Daily Archives: September 25, 2009

Given a limited budget, how do you…..

Get your message out there in such a small country like New Zealand?

More importantly how do you do it cost effectively?

Are there any examples of other Real Estate companies doing something similar and succeeding in getting their message out there?

Actually…….its funny you should ask that question……because the answer is, Yes!

Ok….show me how?

Well actually I’d rather show you a couple of examples and then you can make up your own mind, and follow through from there…………….I think 3 is a good number to keep it concise.

As a company its not hard to imagine that a NZ company that has since exported itself internationally would be up with the times. And indeed they are, and as you may note here…..its not limited to the head office………as in fact….local offices can surely participate………..

So what can you say if you wanted to do something like this……here’s the latest example

25 September 2009: The North Shore property market is booming, with considerable demand from a wide range of buyer types and a marked increase in sales occurring, according to local Harcourts business owner Martin Cooper.

The Principal of Harcourts franchise Cooper & Co, which operates seven offices on the North Shore, says the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand statistics showed there was a huge increase in sales last month when compared with…….

You’ll note it has a Press Release feel about it. Hmmm….. did the local agency boss on the North Shore sit down and write this himself?

Some might ask does that matter?

As you can see though, there’s nothing stopping you from doing your own is there?

Now for number 2

If you look at this…………..

You’d just have to consider that this company has found its own little niche,

and is certainly continuing on with what they have started here………..

At the end of the day, it just goes to show that even here in New Zealand there are opportunities to get your name/ company / official message out there…..I just hope you are doing all you can.

Anyway I feel number 3 coming up………

As the above screen shows you don’t have to be a major downtown Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch player, you just have to be pro-active.

And one more, number 4…..

TopNews NZ is another one that gets your message out, nut you’ll have to do your own investigative stuff to find out the cost effectiveness of them too.

From a quick search on volume of “submitted by’s” either this person is a PR staffer or a staffer at said company because the person submits too much stuff related to that company to just be an “interested person” – well to my way of thinking anyway.

To be sure PR Newswire and the others will guarantee some serious Google mention, but there is also a likewise serious investment required if you want to go down this path.

What I was attempting to showcase here was that you can mix it with the “bigboys” for a reasonable expense, in some cases for free, if you just have the time to invest.

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Real Estate Photography Tips #3

Natural Mountain Backdrops. Nature is there for free – use it.

I’ll be upfront here and acknowledge that for all locations, what I illustrate and talk about here tonight might not be able to happen for you, or logically might not be possible given your geological constraints.

So, ok what can you take away from this post then?

Well one crucial thing, that pause………..that makes you take 5-10 seconds to look around to see the background, not this sort of background either.

Epic is all I can say when it comes to this backdrop. Yes the overall shoot price for this property was probably “up there” but one shot like this can make a portfolio of listing photos.

Or if you’ll really blessed with a location, (yes I know regular readers have seen this before – but you must agree its not a bad shot) you can get this sort of image that, well, just paints hundreds of words.

Shots like 1 & 2 benefit when you in fact do have a mountain range to the east of your location, so that goes for most of the West Coast of both Islands here in Middle Earth, but then I believe also for places like Wanaka, Taupo, Akaroa or Queenstown they benefit from being in an almost “valley” location.

To be pedantic, in fact this would happen in reverse if you lived on the eastern seaboard and had a mountain range behind you, except for one thing. The timing wouldn’t be evening, it would be dawn, and that one thing is that either you would need to be out at sea, or up in the air in a chopper. Places I am talking about here would be like Katikati, various Bay of Plenty locations like Whakatane, the Hawkes Bay vicinty, some areas around Blenheim and the Marlborough Sounds, and of course many Canterbury locations. I haven’t been much further south than Oamaru, so can’t comment on areas south of there.

In most situations along the West Coast of NZ at dusk, then the home itself would also probably be lit from the setting sun, whereas the fact that places like Queenstown are in that “valley” predicament, well that helps for this type of photography.

How?

Well you can see that courtesy of the “valley” I talk about, the home itself has been shielded from the setting sun by the mountain ranges in front of it (re perspective to the above photos I mean – ie: behind the photographer) so the highlights feature as they do in this photo.

In some places, for example Taupo, even if the sun doesn’t set behind your location – to the east, if you have a view over Lake Taupo to the mountains, then an oblique angle with sunlight on the peak could still be very emotive.

And if you can achieve that, then the goal of making your property stand out from the pack has been achieved, has it not?

Want to go a bit further and do your own experiments in your region.

Well fire up Google Earth and click on the button I’ve highlighted above.

Then discover more about exactly what it does and why its there.

Its really a must have for a Real Estate Agent or Realtor.

You can then screen shot or send a link (.kml if you really know what you are doing) to anyone living overseas and they too can experience exactly what you see every day, albeit from an aerial “top down” perspective in your desired location.

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Coming Soon to the PC Screen…..Real Estate Agent Rankings by Customers

Times are a ‘changing.

Soon it will be even more difficult for non-professionals to maintain a career in the Real Estate industry, helping buyers and sellers of property.

The new Real Agents Act 2008 has been introduced by the NZ Government, and becomes law in November this year.

It will introduce longer training/qualifying periods before an individual can earn a Real Estate Salesperson’s Certificate and can actively help clients.

It will also herald other changes like a 24hr cooling off period and a maximum agent listing authority period of 90 days.

However in related news Bloglines alerted me yesterday via the Official Google Blog that they, Google have quietly gone about launching a new toolbar with an interesting side feature. An Australian Site I follow has already this morning deciphered how good this could be for the industry. Sort of continuing the “hyper-local” nature of search that seems to be all the buzz lately.

Its not exactly new news by itself, because many other sites, like RealEstateRatingz for example have been down this path already. For a good primer this Realtor article appeared in the US earlier this year.

Giving customers a chance to rate the agent based on the service provided.

Now it will always be said that the level of “expectation of service” can be very different between individuals.

Again that “level” needs to be ascertained in advance from the client by the Agent. This then sets the minimum benchmark level, and for the relevant individual its the expectation spot from where they view following events as either in a good or bad light.

They have been doing this in the States for some time now………………

www.incredibleagents.com

We see those in the UK are doing it…….

Like this site allagents.co.uk.

Who make it very easy on the front landing page to see a list of the Best Rated and right alongside that, the Worst Rated Estate Agents.

There are others, but many seem to suffer from that great big bin on the Internet, that is they are hot one moment, then have no activity for years. Others seem to suffer from a decidedly noticable lack of volume in their ratings………take the top realtor above – with just 3 reviews?

Although some like Homethinking.com ….

seem to have regular updates and offer at least a hint as to the sort of properties generally handled by a particular agent – although a range of $219k to $2.5m isn’t really specific enough to really indicate if the agent has any specialities relevant to properties priced in your neighbourhood.

And with typical US competitiveness Homethinking also offer this…………..

Even our friends across the ditch have tried it, albeit with an emphasis on the agency / location rather than a specific salesperson.

And here in NZ there is nocowboys.co.nz offering a rating service. Their used to be topagents.co.nz but nobody seems home there now.

So now to the party, entering from stage left, comes the 300lb Gorillia.

Yes Google is here to help again.

Sidewiki will enable people to leave relevant comments, and share entries via Blogger, Facebook, Twitter and Google profiles. More than ever before agents will have to get online and be more transparent than they even thought they would need to be. Check out Business2’s post here for more info.

It looks like another stride in Googles “power to the people” march forward.

And you can try it out yourself for free by going here.

Real Estate Photography Tips #2 – Sunshine

Sunshine, after all who loves a house because its dark and cold?

This tip is more about a mindset than actually technology so hopefully that means those “non-geeks” out there can take away some stuff they can use today or tomorrow.

So the next time you are considering those photos of a new listing, or “refresh” ones of a listing that has not sold, just think about what time of day the sun streams through the windows of that particular property. In fact if the home hasn’t sold in months, then you owe it to your vendor to re-shoot the property, the different seasons most definitely appeal to different audiences.

If I was to be critical of my own shot here, it was that I didn’t get enough blue sky, but my excuse is that I was trying to balance the inside, including that sun across the bed, with as much greenry as possible filling the windows.

It was an older elevated almost character home, note floors, fireplace, window frames, and in the past I have found folks that are interested in this type of home are also the same type that are interested in “cottagey” type gardens.

You might also notice that even though it didn’t need to be, the fact that the main central hanging light for this room is on. This had nothing to do at all with lighting, but when you spot a lightshade like that, it can add a sort of “creditibility” / reinforcement of any theme that alludes to the fact that it is a character / older home. After all it would be pretty impractical to be lying there on the bed at that time of day with it on, wouldn’t it?

This was a late afternoon shot in case you hadn’t already guessed that.

This one was taken more around early afternoon, sometimes you need to check the width of the eaves to ensure that you will get a good coverage of sunlight into the room. Shooting the photo from a lower perspective in the room helped here. Its not hard to imagine that an afternoon nap (for the right buyer) here would be warm.

Yes I could have pulled the blind on the right back, but it would have exposed the net curtains, and with many buyers they are a love or hate affair, so there was really no need to go that far.

Actually I was a bit pushed for time that day from memory, given a bit more time I would have unhooked the nets completely. Yes it might have taken 4-6 minutes but it would of let more sunshine into the room to stream across the bed.

The chair on the right, should I have removed it……hmmmmmm…….actually no…….my target buyer for this property was a retiree/retired couple…….and subtle clues when such buyers view photos help them build confidence in a property just from the photos.

What do I mean?

Well the chair there more likely than not, indicates (but not always) that a retired person was already living & enjoying the location here, perhaps they may have had difficulty placing their socks/shoes on and needed some elevation?

The fact that many retired folk move to Nelson for the sun / warmer climate to alleviate the problems their bodies feel when its colder is something not lost in this photo.

Although you could argue that my above photo does a disservice to the room because of the lack of overall brightness, as there are quite a few shadow areas, the whole purpose of this shot was to illustrate / accompany words that said “sunny lounge.”

You read that phrase in practically every other real estate advert for a home, but can “they see it?”

This was different again, and like one of the above photos my target buyer was a retired couple or individual.

It meant being at the home before breakfast time, but I feel the shot I got, for my two cents worth, was the type of emotive feel exactly how I planned.

The target buyers I were after here, I knew would just love the thought of waking up in the morning, and imagining themselves having cornflakes or toast here along with a cuppa to start their day……..in fact part of the reason I decided to leave the tablecloth there actually……..it stands out completely against the other colours of the room, hightlighting the table……..and that encourages the brain to think of the reasons its there………breakfast for example?

This short of shot would have even extra buyer interest if the home they were originally downsizing from, the older homestead on the farm, the metropolitan city location with neighbours/fences close by, etc didn’t have its kitchen/dining on the morning sunny side.

The above shot, orange bed was taken by the local Open2view photographer, but again that emotive morning feel means that a potential buyer can picture themselves here having a coffee in bed on a weekend morning, and waking up to that fabulous Nelson sunshine!

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