Happy Thanksgiving 2014!
By Jesse McCarl
Happy Thanksgiving from us here at HouseHunt!
By Jesse McCarl
To no one’s surprise, San Francisco was deemed the most expensive place to own a house in this recent study by HSH.com. The company looked at the median price of homes in 27 major metros in the United States, factored in required down payment, insurance cost, and mortgage rate to figure out the minimum salary needed to buy a house.
As you can see in the table below, 30-year fixed mortgage rates were down across the board, but median home prices are up in every city just from the previous quarter – some as much as 25%!
The 27 cities in the study range from Pittsburgh (the most affordable) to San Francisco (the most obscenely ridiculous).
The salary needed to buy a home naturally progresses through the first 20 cities, never increasing more than a couple thousand dollars at a time. Then from Seattle through New York and California metros, you see drastic increases in the median home cost and required salary. Ultimately, San Francisco requires a whopping 50k higher salary than runner up San Diego to buy real estate.
According to a recent survey, the national median price for homes purchased in 2014 was $210,000. This means only 13 cities on the list would be considered “affordable.” NOTE: Minneapolis median home prices are higher than the national median, but made more affordable with lower miscellaneous costs.
Studies like these also show great investment opportunities if you’re looking to manage property. It is a comprehensive study that breaks down all the costs of homeownership to give you a sense of what is required in each metro.
This is important to home buyers for all the obvious reasons, but lists like this should also be taken into account by real estate professionals. When you’re meeting with a client early on, it’s important to set realistic expectations for the buyer. If they aren’t making enough to buy an average house in a certain area, it’s very helpful to have data like this to back up your claims.
By Jesse McCarl
Here’s a look at the most popular qualities in the average American home purchased this year.
80% were single family detached homes. With older buyers, it was more common to see purchases of townhomes.
53% were in a neighborhood or subdivision. 84% were previously owned, with a median year of purchased homes at 1992.
The median price for homes purchased was $210,000.
Homes purchased this year has a median size of 1,900 square feet, and had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The average home buyers purchased was only 12 miles from their previous residence.
This information is from the 2014 NAR Buyers and Sellers Profile, published earlier this month.
Millennial home buyers in 2014 stayed optimistic and thought that buying a home would be a good investment, so don’t pass them up! Checkout these statistics!
1. 31% of home buyers in 2014 were millenials
2. 24% of millennial were already repeat home buyers
3. 97% of these buyers financed their home.
4. 6% of millennial purchased a multi-generational home
5. 19% of this age group purchased a home in an urban or central city.
6. 8 out of 10 home buyers thought purchasing a home would be a good investment.
By Jesse McCarl
Real estate professionals are busy! If you want to up your organization skills and increase productivity, we’ve compiled this list of twelve free online task management sites for real estate professionals. Each of these was recommended by prominent players in the industry. We include why we at HouseHunt love the site, as well as mobile capabilities, and the cost of premium versions (although basic versions are ALL FREE).
Why We Like It: Specifically targeted for real estate agents, this task management tool also provides ways to communicate with clients, nurture your pipeline, and other agent-specific tasks.
Mobile App: Not Available; Site still in beta testing
Cost: Free for now; Beta users will be grandfathered into full service for free
Why We Like It: Toodledoo keeps your tasks organized by context, which is great for work/life balance. It also prioritizes your tasks by deadline, and syncs with most calendar and mail apps.
Mobile App: Available, but costs $2.99.
Cost: Free for Web version
Why We Like It: Google Tasks is an offline task sheet that syncs instantly to your Google Calendar and Google Mail, so nothing slips through the cracks. Receive text or email alerts when something needs done. There’s also a Chrome Extension. If you’re a Google Addict, this service is a must.
Mobile App: Mail and Calendar Apps sold separately. Calendar App recently updated.
Why We Like It: Our signiature system is designed to make sure no prospect gets forgotten. All of your lead conversion tasks are handled with this essential marketing tool.
Mobile App: Introduced Mobile-Friendly Site Last Year
Cost: Free with HouseHunt membership. Click here to learn more.
Why We Like It: If you’re an Evernote enthusiast, you’re in luck! This task management system syncs with Evernote and all Google applications. Perhaps most importantly, you can share tasks with team or family members. Seems to be the most popular of all task management tools on this list.
Mobile App: Available on iOS and Android.
Cost: Free; Premium version for $25 per year
Why We Like It: Syncs with all your Google platforms. Easy-to-use, Apple-style interface a slick design.
Mobile App: Mobile-friendly browser.
Cost: Free – you don’t even have to make an account
Why We Like It: Easy to share lists with friends and coworkers. Also features note-taking capabilities.
Mobile App: Available on Android App; also mobile friendly site.
Why We Like It: This is great if you manage a team – provides ability to delegate tasks or recurring events.
Mobile App: Available for iPhone and iPad.
Cost: Free; Premium version for $8 per month; Business groupware starts at $29 per month
Why We Like It: Designed if you work with a business partner. Turns productivity into a social game in which you can win badges and compete with those in your network to see who can get the most done.
Mobile App: Available for iPhone and Android.
Cost: Free for up to two users; upgrades cost $5-$30.
Why We Like It: Not team oriented, but great for the organized individual. Easy-to-use interface with drag-and-drop simplicity. Includes features like recurring events, deadlines, etc. without so many features that you get confused or overwhelmed.
Mobile App: Available for iPhone. Android coming soon.
Why We Like It: Vitalist is meant perfect for those big projects with multiple facets. Break down all the separate tasks and deadlines, categorized under each major project/goal.
Mobile App: Available for iPhone.
Cost: Free for up to 5 projects; Upgrades range from $5-$10 per month
Did we miss any? If you know a free online task management solution that’s particularly good for real estate professionals, let us know in the comments below!
By Andrew Gale
Knowing how to utilize key SEO tactics can give you the ranking boost to beat your competitors and start generating more leads from organic search results. While building backlinks for your real estate website is still one of the strongest ranking factors, there are many other things you can do to help you rank higher.
Topic modeling is the relationships words have with each other and how Google uses them to figure out if your content has properly covered the searchers term.
Three main benefits from doing proper topic modeling:
At a basic level we know that these factors most likely come into play:
*I say most likely because, Google does not release any algorithmic information.
Synonyms and Close Variants
Google has a huge database of content on the keyword someone is searching for and can easily identify what the majority of the articles are covering. It can also know if some articles are missing ‘important’ topics on the subjects that others have.
Distance Plays a Role
We already know that Google grades different links based on where they’re placed on the page so they are most likely doing this with topic modeling as well. How closely are these two terms related? The more closely they are related, the more likely they should be placed closer together.
In the early days of SEO people went crazy trying to spam their content with the targeted keyword and it would actually work (years ago). Since it’s been dead, it’s been re-birthed as a new tactic called term frequency. How this might work is Google scanning multiple pieces of content for a certain search term and see on average how much this term is used. Then comparing your content to the rest. If it thinks you’re beyond above average, it may think that your content is spam.
A Simple Overview
We know that dogs and cats are both pets (among other things) and Google knows this as well. Google wants to deliver the best results as possible to it’s searchers, so when ranking content it’s safe to say that their algorithm wants to see all the relevant topics covered in the content. Not just a single keyword that you’re aiming for.
If you do a basic search for “Yorba Linda Parks,” we can see right away that Google gives us a hint of how their topic modeling works with their related search terms.
Now I can start to see a bigger picture of the content that Google might be wanting to rank better: not just information on Yorba Linda parks but, some type of guide that highlights all the parks, activities and recreational places in that city.
Using Google Webmaster tools to go through what keywords you’re currently ranking for.
Once you find the keywords that you’re ranking for then you can start reviewing those keywords and begin researching what other terms might help your content rank better.
Use Google Adwords and the related search terms (at the bottom of Googles basic search) to build a bigger picture of what you should be covering in that piece of content.
Go back through the content and figure out how you can fit the new information that you were missing into your content.
This will also keep your content fresh and updated, which Google also likes to see.
When using this for new real estate blog ideas you still want to follow this same process when creating the content to make sure that you’ve fully covered the topic Google expects. It’s easiest to think about it as teaching someone rather than semantic SEO. When you teach someone something you want to be as in depth as possible and this insures that you do that.
Using this strategy alone won’t be enough to help your real estate SEO rank on the first page but, In combination with a great overall strategy it might be just enough to bump you up above your competitors.
By Jesse McCarl
As a real estate professional, you spend a lot of time consoling clients, especially during the nail-biting transaction period. But what are you doing for yourself to reduce stress? Whether you’re waiting to hear back on an offer or evaluating why a property isn’t moving the way it should, real estate transactions are demanding.
Here are 5 tips for a stress free real estate transaction:
1. Detach. Remember you are representing your clients’ needs and wants, not your own. This separation will help give you perspective. If the other party in a transaction doesn’t seem to be grasping what you’re after, there’s no reason to take it personally. The best you can do is let your client know where the other party stands, and help him/her make an informed decision regarding next steps.
2. Systemize. One of the most grueling parts of a transaction is the waiting game after you submit an offer. For these times, have a proven follow-up system in place. And stick to it! Whether it’s a standard check-up phone call in the morning or an afternoon e-mail; you don’t want to constantly be clicking the refresh button in hopes that there’s an update. That is only exhausting yourself. This will allow you to take your mind off things for the sake of focusing on other parts of your business.
3. Don’t Play the Blame Game. It’s going to be really tempting to blame anyone and everyone for why the process is taking so long, why an offer didn’t get accepted, why there’s another contingency, etc. You’ll want to do whatever it takes to look like the good-guy to your customers. Don’t worry so much about this! Take responsibility for your own mistakes and don’t waste energy pointing fingers; just focus on what needs to get done.
4. Communicate. A lot of the stress during a transaction comes from needy clients. First, you need to assure your customers that any time there is an update, you will be faithful to communicate it. Next, you need to follow through! Most of the nagging during the final stages of a purchase are due to a lack of trust from the customer. If you’re good about communication from the very beginning, you will gain trust and reduce stress.
5. Stay Humble. This is stressful for you – no doubt about it! But however stressful a real estate transaction is for you, it’s exponentially more so for the home buyer/seller. They are dealing with the biggest investment they’ve ever made in their lives. They may be needy, annoying, or tense, but a little humility will go a long way for perspective in how to deal with them.
You stress because you care! You stress because you’re good at your job and won’t settle for less than your best! But being stressed out during a real estate transaction is a sure-fire way to reduce your job effectiveness and lead to burnout. Use these tips to make your job more fun and more efficient.
It’s always important to understand today’s real estate market in order for any agent to serve their client. Here is a look at the 2014 home buyers.
Sources: National Association of Realtors
By Jesse McCarl
76% of millennials (33 and younger) buying a house a first time home buyers.
35% of the 34-48 age group are first time buyers.
16% of the 49-58 age group are first time home buyers.
11% of the home buyers 59+ are on the market for the first time.
51% of first time home buyers are married couples. Another 11% are unmarried couples.
25% are single females, and only 11% are single males.
The average annual income for a first time home buying couple is $68,000. It is about $51,000 for a single male and $43,000 for a single female buying a house. 73% of buyers used their own savings as a down payment. 22% received gift funds to help with the payment. And 98% used a mortgage option, most vying for the fixed rate mortgage.
Most of your first time home buyers will come from a rental property such as an apartment. Another 20% will have previously lived with parents or other family friends.