Haunted marketing, tax burdens by metro area, and Sir David Attenborough explains curling
A New Orleans real estate broker has been getting lots of attention since George Takei posted a photo on social media Monday of a real estate sign reading “Not Haunted.” The signs are the work of Shelnutt Real Estate in New Orleans which is trading on the Crescent City’s reputation as America’s most haunted town. Since the post, Finis Shelnutt, the owner, has been on two radio programs and dealt with phones ringing off the hook.
Need some new ideas for finding leads? A Canadian broker, KaraLee Foat, has her office provide pumpkins to clients for a jack-o-lantern carving contest and gingerbread kits for a holiday decorating contest. Clients then snap a photo and post to her website where they are judged by local celebrities. Both have translated into business for the firm. Expand your marketing ideas beyond postcards and magnets and find what will work for you!
NPR had a story recently on DIY homebuilding in the internet age, highlighting a project called ‘foundhouse’ among others. Find the plans online, gather materials, and you can build your own home. More pictures are available here. It looks like they didn’t find a bathroom though…
As the snow begins to melt, thoughts turn to…taxes. HousingWire crunched the numbers to find the best and worst housing markets in terms of overall tax burden in the US. They give the top and bottom five. In a nutshell, the Lowest: Cheyenne, WY; and the highest: Bridgeport, CT.
Where will you find the nation’s highest average apartment rents? Would you believe Williston, North Dakota?
Ever wonder why tabloids always use yellow headlines? Why some magazine covers have so much text while others barely any? The blog 99% Invisible looks at the evolution of the magazine cover over the 20th century.
Do you still play Candy Crush? 100 million people still do, daily. The company behind it is launching an IPO so they’ve had to release some remarkable financial numbers. Last year the cleared over a half BILLION dollars in profit! How much did you contribute? I gave more than I should have, but luckily I’ve been stuck for so long that my interest has waned. The Altantic looks at the company and says its a remarkable enterprise, but a really bad investment. Some commentators say the IPO is more about the founders cashing out while the game is still (relatively) hot.
With the knowledge that our economy is intrinsically tied to the global economy, we decided to read up on Ukraine this week. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal offer the basics and background on Ukraine and its important role in the global economy.
The Winter Olympics are wrapping up soon. There have been some great moments, some groans of defeat, and some gasps of surprise. And then there’s curling. I still don’t get it. Luckily the BBC has brought in an expert to explain the ritual: noted nature program narrator Sir David Attenborough.
This month we finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Though any book about war is heavy, we enjoyed this one very much. Zusak’s original word compositions create rich and impactful pictures. Written from the perspective of Death (aka “Grim Reaper”), we follow the story of Liesel, the story’s delightful, feisty and strong female protagonist. Through this perspective we gain an on-the-ground glimpse into the perils of war and what it was like to live as a citizen in Germany during WWII. The end of the story will put a deep hole in your heart as a reminder of the horrors of war, and particularly of WWII. Next we will check out the movie, released last November. Excellent follow-up companions to this book include Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
Free Starbucks—the best thing ever! Unfortunately, the only way you can get free Starbucks is be an NBC employee at the NBC section at the International Media Center in Sochi. NBC hired 15 Russian Starbucks baristas to man their secret store, housed them and paid their wages. You can order from a limited menu of drinks, but they do not offer plain black coffee. Talk about employee perks…
Recently a member asked us about lead generation. Is any one program better than the other? How do I get started? And what was our advice in general? Well, as we didn’t have any first-hand experience, we researched the field a bit. Please note that our review is not a thorough vetting of the market nor a decisive answer for all, but anecdotally it gives some ideas. While various players tout different software programs or software-as-a-service (think online CRM tools), several experts seem to concur that a great website and managing one’s online presence is just as good if not better.
For a more traditional software approach, Chicago Agent Magazine is a great resource for tips, tools, and tricks from active practitioners. This article suggests a few lead generation tools, “The Best in Tech for Real Estate” dated July 2013 (scroll down to section “Best Lead Generation Software”). Other options to consider can be found at Texas A & M’s Real Estate Center’s Real Estate Software Directory. While the online tools mentioned in the above article don’t appear, you can find some software options under the section called “Contact Management“. Play around with some of the other categories to find software and tools for advertising, farming management, etc.
However, not everyone is on the software bandwagon:
Be your own AdWords manager. Learning the in and outs of paid search is a tough road, but a very rewarding one. Very similar to renting a home versus owning a home. One requires payment with not equity in the end, whereas the other requires payment, hard work, but equity in the end.
If you decide software isn’t the solution, here are some ideas on alternative methods for lead generation. It seems almost as if there is a consensus amongst the experts on using alternative methods (other than traditional software or pay-per-click tools). As per NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 90% of home buyers use the Internet in their home search process, and 96% of buyers under the age of 44 use the Internet in the home search process, so buyers are definitely online. The articles below give a good lay-of-the-land and offer some good ideas as to how to connect with these buyers when they are online.
Move: Leads to Real Estate Pros Up 50%, Inman, Aug. 2013
Use the Internet to Your Advantage, Chicago Agent Magazine, July 2013
3 Keys to Personalizing Your Marketing, REALTOR® Magazine, April 2013
4 Tips for Online Lead Generation, REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 2013
Real Geeks vs Tiger Leads by Sarasota Real Estate Broker, Real Geeks, Feb. 2012
[Agent Profile] Blogging is KEY to Generating More Leads, Inman, Aug. 2011
Keep the leads flowing, REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 2010
Rethinking lead generation, REALTOR® Magazine, Oct. 2009
Capture the leads, REALTOR® Magazine, July 2009
eBook pricing, real estate infographics, and a remarkable life rediscovered on Wikipedia
Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War, was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip and ear, survived a plane crash, tunneled out of a POW camp, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. He later said “frankly I had enjoyed the war.”
And that’s just the first paragraph! The rest of his biography is pretty amazing too…
Infographics have become a popular way of presenting an abundance of data in an easy to digest format. You see them online, in the media, and even on TV. Of course real estate information is well represented. Pinterest user and digital consultancy firm Yakadanda has collected some great real estate related infographics in one place.
Are your dogs bored and lonely at home? DirectTV is launching DOGTV next month, to keep your dog entertained while you are working. Programming includes relaxation, exposure to different sounds and stimulation. Since dogs can’t see red and green, shows are broadcast in blue and yellow.
Latest SCOTUS property rights case, Vegas is back, and creative ways to stand out from the crowd
The Supreme Court handed down a decision Tuesday morning that’s gotten considerably less attention than this term’s blockbuster battles over same-sex marriage and voting rights. But Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District will likely prove a historic property-rights ruling, with far-reaching implications for the leverage local land-use agencies may use to extract concessions from property owners and developers for the common and environmental good.
‘Don’t bet against the house’ as the saying in Vegas goes. That holds true for Vegas real estate too apparently. High-paying investors have helped Las Vegas’ real estate prices to bloom in a place that once ranked as the country’s foreclosure capital.
You expect your real estate agent to be knowledgeable, friendly and possess business expertise. Do you also want to go hang gliding with them? It’s certainly one way to distinguish yourself among many real estate agents. Some agents exercise with their clients, some go turkey hunting, play beer pong or take their customers to Costco to stock up on home supplies. “You see each other as real people, not as ‘you work for me,’ ” . . . “And I don’t see you as dollar signs.”
With tongue in cheek, NPR shares some tips on sounding like an expert at a wine tasting.
From REALTOR® Magazine:
Marketing top-line features for luxury buyers, (REALTOR Magazine, Jan. 2011): “For Vanderbilt Residences, a year-old residential waterfront development in Newport, R.I., figuring out the defining luxuries inside each of the 16 furnished units was an important first step. There are a lot of vacation homes in the area, and an equally high number of listings along the water.”
Own your niche, (REALTOR Magazine, Jul, 2009): “He built an intricate database of people who owned homes or vacant lots there and then categorized properties by waterfront, lake view, and golf course. He launched a postcard campaign that gave home owners an Apple Valley State of the Market Report, he advertised in the community’s monthly newspaper, and he snapped up a memorable URL, www.applevalleyohio.com. The year after developing his niche, his team’s sales total climbed to 322. The next year, it surpassed his sale-a-day goal, with 380 transactions.”
Get creative with our listing, (YPN Lounge Blog, Feb. 9, 2011). “We’ve been in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on every online venue we should be. We’ve targeted the agents selling high-end waterfronts with glossy mailers and e-mails. We spent a lot of money having two video tours done – the client didn’t like how the first one came out, so we had to hire a second videographer from New York for a reshoot. The new video came out great and really captures the essence and value of the property being a waterfront. The next step was to make sure people actually see the video. My partner created a killer website for the property. Our listing has a Facebook fan page and Twitter account where I upload new photos and host online contests, etc.”
The prospect warm-up, (REALTOR Magazine, Mar. 2011): “DeBord does that through his Web site and blogs. “We publish as much relevant and useful data for our clients as possible, from market updates to neighborhood guides,” he says. DeBord also writes a monthly blog post for his local newspaper analyzing price trends and reporting significant waterfront home sales.”
Multifamily attracting foreign investors, (REALTOR Magazine, Jun. 14, 2012): “It’s going to be a hot market for the next 18 months to two years” Fisher says. “If you can secure a multifamily property, it will bring off-the-charts money because that’s what buyers want in today’s marketplace […] Waterfront properties are also in high demand right now — I literally receive one or two calls a day from investor pools looking for waterfront multifamily properties.”
Man tries to sell not just home but life on eBay, (REALTOR Magazine, Aug. 13, 2012): “A man is offering up not just his Florida waterfront home and rental condo, but also basically all of his possessions and investments together on eBay, with the asking price of $3.5 million. Shane Butcher decided that instead of dying owning a bunch of his investments, he wants to cash out now so he can reap the financial benefits earlier. He’s offering up a waterfront Tampa Bay home, a rental condo, three cars, kayaks, video games, his gaming business called “RU Game?” with three chains, Blu-Ray players, kitchen appliances, paintings, TVs, and more. Butcher says his homes, cars, business and everything else is all paid off in full. He says he’s looking for a fresh start.”
Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Dept. of Env’l Protection: No Taking Found in Florida Case, (2010): “Florida law provides that the state owns all submerged land under navigable waters and the land between the low tide line and the mean high-tide line. Waterfront property owners own the land up to the high-tide line. These property owners have the right to access the water, right to receive “accretions” from the water, and the right to an unobstructed view of the water. A property owner receives ownership of land gradually added to his/her land through accretion (i.e., land created by deposits naturally added from the water source); however, sudden changes causing additional dry land on a beach is an “avulsion” and the state retains the ownership of that property.”
Articles in the ProQuest database:
Heinrich, J. & Kashian, R. (2010). Pricing the homebuyer’s proximity to open land. The Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 11.1: 80-88.
Wyman, D. & Sperry, S. (2010). The million dollar view: A study of golf course, mountain, and lake lots. The Appraisal Journal, 78.2: 159-168.
Clark, C. S. (2012). Hard sell. Government Executive, 44.5: 29-33.
Hoen, B., Wiser, R., Cappers, P., Thayer, M. & Sethi, G. (2011). Wind energy facilities and residential properties: The effect of proximity and view on sales prices. The Journal of Real Estate Research, 33.3: 279-316.
Cazzin, J. & Chapin, A. (2011). Dream city deals. MoneySense, 13.3: 69-72.
eBooks* in the NAR Library for free 21-day checkout to NAR members:
We also have numerous eBooks on sales and marketing topics, including this book, Selling Luxury by Robin Lent (2009). If you’re interested in checking out eBooks, first download the free Adobe Digital Editions software required to view/read eBooks.
Inman also has a few articles related to waterfront properties.
Books in the NAR Library’s print collection (accessible to all REALTORS®; order up to 3 at a time for a shipping fee of $10):
Downpayment saving, new Kindle next week? and enormous new TVs
How long will it take to save for your home? The Atlantic analyzed data to calculate times for major metro areas. They based their numbers on saving a standard 20 percent down on an average home with a worker making an average wage putting aside 10 percent of earnings each month. Now they use pretty conservative estimates, but if you’re looking to buy in Honolulu it would take over 28 years to save that downpayment. San Francisco is another place where the kids will be in college when you finally buy, coming in at over 20 years.
To get the best prices, don’t buy gas right before a holiday or Wednesday mornings after 10am. Gas stations usually raise their prices before heavily traveled holidays, such as Labor Day and after gas station owners have checked out their competitors’ prices.
Will the Kindle be given away for free some time in the near future? Farhad Manjoo of Slate predicts that it will. Manjoo even thinks that one day signing up for Amazon’s Prime service – $79 a year for fast shipping, streaming content, etc – will net you a free Kindle at some point down the road. And watch out: Amazon shows that Kindle Fires are ‘sold out‘ currently, meaning an update is just days away.
Time reports that Icelanders are more than twice as happy as Americans in general. What can American business learn from our northern neighbors to better our workplaces? Create a community, have a hobby, put family first, and provide healthier food. Oh, and eat fermented shark occasionally…
Love your new flat screen TV? You didn’t think electronic makers were going to let you stop there, did you? Start saving your pennies cause a whole slough of companies announced so-called ’4K’ sets this week. Boasting a resolution of nearly 4000 pixels on the horizontal (vs today’s 1080 pixels on the vertical), most sets start at 84 inches wide. But why stop there? Panasonic recently demo’d an 8k set. Of course there’s no content yet and you’ll have to sit wwaaayyy back but hey, there you go….