housecall: Cut Costs with an Open-Source CRM - 01/27/15 12:50 AM
I had no idea what an open-source CRM was, either.
Put simply, it means the source code is open for viewing and editing. By nature, it allows for greater customization and flexibility - you can see only the data you want to analyze, for example. For broker/owners, adding new agents won't cost you a dime. And because you're not locked into a contract, changing products is a cinch.
Best of all? Unlike proprietary software, open-source software (OSS) is typically low-cost or free.
If you've been keeping track of relationships with clients and leads with spreadsheets due to concerns over cost, consider adopting one of … (15 comments)

housecall: The Best Ski Towns for Real Estate Investing - 01/27/15 12:06 AM
It's here! RealtyTrac released its list of the top ski areas for real estate investment, and there were some interesting factors involved in their ranking - the old standbys like median home prices and gross rent yield, and less common factors like airport proximity and 'Pure Awesomeness'!
As expected, towns in Utah, Washington, Montana, Oregon, California, Idaho and Colorado topped the list. Sadly, I haven't ventured that far west yet - are they as awesome as RealtyTrac says?




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Don't forget to enter our Reader Rewards contest! If you were to advertise during the … (11 comments)

housecall: Targeting Your Market: Social Media is the New Neighborhood - 01/22/15 04:42 AM
Our global economy (and the infinite abyss that is the Internet) can make it seem like your reach has to extend far beyond the parameters of your market. And while that can be true in some cases, buying and selling real estate remains, at its core, a localized service.
But these days, social media takes 'local' to a whole new level.

What steps are you taking to dominate your local market?

Have you targeted potential buyers and sellers with a boosted post on Facebook? Try it out to promote a new blog post, client testimonial or event in a listing cycle. And don’t … (34 comments)

housecall: This Just In: Buyers Want Solar Panels - 01/19/15 02:39 AM
 
A new report funded by the Department of Energy says that homebuyers have consistently been willing to pay more for a property with owned solar photovoltaic systems (PV), regardless of home type or market.
In English, the results confirm what early adopters have always believed: solar makes cents!
Aside from renewable energy benefits, those who own their home’s PV system will receive approximately $1.26/watt in tax credits. Additionally, buyers can save time and money by avoiding certain steps needed to install the system.
If all goes as planned, the DOE estimates that 30 million homes nationwide will have solar paneling by 2050. As … (14 comments)

housecall: Forget a Virtual Tour - How About a Hologram? - 01/16/15 02:35 AM
That’s just what real estate developer Extell did to market One Riverside Park, a 35-story, 219-unit condominium located in the company’s Riverside South residential complex in Manhattan.
In perhaps the most technologically-advanced sales tactic ever, Extell tapped holography pioneer Musion to generate holograms showcasing the condo’s interior, amenities and surrounding waterfront neighborhood.
And it worked! The condo won’t be open to residents until later this year, but as of December 2014, 85 percent of units have already been sold.
Fun fact: the development is steps away from 1965 Broadway, host of RISMedia’s Power Broker Open House in September.
Just when we thought drones … (11 comments)

housecall: Personalizing Your Pad? Forget These Fancy Features - 01/11/15 11:29 PM
If you could have any amenity at home, what would it be? A 10-car showroom? A mile-long moat? How about a zip line course crisscrossing the backyard? (Okay, that last one’s just me.)
Homeownership is a dream realized for most, so it’s no surprise that the desire for wish fulfillment remains long after closing. Castle-in-the-sky features may seem like a priority, but amenities that fall too far outside the norm will cost you. And the price is pretty steep – highly personal additions can seriously backfire come listing.
Some of the worst offenders:

Aquariums – Sorry, Kevin Costner fans – "Waterworld" was dreadful. And so are … (18 comments)

housecall: Buying Paradise: How Much Is It Really? - 12/04/14 04:38 AM

It's cold.
We’ve all been there: trapped indoors on the most frigid of days. If you’re like me, you’re probably imagining being somewhere else. A place so remote, your cell barely registers service. Butterscotch-strawberry swirl sunsets, palm trees swaying amid cool ocean breezes…I’ll take one private island to go, please.
I may not ever be ready to fork over serious coin for my own piece of paradise, but I’ll keep the daydream alive by considering the logistics of purchasing an island. And who knows? There may be someone out there who’s squirreled away enough change to actually do it. But fair warning: snatching … (14 comments)

housecall: In Real Estate, Everything is Evernoteworthy - 12/04/14 03:31 AM

House hunters these days use any and every portal to connect with a real estate professional. Unless you've got clones of yourself ready to record every exchange between you and a potential new client, keeping up with constant streams of communication is a challenge. (And if you do have clones, you’re probably way too advanced for this blog, and humanity in general.)
Think of note-taking apps as your clones. Platforms such as Microsoft’s OneNote, Google Keep and Evernote take the guesswork out of managing relationships. Evernote, in particular, provides agents with capabilities that are light-years beyond traditional note-taking. Here’s what I mean:
Client Notebooks –  Real … (13 comments)

housecall: Lot vs. Land - Where Should Buyers Build Their Dream Home? - 12/02/14 02:10 AM
With all that goes into constructing a new house, building a dream home is not for the faint of heart. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest considerations will be whether to build on a developed or undeveloped plot. There are advantages to both: because the home is new, it will likely boast modern features and energy efficiency, and be built to code and secured with the builder’s warranty. Not a bad deal, considering the amount of home inspection horror stories out there.
Because the terms “lot” and “land” are often used interchangeably, it’s important to note that for the purposes of this … (24 comments)

housecall: Have a Happy Holiday with Damage-Free Decor - 12/02/14 01:57 AM

‘Tis the season for all things festive, and homeowners everywhere are celebrating with decked halls and holiday displays. While it can be tempting to get swept away in the merry merriness of it all, it’s necessary for homeowners to protect their homes from damage while decorating, especially the exterior. Why? Repairs to outside features are often more costly than interior fixes, and no one wants to spend the holidays bah humbug-ing the North Pole village that’s now causing the roof to cave in.
Help your clients avoid wreaking havoc on their home’s exterior (and enjoy a no-fuss cleanup!) with these … (32 comments)

housecall: Direct Mail Marketing: Not Dead Yet! - 09/16/14 04:46 AM
Once a real estate agent’s bread and butter, direct mail marketing (known in the business world as “direct response advertising”) is near extinction. Marketing experts from every corner of the Internet proclaim that direct mail marketing is dead!
I have hope. I bet there are agents out there who still send mailers to reach their target markets. Whether I’ve inspired you to start a new campaign or breathe new life into a time-honored strategy, this handy guide will help boost your direct mail marketing efforts.
How much should I spend?
Start by assessing your budget: what your expenses are, how much you … (13 comments)

housecall: Hungry for More Listings? Make a FSBO Sandwich - 09/03/14 11:51 PM
Ah, FSBOs. Those properties owners insist on selling without the guidance of a professional, often in an attempt to avoid paying a hefty commission. A precarious move, considering the unpredictability of the housing market.
Risks aside, FSBOs present a golden opportunity for agents. Why? There’s a whopping 90 percent chance that FSBOs will end up listing with an agent anyway. That means 9 times out of 10, frustrated owners will reach out to agents in a last ditch effort to get their homes sold. In today’s market, FSBOs might as well be touched by Midas himself. The problem is, most agents … (52 comments)

 
Suzanne De Vita, Online Associate Editor (RISMedia)

Suzanne De Vita

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