And the good news according to the study is that this new generation is giving a boost to the housing market with a optimism that hasn’t been seen in years.

Buyers under the age of 32 were more confident than any other age group that their recent home purchase was a good financial investment.  This makes you wonder what influences their decisions when it comes to purchasing their first home and what do they consider a good investment compared to older generations? Here were some of the most interesting (and some surprising) findings:

  • Surprisingly, millennials typically bought homes built around 1986, nearly a decade older than the homes typically bought by the Silent Generation (age 67-87).
  • Younger buyers had a tendency to stay closer to their previous residence, often staying within 10 miles.  Older buyers generally moved more than 20 miles from their previous home.
  • Younger buyers cited the reason for buying a home was the desire to own a home of their own whereas older buyers wanted to be closer to family and friends.
  • Millennials tended to make more compromises with their home purchase than any other generation. They most often conceded on the price and size of the home, lot size, distance from job and style of home; whereas nearly half of Older Boomer and Silent Generation buyers made no compromises on their recent home purchase.

What remained the same across all generations was that buyers gained many benefits from working with a real estate professional. There were some differences however in how they chose an agent.  Younger generations chose agent’s that displayed honesty and trustworthiness, while older generations were more concerned with experience level and knowledge of neighborhoods.

Screech, Screech, Screech…The Sound of Listings Being Scraped

Scraping Listings Guest blogger: Derek Light, Manager, E-Marketing 

Derek Light

Derek Light

Ever been surfing Craigslist or Hotpads and see a familiar listing with an unfamiliar name?  Scraping or stealing listing information, is a problem that seems to ebb and flow with the market.  Scraping seemed to fly under the radar over the past few years but has come back as the real estate market heated up over the last few months.  I want to take a look at few components of scraping, why people do it, if it’s legal and what you can do about it.

Why would anyone want the data?

I wouldn’t be writing about this if the data didn’t have any value.  The reason an agent or brokerage would scrap active listings would be to promote/market, make themselves seem more legitimate and/or get on the buy side of the transaction. Secondly I see listings that are off market and being advertised as for rent.  These listings are typically undervalued for the market; the scam is to get someone to put up a deposit.  Finally people selling homes are valuable to businesses that offer ancillary services.  This kind of scraping isn’t visible and I’ve never heard anyone voice concern over this (please correct me if I’m wrong on this one).

Is it legal to scrap listing data?

Parts of listings are factual and not proprietary, so by rule scraping of all data isn’t necessarily prohibited.  However courts have ruled in a case that pitted Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota (Northstar MLS) vs. American Home Realty Network (NeighborCity.com) that photos and agent descriptions are proprietary.  While this seems obvious, this was the first case that properly dealt with issue and it was only last November.

The issues I deal with on a day to day basis are scraping of individual listings.  Not only is this a copyright violation but it also violates IDX rules as often the listing is not attributed back to the broker.   This type of scraping is often worse for the agent’s that are victims as they have to spend valuable time trying to get the listing down or explaining to a past client why someone is knocking on their door to rent.

Fighting Scrapers

While the widespread theft of listing data seems to be less of a problem now, it still exists and nothing is going to stop all of it.

MLS’s and brokers have been proactive creating defenses to prevent scraping and have better agreements in place with partners that have created such a large network of channels that the value has been diminished.

There are no silver bullets to keep you listings from being scraped.  Listing agents should be vigilant and set up alerts for all listings.  Should anything pop up you should go to the offending site and flag the listing immediately to minimize any damage.

I would love to learn from you guys!

Have any of your listings ever been scraped?

Do you have any recommendations on how to fight it?