real estate news: 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)

real estate news: 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?

For more real estate infographics, follow our board on Pinterest.

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

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: Selling in 2015? Keep Taxes in Mind - 12/30/14 02:11 AM
Death and taxes really are all that's certain in this world.
Hopeful homeowners have a lot to consider when transitioning from renting to owning – taxes included. But what about sellers? What tax implications can they expect?

Sellers can avoid capital gains taxes by taking advantage of exclusions. The tax code allows individuals to exclude up to $250,000 from the sale of their primary residence; married couples filing jointly can exclude up to $500,000.
In order to qualify for this exclusion, sellers must meet certain ownership, use and timing qualifications. The home must be owned and lived in for a minimum … (13 comments)

real estate news: How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make? - 12/15/14 10:15 PM
It's a common question for consumers, students and real estate professionals.
How much do real estate agents make?
Point2 came up with an infographic explaining the variables, and we've turned it into a video in our Home Update series! Get the facts on commission splits, continuing education, industry dues and more below.

For more Home Updates, subscribe to RISMedia on YouTube.
The preceding was adapted from - original content can be found here.

real estate news: Santa's Secrets to a Fresh Christmas Tree - 12/05/14 01:40 AM

Disclaimer: I have no idea if these really are Santa's secrets.
Real tree folks, these tips are for you!
Even though you may not know how fresh a tree is before you buy it, there are ways to ensure a fresh tree lasts through the holidays.

Firstly, choose a tree with good needle retention, such as:
Pines - White, red, Austrian, Scotch, southwestern white
Firs - Fraser, Canaan, Douglas, concolor
Trees with not-so-good needle retention include:
Spruces - Colorado blue, Serbian, Norway, white
Firs - Balsam
Next, perform a test before buying. Lightly grasp a branch and run your hand through it. … (13 comments)

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: 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)

real estate news: Spread Holiday Cheer without the Hard Sell - 11/03/14 02:40 AM
As inundated as we all get with holiday mailers, emails and social media posts, I secretly get the warm fuzzies inside every time I come across something holiday related. There’s something about the season that makes many of us want to not only buy, buy, buy, but also give, give, give. And holidays present (no pun intended!) an opportunity for agents to market themselves by appealing to that same emotion.

But oftentimes, key branding points get lost among all the holiday cheer. While you're prepping your seasonal marketing materials, remember to keep your message consistent and clear. That means:

Differentiate … (16 comments)

real estate news: Does Your Listing Have a Shoffice? - 11/03/14 01:23 AM
Shoffices, or shed-office hybrids, are rapidly becoming a backyard fixture for homes across the pond. A handful of London homeowners have already jumped on the bandwagon, combining a home office and storage shed with the help of some serious space-saving architecture.
Will American homeowners follow suit? Have you taken on a listing with a shoffice?
Here's my take:
It can actually be used as an office. Anyone who’s done both will tell you that working from home is much different than working in an office. Who really wants to work in their home? With a shoffice, homeowners can physically separate themselves from their home lives, … (68 comments)

real estate news: How Do You Warm Up a Cold Prospect? - 10/30/14 05:56 AM
Because we’re in the seasonal slowdown (though not too slow, from what I’ve read here!), it’s more important than ever to build trust and rapport with prospects. While it’s tempting to get down to business right away, make an effort to get to know your potential new client first. Warm up your next prospect by:
Offering a refreshment. When meeting in your office, have a small selection of drinks on hand. A small detail, but one that’ll be appreciated by those who aren’t yet familiar with you as a professional.
Finding some common ground. Talk about the weather, hobbies, vacation plans or … (27 comments)

real estate news: Smartwatches and Real Estate Go Together Like... - 10/03/14 01:43 AM
With the recent announcement of Apple Watch (and devices like the Pebble Smartwatch already on the market), it’s no secret that wearable tech is here to stay. I can’t imagine smartwatches will take the Paris runways by storm, but the gadgets themselves are pretty neat, and capable of doing far more than I thought possible. They can help you make serious strides in your productivity as an agent, too. Case in point:
One glance at your wrist is all it takes to screen calls, texts or emails. Totally super discreet way to handle incoming messages when in a meeting with a … (53 comments)

real estate news: Does Your Website Have Flashy Blinkies? - 10/02/14 06:56 AM
You know, those distracting banners and ads that have no place on a business site? Point2 created a terrific infographic describing BAD ideas for real estate websites.
I had to laugh at a few of these... I've come across repeat offenders for the font rule!

The preceding was adapted from RISMedia's blog, Housecall.

real estate news: Why Your Next Client (And Google) Can't Find You - 10/02/14 04:09 AM
90% of buyers search online for their next home.
68% of buyers contacted an agent based on a mobile search.
2 out of 3 buyers research prospective agents online.
The highest amount of real estate searches online since 2008 occured this past summer.
83% of millennials report that they plan to begin their search online.
- Google Consumer Survey

These nuggets of information mean one thing for real estate professionals – making yourself easily accessible online matters. A lot.
While SEO is important, all that work spent optimizing your site will mean little if you don’t think bigger picture. While it may seem like an … (32 comments)

real estate news: My Thoughts on Millennials, Down Payments and the Struggle to Save - 09/25/14 04:13 AM
In not so surprising news, the concept of homeownership consumes much of my day. I read numerous tips for this and advice for that, scan lists of do’s and don’ts, and peruse real estate blogs on a daily basis. I’ll admit, I haven’t crammed everything into my brain, but I have made mental notes of things that I think may affect me. And, I’ve locked away enough info to strike up a conversation with the poor schlub who hops on the treadmill next to mine.
As long as that person doesn’t ask me about my house.
Considering the wealth of real estate knowledge … (20 comments)

Suzanne De Vita, Online Associate Editor (RISMedia)

Suzanne De Vita

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