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Real Estate Marketing

Facebook’s Catalyst Housing Fund is reaching new heights

(MARKETING NEWS) Facebook’s Catalyst Housing Fund has seen tremendous success and so the Silicon Valley Giant has decided to advance the initiative.

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Going all in

It looks like Facebook is doubling down on its quest to solve affordable housing. In a press release, Facebook announced that the Local Initiatives Support Corporation would manage Facebook’s affordable housing investment.

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The organization will take Facebook’s initial $18.5 million investment and leverage up to $75 million dollars to build affordable housing starting in the fall of this year.

Catalyst Housing Fund

The initial investment, called the Catalyst Housing fund, was dispersed amongst a number of local organizations to develop solutions to the housing pricing in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park. According to the press release, “Since the announcement of the community partnership in December, the partners have provided $500,000 to Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) to support Belle Haven and East Palo Alto residents threatened with displacement from evictions or abuse by landlords. The partners have also contributed $250,000 to Rebuilding Together Peninsula to rehabilitate and reconstruct homes in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.”

This new step will focus the investment on building affordable units in the city, which is congruent with other Facebook efforts.

In July, Facebook announced the development of the Willow campus across from its Menlo Park office; over 200 of the 1500 housing units on campus would be priced below market rate, and they would be open to people outside of Facebook’s employment pool.

Pump up availability

According to the most recent press release, Facebook also has its sight set on government efforts to increase affordable housing availability.

“We are encouraged by the streamlining and affordable housing funding bills currently under consideration by the state of California. We see the need for policy and funding solutions to work in tandem, and see the Catalyst Housing Fund as an opportunity to advance the supply of housing for families most in need.”

Heads up move FB

As far as philanthropic moves go, it’s a smart play for a major Silicon Valley player. Companies like Facebook have been creating an intense demand for highly-skilled workers due to their overwhelming success.

That influx of workers has strained the housing market severely; fewer dwellings are available, and prices continue to soar. And that’s all before you address the traffic problem, too. By building housing near its campus, and make it available to the broader community, Facebook is taking a step in the right direction for corporate responsibility.

#CatalystHousingFund

Born in Boston and raised in California, Connor arrived in Texas for college and was (lovingly) ensnared by southern hospitality and copious helpings of queso. As an SEO professional, he lives and breathes online marketing and its impact on businesses. His loves include disc-related sports, a pint of a top-notch craft beer, historical non-fiction novels, and Austin's live music scene.

Real Estate Marketing

COVID-19: Should real estate pause “days on market” featured on sites?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) MLS platform rely heavily on a constant market. With the current pandemic, certain features can negatively impact buyers, sellers, and their listing agents.

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With more and more states, counties, and cities issuing “shelter-in-place” orders, it looks as though this will be the new normal for a while. For real estate professionals, this leaves a lot of unanswered questions and apprehension. With shelter-in-place, naturally, there will not be as many people looking to buy or sell homes, but what about the homes already on the market? How will they be affected?

Maybe it is time to review certain listing features: days on the market, tours, and open houses, to name a few. These features are heavily dependent on an active market. When the market is in a slump, recession, or facing a crisis, like pandemic, natural disasters, or in an area where people have been experiencing extensive furloughs and layoffs, this data can be unfairly impacted.

When there are not as many homebuyers/sellers in an area due to these events, days on the market will rise, tours will sit unviewed, and open houses will not receive any foot traffic because people are not financially in a place to partake.

Typically, buyers use the “days on the market” feature to leverage better deals; the longer a home has been on the market, the more likely the owner will be to strike a better deal (in theory). During these shelter-in-place orders, the longer a home looks as though it has been on the market, the more likely a perspective home buyer will be to think, “if it’s been on the market this long, what’s wrong with it?” Also, it can give the false impression that the listing agent isn’t doing all they should be to sell the home, as the days on the market increase, which unfair both to the real estate professional and to the homeowner.

In California, where there is currently a shelter-in-place order, the MLS Listings Board of Directors has issued an order to suspend days of the market for active listings. Active listings will no longer accrue days on the market, effective March 17 (the day the shelter-in-place was issued). The Board also disabled broker tours and open house listings effectively keeping the listing marketplace from being adversely impacted.

This change should happen across the board, in my opinion, so other markets aren’t negatively impacted by a continual “days on the market” count when we are all dealing with the pandemic. Perhaps other MLS listing services will follow suit and it will soon become standard to suspend the features most impacted by the shelter-in-place order.

The MLS Listings Chairman in California, Karl Lee, stated, “This action is intended to relieve pressure on sellers and buyers during the coronavirus pandemic and to underscore public compliance efforts during the shelter-in-place. The health of the public is priority number one. We are actively reviewing policies to identify ways to support buyers, seller, agents, and brokers in these unprecedented times. We continue to collaborate with other MLS listing platforms for best practices under the impact of coronavirus.”

However, not all MLS listing agencies agree with this policy. In fact, some agencies are not addressing the inadequacies the shelter-in-place has presented. Instead, they are telling their agents to carry on as normal, which is a violation of the shelter-in-place order. What do you think MLS listing agencies should do? Should the days on the market continue to accrue during the pandemic, or should it be suspended until business can resume as normal?

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Real Estate Marketing

Quickly turn any text, link, or tweet into an Instagram post

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) If you have wondered how to share the same ad across multiple social platforms, Remix is your answer for the brand unity every company needs.

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Developing unique and “likeable” Instagram content is a crucial objective for any brand. This involves being aware of outside apps that help one develop the best content for their brand. These apps include a myriad of purposes, from additional filters to repost abilities to creating eye-catching stories.

Now, an app exists that allows users to transform any link, tweet, or product into beautiful Instagram content. Remix by Buffer is designed to help people share their content across every channel in an effort to give their content consistency.

Bring tweets to Instagram. Put your products into Stories. And much more,” says Buffer’s landing page for Remix. “With Remix, you can share information quickly, efficiently, and completely on-brand. Remix is fully free. No watermarks. No in-app purchases.”

One of the best aspects of this is that the content you’re designing can be altered to include your brand’s colors to ensure that every post is, as they said, on-brand. After selecting your colors once, you can keep them on file to use for future posts.

To create a post, you grab a link from a tweet or a product and bring it into Remix to generate an image that you want to share. After choosing the colors, you select a size and style as different layouts are available to match your content or brand.

Then, you have the option to customize the background by uploading your own image or selecting one from Unsplash. Remix is available for both iOS and Android.

Buffer recaps the purpose on Product Hunt by writing, “Share tweets to Instagram. Turn links & products into social media content. You can create on-brand assets from any tweet, link, or product & share to your favorite social network. We hope this can streamline your workflows and help you engage with your audience.”

Audience engagement is obviously the main point of social media, and people love fresh content as well as consistency from brands. This can be a difficult line to walk in order to create content that is both eye-catching and hits your brand’s mark every time. Having outside tools like Remix can help you to accomplish this goal.

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Real Estate Marketing

Proactively help clients who may be facing foreclosure due to COVID-19

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) You may be wondering how you can proactively help your clients who might face foreclosure. We have suggestions that may help your clients more effectively.

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Proactively prevent foreclosure

Current times are worrisome at best. Not only are people worried about the virus, but about losing their homes, careers, and financial stability. For many real estate professionals, job security is looking a little less secure. For real estate clients, both past and present, the worry of losing their homes is becoming increasingly imperative. In order to alleviate some of the worry surrounding COVID-19 and foreclosure, proactively emailing your clients with a list of available resources could help combat fear and the possibility of foreclosure.

There is no sense in being overly optimistic about the current situation, as none of us are certain how COVID-19 will affect everyone, but often, knowing where to turn if need be, can help relieve looming anxiety. Proactively emailing your clients a list of available resources and steps to take in the event they believe they will be facing foreclosure, will let them know you’re thinking about them and the current situation.

It will also reinforce the fact that real estate professionals are aware COVID-19 isn’t just about physical symptoms; it’s about the emotional and financial ones as well and while we’re all doing our part to help prevent the spread, there are other resources that may be needed, should the time come.

The most important thing to stress straightaway to them is the urgency of time. With any possibility of foreclosure, the quicker your client is able act, the better their chances of being able to save their home. Depending on their mortgage lender or servicer, and their agreed upon terms, the options vary. Let them know there are options, but time is of the essence. Stress to them the importance of contacting their lender and not to delay in taking the first step. There are modification available (provided they meet the requirements) for VA, FHA, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, online mortgages, and others, so long as your clients contact their lender and discuss their options as soon as they think foreclosure might be in their future.

I have seen some sources recommending that real estate professionals recommend to their clients they curb their spending in an effort to save their homes from foreclosure; however, in these tumultuous times, I think most clients already know that spending will need to be adjusted. With the rising cost of groceries and medicine, finances should be discussed with the lender, as to not further stress the client, in my opinion.

While it may seem obvious that clients could find this information on their own, remember when you’re already under pressure, it’s difficult to think clearly. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning and there’s nowhere to turn. Your clients already trust you. They trust that you are an expert in your field and you’ll know the most reliable sources to seek out should things turn more critical. Proactively be a trusted resource for your community during this difficult time and we can all help each other breathe a little easier.

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