March 30 2015

Home Sales Up 3% Making Spring A Great Start for the Housing Market

Home Sales Up this Spring

The housing market is in full bloom this season with pending home sales already up 3% in February. According to the National Association of Realtors, signed home contracts are up 12% from a year ago and the highest they have been in two years.

Chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, said, “Pending sales showed solid gains last month, driven by a steadily-improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4 percent and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents.”

The only thing currently slowing down the market is low inventory. Lack of homes available for purchase is making for a highly competitive housing market and is increasing home prices. So far we are on track for a great home buying season!


March 24 2015

Are You Ready for the Millennial Homebuyer?

It has been predicted that the millennial generation (those born from 1980’s – early 2000’s) are going to dominate home purchases in 2015, even over baby boomers. This generation is starting to shape how real estate marketing is going to look moving forward.
 
Millennials are dependent on technology. They are the first generation to have computers in classrooms, own a cell phone before a driver’s license, and some were even placed in front of iPads before they entered first grade. So it is no surprise that when it comes to looking for a new home, the first thing they will do is reach for the Internet.


Home Builders:

Millennials are smart and will do their research before hopping in a car to find new communities. Advertising on new home directories is a great way to be found and build a brand that homebuyers can trust.
 
Using social media will also drive traffic and leads to your website. Use this platform to advertise any real estate seminar or fundraiser you are hosting. If you have any blogs about your new community’s events or phase release, social media is an inexpensive way to target your audience in the ZIP codes that are beneficial for you to promote that blog.


Realtors:

Millennials will not only be searching for a new home online, they will find their realtor online as well. This makes it more important than ever for realtors to have a website, and not just the one their brokers give them. They will need an up-to-date website that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate.

First impressions are everything and your website is the first contact a realtor and potential homebuyer will have. Millennials have become accustomed to fresh content and clean designs. Nothing says you are out of touch with today’s market then having a site with photos taken 10 years ago and your last blog post done around the same time. What realtor do you think a 30-something home buyer will flock to when having a choice between these two websites?

Real Estate Site Example One

Real Estate Site Example Two

 

Once a millennial partners with a realtor, please do not bombard them with emails. Millennials are smart and will most likely send you listings they are interested in seeing. They count on up-to-date new home directories and MLS listing sites to do research on homes that meet their needs. Once they find a property they are interested in they contact their Realtor on homes they would like to see.

Millennials have no problem being upfront with you during their home buying process; however there are some things they may keep to themselves. To be the best Realtor your millennial client, listen to the unsaid things they may be afraid of telling you. This, along with your great looking website, will impress them and make you the rock star real estate agent they need!


March 13 2015

Quick Tips for Home Builder Marketing and the 2015 Home Buying Season

Home Builder Marketing

As home buyers begin to search for new homes online to prepare for the home buying season this summer, it is important to have your marketing ready for action. Now is the time to capture your spring leads before your competitors do.  Here are some quick and easy tips for making your home builder marketing ready for spring.

Knowledge is Power:

Not only will great content on your site help with your internal SEO, it is also an import tool for showing your homebuilder expertise to potential home buyers. Using blogs, email campaigns and social media are simple ways to show off your knowledge on home building and design. This includes creating a weekly blog post and promoting it on your social media profiles and email campaigns.

Make sure your blog posts are not self-promoting, but informational to home buyers. Create topics that answer home buyers questions like, “When is a Great Time to Buy a Home?” or “How to Start the Home Buying Process”. When you promote the blog within social media and your emails, show just an excerpt of the post with a link to your website. This will increase traffic to your homebuilder website and hopefully some home buyer shopping as well!

Capture and Use Your Leads:

Capturing leads from your website and having a CRM system in place to make sure your sales team is in constant contact with those leads is a must.

Catching leads can be done in several easy ways, with the most simple being the “interest list” or “contact us” form on your community landing pages. Note: always make sure to test that your lead forms are working properly, especially heading into the home buying season.

Another fun way to gain leads is to offer prizes or contest (a great blog post and social media topic as well). Home buyers on your site may be more willing to give out their contact information for a contest or prize giveaway.

Now that you have your leads, it is important to utilize them. Have a CRM system in place, as well as a sales follow up process ready. There are some great home builder CRM systems out there, for example, Lasso Data Systems, which allow you and your sales team to easily manage your leads.

Make sure your sales team is well trained and in constant contact with potential home buyers by phone calls AND emails. A good rule of thumb is to always follow up a phone call with an email or vice versa.

Warning: Your Website MUST Be Mobile Friendly!!

While 90% of home buyers begin their search for a new home online, tablets and smart phones have started leading in device searches. Because of this, home builders have started to integrate a mobile friendly website as a user friendly interface. BUT on April 21, 2015, Google will be releasing an algorithm update, known as “Mobilegeddon”. This update will hurt any home buyer’s website search rankings that are not mobile friendly!

User-Friendly Home Builder Website:

Here is another area that will not only help your SEO, but may increase your leads as well. Make sure your website is easy to use for home buyers. Many times the builder is used to their website and finds it easy to navigate; however the home buyer may beg to differ. Ask a family or friend to explore your website and get their input.


March 12 2015

Survival Guide to the Home Buying Season – 5 Tips for Your Dream Home Hunt

Survival Guide to the Home Buying Season

Signs of spring are starting to arise; buds on the trees are sprouting, birds are singing…. and “For Sale” signs are starting to pop up on lawns across the country. Before you know it, house hunters will crowd the streets and the bidding wars will begin as the weather and home buying season heats up.

Here are 5 tips to help you survive the hunt for your dream home this spring.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #1: Know Your Market
Knowing your local housing market can save you a costly mistake. Perhaps there is a high demand for townhomes in your market or nearby new home communities are placing a premium price over resale homes. The quicker you know the value of the local housing market, the quicker you can make the smart home buying purchase.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #2: Have Your Laptop Charged and Your Car Gassed Up

A great place to start and narrow down your search for a new home is online; about 90% of home buyers began their home buying process on the Internet. Online directories are a quick way to find a home in the location you want, with the right size and the price range you are searching for. This saves you time and money instead of driving to several communities that may be out of your price range or don’t offer a floor plan that fits your needs.

Once you narrow done your search, it’s time to enjoy the warm weather as you visit each property. Make sure and hit the road running when you find a home that is the perfect fit. They don’t call it a home buying season for nothing. Inventory goes quickly during the warmer months and you will not want to miss out on placing a bid on your dream home.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #3: Take Advantage of the Low Mortgage Rates NOW!!!!
We may never see mortgage rates this low during a home buying season EVER again. In fact, rates are so low that in many neighborhoods, monthly mortgage payments are lower than rent! The longer you wait to purchase that dream home the higher the chances interest rates will rise and along with your mortgage payment. It has been predicted that we should see rates remaining low through spring.

Spring home buyers will also benefit from the Federal Housing Authority new lowered annual insurance premium that went from 1.35% to .85% of a home loan for those who make a low down payment. This should save home owners on average of $900 a year.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #4: Your Dream Home needs a Dream Team
First things first: make sure you have completed the mortgage application and know the amount you are prequalified for before you even start to shop. Once this is done and you found a home that was built for you, make sure you have a professional home buying team in your corner to avoid those costly bidding wars we see during this season. You will need a realtor, lender and inspector all ready and at your disposal for when that times comes to place a bid on your dream home.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #5: Winning the Bidding War
Ok, you did your research on the local housing market, you narrowed down your home search online, your dream team is ready and at your side and you finally found the home of your dreams up for sale… but now you are stuck in a bidding war with another home buyer. Here are some ways to help you win that war, without bidding more than you can afford.

One bidding war strategy that does not affect your pockets is a contingency clause. Are you willing to forego any contingencies in the terms of the contract, like home inspection or appraisal contingencies? Warning though; forgoing any of these is a risk to the home buyer. For a safer route, you can always add an escalation clause to the offer. An escalation clause is a set amount you are willing to pay over any other bid on the same home. Say you add an escalation clause of $1,000. If another home buyer places a bid for $200,000, your bid will automatically be $201,000.

There are little ways you can win over the seller as well. See if the seller has a close date they are aiming for and let them know you will make that deadline.

Now you are ready to swing into spring’s home buying season and find your dream home!

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