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Posts Tagged Scott Dixon

CONFESSIONS OF A REAL ESTATE JUNKIE/TOP 5 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2011

Like many of us in this business I have been awe struck by the rate of decline in almost everything related to the housing industry over the last three years; existing homes sold, new homes built and purchased, mortgages sold, real estate agent commissions and of course the one that most directly impacts me and my business, the significant drop in advertising and marketing spend.  If this is any consolation,  books will be written (some already have been) about this period in time and we’ll all be able to say we witnessed it first hand.

There are plenty of people better qualified than I to predict how the 2011 American housing market will play out, so I won’t try to second guess them. Their forecasts range from more of the same (4.8M to 5.0M existing homes sold) to slightly more aggressive numbers, closer to 5.5M existing homes sold. The consensus is the recovery in housing will be tepid in 2011.

But there is less consensus around real estate marketing media trends for 2011 and so I’d like to further that discussion with my own predictions for the Top 5 Media Trends we’ll see develop in the coming year.

Top 5 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2011

1. Common sense will return to the media market. Top Agents and Brokers recognizing that real estate always has been and always will be a hyper-local business, will stop following the larger crowd and decide instead to find ways to stand out from the crowd in  their very specific, very local market.

2. Local housing guides, especially color catalogs integrated with an online offering.  like The Real Estate Book and its companion website http://www.realestatebook.com  and other well executed products, will regain favor due to their hyper local characteristics and their ability to attract buyers and influence  prospective sellers to list their home with a market leader.

3.  Internet marketing will change radically. The idea that simply posting listings on large national sites is innovative marketing and that “if we post they will come” will be replaced with a smarter approach, better leveraging the real power of the internet.  Large sites today like Realtor.com and other popular sites like Zillow.com and Trulia.com get anywhere from 5 to 10 million unique users every month, which is amazing considering the lackluster pace of home sales this year, but lead generation from those users is low at between 1 and 2% of traffic. These sites can be a great research tool, but for whatever reason the medium just doesn’t engage people to take action, like send an email or make a phone call, to the same degree other mediums offer.

4.  Content marketing solutions, like http://www.brokersherpa.com  where Agents and Brokers are able to leverage their existing digital assets, like listing data mentioned above and  integrate it in a more meaningful way to intersect and engage with buyers and sellers as they are online searching in any of the major search engines or social media sites, will be a major trend for 2011.

5. Cost and return on investment will continue to be major drivers to media and marketing decisions as the housing market recovers, but at a slow pace in 2011. Commission dollars will still be tight and very precious. Every decision should have a measurable and productive outcome and top Agents and brokers will insist that the vendors they choose to work with can back up their claims with concrete results and reporting.

That’s my list for Top 5 MEDIA TRENDS for 2011. I”d love to hear your thoughts and invite you to  let me know if you agree and if not, how you might modify the list.

 

Happy New Year!

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CONFESSIONS OF A REAL ESTATE JUNKIE/BLUE STONE

img00152Ive been meaning to write this post for a while now, but for whatever the reason the spirit has moved me to do so today. Maybe because it’s too hot to even go outside. This post is not about buying or selling a home, but instead, about improving it.

A few years back, when my business was doing better, I installed, or I should say contracted out for, a blue stone walkway leading from my driveway to the front door. It’s about fifty feet in length, generous in width, curves and widens further as it approaches the front door. In my eyes, it’s a thing of beauty. Of all the home improvement projects I have done over the years, this one has unquestionably given me the most joy.

I live in Atlanta where the preferred hard scape material seems to be river stone. Now river stone is beautiful, with its shades of brown, light and dark, but it’s not blue, and it’s not what I was looking for. There is a local outfit here called Pike Nurseries and they have a special division just devoted to stone. I went there and selected my Pennsylvania bluestone  from stacks and stacks of the stuff. Quality, color variation and thickness were all important considerations. The people at Pike connected me with a local stone mason named Alex and they spoke very highly of his work. Local is a relative term, as Alex is originally from Scotland, and once we got past a few dialect issues, we were off and running.

The previous walkway was a simple concrete one installed by the builder when the house was built in 1990. I was thinking that Alex could install the blue stone over the existing concrete base.  However he said the rise to the front step would be too low, and the walkway would not transition properly to the driveway, so the existing walk had to be taken out completely and a new base installed several inches lower than the original. Big job and messy too.

I grew up outside of Boston and saw many fine examples of blue stone patios, covered porches, pool surrounds and even indoor installations. There was something about the organization of the stone, the large squares intermixed with rectangles, the shades of blue and gray, and the thickness of the stone that caught my eye and my passion. It was classic and conveyed, at least in my minds eye a sense of quality and permanence that had the rare ability to improve the looks of everything around it. This feeling has stayed with me all these years.

Whether the blue stone walkway will translate into a good return on my investment when I eventually go to sell my home remains to be seen, but it really doesn’t matter. The joy and satisfaction it has brought me everyday was worth every penny.

Maybe you’re a fan of blue stone too. If so, I’d love to hear your story.

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CONFESSIONS OF A REAL ESTATE JUNKIE/TAX TIME

If you’re like many Real Estate Agents, you may have just finished up your 2009 tax preparation. Or maybe, you’re still working on them and considering filing for an extension.

tax-form1

In an interesting way, tax time, as painful as it is, also gives us another opportunity, like the new year, to resolve to do things differently, better in the year ahead. There is something powerful about putting all the numbers together on one summary sheet; gross commissions from your Form 1099, and then all your various expenses to make you stop and think.

Especially that 1099 form. In 2009, many agents saw a 25% to 50% drop in commissions as compared to their best year. They’ve been aware, certainly, of their lowered standard of living, but seeing the numbers in black and white makes it somehow more real.

It’s at this point that most Agents decree, I’ll do better in the coming year. That sense of optimism is both healthy and commendable, but I think it’s going to take more than just that to make it so.

What if there was a better approach to help ensure that, in fact 2010 was a more fruitful year in terms of earnings for you?

Recently, we developed a simple business planning tool called The Income Based Approach to Real Estate Marketing.  Many Real Estate Brokers around the Country have commented that it is one of the most logical, well organized and common sense approaches they have seen. It’s a simple, four step program that basically takes the approach a financial planner would take with you when helping you plan for your retirement. Only it’s easier because we’re only asking you to look one year out, not many.

This tool, which is made up of a booklet and down-loadable worksheets, is available to you for free. You can download the worksheets so you put in your own numbers and customize the plan for your business and also order a physical copy of the booklet if you’d like.

This tool is available at http://www.realestatebookmediakit.com/income

If you have questions or comments you can reach out to me via this blog or email me at scottsdixon@gmail.com

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