Broker's Settlement Services 2013-12-06T07:11:52Z WordPress Site <![CDATA[The Housing Market is Recovering!]]> 2013-12-06T07:08:06Z 2013-11-23T05:42:17Z The housing market is recovering! Finally, trends seem to be reversing, if you take a look at the progress of a few key indicators.
First, new and existing home sales are on the rise, with new home sales hitting their highest levels in June 2013 since the spring of 2008, and single-family home sales reaching a five-year year high that same month. The summer also saw a rise in the sale of existing homes, as well as in construction starts, which is another indicator pointing to recovery. People are prone to build when it looks like the economy and housing market are improving.
This increase in home starts and sales has also led to quicker turnover of homes and a consequent rise in home prices, both other strong indicators of housing market recovery. Rising home prices help recovery as they lift homeowners out from underwater, encouraging them to stick with their mortgages and discouraging default. Statistics do show that fewer homeowners are currently underwater, and they also show that while distressed sales (like foreclosures and short sales) were almost 50% of the market during the height of the housing crisis, they’ve now lowered dramatically to less than 15%. There being less bank-owned and abandoned homes helps maintain property values in neighborhoods and certainly signifies that we’re on the path to recovery.
Additionally, the median age of the U.S. inventory of homes for sale is the lowest it’s been since the beginning of the crisis. The tightening of the supply of homes listed for sale, coupled with faster rates of turnover in the selling process are key indicators to show that properties are selling well, or at least better than they’ve been for the past several years.
marketing-recovery-blog-img2The online residential real estate site Trulia actually claims that the housing market is now 64% back to normal, as compared to about half that one year ago. The site comes to this conclusion by measuring changes in home prices, supply of houses listed for sale, and rates of turnover on houses listed as for sale.
In all, although the housing market still faces some significant challenges, there’s hope on the horizon, given these indications that things are finally getting moving. I look forward to seeing how much more the market’s advanced by this time next year.

Site <![CDATA[The Importance of Social Media to Real Estate Agents]]> 2013-12-06T07:11:52Z 2013-11-23T05:41:13Z When it comes down to it, working in real estate requires more than the ability to find and show off houses. It requires that the agent builds an image of credibility and a relationship of trust between herself and the client. In order to do these things, the real estate agent needs to (a) have a strong network of contacts and referrals and (b) have an engaging personality that makes the client implicitly trust and want to work with her. In the past, real estate agents had to build their credibility and relationships solely in person, over the phone, through the mail. Now, however, social media has tremendously affected the ways in which agents may interact with and market to their target client base.
For real estate agents, being on social media drastically opens up their sphere of influence and referral base, allowing for agents to connect with friends of friends of friends of clients and followers. Often, realtors employ various social media platforms, most commonly Facebook, and most interestingly (to me) Pinterest.
With Facebook realtors can furnish their personal brand/marketing personality by setting up a page where they can post about their neighborhoods of focus, about their home listings, about interesting tidbits like home décor, and about contests they can throw to further engage their audience, all while keeping viewers constantly updated on the trajectory of a neighborhood or home sale. Facebook should be used mainly as a platform of engagement that lends personality to neighborhoods, homes, and—just as importantly—the agent himself. Agents can engage with followers/fans/friends on social media through asking questions, like what would you put in your dream kitchen?, and staging contests with a gift for the winners relating to the current neighborhood of focus.
social-media-blog-img2In order to really engage with potential clients in an entertaining way, real estate agents also sometimes choose to use Pinterest to both bolster personality and market homes. Agents can set up boards that range from home décor tips, to personal interests, to listed homes, to the neighborhood’s character. Clients may visit the realtor’s Pinterest because photo pins are fun and engaging to view. It’s easy also to set up a Pinterest tab on Facebook, so visitors can easily transition between sites.
Agents also may make use of Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, and WordPress, among other social media platforms.
Social media is important to real estate agents not just because it’s another platform to market homes. Rather, the bulk of social media’s usefulness comes from its ability to connect with new audiences while creating a brand—for neighborhoods and for the real estate agents themselves—helping to engage potential clients and build a trustworthy image of the realtor.