The World Around Us
As the twilight of the past decade draws upon us and gives way to the new; I’m giving a great deal of thought to the future. I’m putting the final touches to my business plan and researching what is working for those who have found success in our business. Strangely, this peering into the success of others has caused me to question some of my current philosophies.
I recently created a summary report of agents and brokerage activities from my market region, which spans six counties and 1 city. In puling these reports, I found something interesting. In the very large region, with both a mix of urban and suburban geography, the top twenty producers in our market place (an hour south of Washington DC and an hour north of Virginia’s Capital.) have little to no internet presence. I mean, if you were to Google these folks, at best you’ll find their companies agent profile, but virtually no webpage to speak of, no blog, no twitter, rarely used Facebook pages etc… Here’s my other observation – none of these mega-producers are involve in volunteer work at their Realtor Association.
Now I’m not jumping to any conclusions, but I am questioning why so much emphasis has been placed in industry magazines, blogs and education on new media and our webpages? Could it be, because we’ve ran out of other things to read about? It makes me question how much my production would increase if I were to JUST concentrate on clients. Hmmmm…
Unquestionably Online Social Engagement Makes Sense
When I look at some stats like those below, online media makes perfect sense.
83% of active Internet users are watching videos online
In the United States, there are 31.9 million bloggers
71% of active online users read blogs
Nearly 66% of active Internet users have joined a social network
71% of active Internet users are visiting their friend’s social network page
Over 80% start their Real Estate search online
The philosophy of Facebook alone is very convincing, isn’t it? I mean virtually everyone has an account, it matches the buyer demographic, it allows personal interaction and you can gain trust. The case to engage online makes sense. But it may not be the only engagement that makes sense.
Consider The Options
One of my favorite posts by Benn Rosales is “37 Steps Toward Becoming at 1.5 Real Estate Agent” He provides a simply and realistic approach to working as a Realtor. Note that most of his post is not based on Social Media.
Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about “Social Media”. It’s just media – one more tool to contact and reach clients. It’s part of my marketing plan, not my THE marketing plan.
Yes, I’ve gotten clients for both Real Estate and teaching gigs but I’ve also done well with a variety of other engagements. The most effective? Actually meeting people in day-to-day life has been one of the best client producing tools in my career.
Living in the Here and Now
I love Visionaries and people who look forward to see what the future will look like. I spend a lot of time reading what these people say, but I’ve taken caution to not be so focused on where the consumer WILL be, that I forsake where the consumer actually is. There has been a tendency in the recent year to push agents toward new tools and new skillsets that has almost become cult like. We’ve made an punch-line of agents who don’t really want to blog for clients… Yet these “punch-lines” are laughing as they take their checks to the bank. I don’t think new media is a fad and it is going to become more prevalent, but let’s not neglect those agents who are still mastering their Sphere of Influence and other “old school” techniques.
Learning As I Go
I’ve been actively involved with new media for about three years and love my blog, Twitter, Facebook,et al. But they are MY voice. While teaching others to use these tools, I’ve recently been trying to not preach about what to post or how.
I’ve personally gotten weary of “influencers” dictating what I can or should post. I may not want to read a Facebook stream or Twitter stream that is posting listings or just bragging about the author’s production level, but that doesn’t mean there may not be an audience for this.
I’m happy to share what works for me, but my 2010 mentality is to meld traditional techniques with my online practices and spend a little more time learning from those who are more successful than I am. Those agents and Brokers who have been practicing for 20-30 years have a lot to offer and maybe we should be a little better listeners / observers and little less vocal?
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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