RE:RnD… Status of the real estate market with Jonathan Miller and Matt Heaton

Just finished up a ridiculously informative (and fun!) show with Jonathan Miller and Matt Heaton as part of the latest RE:RnD radio show. In the beginning, we took a real deep dive into macro-economic issues that are facing the industry and then focused in on how agents can use this knowledge in their business. You can listen to the show via the widget embedded in this post!

It’s been a lot of fun to team up with the notorious rob on this project… I’m not sure what you’all think, but I’m having a blast bantering with him and enjoying teaming up with him to dive into real estate issues. We already know the topic for next week, but I’m going to hold off announcing anything until we get a chance to get some speakers lined up. What I can say however, is that it’s going to be fun! 😉

And for regular updates on our shows including announcements about future guests, become a fan of our facebook page: http://rernd.com/

Impact of Social Media in the Luxury Market

Earlier today I got my hands on a survey that the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) did of their members around how they are using social networks.

institute of luxury home marketing logoOne of the reasons I really like this survey is that the number of emails and calls I get from luxury agents and brokerages has ramped up lately, and yet, I haven’t had a great source of data to at least anchor the conversation in terms of social media presence within the luxury market.  This survey will definitely help me jump-start many of those conversations.

ILHM asked their members questions like:

  • Which social networking websites do you use?
  • If you had to choose just one social networking site for the member networking group, which would it be?
  • Have you ever given or received a referral, or generated business via a social network?

The answers to these questions and more from the 473 members who responded can be found within their survey results document (PDF), but I’m gonna summarize what I think are some of the more interesting findings:

  • LinkedIn (30%) and Facebook (28%) about equally dominate the mind-share of luxury agents
  • Over 80% of the agents said they were using social networks
  • When asked where ILHM should have a member group, people were equally divided between LinkedIn and Facebook
  • 20% of respondents said they had generated business out of social networks
  • Non-real estate social networks like Twitter and MySpace didn’t register much interest, while ActiveRain was the only real estate specific site mentioned that had any real traction
  • The social networks offered by Zillow and Trulia didn’t even hit the radar on the survey.  I’m not sure if this is because agents think of Trulia and Zillow as search sites and the idea of Trulia Voices or Zillow Advice being social networks didn’t occur to them or because the agents surveyed simply aren’t using these services.

I’m a bit surprised to see Facebook register just as high as LinkedIn only because LinkedIn seems like such a natural fit for luxury agents, but with so much buzz around Facebook in the press lately, in retrospect I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I’ve been telling agents for a long time now that they should be using LinkedIn to market themselves (that article is over 2 years old already)… and that advice rings even more true in the luxury market where it seems like agents are often extremely concerned with their image.  Especially if you have years of experience, then you really have to try to look bad on LinkedIn.

And, by the way, if you’re looking for one more person to connect with on LinkedIn (or better yet recommend!), I’m always looking to connect up with interesting real estate people!

Update: I hadn’t noticed before posting, but John C’s comment prompted me to check out ILHM’s blog: Luxury Insight, where I see that they also posted information on the survey.

Maybe I can offer a totally different perspective

Hurricane Fannie Freddie got me thinking about an email that I sent out to a Seattle real estate agent not too long ago.     The agent emailed me to say that she thought Rain City Guide’s negativity was only making the Seattle real estate market worse and that we should provide a more positive outlook.

This was not the first email I’ve received like this (far from it), and so I thought I’d share my response with 4realz readers since it may help you uncover a bit of what has worked on RCG over the past 3 1/2 years (note: I modified the email substantially to protect the innocent):

Dear Seattle real estate agent,

Maybe I can offer a totally different perspective.

As you seem to understand by your email, Rain City Guide is an awesome marketing tool that generates lots of interest among seattle real estate consumers and substantial business for many of the active participants.   However, I think the reason we are successful often gets lost on industry insiders.

There’s no doubt that the group of contributors to RCG often takes a slightly negative twist (some might argue “realistic”) on the market and that in general, the most active participants are extremely pro-consumers at the expense of the industry.   For industry-insiders like yourself, this can often seem completely inappropriate (as you mentioned!), but for those of us generating business by tapping into an honest dialog with consumers about the market, it can often seem odd that anyone would take any other position.

Truth is, I can’t think of one successful real estate blogger (i.e. one who is generating substantial business from blogging) who views their job to look out for the industry.

While it might be in the best interest of the industry for RCG to put a positive spin on today’s market, from my perspective, it’s in the best interest of each contributor to take a position that a vast majority of consumers can relate to.   For consumers, the market sucks… and that includes most of the people who are considering buying and/or selling right now.    And my experience has been that if you tell an internet consumer anything they don’t want to hear, they’ll simply do another google search and find an agent, website or blog that matches with their reality.

My recommendation? As you contribute comments (and maybe some day posts) to RCG, focus on consumers and (pretty much) ignore the other contributors.  And if you do decide to give industry-spin, then be prepared that RCG readers love to point out self-serving agents and RCG contributors are often more than happy to distance themselves from industry insiders because they’re looking to earn clients, not industry friends.

Essentially, don’t be the “example” that other contributors can focus on to differentiate themselves.  Instead, focus on relating directly to consumers with the most authentic dialog you can muster.  There’s plenty of business to be generated by all if you fight for the consumer’s heart and mind.

And just to be clear, this perspective has everything to do with the expectations of internet consumer and very little to do with RCG.  This honest dialog between agents and consumers goes on, and will continue to go on, with or without RCG.

I hope this helps! Best,

-Dustin

I’d be fascinated to hear your thoughts on my email.  Does this philosophy work outside of Seattle?  Or am I just totally missing the boat on what makes RCG tick?

4realz Roundtable: Effect of FDIC/Treasury Actions on Home Buyers and Real Estate Industry

[NOTE: we had a wonderful show and you can listen to the entire episode at the bottom of this post!]

This week were going to cover the obviously hot topic of the effect of the actions taken by the government in bailing out and/or helping secure IndyMac, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae will affect the real estate industry.

This week’s guest is Lawrence Yun and as the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS, Lawrence is sure to bring an incredibly interesting perspective.  He’s constantly traveling around the country talking with people about their local markets… and whenever he’s stopped by real estate technology circles, like trips to Portland and Virginia, he’s impressed the locals tremendously.

As always, you can get information on how to (1) listen to the call live, (2) take part in the live chat and potentially take part in the conversation by following the (relatively simple) information on the 4realz Roundtable TalkShoe page.  My guess is that this will be one of the more popular shows yet, so I’ll likely only be taking live callers based on folks who ask interesting questions in the chat room!

Also, in order to better accommodate Lawrence’s schedule, I’m moving the call to one hour later than usual.   The show will be on Thursday, July 17, at 5pm PST (8PM EST).     I definitely hope you can join us for a conversation on this timely topic!

UPDATE #1:

What an great show.   Thanks so much to everyone who took part!

Jonathan Miller, Jillayne Schlicke and Rhonda Porter really helped provide an excellent base for a roundtable discussion with Lawrence.   In our one hour conversation we covered so much ground… and I only wish I had the bandwidth to transcribe the whole thing (or even take better notes during the conversation!).

Nonetheless, we covered looked at how the real estate market would be affected by issues such as banks bailouts, freddie/fannie mac troubles, isues with jumbo loans, REOs, consumer confidence, government actions, sustainable housing, inflation, and much more!   If you’re interested in getting an in-depth look at the real estate market and where things are headed, then you can listen to the entire show right here:

[podcast]http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-20339/TS-128183.mp3[/podcast]

UPDATE #2:

There are great conversations going on about this topic on both Rain City Guide and ActiveRain. Also thanks to Jim Duncan, Ardell DellaLoggia, Jonathan Miller, Rhonda Porter and Tom Royce for helping to spread the word!

4realz Roundtable: Marketing Real Estate with Video

[Note: This turned out to be an awesome conversation…  You can see who participated in the call as well as listen to the conversation at the bottom of this post!]

On this week’s 4realz Roundtable, I’m really looking forward to discussing marketing with video… and in particular, how real estate agents are effectively using video to promote themselves, their communities and their listings.

My concept of video is pretty broad and includes virtual tours… Some of the companies I imagine we’ll cover include ways to market using YouTube, TurnHere, WellcomeMat, Real Estate Shows, Vimeo, MLBroadcast Vidlisting, and Utterz.

PLEASE NOTE:

Because I don’t want to butt the roundtable up too close to the forth of July weekend, I’m MOVED the time to Wednesday, July 2nd.    So, for this week only, please join us at 4pm on Wednesday for what should be a great Roundtable!  As always, the call in telephone number and links to the chat can be found on this page: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/20339

UPDATE:

We had such a great conversation!  I really want to thank all the people who joined up to take part in the conversation including:

You can listen to the conversation here:

[podcast]http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-20339/TS-128180.mp3[/podcast]

This Week’s Roundtable: Tech Tools to Serve Sellers Better?

[UPDATE: This edition of the 4realz Roundtable is now live and you can listen to it at the bottom of this post!]

As part of my hunt for new marketing tools for agents, I’d love to take on a relevant topic similar to how we took on tracking and analytics for agents last week.

With that in mind, I’m planning for Thursday’s discussion to focus on tech tools that help agents serve sellers better…. And here’s where you come in.   What types of technologies and/or tools should we cover?

Some thoughts that come to my mind include single property websites and listing syndication services… But I know there is more? What about tools that help agents get sellers to price properties more appropriately like Altos Research Reports?

I’d love to hear from you about the technology tools available to agents that can help them serve sellers better!   In particular agents, if there is some tricks or tips you’d be willing to share, I’d love to hear from you and potentially get you on the show!

Also of interest, I’ve started summarizing the relevant websites taken from our previous Roundtables on social networking, home valutions and analytics for agents within the Tool Shed!

UPDATE:

What an awesome crew we had on the call today:

If you’re an agent looking to increase your knowledge on how to use simple technology tools to increase your business, here are just some of the tools that were mentioned in the podcast:

Some great stuff!   Thanks again to everyone who took part!  For everyone else, you can listen to this edition of the 4realz Roundtable here:

[podcast]http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-20339/TS-124626.mp3[/podcast]

4realz Roundtable today: Tracking and analytics for agents

NOTE:  You can listen to the podcast and read a brief summary of the show at the bottom of the post!

As I mentioned last week, I’m putting together a list of resources for agents for a presentation at RE Connect…  and at the end of the process, I’ll end up with a list of the top 50 marketing tools for agents.   However, over the next month or so, I’m hoping to really dive into some specific areas and so I thought I’d start with tracking and analytical tools for agents by bringing the conversation to the 4realz Roundtable.

Today’s Roundtable will be at 4PM PST! And, as always, we’d love to have you take part!

If you’re an agent who’s eye’s glace over at this subject, I’m hoping you’ll try to stick with it a bit because I think there is no better way to find value in your internet marketing then measuring, tracking and adjusting your online marketing and I hope to get into some strategies with the participants of the roundtable today!

With that in mind, here’s a great list of tools from an email that was sent to me last week by Gahlord Dewald of Union Street Media last week (and reprinted with his permission!):

Survive the downturn by using analytics to listen to and observe your customers
  • Google Analytics. Survive the downturn by knowing more about your customers. More reports than you’ll ever have time to read. Free.
  • SiteScan GA. To save a few bucks you installed Google Analytics yourself. Did you install it correctly? Use SiteScan to find out. Free
  • CrazyEgg. Know exactly where on a page people are clicking and how soon after arriving they click. Ruthlessly prune links that don’t improve your conversions. Free.
  • 4q. Listening to your customers is important no matter if the market is good or bad. 4Q mashes analytics expert Avinash Kaushik’s brain with qualitative experts iPerceptions into a simple, easy to use 4 question survey to capture the voice of the customer. Free (this is the absolute best free “qualitative analytics” tool on the market).
  • FeedBurner. Sure it’s also great for simplifying your blog’s RSS feed. But it also lets you know what content your audience is reading and clicking on. Use this to help you write stuff your audience wants. Free
  • ClickTale. Ever want to observe exactly how visitors browse through your site including cursor placement, clicks and time? Clicktale is the next best thing to looking over their shoulder while they browse your site. WARNING: Time consuming and addictive. Free
  • GetClicky.  Where your visitors come from, what content they view, what links they followed, how they got there and more: in Real Time. Free
Survive the downturn by dominating your competition
  • Keyword Envy. You’re good enough to know which specific keywords matter to you. You can track your site’s performance over time at Keyword Envy. Free
  • Compete.com.  Competitive research on the web is notoriously fuzzy. But people still want it. If you want to do competitive research, use Compete.com for its combination of data sources. Free
  • SEOQuake. What is so great about the sites ahead of yours in the Search Engine Results Page? Install SEOQuake on your browser and find out things like latest cachedate, google page rank, number of backlinks, did they submit a sitemap and more right at the SERP. Free.
Survive the downturn by getting smarter
  • Web Analytics Wednesday. Once a week, in your town (or one near you) web analysts get together to drink beer, give a short presentation and talk shop. They love talking to real people with real business problems. Attend a Web Analytics Wednesday.
I found this list from Gahlord to be extremely helpful… and a GREAT jumping point into the world of analytics.  With today’s participants, I hope to get people talking about the tools they use and/or recommend… and why!

Are you an analytically-minded agent or someone who wants to get more technical in your online marketing? Join us at 4pm to let us know what tools you’re using and get some feedback from others from the roundtable on what you could do better in the future!

Note about the Roundtable

I’ve had more than a few questions about what it takes to get involved… Essentially, the answer is not much.   If you want to listen into the conversation, then you need only log in from the talk shoe site.   If you want to ask questions live (as oppose to the chat), then you’ll need to call in using any phone.   ALL the information needed to get involved is on the TalkShoe site!

UPDATE:

What an awesome show!

There was a great group of people on the call including Andy Kaufman, Kevin Tomlinson, Mark Eckenrode, Grant Freer, Jeff Turner, Todd Carpenter, Gabe Hoggarth, and Jim Marks.

We covered all kinds of topics including a few websites not mentioned above like Have a Mint and Woopra.  However, I think the real value for most agents will come from our discussion on how much agents should know (and need to know) about SEO.

If you’re an agent interested in understanding what you need to know about SEO, tracking and analytics in order to improve your business, I can only imagine that you’ll find this roundtable discussion very enlightening: