Not Getting the Media Coverage You Want? 3 Tips on Getting Free Publicity in the News

If you were at a cocktail party, standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about your company that is going to make everyone want to know more?

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Public relations was a hot topic at the recent Inman Connect San Francisco. And it’s no surprise why: PR can be a powerful promotional tool for a business to gain free exposure in their local news. Yet often real estate companies are not using PR in their marketing mix, give up after a few unsuccessful attempts of not getting coverage or confusing PR with advertising.

PR is earned media – not paid media. The core difference is that advertising is pay for play, where you are in control.  If you can afford to pay for the placement of an advertisement, you control the message, you control when its distributed, and you control how long it’s out in the marketplace. In PR, the control is in the hands of the media.  The reporter and media outlet control if and when it will run, how that story will be written or edited, and who else will participate in it.  In PR you have to “earn” your way in by “pitching” media on an idea and convincing them why a particular story is worthy of coverage and why you should be interviewed for that story.

Coldwell Banker can help you navigate through the complexities of PR. Here are 3 tricks of the trade for generating media exposure in real estate:

IT’S A 24/7 NEWS WORLD. Take advantage of this by using your MLS data and packaging it up with the monthly National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Home Sales report. Around the third week of each month, NAR issues national real estate data.  Not only is this information of national interest, but you also can give it local appeal by adding those same data points from your MLS – things like average home price, inventory levels and time on market. When you compare the national numbers to the local numbers, ask yourself: Is your average sales price up or down compared to the nation? Are your days on market longer or shorter? These comparisons are a great way to “localize” the story.  There isn’t an easier way to position yourself and your company as the premier source of local real estate information to the media and its readers/viewers.

BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE. Reporters are inundated with story ideas, so make sure your pitch or press release stands out. For example, if you’re opening a new office somewhere in town, don’t write the traditional press release announcing the opening of this office. Why not paint a bigger picture? What’s happening in that area of town? Has there been recent construction for new commercial development? New home developments? Interstate/highway expansion? Population growth in this area? You will have to do a little research, but packaging up your new office opening with a larger story of city/neighborhood growth could increase your chances of actually getting coverage. Yes, the story won’t be exclusively about your new office (let’s be honest that story was never going to run anyway), but now you might get included in the larger story as a source and potentially getting your company mentioned as a part of that growth story.

TELL THE RIGHT STORY OF A HOME. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury represents some of the world’s most stunning homes that generate national media coverage. The key to getting the media’s attention when it comes to covering a luxury or notable listing is getting outside the listing description model for a press release. Is the owner someone notable? Use the first 50 words to tell that story. If the owner isn’t going to generate headlines, then use that headline and opening paragraph to tell the story of the uniqueness of the property. Does it have smart home or green features? Can you look out a window to see something no one else in town gets to see? Is there some historic element to the house waiting to be shared? Bottom line: If you were at a cocktail party and standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about this house that is going to make everyone want to know more? Use that element as your pitch to the media.

Looking for more tips on how to get the most of your real estate PR, visit CB Exchange and search “public relations.”

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 5, 2017 at 8:28 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Buyers, community, Entertainment, Homeowners, market trends, media, organization, real estate, research, social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Mistakes Buyers Make In A Hot Housing Market

 

The home-buying process moves quickly in a seller’s market. Be sure to keep positive as you search for your dream home.

 

We are in a hot Real Estate market right now with little inventory. These tips could make the difference in the success of your next purchase!

Buying in a hot house market is sometimes inevitable, but you can save money by avoiding these mistakes.

It’s the never-ending saga of homebuyers everywhere: just when you start looking for homes for sale in Fairfield, CA or Walnut Creek, CA, prices seem to be booming and you’re stuck trying to buy in a seller’s market. House-hunting is hard to time perfectly, and sometimes it’s impossible to avoid buying in a hot market.

But don’t let the fear of tough competition send you into a panic. Avoid falling into one of these traps when shopping in a hot real estate market, and you’ll likely save yourself some money (and a few gray hairs).

5 mistakes that will cost you in a hot housing market:

  1. Acting out of desperation

    It’s hard not to be let down when attractive homes are taken from “new” to “pending” before you even have the chance to look at them, but remember: Desperation has no place in a home-buying transaction.

    Once desperation sets in, you risk making an impulsive and otherwise unwise decision, such as talking yourself into a home that isn’t quite what you really want or paying more than you can afford. Even if you can’t or don’t want to make an offer, every home you research and visit will give you a better insight into the home-buying process and the market and allow you to refine exactly what amenities you want in your future house.

    Once you know exactly what you want, let others know too. Give your contact information to the listing agents at open houses and ask them to drop you a note if they get similar listings.

 

2. Hesitating (This is a biggie!)

What’s worse than seeing great properties come and go before you can get out to view them? Seeing them placed under contract before you make an offer.

Before you walk into an open house, make sure your paperwork is up to date and your loan approval hasn’t expired so you’re in position to make an offer that day. If you haven’t already gotten a loan approval, it’s time to start the loan approval process, stat.

 

3. Ignoring the market entirely

It’s nearly impossible to time the market and make your real estate decisions based on current trends. A better plan is to make your buying decisions based on what’s currently happening in your family, your career, and your life (and what you envision will happen in the next five to 10 years). That said, when it comes time to execute your decision to buy, it’s foolhardy not to pay attention to the market.

You need to be able to play both sides and avoid the panic-inducing fluctuations of the market while staying informed. Ask your real estate agent to help you pay attention to neighborhood-specific information, such as which types of properties move quickly, how many days they generally stay on the market, whether multiple offers are a reality you will face, and how much over asking price homes like the one you want are selling for.

Then use this information to make strategic decisions, covering everything from which properties and areas you’ll focus on to how quickly you’ll need to get out to see listings to — most importantly — what price range you should focus your search on.

 

4. Misunderstanding your budget

Don’t run the numbers in your head. Don’t ballpark your income, loan payments, and bills, stick your finger in the wind, and guess at how much you can spend on a home. Financially speaking, home buying is the big leagues, so you need to be sparkling, crystal clear on precisely what you can afford.

In a hot market, you may be faced with decisions about whether to increase your price range or your offer price on relatively short notice. If you need help, don’t hesitate to bring your tax adviser or financial planner into the home-budget discussion — especially if you’re a new homebuyer. They can help you understand tax breaks for new homeowners, which can free up some extra money for your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues or private mortgage insurance, if applicable.

Also, make sure you include line items for your savings, retirement investing, gifts, school tuition, travel, and recreation — the sort of things that lenders will not account for when they tell you what their guidelines say you can afford.

 

5. Overpaying

Hot markets mean multiple offers on the same home, which often result in a bidding war. And once you’ve had one too many homes pulled out from under you after a bidding war, it can be tempting to pay more than you budgeted for.

To avoid overpaying for a home just because it’s in a bidding war, be sure to go through comparable homes with your agent before you even look at the house.

Bonus: If your agent includes active and pending sales in their pull of the comparable data set, you may find out useful information such as whether other competitive properties have just hit the market, or that all of the competition is now under contract — things that might also inform your motivation levels or price strategy.

Source: Trulia Blog

 

 

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 1:53 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Buyers, buying, hot market, mistakes, overpaying, real estate, research, Sellers Market | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Questions For Mortgage Lenders

The most frustrating part of your homeowner purchase if you are not paying cash?  The mortgage application and approval hands down!  Start off your journey with some great advice!

Prepare for your meeting with your mortgage lender by showing up with these 10 questions.

Buying a home starts with finding the right mortgage lender. Here are the questions you should ask mortgage lenders, before you sign on with one.

Steering clear of homebuyer’s remorse requires more than just picking the right home in the right neighborhood. According to a 2016 survey by J.D. Power, 27% of new homeowners ultimately came to regret their choice of lender. One major reason for the dissatisfaction was overall poor customer experience, including lack of communication and unmet expectations. Another factor? Pressure from the lender to choose a particular product or loan. You can remove some of the tension and turmoil of house-hunting by carefully vetting potential lenders. Here are some questions to ask potential lenders before you commit.

10 Questions to Ask Mortgage Lenders

  1. 1. What mortgage programs do you offer?

    In many cases, choosing the best loan for your specific financial situation requires working with a lender who offers a wide array of loans. You don’t want to work with a lender who tries to push you into one loan simply because that’s the only option from their limited selection.

  2. 2. Do you regularly handle the type of loan I’m looking for?

    If the type of loan you’re looking for is more specific than, say, a conventional fixed-rate mortgage, a little more expertise is useful and in some cases, it might be necessary. An uncommon home loan like a United States Department of Agriculture loan, for instance, must go through an approved lender.

  3. 3. What are the qualifications for the loan I’m seeking?

    Even when two lenders offer the same type of loan, their minimum requirements could differ. For instance, Department of Veterans Affairs loans require a minimum credit score of 620, but a lender might require a minimum score of 640. So comparison-shop. Don’t assume the same type of loan means the same terms.

  4. 4. Do you offer down payment assistance programs?

    If you’re concerned about meeting down payment requirements for a loan, this is an important question to ask. Some lenders offer assistance programs. Putting more down generally lowers your interest rate. Even paying just a half-percentage point less in interest can make a huge difference in the lifetime costs of your mortgage.

  5. 5. Can you give me an estimate of the rates and fees I might expect to pay?

    While an initial estimate doesn’t guarantee your final, out-of-pocket expense, it can be a solid jumping-off point for evaluating lenders. However, rates fluctuate, so try comparing lenders on the same day to get the most accurate mortgage rate comparisons.

  6. 6. Can you quickly provide an in-depth preapproval lender letter to my real estate agent?

    If you’re house-hunting in a hot real estate market like Jacksonville, FL, or a home for sale in Colorado Springs, CO, time is of the essence. Make sure the lender can quickly provide an in-depth preapproval letter to your real estate agent. You want a preapproval letter that makes the seller confident you qualify for the home — and, ideally, you want it to be delivered before competing offers arrive.

  7. 7. Will you be able to do a mortgage rate lock?

    Since a small change in rates can cost thousands in the long run, check to see if the lender offers a mortgage rate lock. Be sure to ask about the associated fees, including how much it costs to extend the lock should it expire before closing.

  8. 8. Do you handle mortgage loan underwriting in-house?

    There’s a big reason to ask this one. If the loan underwriting is completed in-house, loans can be processed quicker and questions answered more efficiently. And that means fewer potential complications or delays that could push back a closing date a situation that can sometimes cause a sale to fall apart.

  9. 9. What is the time estimate for processing my home loan?

    When you’re coordinating the end of a current lease or timing a home sale with a new home purchase, knowing the estimated time it will take to process your loan is key. Of course, it’s always a good idea to build in a small buffer if you can and not just because loan preparation can take longer than expected. Surprises sometimes pop up during the final walk-through before the home sells.

  10. 10. Can I expect communication in a straightforward and timely manner?

    If your communication thus far hasn’t been efficient and helpful, that could be a bad sign of things to come. Find out if you’ll have a single contact who you can count on or just a general customer service line.

    Source:  Trulia Blog

 

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, credit score, debt, financing, first time buyers, mortgage, real estate, research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Does It Really Matter What Your Neighbor’s Home Sold For?

Interesting food for thought. Depending on the dynamics of the other homes in the neighborhood, fair market values can vary.

Whether you’re buying or selling, remember that your neighbor’s sale price is just one piece of the puzzle. Whether you’re buying or selling, make sure you look beyond the data to get the big picture on home values.

After researching the sale prices of his neighbors recent home sales, Steve Rennie thought he knew exactly what his Kansas City, MO, house was worth. But when the Rennies decided to sell and started interviewing real estate professionals, they discovered they needed more and more relevant information. While the sale price of homes on your street can provide important insight into the price of a home you’re selling or buying, here are some of the other factors you should consider to make your best deal.

Unique or unusual home? Comparable sales may not exist

The Rennies quickly realized that recent sales near them wouldn’t be the perfect way to gauge their home’s value. We had interviewed several agents, and most came back with prices for homes that were not truly comparable to ours, because we had a unique older home in an area of newer ones, recalls Rennie. Eventually, the couple called real estate agent Dan Vick, vice president of RE/MAX Results in Kansas City, who offered a different perspective.

Since I didn’t have comps in their exact neighborhood, I went a half-mile away to find homes of similar age and style, says Vick. They’d said they wouldn’t list their home for one penny under $180,000, but based on my comps, I asked: Would you mind if I listed it for more? The house sold the first day it was on the market for $189,500. The Rennies were thrilled.

While comps give sellers a point of reference and an understanding of how strong the real estate market is, Vick suggests calling a professional familiar with your neighborhood to interpret comps properly and gauge what your home is worth. In newer subdivisions, especially if one or two builders have built the majority of the homes there, you can look at similar floor plans. But in older areas, that rule doesn’t apply, because you don’t have the same house four doors down the street.

Stick to the facts and expert advice when pricing a home

Even when you’ve studied comps and have noted relevant details about recent nearby home sales, it’s often easy for sellers to overlook important information when setting a price, says Michael Kelczewski, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Centerville, DE. I continuously encounter sellers who value their home above fair market price, he says. Cosmetically upgrading a kitchen or bathroom won’t usually generate a 100% ROI, so I’m tactful when explaining the reality of property valuations or asset depreciation.

Pricing your property appropriately, regardless of what your neighbor sold for, is key in today’s market, adds Matt Laricy, managing partner with Americorp Real Estate in Chicago, IL. A couple of years back, people would price a home high, get lowball offers, and be willing to negotiate, he says. Nowadays, with low inventory, many sellers are too aggressive: Their neighbor’s house sold in one day, so they think, I’ll overprice my place because I know I’m the only one on the block. But buyers are smart; they may not even look at it until the price comes down.

Bottom line? Don’t be greedy, Laricy says. If you price your home realistically, you’ll likely get more than one offer and net more money in the long run.

Understanding how agents set prices can help buyers score the perfect home

Buyers can benefit tremendously from checking what homes in their chosen neighborhood have sold for, says Laricy. In Chicago, we don’t do price per square foot, so knowing what a neighbors house sells for is huge, he says. If it sold really low, that’s good news for you as a buyer.

However, buyers sometimes overlook other crucial details in their quest to zero in on the best price, he adds. That can lead to a harder sale or lower profit in the future. In big markets like New York, Chicago, Miami, and LA, where people are coming and going all the time, you’re buying an investment, he explains. Buyers usually don’t think about value: why certain buildings trade at different rates now, which ones will trade higher than others in the future, and which neighborhoods are worth more. These are things you need an expert eye for.

He notes that younger buyers tend to neglect that all-important real estate factor: location. They chase kitchens and bathrooms, he says. They’ll buy in a less desirable location to get a nicer kitchen. You can always change a kitchen, but you can’t pick up a property and move it.

Yet even as buyers and their agents leverage comps to make a good buy, sometimes the heart wants what it wants, says Vick. I think you can get too caught up in the comparable data. If your buyers have looked at 15 homes, and this is the one they’ve fallen in love with, it really doesn’t matter what the comps are; you’d better go after it with a strong offer, he suggests. A note of caution to buyers: be careful not to overestimate a home’s appraisal value, since an offer that’s much higher than appraisal value could put your purchase at risk.

Buyers should bring their best offers from the start!

Especially in red-hot real estate markets, Laricy advises buyers to bid smart the first time or risk losing out to another buyer. Usually, buyers who lowball are the ones who end up missing out on two or three properties before actually getting something, says Laricy. Be realistic by putting in a strong offer upfront.

First-time homebuyer Corinne Hangacsi followed that advice before purchasing her two-bedroom townhouse in Wilmington, DE, this spring. We did our research through Trulia. Our real estate agent definitely clued us in to what was happening in the area, but we also looked at other comparable properties ourselves, she says. That in-person research helped Hangacsi feel comfortable making a strong initial offer. My biggest piece of advice for first-time homebuyers is to be patient and do your homework. Go with your gut; when you find the right place, you’ll know.

Source:  Trulia Blog

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 6:58 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appraisal, buying, first time buyers, Homeowners, market trends, neighborhood, neighbors, Offers, real estate, research, Uncategorized, value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be a Detective: Google the Address When House Hunting

Here are some GREAT tips to get the skinny on houses that have made it to your hot list. Fire up your Google!

Search-engine sleuthing is worth the effort to unearth the niceties — and perhaps negatives — when searching for your new home.

There’s probably not a day that goes by that you don’t Google something — the weather, a foreign phrase, directions, or news, just to name a few. With all the information Google can provide through its bird’s eye view, not Googling your address is practically a crime — especially when you’re searching for a new home (whether you’re house-hunting for a waterfront home in Benicia, or looking for a ranch house in Vacaville). Here’s what you could find.

  1.  Get a sense of the neighborhood using Google’s Street View

    We can’t transport ourselves Star Trek–style to other places … yet, so the next best experience may be Google’s Street View, sort of a pre-virtual-reality experience. Simply type in an address, and if there’s an image of the property in the results, click on it. Other factors to note while on your Google stroll?  Scope out yard size, proximity to neighbors, how many trees are on the property and the privacy provided by them, a view of the front of the home, a view of the neighbors’ homes (such as any nearby eyesores or hoarders), and the size of nearby roads. Don’t forget to use the aerial view while you’re at it, because it might let you know the condition of the roof (but keep in mind the image could be old.)

    A caveat: Google Street View can be outdated, so it’s possible you could be looking at old news. The house you’re interested in might have been newly renovated, but you wouldn’t know that if the remodel happened after Google was there.

    2. Map the proximity of the house to potential health hazards

    The last thing anyone wants is to find out their dream home is located near a former meth lab or directly under a busy flight path. These aren’t just concerns for comfort; in unfortunate (and rare) cases, homes can be health hazards. When house hunting, be sure to search for whether or not that Los Angeles home for sale is in a safe area. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration maintains a database of homes that have been identified as drug labs, and some of these properties require intensive, expensive cleanup before they can be healthfully inhabited. Radon and industrial and airport zones are also pretty easily discoverable with a Google search and, in most states, via disclosures that most sellers will provide. (Some people find living near an airport or other noisy zone impacts their sleep, even if there is no chemical concern.)

    3. Imagine your life in this home and its neighborhood

    One of the deciding factors for saying “yes” to a house is if you can imagine yourself living there. Seeing listing photos and stats can let you know whether the house meets your specifications, but sometimes — especially with a long-distance home search — but to really imagine yourself living in that neighborhood could be difficult. Googling can help).

    Kids can scope out their potential new school and spot signs of other kids living nearby, you might map your drive to the office, learn whether there’s a local farmer’s market nearby, or look to see whether the house is in a danger zone.

    4. Get valuable details about the HOA

    When you buy a home that is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), you should receive the bylaws in advance of your purchase. But if you dig a little deeper by Googling the association’s name, you could find out that your new HOA is one of a surprisingly large number of HOAs that have been reviewed online. Grab your popcorn, because you’ll most likely find a variety of rants (and raves) about the subdivision, complex managers, neighbors, and amenities.

    5. Scope out the neighborhood’s potential growth

    Will you jump for joy to learn that Whole Foods is coming to town? Or is that just the sort of growth you’re trying to escape? Google your potential new neighborhood’s nearest major street or intersection for permit applications that have been filed recently. You might get lucky. If not, try searching the city or county planning departments. This can help you discover community plans for expansion in that area. Reading the online applications — and any notes from city council meetings discussing the permits — might help you understand the landscape of community-development issues at hand.

What surprising information has Google revealed during your house hunt?

Source: Trulia Blog

 

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, first time buyers, Google, HOA, neighborhood, Privacy, real estate, research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,