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3 Steps for WINNING Local Traffic to YOUR Website

By Rebecca Chandler

This is the second in a series of conversations around practical tips to building your personal brand locally.

happy trophyWinning a Google war with a listing aggregate site with 20 million or so unique users is probably a long shot, but you CAN win more local buyer and seller traffic to your website by following these 3 steps.

Step 1 – Start with a good website. What should that include?

  • An IDX feed that puts the entire MLS on your site. That way, home shoppers won’t need to shop other websites once they’ve gotten used to yours. All the data is there.
  • Make sure your website displays well on a tablet and a phone. More and more consumers are using their tablets and phones to shop for homes – especially on the weekends when they are out looking. If the visitor has to “pinch and stretch” the screen or can’t navigate the tiny buttons, even if they find your site, they will leave your site – forever.

Step 2 – Go to where your prospects are and connect with them, physically. No, I don’t mean a group hug. (Where was your mind?) Instead, make sure they bump into your web address, not just virtually, but on the real streets of your real town. Here’s how.

  • Look for the places your ideal prospect lives, eats, works, shops and plays. Look for opportunities to advertise to reach them in those places. Use local advertising, local real estate magazines, direct mail, open house flyers, yard signs. Take out an ad in the high school football program. Sponsor an event and get your name and web address in the program. Bus stops. Billboards. You get the picture. Go where they are. Physically.

Step 3 – Be bold. Use text codes. Big brands like AMC, Costco, Kohl’s, Office Depot, Sonic and others are now using text codes to drive traffic and reminders to their clients. They place specific codes around the stores and in their ad campaigns to drive traffic to their mobile sites and apps – and ultimately sales. How do you do it?

  • Use a service like LocalSmartMobile offered by The Real Estate Book® to assign a specific code to every listing. Put that code on all advertising for that listing with a strong call to action. “To see inside this home, text T312634 to 85377.” When the consumer does, they will receive a text with a link to that property – on YOUR website (and you get a text with their phone number so you can follow up right away).
  • Use GPS enabled yard signs with text codes. LocalSmartMobile includes a yard sign with the call to action – “Text HOMES to 85377.” When the consumer does, they get a link to that listing on YOUR website, and you get a text with their phone number – so you can follow up while they are standing in front of the home.
  • Use a vanity code (Try texting SUPER to 85377) to drive traffic to YOUR mobile business card and website. Consumers can save your contact information and then go to your website to search for homes.

Taking these 3 steps will help you win more local traffic – on the real streets of your real town.

Want to learn more? Click here to watch a 2 minute video or contact your local Real Estate Book representative.

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Mortgages, Housing Starts & New Household Creations in 2014 – What You Need to Know.

housingmarketOver the past year, there has been a revival of single-family home production.  What does this mean for 2014?  Housing will continue its climb toward higher ground this year, but builders are still confronting several challenges, according to economists speaking at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show (IBS).

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe explains that consumer confidence has returned to pre-recession levels and household balance sheets are on the mend.  Year-over-year household formations are on the rise and now averaging 620,000 compared to just 500,000 during the housing downturn.

At the height of the housing boom, the U.S. was producing 1.4 million additional households each year. Meanwhile, new-home sales are averaging just 8.7 percent of total home sales—barely half the historical average of 16.1 percent.  However, builders still face several headwinds, including rising building material prices, persistently tight mortgage credit conditions, difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals and limited availability in labor and developed lots.

NAHB forecast for 2014:

• 1.15 million total housing starts in 2014, up 24.5 percent from 2013’s 928,000 units.
• Single-family production projected to rise 32 percent to 822,000 units and surge an additional 41 percent to 1.16 million units in 2015.
• 333,000 multifamily starts, up 9 percent from 306,000 in 2013.
• Single-family home sales are projected to hit 584,000 this year, a 35.9 percent increase above last year’s 430,000 sales.
• Residential remodeling activity is expected to register a modest gain this year over 2013.
• A slow and steady housing recovery will bring nationwide housing starts to 71 percent of normal by fourth quarter 2014 and 93 percent of normal by the end of 2015, says Crowe.
• On a state level, the top 20 percent of states will be back to normal production levels by the end of 2015, compared to the bottom 20 percent, which will still be below 84 percent.

mortgage-rates-300x300Mortgage rates up, but housing still affordable

As the economy strengthens and the Federal Reserve tapers its buy-back of mortgage-backed securities, there will be upward pressure on mortgage rates, but not enough to harm housing affordability, according to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac.

Nationally, Nothaft expects that home sales and prices will each rise about 5 percent in 2014, and that housing starts will post a 20 percent gain.

“As we move into the 2014 home buying season, it will be a market dominated by home buying originations rather than refinance originations,” says Nothaft. “This will be the first time since 2000 that purchase originations will dominate the market.”

He says the reason for the change is because so many households looking to refinance have already done so, and as mortgage rates gradually rise, fewer homeowners will look to refinance. Further, purchase originations are expected to increase as the overall housing market strengthens.

Pent-up demand will fuel growth

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, there is a significant pent-up demand to form households and even to build homes.

At least 3 million fewer households formed over the past five years than would normally have been expected.  During this period, many college graduates were forced to double-up or move in with their parents. Stronger job growth and a strengthening economy in 2014 should lead to a rise in household formations, which will be important to supplement housing demand.

“I think this will be a pretty good year for home construction,” says Real Estate Expert and Economist David Berson. “There will be a big increase in single-family construction, but not as much for multifamily.”

For more information, visit www.nahb.org.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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Remodeling, Saving and Selling – The Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

Top 10As we roll into 2014, here are the most shared blog posts of 2013 – just in case you missed them.

10. Benefits of Downsizing into a Smaller Home

9. How to Be Prepared When Severe Weather Strikes

8. Home for Sale for the Holidays? Use it to Your Advantage!

7. Appeal to Buyer’s Senses at a Moment’s Notice

6. Homeowners Insurance: What’s Covered and What’s Not!

5. Sellers Take Note: This is What Buyers Are Looking for in Your Home

4. 5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bills

3. 5 Cheap Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen and Sell Your Home

2. Do Remodeling Projects Pay?

1. 5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for a Successful Sale

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