Real Estate Tip of the Week: SEO Strategy

Words – keywords – are pivotal. In order to show up in Google searches, you need to be using prominent keywords in your industry to stick out above the rest.

That’s where SEO strategy comes in. Search Engine Optimization is all about matching your keywords to the audience you want – in your case, real estate. And with 70% of customers preferring getting to know a company by the articles rather than advertising, it’s critical that you implement SEO into your social media and blog postings.

Here are a couple quick tips on SEO planning for your personal real estate brand:

Organize Keywords

Keywords are essentially the terms you want to show up in searches. Before sitting down and typing out your post, think about who you want to reach. Write down a list of keywords you want to rank and show up for on Google search pages.

Keyword Placement

Where you put your keyword is another very important step. For the page you’re trying to rank for (a blog post, perhaps), you’ll want to place the keyword in five areas. Below, they’re combined with the example keyword, “Boise Condos.”

  • The URL: https://www.yourwebsitenamehere.com/boise-condos
  • Page Title: The Top Boise Condos to Hit the Real Estate Market
  • Within the copy of the article: Usually with SEO, you’ll want to have the keyword sprinkled in 1-2% throughout the article. So if you have a 500 word blog post, you’ll want to write the keyword around 5 times.
  • When saving your images: boise_condos.jpg.
  • Image Alt Tag: usually on whatever platform you’re using to post, it’ll allow you type a description in a keyword box.

Keyword Synonyms

Before, Google would only consider ranking pages that had the exact keyword used in it. Now, Google will use synonyms as the same keyword – for example, “suburb” and “neighborhood.” It’s important to use a variation of the keyword, as it not only helps you and your ranking, but it helps your article sound less robotic.

When it comes down to it, SEO is a long-term game. You won’t see a dramatic change overnight. But, with consistency, and interaction between other blog posts and social media posts (commenting is another great key to link back to your brand!), you’ll be one of Google’s best friends.

Decluttering your Home to Spark Joy

It’s time for Marie Kondo to ask you, “Does this spark joy?”

Sometimes, organizing your home can be the very last thing you want to do. But it’s proven that an organized and decluttered home helps decrease stress – so why not start of this year right?

When you’re trying to sell what you no longer need, Craigslist is usually the top website on everyone’s list. However, there are plenty of other moving and decluttering apps to use on your next spring cleaning day!

ThredUp

This app will help you donate any of your unwanted clothes and accessories. ThredUp will send you a bag to fill with your donations; afterwards, you ship the bag for free by dropping it off at any Post Office or FedEx location – and once your bag has been processed, you’ll earn cash or credit for the items they’ve accepted. They’ll donate the ones they believe won’t resell.

VarageSale

A clever take on a garage sale, VarageSale brings it to you virtually. You sign up through Facebook and become connected to your “Community” – essentially the city you live in and are willing to buy/sell items.

You can sell anything from clothing items to furniture pieces – everything is categorized and easy for you to find. The app also has a messaging feature, so you’re able to talk with owners through the app and not have to give out your personal phone number.

Decluttr

If you’re not really willing to talk to strangers, Decluttr is the app for you when you’re trying to get rid of tech gadgets.

This app will help you downsize on CDs, DVDs, Blue-rays, video games, or books. You scan the barcodes of the items, and Decluttr will decide the price they’re willing to pay for. If you’re happy with the offer, they’ll send you packaging that will ship for free. While it might not bring you the most bang for your buck, it’s safe and easy.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Wire Fraud

Being tricked into doing something for a prank is one thing, but being tricked into wiring thousands of dollars to a scammer – that’s a completely different story.

As a real estate agent, it’s critical to help guide your client from falling into a trap of wire fraud. In 2017, the Internet Crime Compliant Center saw a 480% increase in the number of complaints filed last year in the real estate industry. The amount stolen in these wire transfers was a $19 million dollar difference than in 2016.

One way to secure your buyer’s confidence in the transaction, is to help educate them in identifying, avoiding, and reporting potential fraud.

Here are the top three ways to help protect your clients from a scammer:

Hacked Email Accounts

Instruct your buyers to pay attention to how the wire instructions are sent. It’s best to pay attention and only accept instructions that are secure and encrypted. If anything at all seems suspicious, directly call your title company.

Verify Transfers

Before your buyer sends the wire, urge them to verify the wire instructions that were sent – have them call the title company or closing agent.

Weary of Changes

It is very rare for instructions to change on a wire transfer – especially if the instructions are wanting the change to be taken care of immediately. If they receive any email or notification instructing them of a change, have them confirm with you (the real estate agent) or the title company.

While it’s unfortunate that wire frauds have climbed exponentially, there are still ways to combat it – and the best way is educating your clients.

Millennial Homebuyers – TLC for Fixer-Upper Homes

Everybody loves a good makeover show – What Not to Wear, The Biggest Loser, Love it or List it – but when it comes to doing the heavy lifting yourself, people run for the hills.

That is, most people run for the hills.

A recent poll released from Clever Real Estate surveyed 1,000 U.S. residents shopping for a home – and 67% of millennials said they would submit an offer on a property in need of major repairs. They are also the generation that completed the most home projects this past year.

The millennial generation has taken longer than most to enter into the real estate market. But while this generational group is entering home shopping later, becoming a homeowner is still their top priority. Clever’s survey found that 72% of millennials prioritize homeownership over marriage or having children.

What kind of homes are millennials looking for?

It seems as though millennials are 52% more likely to buy a multi-family property in comparison to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

They’re prioritizing safe neighborhoods and good schools – 38% of millennials say that safety is a top consideration. They are also 46% more likely than older generations to list school districts as the most important factor in shopping for a home.

Also, fixer-uppers. If they find one that fits within their other criterion, anyway. 

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Understanding Co-Signing

With the majority of homebuyers coming from the millennial generation, they might be receiving a little help from parents or guardians to help them lock down their first home.

Because, you know, student debt might be one of the major hindrances for them.

But if a jointly held mortgage is the answer for your client to secure their dream home, it’s important that you be as clear and direct as possible as to what co-signing entails.

If your client asks you about co-signing, it’s important that you encourage them to speak to a lender or a financial planning professional before taking any action. Then feel free to share the following information with them:

Responsibility

As a co-signer, you are 100% responsible for the obligation. If for any reason the owner cannot make their mortgage payments, you will now be considered responsible for the payments.

Credit Score

Any delinquency will appear on the co-signers credit report.

Future Loans

The co-signed loan takes up part of your debt-to-income ratio and restricts your ability to borrow additional money in the future. If you have upcoming purchases – like a car – you might want to talk with your lender beforehand.

Remember, as a real estate agent, you should clarify that it remains the responsibility of the homebuyer and the co-signer to discuss this option with a lender or professional financial planner to understand fully the pros and cons of taking this route.

Top Ten Projects Filed Under Home Improvement Remorse

If you have HGTV backing you to help remodel your home, then the idea of tearing apart your kitchen or bathroom doesn’t seem so scary.

While do-it-yourself projects can potentially help you save money, they don’t all come easy. A recently released survey from ImproveNet shows that almost two-thirds of homeowners regret not calling in a professional on at least one of their projects.

Various home improvement DIY projects might seem like a cake walk – until you’re halfway through and realize you’ve bit off more than you can chew.

The biggest remodel that brought the highest stress was installing floor tiles – particularly in the master bath. Why? Well, making sure the ceramic tile is level and grouted correctly can be painstakingly frustrating and tricky.

The survey shows that 55% of homeowners took longer to complete a project than originally expected – luckily, only 8% of survey responders said their homes were damaged because of their remodel attempts.

Here are the top 10 most regretted DIY home improvement projects:

  1. Installing floor tiles
  2. Replacing a ceiling
  3. Refinishing hardwood floors
  4. Installing carpets
  5. Finishing the basement
  6. Installing hardwood floors
  7. Refinishing cabinetry
  8. Installing sprinklers
  9. Installing showers and baths
  10. Painting home interiors

Renovating on your own can make you feel like a hero once it’s completed – just make sure the remodeling project is within your wheelhouse.

That’s Life: The Path of Your Title and Escrow Transaction

Let’s face it – insurance talk isn’t really the most exciting of discussions. But that doesn’t make it any less important.

When you’re in the final stages of purchasing your home, you’ll get down to the nitty gritty aspects of your title and escrow process. But what does it look like, exactly?

Alliance Title’s Buyer-Seller Guide is available for your use, and breaks down all of the people and steps that will take place during your closing – but as a quick reference, the path that your title and escrow transaction will take is shown for you below!

While these steps might seem tedious, they’re incredibly important to help guarantee the ownership of your new home!

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Pinterest for your Marketing

Yes, Pinterest.

It appears that Pinterest gets the least amount of attention when social media is brought to the table.

Pinterest is so much more than just a crafting, recipe building platform. Like Google, Pinterest is a search engine – while keywords are still important, pictures are what drive this app. The better pictures you have to represent your business, the better opportunity you have for potential clients to find you.  

Branding is going to be fundamental once you’ve created a business Pinterest account (business accounts allow you to see statistics of followers and likes). The platform is visual, so you can showcase your listings, your clients, your teammates, or any little tip and idea you have to various boards of your choosing.

Research your neighborhood using Pinterest – if you search for the keyword “San Francisco,” you’ll be able to explore the top pins people are clicking on. This can help spark some ideas for your own future blog writing.

Create boards that reflect your business. Your Pinterest boards are your blog – think of them as categories. Establish a “Listing” board, a “Tips and Tricks” board, or a “Home Closing” board as a couple of different options.

Pin boards back to your blog or website. This way you are allowing potential clients multiple ways to contact you, and issuing them more opportunities to see how successful your business is!

Be consistent with your photos. Stick to one color palette and font throughout your Pinterest board; this way, future homebuyers can easily pick out your brand! Not only does sticking to a color theme make you stand out – it’s just prettier, too.

Follow local business owners, home improvement accounts, and any past clients you may have. Link back to your Pinterest page in any blog or social media post you create to let future clients find you!

Looking for inspiration? Check out Anita Clark’s Pinterest board – a real estate agent from Georgia, Anita has included her location, her specialty, a link back to the company she works for, and has stuck to a theme on her page. 

Don’t let myths about Pinterest fool you – yes, it’s a great place to start a dream wedding board, but it’s also a fantastic social media platform that helps visualize your brand and allows you to be seen as relatable and personal – the most common goals of any real estate agent.

Get pinning!                                                                              

To stay in the loop with all things real estate, check out the rest of Alliance Title’s blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: And the Referrals Have It

As a real estate agent, you know that your job isn’t over after closing day – being a successful agent means staying in contact with previous clients and establishing that referral base. Who knows – you might just make a lifelong friend along the way!

The 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that connections go a long way – 48% of younger buyers (37 years and younger) used a referral to select a real estate agent. Going above and beyond that extra mile even after closing will set up a positive precedent for you and your business.

Here are some sure ways to impress those clients after they’ve signed:

Follow Ups

Usually a seven or 30-day follow up is a healthy buffer before checking in on clients. See how they’re enjoying their home and ask if they need anything!

Emails and Cards

Remember those special dates! Mail birthday or closing day anniversary cards – stay within their realm and showcase how you prioritize their personal well-being.

Small Gift

If allowed within your area, bringing over a special little gift the day of move in can surpass plenty of expectations. A bottle of wine, pizza, or a token that showcases the new area they live in can really solidify a positive review with you.

Stay in the Know

Post new updates to the area on your social media pages. Your clients will appreciate and really come to understand just how centered you are within the community. Any new business or housing development is another opportunity for you to present your knowledge of the neighborhood.

These are just some of the few ways you can really impress a client – showing them your expertise and care during the entirety of the homebuying process will establish your brand and your referrals.

Check out the rest of Alliance Title’s Blog to stay in the know for all things real estate.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Choosing Your Home Address

Location, location, location.

It’s easy to picture your dream home – does it have new granite countertops? Big, spacious windows? Open beams? Great!

But what about the neighborhood? Is it next to the freeway? Is it within walking distance of supermarkets? Does it offer any amenities like a local gym or a community center?

The home is half the battle – the neighborhood is the second half.

This past summer, Trulia released a survey that found 36% of homeowners would move to a different neighborhood if they could. So, let’s avoid neighborhood regret, shall we?

Prioritize

While your wish list should include the square footage you’re looking for in your home, the neighborhood feel should also be at the top of that list.

Do you want a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood or a livelier urban lifestyle? Explore the surrounding area of the home you’re looking at to understand the vibe.

Ask Around

If possible, getting the opportunity to talk with the locals in the area can really give you a sense of what the neighborhood evokes. You can ask how kids or pets fit into the neighborhood, or if there happens to be any unexpected street noise you wouldn’t be aware of.

Research

Safety and school quality are two of the top factors many homebuyers consider before purchasing a home. The neighborhood atmosphere is a great way to establish what you are willing to work with. Search for a crime risk map of the area – the locals will talk about safety and school ratings will be posted.

Don’t label it searching for your “dream home” – think about searching for your dream location. The dream home will quickly follow suit.