Translating the Language of Real Estate

Guest blogger: Matt Dobbe, Regional Marketing Coordinator, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Wisconsin Region

Funny bubble of real estate abbreviations

As someone new to the real estate industry, I’ve learned that buying a home is more than just bed and bath counts. It’s waterfront property, big yards, BICCs and a friendly neighborhood. It’s FSBOs, REOs and contracts and paperwork…A lot of paperwork.

It probably shouldn’t have surprised me, but I didn’t realize how much had to be signed, approved and permitted when buying or selling a home. I also didn’t know that all real estate agents were fluent in more than one language: The Language of Real Estate. The Language of Real Estate consists largely of acronyms and abbreviations and if you happen to be one who’s not fluent in Real Estate, deciphering what a certain acronym or term may mean can make it seem like you’re trying to crack a decades long real estate code; similar to Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code.

It took me a while to learn that FSBO meant ‘For Sale By Owner’ and that a short sale is a sale in which the sale price of a home will not cover the outstanding debt on it. Although I’m certainly not a master in the Language of Real Estate, I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to crack the Real Estate Code (without ever calling Tom Hanks).


If you’re like me, you feel a sense of accomplishment after you learn a new language. You feel how rewarding it can be to navigate yourself through a foreign land. If you’re an agent, helping a customer find the home of their dreams is even more rewarding. The smile on their face when they’ve finally signed all the paperwork, dotted the ‘i’s, crossed the ‘t’s and moved into their dream home…That’s the same in every language.

Here’s a link to our Glossary of Terms help in your translation. 

Focusing On Success…and Trulia

Arlyn Tratt Broker Arlyn Tratt is a second generation real estate broker who has found that using social media and Trulia has made an impact on his business. He’s been in the business since 1996 and has seen many changes. When the market was down, he took the time to study marketing and found that focus was the key to success. In this case, he’s focused on a channel, Trulia, and a niche market, Lease to Own. In doing so, Arlyn has received 29 leads so far through Trulia and is a VIP without paying a dime. You can pay to become a ‘Pro’ on Trulia, but he’s used interactions and feedback to earn points and increase exposure in their ‘Find A Pro’ directory.

Arlyn began by simply copying and pasting his LinkedIn recommendations to his Trulia account. The person who made the initial recommendation is sent a link where they approve the comment, they are not asked to sign up for anything. Next, Arlyn went through his Facebook and his old transactions to find emails of previous clients. He asked those clients for recommendations as well. That part takes a little more determination, but he now has 42 recommendations and over 1,000 profile views on Trulia. And that’s just the beginning.

He has also received leads through answering questions on Trulia’s discussion boards. Arlyn specializes in Lease to Own programs, so he answers questions that are emailed to him through Trulia which reference his niche. The comments not only lead back to the people who posted the question, but also spreads to potential clients who Google a question then find his answer and profile in an old discussion. In this way, that discussion will live on and keep drawing people to his profile.

The third way Arlyn uses Trulia to build his business is by checking-in to properties using their App. You simply check-in to a property from your phone, and it appears on your Trulia account under “Homes I’ve Toured.” Trulia also sends the check-ins to Twitter and Facebook. On Facebook he’s had several interactions where people have commented, liked or shared his check-in. He even had a friend on Facebook share check-in to his son who was moving to check out.

Arlyn is proof that if you choose one thing and focus on it, you can have success. What is that thing for you? Continues to Grow with a Focus on SEO

light_derek– Derek Light, eMarketing Manager

2012 was a great year for!  With sharp focus on SEO and an increasing interest in real estate from consumers our site continued to grow.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • Over 6.8 million visits, up over 62% from last year
  • Over 42 million page views, up nearly 30% over 2011
  • Visitors from 201 countries
  • Mobile traffic was up 292% and accounted for more than 20% of all visits
  • The iPad and iPhone accounted for 69% of the mobile visits

2013 will bring continued focus on SEO, the mobile experience and we’ll introduce HomeBase intouch to enhance our visitors’ experience.


– Derek Light, eMarketing Manager

This post has nothing to do with a rotund, bearded fellow but I couldn’t resist the title.  However, like the Jelly of the Month Club, SEO is the gift that keeps on giving all year long (Christmas Vacation fans will get the Cousin Eddy reference, if you don’t check it out here).

Anywho, we have pushed out a few SEO enhancements to the property detail pages that are working out.  Similar Listings were added to the right side of the page below the agent information. Nearby Listings, Recent Sales, Newest listings and Cities and Communities near the search location were added to the bottom of the page.  See below for the images. Read More

The Power of Video in Real Estate

– Emily Smith, Marketing Coordinator / Video Guru

By now it should be no surprise. Video is a powerful way to communicate, especially with the help of the internet and social media. Not only are people watching online videos more than ever before, but they are interacting with online videos by commenting and sharing them with their social networks. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, just imagine how much a video can be worth.

In real estate, online photos and text are the basis for explaining the features of a home fast and efficiently. But video, if done correctly, gives you a chance to convey more than just the facts and features, it can help you convey a lifestyle and connect to potential buyers on an even deeper level. Read More

Every Picture Tells a Story…

– Chris Haran, Director of Strategic Planning and Initiatives

…but online, it takes more than one. As agents, there is a natural inclination when you get a new listing to get it on the MLS as quickly as possible. So, maybe you run over, snap a quick exterior thinking, “I’ll get my professional shots done later.” Since you have your single photo, you upload that and the listing is now live for viewing on the MLS. Here is why that is a huge disservice to your seller. Read More

Single Property Websites from Homefinder

– Chris Haran, Director of Strategic Planning and Initiatives

We’ve talked about Single Property Websites from Homefinder before, but as we go into the fall season and then business planning after that, it’s always good to get a refresher. A Single Property Website is dedicated to one listing, and it includes property information from that is updated on a daily basis. For Coldwell Banker agents, they are only $10 for a year (and that will also enhance your properties on ChicagoTribune and for a year from purchase as well)! Let’s take a look at some numbers around these websites. Read More

The Mobile Digital Broker Becomes a Reality

– Rich Rogala, Digital Strategist / Business Development Coach, Chicago Region

It’s amazing to look back to the start of this century and see how far technology has advanced, especially in real estate. Who would have thought that we would be handing clients our tablets to view information about properties as we drive them to the next showing?

Do you remember when PC Access was the most amazing tool for searching properties?  I’m still amazed at how accurate that tool actually was. The principles of marketing ourselves and our properties have not changed, and neither has our dedication to clients. But the tools and technology available to us has made our business lives much easier. Read More