Author Archives: Marketing Department

About Marketing Department

We are the marketing department for Homes & Land Affiliates, LLC., based in Tallahassee, Florida, USA.

Expect A Happy New Year For Sales!

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Expect A Happy New Year For Sales

“What’s the housing market going to look like in 2015?” When Frank Nothaft asks that question, you can bet he’s got an answer. And from where the chief economist and vice president of mortgage giant Freddie Mac is standing now, the future looks good.

In fact, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s recent forecast is titled “2015: The Purchase Market Strengthens.” Among the key predictions:

  • Total home sales should increase by about 5 percent from 2014 to 2015, to the best sales pace in eight years.
  • Interest rates are expected to climb throughout the year, with rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage averaging 4.6 percent and rising to 5 percent by the end of 2015.
  • Annual house price gains are projected to slow from 9.3 percent in 2013, to 4.5 percent in 2014, and 3 percent in 2015.

Nothaft notes that rising home prices and interest rates will reduce affordability, but says that, historically, the market is moving from very high levels of affordability to high levels of affordability.

The economist’s takeaway for house hunters: “If you are planning to buy a home in the next year, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.”

Watch a video overview of the November 2014 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook or read the commentary

 
Pin One On!

Pinterest

The new Pinterest feature in the Homes & Land Control Panel makes it easy to “pin” listings on the popular virtual bulletin board. It’s one more way to get properties noticed, then noticed again as Pinterest users re-pin and share listing photos. Additionally, each pin links to the original, detailed listing.
 
 

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest sells itself as “a place for the good stuff” from the “too-wide Worldwide Web,” a place for users to collect just the items and ideas they like — interesting recipes, craft projects, houses. As Pinterest puts it, pins on your “boards” act as visual bookmarks that whisk you back to the site where they were originally displayed.

 

Why post on Pinterest?

As a visual social media site that relies on eye-catching photos, it’s a natural pathway for showing off property. Used to its best advantage, Pinterest can:

  • Get listings in front of more potential buyers.
  • Generate social buzz as photos are re-pinned.
  • Drive traffic to detailed online listings and associated websites as users click on pins.

 

What kinds of boards are good for listings?

You can create as many boards as you like under your name or that of your business. Basic business boards would include at least one for homes for sale. You also might want to set up boards for neighborhoods or communities where you specialize. Neighborhood boards can include other types of pins along with listings, such as pictures of the area or photos that link to websites with official neighborhood information — anything that might be of interest to someone who wants to live there, and anything that builds your reputation as a neighborhood expert.

 

Who’s using the site?

The Pew Research Internet Project reported in its most recent social media update that 21 percent of surveyed online adults used Pinterest during 2012-2013. That breaks down as 8 percent of surveyed men and 33 percent of women. A majority of Pinterest users have household incomes of more than $50,000 a year, Pew found.

 

Want to see some real estate?

If you haven’t already, sign up now with Pinterest to get full access — it’s free. To see what’s already on Pinterest from your area, search the “Boards” for your city’s name and “real estate” or “homes.” For real estate done really well, look up The Corcoran Group.

See The Corcoran Group’s boards

 

Getting started

Sharing listings on Pinterest only takes a few clicks in the Homes & Land Control Panel. For more information, watch this quick how-to video.

 

NOTES FROM ALL OVER

We Found Fans In New Orleans

Pinterest

The Homes & Land crew was happy to visit with some fans at the NAR convention in New Orleans. Among them was Steven Fischer of ERA Southeast Coastal Real Estate in Savannah, Ga., who stopped by the Homes & Land booth and took a few minutes to talk with us:

“We’ve been advertising with Homes & Land magazine probably for over 10 years now, never stopped during the recession. We credit it for helping us get through the recession. It definitely helps our agents get lots of calls, lots of leads — and quality leads we can convert.”

Watch Realtor Steven Fischer’s video

 
Are You ‘Good’ Or ‘Fantastic’?

From “fantastic” to “no” — real estate writer Tara-Nicholle Nelson takes a look at the difference words make in our everyday lives.

Check out her blog

 
Don’t Be SAD!

Successful real estate agents work in December, says Candy Miles-Crocker of Real Life Real Estate Training. After all, your sellers face less competition, and the buyers who are out looking are likely to be exceptionally motivated. The slow season for most people doesn’t have to be a slow season for you. Avoid Seasonal Advertising Disorder and keep the business fires burning with Homes & Land.

Check out her blog

 
You’re The Expert . . .

“When it comes to managing your wealth or your health, there is way too much at stake not to go with an expert.”

— MAX GALKA, “What the comeback of travel agents says about real estate,” Inman News
 
But Are You Social?

“Do you want to sell houses? You need to reach people. And people are on social media. Eighty-nine percent of people between ages 18 and 29 use social media platforms, according to research from the Pew Internet Project — but the value of social doesn’t begin and end with Millennials and the starter-home market. On the contrary: An overwhelming fraction of 30 to 49-year-olds are also using social media — 82 percent of them. That’s your premium middle-market homebuyer. And if you aren’t reaching them on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and others, don’t worry. Some other real estate agent is.”

— JASON VAN STEENWYK, “Social Media Strategy for Real Estate Agents”
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Getting From Text To Conversation

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HOMES & LAND WILL BE IN NEW ORLEANS NOV. 7-10: If you plan on attending the NAR Realtors’ Conference & Expo, please stop by the Homes & Land booth and say hello. Magazine advertisers will receive a special gift.

Getting From Text To Conversation
BY ROB WICKER

Texting is more popular than ever. An astounding 10 trillion text messages will be delivered in 2014. More and more real estate buyers are using text messaging too. The California Association of Realtors reports that homebuyers now prefer text messages over phone calls.

Homes & Land makes it easy for homebuyers to connect with you via texting by including a text code in your printed magazine ad. When a buyer sees a property she likes, she enters the property text code in her phone, and receives back a link to your listing on HomesAndLand.com, complete with photos and a property description. Here are some examples.

TC

So how should you respond to a text lead?

Buyers expect you to respond to their inquiry in the medium they used, so when the buyer sends you a text message, text her back. Also, respond as quickly as possible. The reason consumers prefer texting is immediacy.

You want to use the text message to establish a relationship with the buyer. To do that, ask questions that will lead to a phone conversation or a meeting, and try to get the sender’s name quickly so that you can personalize your dialog. Here are some approaches to try, along with the language you might text:

  • “Thanks for the inquiry. Would you like more info about the property?” If the response is “Yes,” then ask if you can call to discuss.
  • Another option is to text “Is this the price range you’re interested in?” If the answer is “Yes,” text back, “Can I call you to get more details on what you’re looking for?”
  • Texting is universally used to set up a time to meet, so offer a meeting time to the prospective buyer. For example: “I’ve had several recent inquiries on this house. I am going to be there this afternoon at 4, would you like to meet around 4:30?”
  • Have a compelling reason to keep a prospective buyer engaged. If you get a text inquiry about a listing, giving the sender some kind of "pocket" or new information to compel him to "act now." For instance, "Thanks for your inquiry on 123 Estates Lane. Your timing is terrific. We are about to reduce the price. Would you like to meet for a showing before it is made public?" Or, "Thanks for your inquiry, just listed another home in the same neighborhood. Would you like to meet today or tomorrow for a showing before it goes in the MLS?" Just like your advertising has a "call to action," the text message should too.

If you get no response or a negative response to a question, don’t give up. Wait a week and text the buyer a link to a property you think she might like. The buyer may have been too busy to deal with you when she sent her inquiry.

Contact your local Homes & Land Publisher to find out how interactive texting can help you generate leads.

 

NOTES FROM ALL OVER

How Fast Is Fast Enough?
However an inquiry is made, today’s home shoppers expect a quick response, says Eddie Earnest of Inman News. Drawing statistics from the 2014 California Association of Realtors Home Buyer Survey, he writes: “An astonishing 49 percent of buyers reported that they expect an INSTANT reply from an agent upon inquiry — up nearly five times from 10 percent in 2007. An additional 29 percent have generously tapered this expectation to ‘within 30 minutes.’ Earnest concludes: “In the absence of a prior relationship with a lead, you can assume responsiveness is the most important characteristic for you to convey as an agent.”
Read More

 

Good Photos Make All The Difference
Lousy listing photos, or even so-so ones, can make a good house look like a bad investment. The slide show “Avoid These 9 Real Estate Photo Mistakes” clearly demonstrates what doesn’t work — and what does.
See Slide Show

 

Converting Web Leads
“Stop burning leads, and your time and money, and start nurturing your web leads to actually turn them into clients,” says Vinny La Barbera of the Real Estate Marketing Blog. “A common misconception is that a web lead is the same thing as a phone lead, walk-in lead or any other type of lead you may have received before. In rare cases they can be, but a majority of real estate web leads are different in nature and require special interaction and follow up.”
Read Blog

 

To Get The Most Impact, Cover All The Bases
From a RISMedia Real Estate magazine column by RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly, “View Online Real Estate Portals as Business Partners”:
“Remember, most of your leads still come from your sphere of influence. Whether or not you advertise on one of these portals, it’s always smart to diversify your ad spending in multiple avenues, including your website, social media pages, print advertising and direct mail marketing, among others.”

And as a Homes & Land advertiser puts it:
"I recently expanded my real estate marketing plan with a full page ad in Homes & Land and the results were immediate. From the very first ad I received a new $2M client and quality property showings increased for my sellers. The quality exposure provided by Homes & Land in print, Internet and direct mail is now a consistent part of the successful marketing service I provide my valued clients."

— PAUL OELRICH, LONG REALTY COMPANY, TUCSON
 
The Power Of You
May we all be conscious of using the power we possess well . . .
poem
— JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
 
Put The You In Your Business
Will Caldwell, CEO of real estate app-maker Dizzle, on cultivating your sphere of influence:
“Create a story around you: People remember stories better than advertising slogans, because this is just simply how humans are wired. Create a compelling story about how you got into the business, where you came from, or why you are the best agent in your neighborhood. Do something people will remember you by to stand out from the rest. Always remember to keep it simple and concise.”

Tough Clients, Tender Tactics
Real estate writer Tara-Nicholle Nelson offers smart strategies for dealing successfully with high-maintenance clients, and believes they come with their own rewards: “These folks often know that they are high-maintenance and will rave for a lifetime about the agent who can deal with their demands, and therefore represent a great way to improve your online reviews and reputation.”
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Homes & Land magazines to ‘go pink’ nationwide

HL_Pink_LOGO-01
Homes & Land magazines throughout the nation will be going pink in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

From coast to coast, magazines participating in “Homes & Land Cares” will sport images of pink ribbons as local magazine publishers team up with advertisers to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. Publishers are also donating advertising space for the cause, and Homes & Land’s corporate office is pitching in with cash contributions for pages wearing pink ribbons.

“Most of us know someone who has been touched by this disease, and more than a few people in the nationwide Homes & Land family of franchisees and advertisers have been affected directly, coping with breast cancer personally,” said Allen Harrod, President of Homes & Land. “The company stands united with efforts to combat breast cancer in all the communities we serve.”

The American Cancer Society predicts that about 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year, and more than 40,000 people will die from the disease. Breast cancer death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Those decreases are thought to be due to advances in treatment, earlier detection and increased awareness, the society says. Breast Cancer Awareness Month keeps the disease and its prevention in the public eye while related events raise money for detection and research, and to help those currently dealing with the illness.


Homes & Land is one of the most trusted brands in real estate and a leading marketer of properties for sale in print and online at HomesAndLand.com. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Fla., the company supports a franchise network of more than 230 Homes & Land-affiliated magazines in communities throughout the United States and Canada. Homes & Land distributes more than 27 million magazines a year.

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Mobile-ready Digital Magazine innovates home search

Digital_Magazine_FEATURED

Evolving media has brought the newsstand of the past to the palm of your hand. Publications all over the world have advanced to the point where readers have a variety of formats from which to choose. In other words, when they settle in to peruse the pages of their favorite magazines, buyers and sellers have options. In no other real estate media is this level of convenience more readily available than with Homes & Land Magazine, which recently launched a new mobile-ready Digital Magazine to complement the printed product.

Seizing the opportunity

A study by Kantar Media outlines how digital magazine advertising is shaping the current media landscape.

“Without question, the tablet PC is an enormous opportunity for magazine publishers and advertisers. In 2014, device usage is projected to reach 44 percent of the U.S. population, or 138 million people. Users currently spend an average of 156 minutes per day with their tablets, almost a 40 percent increase in just two years.”

Thanks to the growing prominence of tablets, magazines have been fitted with a new layer of functionality. The technology behind Homes & Land’s Digital Magazine places it among the most innovative publications with tablet advertising, based on Kantar Media’s findings, which note that “fewer than five percent of tablet ads take advantage of the technology’s interactive features.”

Homes & Land Digital Magazine

With a Digital Magazine from Homes & Land, more information about a listing appears with one touch, giving the buyer access to Virtual Tours, more photos and a real estate agent’s contact information. Additionally, an agent’s offerings are all on display in their chosen layout, complete with branding, slogans and marketing messages. For the agent, it constitutes a total package that’s in a class all its own.

In turn, buyers and sellers viewing the Digital Magazine are afforded the opportunity to browse at their own pace, with the option to narrow the search to listings of a certain price range or number of rooms. Sharing and subscription capabilities also enhance the overall consumer experience.

Bells, whistles and beautiful performance

Designed for buyers and sellers to easily browse, subscribe and connect with agents from their laptop, smartphone or tablet, Homes & Land’s Digital Magazine is well equipped to improve the home search process.

  • Digital Magazines are available any time, any place — complete regional, national and international reach
  • Increased exposure for real estate agents — links take consumers directly to specific pages within the Digital Magazine
  • With a touch, listings prompt viewers with contact information, larger photos, or Virtual Tours
  • Consumers can subscribe to Digital Magazines right from their devices, or share them on social media
  • For added value and convenience, a printed magazine can be ordered directly from the Digital Magazine
  • Compatibility with the myriad list of mobile brands — Android, iPhone, iPad, etc. — assures top-notch performance on any device

The Digital Magazine and all of its useful features, including email subscriptions and the option to order a printed magazine, are available to consumers free of charge.

Ready to experience it for yourself? View your local Homes & Land Digital Magazine by visiting HomesAndLand.com/Magazine-Directory. Want to take advantage of this integrated marketing opportunity for real estate agents? Contact your local Homes & Land publisher to get started.


40thRGHTsm

Homes & Land Affiliates, LLC, is the most trusted, integrated multimedia real estate brand in North America. A leading resource for local real estate information, HomesAndLand.com welcomes millions of unique visitors every month. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, with magazines across the United States and Canada, Homes & Land has been serving real estate professionals, homebuyers and home sellers since 1973. In addition to Homes & Land Magazine, the company publishes Home Guide, Rental Guide, and Estates & Homes magazines.

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14 fair housing facts

Fair_Housing_FEATURED

With the end of April comes the end of Fair Housing Month, but it’s good business to be up to speed year-round on the history and rules that have been in effect for more than 40 years. After all, that little Equal Housing Opportunity logo is found on many of the printed real estate advertisements in the United States.

1. Enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Fair Housing Act serves to prohibit discrimination in transactions related to the sales, rental and financing of homes. Significant amendments made in 1988 expanded the act to include protections against discrimination based on disabilities and familial status.

2. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — often referred to as HUD — is responsible for the initial enforcement of the FHA. Consumers have one year to file a complaint after a violation of the act has allegedly occurred.

3. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is responsible for investigating claims filed with HUD. In situations where the office issues a Charge of Discrimination, a hearing before an administrative law judge is scheduled. Either party in the proceeding can call for litigation in federal court.

4. In a precursor to the FHA, President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order banning discriminatory practices in federally funded housing on Nov. 20, 1962. According to History.com, “the policy was never enforced. The order left it up to the individual housing and funding agencies to police themselves, leaving much room for non-compliance from state to state.”

5. In 1963, California statesman William Byron Rumford spearheaded passage of the Rumford Fair Housing Act, ensuring protections against discrimination for black residents and other minorities. Though it was repealed in a 1964 referendum set in motion by the California Real Estate Association, the act was ultimately upheld by the state’s Supreme Court in 1966.

6. According to the Chicago Tribune, Martin Luther King Jr. led a series of marches in the summer of 1966 with the goal of pushing the Windy City toward “making solid commitments to open housing.” The marches ultimately prompted the Chicago Real Estate Board to drop its opposition to open-housing laws.

7. HUD policy states: “The provisions of the Fair Housing Act make it unlawful to discriminate in the sale, rental, and financing of housing, and in the provision of brokerage and appraisal services, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

8. HUD’s policy also states: “All advertising of residential real estate for sale, rent, or financing should contain an equal housing opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan as a means of educating the homeseeking public that the property is available to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

9. Guidance regarding advertisements states: “The use of secularized terms or symbols relating to religious holidays such as Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or St. Valentine’s Day images, or phrases such as ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Easter,’ or the like does not constitute a violation of the Act.”

10. Additional guidance states: “Advertisements describing the properties (two bedroom, cozy, family room), services and facilities (no bicycles allowed) or neighborhoods (quiet streets) are not facially discriminatory and do not violate the Act.”

11. HUD marked the first anniversary of the FHA in April 1969 with a gala at New York’s Plaza Hotel. April subsequently went on to become “Fair Housing Month” in many states.

12. Training sessions on the FHA are available through the Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST initiative. The organization hosts an online calendar with training events that cover topics like FHA policy, and requirements for design and construction.

13. The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors contains an article dedicated to the principles of fair housing as they relate to Realtors, described as “a firm statement of support for equal opportunity in housing.”

14. Fair housing information and resources are available from many of the agencies listed above. Additionally, the National Fair Housing Alliance’s resources page contains links to legal resources, reports and research, and fair housing videos for the deaf and hard of hearing.


40thRGHTsm

Homes & Land Affiliates, LLC, is the most trusted, integrated multimedia real estate brand in North America. A leading resource for local real estate information, HomesAndLand.com welcomes millions of unique visitors every month. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, with magazines across the United States and Canada, Homes & Land has been serving real estate professionals, homebuyers and home sellers since 1973. In addition to Homes & Land Magazine, the company publishes Home Guide, Rental Guide, and Estates & Homes magazines.

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