Groups are smaller communities within the larger ActiveRain. Join groups created by others. or start your own and
get others to join
This is the place to view the past and present contests put on by ActiveRain and its members. Everyone can join the
group and help encourage each other. Current contest will be highlighted posts so it's easy for you all to see. Let it
Curious as to what others in your profession think about a certain product or tool?
AR's community takes the time to leave honest and transparent reviews of their experiences
so you can be a bit wiser about your purchase.
Broken down by categories and subcategories for easy finds
Get an unfiltered look at what real users are saying
Leave a review yourself for others to benefit from
Add new products as you use them and gain points for doing so
ActiveRain University (ARU) provides free on-line training. We coach, consult and support real estate professionals about real estate trends, technology and social media.
ARU Calendar provides class types and registration links
Watch short tutorials on updating your photo, inserting a hyperlink and much more
Sign up for the Daily Drop so you don't miss out on AR's daily happenings
Find answers to most FAQ's
Whatever it is you're into and wherever you are, AR surely has a group for you to join.
Brand, off the wall, specific subject matters…whatever it is you're looking for.
Each time you write a post you can syndicate your post to 5 groups.
And if by chance you don't find what you're looking for, start a new group today!
Get your content in front of more eyes
Search by location or type
Feel free to start your own group
Find some that are close to home and close to heart
Each month AR runs numerous contests as a way for our members to engage in activities
that will boost their business and increase their visibility in the community and beyond.
Earn points by partaking in these contest and climb the leaderboard
Do what's good for you and your business by participating
If you have an idea for a contest, just let us know
Stay motivated and on track with new contests popping up each month
Ask a Real Estate Question
Here's another avenue for you to build relationships with others. Share your expertise with someone searching for answers.
Play the teacher role and help someone out today
Your Homepage will alert you of new questions in your state
A wonderful way to open a door to a possible new client
Ask a question yourself to get help
These state pages or hyper-local pages provide content directly related to a specific geographical location.
State, County, City and Neighborhood pages make it easy for consumers to find what they're looking for.
Post your listings, school information, local events, market reports and more
Consumers peruse these pages for information
Farm your niche market and cover all the happenings in your neighborhood
If you overprice your house, you will lose money! - 03/31/12 08:32 PM
Back when I was an owner/broker I handled the Fannie Mae houses in our area. It didn't matter how detailed my market analysis - some of their reps ALWAYS listed $10,000 higher than my recommendation. Remember this is the days when houses were all under $100,000, One doublewide mobile stands out in my mind because it had so many problems. Once the repairs were made I recommended a list price of $75,000 so they listed at $85,000. Very soon we had an offer of $74,000 which was rejected. About 6 or 8 months later it sold - for $64,000. I can (2 comments)
If You Ever Make a Mistake Like This One... - 03/31/12 01:49 PM
Just think back to this post and realize what exaulted company you're in. Last night I was curled up with a book by a well-known author: Mario Puzo. You remember him, he wrote The Godfather. I was happily reading along when all of a sudden my brain said "What? What did that just say??" Here was the sentence: "The director was a tall, elegant man whose descendants came to America on the Mayflower." Wait a minute, that's just not possible. Descendant means "child, offspring, heir." Obviously, the word they wanted was ancestors, but somehow that got missed in editing. (9 comments)
Do You Feel Guilty Over Needing a Copywriter to Assist With Your Marketing Messages? - 03/30/12 09:54 PM
Some people do. In fact, my best friend is one of them. Every time she calls me for help with copywriting, she apologizes for needing help. She, like many others, seems to think that since she's an intelligent person, she should be able to write great copy. Why? She happens to be brilliant at accounting, and I'm not. I'm not embarrassed to admit I need her help figuring out debits and credits. I'm also not embarrassed to hire a mechanic for my car or a professional to repair my refrigerator. I didn't study those things and have no talent (7 comments)
If You Ever Feel "Stuck" on How to Start a Real Estate Marketing Letter or Email... - 03/30/12 03:17 PM
When you're writing real estate marketing copy it’s easy to get "stuck" on that subject line or opening sentence. You know what you want to say, but getting started is the tough part. My usual advice is to just start writing somewhere in the middle. By the time you have all your thoughts on paper, the beginning will probably come to you. But sometimes, even after you've written the rest of the letter, that brilliant idea for the lead-in just doesn't want to come out of hiding. You know it's important. Unless you capture your reader's attention right (8 comments)
Agents: Are You Going FSBO With Your Web Page? - 03/28/12 11:15 PM
J. Phillip Faranda points out the similarity between homeowners going FSBO and real estate agents building their own websites... Do you really save money by using hours and hours of your time building a website? Or would you be better off hiring someone and using that time with clients - or relaxing with your loved ones? If you love fooling around with code and enjoy the process, then it's good use of your time. Otherwise, delegate. I gave this same advice about copywriting in this 2009 blog post about making the Highest and Best Use of Your Time. If you love (6 comments)
Real Estate Marketing: What would you do if your website disappeared? - 03/28/12 03:57 PM
Could your real estate website suddenly disappear? If it did, could you quickly re-create it? Unless you have control over your site and your domain name – AND have back up files in your own computer, you could wake up one day to find you have no website, and no way to recreate it without starting from scratch. A few years ago, several websites in our community disappeared. They were hosted with a local company that simply went away. A sign in their window said "closed" and they didn't answer calls or emails. No one seemed to know why or (9 comments)
Safety tip for Real estate agents. Do not leave your garage door opener in your car - 03/28/12 03:04 PM
Gita brings us an important safety precaution - it's too bad that we need so many of those. Even without the GPS to lead thieves to your door, they can use your vehicle registration to get your address. Do you suppose people should now start carrying their registration with them, along with the garage door opener, keys, purses, etc? The GPS should be safe to leave (except for theft, of course) if you program your home address as some commercial business near you. Then it will lead you to your own neighborhood from Timbuktu, but won't tell anyone where you live. (2 comments)
Real Estate Marketing: Does your content inform? - 03/25/12 11:10 AM
Have you ever visited a real estate website and known for certain that the content was there just for SEO purposes? I see a lot of them - the articles are nothing but fluff - but they have keywords! A better idea is to enrich your site with information that gives value to your buyers and sellers. Anything from advice about the buying and selling process to interesting copy about the neighborhoods they serve will provide the SEO AND give visitors a reason to see the agent as someone "in the know." Like this graphic? Get more content (11 comments)
Home Buyers and Home Sellers - Heed this advice! - 03/24/12 02:30 PM
Lola offers important advice to home buyers with this post. If you aren't going to be loyal to one agent, no agent is going to make an extra effort to let you know when a new listing hits the market. It's the same mistake home sellers make when they want an "Open listing." If every agent in town can sell your house and earn both the listing and the selling side, NO agent is going to spend a minute or a dime in marketing that listing. Via Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate: Remember the program, 'Kids Say the (4 comments)
So Should I Find Another Agent, Then? - 03/24/12 02:15 PM
Susan's description of this "would-be buyer" reminded me of some of my "would-be" copywriting clients. They write and ask the price and how long it will take to do something (maybe a web page or a letter or a press release) - but don't answer my questions when I try to find out more about the something. Some don't even reveal the nature of their product or service. Sorry - I can't begin to answer your questions or give you assistance until I know what you need. Thank this goofy woman, Susan - she gave you fodder for a great blog (2 comments)
Real estate marketing: Is it time to reach out to your former short sale clients? - 03/24/12 01:51 PM
Hopefully, your real estate marketing efforts have included staying in touch with those homeowners who had to short sell. Some of them may have been sending you referrals – some of them may even have become friends. And some of them may now be in a position to re-enter the housing market as buyers. Different loan programs require different credit scores and different time lines for when you can qualify for a new mortgage after a short sale. So, depending upon how many dollars they've been able to set aside and how they've handled their finances, some of your past sellers (4 comments)
Belief + Determination = success - 03/22/12 10:05 AM
Thanks to Kat Palmiotti for a bit of inspiration on this snowy morning. (Yes, it's really coming down here in N. Idaho.) Kat tells us how her determination is leading her to success. She believed in her ability to heal, she was determined, and she did it! Now she's using that belief and determination to build a real estate career. I predict success. I agree with her that determination is a key to success. But before you can wholeheartedly exercise that determination you need belief - if you believe you can do it, and you're determined, then yes you can. (5 comments)
A strange day in the life of a real estate copywriter... - 03/20/12 12:15 AM
Being a freelance real estate copywriter means I don't need an office where people can find me. All my clients reach me by email or telephone, so I can work from my office right here at home. As everyone who works from home, even part of the time, knows, it can be a challenge. The distractions are many. Today should have been free of distractions... Most of the time when my husband is going to be gone for the day I can count on getting a lot done - no interruptions. I was looking forward to that today. But (11 comments)
Add this Reminder to Your Real Estate Marketing Materials - 03/18/12 12:32 PM
Your real estate marketing materials no doubt give buyers plenty of reasons to get off the fence and purchase a home now - while prices and interest rates are still low. There are many good reasons, but one I don't see mentioned very often is the income tax advantage. And even at a 4% mortgage interest rate, the tax savings for couples purchasing homes with a mortgage balance of $300,000 or more can be significant. For single individuals, the savings become significant with a mortgage of $150,000. Your buyers could save enough on income tax to make a house payment or (2 comments)
Real Estate Marketing - Jazz up your blogs with free photos from these sites - 03/17/12 01:59 PM
Thanks to Mimi Foster for bringing us a current list of free photo sites. All the gurus say that a best real estate marketing practice is to "add photos to your blog." But sometimes our own photos just don't convey the right thoughts. And paying a few dollars each for photos can really add up if you blog regularly. I've been using MorgueFile - I love that the permission to use the photo is right there in plain site. There's no danger of copyright infringement. Now I'm going to go check out the others that Mimi recommends. Via Mimi Foster - (10 comments)
Find Your Real Estate Niche and Maximize Your Strength.....It's Good Business - 03/17/12 11:51 AM
Barbara and her team are proof that developing a niche works - even in an unsettled market. When you select a niche and learn everything there is to know about a given area or market segment, you'll develop a reputation as "the" authority. With that reputation backing you, your business will grow and thrive. I do think that agents who are focused on short sales and REO's should think toward the future and begin developing a second niche. This "crisis market" will come to an end some day and those listings will dwindle back to normal levels. Via Barbara Todaro "Franklin (3 comments)
Is it just me? - 03/16/12 10:46 PM
This might sound crazy. It must be just me, but I have to ask. Am I the only one who makes more typing mistakes when the font is tiny? When I'm typing a comment in Active Rain I make more errors than in any other place. And of course, with the tiny font, they're a bigger pain to correct. They're harder to spot, too. It doesn't make any sense. My fingers aren't more crowded because the words are small. It must be some kind of psychological thing. Is it just me? (18 comments)
If you could tell the schools what to teach our kids, what would you say? - 03/16/12 05:54 PM
From my view as a real estate copywriter, the first things I'd tell the schools to teach would be reading, spelling, basic grammar and proper word usage. Maybe 30 years from now none of that will matter, but for now, when readers see "meat" when the writer meant "meet" or "there" when the writer meant "their," it throws the whole message out of kilter and stops the "mental flow." I'd really like it if every person with a high school education knew the difference in spelling between words that sound alike. I wrote about that in the post "Do (12 comments)
... at my earliest convenience. - 03/13/12 10:27 AM
Yesterday I returned a call from someone inquiring about my son's Duplex for rent. But, in a classic case of playing phone tag, I got his answering machine instead. What it said caused me to think "Hmmm... I don't think we'd want this guy for a tenant." What did he say? "Leave a message and I'll call you back at my earliest convenience." Now, maybe what he meant was "as soon as I can," but what I heard was something along the lines of: "If I feel like it, when I get around to it, and if I have (21 comments)
Inside the Squirrel House - 03/11/12 02:47 PM
Last summer I wrote about watching the squirrel running back and forth to our wood pile. I hoped that he would build a nest far back in the pile so I wouldn't have to disturb him when I started keeping the wood stove fueled. Well, I've been disturbing him for a while. Once he took a whole pile of grass and moved it farther back. But he's quit doing that.
Now, when I remove wood, I often bring a rain of pine cones, grass, and squirrel hair falling down around my feet. So far I've shoveled up enough (11 comments)
Once upon a time, I DID NOT like Dr. Seuss - 03/10/12 02:26 PM
Back in the Dark Ages, when I was a student at the University of Idaho, I took a minimum wage job working for a professor: Dr. Otness. He was a pleasant, elderly gentleman, but I really hated the task he gave me to do. He had boxes and boxes of Dr. Seuss books - and it was my job to take each of those books out of the box and create a card listing all the pertinent information. Boring, boring, and more boring. But that wasn't the worst of it. The boxes hadn't been sealed for storage and the books (15 comments)
Should You Toss That Box of Thank You Cards? - 03/09/12 10:08 PM
Are hand-written thank you notes as outdated as 78 RPM records? Today on Linkedin I came across a post advising against hand written thank you notes. The writer's advice was to send an email instead. He gave some valid reasons, and perhaps in the situation he was describing (follow up to a job interview) he could be right. It's true that a hand written note could be intercepted by a secretary and tossed. It's true that email is faster and that (unless deleted) it stays on the person's computer for easy reply. Where I absolutely couldn't agree was with this (25 comments)
What's the word? "Literally." How many times have you seen someone write something such as "The house was such a disaster that my buyers literally ran screaming out the door." Or "I was so frightened that I literally had heart failure." I've heard statements like those many times, but never thought much about it because it's not a word I use. After all, I knew (11 comments)
Will "Was Like" end up in Webster's Dictionary? - 03/08/12 04:34 PM
You've seen me grumble about this before. And I know, I'm being obsessive about it. I can't seem to help it. Everywhere I go lately, I hear it. Everyone is saying it: From kids in elementary school, to college students, to the grocery store checker, and yes - even to "professional" people. Everywhere I go people are saying "I was like" and "He was like" when they mean something else. They also say things such as "There's, like, a turkey in the yard." Does that mean there IS a turkey in the yard, or just something like a turkey? (11 comments)
Do you make any of these 4 errors when writing real estate marketing copy? - 03/06/12 11:12 PM
4 Word Choice Errors That Can Destroy Your Real Estate Marketing Message You already know that your real estate marketing copy doesn't have to be grammatically "perfect." In order to be effective, marketing copy has to be conversational, so it can't be stiff and formal. It needs to sound the way people actually talk. And most of us break the rules of grammar when we converse. For instance, we begin sentences with "and" or "but." So, while your marketing copy doesn't have to be perfect, it does have to follow a few rules, and one of those rules is that (18 comments)
More Smoke and Mirrors, or Good News from Washington D.C.? - 03/06/12 12:25 PM
More Real Estate Tinkering Going on in Washington? Last Friday I wrote about the increase in FHA MIP fees – both the upfront fees and the annual fees will increase on April 1. Fees for loans of $625,500 or more will see an additional increase on June 1. Today, as I walked through the living room, I saw that Obama was holding a press conference. I watched long enough to see him declare that the free market couldn't fix the current problems. Government intervention is needed. I can't handle watching him, so thought "I'll see what shows up in my (7 comments)
Kudos to KFC at Ponderay, Idaho - 03/05/12 12:25 PM
Wow! It has been a long time since I went into any business establishment where I was made to feel like pleasing me really mattered to the people working there. That happened last night at the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Ponderay, Idaho. KFC had been closed over the winter and just reopened on March 1. We were glad, since we do like to stop there for lunch on our visits to Sandpoint - or to stop by and pick up a bucket to take home for dinner. Yesterday we happened to be there at dinner time, so (7 comments)
Expand Your Sphere of Influence with Free Real Estate Letters - 03/04/12 04:13 PM
A few months ago, someone here in the rain inspired me to write a set of 3 real estate letters you can use to "win friends and influence people" in your business community - and thus expand your sphere of influence. The idea behind the "Let's get acquainted" letters is to reach out to others who serve your prospective clients - and form alliances that can lead to referrals from you to them and from them to you. These real estate marketing letters have been offered here before - but today it occurred to me that different people come (12 comments)
More Proof That Revealing Your True Self Really Works - 03/03/12 10:48 AM
You might do it with your real estate agent bio. (And if I wrote it for you, you probably do!) You might do it with your blog. But however you do it, do it - because it matters. Here's one more proof: My son called last night and in the course of the conversation mentioned a new listing / buyer client that his wife, Jacquie, was working with. Knowing how I feel about dogs and horses, he wanted to share the news about this new client, who was looking for land on which to build a horse rescue facility. (13 comments)
Is this a goofy real estate marketing idea or a good one? - 03/02/12 11:39 PM
Real estate marketing has changed drastically over the past few years - with more and (hopefully) better ways to get yourself and your listings in front of the "right" people. You put your listings on so many Internet sites that it makes my head spin just thinking about it. And your clients may be helping out by posting links or information on their social networking sites as well. Here's another way they can help you help them. Maybe you're already doing it and I just haven't seen it anywhere... You know your email signature has value. And you (66 comments)
It's Time to Contact Your FHA Buyers - 03/02/12 12:50 PM
Did you see the press release from HUD? They announced on Monday that FHA mortgage insurance fees will be increasing, effective April 1. The UFMIP (upfront fee) will increase from 1% to 1.75% of the base loan amount. But it's OK, because they'll let your buyers add that to their mortgage loans and pay for it, with interest, over the life of the loan. As if that wasn't enough... there's more. According to HUD, the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 requires them to increase the annual MIP by 1/10 %. This is the payroll (11 comments)
"Realy goose house" - Cooking Your Goose on the MLS - 03/02/12 12:36 AM
Gwen Banta is at it again! We can always count on her to find the really funny bloopers in her MLS and share them with us. It sure does make you wonder if these folks ever read what they wrote. And in some cases it makes me wonder if they know the difference between the words they used and the meaning they intended to convey. For instance, in "Pets no aloud." If you don't know and don't know that you don't know... how do you fix it? Via Gwen Banta (Sotheby's International Realty):
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.