For many potential homebuyers, the real fun comes in narrowing down the exciting yet endless possibilities for decorating their new living space. Long before they sign the escrow papers, they’re dreaming of shiny new wood floors for the bedroom, a dramatic chandelier above the dining table and a full-blown entertaining deck out back.
No wonder Pinterest.com has become so popular—especially among women, who account for the vast majority of its more than 8 million fans. The booming social website where users can “pin” their ideas on virtual idea boards and see them all in one place has many people wondering what they ever did without it.
When it comes to building your social media toolkit, Pinterest is one of the top new ways Realtors can connect and build relationships with buyers and sellers—and definitely one of the most fun. Create an account just for your business and show clients the personality, style and know-how they can expect in working with you. Be sure to include a link back to your site in your profile.
1) Highlight your location. Pinning shots of natural beauty, interesting architecture, hot attractions and local events paints a vibrant picture of your locale. Consider creating a few boards that play up the best of each neighborhood, from schools and gyms to recreation and shopping. Include keywords for each pin, such as “Old Pasadena boutiques.”
2) Showcase recent sales. Attractive home sales boost confidence. Give buyers and sellers a sneak peek inside favorite spaces of your recent sales. Or, take a practical approach and post the exterior with the sale date and price.
3) Feature decorating ideas for homes in your niche. Design a few boards based on what your clients mention over and over. Make them specific to your area. “Beach cottages done right,” “Eco-friendly desert landscapes” or “Best pools for family parties” are just a few examples. Inspire with your expertise.
4) Don’t do it alone. Follow other people, repin their photos, comment and reach out.
5) Use “advice” boards to drive traffic. Create a board or two based on your best tips, perhaps on staging a home for sale or quick DIY fixes. Pin an image from your blog post to your board so it links back to your blog.
The spring season usually starts shaping up in March and goes until June, but this year thanks to unseasonably warm weather in many parts of the United States it may have started early. Spring is the litmus test for the overall housing demand. Last year, as everyone knows, was not great (to say the least) for existing home sale. Good news is this year looks much better. Current home sales in February were up 9% from last year, and the Pending Home Sale Index was up as well. Also, according to a late February NAR survey of 4,300 agents, Realtors’ confidence in the single-family home market is definitely shaping up. Economist Paul Dales of Capital Economics says this spring season should be “the best we have seen in the past four or five years.”
Of course not every market will move in unison, and spring sales will be a great indication of which markets are improving, and which are still declining. Veros Real Estate Solutions forecasts that home prices overall will drop less than 1%, but 40% of 321 metropolitan areas will see prices rise. Phoenix is at the top of that list, and will see a 5% price gain this year. Denver is also seeing rising prices as their supply of homes is dropping as well.
Some homeowners who are in a comfortable situation are still reluctant to put their home on the market, but not all of them. In Central Pennsylvania residents saw a 30% increase in new listings early this year, and the trend has continued into spring. This spring has great potential to be a very good season for the housing market.
Buying a new home is definitely not the easiest thing in the world. Some decisions are clear and simple, but others are pretty confusing. Phone apps are a great tool for homebuyers to take advantage of – plus they’re free! (Most of them.) Here is a list of some great ones to check out.
Around.Me Real Estate focuses on location. It shows you places you use in your daily life like banks, restaurants, gas stations, and hospitals. The listings aren’t perfect – like most generic Internet searches you might get a gourmet cheese shop, or something else “close but not quite”, when searching for a “grocery store,” but overall it’s very helpful.
Try downloading a Real Estate Dictionary. Some of the lingo might be new to you if this is your first time buying a home. Look for one that will give you concise definitions, and that are inexpensive if not free. Also try downloading a mortgage calculator. Many are available and free and they will help make more educated financial decisions.
The House Hunter app tries to remove some emotion that goes along with home buying. It lets the users rate properties on a scale from 1-10. Then it takes your ratings and calculates which property fits you best.
Houzz is an app that gives you ideas of what to do with an awkward corner or part of a room in a house you’re looking at. It includes more than 200,000 photos and you can search by room, style, and neighborhood.
Trulia offers you a lot of listings to look through. On the iPad version users can compare what properties were listed at and their selling price. On the Android users can use a voice-based search by city and type of home.
Wikihood will help you pick the perfect neighborhood. It also has info that real estate agents aren’t allowed to tell you. It uses Wikipedia and Google Maps to gather info on a specific area.