Posts by Yardi:

    Matrix Monthly: Robust Growth, Small Inventory Dominate U.S. Rental Market

    October 1st, 2015

    August U.S. Rental Market Shows Robust Growth

    Good news for rental property owners! A quick glance at the Matrix Monthly for August reveals that apartment growth in the U.S. rental market remains robust and rents are on the rise as 2015 draws to a close. Rents have exceeded previous records, climbing by $7 to $1,162 per unit. This growth builds on July’s year-over-year increase of 6.5 percent.

    Volatility,  Low Interest Rates and International Investors

    The Yardi Matrix Monthly report shows record highs for U.S. multifamily rent, with the average up by $7 to a $1,162 total, based on a survey of 107 markets. This upwards trajectory matches July’s 6.5% year-over-year increase, indicating that overall growth in this market is expected to continue. Portland hit the top of year-over-year rent growth in all asset classes, hitting just above 16%, followed closely by San Francisco and Denver. Meanwhile, the Northeast continues to dominate the bottom of the list, with Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Richmond all under 2%, putting those cities under the 8-year average of 2.8% for the nation.

    While Yardi Matrix anticipates the fundamental elements behind this rise will remain stable, there is some chance recent uncertainty in the equity market could substantially affect national rent averages. While caution in emerging markets, currency depreciation in China, and tentativeness the U.S. stock market are not directly related to real estate, Matrix Monthly recommends keeping an eye on these developments. As the report warns, “recent history demonstrates that exogenous shocks can play an out-sized role in the roiling U.S. economy.”

    The report does acknowledge the possibility that “panicked financial markets” could create a kind of “liquidity crisis” that would put a serious strain on the economy and significantly slow U.S. GDP growth.  However, the overall conclusion is that the upside associated with these rising rents exceeds any possible precariousness. A predicted Federal Reserve decision to maintain low interest rates combined with global investors redirecting funds into the U.S. property market are two of the main reasons the report cites for its optimistic outlook.

    Historic Highs in Portland and New Lows in the Northeast

    As stated above, average rents for multifamily units are continuing their steady climb, rising from just above $1040 in June of 2013 to $1162 as of August 2015. This solid escalation continues July’s 6.5% increase, which bodes well for those looking to capitalize on the ongoing growth of the rental market. After weighing all factors and economic influences, the Matrix Monthly report concludes that average rents will continue their upward swing in the coming months though maybe not as significantly as they have in the past.

    The increase in rents is broken down by property type in the Trailing Three Months report. That report shows an average of .8% upturn both for high-end “Lifestyle” properties and working-class “Rent By Necessity” properties. Along with this incremental advance, very little has changed in the top markets due, in part, to normal and anticipated mid-summer slowdowns. Nevertheless, the top 15 markets remain the same, with five cities, in particular, leading the nation in rising rent rates:

    • Portland
    • San Francisco
    • Denver
    • Boston
    • Austin

    In the “Lifestyle” segment of the rental market, Washington D.C. saw a slight decrease at .4% due to a glut in luxury inventory. In nearby Baltimore, “Rent by Necessity” rose .9%. Meanwhile, in Tampa luxury units experienced a larger increase of 2%, continuing Florida’s upward momentum in the luxury sector.

    What Renters Can Expect

    What residents can get at the national average rent of $1,162 per month varies by city. In Boston, demand pushes out many renters at that price point. Inside of the city center, small studio apartments begin around $1,500. Residents of San Francisco fare slightly better, where studio apartments start at $1,400 just outside of town.

    In Portland, renters could move into a 765 square-foot apartment with one-bedroom and one-bathroom in Harbor Court for $1,135. With access to basic finishes and amenities, it’s a decent setup in one of the nation’s most desirable cities.

    In Denver, $1,050 offers a one-bedroom, one bathroom apartment in The Park LaFayette that is just below 700 square feet. This centrally located community stands right off of Cheesman, providing pedestrian-friendly to shops, restaurants and activities.

    It’s true that everything is bigger in Texas, including the apartment that you could get for $1,162. Iron Rock Ranch of Austin boasts a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment sprawled across 1,036 square feet. Private outdoor spaces, hardwood floors and other fine finishes make this one of the best values on the list.

    Forecast: Cautious Optimism with Some Volatility 

    Will rents continue to rise? The catalysts for our historically low vacancy rates are unlikely to change soon. However, the rate of growth could slow down due to anticipated changes in the job market.

    Nationally, the report finds that overall rents grew by 5.3% on a trailing 12-month basis, with luxury properties outperforming working-class units by a slim .4% margin. Rent growth remains strongest in the West and Southwest. Previously mentioned Washington D.C. and Baltimore join Richmond and Philadelphia to round out a weaker Mid-Atlantic sector, as those cities claim the four bottom slots in the survey’s ranking.

    Yardi Matrix Monthly National U.S. Rents

    Texas, on the other hand, remains on the top of the curve in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. While the state continues to expand in all property sectors, most signs point to a slightly cooling market due to a drop in crude oil prices and weak global demand. Nevertheless, it is anticipated that the growth seen in the Texas rental market will continue to increase. However, this upswing will be tempered by competing economic factors that will most likely stall economic development and job growth through the rest of the year, eventually spreading to metro regions throughout the state.

    Job growth is steady in the top 30 metros, with most exceeding the 2.3% national average. The Inland Empire, Orlando, San Francisco and Dallas seize the top four slots as leaders in the six-month average of year-over-year growth numbers. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that the U.S. job market can continue this progression. Though a severe downturn is also unlikely, a slump is on its way as China devalues its currency and U.S. exports decrease. Variations in the price of oil will influence job cuts in that sector, as these deviations trigger hesitation with employers less eager to hire during times of financial uncertainty.

    Quick Yardi Matrix Report Summary

    The trend of lofty rent increases will soon plateau as job growth slows and international economies contract though no significant downturn is expected.

    To stay ahead of the wave,  subscribe to Matrix Monthly to receive the report in your inbox.

    Do you work with renters or rental property owners in your area? Check out Point2 Homes for more information on your region’s rental market, including available rentals.

    Erica Rascón is an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet (the Yardi corporate blog).

     

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    5 Blog Topic Ideas for Real Estate Agents

    July 14th, 2015

    5 Blog Post Ideas Point2 Erica Rascon

    Congrats on setting up your Point2 Agent website with all of it’s snazzy features like SEO optimization, drip email campaigns and social media integration. Now about that blog. It’s looking pretty sparse. You started off strong and then ran out of ideas. No worries, we’ve got five blog ideas for real estate agents to help you maintain your groove.

    1. The history of the neighbourhood(s)

    A few points of interest may be why the town was founded (steel town, railroad junction, etc.) and social or political events that took place there. Content like this gives your neighbourhood context, maybe even explaining why the neighbourhood is arranged as it is, or why clients will encounter certain styles of homes in one area and not in another. These details interest some buyers and will give them a greater appreciation for the property that they plan to purchase.

    2. New developments in the area

    New developments can be a huge selling point. Parks, trails and schools add long-term value for residents. New restaurants and shopping centres can make the area seem active and vibrant. It may also be worthwhile to offer updates on infrastructure improvements; they’re less sexy but can convey an active neighbourhood committee and responsive government officials. If traffic has been a turn-off for your clients, updates on roadwork can show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    3. Local pop culture

    This may require a bit of digging, but it will definitely be fun! Find movies and television shows that were filmed in the area. There may even be films currently in production. It could also be interesting to see which famous personalities got their start in your town or currently call it home. (These tidbits of pop culture can also promote conversation during car rides between showings and are great for social media.)

    4. Feature locally-owned businesses

    Writing about local businesses is a great way to build symbiotic relationships. You promote a local shop or great breakfast spot on your blog. In exchange, the business might post your flyers or business cards. Win-win! Having articles about local businesses is also a good way to help new residents get acclimated. They’ll return to your blog because they see you as a local authority. You’ll stay on their radars when they’re ready for another property or when they’re making referrals to friends.

    5. Upcoming events

    Show off how fun and exciting your neighbourhood can be by writing about upcoming events. Concerts, festivals, gallery showings, pub crawls, free yoga classes—the options are endless. It may be a good idea to pick a target audience for each event. Focus on families, singles, couples, different age groups and interest groups to show diversity within your neighbourhood.

    Now get to work making excellent content. Strike while the iron is hot!

    What’s the most popular blog post you’ve ever written? Share a link with us. We’ll read it, and we might even tweet it!

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

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    7 Ways to Make Video Tours Work for You

    June 16th, 2015

    real estate video tours tips for agents

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

    Video tours are a must-have for today’s agents. According to Inman, 85% of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video. Listings accompanied by videos get four times more inquiries than photo listings alone. Make those numbers work for you! Make stellar videos that get result. Here’s how:

    Plan Ahead

    Starting at the front door and walking through the house is a bore. Instead, preplan the story that you want to tell.

    1.) Stories help forge an emotional connection with potential buyers.
    2.) The story will also help you determine which features you want to show and how to make them look their best.

    For example, if you’re emphasizing a spacious home for a growing family, lots of low angles will make the rooms seem larger, towering over the viewers. You might also record the swing set swaying in the breeze in the backyard. If the house is small with plenty of charm, panning the rooms will suffice but be sure to take close ups of the home’s unique details.

    Invest Wisely

    With a solid smartphone or DSLR, you can take stunning videos with very few accessories. One worthwhile accessory is a monopod, which improves stability and video clarity in low light.

    Consider Film Students

    If you’re working with a limited budget yet you aren’t comfortable with your own videography skills—you’re the person who crops off heads during vacation photos—then college students may be your best bet. Many of them have online portfolios to help you determine the quality of their work. As students, their rates will be wallet-friendly—maybe free with internship credits.

    Edit Smart for Less

    With few exceptions, the apps on your phone aren’t going to result in professional-looking videos, especially if you can’t add transitions. In less than 20 minutes, you can learn video editing basics on YouTube for iMovie or MovieMaker (both may have come with your computer). Learning post-production basics is a worthy time investment that will make pro-style videos easier.

    Be Mobile Minded

    Aim for small file sizes for easy visibility on mobile devices. You can show the highlights of the best home in three minutes of fewer, which is great for many social media platforms.

    Share Your Videos

    Of course your videos should be available through your Point2 Agent site but don’t stop there. Share your videos on platforms that resonate with the ideal buyer. In addition to Facebook and Twitter (which now supports video), a community packed with young adults will benefit from a video presence on Instagram. More mature adults provide high click-through rates when you share your video tours via email.

    Go Live!

    In hot markets, some properties are listed and under contract in less than 24 hours. Meerkat and Periscope apps let you stream live video and receive comments, which is perfect for when you have an interested client on a tight schedule.

    Have you made a great video tour for one of your listings? Share a link in the comments! We’d love to see it (and we bet our readers would, too).

    Related Article

    73 Tips for Real Estate Video Marketing

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    4 Worst Twitter Advertising Mistakes

    May 12th, 2015

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

    twitter advertisingYou’ve read the Quick Guide for Twitter Advertising, which is an excellent start to social media marketing. But knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing what to do. Avoid these four Twitter marketing mistakes to make sure that your ads reap maximum conversions.

    1. Advertising Without a Plan

    Don’t try to guess for success. Investing in ads without a plan could lead to precious dollars down the proverbal drain. If you don’t like Twitter’s built-in system, take the time to find an app or software that helps you track your conversions in a way that makes sense to you. Then run multiple campaigns at once, or A/B tests, in order to learn which approaches bring the best results. Variables to success may include targeted demographics, posting times, tone of voice and image subjects, among others.

    If your tracking demonstrates similar conversion rates with more than one campaign, you may not need to choose between them. Think about Geico, which runs ads with Flo and Maxwell the pig simultaneously. Different campaigns may draw in different audiences, and that’s terrific! But you won’t be able to confirm your success or revise missed opportunities without a plan and tracking tools.

    2. Succumbing to Spontaneous Hashtagging

    Promoted Tweets with hashtags can draw a 122% increase in engagement compared to tweets without hashtags. Hashtags are integral to success! Just make sure that you don’t misuse them.

    Avoid spontaneous hashtagging. Established or trending hashtags can be a great way to raise brand awareness and participate in ongoing conversations. But if you’re creating multiple hashtags in every new post, you’re creating multiple new conversations that can be overwhelming to readers.  Refer to a tried-and-true hashtag, like #protip, or carefully create your own:

    Start by finding a short phrase that is 1) unique and 2) reusable for your brand. A unique hashtag will ensure that it isn’t confused with another brand or concept. For example, #goneinseconds sounds cute for houses that sell quickly in a popular neighbourhood, but it also pops up on police tweets and food tweets. #leasedinseconds or #fromsaletosold is more specific and tailored to real estate. Both could be reused anytime that you close a contract, giving the hastags longevity and a greater likelihood to catch on. Popular hashtags can build brand identification and loyalty.

    3. Falling Back to Text Only Posts

    When many of us think of Twitter, we think of 140 character posts. Twitter has evolved, allowing for pictures, videos and cards. Don’t overlook these visual aids. Find ways to integrate them. Not only will this show that your brand is hip and current, the images will also increase the likelihood of catching users’ attention when they scroll through their feeds.

    4. Dropping the Ball

    Once you’ve managed to generate engagement, be sure to maintain communication with your followers. You never want your clients to feel like they’re yelling into an empty, endless tunnel. When they engage with your Twitter ad with a reply, respond back. It’s also a kind, personable gesture to thank users for shares and retweets when you have time.

    Do you have any Twitter pet peeves?

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    A Quick Guide to Twitter Advertising for Real Estate

    April 14th, 2015

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

    If you’re not advertising on Twitter, you’re missing out on the opportunity to reach nearly 288 million monthly active users on the platform. Not all of those users are your ideal clients, but your clients are definitely among them. The odds of earning their business plummet if you fail to reach out to them.

    Twitter AdvertisingTwitter ads may be the perfect way to reach your clients among the masses. The platform allows you to control who sees your ads and when. What’s better, perhaps, is that you pay only when you achieve your engagement goals.

    Intrigued? Learn how Twitter can work for you:

    Getting Started

    There are four different kinds of Twitter Ads:

    • Promoted Tweets One of the most popular options, Promoted Tweets, are individual tweets that show up in users’ timelines based on their interests. Promoted tweets look like tweets from other users but there is a small, yellow promo indicator. If you have something very specific to promote (like a property or event) a promoted tweet could be the best way to go.
    • Promoted Video Like a promoted tweet, promoted videos appear in users’ timelines. Videos are worthwhile investments. According to Nielsen research, “purchase intent lift was 28% higher for users who chose to watch brand videos on Twitter than for users who saw the same videos as pre- or mid-roll ads during a 22-minute program.” In short, Twitter promoted videos can be more cost-effective than a commercial ad on TV.
    • Promoted Accounts These ads aim to increase your followers by displaying a thumbnail of your profile in a “Who to Follow” box that appears in timelines and on the sidebar of search results. Your account will be shown to users based on other accounts that they follow or keywords that they look up on Twitter.
    • Promoted Trends Promoted Trends are hashtags or terms that you can pay to promote. They are usually specific to events and times, like #mondaymotivation or #gameofthrones. Users can interact with a promoted trend in the same way that they interact with a trending topic.

    It may take trial and error to find which ad options work best for you, but here’s a hint: few companies cash out for all four options simultaneously. Perfect your advertising with one or two ad types and save your sanity.

    What to Do

    If you’re advertising your real estate brand or real estate website through a promoted account, providing details will connect you to the right clients. In what neighborhoods do you specialize? What price bracket? What makes you different from other agents in the area? Don’t make potential clients wonder if you’ve got what they need.

    For promoted tweets and videos, you will want your ads to be as specific as possible.  Include location, cost, availability and other details that will give viewers enough info to jump into your call to action.  “Great townhouses for rent in Roswell! Click for details,” won’t do nearly as well as, “There are only TWO 3b/2ba townhouses left at Pike Court in Roswell. Apply here!”

    Remember, Twitter is no longer about short and sweet text. It’s equally important to have engaging visuals, such as images and videos. For example, adding an image to a promoted tweet can amplify your conversion rate by 306% higher over text-only tweets!

    But before creating a bunch of tweets with pictures and paying to promote them, why not single out the tweets that are bound to be most successful? Post a tweet, wait, and turn it into an ad once you begin to see a notable amount of engagement.  This is ideal because Twitter offers a sliding scale on cost per engagement (your cost based on the amount of retweets and likes that you receive). Advertising with a tried-and-true tweet will cost you less in the long run.

    Twitter likes fresh, current content so don’t forget to refresh your ads every two or three days. Good luck!

    Have you tried Twitter advertising? How did you feel about the results?

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    7 Practical Ways to Get More Listings

    March 17th, 2015

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

    get more listingsWouldn’t it be fabulous to start each month with a crystal ball that could tell you who was thinking about selling their home? Unfortunately, that’s not a reality and, we don’t have an app for that (yet). What we do have is a list of seven practical, easy and affordable ways to get more listings. No magic required.

    7 Ways to Get More Leads

    1. Become an Expert People searching the Internet today know that long-tail searches (e.g. sellers’ agent in Martin’s Landing Roswell, GA vs. real estate agent Atlanta) bring better results. Think of your business the same way. Develop your knowledge base in a certain neighborhood or style of house. Then use that area of expertise as a keyword in your online presence. Marketing yourself as an expert makes you easier to find. You’re also more likely to get stronger leads because searchers are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
    1. Collaborate with Local Businesses Target your marketing efforts at businesses that specialize in home supplies and repairs. Their customers may be preparing their house for the market. Leave behind items in these stores could work in your favor.
    1. Stay Current Keep up with business and local news to learn about companies that are coming to town, companies that are leaving town, and new housing developments that are under construction. These events result in a bump in home sales and purchases.
    1. Seize Market Opportunities A sellers’ market is the ideal time to pump up your marketing plan. On your materials, present data that confirms now is the time to sell. You’ll encourage those who have been on the fence to finally make a move. You’ll be at the top of their list of agents because you’ve presented yourself as a knowledgeable and savvy agent.
    1. Scout Close to Home The family with yet another baby on the way, the co-worker with aging in-laws, and the neighbor who never cared about the yard before but is now Yard of the Month—they’re all going through life changes that could facilitate a move. You should be there to help!
    1. Host Workshops Host small gatherings—at a coffee shop or online—that can teach local residents how to prepare their homes for the market. You can break sessions into smaller chunks like staging, landscaping, financial matters, etc. Doing so compiles a group of people who are interested in selling their homes while showcasing your knowledge and willingness to assist them. Need help organizing your workshops? Have your real estate franchise check out Yardi eLearning.
    1. Explore Old FSBO Listings People underestimate the work that it takes to sell a property. Reality kicks in for them after they’ve been on the market for a few months. They are likely at their wits’ end; contacting them is far from a cold call. It could be an act of mercy.

    What would you add to this list? We’d love to make it “8 Practical Ways to Get More Listings”!

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    3 Great Real Estate Books to Read in the New Year

    January 13th, 2015

    The New Year is an excellent time to polish your skills, set new goals and reignite your passion for real estate! We’ve found three must-reads that may make goal setting (and goal achieving!) a bit easier this year.

    Laugh Your Way to Real Estate Sales Success: For Real Estate Agents, WannaBes, UsedToBes, & Those Who Love Them!  

    TopBooks_01-13_blogHumor makes an ugly truth much easier to face—and let’s face it: the ups and downs of the real estate industry can be horrendous. Author and award-winning humorist Cathy Turney relies on her 25 years of experience as a real estate broker to help her peers achieve financial success. She has ranked among the top 10 percent of real estate agents in the nation.  The book is available in paperback and as a Kindle exclusive. If you get the digital edition, you can opt to receive motivational quotes via text each week!

    Terrible Estate Agent Photos

    While business how-tos can be helpful, learning what not to do also has its benefits. Photography is such a huge part of a real estate agent’s job that author Andy Donaldson has dedicated an entire book to photography don’ts. These real life photos demonstrate simple mistakes that can sabotage your business. Learn what to avoid while adding a good bit of laughter to your day. Get your copy in hardcover or Kindle edition.

    The Miracle Morning for Real Estate Agents

    We’re a bit leery of books that make haughty promises like “miracle mornings” and “change your life within 30 days,” but readers agree that this book can deliver. The team of writers has compiled helpful tips and practical suggestions to start each day. In less than 200 pages, this easy read offers guidance on getting your career and health on the right track—and an interesting insight on why you can’t do one without the other! Choose from paperback or Kindle edition.

    Got other real estate must-reads for the Point2 community? Share your suggestions below.

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

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    Managing Client Expectations

    December 16th, 2014

    Managing Client ExpectationsThanks to the Internet, clients have a wealth of information available at their fingertips. The downside is that not all of the information available is accurate or up-to-date, and many clients are unsure of how to interpret what they find in well-meaning articles online. Sometimes clients’ research and expectations are so far from reality that REALTORS® would be better off starting from scratch.

    Managing expectations can be tough for even the most seasoned agents, but with a few tips, this frustrating process can be a bit easier—maybe even fun.

    Learn from reality TV

    While real estate reality TV shows can be a pain (the DIY movement has done horrors to resale values), there is something that we can learn from them. Once you verbally make an effort to adjust clients’ expectations, back it up with an undeniable example like on Property Virgins: show clients their dream home and then show them the price tag. True, it can be soul crushing, but it’s a guaranteed way to cut to the chase. They will know that you’re listening to their requests, and they will know what their requests will cost them. If they can ante up to the price—fabulous! If not, you can sit down to the table that same day and readjust their expectations.

    Don’t oversell

    Mark Fischer of Mark Fischer Home Team recently ended what could’ve been a perfectly reasonable deal. After the inspection, the buyers’ agent assured her clients that they could request an upgraded roof, new siding, and replacements for three fully functioning HVAC systems.

    “The inspection report did not recommend replacing of any of those items. The property had only been on the market for two days. It was already competitively priced. The sellers were getting other offers; they weren’t desperate. That REALTOR® should’ve managed her clients’ expectations better,” says Mark. “Those people missed out on a great opportunity by trying to turn an existing property into a new home.”

    As an agent, you want to play hardball for your clients, but you can’t forget to base stipulations upon conditions such as the sellers’ sense of urgency, market conditions, inspection reports and, of course, comparable homes in the area.

    Call an intervention

    When clients don’t agree on a budget, you may find yourself in the middle of a tug-of-war. Many clients disagree on a budget because they haven’t set a budget! This isn’t always a preliminary step in their process. It may help to recommend the following resources.

    • Many banks offer online budgeting tools to anyone with online banking for their checking or savings account.
    • Clients may also consider Mint, a free online tool that allows users to link financial accounts and automatically import and categorize expenses. Mint offers graphs and charts to help visual learners.
    • BudgetPulse is a good alternative for those who don’t want a program linked to their personal accounts. It requires more manual input but offers comparable results and more customization.

    What methods have helped you to manage your clients’ expectations?

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

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    A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Leads!

    October 29th, 2014

    Picture Leads Twitter2

    If you’re wondering how you can take advantage of social media for your real estate business, know that visuals trigger increased engagement among social media users. Pictures mean more traffic and ultimately more leads! Content that includes a visual representation of some sort, be it a photo, an infographic, a chart or a video, is much more likely to create a buzz among your fan base than a text-only message.

    articles with or without pictures

    Depending on the focus of your business, utilizing social networks such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram or Pinterest can help you tell the story of your property through images.

    Even Twitter, with its 140-character policy, has recognized the importance of visuals in social interaction and updated its functionality to better accommodate visual communication. In fact, Twitter has concluded that including a photo in a tweet increases the likelihood of retweets by 35%. Including photos in your social media strategy will get you more likes and shares, which ultimately results in a wider advertising reach.

    Irrespective of the platform you choose, the message needs to be relevant, clear and well-designed.

    Match content with photos on Facebook

    Social Media Examiner has shown that photos receive four times as many likes as text updates. To draw crowds to your business page, you need to entice users with catchy images complemented by valuable content – anything you deem important or relevant to prospects in your niche or local selling areas.

    To give you a clear idea of what we mean, here is an example from Point2 Homes, one of the largest Canadian listing portals:

    Point2 Homes Canada Facebook Picture

    The content shared is mostly visual and combines real estate listings with posts about market trends, home buying tips and tricks, and interior design features, all backed up by appealing visuals. For Point2 Homes, this has proven a winning combination and is something to emulate on your own page.

    Try an image-sharing social media platform, like Pinterest

    With Pinterest, it’s easy. Your message gets through with almost no words required. Users love sharing ideas and imagery. They pin, like and share content like there’s no tomorrow. And the best part about it? Pinterest drives traffic directly to your site, no detours required.

    The posting possibilities are endless. Property managers might want to consider creating an individual board for each property they manage and focus on highlighting the best the community has to offer. Real estate agents can create boards highlighting the features and amenities of the neighborhoods they service.

    Don’t forget to name your boards and image files properly and include them in the right Pinterest category so that people can find them easily. When scouring Pinterest for ideas, users search specific terms, e.g. “DIY pallet coffee table” or “how to build a gallery wall,” so make sure your text descriptions match the photo and resonate well with your target audience.

    Pinterest images

    To easily measure social engagement on Pinterest and understand what best caters to ‘pinners,’ you may want to check out Pinterest web analytics. Like Google Analytics, this feature allows you to see which pins are getting the most re-pins, which pins are getting the most click-throughs and which page of your site the pin came from so you can tweak your strategy accordingly.

    Pro tip: To see if your site has been “pinned” by other users, type pinterest.com/source/URL in the search bar. (For example, we type in pinterest.com/source/point2.com to see what gets pinned from Point2’s website.)

    Feel you can do more? Head over to Google+

    The best place to start on Google+ is the Communities section. What’s great about the Communities feature is that you don’t necessarily need to be “friended” or “followed” by others for prospects to see your posts. You just need to be relevant.

    Communities on Google+ are built around shared interests and passions. You can create or join other communities and engage in conversations with people who share similar hobbies, from interior design and rental decorating to apartment marketing and poker nights. All posts have the option of including appealing imagery in a range of sizes.

    Google+ images

    To get the most of the Google+ experience, make sure you add new content regularly, when people are most likely to see it. The best time to post according to Social Media Week is weekdays, between 9AM – 10AM.

    Key takeaway: For a visual message to be shared a lot, it needs to either provoke an emotional response or be relevant and helpful to your target audience.

    What are you doing to increase social media engagement? Feel free to voice your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Amalia Otet, an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé, a full marketing and leasing platform featuring social media and reputation management tools, plus online leasing solutions, rent payments and maintenance requests.

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    Halloween Marketing: Seasonal Decorating Ideas

    October 14th, 2014

    Seasonal decorating has it benefits. When done tastefully, autumn décor can add charm and comfort to a property. When done poorly, the decorations can be a distraction. These autumn decorating tips can help you market your properties and office for the perfect blend of professionalism and coziness. Halloween blog

    Think autumn, not Halloween

    If you want to stay on the safe side, decorate properties for the season rather than the holiday. This approach is beneficial because you can keep up the décor past October 31 without being tacky. Also, there are fewer chances of offending buyers or scaring off their children if you simply have a few pumpkins and bales of hay. 

    If you date, plan to update

    Seasonal décor dates a listing, a visual reminder of how long it has been on the market. This December, if house seekers find a listing with Halloween decorations in the photos, they instantly know that the house has been listed for a while. They will wonder what’s wrong with it. If you take photos with seasonal décor in them, be sure to update the decorations and photos as the seasons change.

    Good trends (pumpkin everything)

    Since baking pies and cookies isn’t always feasible, scented plugins will do the trick. Use outlets that are out of sight and out of mind so that only the aroma of pumpkin pie or spiced apples is noticed. You may also consider scented candles, which add pops of color to a home and offer an appealing, light scent even when they are not lit.

    Bad trends (Pinterest wisely)

    Stick to basic, sophisticated seasonal décor and save the eye-popping options for times when your home is not for sale. Trendier options, like untraditional color schemes, may distract buyers. Buyers should remember “the stunning brownstone with the rooftop garden,” not “that house with the purple, glittery skulls everywhere.”

    Everyone has a sweet tooth!

    Halloween is irrevocably connected to candy in the US and Canada, so take advantage of the abundance and use it as a marketing tool. M&Ms will customize bags of candy with your name or logo. You could also attach your business card to any candy with a wrapper. For the broadest appeal, offer a mixture of fruity, salty and chocolaty treats since peanut butter and chocolate are top allergens.

    Practical décor

    If fall graces your region with rain and snow, be sure to provide umbrella holders and ample floor mats to keep properties tidy. You may also consider keeping a few umbrellas in your car for clients. On rainy days, take the time to go through the property and open all of the blinds and turn on the lights. Two light sources per room may keep interiors from seeming dark and gloomy.

    Office merriment

    Don’t forget your office! Create a space that encourages ease and refuge from chilly autumn weather. You may consider seasonal coffee blends, festive baked goods and soothing tunes for your office. Note: if you decide to offer baked goods, make a little card with the ingredients so that guests can avoid common allergy triggers.

    What are you doing to celebrate Halloween at your office and listings?

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

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    10 Social Media Safety Tips

    September 16th, 2014

    In honor of REALTOR® Safety Month, your team at Point2 has compiled a list of 10 helpful tips to keep you and your personal information safe while networking on social media.

    1. Minimize the personal info that you share, especially if it pertains to your password or security questions. You know not to post your social security number online, but other security details are often overlooked. Your birthday, mother’s maiden name, and high school mascot are all common security questions—and all details that can likely be found on Facebook. Minimize your personal info online. When you can, create your own security questions. Social Media Safety
    2. You know those privacy settings? Customize them! Many platforms allow you to categorize your friends and followers into groups and then customize exactly who sees what. Take advantage of those features.
    3. Skip the “import contacts” option. Many social media and email sites offer to import your contacts from another platform. Some sites will spam your contacts (ahem, clients) with unwanted offers, promotions, and even fraudulent links. Read the site’s privacy and sharing policies first and proceed with caution.
    4. Schedule automatic updates for your security software. It may be annoying to get a status bar pop-up as your update loads, but that’s nothing compared to falling prey to a scam or attack because of outdated security software.
    5. Complex passwords are worth it. Each social media account should have a unique password with a fun mix of characters (capitals, symbols, numbers). Keep in mind that apps like Hootsuite and Buffer make all of your accounts vulnerable under one username and password.
    6. Consider identity protection. Since you have such a strong online presence–you’re basically famous–you’re an easy target for identity thieves. Lifelock and other programs can help you control your identity by keeping an eye on lines of credit and other valuable information.
    7. Be suspicious of your friends. All because a link in your chat box looks like it is coming from a friend or coworkers doesn’t mean that it is. Their account could have been hacked. If something seems suspicious, contact that person directly (via an alternate method) before proceeding.
    8. Google them back. Clients look you up all the time. Fortunately, the search engines works both ways. It may be worthwhile to do a quick search of your new client. Learning a bit about the client may help you with your sales approach, and you may also notice a few red flags (e.g. if the client’s Facebook profile seems like it was auto-filled by a robot, you could be walking into a scam or dangerous situation).
    9. Card ‘em like you mean it. You’ll often get leads from your social media, which is great but leaves you quite vulnerable. Consider having all of your preliminary meetings in your office rather than alone at a property. Have clients fill out the REALTOR® “Prospect Identification Form” and scan their IDs. Do so consistently to practice fairness and keep a steady record of your interactions. It’s a small inconvenience that can do a lot for your safety.
    10. Protect your family, too! It’s innocent enough: you attend a community event with family, take a few pictures and post them to your professional site—do not tag your children and be sure that they do not tag themselves. Unfortunately, that simple connection opens a doorway to communication between strangers and your family.

    Share these tips with your peers and be sure to let us know other tips that have helped you stay safe on social media.

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.

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    Finding the Perfect Buyer for Tiny Houses

    August 12th, 2014

    Unlike comparable apartments, tiny houses can be a tough sell. Homes with three or four bedrooms and at least two bathrooms are the most popular with consumers; anything smaller requires a very special type of buyer. But you’re prepared because you know just how to locate that buyer—or at least you will once you finish this post.

    buyer for tiny houseTiny houses are a tough sell unless you proactively narrow down your potential buyers early. The most common buyers of small properties are young couples and singles followed by active seniors. Could the pool of potential buyers be any different? Such buyers are speckled all over the spectrum, so it’s important to know how to target key demographics.

    Google analytics is a good start but a quality CRM can help you hone in on your audience and figure out which outreach methods and social media platforms hold their attention.

    You may find that your young singles are more responsive to your Instagram posts, so filling your Instagram queue with engaging photos of the property and neighborhood will grab their attention. Or it may be that your senior buyers appreciate listing updates in their inboxes. Small houses aren’t for everyone so save time and effort by targeting your efforts.

    Are you taking advantage of the filters on your social media? If not, you’re working too hard. Many platforms, like Google+ and Twitter, will allow you add contacts to specific groups, customizing the distribution lists for your posts.

    By targeting the most likely buyers, your tailored marketing efforts will bring in leads that are more likely to lead to contracts. The ball is then in your court and all that you have to do is what you do best: sell! Play up the tiny property’s best features, describe the versatility of each space, and don’t forget to emphasize the green and money-saving benefits of a space-efficient property.

    How big is the smallest home that you ever sold?

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    10 Tips for Selling Commercial Real Estate

    July 15th, 2014

    SellComRE_blogLearning to sell commercial real estate could provide a lucrative boost to your career. Whether you’re pursuing a mixture of residential and commercial or you’re looking to change gears completely, a few simple tips will ease the transition.

    Prepare Yourself for Action

    1. While residential and commercial are similar in many ways, receiving the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation through NAR will equip you with what you need to know in order to negotiation commercial leases with finesse and confidence. Certification also demonstrates your competency to potential clients.
    2. After receiving your certification, seek out a mentor who is established in commercial sales. Shadow this person or ask to co-list a few properties so that you can learn the ropes.
    3. The appraisal process for commercial is quite subjective, which can lead to a lot of frustration for veterans of the residential industry. Familiarize yourself with the process so you and your clients can get the most out of the experience.
    4. Gather all of the necessary documents for a property before listing it or presenting it to a client. Recent documentation will give prospects the data needed to secure a preliminary mortgage and hop right into due diligence and closing. A few documents you may want include are: the rent roll, previous appraisals and environmental studies, a copy of title deed, permits for any recent site alterations, and copies of previous leases, utility bills and tax information.
    5. Commercial real estate generally has slower ebbs and flows than residential. Don’t become discouraged by the slower pace of business. To make it through the lean times, keep a few residential properties rolling through your listings.

    Prepare Your Clients

    1. Believe it or not, location may be even more important for commercial clients than residential clients—think about how much rides on the success of a business! Nabbing the perfect space for a client requires staying on top of new listings, scouring the area for ground-up developments, and being sure that your client is prequalified and ready for action when the perfect property presents itself.
    2. Consider if a pop-up shop is right for your client. Pop-up shops offer a preview of the sales environment at a property without the commitment of a long term lease. Though the market has recovered significantly since the pop-up heyday, there are several owners who will entertain short leases if they feel it could ultimately help fill the vacancy long term.
    3. If your client has experienced commercial success in the past, expandability should be a priority for the new commercial space. Successful businesses soon outgrow their homes. Changing locations could put the business at a disadvantage.
    4. Neighboring businesses can make or break your client’s dreams. When seeking the ideal space, remember that pricing, square footage, and customization are only the tip of the iceberg. Explore spaces whose neighboring businesses are compatible with your client’s company culture and customer base.
    5. Get brownie points with your client by negotiating the right to sublet the space. This could be a huge lifesaver (and money saver) if the client’s business doesn’t thrive.

    Do you have any tips to add to this list?

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    Working with Multigenerational Buyers

    June 17th, 2014

    showing housesPleasing one house hunter can be tough. Pleasing a couple, their parents and their kids is a tall order for even the most seasoned agents. In addition to their requests, there are also features that they may have overlooked that will make their living arrangements more convenient. Nail your sale by addressing both.

    Common multigenerational requests include:

    Main Floor Accessibility As seniors and their adult children age, accessibility will play a huge role in the longevity of their stay at a property. Save time by skipping homes with numerous barriers to entry, especially to the main common areas.

    Stellar School Quality school systems still top the lists of clients with children—but test scores aren’t everything. Consider speaking to the students’ interests. Schools that excel in specific arts or athletic programs may still be a strong selling point.

    Two Master Suites A home with two master suites is a rare find. Make a traditional home work by selecting a house with a master on the main (usually for grandparents) and a bedroom elsewhere in the house with an adjacent bathroom.

    Facilitate Planning Most properties won’t have all of the features that families are looking for. One major factor in quickly closing multigenerational deals is to minimize guess work. Develop a list of contacts that specialize in accessibility features such as adding support rails, creating barrier free entryways and installing walk-in bathtubs. With this list, clients can quickly get quotes for potential upgrades. Or go above and beyond by getting a few quotes to have ready when showing the property, giving a realistic price for what the family would need to live in the home comfortably.

    Ready to earn bonus points to seal the deal? Tackle these challenges:

    Multigenerational Neighborhood This is rarely on family lists, but it’s bound to make an impact. A neighborhood that feels “too old” or “too young” will isolate some members of the household. By seeking out a diverse neighborhood, every member of the family can find their niche and age-appropriate activities.

    Tech-Ready Living Home automation makes it easy to turn off unattended appliances, lock doors and control temperature settings remotely. These conveniences are perfect for households with children and seniors. Note properties with home automation framework already in place.

    Public Transit for Seniors Today’s seniors value their independence. Even if seniors are capable drivers now, a home near public transportation will provide independent travel options in the future. It’s also great for teens.

    Daytime Care Providers When adults need a few hours away from caregiving to care for themselves or run errands, proximity to daytime care providers will be worth its weight in gold.

    Finished Basement Families don’t know the beauty of finished basements until they have one. A finished basement is a perfect playroom for kids and teens, making the upper levels a peaceful refuge for adults.

    Have you worked with multigenerational buyers this year? Tell us what key feature they were looking for in a home.

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    7 Blogging Blunders to Avoid

    May 13th, 2014

    Your blog can be an excellent tool for attracting clients and establishing credibility in your market. Without proper care, however, your blog could also highlight your flaws. We’ve interviewed recent house hunters to see what blog characteristics negatively impacted their relationship with potential real estate agents. Avoid these seven common mistakes to ensure that your blog is an asset rather than a liability.

    1. Inconsistent Posts

    “I hate it when I visit a blog, and they haven’t posted since Christmas or something. I either think they don’t care or they will be too busy to help me,” says Christy T. Create a posting schedule that you can live with and stick to it. This consistency shows clients your diligent work ethic and can also boost your online visibility. blogging blunders

    2. Posts Riddled with Errors

    As an agent, you have multiple talents. But if impeccable grammar and writing skills aren’t among them, ask a more knowledgeable friend or employee to proofread posts. That way readers can focus on your content rather than your errors. “My house will be my biggest investment so far. I want to be sure that I am working with a competent, professional person. Lots of typos and bad grammar worry me,” says Rashad K.

    3. Limited Distribution

    After posting to your blog, use a share tool to distribute links to your post via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and more. Of our interviewed house hunters, none preferred to visit real estate blogs directly. Rather, they followed links posted to other social media platforms that they use more often like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram .

    4. “Boring” Posts

    Always include an image with your post. “A post without pictures is boring, especially if it’s long,” says Dina W. Graphics make posts more eye-catching and enhance readers’ memory, helping them to remember content from your blog.

    5. Honing in On the Competition

    Trash talking the competition can make you look petty and unprofessional. You don’t want to offer free marketing for your competitor, either. Focus on your own business. St. John B says, “I found [my real estate agent] on another agent’s blog!” The blogger bashed the other agent for a “stolen” sale. “I thought what he did was smart. I visited his site and ended up working with him instead.”

    6. Bragging or Whining

    Whether you’re experiencing feast or famine, be wise about the personal experiences that you share with readers. “We were searching for a property during the downturn and one woman wrote something like, ‘Will you be my first sale this quarter?’ She followed it with something funny, but it made me think she might be desperate for a sale and could sell us a cheap house with secrets, you know?” says Christy T.

    7. Vapid Blogs

    Let your blog show your personality as well as your professionalism. Update your blog to reflect recent certifications, accomplishments and speaking engagements. “Some people have pointless bios that say nothing about them. I ended up going with [this agent] who had more info available: he had recently done community service so I knew he was involved in the neighborhood and probably knew a lot about it. He had pictures at from a block party that made the community look fun and he was playing with his kids. He seemed to have a good work-life balance. He had also done some continuing education course that made me think he would be up-to-date with industry standards. All simple stuff, but it helped,” says Kimmey P.

    What’s your #1 blogging pet peeve?

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    So, You Want to Be a Broker?

    April 15th, 2014

    Considering the transition from real estate agent to broker? There is more in your future than a few classes and a bigger paycheck. There are several factors to consider before taking the plunge into brokerage.

    As an agent, you’ve earned your stripes by fulfilling your state’s licensing requirements. You may even be a REALTOR®, upholding the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics. If you’re earning about $39,800 per year, you’re in stride with the median income for agents throughout the US according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Yet you want change. Before you sign up for your first class consider finding a mentor, a current broker who has served for several years and is willing to share his or her experiences. It may help if this agent is outside of your current office to provide a fresh perspective.

    so you want to be a broker

    Do you have what it takes to be a real estate broker?

    When you’re ready for the next step, be aware that you must work a certain amount of time as an agent before you can consider becoming a broker (two years in some states). Then you can register for classes, often double the class hours for your current license. A few new courses will include real estate law, business management and brokerage management.

    Once you receive your license, you have several options. You can choose to work alone, which allows the greatest flexibility and the greatest responsibility: a broker absorbs the brunt of liability for issues with transactions, handles earnest money, maintains the escrow account and tackles the operating expenses. On the plus side, you’re the boss! No more playing the middle man between the broker and the client. You’ll have more leverage as a broker, being able to navigate tight negotiations with greater authority. The median pay jumps to $59,580 per year, helping you pay off your classes faster and enjoy the surplus sooner.

    You could also choose to become an associate broker and work under the leadership of a broker/owner. This is a great intermediate step if you don’t want to jump into ownership nose first. It’s also a good long-term option if you want to avoid the additional liability and expenses of being an independent broker or owner.

    But if leadership is calling you then becoming a broker/owner is best. You’re excited to manage a team of associate brokers and agents. You see the additional responsibilities as a welcomed challenge. For years you’ve honed your skills in problem solving and conflict resolution, and you’re ready to put them to the test on behalf of your agents. You no longer feel the need to babysit each loan. You’re prepared to let agents handle the preliminary work, and you’ll step in for the heavier lifting. You won’t miss beating the pavement every day, either. Becoming a broker/owner is your ideal next step.

    Current brokers: what words of advice would you offer to agents who want to become brokers?

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    How to Market Your Worth

    February 18th, 2014

    Learn to market your value by promoting the indispensable nature of your skills and expertise.

    We have seen a spike in for sale by owner listings. ForSaleByOwner’s site reported an increase of 14% in the past year alone. On one hand, that’s a healthy sign: FSBOs peak when homeowners feel that the market is on the upswing. FSBO

    On the other hand, homeowners feel pressure to save money. Some homeowners are afraid an agent may settle for less money in order to close a deal faster, losing precious thousands. Yet there is an even bigger concern looming: numerous homes have not regained their full pre-recession values.

    For some, their homes are just emerging from underwater. Homeowners are hesitant to breathe. They are making a meager profit, if any, so they are unwilling to share what gains they do make with a broker who just lists their home on a website and gives a few tours…

    Technology has made the job of an agent seem deceptively easy. That means that you’ve got to prove your indispensability. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

    • Know your market and sell the facts. On average, how much more do houses bring in when sold by an agent rather than by owner? How much faster do homes sell when listed by a professional? Sharing this knowledge with potential clients shows them what they can gain by working with you.
    • Demonstrate the monetary value of your services. Prospective FSBOs believe that all you have to do is post photos and descriptions to an ILS. Counter that assumption with a well-developed internet marketing strategy. Actively engage potential buyers and make your properties stand out from the crowd.
    • Let homeowners know how you can save them money. How can you save them time? How much time? How can you shield them from buyer lawsuits due to nondisclosure incidents? What skills can you bring to the negotiating table to seal a great deal?
    • Demonstrate the worth of your network. Offer your connections to auxiliary services such as legal assistance, home cleaning, staging, repairs etc. Your connections make you a time-saving, one-stop-shop for selling a home.
    • Keep the lines of communication open with new clients. It can lead to word of mouth references. Why? If you’re working magic quietly in the background, your job appears effortless. If they believe you didn’t have to do much to sell their home, they will also believe you haven’t earned the commission or the business of their colleagues. Regular updates keep clients in the loop of your efforts and the progress of their sale.

    What is your experience with FSBO sellers?

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    Selling History: Using a Home’s Past to Your Advantage

    January 14th, 2014

    selling historyMany of today’s buyers seek qualities that make a property unique.  When the singular characteristics of a home aren’t obvious, a bit of research could help. Unearth a multitude of selling points by discovering the history of your listings!

    Every property has a story to tell. Older homes offer the greatest diversity of possibilities: maybe a famous writer once lived there, or it was part of the Underground Railroad, or perhaps an eccentric architect designed it. Newer homes also have potential. A popular band could have practiced in the garage or the plot is part of an old baseball field. Finding the history of a property opens the doors to information that could help you sell to the perfect buyer.

    To begin your research, consider the following resources:

    • Check Point2 Homes to see if a detailed property data report is available, then scroll through past owners and other available information looking for gems.
    • Visit the local library to find city directories and archived newspapers. Many old records are still not available online so the brick and mortar library is your best bet. Besides, most librarians will be glad to put their rare skills to use and help you!
    • Cyndi’s list provides useful links for online property research.
    • Contact the local historical society. Members can often provide folklore in addition to data-driven property info.
    • Seek out census records, which have maps and ownership information dating back to 1865.

    So…what should you do when the history of a property isn’t so charming? There are several options.

    • Remember that there is a home for everyone. Even a property with a checkered past is someone’s ideal home, you just have to locate that special buyer. Speak with the owners of your local haunted tour company and ask to leave your card at the office, or use such tours as a networking tool. Also seek out clients at unconventional venues, like Parafest or Military History Fest.
    • When a property is a tough sell, you can still rent it out for big bucks. Homes with a past are the perfect backdrop for television and film. Location scouts are always on the lookout for unique properties.  List your site on LocationsIndex.com and similar film industry sites to turn a tough sell into a famous rental.
    • Don’t ignore (or conveniently forget) the property’s history if it poses ethical problems. Instead, try to emphasize the property’s more appealing traits such as vintage architectural details, interesting tidbits about the builder or past owners, or fascinating facts about the neighborhood.

    Have you sold a home with an interesting past? Share your pointers for success with the Point2 community by commenting below.

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    Making Vine Work for You

    December 17th, 2013

    Vine is a hot video app that allows you to create mini-commercials for your business. Whether you’re showing off a property or promoting your services, knowing how to successfully use Vine will give you a marketing inlet with Millennials.

    Today’s young buyers love to receive their information in creative, time-friendly segments. These segments must be mobile device ready. A study by eMarketer reveals that 63 percent of Millenials use smartphones. While on those devices, 84 percent of Millenials are checking out social media platforms.

    As an agent, you can appeal to these customers by tapping into their favorite social media outlets. Vine is a rising star on the scene. Unlike YouTube, which allows you to post lengthy videos, Vine requires videos that are three to six seconds long. That might not sound like much time, but you can accomplish a lot with a bit of creativity.

    These pointers will help you get started.

    Professional job, amateur tools.

    Many Vine videos are created with nothing but an iPhone and maybe an additional speaker for sound quality. This means that any agent can create a worthwhile video with minimal upfront investment. vine steep angle

    Time is your biggest investment.

    To avoid wasting time editing superfluous video, thoroughly plan your video ahead of time. What feature of the property do you want to promote? What images can convey the most about that feature in the shortest time? For example, if you want to focus on a great open floor plan, consider filming all shots from a low angle near the floor, looking upward. This creates images of grandeur without saying a word.

    Don’t forget audio.

    Vine combines visuals and audio, setting it apart from photo-sharing apps. Take advantage of audio by creating unique soundtracks. If you want to convey the relaxing natural beauty of a property, consider getting nature sound clips like seen below.

     

    Consider more than one video per property.

    Create a portfolio of three or four Vine videos for one property. (That’s only 24 seconds of film!) Multiple mini-videos allow you to highlight specific features in greater detail, such as separate videos for the great neighborhood, modern upgrades, and spacious floor plan. Separate videos will also allow you to post the videos with unique hashtags, catching the eyes of diverse viewers who may seek specific characteristics in a property.

    Staging for video is different than live staging.

    When you’re staging a home, you generally remove personal effects so that the guests can envision themselves at the property. You certainly don’t want the homeowner lying in bed during the open house! That’s not necessarily true for video. It may help to depict people using the space and enjoying its features. Humans provide a sense of scale for a room. Secondly, human presence can make a shot livelier, even if the person is quietly prepping food in the gourmet kitchen, or having coffee on the deck in the large, dog-friendly backyard. Be careful that the person in the video isn’t too distracting, like in the example below.

     

    Download Vine onto your smartphone to start making your own videos today.

    Are you using Vine to market your properties or services? Share a link with us below.

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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    10 Easy Health Tips for Agents on the Go

    November 18th, 2013

    health tips for agentsThe life of an agent can be hectic, especially around the holidays. In addition to the typical open houses and property tours, you must navigate a slew of holiday parties and errands. With so much going on, it can be easy to overlook your health.

    Staying healthy on the go starts with a series of small, smart decisions. These fun and easy tips will help you stay on top of your health without missing a beat.

    1. It’s too cold to chat with clients inside of an unheated property, much less outside! But think twice before ducking into a coffee shop. That delicious grande pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks ads 360 calories to your belly; most scrumptious seasonal offerings are loaded with flavored creams and sweeteners. Limit your holiday beverage intake and opt for traditional coffee or tea instead.
    2. Make an appointment with yourself! Schedule breaks to release stress. Strive for ten minutes, ideally more, but even a few minutes are better than none. Relax to your favorite music while you’re in the car, stretch, meditate, or simply sit in silence. Relaxation exercises can improve your health even in small doses.
    3. If you have a workout routine, stick with it! As busy as the year end may be, it’s important to make time for your fitness routine. Slacking off even a day or two makes it harder to get back on track later, encouraging a cycle of inactivity.
    4. Avoid multitasking while you eat. Multitasking is a distraction from your meal. You won’t enjoy what you’re eating, nor will you pay attention to when you’re truly full. You’re likely to eat more than you need.  Update your blog and check your emails later.
    5. Make time for healthy breakfast. Don’t leave home without breakfast, which jumpstarts your metabolism. A healthy meal sets the tone for the rest of your day, providing you with the nutrients and energy needed to stay focused. Starchy, greasy meals will cause a slump around noon while packing on needless calories.
    6. Got a dozen closings and housewarming parties on your agenda? A classic trick will help you limit your calorie intake while maintaining a professional demeanor. For every alcoholic beverage that you consume, have a glass of water. This ratio will help you stay hydrated (thus avoiding the dreaded morning after) and keep your waistline slim.
    7. Stash healthy snacks in your car or travel bag. Snacking helps to keep your metabolism churning throughout the day. Rather than counting calories, focus on foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Their benefits often outweigh any calorie concerns.
    8. Keep a reusable water bottle with you so that you can stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration results in fatigue and diminished concentration.
    9. Eat at least one meal at home. Commit to at least breakfast or dinner at home where you can be fully in control of your dietary options.
    10. Indulge! Give up the calories that you don’t need in exchange for the ones you truly desire. This is the trick to making healthy substitution while you’re mobile. Can’t live without that crème brulee? Order it, but get veggies instead of mashed potatoes as your side. Small, smart sacrifices help you stay healthy and happy in the long run.

    The golden rule for successful, busy people: Don’t just want time. Make time!

    Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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