Facebook for Real Estate

The world is changing – and with it also Real Estate Marketing.  According to NAR, the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of homebuyers begin their home search on the web.

In addition over 90% of Realtors use social media in one form or another.

Did you know that the average Facebook user checks the site 14 times per day.  FOURTEEN!  And each time they spend a little over 2 minutes scanning their feed of friends.  The most popular posts are of course the ones with photos, and then links, and then just plain old text status updates.  And more and more users are accessing the elephant of all social media sites using their smartphones.  That means they have access whenever, and where ever they are.  From the bathroom to the gym.  From the office to the Dr.’s waiting room.

[alert heading=Like Us!” width=”100%” close=”true”]Skip all this stuff and visit my Facebook Real Estate page[/alert]

When I began in real estate, the basics where pounded into me.  All the traditional old school real estate marketing techniques.  Stuff like pounding the pavement, cold calling, farming, and community involvement.  However I began my career in Real Estate because I saw  unique opportunity.   I got into buying and selling houses specifically because I didn’t see agents  utilizing the web as effectively as they could.  So I took those standard tried and true techniques, and gave them my own little twist.  and like any job, start at the beginning, master it, and then incorporate your own twist and change the world.

Shoebox  sized Cell Phone
This is not me!

Like I mentioned most Realtors start with the usual stuff:

  • Get involved in local causes
  • Send out postcards and farm local areas
  • Become a neighborhood expert
  • Contact local businesses
  • Get your face out there

For years and years, these traditional marketing techniques were the only way to become known as a Realtor.  This worked great, but had its limitations.  How did you reach people who wanted to move into your city?  If you were so busy showing properties, you didn’t have time to network or market.  What if you didn’t have the budget to send out cards, or advertise?  Now, however things are different.  We aren’t using shoebox cell phones anymore.  The world is on-line, and that means buyers from all over the country and even the world are on-line.

And as I mentioned earlier, most of them are on Facebook.

For me, Facebook has been a great source of leads, and clients.  But very few agents use Facebook for their business.  Sadly most are using it to play Farmville or Candy Crush Saga, or share photos of cats, or even to promote political or religious views.  (My Dad taught me to never talk about politics or religion in a business setting, and I do my best to keep it that way.)

I think of Facebook as a giant cocktail party.  One that is happening 24 hours a day  – 7 days a week.  And just like at any party there are all kinds of people.  I’m always looking for the people interested in talking about Real Estate, which there always are.

It seems like everyone is somewhere in the buying or selling or renting game.  They are either actively doing one of the three, or know someone who is interested.  And that’s the cool thing – every day I get to connect with someone on-line who needs a bit of help, or eduction about the market, or just wants to chat.

Sure I have a great webpage that I use it to share and promote listings.  I also share my my day to day activities as a Realtor on line to show my involvement in the industry.  And I even use the Instant Messenger chat feature to directly communicate with clients.  Since I am always posting, sharing and liking other people’s statuses (to remain fresh in their minds), people know that I won’t be wasting their time.

Having a great on-line presence on Facebook  builds trust.  Based on the way the site works, friends, and friends of friends can see what I’m up to.  And a friend of a friend is a future referral.

If you want to see how I do it, just like my page – https://www.facebook.com/EricEstate


Renting your house on Craigslist

Craigslist is a great resource. If you don’t know about Craigslist it is basically a huge classified ad. Every major city around the world has one, and it is great place to buy and sell used stuff.

I use it all the time for buying and selling things. Most recently used it to sell off some power tools that I wasn’t using anymore. My wife used it to sell some gently used baby clothes and things our little one has outgrown.

As great as Craigslist is, one bad thing about the site is that the people who use it are often looking for a deal. It’s like a giant garage sale on the internet, and rarely do I get full price for anything I’m selling. In fact, I just posted a sander on Craigslist for $100, and I had to lower it to $50 before anyone called me to look, and then when I sold it the guy offered me $40 (I stood strong and got the $50).
A lot of landlords think they can rent their house on Craigslist quickly and without having to pay a lot of fees to a Realtor, and for some properties this is absolutely true.
Austin Real Estate, Renting a Modern House, EricEstateIn Austin, if you look at the Craigslist rental section, you see a lot of things for people just starting out – 1 or 2 bedrooms, in an OK neighborhood, for somewhere just under $1,000/month. This is just the kind of places people who are just starting out are looking for. They are targeted at people just out of college, or people who have some credit issues and the like.
Sometimes you can find a hidden gem, but the good places to live are way overpriced for what you get (More than $1,500), and when you are spending a lot of money, I know I don’t want to do things under the table or without some legal paperwork in place to protect me.
I’ve worked with a lot of landlords who started by trying to rent their place on CL. They post it, and think that as soon as they do, the phone will start ringing. This is hardly the case. Days, or weeks may go by before anyone serious calls, and then when someone does, they may try to bargain you down, or set up an appointment and never show up.
Then when someone applies, how do you do a background check, or a credit check to see if they aren’t someone who stiff’s landlords? You know packs up all their stuff in the middle of the night, trashes the place and runs out on the rent?
Everyone want’s to save buck – but do you want to risk ruining your largest investment by getting a bad tenant?

I can help you get good renters.

Here are some of the things I do when you let me lease your house:

  • I know the proper forms to use, and how to handle all the legal paperwork.
  • Find you qualified tenants who can pay the rent on time
  • perform background checks and income verification to weed out the riff-raff
  • Arrange all showings around your schedule if the house isn’t vacant.
  • Answer every with every phone call, and track all leads
  • Put a sign on your property to adverse it to people driving the neighborhood
  • Advertise your property through the traditional Realtor channels
  • Enter your property in the MLS – so every agent in Austin (all 8000+) sees it.
  • Control access to your home using a computerized lock box.
  • Possibly get you more rent per month
  • Take professional color photos (over 30) to showcase your house.

Don’t take my word for it though – I encourage you to try to be  Craigslist landlord – give it 1 week, heck give it 2 or even a month. When you get tired of wasting your time, and having an empty place that isn’t generating a positive cash flow, give me a call. I can help you get your place rented fast, with amazing tenants, and possibly for more money.

What do do when your kid locks themself in your open house – true story

File this one under a true open house story.  You see all kinds of strange things as a Realtor.  Not only do you get a glimpse into people’s private lives when you tour rental properties, but Sometimes some strange things happen at open houses.  This happened to me just a few months after I got my license, and I wouldn’t believe it unless I experienced it. (more…)

Home Appraisals for cash buyers in Austin

The other day I was working with some cash buyers who were looking at the top 1% of the homes in the Austin real estate market.  We found a great home in a fantastic neighborhood.  One that had all of the features they wanted.  It was the one.

When dealing with a cash buyer, my goal is to the best price for my buyer, one that is fair to both parties, without being too low to offend the seller. (more…)