How To Improve Your Real Estate Listings With Video


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As a real estate agent, you are continuously looking for ways to improve your listings and make them stand out from listings that other agents post. As you are probably well aware of, visual marketing is huge right. You no doubt either use a good camera to take photos of properties and houses or you hire a professional to take the photos. This is definitely one of the best ways to make your listings stand out from listings comprised of photos that an agent snagged with his cell phone or low-quality camera.

But there are other methods of visual marketing as well. If you haven't thought about adding video to your listings, you should. Many agents don't want to take the time to do it or spend the money to have someone else record video for all of their properties.


Begin the video with a good hook

The key to a good video is to get right to the good stuff. If you start your video at the driveway and walk slowly toward the house, the viewer is apt to get bored before you ever reach the house and they will just go on to another listing. If you have the ability, you should create a short intro to the video that quickly flashes through some of the best amenities or features of the property. This provides a good "hook" to keep the viewer interested enough to see the rest of the video.

Voice narration

If you have a good voice, you can provide narration for the video, explaining the features and amenities. Or you can hire someone to speak for you but a female voice is recommended. It has been proven that a female voice provides an atmosphere of trust and comfort. You can also use subtitles and other text on the screen for greater efficiency or to make certain points about the property.

Video is your marketing tool

The whole point of creating the video is to help you get the sale so you must treat the video as your best marketing tool. Tour throughout every room of the house and explain what's great about the rooms and why the customer would feel comfortable in this house. You can even take video or photos of the surrounding neighborhood, nearby schools, attractions and more- whatever you can use to sell the property. 

Create a pleasant background

If you want to take any video of yourself speaking, be sure to set up a good background. If you can stand beside a flowing stream with the house in the background, that's great. Or you can pick a room in the house that shows a little elegance, if there are any. You want to create scenes that make the viewer want to be in that house.

You can end the video however you wish, hopefully by this time you have the potential homebuyer's wife jumping up and down and screaming "honey, we HAVE to go see this house!" However, since that's not guaranteed, you may wish to create a closing statement. Again, be sure to have a photogenic background if you will be in the video and a pleasant speaking voice. If you find it's worth it, you can even outsource these video recordings to someone with a nice appearance and pleasant speaking voice. This way, you don't spend too much of your time dealing with the videos.



 

Should Real Estate Agents Be Concerned About Data Loss In SaaS?


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As recent studies have shown that 1 out of 3 companies lose data in SaaS, should real estate agents share these same fears? While the majority of companies that use SaaS in their business do not experience data loss, for the unlucky minority, the resulting loss can be devastating- especially for real estate agents that deal with sensitive brokerage data and confidential client data.


The threat of data loss is real

The majority of cloud services have stepped up and created better security and backup options. But there are still unexplained circumstances at times. Dropbox users have been hot with a bug that has been known to delete data and Google Drive has experienced issues that have caused issues with data loss as well. These being two of the most popular SaaS services means that this could happen to any SaaS service. If your data is not backed up when data loss occurs, you could lose sensitive data that could jeopardize pending transactions. Clients may also lose faith in you if you are forced to tell them you lost their documents and must redo them.

How to prevent data loss

The ultimate solution is to use cloudHQ  to replicate all data from one SaaS service to another. If you experience data loss in one app (such as Dropbox), you can just switch to your backup service (such as Google Drive) and restore your data from there. If Google Drive goes down for maintenance or other disruption while you are working on data, you can just switch to Dropbox and continue working on your data there.



 

Real Estate In The Cloud


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When determining whether to use cloud services for real estate, there are many services to choose from. You can use some of the most popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Evernote among others. You can also use social media in order to reach more people with your posts.


Evernote

Evernote can be used to handle nearly all aspects of a transaction- documents can be created, shared and stored directly from Evernote. By using Docusign, documents can even be legally signed and then transferred back to the realtor using Evernote. Evernote works best when used in conjunction with another cloud storage service such as Dropbox.

Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the leading cloud storage providers and can handle much more than Evernote. Evernote has file size limits and can't be used to store large files such as videos, music and other large files. Dropbox has no file size limits and has much more efficient file-sharing capabilities. So if you use Evernote to create a document, it can then be shared using Dropbox and can even be collaborated on by both realtor and client if changes or revisions need to be made. Then if the document needs to be signed, it can be signed and transferred between realtor and client so both parties have a copy. At the end of this article, I'll show you a nifty way to sync files between Evernote, Dropbox and many other cloud services.

Social media

Social media offers real estate agents an effective method for gaining exposure, garnering leads and much more. The more people you can reach, the more of a chance you have of finding people that are looking to sell their homes.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most effective social networks for real estate agents to use to their advantage. By gaining a large following on Twitter, you can produce posts (known as tweets) to send out to garner leads or just to spread information about your business. You can reach a virtually unlimited number of followers if your tweet keeps getting re-tweeted to other Twitter users' followers.

Facebook

Facebook is another great way to reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of followers by creating a business page. This eliminates the 5000 friend limit that is incurred on personal Facebook accounts. These posts will be sent out to all your followers who can then share the posts to all their followers and again, you could possibly reach an unlimited amount of followers. The only problem with Facebook is that now they have reduced the number of followers that your posts actually meet unless you pay per post. So, in this regard, I must recommend Twitter as a more efficient marketing method.

Using cloudHQ to sync files between cloud services

The best way to use multiple cloud services is to take advantage of the cloudHQ service. CloudHQ automatically syncs files between various cloud services in real-time, as the files are created, transferred or updated. All changes to files are updated instantly as the replication is continuous and instantaneous. So when a document is created in Evernote, it is instantly replicated to the cloud service of your choice, let's use Dropbox for our example. You can even choose whether the file should be replicated as a PDF or as a Microsoft Word file.

So if a document is created in Evernote, it is instantly transferred to Dropbox. A simple drag-and-drop process can send the file to the client's Dropbox for review. If changes are needed, the article can be collaborated on and revised with both realtor and client making revisions at the same time. The document can be legally signed using Docusign by one or both parties and then it can be saved to Dropbox where both parties will have access to it.



 

Top 4 Ways To Track Your Competition


Sign up for emails, blogs, etc.

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Your competitors more than likely have their own email lists, blogs, newsletters or other digital communications that allow users to sign up and receive information from the company. You can use this to your advantage by signing up for them and keeping up with all their blog posts and emails. Anything new that your competitor has come out with will be listed in these postings and you can keep up with it. They are most likely doing the same to your newsletters and blogs in order to ensure that you don't outdo them as well.


Google Alerts

Google Alerts is the ultimate way to keep up with anyone that uses the internet. Any time a blog post, forum post, website article or other posting is made containing the keywords you enter, you will receive an email informing you of this. You can choose to receive the emails daily so that you get a complete list of all postings containing the keywords. In this case, the keywords can be your competitor's name or brand that you wish to keep up with. You can create multiple alerts in order to keep up with multiple keywords. 

Analytics

Analytics are generally meant for you to keep track of your own site's stats and traffic, but it can be used to keep track of your competitor's stats and traffic as well. This gives you clues as to where their traffic is coming from and what's bringing them there. This way, you can change your methods if necessary in order to more closely compete with your competitor.

Social Media

Anyone who wants to be successful is using some form of social media- whether it's Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or other social networks. The benefits and probabilities of success are far too great to ignore. If your competitor is on any of these social networks, you need to follow them or befriend them in order to keep up with their posts.



 

Top 4 Ways To Keep Your Real Estate Clients Happy Using The Cloud


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We already know of the many benefits that the cloud brings to real estate agents. It makes their entire workload easier and makes their business run more efficiently. But does this affect the client? What benefits can a client expect when their agent has their business based in the cloud?


Efficiency

By using the cloud to store and send files, this enables clients to have access to the files instantly which can establish an environment of trust and professionalism. Clients don't like waiting and in real estate, the more efficient you are at getting the process moving, the more likely you are to be successful.

Organization

One of the main keys to effectively selling multiple houses at the same time is organization. Keeping track of all those files, all that paperwork, can be a time-consuming mass of confusion. But if you use cloud services such as Evernote or Basecamp, this can keep everything organized and moving along efficiently within the transaction process.

Security

Your clients will feel a lot better knowing that their data is secured behind powerful encryption. Security is always a concern and when dealing with confidential information and records, it's even more important that the data remains secure - and even more important - that the client feels that their data is secure.

Communication

For real estate agents on the go, communication can be a huge factor in whether a deal gets sealed or not. If phone calls, voicemails, emails, text messages and instant messages go unanswered, the client may lose faith in you as a real estate agent and your ability to take their transaction seriously. By utilizing cloud services, you practically carry a mobile office with you everywhere you go, enabling you to instantly communicate when needed. A quick reply shows the potential homebuyer that you are serious about them, that you are efficient and that you are ready to get the process moving.



 

How Does Real Estate Fare In The Cloud?


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The cloud has many benefits to offer for real estate agents and many real estate brokerages have already made the move to the cloud. Real estate agents can use cloud services for email, file sharing, web hosting, mobile apps and data storage.


Recent real estate trends

Some of the trends show that around 60% of all real estate agents had a website in 2006 and by 2012 that figure had risen to 90%. Only 9% used a smartphone daily in 2006 and around 85% used one daily in 2012. There are over 2 million real estate brokers and agents and 80% of the top performers are using cloud computing in their market.


What can the cloud offer real estate agents?

The cloud offers mobility, speed and personal service. It offers mobility by providing agents with a superior method of staying in contact with the office, clients and other business contacts. It offers speed by providing cloud tools that allow personalized transactions with contact databases, social networks, CRM systems and more. Did you know you are 7 times more likely to snag a lead if you respond to the potential homebuyer's query within one hour? And the cloud offers personal service by offering the ability to respond in a quick and efficient manner to clients and business contacts. This helps enhance your business credibility, image and builds trust with your clientele.

Paperless real estate agents

Going paperless helps the environment as well. If all real estate agents were paperless during August 2012, it would have saved 591 acres of trees in that single month alone. A typical closing uses around 460 pieces of paper. That's a lot of filing, printing costs, and storage space and costs. If all work is performed in the cloud, it saves you time, space and money. The trends show that nearly all of the top real estate salespeople utilize the many benefits of the cloud for more efficient productivity.



 

The Impact Of Cloud And Mobile Trends In The Real Estate Market


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Cloud computing is bringing changes to the way many real estate agents perform their business and has virtually changed the entire real estate industry in the process. Mobile trends and cloud computing trends have both left their mark on real estate and are still surging forward. Mobile use is higher than ever and cloud computing appears to be the future of all computing. Many real estate agents have already changed their process in order to more efficiently sell homes. Those who ignore these rising trends will be left behind.


Mobile trends in the real estate market

Studies show that as many as 90% of all internet searches for homes were performed on mobile devices. As the number of people using mobile devices to search and browse the internet is expected to surpass the number of desktop computers within the next year, mobile is a trend that must not be ignored in the real estate market. Websites and listings must be optimized for mobile sites. Website and listing content must be modified for search engine optimization so that they appear toward the top of search engine rankings. On mobile devices, around 95% of all Google searchers never browse past the first page of search results.

Cloud computing trends in the real estate market

Cloud computing has brought real estate agents and clients together faster and more efficiently than ever before. Online collaboration; file, photo and document sharing; and more have made the real estate transaction process easier than before. Actually, nearly all aspects of a real estate transaction can be handled directly from the cloud applications Evernote and Dropbox. By using Docusign for Real Estate, you can even legally sign documents through the cloud!

Real estate is surging forward, riding the waves of cloud and mobile. Real estate agents should make their choice- move to the cloud now or wait and risk falling behind.



 

Cloud Computing Strategies For Real Estate


The cloud is here to stay

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Many critics have suggested that the cloud is just a phase, but for most of us, we can see that the cloud is not going away any time soon. Some say the cloud is the future but the cloud is now. Already, many small businesses, companies, large enterprises and government departments have made, or are in the process of making, the move to the cloud. Do not listen to the naysayers, the cloud is how all business computing will be performed eventually and those who step out to greet it early are the one who will have a step up on everyone else.


Mobilize your mobile office

Eliminating your physical office may be something that's crossed your mind but you're not sure if it could actually be a reality. When you move to the cloud, there is no need for paper and printing costs, no need for bulky file cabinets- everything you need to do can be accomplished directly from your home or any remote location. By utilizing the powerful document suite of Google Apps, the quick and efficient sharing and storage solution of Dropbox or other useful cloud services, a real estate agent can perform all duties from their mobile device. Practically all aspects of a transaction can be performed through Evernote, including the legal signing of documents.

Email marketing

Email is an efficient way to get the word out about listings or other real estate services. By using an email provider such as MailChimp, you can create and maintain email marketing lists. These lists can be managed within your online CRM and then imported into the email provider. This also gives you analysis and stats. By using a tool such as MailChimp, you don't have to rely on using Outlook or your CRM for your email marketing. When sending out multiple emails, you always run the risk of being blacklisted, but by using an email tool, you can protect your company from being targeted.

Collaboration

Communication is always important in the real estate industry and collaborating over documents or files can be a time-consuming task, especially if the people you need to collaborate with must travel to get to your office. The cloud offers a variety of excellent collaboration tools. Basecamp allows users to collaborate on files, documents and complete projects. Google Drive allows up to 50 users to collaborate on the same file simultaneously. Others include ClientLook and Real Capital Markets

Enhance your rep

Optimize your website and social media sites for more efficient marketing and exposure. Utilize the superior marketing features of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and more. Create profiles and post interesting bios about yourself and your real estate services. Provide links to other social media sites, and especially your website. Create informative posts, don't just spam your listings over and over again.

Secure your data

Many of the files and documents that real estate agents store in the cloud are sensitive and contain confidential client data. On any cloud storage accounts that will be handling such data, the highest security measures should be taken. Strong passwords should include a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters. Any additional (usually optional) security measures such as two-factor authentication should be activated as well. And it is absolutely essential that you use a cloud backup service such as cloudHQ. CloudHQ provides a secure backup of all your files and documents to a backup account. In case something happens to your main cloud account and data loss were to occur, the secondary copy of your files will remain secure in the backup account.



 

The Secret To Being A Highly Successful Real Estate Agent


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In the highly competitive real estate market, it can be hard to become a successful real estate agent. The secret to becoming successful is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of hard work. Websites must be packed full of high quality content including listings with photos and videos. Websites, listings and blogs should be kept updated on a regular basis. Social networking should be used to market your listings and your website data should be securely backed up to prevent data loss. Here are the top tips to becoming a successful real estate agent.


Website enhancement

To get the most out of your real estate website, it should be optimized with prime keywords to help homebuyers searching the internet find your site and your listings.

Your listings should be high quality, with plenty of information packed into a short description. Homebuyers searching the internet may have searched through hundreds of listings before getting to yours. They are probably not going to read a description that is over a few paragraphs long.

Visual marketing

Photos included in your listings should be of the highest quality available, and there should be plenty of them. Homebuyers scouring the internet for the right home do not want to waste their time looking at grainy photos or listings that don't have photos of the complete property.

Listings should include photos that show several different angles of each room on the interior of the home, as well as outside shots of the property and any exterior buildings such as an unattached garage, storage building or other structure. Be sure to take photos of any amenities such as streams, fruit trees, flower gardens and more. Anything that will catch the potential homebuyer's eye and make them want to see more.

A video of the property is even better. Once the photos have piqued the homebuyer's interest, they will want to see more. A video is perfect for this as it allows the homebuyer to be as close to actually walking the property without stepping foot on it. By the time they've watched the video, they will have made up their mind as to whether they would like to visit the property in person.

Social networking and community groups

Social networking is the ultimate marketing tool. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn can be used to spread the word about your listings by creating "followers." You will be able to reach these social network users by posting information related to your website and your listings. It's best to also post other generalized information about real estate just to keep your followers interested in your page.

There is a number of local community groups related to real estate that you can join or create. By getting members into these groups, you will have a community of real estate enthusiasts that can share knowledge and information. Other real estate agents can share their information to the group while potential homebuyers can join the group and check out the listings you have to offer.

Protect your website data with secure backup

Your client's information is confidential and should be treated as sensitive data. Your website also contains all the data from your listings such as descriptions, photos and videos. These files can be hard (or impossible) to replace if something happens to your data so you should employ a competent backup service such as cloudHQ. The cloudHQ service provides a backup of all your website data to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, etc. This way, you always have access to your data no matter what happens.



 

Do You Have A Solid Mobile Strategy?


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There are a number of actions you should take to ensure that you are getting the most from your mobile strategy. Around 90% of all homebuyers search for homes on the internet, and many of those searches come from mobile devices. Because of the rising mobile trends, you must ensure that you have a solid mobile strategy in order to more efficiently serve your mobile customers.


Tips for improving your mobile strategy

It's important that every listing be on a mobile-friendly site in order to be viewed in mobile format by potential clients. Be sure to include the link to this mobile enhanced site on all your printed material such as brochures, flyers, signs and business cards, and include it any digital material as well, such as social media posts, website landing pages, emails and other content.

You should include a QR (Quick Response) Code on all printed material as well. This allows potential clients to scan the code with their mobile device, and then they will be sent to page which can provide them with more information about the listing. You can also create a listing card and send it to all residents in a particular area.

Back up your important client data

Your client data is confidential and they entrust you with this data. You probably have this data stored on cloud servers in order to access the data easily from your mobile device, in case you need to access it while you are traveling. But there are instances that data loss can occur, such as a malicious hacking of your account, accidental deletion by you or someone else in your office, or other situations in which data loss occurs. This is why you need a cloud backup service like cloudHQ.

The cloudHQ service provides continuous replication of all your data from one cloud service account to a backup cloud service account. This ensures that if data loss occurs, you retain a secondary copy of all data in the backup account where it can be easily and quickly restored. If your cloud storage provider's servers go down for maintenance or for other reasons, you can simply switch to the backup cloud account and continue working with your data uninterrupted. Your clients depend on you to keep their data secure and cloudHQ can help.