Real Estate Websites: Keeping Up!

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Today 9 out of 10 potential home buyers start their search for a home online. With the mega-budgets of big box real estate stores like Zillow and Trulia the individual agent – and even the larger agent real estate teams – struggle to compete and keep their heads above the waves, especially in regards to SEO and website visibility. The bad news: the search engines aren’t likely to stop playing favorites any time soon. The good news: there are things you can do to still remain viable and visible.

Be Mobile
As of April 21, 2015 Google announced that websites that were not mobile compliant would begin to be penalized — especially in mobile search results. Since over 45% of all website traffic these days comes from phones or mobile devices it is especially important to not only have a website that is visually pleasing but also easy to use on the mobile platform.

Tour Real Estate Inc offers several fully mobile responsive templates and we’re converting more of our classic designs every day; we also offer exceptional mobile responsive custom website design as well.

Be Visual
Humans are naturally visual creatures and it’s common knowledge that people online simply do not pay the same attention to text as they do images or video. So be sure to include plenty of eye-catching images in your marketing efforts both on your website as well as in your social media content. Videos are another great way to catch the eye; sites that make use of video tend to have longer “on site” times for visitors overall. Having a consistent and interesting youtube channel is an excellent idea also as it can give a healthy boost to visibility in general when done correctly.

Tour Real Estate Inc understands good design; we’ve been working in the real estate industry for over a decade. We can help you create a stunning custom look that will help you stand out from the competition.

Go Local
Again and again we have agents tell us “I want to be on the first page for Boise Idaho Real Estate” – which of course is the highest competition keyword on google – but what they really should be asking is: “What are my potential clients searching for?”. Optimize your website for local, lower competition keywords for better success. Fact is, unless you work with investors your potential clients aren’t likely to be searching for “Idaho MLS”, they will be searching for more common things that are relevant to them – maybe “affordable homes in Boise” or something along those lines. Be active in your local community also! For all the importance people put on social media one of the more powerful way to connect and get leads is still in the face-to-face world — so get involved in rotary, kiwanis or other local groups where you can shake hands and show your face.

Tour Real Estate Inc optimizes all of our websites from the moment they are launched, give you unparalleled content control,  and are glad to take extra time to talk with you about your specific goals and needs.

All is not lost! And while you may not have the budget to compete with the larger companies you can still claim your fair share of this market. It takes work and persistence but through using your website as the powerful tool it needs to be you can see results. Interested in standing out from the crowd and getting into the game? Let us help you create a dynamic online presence you can be proud of – contact TourRE today!

Social Media Tips For Realtors: Linking

frustratedSTOP WORKING FOR ZILLOW!
Start working for YOU!

Excited about that new listing?
Anxious to show it off to the world and get to work for your client?

Before you make that next post, ask yourself:
Why am I sending potential clients off to Zillow or Trulia where they will see ads from competing agents?

It’s a common mistake for real estate agents on social media – posting links to their tour provider, or to zillow, instead of their own website. ANY time you post on social media – especially if it’s one of your listings – be sure to include links to YOUR website. Linking to those big-box stores just makes them stronger…and is literally marketing for someone else!

Your website should be the central hub of all your online activities; it is through leveraging it’s connections from social media that you can see an increase in overall traffic, so include links to listings on YOUR real estate website. After all, they may not follow the link, but they don’t even have the option if it’s not in the post!

Uncan Your Real Estate Website!

When home buyers go looking for a new place online they have their choice of websites these days. You’ve got to stand out to make a difference and capture your share of this lions market; there is no easier, more affordable way to do that than with a dynamic website branded to you.

We realize not everyone can afford an elaborate custom website; that’s why we provide some of the most customizable real estate web sites online today. Unlike other set it and forget it systems that don’t offer much beyond a picture and a paragraph nearly every piece of content on our websites can be edited to make the website your very own.

Whether you already have a site that just isn’t performing or you are a new agent ready to make a name for themselves we invite you to put the experience we’ve gathered over the last decade to work for you!

Make Your Listing Photos Count!

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The internet is a very visual medium; it should come as no surprise then that images play a very important role in online visibility — this is even more true in real estate where potential buyers may be viewing the property from out of town. A picture is literally worth a thousand words – that’s like almost 8 tweets!

Because of the importance in quality images when presenting a listing it always surprises us to see agents almost consider this part of their strategy as an after thought. Blurry, dark photos taken from a phone in haste, these are all telling signs of an inexperienced agent. We understand, professional photos cost money, and so it’s important to make sure you’re getting your monies worth! With over a decade in the virtual tour industry we’ve put together some quick tips to help you make your listing shoot as good as it can be — even if you DO decide to shoot them yourself.

De-Clutter
Tuck those laundry baskets in the closet, or around the corner. Clear out the floor space. If you have to move things around during the photo shoot do so, it’s better to take the few seconds to move the kids toys out of the room and back then to look like you’re running a clandestine day care.

Not Planning
Find out when the photographer is coming or set aside a time to shoot your own photos. The key element here is to plan. Make sure it’s a good time of day for light and to minimize traffic through the home.

Sequester Them In The West Wing
Speaking of traffic, kick the kids out. Don’t invite friends over to have coffee during the middle of the shoot. It will be a lot easier for your photographer, or yourself, to get in and get the photos they need without people wandering through their shots.

Do Some Light Staging
We realize you may not have fresh chrysanthemums delivered to your parlor daily, but even just adding a vase of fresh flowers in the kitchen, or doing some other light staging can really make your photos better. Take time to really show case your home, polish up those counter tops, lay out a few magazines in a tasteful arrangement. A little light home staging can help make your home photos feel more personable.

Have questions?
Just don’t have the time to take your own listing photos?
Our professional photographers are experienced in the industry and ready to help! We providing real estate photography services for all of Southern Idaho and also create a virtual tour link and upload photos to the MLS as part of our services.

Attract Millennial Home Buyers With Open Houses That Suck Less!

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Believe it or not one of the most effective means of advertising real estate services is still face-to-face interaction; one of the more common ways that agents make that happen is through an open house. Unfortunately, a lot of them are just lack-luster, and offer little appeal to the growing number of millennial home buyers that are entering the market.

We’ve put together a few ideas for you here that will not only help you draw in a younger demographic but will also help your open house experience be more effective overall.

Advertise It
This is where so many agents drop the ball. They wait til the day before the open house; maybe at most put up one post on Facebook. You’ve got to do better than that! Schedule these events at least two weeks out, make multiple posts hyping up the open house and post it on multiple platforms – it wouldn’t hurt to send out an email to your contacts as well. Remember: if no one knows about it no one can attend.

Make It An Event
Don’t think of it as just a way to kill a Saturday and catch up on paperwork. Make an actual “event” for the open house on Facebook. Work with some local vendors to put together gift packages or door prizes for attendees — you can even make signing up with their email address a means of registering to win, thus growing your contact list. Make sure you have plenty of good printed materials on hand as take-aways; you can even package them with a cookie or treat. Have a movie playing in the living room, invite people to stay and chat. Setup some simple kids activities or games to keep little ones busy and open up more room to talk with potential buyers.

Be Shelfish
No, not SHELL-fish…but rather a shelf for selfies – SHELFIES! Setup a space in the open house and fill it with interesting items or a party theme; encourage visitors to take “selfies” of themselves and post them on their social media profiles – this can be a great way to get your name out and bring attention to your next open house as well.

Stay Classy
Hey, spend a few dollars. This might mean great local organic tapas, or buying a few craft beers that are all the rage with the younger crowd. Good food can be a bring draw to get people in the door and keep them around as well. So, don’t be afraid to spend a few dollars on the good stuff – worse case scenario you’ve got some tasty leftovers for the game the next day.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you make your next open house a smashing success! Don’t give up! Rome wasn’t built in a day and it may take a few tries to get the momentum built up for you to host your very own HOUSEfort!

REALTORS: What’s Your Brand?

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What’s your brand?
Do you even know?
Have you distilled the very essence of your “you-ness” into a potion of concentrated awesome ready to hit the shelves?

No?
Why is that?
With market saturation at an all time high and only increasing the fact of the matter is that the consumer, your potential client, has their choice of where to find real estate these days.

Brand awareness is key to building a dedicated audience supporting your success and boosting your efforts beyond mediocrity. Fortunately social media allows you to build a unique presence for yourself from the ground up! Consider these tips to brand yourself!

Stand Out
There are more than 1 million real estate agents holding membership with the National Association of Realtors. What is it that’s going to make someone choose you?

Will it be a history of proven results, a familiarity with the area or market? Some special service or marketing plan? ALWAYS wearing purple? There are any number of ways to stand apart from the competition. Think about what you do that other agents don’t, then let your audience know about it.

Use Technology
Millennials are changing the face of real estate, and they were born to technology, molded by it…

Over 80% of potential home buyers “cyber-stalk” their agent long before they ever make contact. You need to be highly visible online, even if it’s only by ranking well for searches on your own name, or brokerage.

Beyond saving time, energy, and foot work, technology resources are tools of the trade that when used properly can have stunning effect. If you’re not using them, you need to be. If you’re not providing them for your clients, you should be.

You need to do more than simply have a website and forget about it; just because you are “online” doesn’t mean you have an active and viable presence. Obviously, a major part of that online presence includes central website you control; having a sub-par website, then letting it sit untouched, will actually do you ( and your visitors ) a disservice and may make you look unprofessional – damaging your brand.

Care About Your Community
Your community is a great place to find your client base, to do good for others, and also boost your brand awareness. With very little searching it’s generally not very hard to find any number of local civic or social groups of which you can be a part.

Get to know your community and how you can help the people there best. Despite the power of technology real world face-to-face referrals and interactions are still one of the surest ways to improve visibility for your services.

Be Consistent
Whether you are online or off, be consistent in how you represent yourself. Online this means evoking a familiar and identifiable style of content. Offline this might actually mean always wearing that purple hat, or simply by the manner in which you carry yourself or the type of events and organizations you associate with.

Increasing awareness for your brand increases the equity of trust people will place in your services, leading to a greater audience as well as an overall easier sales process when you connect with potential clients.

The Modesto – Our Latest Mobile Responsive Real Estate Template

We hate to brag, but our latest template THE MODESTO is pretty great!
Mobile responsive and currently available in 4 different color themes this elegant, modern real estate website design is sure to please.

We’ve made sure to include all the features you want like easy searching, intuitive navigation, and great images combined with all the things the search engines love like fast load time and data rich content.

Even our templates stand out from the crowd! Get in the game and show them you mean business – seize your digital destiny and move more real estate!!