Doing Business in Beautiful California – Referral Fee of $5000

$5000 Referral Fee?

I’m searching for a highly intelligent, big minded, and modestly successful real estate agent in Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco. If they buy my elite realtor services package, I will pay you a $5000 referral fee (paid in installments of course with performance bonuses).

This means if you help me connect with a truly excellent realtor who has a possibility of becoming a top realtor in their city, then I certainly would like to reward you. You could be the matchmaker/networker who makes something truly amazing happen. This match up of myself and my system with an excellent quality realtor in Southern Californa has incredible potential.  They’ll be a dominant realtor for years to come with my system of SEO, Content Development, Social Media Engagement, PPC advertising, and more.  It’ll be even better for you if this is a sustained partnership where I can continue paying you residual income.  How’s that for a passive income strategy?

Think of yourself as a pro networker/entrepreneur/matchmaker because it’s one of those jobs everyone needs done and yet strangely, no one is doing.

If you’re a California realtor yourself, we may be able to bring you into the fold, predicated on your talent, skills and integrity. I fully expect that traffic and leads will not be an issue. This is a huge opportunity with growth potential in other cities, perhaps extending into Central America. Real estate is hot and markets are accessible yet funds are needed to be competitive.

Beautiful, Sunny California is Where Everyone is Headed

richardbransonscrewitletsdoit
Picture courtesy of Theinvestorspodcast.com. Sir Richard removes limits and he’s ventured into airlines, space travel, wines, digital music, and more. If one venture should fail, he’s got plenty of others to carry on.  He should consider getting into real estate. Virgin Real Estate sounds cool!

Why California? The San Diego, Los Angeles to San Francisco corridor is one of the most creative places on the planet, the hottest market going anywhere and likely to continue so for some time. This land of opportunity buoys Californian’s spirit and makes them appear awesome to investors/travelers.  People who want to be successful always head to California.  Accordingly, Californians have more optimism, confidence and connections and that makes them better to work with.

Business with Californians could spawn into anything. Since there is serious commitment to desalinization and solar energy, the coastal and desert southwest suddenly look like future paradise to people around the world (Canada, UK, China, Dubai) who will need homes. California is the source of entrepreneurial startups in Silicon Valley and San Diego combined with the imagination of Hollywood and pleasant laid back and family oriented Napa region. I’ve worked with Californians and it’s this mix that’s impressed me. Much of my own inspiration comes from my visits to clients and friends in this amazing State.

Foreign buyers are trying to buy into California and the potential for housing construction is monumental. It is easily the best bet for continued growth. Americans do want to move to warm, dry climates and California’s home prices are proof that this state’s attraction is endless. Demand will rise. Prices will rise.

The realtor I want to work with is ambitious, smart and confident. This is someone with vision who is confident of the opportunity in the next ten years. They have a firm desire to be a top selling realtor like Nina Hatvany, Greg Lynn, and Barbara Callan. Who are these realtors? They’re a few no name realtors who have $100 Million in sales in one year.

Here’s what to do. Before you recommend this real estate pro, read up on my realtor marketing system and how digital marketing has such extensive reach to real estate buyers and sellers. Read this post on real estate lead generation companies and why they’re such a hot opportunity trend.  You’ll get the picture quickly that Google, Facebook, PPC advertising, and blogger websites are great sources of leads. Advise them to visit REW.ca and Zillow as these are similar successful and ambitious companies evolving from a content site to a real estate listing and lead generation site. No one’s laughing at Zillow anymore.

Contact me via gord@gordcollins.com  or phone 416 998 6246 for more information.  Let’s make 2017 is the best year of our lives!

 

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Sometimes Sales Success is a Game of Numbers

Is Sales is a Game of Numbers?

pipeline
Photo courtesy of celdf.org

If you sell in the insurance, real estate, home energy, or mortgage sectors, I’ll bet you’ve heard that phrase a few times. It can be interpreted a number of ways, but all of them point to this idea, that leads and sales may be more the result of serendipity than strategy. Of course, the sales experts won’t like that kind of messaging. 

They hit you with: 11 steps to closing mastery, how to perfect the 9 stages of motivating buyers, or 15 sure fire steps to clinching the deal.  Non-experts would say “Screw dat”, just get lots of traffic and let the easy ones come to you.

Some sales consultants proclaim that sales is not a game of numbers, but rather a rifle-focused technique or strategy involving specialized skills and tactics. Yet that seems to defy their own basic formulas that leads come from a percentage of prospects and actions taken.  Simple math.  “Keep phoning and using that script and the sales are sure to happen.”  Is this you?

But for those who understand that sales is often a numbers game, and more importantly, know how to use numbers to propel them towards their goals; sales is more of a process than it is a task… Using our examples, we will assume that you need 5 calls to set 1 appointment, 2 appointments to deliver 1 proposal and 5 proposals to close 1 deal. Once you have your total number of sales needed to hit your income goal, just work backwards to arrive at your specific numbers. In our example, you will need 1,500 prospecting calls to secure 500 appointments, that will yield 250 proposals, resulting in 50 sales.”




Time to Start Thinking High Volume with a Big Fast Moving Number of Prospects

Raising the volume of prospects should be your top priority and this post is a reminder of it. How to build that volume is actually the key matter.  It requires a digital marketing strategy that accelerates reach via a wide range of content, to create a lot of touchpoints with consumers.  These touchpoints (Google referrals, social shares, content views, blog referrals) give you a shot at reaching the golden nugget prospects.

Your network isn’t a few old contacts and former customers — it’s the millions of people out there you could reach who might refer someone to you, and whom may share your content on the web or social sphere.

Here’s your Game of Numbers Game Plan

If you create huge exposure, a massive lead pipeline, you’re likely to create more leads than if you relied on a precision-targeted, deliberate short list of targets, whom you ply your strategies, proposals and drive-arounds. Get the big numbers first and then learn more about how to cull good leads from that massive volume. And maybe, just maybe, with your huge volume, you won’t have to work so hard to convert. Many of them will be well targeted and easy to convert. Wouldn’t you rather work with the ones who are eager?

In the Internet era, good marketing is all about letting them find you by laying out messages about what you can do inside topics they care about.

Here’s something to ponder: If the first 10,000 contacts you generate never become clients, you’re wasting your precious time trying to nurture them personally. It may be only later out of 100,000+ contacts that you get the high quality prospects you’re hoping for. If you don’t build the huge traffic foundation first, those golden prospects who can be converted will never appear.  Your sales techniques are a waste of time, until you have the volume.

So if your current lead channels are looking a little rocky on a  barren wasteland, then high online traffic volume might be what you need to do.  Here’s what that may look like in your Google analytics reports:

sellmississaugatrafficsource2

The real estate agencies and techno-experts want to impress you with technology rather than maximizing leads through high quality content, social media networking, and SEO.  That’s harder work where fewer experts exist to help you. In the end, the exact targeted audience created via rifle strategy may not like your website, voice, face, or nationality. All your work goes down the drain. Hummph, some pipeline that is!

The underlying truth is that you create you own luck — time to start building your big pipeline

There’s the other numbers game too where you make more calls, network with more people, and that’s all good if you’re tapping into a bigger pipeline of prospects to make it more worthwhile. That’s because as anyone who has panned for gold will tell you, the more dirt you pan, the more nuggets you’ll find.

Statistically Speaking: Higher Volume contains more nuggets

You may have tried a service such as Zillow leads, Commissions Inc., Bold Leads, or Home Values, and gotten a good number of awful leads and aggravation. These low quality lead generation services begin with shotgun advertising on Google and Facebook, and a few much lower quality lead sources such as Craigslist. Out of all that bulk come a few good leads.

A lot of digital marketing is still a lot like outdoor advertising; youmr billboard near the shopping center or the one plastered on the transit bus are the ones that work.

Bus ads and billboards generate leads out of shear volume of impressions (from people driving cars). Out of thousands of eye balls that see the ad, a few of them belong to ­home buyers and potential home sellers.

Examples of high traffic websites that attract general, unfiltered audiences are Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, CNN, Baidu, Amazon, Reddit, and Tumblr. Blogs are a huge pipeline alone and one worth focusing on. Blog referals and links are often free and can be reasonably well targeted. They may be on the topics of homes, lifestyle, or investment as many mommy blogger sites are.

How To Build a Huge Lead Pipeline for Free

Simple, create a lot of useful content on your blog. Google loves good, helpful blogs, and interesting useful content tends to get shared via social media.  Less useful content, known as thin content isn’t so valuable, so avoid your current agency’s advise about keeping it shallow with short posts. Save a few of them for your customers who like to visit your site. The rest of your site must be devoted to attracting new leads.

There are other ways to build a huge pipeline of leads but to discover that, you’ll need to hire me. And what could be a more wonderful outcome than having me turn you into a millionaire?

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Dream Homes in Hawaii – Definitely Worth a Look

Is Hawaii Still Relevant? Seems to Be!

If you feel the joy of travel, your favorite TV show is Hawaii 5-0, you have fond memories of Danno or Don Ho, and you love golf, surfing, cycling, hiking, and living in open air homes with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is likely very relevant to you. I’ve never been to Hawaii, although I had a Hawaiian client at one time, and would have enjoyed the visit to that fantastic island.

Friends have told me of a number of adventures they had living there and visiting the Hawaiian islands. From the Hana Highway to the Manakea Observatory, there’s plenty of adventures. Here’s a few photos from professional photographers and designers who feature homes in Hawaii.  It’s impossible to beat Houzz.com for spectacular indoor shots of beautiful homes. Drown your eyes in these elegant interior and exterior views.

Honolua Ridge, Maui, Residence
Maui Paradise
Portfolio
Patio
Ownby Design
Ownby Design

I discovered this luxury home on Houzz that pretty well epitomizes the lifestyle of Hawaii. The comfort, weather, room, and views are the stuff of dreams. How about yours?

Lanai
Media Room
Kona Coast

Enjoy your next vacation in California, Costa Rica, Australia, Switzerland, and all those other places you’ve got tucked away in your bucket.

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What Should be the Core of Your Online Marketing?

Google and Facebook Want to Host Your Business and Life but Your Blog is your GoTo Resource

One of the things I respected about the companies I’ve worked for is their protection of that company’s brand and source of income. You should protect your businesses future.  My managers never wavered in avoiding risk, vulnerability to problems, or unwise partnerships, thus building the proverbial wall of China to opportunity development.

blogswillchangebusiness
Graphic Courtesy of businessinsider.com

What I didn’t agree on, was this fixed mindset that everything is considered first a threat instead of an opportunity. This conservatism unfortunately leads to dependence on passive, paid advertising schemes and neglect of the richest connection with customers – the blog.  Advertising makes the brand mediocre and ads are expensive. Getting addicted to PPC is an unwise business decision for a sustainable strategy.

The company blog and strategically building exceptional, original, engaging content weren’t considered a priority, and as you’ll read here, they need to be.  The blog has so many benefits which you’ll see listed below, and the key is that it helps to focus your online marketing and help it convert leads.

 

Don’t forget to email or Share This via the links on the left, with your friends, clients, and other professionals in your industry.




opportunity
Image courtesy of asapcanadastaffing.com

Ultimately, what drives a successful business is opportunity, not threat. And if a company should not take ownership of its marketing efforts, it not only faces threats of dependency on others, it weakens its ability to capitalize on opportunity. After you read this epic post fully on why your blog should be the focal point of your online marketing, you’ll understand why it should be the core of your marketing strategy.

You might also want to read my posts on making impact with content, improving engagement, reverse engineering content, and building traffic volume. There’s so much to learn in digital marketing, it’s ridiculous. But you’ll be glad to stay ahead of the curve instead of behind it.

Let’s Turn a Weakness into a Strength

So what if we stood that traditional conservative business wisdom on its head to create a formidable business strategy that tames threats and cautiously builds and protects company equity? What if the best conservative practice is to boldly build powerful, rich, intent building, brand promoting, customer converting, content equity online so that you can control, manage, nurture, and accelerate its performance? What if you take control of what is “contextually relevant” to customers instead of constantly meeting other company’s agendas and squeezing into their mold? I’d say that’s a smart business decision and one with legs.

Better yet, why don’t we forecast or visualize an ideal web content strategy and then build back to where you are currently?  Reverse engineering is one of the least conservative approaches imaginable, and I think you’ll find it intriguing.

I don’t like overly conservative management, yet ironically I match up well with conservative companies that never take chances, because I keep them aware of what’s coming and help them find new trends and hop on them.  I’m a forecast guy with both eyes on the future. There are a lot of conservative business people who make decisions based on a short term view. And today, that short term road is brief and leading to Google and Facebook. Some would say that’s a dead end road.

Pay to play is the easy, effortless, and social approved way to go.  But to let these companies take control of your marketing, customer acquisition, and regulate how you market is unwise and it’s not as effective as taking full control yourself. And as you’ve probably know, Facebook is a personal social network and it’s difficult to move people’s mindset to a commercial one in an instant.

My point: All marketing activities should point to the company blog where trust building, credible, fresh, and engaging perspectives can make a deep impact on visitors and customers. In the digital era, your brand and content is your business equity and the blog supports it best (if its done well).




Goal: Know More about the Threat

The key issues are control, equity, autonomy, execution, content freedom, content strategy, and persuasion. If the blog isn’t the focal point, you risk everything in the long run.  As companies are discovering, if you can’t afford to pay to play on Adwords and Facebook Ads, you may be out of business.

Billion Dollar Revenues Shows Excessive Dependence for Businesses

Google and Facebook earn billions of dollars in advertising revenue every year. Google made more than $75 Billion in 2015 and Facebook will earn close to $26 Billion in 2016.

shareThe Innocuous, Seemingly Wondrous Share request is a great distribution strategy if it leads back to your blog

Those staggering ad revenues tell us that Google and Facebook pages are the home of everyone’s online marketing strategy. From any company’s perspective, those are frightening facts. Not only are companies spending their marketing budget on advertising, they are losing control of their own marketing.

dannysullivan
Pic courtesy of Search Engine Land

These companies are great companies. They are fair, but will they stay fair? They’re corporations owned by private investors interested only in profit maximization. Even they would tell you on a personal level that being super dependent on another company is  unwise. Read what Danny Sullivan said were the top 25 things he hated about Google.

The Threat is Always There

facebookadrevenueNot long ago, Google was entertaining plans to use the cached copies of websites, sort of hosting everyone’s website online (or their key pages on Google) for people to visit and peruse. Under that scenario, Google could claim almost total domination of the Internet (like the Borg in Star Trek), except for activity on the social media platforms. On the other hand, Facebook would also like to host your business website and personal communications on their platform. But hosting the world wide web is a gargantuan task, and a legal landmine, and both companies can’t quite tackle it. But is this the future? Facebook revenues are expected to grow several Billion per year so the future seems inevitable.

Anyone who has done pay per click advertising knows how difficult it is to convey complex value propositions in a small text ad. Differentiation and brand value take a beating. So the point I’m making is a choice to become dependent on these $billion advertising monopolies carries risk for your company in many ways which I outline below.

 

The Danger of Google and Facebook

Through their content search algorithms, Google and Social Media platforms decide whether your content is contextually relevant, high quality, and useful to web users, but these algorithms are difficult to understand, even for an SEO expert.

Here’s the BIG dangers in dependency on Google and Facebook:

  • Dependency encourages you to neglect continuous, long term content equity and brand equity on your website (which you own outright)
  • Google’s search algorithm can deem your content as irrelevant, off topic, or even as a spam attempt
  • Google has few customer support people so you must figure out complicated issues via support pages
  • Their algorithms typecast your business into topic categories which limits your freedom to reach who you believe is a relevant customer prospect
  • Facebook limits your friends and how many you can communicate with
  • Facebook’s page design allows for little creativity in UX effectiveness for your customers
  • Facebook shows ads on your key pages
  • Google Adwords and Facebook ads take too much of your marketing budget
  • Google and Facebook content guidelines can crimp your effectiveness
  • Text advertising commoditizes your brand and brings visitors to your site with the wrong mindset
  • traffic you send to Facebook or Google may not return to your website
  • Facebook app makes your content look lame and uninteresting

What are the Advantages to Focusing on your Blog?

  1. Fresh and accumulated content for stronger presence in Google rankings — Google favors fresh, valuable content for their users
  2. Helps to draw visitors and convert them into loyal engaged customers
  3. Lets you focus in on the exact keyword phrases you need to leverage Google referals
  4. Gives you highly sharable content to promote from within Facebook
  5. Provides the best landing pages for email, content marketing, advertising campaigns since most consumers are distrustful, burnt out and negative toward blatant commercial calls to action
  6. Greater content choice for your Facebook, Twitter, and Linked in connections
  7. More content for your visitors to enjoy and experience your brand and find a comfortable path for them
  8. Engages your own marketing staff and contributors
  9. Content that upgrades visitor intent from uninterested, superficial interest to keen awareness
  10. Lets visitors discover your brand in a natural and strategically effective way
  11. Builds more impact and engaging relations with customers
  12. Lets you set and control your site’s UX and customer journey free from distraction and competitor presence
  13. provides a direct destination for your visitors where they can experience visual content and information quickly
  14. Lets you build trust, credibility and authority in your own way
  15. Content is sharable and helps build valuable links to your website
  16. Let’s you build personalities and share stories to engage your audience
  17. Let’s visitors respond and provide feedback
  18. Let’s you analyze visitors interest in specific topics
  19. Allows you to tailor your brand and UVP to specific audiences

The key point: You must build and control your website blog as the focal point of your digital marketing strategy, to create, nurture, and protect the equity you’re building or paying for right now. The core of your web marketing strategy is the engagement and persuasive powers of your blog.

blogneilpatel
Graphic courtesy of Hubspot.com

Your blog has the kind of content that today’s consumer wants to experience, learn from, and to engage with you. It’s not your product/service pages, aboutus page or homepage. Your blogs have continually fresh, transparent, and information rich experiences conveyed via branded stories, videos, data, and customer service online that makes your company different and special.

And your blogs get very productive as they age.

compoundeffecthubspot
Chart courtesy of Hubspot.com

Here’s Rand Fishkin offering up ideas on how to make your blog posts 10X better.

In terms of traffic building, impact, engagement and avoiding dependency on budget draining advertising networks, the benefits of high quality blogging are unsurpassed. Build your powerful, revenue generating website with full focus on your blog and you will be rewarded. Check out a full detailed list of the benefits of blogging in this infographic from the searchgroup.com.au.  Much thanks to our Aussie friends!

Excellent, huge infographic on the benefits of blogging by

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Gord Collins —  I research and creat content and blogging strategie for companies in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver,Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Portland, Washington, Atlanta, Irvine, Nashville, Sunnyvale, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Raleigh, Albuquerque, Glendale, Oceanside, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Santa Clarita,  Henderson, Mesa, Temecula, Kirkland, Redmond, Palm Springs, Indianapolis, Columbus, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Chula Vista, Escondido, Santa Monica, Miami Beach, and Honolulu. Get an innovative and SEO consultant/strategist working for you.

Online Home Valuation for Homeowners

Market Value Appraisal for Homeowners

Well, if you’re reading this blog, then you may be considering selling your home, and the market appraisal is one of the first tasks to get done. You’re wondering “what will we get for our old place anyway?” And then that will beg your next question: how do we increase the selling price of the home?

mjs-house
A Beautiful Home with incredible character, but was once a condemned property. The best house in the neighborhood by far, but will it be appraised as such?

Welcome, and I hope you’ll surf around and learn all about choosing a great real estate agent and getting the best results, in terms of price, professionalism, and moving onto the next phase of your life.

The essence of real estate is feeling good and finding the very best lifestyle for you.  Having a home appraised well is key to establishing the right selling price. And it’s the funds you’ll be starting with on this next exciting phase of your life.

Were you aware that you can actually get a free home market evaluation online? See the one below from Zillow. Or, you can do a Google search for [Realtor + market evaluation] and find a realtor who is interested in providing that service for you.

What’s so nice about about using Google to explore real estate topics, such as finding reputable realtors who are motivated and fun to work with, is that this is part of your journey. Google is making it easier, giving you endless education and insight into the real estate world.

If a Realtor ranks at the top of the results, it’s a good sign they want to work with you. It’s not easy to appear at the top of Google search results so you know they’re confident, put the hard work into it, and want to be successful. That desire for success is a good sign, not a sign of greed.




I Want to Get the Best Price Possible for my Home

And you should get the best price. That home and property represent a lot of daily toil on your part for year on end. Never forget that. Don’t give away value you created. You worked hard for years to make your mortgage payments and it is your investment. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to sell it for maximum price, you’ll want to use a realtor who has a habit of selling homes for over asking price. In today’s market, you’ll probably get it.

Thinking about Selling your California home and hiring a California Real estate agent in 2017? Check out the real estate  predictions for the US, and forecasts for apartment rentals and home construction in San Francisco, San Diego housing outlook and predictions for home sales in Los Angeles.

Preparing for the Maximum Selling Price

You’ll need a realtor and perhaps a renovation/designer to determine what could be fixed up to create an even better price and be sure to get it sold fast. The speed of the sale might save you some misery.

Once you get a ball park figure or Zestimate®, you’ve got a good number to work with. Realtors criticize Zillow mostly because they’re such an aggressive competitor online. Their Zestimate® tool is a little off the mark, sometimes low by $20,000 or more.  Yet as Zillow collects more information on homes across the US and Canada, they’ll become more accurate. But this number is just a number to rally on. You can raise the value of your home with your realtor’s advice and help. Appraisals are often based on comparables which could be the wrong comps, so you may want to go out and carefully find your own comparables to show the buyers the real value.

zillow-estimate-los-angeles

 

How do I Raise the Value of my Property?

Now you’ve got your base price often based on comparables in your neighborhood. What can you upgrade that’s worth doing? Homeowners tend to be way too passive about fixing the place up, as doing so could raise the selling price considerably, especially if your realtor manages to bring in a boatload of buyers who might compete for it.  It’s the simple pleasure/pain response. It may be very effective to get rid of everything that could offend or turn off the buyer, such as dirty toilets, broken light switches, dirty stained carpet, or some of your old nostalgic art items.

A Los Angeles Real Estate agent gives some insight into appraisers and how appraisals will affect what buyers might be willing or able to offer for your home.

Here’s 10 of the Best Ways to Raise and Get your Asking Price

Fix/Renovate the Bathroom – Home buyers want all memories and evidence that you lived there gone. The bathroom is a sensitive topic and they likely want the fixtures like the toilet, basin, shower replaced. Freshening it up with new fixtures tells them it is clean and ready to be used.

Fix the Roof – If there’s any signs the roof has had it, they will not even give you a bid. Here’s an opportunity to get rid of the old shingles and put in new solar shingles to create added value for them. Free hydro could be very excited for them.

Open Concept Kitchen – Just knocking down the walls could open up the buyer’s mind to the warmth of your kitchen. Most buyers insist on a kitchen/living room connection so try to make that happen.  Don’t buy new appliances, just look for some cheap used ones that still look good. Replace the obvious stuff that hints of poor hygiene such as grimy looking countertops, worn kitchen sinks and faucets.

Get Rid of the Old and Broken – Old just means old style, and items that have no relevance to the life they’re going to live.  Although you love your statue, antique furniture, or old small deck, they might really turn your buyer off. Broken things could get your appraisal reduced by $500.  Just one broken faucet or wall socket that doesn’t work could cost you $5k in appraised price because appraisers work in $500 increments.

Improve Exterior Features – Put in some exterior lighting, LED, for security reasons and for aesthetics.  The lights warm things up and create an evening presence that would otherwise be cloaked in dreary, scary blackness.

Try some New Window Shades – These are an inexpensive upgrade that can pick the windows up and help block bright sunlight and give privacy. These buyers don’t know the neighbors yet.

Remove Dirty Carpets – replace them with the new cheap linoleum based engineered flooring.  It looks like wood, feels like wood and it’s easy to keep clean. Make cleanliness a theme if it suits your ideal selling strategy.

Improve whatever the Realtor tells is wrong with most of the houses in your Neighborhood – If your house is the only one that doesn’t have the common problem, it will give them an emotional lift.

Make sure your top home Feature really Stands Out – there’s no point in going half way with the best thing about your home. If it’s got a rooftop deck for instance, make sure it looks like something they will be compelled to use. A rooftop deck or pool or large ensuite bathroom that they won’t use much is actually a waste. Everything being sold has a top benefit, so ensure this is 100% fantastic.

Have the Home Staged – having the right style, furnishings, and dressings for the intended buyer is important. Sorry, your style of furnishings only reduces the value.  Appearance is so important, from the condition of the lawn to the art on the walls. Let the realtor’s home stager make the place look immaculate.

Then comes the issue of how to choose the right realtor. There are almost 2 million real estate sales people to select from.

Choosing the best realtor is important. Some are motivated and some are not. Some are optimistic, some are not. You need to take some time doing a search of the best on Google. Take the top ten you find in the search results and assess their skills, strengths and weaknesses

A good realtor will be very optimistic, encouraging, and imaginative about how to help you get the best home selling price. That’s perhaps the most important criteria you should consider. Please don’t treat this like it’s just another transaction, and that you’ll take whatever you can. Your realtor will be making a good commission on the sale. You can expect them to come up with a brilliant online marketing strategy to capture more and better prospective buyers for your home sale.

How does their online marketing presence look to you? Would you buy from them if you were about to buy? What about their website and the image they project? Does it seem to speak to you and put them in an exclusive class of quality realtors?  Do they really look like they care?  Is there much content on their website? Can you see anything about their character or personality?  Of course, you can call a brokerage and take whoever is next on call, or you could interview whoever is willing to come to your home to be interviewed.  Save some time and do a pre-screening of their website. Their website is a tell tale representation of their professionalism, skills, and commitment.

If you get a Good Real Estate Agent – Stay with Them

It’s an interesting statistic that most sellers don’t use the same realtor to help them buy the next property, even though they’re buying in the same city. Your selling realtor will be helping other buyers on other deals so why not you? Either you believe in your realtor or you don’t. Choose a great realtor and use them for everything.

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LifeHacks : How to Save More on Car Insurance for Smart People

8 Best Way to Save Money on Car Insurance

If you’ve always longed to be called a hacker, here’s your chance. I’ve got 8 of the best ways to cut your car insurance costs. Think of yourself as a smart, savvy consumer who is hell bent to save your money. And wow, when it comes to saving money, car insurance is a biggie. I showed in this post how I got an online insurance quote of $1700 less per year. Over 6 years, it’s a savings of $10,000. With that, I can take a vacation.

Car insurance is one of those insidious expenses that we don’t think enough about but if we put a little effort into finding a better policy, we’ll have quite a bit more money at the end of the year. That could come in handy when it’s your turn to play Santa at Xmas!

So how can you save enough to make it worthwhile? Here’s my car insurance saving hacks you can’t live without. Money’s important even those buying luxury auto insurance. Don’t just give it away to insurance companies. One of the reasons they can spend so much on advertising is because shoppers like you don’t demand the lowest rates.




Auto Insurance Buying Tips

Auto Insurance Buying Hack #1: Use Google for 4 hours and ensure you get quotes from at least 10 insurance brokerages.

Car Insurance Buying Hack #2: Buy your insurance online. Don’t phone. Progressive companies who pay out fast on claims will also have a good online quote tool and they stand behind their car insurance quotes.

Insurance Buying Hack #3: If possible, buy your other insurance coverage such as homeowners, renters, and boater/motorcycle insurance coverage with that insurance broker too.

Insurance Buying Hack #4: Use a brokerage because they’ll work harder for your money. If there’s quick adjustments needed or you need to change providers, they can advise you as they’re also always experienced and not biased like insurance company agents will be.

Auto Insurance Buying Hack #5: If you’re a good driver who doesn’t drive like a maniac and reckless abandon, use the $1000 or more deductible. It’ll save you quite a bit.

Auto Insurance Buying Hack #6: If your car is an old beater, consider eliminating your collision coverage. This isn’t an easy one, however if your car is worth $2000, you won’t be getting much if you have to make a claim.

Auto Insurance Buying Hack #7: Buy the right car or SUV, as I mentioned in this post on car insurance, some brands and vehicles such as the Honda Odyssey or Jeep Wrangler offer very cheap insurance rates. This could get your insurance rates way down!
So there’s my top car insurance buying tips for this year.

Auto Insurance Savings Hack #8: Ask for usage-based insurance coverage. This is called telematics by the insurance brokers and they’re certain to have a good provider in their stable. The insurance company will install a device which tracks you by GPS. They’ll note your speed, how you brake and accelerate, and other driving habits. This helps create a mood of control and poise in drivers because they feel they’re being watched or monitored. The fact you’re willing to do this means you may be a better driver and they may offer you lower rates. They want to keep good drivers and drop the bad ones. Simple business success for the insurance companies.

Save Money Driving in Your City

Find the lowest insurance rates in your city: Los Angeles car insurance, Boston auto insurance, Phoenix car insurance, San Francisco car insurance, San Diego car insurance, Seattle car insurance, New York car insurance, Indianapolis car insurance, Detroit car insurance, Philadelphia auto insurance, Toronto car insurance, or Chicago car insurance.

Are you a homeowner looking for ways to save on hydro power and enhance the curb appeal of your home. Check out this post on residential solar power systems.  The savings are good, but the rise in home value is the surprise.

The most important thing you can do to save money is shop around and never tire of getting quotes. You owe nothing to the insurance companies by paying more and limiting your search. It’s your money so keep it.  Being a lifehacker is a fun way to get more out of your cash resources and generate a habit of saving money.




Car Insurance Buying Mistakes

Sometimes, costs come in the form of other mistakes. Here’s some tips on big mistakes to avoid:

car-insurance-mistakes-infographic
This infographic brought to you by Mint.com and Coverhound

Check out some other lifehacks in this infographic from SparkInnovation.

lifehacks-infographic
Infographic courtesy of Spark Innovation

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Insurance Companies – SEO and Content Development for Insurance Firms

SEO for Insurance Companies and Brokerages

If you’ve read my post on PPC prices via Google Adwords, you know that insurance companies and brokerages like yours are paying a lot for advertising.  The high rates tell us auto insurance buyers are online in droves looking for car insurance coverage or possibly to change providers.

When insurance companies are willing to pay $80 per click, it tells you right away that it’s a lucrative business sector and that you can save a lot of money by creating leads via SEO, Content Development and Social Media. These three approaches work very well together. A key note on content development is that it must resonate on the insurance topics and be presented in a way that is consistent with Google’s quality algorithm update and Rankbrain update.  Google is a different beast than your regular insurance customer.

Inhouse or Expert? Please don’t continue with inhouse digital marketing if your team can’t make it work. If they don’t have the skill and creativity, they likely never will. You need a seriously competitive and innovative SEO consultant who isn’t afraid to tackle any challenge and who has experience with several insurance companies and brokerages.

Take a look a few of the prices that insurance brokers are paying online. And keep in mind, these are suggested prices to show up. These won’t get you to the top advertising position. And if your landing pages aren’t high quality, you’ll have to pay even more.

Keyword Phrase Avg. Monthly Search Volume US (exact match only) Suggested Price per Click
performance car insurance 50 $74.07
company car insurance 140 $72.63
young drivers car insurance 30 $59.38
insurance car quote 480 $57.57
auto insurance 165000 $56.99
automobile insurance quotes 880 $56.40
affordable insurance 12100 $55.74
business loans 27100 $55.29
auto insurance quotes online 3600 $54.41
best car insurance 12100 $54.20
get a car insurance quote 320 $53.52
quick car insurance quote 320 $53.50
get auto insurance quote 1000 $53.34

While it’s true that minimal, low budget efforts won’t deliver much, it’s always a good idea to use SEO for the long run. It’s important to supplement your leads gained via advertising. And it’s important to keep your current customers informed and glued to your brand and value proposition. SEO does all of this.

Building a Preference for your Brokerage

Why do insurance consumers choose the companies they do. I’m sure Geico would tell you it’s all about fun branding while esurance will tell you its about advertising and insurancehotline will say it’s SEO. Yes, location is everything and being number one on Google search is prestigious and highly converting. The higher your rankings, the more easily you’ll convert visitors. The principle is simply. If they come to your site first, they haven’t been contaminated with your competitor’s insurance offerings, propaganda and promises. Avoiding competition is truly important in any medium. It’s tough to beat a thousand other offers.

If a thousand advertising leads are worth $50,000 then organic SEO and content development have to be worth it. You can do a lot with 50 grand. Consider moving your ad budget to SEO. It will even help your Adwords/Facebook advertising effectiveness because being visible in organic gives your ads instant credibility — that your company belongs there and hasn’t just bought its way in.

SEO is great in that your branding gets a boost from being associated with important keyword phrases (e.g., los angeles car insurance quote) and thus becomes more significant and relevant to car insurance shoppers.  It keeps on producing for free for a long time, and forever if you keep me working on your website and social media pages.

Let’s get started with your SEO and Content Development Campaign. I want to make your company epic!

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Residential Solar Power Systems – What you Should Know

Are Solar Roofing Installations a Powerful Selling Feature?

We know how expensive hydro is becoming for the average homeowner. Power generating companies are in big debt and will have to keep raising prices to their diminishing user base chasing more homeowners offgrid.

And power companies are highly polluting which does not jive well with the mandates of the carbon credit regulators. It looks like solar will be prominent.

dowpowerhouseshingles
Dow Powerhouse Shingles are said to be a wise replacement system on a new roof installation, but many homeowners are really liking them for their aesthetics. — from pv-magazine.com. Pic courtesy of pv-magazine.com.

Yet we wonder if buying a $7000 to $30000 solar power generating system for a home is really worth it. Apparently, the savings range from $400 to $700 a month, or around $6k a year.  Right away you’d say no, however the prices of solar systems are falling and there might be other benefits to consider including higher selling prices.




I was speaking with Seattle entrepreneur Andrew Schumake who installs these solar systems.  He comments that the incentives created by the Obama administration in the US were very generous and how manufacturers and installation providers are clamoring to supply this burgeoning market in the US, and also in Canada.

It makes you wonder what the actual impact of all these new products is on the US housing market? Andrew warns though that some companies make shoddy products so homeowners should be careful and wise.

 

If you’re a builder or commercial real estate developer, you may want to check out the incentives offered by the Madison Energy Group of Phoenix, who Andrew works with.

As a realtor or property investor, or a homeowner with a big mortgage loan to pay, you may be wondering how much these systems raise the value of a property if at all.  The issue isn’t just a matter of electrical power savings, it’s also a matter of aesthetics and whether solar is a feature sought in particular neighborhoods.

Solar Shingles in Hot Demand

And new systems that use solar shingles are in hot demand. Most systems that we see on homes are solar panels which are mounted on top of the the roof. That can complicate roofing issues and fixes if a problem in the roof occurs. With solar shingles, you have a solution that is part of the roof so the old ceramic or tar paper asphalt shingles aren’t needed. And as you can see in this video below, the new solar shingles actually look pretty good.

The systems produced today are cheaper, better designed and should last longer. So the results from this Berkeley study from 2013 should be more positive today in 2016 and into 2017.

This woman in Florida is ecstatic about her new solar power installation.

Dow is a big maker of the new solar power shingles for residential roofs.  If your prospects are going to reroof their house, should they go with solar shingles and save on the costs of the conventional roofing?  There are a government incentives could make this a sensible purchase. Here’s a video that discusses that issue:

certainteed-solar-brochureBut could a new solar shingle roof help to get a home sold faster at a higher price? Studies seem to show that this is so. You might be familiar with Certainteed, the roofing products manufacturer. They provide a solar product brochure that might give more insight into the advisability of recommending a solar roof as a home value raising strategy.

The number of homeowners “going solar” has increased by an average of every year for the last 10 years. About half a million homeowners in the U.S. have determined that solar makes sense.” from the brochure.




What is your experience with solar energy installations in the homes you’ve been buying and selling? Are buyers enamored with the systems or are they mentioning wishes and disappointments? I’d like to know. Please leave your comments below.

 

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I welcome all inquiries from green energy and solar power businesses in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Oshawa, Hamilton, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Calgary, Kelowna, Mississauga, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Portland, Washington, Atlanta, Irvine, Nashville, Sunnyvale, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Raleigh, Albuquerque, Glendale, Oceanside, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Santa Clarita,  Henderson, Mesa, Temecula, Kirkland, Redmond, Kansas City, St Louis, Stockton, Scottsdale, Palm Springs, Indianapolis, Columbus, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Chula Vista, Escondido, Santa Monica, Miami Beach, and Honolulu.

3D Immersive Home Tours

Maximize your Impact to Hungry Buyers and Investors

The housing market is so hot, we might think we could put a home up for sale in any condition, site unseen and get tons of offers. Yet if getting a property sold is a no brainer in 2017, then maybe you should be doing more to get a higher price for your client. Here’s one special new technology to show your prospective client you’re doing all you can to represent them.

The money you pay to have the home cleaned and staged, and the commission the homeowner pays can all be erased. And by further promoting it vigorously online to get the maximum number of buyers you’re adding further fuel to the price fire. That’s a lot of value added for you, so why not do this?




Buyers Want to Get Up Close and Personal

The reality is that buyers like to see a home up close and personal. Foreign buyers and investors, or out of city buyers too, would like a good look at your listed properties. If only there was some way they could experience a home tour online.

To resolve the buyer’s quest for information and them that amazing home tour experience, a great software product called Matterport 3D is making it possible. Video tours of properties aren’t new. What makes Matterport 3D unique and so in demand with realtors from Boca Raton to Los Angeles to Toronto, is the quality of their interactive home tour.

3D Tours Make an Impact Online

Who needs 3D when you could use a drone video? The Matterport tours allow the homebuyer to view the home as they wish. I’ve blogged about making an impact and establishing a powerful unique value proposition. 3D video tours are engaging and they have marketing value.  They make it easy for the homebuyer to look at or obsess about the features that are most important to them. And it’s full ceiling to floor coverage. For real estate investors, this format offers more confidence that the home and property is worthwhile.

Way too Cool Add On Features

Use a Mattertag™ Post  — This software feature lets you tag certain items in the home and add comments.

Fly Through Videos — You can also create your own fly through videos just like a drone would create!

Guided Tours — create your special presentation of key features to ensure they don’t miss the good stuff.

Matterport Spaces™ —  a cool service that will provide blueprint schematics of your home for only $15 per floor, and delivered to within 2 days, by Drone!  (Noooooo, I’m just kidding about the drone delivery, however my client Mike also does the drone video thing! :))

360 Degree Streetview  let your visitors get a good view of the street from the sidewalk.

3D Floorplan Blueprints — The Matterport Pro 3D Camera collects accurate visual and spatial data to map entire areas in minutes.

Screen Capture courtesy of Matterport.com

MLS Friendly Videos — for play right in your listing page and with your contact details. Get the lead while it’s hot!

What do you need? You must buy the Matterport Pro 3D Camera at a cost of $4500.  It’s no ordinary camera though.




Matterport 3D Tour Brings out the Beauty of this Wellington FL 4 Bedroom House

Take a visit to this home in Wellington, in Palm Beach County in South Florida courtesy of Boca Raton Realtor,  Mike Goldberg of United Realty. This house has so much character and beauty, typical of most modern houses for sale in South Florida. The customer can explore all the nooks and crannys at their leisure. Try it out below and you’ll see how interesting it is to explore with.

Mike’s a good photographer and that makes a big difference. You could always hire a real estate photographer to create the right light, floor locations, and angles.  If you’re a homeowner in the Palm Beach County area of Florida, contact Mike about photographing your home with the Matterport Camera. This gives you a significant advantage online, and you’ll beenjoying online marketing with me!

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National Realtor Outlook Survey 2016 – 2017

The Pulse of a Professional Group – Your Chance to Know

Wouldn’t it be nice to take part in a quick survey that could help you understand where you’re missing the mark with your career?  It’s a fast, convenient source of specific information about being a great Real Estate Professional in 2017.

Graphic courtesy of PSAC
Graphic courtesy of PSAC

Because of politics, you’ll never get an honest overview of what Realtors® know, are currently doing, or care about from NAR, CAR, CREA, SDAR, PAR, NYSAR, GBAR, or SFAR. Your real thoughts and insight are filtered. This national realtor survey however, won’t be filtered. We want to know what you think and feel about opportunity, challenges, do you want Trump or Clinton, golden future opportunities, and what you intend to do about improving your realtor career.

If you participate honestly without restraint, I’ll give you the unfiltered results about what all of your professional Realtors® feel, think, and what they perceive is coming.  When you think about the fact that there are upwards of 2 million professionals working in the real estate industry and that you transact hundreds of billions of dollars in housing transactions every year, it does make Realtors® a compelling group to listen to. This bit of research could be valuable to your career.

Your experience, knowledge, everyday business dealings, challenges, opinions and plans are some of the most important to be aware of. Housing and construction drive economies and yet those drivers are so diverse and numerous, it’s difficult for any expert to forecast the market in 2017, let alone the years ahead. Yet we can find out what’s happening right now.

The National Realtors Insight Survey 2016

 

[wpsqt name=”National Real Estate Survey 2016″ type=”survey”]

 

Thanks for Taking part. Please ensure I have your email address so I can send you the realtor survey results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gord Collins — Real Estate SEO Consultant —  I generate leads for realtors in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Oshawa, Hamilton, York Region, Oakville, Calgary, Kelowna, Mississauga, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Portland, Washington, Atlanta, Irvine, Nashville, Sunnyvale, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Raleigh, Albuquerque, Glendale, Oceanside, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Santa Clarita,  Henderson, Mesa, Temecula, Kirkland, Redmond, Kansas City, St Louis, Stockton, Scottsdale, Palm Springs, Indianapolis, Columbus, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Chula Vista, Escondido, Santa Monica, Miami Beach, and Honolulu. Find a Real Estate Agent you can trust.