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Delta Media Group Blog

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First-Time Home Buyers are Declining: Reasons for the Trend and Tips on How to Reverse It

The first-time home buyer market is shrinking this year, taking a percentage of buyers that normally make up as much as 40% of home purchases.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the trend last week, noting that first-time home buyers accounted for only 29% of purchases of existing homes in June, compared with 32% in June 2012.

A number of reasons come into play, including rising interest rates, a more competitive market, and a higher rate of unemployment amongst traditional demographics of first-time home buyers.

Even for those first-time buyer prospects who are unemployed and able to purchase, they may not feel like they are ready.  Those who better understand the process tend to be more nimble to move quickly on decisions and follow the process they are familiar with. That can prove intimidating for someone who is entering the market for the first time.

Perhaps the best way to overcome the "uncomfortability factor" is through education. The timid first-time home buyer wants to know if now is right. They want to know if the rising home prices they’ve noticed should continue to rise, or might level out. They want to know if there’s a chance that the market might tank entirely, as it did just a few short years ago. They want to know if it might make more sense to rent for now, while waiting to see what will happen in their young professional lives, and if they’d be able to get a good return on their investment if they were forced to sell to relocate in a few years.

That first-time home buyer hasn’t bought as many houses over the past year, and the truth of the matter is they may not buy in the near future. They might find a tougher time getting financing, fulfilling a worthy down payment, or finding the right job that allows them to confidently make the first major investment in their lives. Maybe they’ve tried to make an offer or two and have been turned down for cash offers or larger down payments that sellers just can’t pass up in an uncertain economy. Maybe they’ve grown discouraged by the entire process.

There are hundreds of reasons why the first-time home buyer isn’t buying the home right now, but all lead to opportunity. This market segment isn’t growing any younger, and they’ll soon need to rely on a good real estate agent and brokerage that can help them through the process, whether that is in the second half of 2013, or a year or two down the road.

The brokerage and agent that helps educate them now will be in the best position to earn their business when that time comes. And you better believe the vast majority of prospective first-time home buyers will start their property search online, or look to a blog to read about the current market conditions and the movement of their local market. They’ll try to find reliable advice, and they’ll look to connect through social channels with the agent who is able to provide it to them. They might even turn to social channels to seek advice from their friends who are a few steps further in the process, and look to link up with those agents their friends have connected with through social channels.

Those looking for their first home tend to be heavily dependent on these channels, and they want to do their own research and find the information they require to help secure their decisions, whenever those might come.

A few of the items you’ll need to best tap into this market and appease those home buyers include the items we spend a lot of time discussing here…a good real estate website that allows you to customize it and make it your own; the best and easiest property search; a mobile website they can easily find through a search engine and use to quickly nail down info on that property that intrigued them.

They also want detailed information spelled out to them through a channel they can read without feeling like they’re being sold to. They’ll look for a good real estate blog to provide some of this info. They might be willing to sign up for an email list to receive more of it. They’ll definitely be attracted to those detailed Market Watch reports that will provide ongoing access to educational info they are looking for.
Communication tools like Market Watch will educate your first time home buyers

The first-time home buyer might operate a bit differently than traditional home buyers have. They might even make up a smaller percentage of our recovering real estate market. But they aren’t going away, and every one who doesn’t buy now is another who will need to in the near future.

Sometimes a decline in one significant market segment can signal an opportunity for the near future of your business. Savvy agents and brokerages will look at these signals to prepare for business growth. And they’ll utilize technologies and platforms that best position them to leverage those opportunities as soon as they culminate into transactional situations.

Prepare yourself for those real estate business opportunities. Contact Delta Media Group for more information.

About Delta Media Group, Inc. 

Serving over 600 real estate brokerages, 35,000 agents and 225 MLS's across the nation, Delta Media Group is the enterprise marketing and business management solution for real estate professionals. Delta partners with companies and top-performing agents where marketing meets technology, helping clients efficiently grow their businesses from lead to close. For more information about Delta Media Group, visit www.DeltaGroup.com.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hometown Realty launches new website with Delta Media Group

Delta Media Group is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new website for Hometown Realty, based out of Central Virginia.

Hometown Realty is celebrating 25 years in business and serves Metro Richmond and the surrounding areas, Charlottesville and the Northern Neck.


Hometown Realty's brand new website

You can view their new website at http://www.hometownrealtyservices.com.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Old Dominion Commercial Realty launches new website with Delta Media Group


Delta Media Group is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new website for Old Dominion Commercial Realty, based out of Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

Brand new Old Dominion Commercial Realty website


Old Dominion Realty Inc. is a full service established regional real estate firm offering residential real estate services, property management, residential and commercial appraisal services, consulting, relocation services, commercial sales and leasing services.

You can view their Commercial Division's new website at http://www.odrcommercial.com.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Thin Line Between Great and Not-So-Great Real Estate Marketers

Everyone is a marketer in the real estate world.

While there's nothing wrong with that, it should remind of us the old adage: When everything is something, nothing really is.  Another way of putting it, just because everyone is doing marketing, it doesn't mean that everyone is doing it well.  And those who are doing it not-so-well oftentimes reflect negatively on those who are executing effective marketing.

Marketing is not a dirty word and there's nothing wrong with you being a marketer...quite the opposite. But, perhaps unfairly to you, there's a group of people in every profession who might misunderstand marketing enough to cast a negative light on your craft. This has gotten so bad that famed marketing coach Seth Godin recently wrote, "More people are doing marketing badly than any other profession I can imagine."

Your job (and opportunity) is to separate yourself from them by outperforming them.

Below, we’ll walk through a few ways to do just that, noting the differences between those who effectively leverage real estate marketing and those who don’t.


Great Real Estate Marketers
Understand the Internet is the primary source of all current real estate business, and digital marketing channels must be embraced and fully leveraged.

Not-So-Great Real Estate Marketers…
Ignore the constantly evolving and growing digital marketing landscape, relying instead on “the old way of doing things” offline.

Great Real Estate Marketers
Rely on data, analytics, trends, and insights into their customer's digital behavior.

Not-So-Great Real Estate Marketers…
Fly by the seat of their pants, working blindly from gut intuition, which can lead to misinformation and inefficiency when our "gut" is wrong.


Great Real Estate Marketers
Always look toward the future and plan marketing strategy and tech acquisition with an eye on 12-18 months out.

Not-So-Great Real Estate Marketers…
Look only at the present, and make decisions based on the sale they hope to earn right now.


Great Real Estate Marketers
Understand that mobile is the top growing channel for real estate business and make their mobile website the key focus of their business, behind perhaps only their desktop site.

Not-So-Great Real Estate Marketers…
Feel their mobile strategy means little more than the phone call they might get after someone drives past their Realtor yard sign.


Great Real Estate Marketers
Never stop learning, never stop preparing for the future, read real estate marketing blogs, and keep their eyes and minds open to new possibilities.

Not-So-Great Real Estate Marketers…
Rely solely on how business used to be done rather than how it is, or will be done. They reject change and are hesitant to embrace new marketing approaches.


There are plenty of differences between great and not-so-great real estate marketers beyond those we spelled out above. But the key differences come down to how much you’re willing to learn and apply to your business, and how flexible you're willing to be when you sense that changes are coming in the way business is conducted.

Those who don’t look at new trends, don’t reevaluate their real estate technologies consistently, and don’t work with companies that are constantly thinking about how to best cater their services to an ever-evolving and technological society will continue to be left behind as the market keeps evolving.

Godin's advice? "Noticing. Notice what is working in the real world and try to figure out why. Apply it to your work. Repeat.

"Learn to see, to discern the difference between good and bad, between useful and merely comfortable."

Make sure you keep on top of changing marketing tactics, societal trends, and technological updates. And make sure your real estate technology provider is even more concerned with these trends and changes than you are.

Looking for a provider that fits that bill? Contact Delta Media Group.

About Delta Media Group, Inc. 

Serving over 600 real estate brokerages, 35,000 agents and 225 MLS's across the nation, Delta Media Group is one of the fastest-growing digital marketing firms in the real estate industry. From desktop to tablet to mobile, Delta offers integrated digital marketing and customer management solutions for every platform. For more information about Delta Media Group, visit www.DeltaGroup.com

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Delivering A Simple But Compelling Message That Will Boost Your Lead Engagement

The KCM Blog drew a significant amount of attention this week with the most simplistic of messages.

It used the chart below to demonstrate how much extra money it might cost a consumer who decides to buy a house today as opposed to one year ago.


Difference in house payment in 2012 vs. 2013 based on typical price & interest rate increases.  Source: KCM Blog.

The concepts illustrated here are based on a bit of assumption and a bit of fact.

The assumption being the same house would still be on the market, and would have increased in price by 10 percent (house prices have increased by double digits in markets across the nation, so a 10 percent price increase in a comparable house is not a stretch).

The fact being that interest rates have increased by a full percent over the past year, which they have. That increase alone means a higher monthly cost to home purchasers, and a much higher total price at the end of a 30-year mortgage, if paid out over all 360 months.

The KCM Blog post is also popular for what it did not say—that if the cost of buying has already increased this significantly over the past year, imagine how much more it could cost to buy a house in another year or two.

That might an important message for you to leverage. While a consumer can’t go back a year and buy that house they might have considered while rates still hovered around 3.5 percent, they can decide if now is a better time to buy than the future, when we might see even higher interest rates and prices in the market.

Do your customers understand the specifics of the market in order to make an educated real estate decision with financial implications? And do you have the capabilities of communicating such a message to your clients? How would you go about communicating it?

This message is simplistic, yet important for those working with potential buyers and sellers. It demonstrates the importance of acting now, without directly applying pressure for them to do so. And it absolutely needs communicated, which means you absolutely need a way to delivering it. 

Such a message works perfectly with “pull” marketing approaches, like Social Media. It can also be pushed out in an email blast, perhaps with a report attached demonstrating the numbers, or a link to where the message lives in more depth.

This message might make for a good blog entry. Of course, you didn’t create the original blog post, but you can repurpose the ideas and even images by citing your source and linking to the original post, as we did above. You can also add your commentary to the post, and analyze how it might fit with real estate price increases in your direct market.

Doing so would boost the local keywords in your blog post, which would then better its chances of ranking in search engines under related keywords, which would increase the likelihood that someone looking for that information might find and work with you.

Your social updates can point back to the blog post, and new studies continue to show the impact social has on search engine ranking factors.

The call to action would be a way to contact you directly and immediately to discuss the real estate market. On a mobile device, it would allow consumers to submit a lead, call, or text you directly. It could also be a link to your property search, where consumers can immediately look for listings in their area to see the current market prices, and imagine where they could increase to in another year or more.

Altogether, it might sound like a few steps. But each step is related to the next, and connected through links. Each step makes it more likely that a consumer will take the next step with you, with the ultimate step being their call or text, or lead submission on your real estate website.

Of course, it helps when these steps are already connected through a central real estate marketing system that allows you to tie your website to your blog and social media presence, provides a path for each, and allows you to engage them all through integrated email marketing abilities.

A simple, but compelling message.

Can you communicate it?  If not, Delta Media Group can help.

About Delta Media Group, Inc. 

Serving over 600 real estate brokerages, 35,000 agents and 225 MLS's across the nation, Delta Media Group is one of the fastest-growing digital marketing firms in the real estate industry. From desktop to tablet to mobile, Delta offers integrated digital marketing and customer management solutions for every platform. For more information about Delta Media Group, visit www.DeltaGroup.com.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Delta Media Group introduces DeltaThemes: The next evolution in customizable agent websites

Delta Media group is excited to announce DeltaThemes, offering brand new design functionality for our Agent customers.

The new easy-to-use themes allow for nearly unlimited customization of agent websites.  In fact, Agents will now be able to personally change the entire look of their website, including their site's color scheme, menu builder navigation and header graphics in only a few minutes.

These database-driven themes now give customers:
  • the flexibility to add their own creative flair or match the look and feel of their Broker's site
  • the ability to select their own colors and header images
  • the modern look of wider templates
  • modern, customizable drop-down navigation menus and footers
  • four new DeltaThemes layouts to choose from
Although Delta Media Group has always offered customization to our agents, with DeltaThemes agents now have much more personal control and can completely change the look of their website whenever they like.

"I'm really excited that we're launching the next evolution of our real estate website tools for REALTORS®. Many agents over the last couple years have opted for WordPress powered web sites. They wanted control and flexibility, not realizing that we have a better alternative that is more flexible, easier to customize, and fully integrated with their real estate business. With the launch of DeltaThemes we're offering even more customization in an easy to use platform," says Delta Media Group President Mike Minard.

The following screenshots illustrate the same base theme, customized with a completely different look in a just few short minutes:


DeltaTheme custom design sample- version 1


DeltaTheme custom design sample- version 2


DeltaTheme custom design sample- version 3

 
This is just the beginning development phase for DeltaThemes.  Delta Media Group is developing future functionality and feature updates that will include:
  • enhanced color-pickers
  • previewing in real time
  • in-line editing 
  • additional DeltaTheme base layouts

Agents can find their new DeltaThemes in the "Website" tab of DeltaNet (see screenshot below):

Agents can navigate to the new themes in DeltaNet by selecting Website > Site Design > Custom Header

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Delta Media Group Unveils Brand New E-Card Interface for Our DeltaNet Customers

Delta Media Group is excited to unveil a brand new feature that will help our brokers and agents more effectively market listings directly to their customers. Our eCard (electronic listing postcard) interface in DeltaNet has been dramatically improved in order to provide better functionality and more efficient usability for our customers. 

DeltaNet's intuitive eCard interface

Our improved eCard interface includes the following new features:
  • Easy to use drop down menus for each eCard category
  • Improved filtering feature lets you filter by number of photos
  • Enhanced previewing feature for simple viewing of your progress
  • New calender drop down tool to more easily select date and time
  • Several pre-designed themes to choose from
  • Many more themes available for our upgraded users!
DeltaNet customers can access the new interface by via the Customer Tab and selecting eCards.

eCards can now be accessed in the Customers tab




    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Your Mobile Real Estate Website Just Got a Lot More Important...

    Perhaps this past July Fourth weekend can serve as an example.

    We live and function in a busy society that’s always on the go, and that lifestyle parlays into the absolute necessity to grab information through the most accessible mobile means.

    As stated in a recent article by 1000Watt’s Jessica Swesey, “The mobile call to action has reached maximum urgency for brokers.”

    We’ve been saying as much for the past few years, but there’s no more time to keep talking without action.

    Google has made this official. Last month they announced that its new mobile search engine ranking changes will negatively affect those websites that have a poor presence on smartphone searches.

    Translation: If you don’t have a great mobile real estate website, or mobile website at all, you might start seeing a negative impact on your website SEO, equating to less visitors, leads and sales.

    As Swesey notes, much of the real estate industry still struggles to understand mobile functionalities, responsive web design, and apps vs. mobile real estate websites. Those are all key fundamentals when there’s simply no time left to “figure mobile out” without the possibility of watching your business suffer as you do.

    A great deal of smartphone users likely turned to their mobile devices this weekend to find when the local fireworks would be held. A great deal more turn to their mobile devices each day to browse real estate listings while waiting in line at the bank, in the coffee shop, during a break at work, or in a moment of boredom during the Fourth of July family cookout. In fact, consumer data shows that more and more people are starting their home search on their mobile device, and this trend will only continue upward.


    The above graphic generated from Delta Media Group customer data illustrates rapid upward trending in mobile traffic



    Some mobile users might open an email from you, follow the link to a listing, and be turned off by the website they find. Others might turn to a search engine to look for a nearby listing and use the website that ranks highly and provides the best mobile experience. The website without a mobile experience will get overlooked by the consumer, if it hasn’t already been overlooked by the search engine the consumer used.

    A great deal of mobile traffic now enters the brokerage website through a listing detail page rather than the home page, as Swesey notes. We’ve seen the same, as have eCommerce websites.

    This is due, in part, to search engines indexing those pages, consumers using long-tail search to find a specific property while on the go, and email marketing pushing consumers to specific listing detail pages rather than the home page. Consumers—particularly those on the go—want to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible and judge whether it warrants any more of their time. The listing detail page brings them there, while a multi-step process starting at the home page does not.

    While the mobile home page needs to have a simplistic, one-step property search, listing detail pages require easy call-to-action buttons that allow consumers to quickly submit a request before a distant cousin might engage them in a conversation at that cookout. The listing detail page must have an image, first and foremost, surrounded by just enough property information, the ability to easily scan through additional images, and the ability to schedule a showing, save the listing, email it to a friend, or find driving directions through their smartphone’s map feature.

    Property listing detail page designed and optimized for mobile usage

    That functionality promises an interactive experience that will leave the consumer asking for more information if the listing fits the bill. If it doesn’t, the consumer will use the mobile site to find another.

    The mobile website can no longer be viewed as a less important marketing opportunity for a tiny portion of your audience. It can’t be viewed as the inflatable gorilla that gets a customer in the door, where the real sales happen.

    The mobile real estate website has to be viewed as just as important of an entry point to your customers as any other.  Perhaps even more important now as trending shows.

    “Mobile is more than a redecorated foyer into your website. It’s now more like a satellite office that offers the same products and services, but through an experience more appropriate to the visitors who walk in that door,” Swesey wrote.

    More and more consumers are walking in the mobile door, and will continue to as time goes on. And more and more business opportunities will be lost for those who don’t embrace mobile in their real estate marketing now.

    About Delta Media Group, Inc. 

    Serving over 600 real estate brokerages, 35,000 agents and 225 MLS's across the nation, Delta Media Group is one of the fastest-growing digital marketing firms in the real estate industry. From desktop to tablet to mobile, Delta offers integrated digital marketing and customer management solutions for every platform. For more information about Delta Media Group, visit www.DeltaGroup.com.

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Delta Media Group improves user experience for our customers in the Denver, Colorado area

    Delta Media Group is committed to providing our customers' website visitors the most accurate and up to date listing data and photos as possible.

    Metrolist, out of Denver Colorado has recently released their live RETS server, and Delta has converted its customers there from an ftp server to the new server.

    This conversion offers a major benefit to customers in the Denver, CO area.

    The MLS updates their RETS server multiple times a day.  Because Delta Media Group is processing data and photos multiple times a day, our customers will now have listing data and photos on their site within a few hours of them being inserted to the MLS.

    Thank you to our customers in the greater Denver area.

    We look forward to releasing many more features and enhancement in the future!