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!

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HOT Real Estate Marketing Ideas!

marketing-board-strategySizzle sizzle Summer time is coming!

The real estate market in Idaho is already getting H O T – HOT! And for those agents not so busy moving real estate that they don’t have time to think about marketing it’s life on easy street, but what about everyone else? Well, if you’re not riding around with the Rockefellers showing off mansions you gotta work it – and that means marketing!

To help you navigate this fiercely competitive marketing we’ve put together some quick marketing ideas to jump start your Summer season!

Make It Stick
Don’t just give your friends, family, or potential clients business cards – give them business card magnets! Maybe it’s because people need something to stick notes to their refrigerator with, maybe it’s just because they are different, but for whatever reason these seem to hang around longer than regular business cards. Find ways to mention your work during conversation when you’re shopping or even just getting coffee – this opens an opportunity to give out a card or magnet. Word of mouth is powerful; after all if you don’t tell anyone you’re a REALTOR® how will they know?

Write Something
You know that blog you had setup two years ago and have never posted on? Yeah, you should post something.  A couple great ideas might be something like “Fun things to do in my town” or “10 reasons I love my town”, anything that is positive and highlights your local area is fine. Don’t make it about selling anything, just write about something you enjoy and wand to share. If you get reall inspired it may be even better yet write an article and submit it to Buzzfeed – a popular technique for food bloggers looking to get traffic. ( read more on how to do that here )

Be A Sponsor
Work with area charities to find out about local community events and offer to sponsor and setup a coffee or snack stand. You may be surprised to find how often you get powerful results from getting your face and branding out there in the real world where people can see it.

Show Appreciation
Previously clients can make up as much as 40% of your return business – this is even more true in real estate where repeat clients count for as much as 25% of all business. You should treat these people like gold, because they are! A great way to do this, and drum up good hype, is to stay in touch. Whether this is a small gift at closing and then following up with seasonal cards throughout the year or even holding a special event just for clients, you do not want to ignore the importance of your past clients.

Launch a Campaign
Hit the streets and take your camera with you! Make your day on the town visiting shops, eating, or hitting the market into a day of images; post them on your social media accounts throughout the day. This allows you to showcase your location in a fun way and also makes great easy content for posting. Focus on a different part of town or activity each week and be sure to link to your website whenever you post a new image.

These are just a few quick ways to get your name out there and make the most of an absolutely hopping real estate market!
Get creative and let us know about it – we’d love to hear about your challenges and success stories as you move more real estate in 2016!!

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!

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!

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

Lead Capture Counts: New Counted Logins!

countedAs you may already know, your Tour Real Estate website comes pre-built with a few different login options: None, Soft (which allows users to skip registering), and Hard (which forces visitors to register). Each of these allows you to control how strict your registration access is when a visitor goes to view listing details.

Now you have one more option to choose from! Counted Logins! This great new feature acts as an in between for our other great choices. Basically it allows visitors to view up to 4 listing details pages before it forces them to register to view more. This is a great option to allow visitors time to navigate around your site before they must provide their contact details.

One more powerful tool added to your online arsenal to give you greater control over your website and it’s lead capture abilities — all at NO extra cost to you!

Brokers: Get Connected

Interconnectivity is the key to unleashing the power of the internet. Search engine algorithms are mysterious and unpredictable, social media is yet too unproven for many to trust solely for return on investment. For those brokerages looking for a solution Tour Real Estate offers this simple example of how we can leverage the internet’s greatest strength to exponentially increase your traffic and digital exposure.

Build a Powerful Network
Despite algorithm changes authoritative incoming links  are still KEY to ranking well in search results.

We can connect each of your agent’s own highly optimized individual websites to your main office hub, using diverse keyword anchors to create a powerful flow of traffic.

Create and Optimize
Duplication is death. Automation, anti-productive. Search engines want fresh content  for the top sites they present and your visitors demand the best online tools and features. Neither will tolerate a website that is hard to use or that works poorly.

We can provide elegant eye catching designs to envelope the sleek technological functionality of your dynamic website with us and offer some of the most comprehensive marketing tools for real estate professionals available today.

Develop Your Digital Destiny
Regardless of if we like it or not, use it or not, social media has arrived and is one of the most powerful means of exposing your services and listings to a vast – and growing – audience. We believe taking part in the social conversation shouldn’t be something that has to be cumbersome;  offer extremely flexible strategies from simple consultation to full hands-on management.

We’d love the opportunity to talk with you about preparing an effective plan to help you grow towards a successful future in real estate online – contact us today in order to discuss your ideas.