Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Listing Your Home Online

Tech-savvy Generation X and Yers are leading the 87 percent of buyers who use the Internet to search for homes. The Internet is the fastest-growing venue for consumers to learn and gain information about the real estate industry. With 87 percent of the market surfing the Web for a new home – you'll want your listing on there, so ask your real estate agent which marketing tools he or she will use to list your home, and make sure the Internet is at the top of the list. The following tools and strategies addressed in this column are essential in marketing a home, so make sure your agent is using all of these necessary tools.

Let's start with digital marketing and the concepts associated with it: online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and permission-based e-mail marketing. Agents who use online marketing strategies will typically post your listing on the brokerage's Web site and on his or her personal site. Look for agents who update their sites often. There are several advantages to Web listings. For example, they offer quality color photos of your home, detailed property information, virtual tours, floor plans and school and community data.

SEO is the process of increasing quality web traffic to a site by way of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. Agents that frequently update their Web sites with pertinent content and listings will have better SEO, which increases the number of views of your listing. This important component of digital marketing is worth asking your agent about.

E-mail marketing is another player in the digital marketing game. Qualified agents today stay connected with clients, family and friends by sending them e-newsletters and e-cards. A friendly holiday wish accompanied with your home listing is a great way to attract more potential buyers to your home.

Another growing industry trend is the use of podcasts, which are media files distributed over the Internet. Agents are now able to post podcasts of your home that can be downloaded free from Web sites and viewed on computers and portable devices. This new way of connecting with consumers helps provide more exposure for your home.

With the emergence of the Internet, podcasting and even wireless mobile Internet, the sky is the limit as to how many potential buyers can view your listing. So now, as an informed home seller, talk with your real estate agent about how he or she plans to market your home and get it ready to sell!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Design World Says Gray Is 'In'

Gray is the “cool” color this year, and Grandma’s wingback chairs are fashionable again, especially if they are updated with new fabrics. Even the nail heads are back in style.

The interior design world is embracing traditional more enthusiastically than it has since the time between the Great Depression and World War II, say trend watchers.

"Everything has been about a return to tradition and formality," says Michelle Lamb, a Minneapolis-based trend spotter.

Traditional Home magazine reports that the lines between traditional and modern are being blurred, which makes the new traditional look up to date.

Other design trends include:

*Bare wood, including tree stumps used as end tables or stools.
*Light wood finishes that look raw.
*Decorative LED lighting.
*Owls. These big-eyed predators add charm.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, Stacy Downs (01/10/09)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photographs Help Sell Homes

It’s important to capture your home in a series of flattering photographs since in real estate, the more photos of a listing, the quicker it will sell. At Real Living, we have the ability to post up to 80 photographs per listing. Teresa knows which types of pictures sell a home, and she follows these rules when it comes to listing photographs.

Listing photos showcase the seller’s home. Opening the blinds and turning on all the lights create an illusion of a larger room. Teresa will take photos from unusual perspectives to make your home look its best and most inviting on the Web.

Teresa understands that it’s important to keep family members and pets out of listing pictures. They are distracting to prospective buyers and hinder their impressions of the actual home.

If a seller has valuables, they shouldn’t be in listing photographs. Displaying expensive pieces of artwork or heirlooms can increase a breach of security in a seller’s home.

Rooms need to be clean and void of clutter when photographed. Ceiling fans, televisions and kitchen appliances should to be turned off to eliminate distraction.

Hoses, lawn maintenance tools like rakes and spades, as well as cars and bikes shouldn’t be in outdoor listing photographs. Teresa's goal is to take outdoor photographs on sunny days. Colors will appear more vibrant and the home may look more inviting.

Teresa can help promote your listing through professional photographs, contact her today at 614-565-8161 or

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

4 Things to Consider When Picking a Floor Plan

Factors that dictate what floor plan will work best for a home buyer include how old their children are, how they entertain, and whether they have pets, says Jeff Benach, a principal with Lexington Homes in the Chicago area.Here are some issues Benach suggests considering when buying a home:

Mudrooms. A spacious mud-room can make managing a young family’s comings and going much easier. They are also good for pet owners.

Over-sized kitchen/family-room combinations. These rooms work for some people, but they aren’t good for party givers because large spaces are noisy and don’t lend themselves to intense cooking and food staging.

Fireplaces and windows. Filling more than one wall with windows and occupying another with a fireplace makes it difficult to position furniture.

Consider that things change. Designing areas so they can be retooled to meet new and different needs down the road is a smart approach.

Source: Chicago Tribune, Allison E. Beatty (01/02/09)