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!

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 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!

Down Payment Resource Now Available!

Down Payment Resource

Down Payment Resource is a hot new feature that is being implemented in several MLS systems across the country; it is also now available for our Tour Real Estate website customers as well!

This resource is available on certain listed properties and when clicked will provide the user with information on down payment programs that the listing qualifies for.

To turn on this feature all you have to do is login to your TourRE Client Toolbox and go to the Edit Personal/Team/Office Settings wherein you will find a simple toggle button in the Miscellaneous Options section.

dproptinIt’s just that easy!
We here at Tour Real Estate strive to stay on top of the latest trends and features that are available for agents today.

Here are some of our newest functions that may also be of interest to you:
Create PDF Listing Flyers
Share Listings on Social Media
We Blog For You – for FREE!
Idaho Builder Websites
Mobile Responsive Realtor Websites

REALTORS: Reasons Why Your Social Media Falls Flat

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Social media social media social media – boy it sure it a hot topic these days isn’t it?! Guru’s and mavens popping up left and right, all experts – as of this month – in the great unquantifiable thing that is the silver bullet to kill your marketing monster.

We apologize for all of them. Fact is though social media is one of the most cost effective ways for you to get the word out about your services – especially if you’re bold enough to take it on yourself. To help you towards your goals we’ve put together  a quick list of common mistakes for the medium; feel free to pass them along to your page manager, guru, samurai, jedi WHATEVER they call themselves as they are likely making the same mistakes.

Not having a goal.
It’s hard to hit the mark if you don’t even have a target. Make sure before you begin your journey in social networking, or hire a ‘professional’, that you have an actual goal in mind. Whether it be simply getting more visibility, getting more sales, or increasing traffic to your website. It’s a lot easier to know if you’re getting there if you have an idea where there is.

Not using social media.
Kind of mind blowing isn’t it?! But if you’re not actually USING the platform how can you expect it to DO anything? Go to the store, buy some eggs, take them home and put them on the counter – now sit there and stare them and berate them for not becoming an omelet. Let us know how that turns out – same thing in social media.

Not understanding likes don’t equal sales.
Visibility is GREAT! People liking your stuff makes you feel happy and fuzzy warm that you’re LIKED….but it doesn’t sell a single unit. And if you’re expecting it to, you may want to refocus your overall marketing plan. Social media advertising is NOT like the advertising agencies of old. Marketing here doesn’t always equal sales, but it can build the relationships that drive sales and improve customer service.

Not shutting up.
B-But…you…you said I needed to post a lot in one of those other blog entries! Actually, I said you need to post consistently; there is a difference, but that’s not the point to this item. The one most common mistake users of social media make is only talking about themselves or their product. People are hit with thousands of pieces of advertising every day. I can assure you not one single potential customer wakes up in the morning looking forward to being spammed or advertised to.

Be sure to diversify your content, don’t just make it about you or your product. Mix in other inspirational, humorous, or interesting information. Be absolutely certain you answer and interact with every single fan that takes THEIR time to engage with your digital presence. There are a billion faceless companies they can look up if they are wanting anything less.

Not being consistent.
Mentioned this above, so this point will be quick. Setting it and forgetting it only works if you’re using one of those rotating ovens. When you post consistently you not only can more easily target your audience but you also are creating momentum for better exposure.

Not focusing.
Trying to do it all is the best way to fail at everything. Pick the social media platforms that best fit your marketing plans and your ability to manage. There is no value to being on 100 social platforms if you are only actively updating two of them. Nothing is more embarrassing to a page owner or disappointing to a visitor than getting to a page or profile and seeing ” Last Updated June 2011″.

You guys are big meanies!
Well…I guess you might think that, but really we just want to help you build real success through social media. Nay-sayers and smoke blowers are killing the industry; many professionals are beginning to simply opt out of it all together. We think that’s a real missed opportunity! Have questions about social media, your real estate website, or how to best use them altogether? We’re glad to help!

Effective Realtor Marketing Tips

10tipsBygone are the days when simply having a website and being online was enough to guarantee you not only a good flow of traffic but also a valid source of leads.

If you build it, you have to TELL them about it, they will not simply arrive at your door. Field of Dreams was a great movie, but it makes for a terrible marketing plan.

With millions of  real estate websites online – including major global brands like Zillow and Trulia – all competing for the front page of Google you’ll need all the leverage you can get if you want to capture the lions share of this rapidly moving, technologically driven, industry.

Here are a few good tips to get you started:

ONLINE
Create an easy to use, highly search engine friendly website.

Start a blog – write relevant and interesting content; write frequently for best results.

Offer value and incentive to your visitors; give them a reason to visit your website – this will help to build your reputation as an authoritative source.

Leverage social media – create accounts for your business face on the popular social networks; use them frequently for optimal returns.

OFFLINE
Establish yourself as a brand people will recognize. A good way to get your visibility up is to participate or create in local fundraisers and events.

Use print and other media – believe it or not, print, radio, and tv can still get your services in front of a large audience.

Word of mouth is a valuable tool! Get friends, family, and past clients involved by encouraging them to refer others your way.

Work open houses. Yes, they can drive you insane by having to spend your weekend playing Angry Birds, but fact is: most often at open houses you are not going to be selling the home you’re sitting in, you will actually be selling your services!

Here’s a great little infographic from MyProperty.ph to illustrate these quick tips!
And in the meantime if you have any questions about how a real estate website can help promote your services, or anything about REALTOR® marketing in general we are always glad to talk shop!

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Not All Website Templates Are Created Equal

housesUpWith the return of real estate we’ve seen an influx of up and coming fly by night website providers passing through the area – talking fast, blowing smoke; making big promises.

But fact is, we’ve seen the other templated real estate web designs out there; they simply don’t measure up.

When you have the same exact same website that a thousand other REALTORS® the search engines can tell; what’s worse your potential clients can too! Not all website templates are created equal! A picture and a paragraph won’t win you much visibility in searches, and while there are any number of cheap, or even free, website systems out there none of them offer the level of customization and content control that a real estate website from Tour Real Estate Inc. can offer.

We know the real estate industry – we’ve been working to help build it for over the last decade – and we know how important technology is for this industry because we’ve been part of it’s growth in prominence. We know agents don’t want to be pushing buttons, the want to be moving houses, and we strive to make technology something as approachable as possible.

All of our websites come with a powerful client side content management system that allows you to control nearly every piece of text on your website and to customize how search engines and clients will see you online. We invite you to talk with us about your website needs – whether you are looking just to get a template up quickly or have visions of a full custom design, we can help!