April 27 2010

Six Green New Home Trends In 2010

Although the building industry had a dark year in 2009, Green building seemed to somehow stick out and shine. According to the Multiple Listing Service date, certified sustainable green new homes actually rose the past year in the northern west coast areas like Portland and Seattle. This trend is believed to spread over the U.S. and green building is expected to grow within new home sales. Already new home sales are on a rise from a year ago with March of 2010 seeing the biggest jump in new home sales in 47 years. So what trends can we expect to see in 2010 in green new homes?

 

Green New Home With Net Zero

1. Energy Monitoring Home Dashboards. The increasing demand for energy efficient homes, the development of a custom web-based display panel within the home, will show real-time home energy use. This sophisticated produced can break down the real time energy use of homeowners appliances, which will help a homeowner change the way they use their electricity. For example the way an electric car miles per gallon indicator encourages the owner to adapt their driving habits, green new homes that offer these Dashboards may encourage homeowners to reach lower energy use. Dashboards will also increase the probability that homeowners of green homes will reach the Energy Performance Score.

 

 

2. Energy Efficient Green Home Labeling. Like the miles per gallon label you would find when searching for a new car, energy rating systems for new homes has become popular among legislators.  This energy rating system will make it easier for homebuyers to see the energy efficiency of one green home compared to another. Each homes score will be available on the MLS.

 

3. Lenders and Green Homes Make for a Better Bottom Line. Lenders have come to the conclusion that green new homes are better for their bottom line. By seeing a trend of green home owners being more responsible and less probable to default on a loan, due to the fact that most green home owners are more accountable and likely to place higher value on home maintenance.  Green home owners are also less likely to default due to the decrease in energy coast within their green home. Lenders are now working to get reduced-rate loans and insurance packages for green new home owners.

 

4. Less Is More. Back when the housing market was booming, a larger homes lead to greater equity. However since that “bubble burst” this is no longer the case. With energy prices expected to rise over time, and the Federal Reserve likely to raise interest rates during 2010, homebuyers are likely to feel more at ease with smaller new green homes.

 

 

5. Water Conservation. Did you know that residential water usage accumulates for more than half of the public water supplied? The EPA decided in December 2009 to implement WaterSense. WaterSense specifies that new homes will need to reduce water use by 20 percent than conventional new home. Mandatory energy labeling in Europe already documents the water efficiency.

 

6. Net Zero Homes. A net zero home is a green home that generates more energy than it uses over a year. This is done by building a fairly small new green homes that is extremely energy efficient and uses onsite renewable energy like wind, solar or geo-exchange systems.

 

 


April 26 2010

Blogging And Homebuilding - It's Only A Matter Of Time

Blogging has been a hot topic within the homebuilding industry for several reasons.  A few of those reasons include:

  • Companies are tentative to let employees free in an open and public space.
  • Blogging is a marketing force multiplier. The more employees blogging, the more Internet exposure that company gets.
  • Blogging keeps a website fresh.  All to often a consumer perception is that 'the lights are on, but no one is home', because the website rarely gets fresh content.
  • Blogging freshness contributes strongly to the search engine optimization of a home builder's website.

It seems that as an industry, many have acknowledged the benefits of blogging but where do we get the extra resources?  It takes extra time and extra people to implement a successful blogging strategy.

But it's only a matter of time before blogging becomes common place within the confines of home builder websites. In February 2010, the Pew Internet and American Life Project reported that Internet users ages 18 - 29 were about one-third more likely to say they blogged than those 30 and older. Check out these graphs from eMarketer.

Blog reader stats - blog writer stats March 2010

The most interesting part comes from the second graph - the reasons for blogging.  As home builders, we've got to hone in on the preferences brought on by technology.  It's not just that younger people are more technology savvy, it's that technology is playing a large part in shaping consumer preferences.  Young people adapt to technology because 1., they aren't set in their ways; and 2. because they have more time to experiment with new technologies.

Younger people tend to like blogging - just look at the image below.

 

Why bloggers blog

The bottom line is that blogging works in the home building industry and that it is an inevitability of marketing and connection in today's world of commerce.  The quicker we can adapt, the better off our companies will be.

Jim Adams - CEO


April 22 2010

Video Stats Show Increasing Opportunity To Separate From Competitors

Video stats continue to show opportunity for homebuilders to separate themselves from their competitors.

Consider these numbers:

  • YouTube receives more than 100 million unique visitors and streams more than 6 billion videos monthly, according to Nielsen.
  • Users viewed 33.2 billion videos during the month of December 2009, according to comScore. 
  • 86.5 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in December 2009, according to comScore.

The ability of video to tell an in-depth story of a new home community, beyond a static picture and a 'request more information' button, gives video an unmatched advantage over builders not using video. On a similar note, video allows consumers to become engaged (a major YouTube ranking factors), building a stronger builder-to-consumer relationship, while at the same time leveraging a deeper insight into a builder's brand as well as the new home itself.  Video is quickly becoming a consumer expectation when looking for new homes.

 

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory .com


April 20 2010

EPA Announces New Energy Star Home Guidelines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA announced that as of January 2011, more meticulous guidelines for any new home that would like to meet the Energy Star label will go into effect. These new requirements will make each new home built, at least 20 percent more energy efficient than homes that were built to the International Energy Conservation Code or IECC in 2009. What does this mean to homeowners that purchase an Energy Star home? Homeowners should see a 15 percent cut in their utility bills with any new home built under these new IECC codes.

Energy Star Logo

The new EPA guidelines will guarantee that the government backed Energy Star label will continue to represent a significant decrease in energy use over a home’s lifespan. The January 2011 Energy Star home guidelines include products that are energy efficient, cost efficient and enhance comfort for the homeowners. Energy Star home guidelines are:

Complete air sealing home insulated with high-performance energy efficient windows that improve both homeowner comfort and reduce utility bills.

Home heating and cooling that offer energy efficiency systems that are engineered to deliver  quiet operation as well as more moisture control. Heating and cooling systems are also required to be equipped with ventilation that improves the home air quality.

Energy efficient lighting and energy efficient appliances that are Energy Star qualified.

Additional ceiling fans that help reduce your monthly utility bills as well as providing energy efficiency.

The most import aspect of the new EPA Energy Star Home guidelines is that each Energy Star new home must be certified by a third-party. Verification by an independent Home Energy Rater that conducts a comprehensive series inspections and test system performance must be made before any new home is Energy Star qualified.

 


April 16 2010

How Much Is It Really Worth? Only Time Will Tell.

Just read this blog post entitled, No, There's No Bubble In Canada Real Estate.  I've heard the Canada didn't experience the massive fluctuations in the housing market that the U.S. and California have.  I guess there are two sides to every story.  While I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, because I don't live there, this looks like many homes for sale in San Diego.

We've all seen the million dollar homes that look like...well, homes that shouldn't be priced at a million dollars.  I guess there are spots everywhere that reflect these economic times.

Jim Adams - CEO


April 14 2010

EZ Moving And Storage Testimonials - Meet One Of Michigan's Number One Moving Company

Are you looking for a moving company that is the definition of professionalism, is honest and has high integrity? Then look no further than EZ Moving and Storage. EZ Moving and Storage offers an excellent customer service division, superiority coverage with devoted employees that pay attention to every detail. If all this was not enough to motivate you to use on of Michigan’s top moving company, then maybe EZ Moving and Storage FREE online or in-home moving and storage costs estimates will be.

EZ Moving and Storage Boxes

So what exactly do I mean when I say that EZ Moving and Storage offers a professional moving services and a one of a kind customer approval record? Well, EZ Moving and Storage first of all has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in addition to being a professional state licensed moving company. EZ Moving and Storage has moved over 1,000 U.S. and worldwide customers and each time a move is made the EZ Moving and Storage moving team treats each and every customer with the fulfillment they deserve. When the unexpected does happen and something goes off beam, EZ Moving and Storage will investigate and  do everything feasible to make it right. EZ Moving and Storage goal is simple, “A smile on your face when we move you into your new home is our utmost priority.”

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are what former customers of EZ Moving and Storage testimonials had to say about their moving experience;
Kelly G. - 12/8/09: “Hello - I had EZ Moving and Storage help me move out of my office space, and move my storage room to my old laundry room and then they set up my new home office! Danny and Karim were helpful, positive, and efficient. I was really happy with their services, and will call them again if I need anything. They also beat their estimate by a few dollars - so that was great! They were also willing to deal with my messy house -and were very nice about getting the job done! Thanks!”

Dennis and Rhonda Williams - 12/7/09: “Dawn, Just a quick note to commend Josh and Tony for the outstanding job they did today moving us from Farmington Hills to Redford, Michigan. They were friendly yet professional and placed each item exactly where we wanted it to go. We have moved a couple of times before and each time it was a nightmare with the movers. I would not hesitate to refer your company to anyone looking for a moving company. Thanks....Dennis and Rhonda Williams”

Edward Quenneville - 11/21/09: “I want to make it know how incredibly satisfied we were with the two gentlemen that moved us on the above date; Karim and Doug. Everything we asked to be done or instructions we gave were done in a professional, quick and careful manner. They were both very mannerly and efficient and hard workers. I really can't say enough about them.
When we got to our home, they started the unload and we raced back to get some things that were unable to fit in the truck or the cars. By the time we got back, we just missed them by about 15 minutes or so and I very much would have given them a tip. Please convey my thanks to these gentlemen. -Edward Quenneville”

 


April 14 2010

EZ Moving And Storage Has Provided Michigan’s Ideal Moving Services

Since early 1994, EZ Moving and Storage has provided Michigan’s ideal moving services. EZ Moving and Storage is a locally owned operation and its founders were born and raised right here in Detroit. With this life-long association and dedication to the Metro Detroit area, this local Michigan moving service company has grown into a leading moving and storage service provider, that is determined to meet the needs of the community. Chances are that if you live in Michigan and you ask your friends, your realtor, and your colleagues if they have heard of EZ Moving and Storage, they will say, “Yes!”

Michigan Moving Services From EZ Moving and Storage

It has been EZ Moving and Storage’s goal to be a high quality Michigan moving service company focused on complete customer satisfaction. Whether you are in need of residential, a corporate office moved, government, or military moving services in Michigan, EZ moving and Storage can help. Over the last 21 years EZ Moving and Storage has successful performed over 14,500 Michigan moving services.
So how did this Michigan moving service company become so trusted within the community? Well at EZ Moving and Storage each one of their professional movers goes through a rigorous training program every year. It is only after a field tested when the mover has proven to provide a high quality standard, dose a mover become a certified relocation specialists.

Each one of these professional Michigan mover has the knowledge and experience to move you around the world or around the block! So if you need either your whole house moved or just your Big Screen TV, EZ Moving and Storage can help. EZ Moving and Storage dedicated moving team is devoted to being flexible to your needs. EZ Moving and Storage understands that the moving process can be stressful for you, and that is why this Michigan moving service takes pride in the fact that they can mobilize and respond to changes quickly. You can rest a sure that this Michigan moving services will make your move quick and easy!

During 2002 to 2006 EZ Moving and Storage had served as an agent for Paul Arpin Van Lines. During this time EZ moving and Storage had earned a 5 star agent quality rating for having the highest standards in representing the Van Line. Today, EZ Moving and Storage is serving as an Agent for Bekins Van Lines.

With EZ Moving and Storage knowledge and highest professional standards in Michigan moving services, EZ Moving & Storage along with Bekins agents have provided a variety of relocation services including free estimates, storage, packing, loading, unloading and hauling in order to meet your individual moving needs. With a partnership with Bekins, EZ Moving and Storage now as the capability to get you moved anywhere in the world quickly! So contact EZ Moving and Storage today for all your Michigan moving service needs.

 


April 13 2010

How Important Is SEO To Homebuilders?

Adam Audette, blogger for Search Engine Watch, just posted a great article about getting big SEO results. He covers a variety of topics but the big take aways I got for homebuilders is that 86% of all Google clicks, comes in the form of non-paid, organic listing clicks (Avinash Kaushik), while at the same time 85% of company budgets are spent on paid, sponsored listings (Forrester Research).

Organic SEO Spending Compared With PPC Paid Listing Spending

There is both a massive imbalance between where consumers are clicking and where builders are spending their money.

It would makes sense to me that if the vast majority of the clicks come in the form of natural listings, a greater percentage of a homebuilder's budget would be allocated to natural SEO.

I also interpret this as a gigantic opportunity for homebuilder to spend money on organic SEO and reap the benefits of a greater lift in conversions.

Another 2009 study by iPropsect shows that 95.3 of all Internet search users never make it off the first page.

Given that Google users have indicated they prefer organic listings over paid listings at the rate of 70 percent to 30 percent, it would seem to make the most sense for homebuilders to allocate a greater percentage of our budgets to natural SEO. 
 
To add more support to the importance of having an organic listing, recent research by Google and Enquiro shows that regardless of user preference, purchase intent elevates with a presence in both top organic and top sponsored listings, even for branded queries.

Homebuilders like Ryland and KB Home has understood the value of natural SEO for years - they're in most new home searches.  There is still a lot of opportunity for homebuilders to benefit from more traffic and greater conversions by investing more in natural or organic SEO.

Jim Adams - CEO

 


April 12 2010

Why Home Builders Should Be On CraigsList

Today, ComScore came out with its search engine rankings for March 2010.

Here are some of the search highlights.

Americans did 15.4 billion searches, which is up 7% from February 2010.

Still the dominant search king, Google leads search with 65.1% of all searches with over 14 billion searches!

Still showing strong reasons home builders need to have video incorporated into their marketing budgets, YouTube made up 3.7 billion of those Google searches - up 4% from last month.

CraigsList searches, up 6% from February, shows a staggering 664 million searches. Most home builders either are or are planning on allocating resources to Facebook and Twitter due to their large numbers of consumers, but is CraigsList being ignored?

I suggest to you that CraigsList is as important as Google when it comes to selling new homes. The real estate audience is larger than many give credit.

Don't have the resources to put your communities on CraigsList?

Each new community that gets added to NewHomesDirectory.com gets manually entered into CraigsList - all according to their terms of service.

Contact Jessica Earle, Marketing Director, at 1-866-540-6607 for more details.


April 7 2010

The Dandy Handyman Service In Kalamazoo, MI

Do you live in Michigan and are in need of a reliable, clean and friendly handyman, then Dandy Handyman Services is company you are looking for. This independently owned and operated handyman services in Kalamazoo, Michigan offers quality workmanship with competitive pricing.

Handyman Services In Kalamazoo, Michigan

Whether you are in need of quality repairs, remodeling, freshening up, or a landlord looking to fix up your rental properties Dandy Handyman can provide your handyman services in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Don’t worry though if you are in need of such a great handyman and live outside Kalamazoo, for Dandy Handyman services will provide any of your handyman needs within 40 miles of Kalamazoo. Now that’s a dedicated handy man if you ask me.

Of course you will not want to just take my word for it. Dandy Handyman service in Kalamazoo has the testimonials to prove their worth.

“I find Duane's work to be excellent and always top quality. Duane is very easy to work with and always a pleasure to be around. I feel that Duane is a very honest and hardworking person and completely trustworthy. He has been in my home without anyone else there and I completely trust him. I would highly recommend Duane, his talent, honesty and integrity are hard qualities to find all in one person.” -Loyal Customer.

In fact many of Dandy Handyman customers are returning customers and would recommend his work for any handyman services in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Handyman Service - Home Painting

“Highly recommend Duane's conscientious work ! My husband and I had many things done to our home by the Dandy Handyman , such things as a outdoor pergola with lighting and side storage , inside porcelain flooring , plumbing , and some demolition to our kitchen cupboards so we could replace with a dishwasher and newer cupboards .. Very reasonable rates and very good work ...!” and “Duane has been fixing and repairing so many items at our home. Anything from cleaning the leaves out of my eves troughs , painting , hanging lights from the ceiling, plastering , tiling in our new bathroom, repairing garage doors , greenhouse repairs , mailbox replacement , the list is almost endless.”

As you can see Dandy Handyman services in Kalamazoo offer a wide range of handyman needs. From painting and staining, power washing, door and window repairs, wood deck repairs, vinyl siding installation and so much more! If you are in need of any repairs or handyman services in Kalamazoo, MI, call Dandy Handyman at 269-665-4545 or E-Mail at dandytoolman@gmail.com. You can also visit Dandy Handyman on FaceBook or Twitter.

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