Zillow's Most Recent Economist Survey: Housing Bottom May Not Be Here Yet

There's usually no shortage of pundits attempting to call a bottom in the housing market, often incorrectly, seeing as this bottom calling exercise has been going on for a few years now. Zillow's recent survey of economists found that a majority of economists do not believe the bottom in housing is at hand. Specifically, economists surveyed believe that home prices may fall another 0.7% in 2012, increasing from a 0.2% anticipated decline in the previous Zillow survey from December. On a more positive note, economists believe home prices will appreciate 1.39% in 2013. The question here becomes whether the economists who Zillow surveys are any better predicting the future than anyone else; that remains to be seen. Maybe the most realistic thing to say is that no one really knows exactly when housing will bottom!

Read more about the survey

What Makes This Year's Spring in Real Estate Different


The KCM Blog discusses a number of things which make this year's spring a bit different than the average springtime in the real estate market. Some of the factors include:

- the warmer winter and favorable weather early in the spring have encouraged buyers to get started on finding a home earlier than they usually do

- sellers finally beginning to grasp the importance of pricing a home to sell, irregardless of what was paid for it

- interest rates starting to move up off recent lows

 

Here is the full article:

http://www.kcmblog.com/2012/03/22/spring-has-sprung/

How to Size Your Facebook Profile Photo Correctly

You'd think getting a photo to work correctly as the profile photo for use in a Facebook personal account or business page would be easy, but unfortunately, it's not! You can spend a lot of time trying to get it to work. Here's a good article on how to get it to work correctly:


How to Size Your Facebook Profile Photo

FHA Raising Fees and Adding Restrictions on Home Buyers

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which reportedly has been financing over 40% of new mortgages in some areas of the country, is putting in new restrictions on how much money sellers can contribute to buyers at closings. These restrictions will go into place soon. Additionally, the FHA will be increasing its mortgage insurance premiums (PMI) in the near future as well. Due to their heavy involvement in the mortgage market as well as their deteriorating reserves, they are under pressure from congress to make changes. 

Read the full article from the Boston Herald 

 

Summary of Inman News' Excellent "Pinterest for Real Estate" Webinar

Summary of Inman News Webinar: Pinterest
 

Pinterest for Real Estate

Presented by Chris Smith and Katie Lance of Inman News  

Pinterest Inman News

Inman News recently hosted an excellent webinar called “Pinterest for Real Estate.” We recommend watching the entire video for the webinar (click here to view full Inman News webinar), but for those without 67 minutes to spare, you can read this summary of this valuable webinar. 

As a brief background, Pinterest is a new social media platform with a very visual, image-based focus. 

Here’s the summary of the “Pinterest for Real Estate” Inman News webinar: 

Why Pinterest? 

According to Chris Smith, Pinterest is the “fastest growing stand-alone web site ever.” In May of 2011 (less than a year ago), Pinterest had 50,000 visitors. Last month, they had 11 million. So, they’ve had very strong growth. 

Amongst social media sites, only Facebook and Tumblr currently have more time spent on the site than Pinterest. 

According to Chris Smith and Katie Lance, the primary demographic of Pinterest is presently upper income women ages 18-34 from the American heartland. Overall, 97% of Pinterest fans on Facebook are women. 

Why does this matter to real estate agents? As most real estate agents know, women tend to have a significant say in home buying decisions. 

Pinterest is also easy to use. It has a “super simple interface,” and is “a real testament to the power of photos.” 


Why Use Pinterest for Real Estate? 

Two things are of particular importance to real estate agents online: Traffic and leads. 

Pinterest is already generating more referring traffic than You Tube, Google+, and Linked In combined. For our purposes, referring traffic is traffic that comes from another site to a real estate agent’s web site by way of links. Chris and Katie believe that it should be a “no brainer” for real estate agents to use Pinterest due to the referral traffic it can generate. 

According to Katie Lance, “photos are at the heart of a lot of real estate marketing making Pinterest a natural fit.” Pinterest’s success is also increasing the importance in real estate for agents to use professional photography. Blog article images are now critical in order to make blog articles “pinworthy.” 

In terms of getting to know real estate buyers, sellers, and prospects, you can “learn a lot about somebody by looking at their Pinterest boards.” You can learn more about a person than their Facebook profile will tell you. In fact, you will know more about your real estate buyers, sellers, and prospects than most other agents. 

Pinterest defines what can be termed a “photo economy.” 

One of the major problems real estate agents have had with social media is the challenge of making things shareable, likeable, and tweetable. Pinterest can help solve this problem. 

Pinterest also affords a good opportunity to certain real estate agents in particular: According to Chris Smith, “with Pinterest, someone who is a good curator, has a good eye, but is not as good at creating content, can utilize it.” As in, a real estate agent who does not do as well writing and creating content can instead utilize the visual nature of Pinterest to assemble boards of compelling photos. 


Examples of Good Real Estate Use of Pinterest 

1. (Brokerage) Style House Realty: www.pinterest.com/stylehouse

They have “beautiful photos” and “utilize beautiful imagery.” They provide various ideas for home decorating and home improvement.”

2. (Agent) Raj Qsar: www.pinterest.com/rajqsar

This is an example of “local pinteresting.” The focus is on orange county life style and sights. In addition to this, a “Meet the Team”board is worked in and is very effectively being used to generate referring traffic to the agent web site.

3. (Brokerage) Corcoran Group: www.pinterest.com/corcorangroup

They have done an excellent job using it to visually illustrate New York City.

4. (Industry) Inman News: www.pinterest.com/inmannews

Inman News has set up a number of boards including “Homes of US Presidents,” “Historic Homes,” “Tips for Home Owners,” “ManCaves,” “Home Improvement,” and “No More White Walls.”

5. (Industry) HGTV: www.pinterest.com/hgtv

They believe this is presently the best example of industry use of Pinterest. This is a good example of how to go about pinninghouses.

6. (Other) Ann Nilsson’s Homes of the World: www.pinterest.com/anils/homes-of-the-world 


How to Use Pinterest Successfully for Real Estate

 A question was asked by a real estate agent / listener: “What is the value that this provides a consumer to make them want to use my real estate services?” 

Chris Smith responded that, “That’s just the wrong approach from the get go. Right now, your goal should not be to use this to get consumers to use your services. Your goal should be to paint a picture of the ‘why’ of your brand.” 

Chris Smith referenced a discussion he had with famed restaurateur (also considered something of a brand expert) Danny Meyer, in which Meyer noted that “you can only get 49% through effort, hard work, doing your job well. The rest of your success comes from how your brand makes people feel.” 

Inman comments that, “Pinterest makes people feel good.” Along these lines, it's mentioned that the Corcoran Group “put NYC into Pinterest.” 

Agents should create boards for their real estate listings and their solds, but be sure to have more content than just that. 

They recommend your content is 80% personal, 20% business. Don’t make it just about your real estate business. Suggest using common sense, pinning your blog posts, and pinning things you are passionate about. 

They stress the importance of “backlinking” - ie providing links from Pinterest to your agent web site to generate traffic. 


Some Pinterest Technical Tips 

Pinterest has plugins for web browsers that let you choose from all the images on a web page what you want to “pin.” Chris Smith and Katie Lance believe using the browser plugins is the easiest way to use Pinterest. Google “Pinterest browser plug in” in order to find. 

To find out if any Pinterest user is “pinning” your site right now, go to: www.pinterest.com/source/your-url-here

So, a real example would be: http://www.pinterest.com/source/inmannews.com 

To integrate Pinterest into the rest of your online business world, you can put a “Pin It” button on your web site, blog, etc 

Do not use “pins” from Google Images because the actual pin will then be from Google Images rather than the underlying web site with the image. Doing so can lead to copyright problems. 

You can have a video board on Pinterest to show your You Tube videos. To do so, you need to create an image, a still shot from each video, which you will add to Pinterest to link to your video. 

Pinterest is fully integrated into the Facebook Timeline. 

Useful Pinterest info:

www.pinterest.com/about/etiquette

www.pinterest.com/about/goodies 

Click Here to Watch Full Video of Inman News Webinar and See Slides