New Real Estate Website Feature: Assigned Testimonials

As part of our on-going mission of constantly refining and improving our system we’ve recently add some great new functionality to our testimonials section.
Many of you know, earlier this year we made our testimonials even easier to enter and edit by making them able to be organized via drag-and-drop. Now we’ve improved this function even more for real estate teams and real estate brokerages by providing a means to assign the testimonial you’re creating to a specific agent.

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We love making our system even better and passing the improvements on to our real estate website customers! It’s one of the things that sets us apart from other development houses: we listen to our customers. If they have a need and we can provide it, we’re glad to spend a few clock cycles on getting it done so that we can improve our system for all it’s users.

More than websites in a can, we’re a local and highly experienced real estate technology company; we’re happy to be able to provide something unique for those who call on us!

Do you need a real estate website?
Whether it’s for a single agent, a team, a brokerage, or even a builder – if it’s real estate related we can build an effective web presence for the world to see!
Contact us to start realizing your vision for success today!

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Real Estate Apps: Consider This

As a provider of exceptional real estate technology for over a decade we’re often asked our opinions on current design trends and programs making their way throughout the industry.

We feel honored that so many well respected agents and brokerages would look to us as a source of insight into these items; as such make it a priority to be succinct with the information we provide. Whether it be just an agent asking if an email they received is a scam or more in depth questions about best SEO practices we’re always glad to talk with our clients and offer our knowledge towards their success.

One subject that has been a hot button item for a little while now is real estate apps!

We frequently get agents calling and saying “Oh this salesman that was in our broker meeting says we ABSOLUTELY have to have an APP! Gotta have it!” – which is exactly what someone selling apps would likely tell someone they thought might buy one.

So to help dispels some myths we’re putting together these quick points on why a real estate app might NOT be a good idea.

Cost
Apps are not cheap. Even when they promise and guarantee and offer payment plans. If you’re getting anything that’s not already pre-made for someone else it’s going to start around $5k and go up from there. Don’t forget, once it’s built it may still need updates and upgrades to stay current and functional.

Ease of Use
So you find a trustworthy developer, sign a contract, pay your money, and your shiny new app is ready to go…now what?
Well, you’ll need to get it approved and added to the google play and apple stores so people can find it. You’ll need to market the app so that potential users will even know it exists of course, and once they find it they’ll still need to decide if it’s something they want, install it and approve the permissions it needs before they can use it.

You STILL Need A Website
Even if your app goes off without a hitch the hard truth is there is still a large part of the population that will not use your app, even if they know about it. In fact, even if people are using your app you will still need at least the most basic of websites to legitimize yourself in the eyes of most clients and have any presence in search engines. It’s become as much a part of business as having business cards; while it’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket it also doesn’t make sense to just buy baskets because someone said you needed one.

A Better Way…
At Tour Real Estate Inc we provide truly mobile responsive web design! Nothing to download, nothing to install. You just tell your clients to go to your website and they’re greeted with a streamlined experience that puts your services as well as your listings on display in an attractive and easy to view format.  You’ve only got to promote your website – as you should be doing anyway – with less cost and time investment than any app could offer. We currently have several elegant real estate web design template that are fully optimized as well as mobile compliant and we’re always glad to offer custom design for those who really want to stand apart from the competition.

While we encourage people to diversify their marketing strategies whenever possible we also strive to help folks keep from spending money frivolously when there is no need to do so. We hope this information has been insightful into some of the reasons why a real estate app might not be the best idea and that you will feel free to contact us should you have any real estate technology needs that we can assist with!

Getting the Leads is Only Half the Battle

If you’ve been reading along here on our blog and practicing the tips on how to get more real estate leads you’re likely already seeing results. But once the contacts start coming in from your powerfully dynamic website, as well as your frequently updating and engaging social media portal the game isn’t over – in fact it’s just starting! Just getting the leads is half the battle, but continued and increased success doesn’t stop there. Here are some good tips on how to turn those leads into seeds and plant a stronger tomorrow.

Follow Up
First and foremost, always always follow up. That means answer the calls, return the voicemails, reply to the emails, and check the messages on your Facebook page as soon as possible. Nobody likes cold soup and nobody likes feeling like they’ve been put on the back burner, so follow up as soon as you can.

Build Your List
Those emails that come in? Those phone calls you get? Those are all potential clients, if not now then in the future. Not everyone you come in contact with is going to be ready to use your services, and even then not everyone is going to be ready to use them right NOW. So get organized! You should be saving and creating a list of every email inquiry you receive in order to do future newsletters and mailings. The same goes for phone numbers, keep a good record of names, dates, and the number so you can circle back every so often – even a warmed over call is better than a completely cold call.

Take It To The Real World
You’ve got a potential client that you’ve made contact with, or maybe even spoken with a bit over the phone and you’re confident they’re ready to make the move. There’s no reason to keep things strictly online! In this day it’s easy to throw out an email and forget about it – just like it’s easy to delete them without opening them – and that makes real world contact a powerful thing. It might be a matter of doing some planning to see where your recently gathered leads all exist and doing a good old fashioned door knocking campaign in that area, or maybe even setting up a coffee meet and greet nearby.

Do The Turn Around
Don’t think that only new leads need to be nurtured. Fact is if you stay in the industry long much of your clientele will be repeat clients and referrals more than anything else – so treat those previous clients like the gold they are! Touch base from time to time just to check in, shake the bushes a little bit to see if they know anyone who could benefit from your services, and make sure to foster the idea that you are a professional who is available to help them long after the transaction itself is done.

Be Diligent, But Be Patient
Don’t panic if you’re not the next real estate mogul in your first year, success takes time. There are no “dead leads” only leads that aren’t nurtured properly or for whom timing isn’t right. Think long and hard before deleting any info from your leads list as you can never tell when a past contact might become a future prospect – especially if you’re actively working to remain in the forefront of their minds. Remember, there is no down time: you should either be actively marketing to gather leads, or actively working to engage them.

You can’t keep dropping the ball and expect to score. One of the best ways to stay in the game is to have an active, easy to use, and highly visible real estate website that you can use to promote your services and to provide an unparalleled tool for your clients. If you don’t have a website currently, or are unhappy with it’s performance, we would love to help! Contact us today to find out more about all of the exceptional real estate technology solutions we provide!

UPDATED FEATURE: Agent Roster

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We’re gearing up for an exciting new year! As part of that we’ve been finishing up several refinements for our real estate website system. Specifically in this case our Agent Results pages for real estate team and brokerages. This updated layout features larger agent profile pictures (so be sure to login and update that photo to something new!) as well as a more streamlined and consistent data-set that put makes the pertinent info for each agent easy to read.

Next up you can expect to see improved agent profile pages as well as stunningly elegant property search results and details pages!
These sort of system updates have been part of our standard service protocol for years. We want our customers to be as successful as we can make them, so we don’t up-charge for every new function under the sun – we just keep making our websites better so that you can reap the benefits!

Are you a real estate professional who is ready to level up their game in the new year?
We can help! For over a decade we’ve helped shape the real estate technology industry; we have the tools and experience you need to seize your digital destiny!

Tips for New Real Estate Agents

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Just starting out in a new career can be a little daunting!
It’s an exploration into unknown territory, and quite honestly there is a lot at stake, but it can be exciting too! New things to do, new challenges and the potential of course for success. How you define your success is up to you – whether it be the number of sales you make, or the number of lives you touch – but regardless of how you envision it we’ve put together some tips to help those of you who are just starting out in real estate.

Find the Right Company
Just like Link found out: It’s dangerous to go alone. By pooling resources with other experienced agents you are much more likely to find success, and to do so more easily. Talk to other agents you know to see where they’re at and what they like about their brokerage. Consider all the options and benefits they offer to make an informed decisions – and of course listen to your heart.

Seek Out a Mentor
Obi-wan had Qui-Gon Jinn, Luke had Yoda…great teachers can make great students and it really does help to have someone to help guide you along the way. The value of the knowledge you’ll gain from working with a more experienced agent can not be underestimated. Finding a mentor is similar to the same process your potential clients must go through: look for someone that matches your personality, has a proven track record of success, and who is knowledgeable in the areas you want to grow towards.

Be Realistic
Everyone wants to be a success and to do well but the fact is, you’re not going to be a Top Producer in the first month. Likely not even in the first year.  Before you even graduate from your continuing education classes start building a business plan for your career that includes realistic goals and obtainable milestones. Also be realistic in your strategies, as a new agent it’s not likely you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars on personal branding right up front. Take some time, learn the ropes, and when the time is right go big.

Get Out There
One of the easiest ways to make new clients and to hit the ground running is to get out in the community. Be sure and tell friends and family about your new career path, get involved in civic and community events where you can sponsor a table or hand out promotional materials. Hold a bake sale. Volunteer to run your offices open houses ( yes we’re serious ). Anything that will get you connected to the area you serve and put your name out there in a positive way is a great start.

Never Stop Learning
This is key to success on any path, whether it be real estate or any other industry. Don’t rest on your laurels. Stay up to date not only on the latest laws but also the latest trends that effect your client base. Take extra courses if your brokerage offers them, attend local seminars from marketing companies to sharpen your sales game – for those who are determined to improve themselves there is never an obstacle too large to overcome.

Puzzled? Feeling lost? Not even sure where to start?
If you’re a new agent – or even an old one! – we would love the opportunity to talk with you about your plans for success and how we can help you achieve them. The websites we provide are just one tool of many that you will want to put to use in order to generate business and serve your clients.

Real Estate: The Secret to More Leads

It’s a common misconception: If you build it, they will come. Unfortunately that field of dreams ideal doesn’t work when it comes to the world of websites; truly it hasn’t worked for some time. Years ago, when the web was new, there were relatively few people actively using the internet and thereby fairly low competition. These days all but the most behind the times brokerages have at least a nominal online presence and the competition has gotten FIERCE – to have any hope of getting your share of this lions market you need to be online and bringing your A game.

One of the best ways to do that is by using social media and channeling all of your traffic to the best place for it to go – Your Website.
So how do you make that happen?

You Gotta Work It!
You could be the best REALTOR® in the world and if you don’t tell anyone about it they will never know. The same can be said for your website. It’s out there on the web with a billion other websites, all trying to be number one in the search engines. Your best bet to eliminate some of that noise is to refer real live people you know to your website from the get-go. Tell all your friends, tell your family, look up old high school buddies – shout it from the mountain tops! However you choose to do it, whether it be social media, coffee meet ups, or even print marketing – you’ve got to let people know you have a site if you want them to use it. The website that works the best is the one you promote the most.

More Traffic. More Leads.
It’s really that simple. It comes down to numbers. If your site isn’t getting traffic you won’t be getting leads. If your site is already getting traffic and you’re still not getting leads that tells you there may be problems in what visitors are finding – or not finding! – when they hit the site itself. So how does one get more traffic? Start by telling people about your site as mentioned above, from there get active in local community events to find sponsorship opportunities, put out door hangers, post local classified ads, and leverage social media. Make sure you include your website address on every piece of advertising you create, whether it be printed or digital. Focus your online efforts by stopping posting links to the big box real estate sites to show your listings; send those links to your website instead.

Be Active and Helpful.
Whether it be on Facebook through answering questions or making insightful posts in groups on a regular basis ( you ARE active in local Facebook Groups, aren’t you?! ), or publishing articles on LinkedIn you should do whatever you can to establish yourself as a resource to the people you’re connected to. Become an authority in your field by creating useful information and helping those you engage with to accomplish their goals and overcome challenges – you will gain more trust and a better reputation through being of service to others than through any spammy or self-serving methods. At some point someone who is thankful may want to “pay you back” for being so helpful; rather than ask for money or coffee just politely ask them to leave you a kind review or to keep supporting your online efforts by liking or interacting with your posts.

Establish a Routine – and Stick To It!
The biggest place any advertising efforts, particularly on social media, fail is in consistency. So post daily and interact often, the worst thing for people to see is a page that hasn’t been updated in years. While still not yet a major factor, one of the growing indicators of importance in search engines is incoming traffic numbers and one great way to boost that is by channeling your audience to your website. Do this by posting quality content and always, always, including a link to your main domain. It’s easy enough to do at first when you’re new to social media, it’s the sticking with it month after month that can be a challenge but it’s also what makes the effort pay off.

Do you currently have a real estate website that’s under performing? Maybe you’re just not satisfied with a page and a paragraph on your office site, or some freebie site from your national office, no matter what the reason we can help you step up your website game and move more real estate! We would love the opportunity to talk with you about what you’re currently doing and how it might be improved to help you get optimal visibility online. Contact us today to see how we can help!

A New Site Is The Answer

In retrospect to our previous entry “A New Site Isn’t The Answer” we’d like to offer you insight into times when a new site is in fact the answer.

Not to contradict ourselves of course, we want you to understand all situations are different and some times not having a quality website can be at the core of your world wide woes. While just having a website on it’s own is no cure-all method for instant success the importance of a strong and highly visible central hub for your digital presence can not be denied.

If you’re not sure about if you’re in need of a new website here are some reasons you may want to consider:

Back In My Day
Yes, we know dancing animated gif houses and auto-playing midi music was all the rage back in 1997…but if it’s been more than a few years since you revisited your website design chances are it’s long overdue. Even without considering the obvious changes in design trends that effect how the visual aspects of your site are perceived the technical side of web design must be taken into consideration as techniques and functionality change often in the world of web development.

Not Mobile
50% of all online traffic is now on a mobile device; that’s HALF of all the potential clients in the world who may be trying to navigate your site. Don’t risk losing out on such a huge chunk of the market – especially millennials! – just because your site is out-of-date. Google has already begun penalizing non-mobile compliant websites by removing their visibility in mobile based searches, so if your site isn’t mobile chances are it’s already being found less often.

Brokerages Free Lunch
Got a page on your brokerages website? Maybe it’s even got your name as part of the address? They mean well, but sadly if it’s not a website you control, where the leads come to you directly, where you are the showcase agent on every page and listing, you’re missing out. A picture and a bio on your corporate site is better than nothing, but it’s not going to give potential clients the confidence to choose you as the agent for them.

Penny Pincher
We know Realtors have a reputation for being spend-thrifts, and hey, that’s fine, nobody likes paying more for something than they have to pay. If the cost of getting your own site seems a bit much just stop and think about what the value of that expense really is: the most cost-effective means of advertising your services available. You see your website, when used properly, is more than just a digital business card – it’s a sales employee working to market you online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

In relation to the average costs of being in the real estate business ( licensing, fees, memberships, desk costs, etc ) your website is in most cases one of the least expensive parts of the machine that makes your success; by comparison is a tiny fraction of what you stand to make from each client you serve.

In the end it’s up to you to decide if a new website is the right way to go for you; there are certainly any number of places to get one built these days. Regardless of who builds your site it’s important to understand that a site alone is not a complete solution but merely another tool to help build your success. It’s easy to play the role of the barber and tell you that you need a haircut, but the truth is not every situation is the same and sometimes a new site is not the answer. We’d love the opportunity to speak with you about your current real estate marketing plans and how we can help make them even more effective!