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The Kings of Real Estate Blogging

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Surprise!  The name you’re looking for may not be in this blog post.

Hey, we all know that blogging is the way to go nowadays.  The time when cold calling, door knocking and postcard sending are done.  Over. Kaput.  Now you need to write, write, write in order to connect.  But what’s the right way?

This is what I’ve heard:

Content is King

Hey, wanna connect with an audience that will keep coming back for more? Then you have to keep adding in stuff that’s new and interesting. The advice differs but the least amount of posting I’ve heard is three times a week, minimum.  Anything less than that and Google will forget your name, your address and the fact that your favorite ice cream flavor is Rocky Road,

This can’t be any ol’ content either.  Nope.  It needs to be engaging because you want the anonymous reader who stumbled across your blog today to come back tomorrow for more or, better yet, subscribe to your blog so he gets a steady stream of your latest and greatest.  That’s right.  You need to keep honing your writing skills because we all know the typical Web surfer has the attention span of a toddler about to take their nap.  Think Pulitzer.

But, wait!  There’s more.

SEO is King

The thinking on this is that you can write the most fascinating stuff on the planet but if no one knows where to find you to read it then you’re essentially writing for you, your mother and your assistant you hired to proofread your blog posts.  So you need to fill all your posts with lots and lots of keywords so Google and all the other spiders and ‘bots and what have you can find your blog and deem it “relevant”.

Thusly:

“The home buyer considering the home purchase of 123 Main Street in Anywhere, MD came to an impasse with the home seller of the home located at 123 Main Street in Anywhere, MD over certain home inspection issues discovered by the licensed and certified home inspector from We Kill Deals Home Inspections. Unfortunately, the real estate transaction between the home buyer and the home seller regarding 123 Main Street, Anywhere, MD was not able to be completed.”

Of course, it could have been:

“One of my deals recently fell through due to inspection issues. Buyer balked. Seller wouldn’t move. Deal dead.”

‘Nuf said?  Get your SEO mojo going or you might as well be one of millions and millions of blogs vying for attention.  Wait.  You have one of the millions and millions of blogs vying for attention.

But, wait!  There’s more.

Social Media (the Relationship) is King

You can write like a 3rd grader and not know Jack about SEO but if you’re connected enough, you’ll float right to the top.  Get yourself on Facebook and Twitter and Posterous and Plaxo and LinkedIn and anything else that promises a “relationship” with someone, anyone that might provide you with another connection or maybe even a mention in their blog and a backlink, to boot.

Maybe it you tweet, poke or expose your Posterous enough the people whom you have never met or spoken to will help you and your business.  It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Everybody knows that!

So every morning after your twenty minutes on the treadmill and morning coffee get social and make some connections so you can make some dough.

The Silver Bullet

People tell me I’m crazy for trying to find the silver bullet.  The magic wand.  I’m told there is not single path to real estate nirvana.

Is there?

“Loves sunrise walks on the beach, quaint B & Bs, former Barbie® boyfriend..." Ken is a sole practitioner and Realtor Extraordinaire in the beautiful MD Suburbs of DC. When he's not spouting off on Agent Genius he holds court from his home office in Glenn Dale, MD or the office for RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Fulton, MD...and always on the MD Suburbs of DC Blog

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Doug Francis

    May 9, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I’m just glad you didn’t start naming names like the top 100 most influential… because when I am sitting at my desk in Vienna, Virginia looking at the sun stream down on the house for sale across the street on McArthur Avenue in Vienna, Virginia

    Darn it Ken, you got me!

    • Ken Montville

      May 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

      Doug,

      You’re such a, er, card. Most definitely the King of NoVa real estate – sun shining or not.

  2. Colleen

    May 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

    “People tell me I’m crazy for trying to find the silver bullet. The magic wand. I’m told there is not single path to real estate nirvana.”

    Agreed. Too often I see folks putting all their eggs in one basket. Agents need to market themselves through all the points made in this article, plus doing it across a multitude of platforms.

    • Ken Montville

      May 10, 2010 at 11:00 am

      I’m on board, Colleen, but my guess is that you’ll find the people who market the silver bullets are saying their way is THE way. “Hey, it’s only the cost of one transaction to buy my thing…or …about the cost of a venti latte for our per month membership fee that will rocket you to the top.”

  3. BawldGuy

    May 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Ken — No magic bullet, check.

    >Hey, we all know that blogging is the way to go nowadays. The time when cold calling, door knocking and postcard sending are done. Over. Kaput. Now you need to write, write, write in order to connect. But what’s the right way?

    Go to any brokerage with 50 or more agents. Take the top 10 producers. 8-10 of them don’t do much or any business from online activities. They’re killin’ the so-called blogger elite. I’m not being sarcastic at all. As you’re probably aware, I’m a blogger too. The next time my online efforts eclipse my online marketing will be the first. Online has averaged well over $100K/yr since I began blogging in July of ’06. That’s already happened this year, and blogging income STILL won’t touch what I do in the real world.

    I’d love to hear from AG readers about the top producers/teams in their large offices.

    • Bruce Lemieux

      May 10, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      BG – This is *absolutely* the case in my market in the Metro D.C. area. I keep track of the stats and *none* of the top agents have a great online presence and none are masters of social media.

      Looking at my stats, 16% of my business comes directly from my online presence. The rest – all ‘old school’ marketing.

  4. BawldGuy

    May 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I wrote: The next time my online efforts eclipse my online marketing will be the first.

    That second use of ‘online’ should’ve read ‘offline’.

  5. Kevin Baker

    May 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Fantastic Post Ken.
    Being new to the bloggin world I am always looking for ways to “get connnected”. I do sitll believe that using social media to connect with people and especially realtors from other market centers is a good thing to focus on. Anyone that is not marketing to other realtors is leaving money on the table and facebook, twitter and the such is a great way to stay top of mind.
    As for the written blogs I haven’t ventured into that too much but focused more on the video side of things.
    Keep up the great information!

  6. Keith Lutz

    May 10, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Excellent post. The future is blogging, at least for a few more years.

  7. Greg Cooper

    May 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I use blogging to punctuate what we’re doing with our contact base. For example, I had the good fortune to be on an HGTV show that’s still running in syndication. I realize not everyone can do this but for me, letting prospective clients know this has been a HUGE help in establishing credibility. We all have strengths. That’s why we blog….to reinforce those strengths with people that matter. Anything else is just white noise in the blogosphere.

    • Ken Montville

      May 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      When I grow up I want to be a famous TV star like you, Greg! To your larger point about emphasizing one’s strengths – absolutely.

  8. Jonathan Benya

    May 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    You’re spot on, as always Ken. Bear in mind though, the example you give is running dangerously close to violation of Code of Conduct. Public disclosure of contractual details and pending deals can lead to legal trouble down the road. While we want to be as content rich as possible, we must be mindful of how far we go and how much we say, lest we want to be looking down the wrong side of a lawsuit.

    • Ken Montville

      May 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Damn, Jonathan. Now, you’re making me nervous. I guess I’ll just have to go with example # 2 without all the repetitious keywords. Thank God, no one actually reads my blog. 🙂

  9. Erion Shehaj

    May 11, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I’m with Bawldguy on this. The number of real estate pros that have made significant scratch using blogging exclusively can be counted on one hand. Furthermore, content on 98% percent of real estate blogs can make for excellent fertilizer. It’s all about belly to belly my friend. While Agent Blogger is hoping to connect via a series of posts about little league schedules and “how to get rid of odors”, the cold caller has already cleaned his clock, got the listing and put it in escrow.

    As part of a comprehensive marketing strategy, blogging is a must. As an exclusive means of procuring business, it has longer odds than the Powerball lottery.

  10. Jim Gatos

    May 11, 2010 at 6:03 am

    “Hey, we all know that blogging is the way to go nowadays. The time when cold calling, door knocking and postcard sending are done. Over. Kaput. Now you need to write, write, write in order to connect. But what’s the right way?”

    I totally disagree.. Ever since I slowed down on blogging over the past year and started focusing on the BASICS, I’ve been listing more properties and getting more on deposits.

    As a matter of fact, I think I’m gonna start thinking about NOT blogging anymore. “Write, write, write?” After the novelty dies down, I don’t even bother to read half the blogs I used to. “BO-RING”, goes through my mind. I’d rather go to the neighborhood pub and say hello to someone live, in person.

    • Ken Montville

      May 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      Don’t sugar coat it, Jim. Tell us what you really think. 🙂

  11. Bob

    May 12, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Ken, stick to left wing political commentary because your SEO advice isnt accurate.

    “Then you have to keep adding in stuff that’s new and interesting. The advice differs but the least amount of posting I’ve heard is three times a week, minimum. Anything less than that and Google will forget your name, your address and the fact that your favorite ice cream flavor is Rocky Road,”

    Not true. Not even close.

    “So you need to fill all your posts with lots and lots of keywords so Google and all the other spiders and ‘bots and what have you can find your blog and deem it “relevant”.”

    Again not exactly sound advice. You do not need to hit Google over the head with a keyword stuffed bat for them to understand the content.

    “You can write like a 3rd grader and not know Jack about SEO but if you’re connected enough, you’ll float right to the top.”

    Do you just make this stuff up?

    Please go back to writing about what you know about. Its just wrong for you to proffer advice here that you admittedly dont have a clue about.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      Hey Bob, I think you and I read the article differently- I thought Ken was being facetious, I read it as tongue in cheek.

      • Bob

        May 12, 2010 at 12:24 pm

        If so I apologize, but apparently I’m not the only one who mis-read this.

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Austin

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?

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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.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

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.

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aging housing inventory

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.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

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.

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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

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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