Stay Ahead of the Competition

Real estate can be a cut-throat industry where each house becomes the next war zone for competing buyers, and realtors are working round the clock to get that signature on the dotted line. As technology continues to merge with the housing market, this fierce competition is only growing. With mobile apps and fan pages making it easier for competition to engage their users, focusing on areas that might be lagging behind the wagon has become more relevant than ever before.

Real Estate Ally offers an easy and engaging method of focusing on what matters within your company. Not only can you create those important reports to share with your supervisors, but you can also monitor your daily numbers to know where your branch is thriving and where you need to focus you attention.

simple-user-experienceGraphs of your most important company aspects connect directly to your MLS feed and are updated every 2 hours to give you real time data. Stay on top of where your branch stands with community trends, local competitors, and national averages for DOM, Closing Sales, Types of Homes Sold, and even track your company goals throughout the year!

Not only can Real Estate Ally give you the data you need in the moment, it also monitors how your team is working individually. Real Estate Ally allows you to monitor your realtor progress in closing the deals, what types of homes they sell best, and how many deals they’ve closed. Knowing which realtor does well in sales, proposal write ups, and open homes can give you the insights on motivating them towards closing more deals in a shorter time. Wouldn't it be great if you knew where to focus your team’s attention before it was too late?business-analytics 

 

Real Estate Ally offers insightful graphs, charts, and downloadable reports to bring you the greatest knowledge of how your business is functioning in the moment and where you attention needs to be in order to get that exponential growth you’re fighting for. Beat your competitors from the inside our with Real Estate Ally’s state of the art technology.

 

 

A successful victory is won with a successful team.

Add a comment

Inaman Real Estate Connect

What better way to start the New Year than with our real estate friends at the Inman Real Estate Connect Conference in New York City!

Real Estate Ally is attending Inman Real Estate Conference with our own booth! We will be located in Startup Alley and are looking forward to seeing you there. Stop by to visit our founders, David & Brittany Fristch, and be among the first to hear about Real Estate Ally's plan for 2015!


Schedule your One-on-One Appointment between Jan. 27th - Jan 30th, and we will personally show you how Real Estate Ally can make your brokerages grow with real time business insights in 2015. Hurry, time slots are filling fast! 
 
As always, look for updates and events coming your way on our social pages!
 
 NYC
 
 
Add a comment

'Tis the Season of Christmas

It’s the Christmas Season!candycane

The excitement of new toys, the chill of cold weather, the smell of peppermint in almost every store, and who can forget all those Christmas songs playing round the clock?

This time of year is, indeed, full of joy and laughter and children waiting in line to put in a word with Big Red. For the parents however, it’s another season of internal struggles. If you’re anything like the Average Joe, you’ve enjoyed the Christmas season, but are always vibrantly conscious of your pocket book. How can we afford to get our kids those ‘perfect gifts’ and still make the mortgage this month?

ornamentIn a perfect world, we’d be able to afford everything for our friends and family and still make the bills! But, this is reality. And although it’s covered in cheer and charity this time of year, a budget is wise and helpful to get through the holidays without having to take a loan out in 2015.  So here are some helpful tips to help you get that special someone that perfect gift and still have money to spare!

red ballStick to what You Set

Set a budget before you even get to the store. And set a reasonable budget. People get caught up in the holiday season of giving (nothing to be ashamed of), but don’t let this ‘give, give, give’ mentality give away all your bill money. Set a budget that allows you to pay your bills without pulling from your emergency savings. Once you’ve set your budget, use cash. $$$ Think of your credit card as a gateway- it only leads to more (unnecessary) spending.

red ballLook Twice, Buy Once

Yes, many will see that “buy 1 get 3” sign this time of year, but before you jump to on the Best Deal of the Year, do some investigation. Online shopping has never been this easy and you’ve most likely got a smart phone handy to see if this “deal” is truly a steal, or a break in the bank.

red ballCrafty Talents

With so many easy DIY crafts floating around, creating a gift may be a cheaper and more meaningful gift. If you’re an artist, create a personal piece of art for you mom and dad. Woodworker, something simple like a cutting board or a pen is always a useful tool. No skill? There are a million crafts the non-crafty can accomplish. Grab a mason jar and layer it with the ingredients to your favorite holiday treat! Get some paper and create snowflakes (a lot of them) and make a Christmas Bouquet! Pintrest is a great place to get ideas.

So, even if you’re searching for that new home or refinancing your old glory, you can still stay within budget and enjoy this holiday season!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

santasleigh

 

 

 

Add a comment

What Your Online Presence can Learn from a Master of Fine Arts

Creativity is Hard

One of my very best friends, Rena Detrixhe, is a painter and sculptor. She makes huge, gorgeous works out of tiny, beautiful, everyday things.

Which I think is a pretty good metaphor for blogging. 

Rena working on Come Look Listen

This is her working on one of her pieces entitled "Heirlooms" which has functioned as a platform for public conversation about the relationship between art and environment. For this body of work she made tapestries, tablecloths and rugs out of natural objects like seeds and leaves that she found on her way to school and work everyday.

As a real estate agent, that would be the ideal situation for your blogging right? Imagine:

"You are out an about in the community - taking the kids to school, showing houses, volunteering. Then, at the end of the day you take your experiences and effortless turn them into a meaningful blog post. Viola!"

Why is it never this easy?

If you have ever seen an artist work, they make it seem effortless. They are able to create beautiful works that make a serious statement, and they make it look as natural as breathing. Trust me though, that is not the case.

Being creative is hard. Real hard. And being creative on a consistent basis? That's like crossfit for your soul. But artists know this and have a secret to rise to this challenge. 

Go Be in Your Studio

If you aren't in your studio, interacting with your medium, you will never make art. One of Rena's professor gave her this advice when she was getting ready to graduate. She told her that she needed to take two hours everyday to just go be in her studio, because if she didn't make time for herself to be creative, life would just get in the way and always distract her from being an artist. Rena told me this story just in passing, and its always really stuck with me. 

Checking off to-do lists, organizing contracts, and solving customer problems are all really important activities that an agent does, but none of them are really requiring your creativity. Creativity is like a muscle. You have to work it and build it up in order to do big things with it.

So, if you are serious about making blogging a core piece of your marketing efforts, you have to make time to go be in your studio!

How to Give Your Creativity a Workout

Just like going to the regular gym, you need to set aside time to work your creativity on a regular basis so it doesn't wither.

First, block out a 2 hour time period you can commit to every week. 

Then, During that time:

  • Go to your office
  • Close the door
  • Shut the blinds
  • Silence your phone
  • Close all your internet browsers and programs

Finally, open your blogging program and write. Don't stop until you have a post and are ready to hit the publish button, OR your 2 hours are up. 

Don't go get another cup of coffee. Don't check Facebook. Don't pass Go or Collect $200. 

Just write a blog post. 

Can't think of anything to write about? No excuse! Here's 300 ideas from real estate knowledgebase ActiveRain

Think your posts aren't as good as Inman News? Who cares!? This is supposed to be practice. You'll get better.

Have you spent 2 months doing this and still don't have a completed draft? Ok, that is frustrating. Try focusing your posts with these 3 handy mind tricks. They really made a difference for me!

Make it Look Easy

Like any diet or exercise routine, sure, you can keep this up for a few months, but are you expected to do this forever? Of course not. 

Remember that ideal world, where you could effortlessly take your daily experiences and turn them into meaningful blog posts? That's still the goal!

You won't always have to lock yourself away from the world in order to get a post done. Eventually your creative muscle will be strong enough that the process will come more naturally. You will sit down to write a post when inspiration strikes you, because it will be just as easy as answering that text or checking your email. It will be just as much a part of your habitual process. 

But hey, the life of a real estate agent can get crazy! There will probably be a time when you find you've stopped blogging regularly or its getting harder to get your creative side in gear to finish a post. It happens! 

Don't give in to the chaos and instead take some time to go be in your studio!

 

About the Artist

Rena Detrixhe is an Artist in Residence with the Charlotte Street Foundation's Urban Culture Project. She lives in Kansas City, KS. To see more of Rena's work, visit her at renadetrixhe.com/

Add a comment

Real Estate Ally Demo Launches

It's finally here! The Real Estate Ally Demo is live. Utilize powerful analytic tools to understand once hard to read information about your firm. Click below to interact with the dashboard in real time and discover what you could learn about your business. 

Want more free? For every referral you send our way that starts an account get a free month for yourself and your friend! So spread the word!

 REAdemo


 

Real Estate Ally's mission is to help brokerages manage their business better with personalized insights that make the numbers simple to understand and instantly actionable. We provide the information you need to make decisions, at your fingertips, wherever, whenever.

 

{wbty_columnizer}

be-the-first

{columnbreak}   

What can you be doing to make more money this year? Sign up today to be the first to receive personalized business insights for your brokerage.

{/wbty_columnizer}

 

 

Add a comment

Ditch your marketing assumptions and delight your customer!

Its De-lightful, its de-liscious, its..RealScout's Free Cookie Campaign

Yesterday, RealScout gave us a peak under the hood at the logistics and results of their recent #RealScoutCookies campaign. They did such an awesome job breaking down their method, its worth doing a double take on! Agents are always hearing, "You need to be on social media," and "Internet marketing can revolutionize your business!" blah, blah, blah. But there aren't a lot of examples out there of what a really successful social media campaign looks like. Often when you can find out how they did it, it turns out its not that different than traditional marketing. The person that spends the most money wins. 

That is exactly the opposite of what we are seeing here with RealScout's. This is an example of a truly viral campaign, with a mimimal budget. Take a look at their wrap-up, and ask "How can I apply this example as an agent or broker?" (Hint-Hint: We've got some ideas down at the bottom.)

There are three main things you should take away from RealScout's success:

Online augments offline.

Twenty-seven people drove 1100 miles to deliver all these cookies. Its not a postcard, but I think we can classify that as some pretty old school, door-to-door marketing type selling right there. The advent of social media as a marketing tool does not mean you will never have to leave the office or meet people again. And that's a good thing! What agents are really great at is making those personal relationships. Don't think that just because you need to start taking advantage of social media, that it has to be completely unrelated to your traditional prospecting activities. What made this campaign really effective was that they used social media to create an opportunity for face-to-face interaction with their customers.

Define the value. 

RealScout spent about $1600 for this campaign. Just off-hand, that might sound like a lot of money to dump on what is basically a one-shot opportunity, but let's think about the value they gained from it.: How much would you pay to meet 100 new leads in one day? These are "sidebar contact form spam" leads, these are real "Yes, please come take up some of my time today and meet me face-to-face" leads. How much would you pay for 100 of those? For that kind of return, anybody can afford $1600. On the other hand you could easily spend that much over a year on a social media expert or CRM and not get even half the return they did in one day. Think about it.

Delight!: The Secret to Guaranteed Returns. 

So how do you make sure you are getting those kind of returns? That is the most important thing to learn from RealScouts escapades: its not about the marketing, its about the customer. It has nothing to do with social media, or traditional marketing. We could travel back to the '80s and RealScout could have mimeographed flyers, and stuck them to telephone poles and on everybody's windshield, and this campaign would have been just as effective. Why? Because RealScout identified an authentic way to delight their customers. What's the old rule? A house that smells like cookies, smells like home. But agents are so busy anymore! Who has time to bake? So RealScout helped them out. It took a lot of leg work and facetime, but they made it happen and look how it paid off. 

What do you think?

So, what can you do as an agent to delight your customers? What small kindness can you do to attract your potential customers? How can you leverage social media to get real facetime with those people? 

That's what we should be taking away from this awesome example of viral content done right. Thanks for sharing RealScout!

 

Brittany Fritsch is the CEO and Founder of Real Estate Ally. A Kansan turned San Franciscan, she loves to bring cutting-edge business practices and software together to create solutions for the everyday main street businesses that keep this country running. 

Add a comment

5 Business Tips for the New Managing Broker

So you've just got your broker license and you're ready to take the next step in your real estate career. Starting your own brokerage can be both an exciting and daunting undertaking but remember its your own successes that have brought you this far! Recognizing that running a brokerage is less of a hobby and more like running a real business is one thing, but actually implementing real business strategies is another. Use these tips to bring business savvy to your brokerage.

1. First things first: The Business Plan

business-plan-writerThere are many paths you can take to start out, requiring you to make decisions on a variety of factors. What systems and tools will you use to manage your business? Will you use the cloud and what will you need to set everything up? Will you have a physical office or go virtual? More importantly, who will be your target market and why? What are your strengths and weaknesses as an individual and how can you leverage them to build a team that will flesh out your weaknesses? All of these questions and more you will address when designing a business plan. It might seem like a chore, but you might find it to be a very helpful exercise to organize your goals and stick to them. Here is a great resource to get you started or give you ideas if you're at this step and struggling to move forward.

2. Determine Sales and Lead Management Tools

When deciding what firm to go with, agents are going to look for how a brokerage will help them develop and manage leads. What will you provide your team with? Often just finding the right software can be challenging. Check out Capterra - you can search and read reviews for software products including lead management and CRM systems so you're well informed before you buy/commit. 

3. Provide Training and Education

Just like in life, there is always something new to learn. If you're bringing on new agents, remember that passing the agent license exam is only the first step to becoming successful. Empower your agents by giving them access to the tools and knowledge that will help them grow - it will only benefit you and the brokerage as a whole.
Real-Estate-Education1
This process also involves open communication between you and your team. Be open about what your goals for the firm are so that the team can share in and feed off of your ambition. Also be open and ready to address any issues your agents are having so that you can help solve the problem and keep moving forward.

4. Evolve and Adapt

In the world of entrepreneurship, there is a theory of the 'lean start up' where businesses position themselves so that they can constantly change their product offering based on consumer feedback and industry trends. These lessons can also relate to the real estate world. Understanding the market you are in and how your brokerage can change to meet your customers' needs is an important skill. Stay tuned for our ebook coming soon with more insights and tips in this area!

5. Plan for the Future

Planning is key - plotting out milestones and goals will help your business grow at a rate that you can manage and keep everyone accountable. If you aren't thinking about the next 3-4 years you are already behind the competition.

 

Real Estate Ally's mission is to help brokerages manage their business better with personalized insights that make the numbers simple to understand and instantly actionable. We provide the information you need to make decisions, at your fingertips, wherever, whenever.

 

{wbty_columnizer}

be-the-first

{columnbreak} 

  

 

What can you be doing to make more money this year? Sign up today to be the first to receive personalized business insights for your brokerage.

{/wbty_columnizer}

 

 

Add a comment

Sizing Up Godzillow

Godzillow. Godzilia. Zulia. 

Whatever you want to call the shocking real estate news of the week - Zillow's announcement that it will buy Trulia for $3.5 billion in stock - the vote is still out on how this behemoth will change the future of the industry. Here is a breakdown of what we've gathered from this week's news, gossip and speculations. 

What It Doesn't Mean

Zillow is taking over the world! - The media frenzy might have instilled some panic and/or suspicion in agents and brokers across the country. The merger should be watched closely but not feared. Zillow has historically been more focused on monetizing customers and less about helping agents and brokers - something that will need to change if they want to sustain long-term. Because at the end of the day, Zillow needs listings more than listings need Zillow. Plus we all know that the love/hate of the zestimate will only get them so far.

Zillow will replace the MLSs - Coupled with the recent Retsly purchase, the only MLS aggregator that helps real estate software developers sync to multiple MLSs at once, Zillow appears to be putting all of its ducks in a row. But remember that ultimately MLS boards still control the data. And it will be a long time before Godzillow will find a way around that.

What It Does Mean

Advancing Innovation. Zillow's purchase of Retsly was also strategic for another reason. Technological innovation in the real estate industry has been slow moving due to the fact that its mind-numbingly painful for developers to connect across 900 MLSs, many requiring uniquely formatted coding. With Retsly now powered by Zillow, perhaps we will see great strides in advancement of software that has stagnated from this issue.

Domination of real estate search. Combined, Zillow and Trulia already have 76% of total views among the most popular real estate sites. And with the increased media hype around Zulia, realtor.com will only fall further in the shadows. Although we do love their cheeky new ad campaign. Undoubtedly with less competition this will also lead to hire prices for brokers looking to advertise.

What It Might Mean

Back to just Zillow. Zillow and Trulia will continue to act as separate brands in order maintain their market share, saying “the two firms’ offerings remain differentiated and the consumer overlap in both brands is relatively low.” However, the deal could still be challenged by the government on antitrust issues. Apparently the aquisition agreement leaves Trulia at a big disadvantage and if antitrust disapproval stirs the pot, Trulia could be out of the game completely.

However this plays out, we're all sure to be watching closely. 

 

 

Add a comment

5 Lessons to Remember From SF Connect 2014

It has been over a week since Inman's Connect conference here in San Francisco. I'm sure you got to the office on Monday and were inundated by all the stuff you missed while you were out. You've had a few days to rest, digress and digest and now you can hardly remember what you learned, right? We know how that goes. Here's a review of the 5 key lessons you shouldn't forget from this summer's Connect. How can you apply them to your brokerage?

1. Uberfication: Closer Than You Think

In case you didn't pick up on it, the theme of this year's Inman Connect SF was Uberfication.

There was a lot of conversation about what exactly made Uber so special and what "uberfication" really involves. The core idea was that platforms like Uber, and the modern internet in general, have changed the way consumers expect to receive services. They now identify "good" service based on three key features:

  • Is it Personalized?
  • Can I get it on-demand?
  • How Frictionless is the Transaction?

Don't let the software and app mumbo jumbo scare you. The idea of uber-izing Real Estate is really a conversation about how the industry can improve its performance on these three key customer service metrics. 

2. Culture: By Design not Default

This one comes from some great comments by Katie Maxwell of Interior Houston and Jilliene Helman of RealtyMogul who shared a panel on culture. Similar to messaging, your culture will not just bubble up from the melting pot of who you hire, and if it does, you probably won't like what you find! Culture is also not just a marketing ploy. It is a conscious, everyday decision about how you treat your colleagues and customers. You have to 'hire to fit' and reinforce that, because once you hit 20, 40, 100 agents your personality and marketing copy won't be able to overpower them. 

How do you do this? Maxwell says start with a vision statement of what you want your brokerage to be and then build the culture that will get you there. Then train and support your agents in that culture. Just like a new contract or piece of technology, culture is something they will need to learn when they first come on board. And support doesn't just mean giving out pats on the back, it means setting an example by your own actions. Nick Segal also a member on the panel, pointed out that if you aren't willing to fire your top producer if they are toxic to the culture then you aren't really committed.

 

3. Messaging: Focus on One

Messaging and branding is like culture for individual agents, and its needs to be determined by design, not default. New agents especially need to remember this! They often want to target everyone, going after every listing and buyer they can find, never focusing their limited marketing or branding on a customer segment. However, from successful brokerages like Hawaii Life and tech companies like Doorsteps, the trick is actually to focus on serving one customer persona really well. Focusing your messaging in this way establishes you as an expert, makes the customer feel like you are addressing their specific personal needs and that you will make the experience as frictionless as possible for them. Creating a fantastic experience for one narrow customer segment will also connect you to other similar segments you probably didn't even know existed. And guess what? That means your competition doesn't know about them either. 

While you might think - "But I can't pick a persona yet, because I don't know who I should be serving or what my specialty is" - this thinking is actually backwards. Your specialty is determined by what you want to pursue; the market will not magically bring it to light for you. (See above!) Going after everyone will only exhaust you and your resources.

4. Technology: No More Excuses

Just this week there was an article in Inman about how tech-challenged agents are becoming an endangered species. Now really, no one could blame you for ignoring tech up to now. Its been a pretty sad showing of what technology can and should do for its customers in real estate until the last few years. The stuff was ugly, confusing, and only slightly better than pencil and paper and that was only if you had a good number of agents working under you. But things have changed!

If you use Facebook or a smart phone, then you will be able to learn the software that's being built now. But like getting on Facebook or getting email on your phone, you just have to go do it. There are going to be SO many good options available here in the next few years, the hard part is actually going to be deciding WHAT to use. For that you should refer back to lesson #1. What are the absolute core aspects of your business? Of the value that you provide to customers? Of your internal organizational culture? It's likely that some of your answers will be "unscalable" or will include activities that technology just can't help with because they require a 'human touch'. Certainly not everyone's client base would be willing to make an offer on a home from across the country based on a Facetime video like Jordan Clarke's. But keep an open mind and you'll be surprised by how much technology can help you expand and enhance your core value propositions. 

5. Startups & Real Estate: Not so different after all

The resounding theme of the week was that Real Estate practices and technology companies, at least startups, are really not that different after all. For every broker that got up on stage and talked about the difficulties they face, or their secrets to success, a startup founder followed with almost the exact same comments about their business! It all makes sense when you think about it. From the start-up founder, to the new broker-owner, down to the very last independently contracted agent, we are all entrepreneurs at heart. And even better - the lessons and secrets that are out there for software startups could be just as helpful for agents and brokers building their business.

 

 

More insider lessons coming soon!

This is exactly why Real Estate Ally is going to be putting together an ebook, Startup Hacks for Real Estate, to share some of the secrets of how companies like Google and AirBnB made it big, and how agents and brokers can tweak those lessons for their own benefit. We whole-heartedly believe that the right kind of technology can have a significant impact on the well-being and happiness of agents and their customers, and we are excited to hear your stories and explore this awesome overlap in more detail!

 

 

Add a comment

Why Real Estate Pros Need Big Data

Everyone seems to be talking about "big data" - but what is it really and what does it mean for real estate professionals?

The sheer volume of data flowing all around us is a phenomenon that is increasingly gaining attention not just by IT nerds but professionals in all industries. The power that comes from being able to capture, analyze and act upon the invaluable knowledge that big data can provide is a competitive advantage for top-performing companies. 

What is Big Data?

big-data 3Adapted from Webopedia, "Big Data is used to describe a massive volume of data that is so large that it's difficult to process using traditional techniques. It is data consisting of billions to trillions of records of millions of people—all from different sources (e.g. Web, sales, customer contact center, social media, mobile data and so on)." The number of times you visited Facebook today? Big data. Your last Google search? Big data. The page on your website that customers visit the most? Also big data! Contrary to how it may seem, businesses like your brokerage already have access to some of this rich information! It is simply a matter of what tools you use to harness and reveal actionable insights.

How Can Big Data Help Real Estate?

There are already several examples of how big data has changed the real estate industry. Take Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com for example. What these sites provide for consumers is essentially bringing together loads of big data (census information, listings, geographic data, customer survey results) and transforming it all into useful information.BigThree

But when we look specifically at its potential impact for brokerages and real estate pros we say: Knowledge is power. The bottom line is that using big data can help make smarter business decisions. In another great article from Inman News, Cary Sylvester, VP of technology innovation and communication for Keller Williams Realty International, talks about how firms in the Real Estate industry can use big data as a competitive advantage.

{wbty_columnizer}

Big data is useful for learning:

  • How customers are using your website and where they are coming from
  • Patterns or trends in sales history

{columnbreak}

Which can help you to determine:

  • How to segment and target customers
  • What to improve on your website
  • Adjust sales goals and agent assignments for better efficiency 

{/wbty_columnizer}

Can you see how your business might benefit from having this type of knowledge?

How to Get Started

In her article Cary talks about different platforms that analyze big data for real estate including Google Analytics.

Google-Analytics-iconGoogle Analytics is freely accessible for your company's website, you just need to activate your account to start seeing reports. Setting everything up takes less than 5 minutes. Click here for a step-by-step guide to get started.

Google Analytics is a great first step, especially for those firms that do not have the resources to put towards another system.

How Real Estate Ally Can Help

Again - knowledge is power. That includes knowing what is happening not only outside your business but inside as well. Real Estate Ally provides you with actionable insights about revenue flows, agent performance, days on market and more - to help you make important decisions. 
Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 3.48.02 PM
Check out the demo to click around the dashboard and see for yourself!

 

Real Estate Ally's mission is to empower brokerages to better understand their businesses through personalized business insights on a convenient cloud-based solution.

 

 

Add a comment

Subscribe to Real Estate Ally's Blog

Error : Please select some lists in your AcyMailing module configuration for the field "Automatically subscribe to" and make sure the selected lists are enabled