Nov 182011

What determines whether someone entering the real estate field will enjoy success? You probably already know the answer.

When I began my training to become a Realtor in late 1989 the economy was just beginning to turn south and a recession was on the horizon. In my city, home prices had already peaked and were on their way down. Much like the situation in many cities in the US today, most homes were worth less than what the owners had paid for them. To make matters worse,  mortgage rates were in the mid teens! In my city house prices did not recover for over ten years. Of course, most of us who began the real estate course were unaware of what the market was like and what the future may hold. Memories of the late boom market were still fresh and many of my 70 or so classmates entered the course thinking selling real estate would be easy.

By the second week  of the course I had formed some opinions about a few of my classmates. There was James who had just sold a multi million dollar business and lived in a large house in one of the city’s most desirable  neighborhoods. He was well connected, smart, and had the gift of gab. I suspected he would do well. At the other end of the scale was Tony who previously worked in an auto body shop. Tony wore an ill-fitting cheap brown suit, drove a $500 car, and lived in the city’s worst neighborhood. Tony seemed barely able to string two sentences together and clearly he felt he was a bit out of his element. Many of us silently voted Tony the “least likely to succeed”.

The course was not easy. Only about half actually passed –  including James and Tony. James enjoyed success relatively quickly. It seemed that he had a few wealthy friends lined up ready to sell their homes the day he was licensed. After that he went about aggressively pursing expired listings of which there were many because of the declining home prices. Tony did not enjoy immediate success but he too pursued expired listings and FSBOs in his part of town.

After 5 or 6 years there were only a handful of my classmates still in the business including James and  Tony, who had moved up to a nicer car, a nicer suit that fit, and now had a confident manner about him. Today, some twenty years later, there is just one of my old classmates still selling real estate – Tony – the fellow voted least likely to succeed.

Tony succeeded where others didn’t simply because of persistence. It doesn’t matter where one lives, what one drives, how connected one is or how well educated. It doesn’t matter how much money you begin with. Success really just requires that you persist.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Calvin Coolidge


Nov 142011

This morning I came across a great article listing the five best practices for using Facebook in real estate marketing. Check it out for some more in-depth info.

Here are the best practices Realtors can use to market themselves in Facebook:

1. Use Facebook To Connect with Potential Clients
2. Maintain a Consistent Flow of Communication
3. Integrate Facebook Into Your Existing Marketing
4. Consider Using Facebook Ads
5. Create and Maintain a Professional Image

According to the article over 80% of Realtors are using Facebook. Are you?

Nov 132011

One of the more popular public faces of Google, Matt Cutts, has answered a few questions from webmasters recently and I thought a few of the things he said were worth remembering. Most of what he said was nothing new but still will be new to many reading this.

Matt restated something that I first heard and wrote about a couple of years ago and that is Google makes over 500 algorithm changes each and every year. Your website rankings are going to fluctuate accordingly. In most cases if you are doing all of the right things and your website is of value to visitors you will still rank relatively well. Obsessing over each minor ranking fluctuation is probably a waste of time however as often another change is right around the corner that will change your rank once again – usually restoring positions that you lost in the last fluctuation.

Another thing he mentioned was about the Meta Description tag. Google does not use the Meta Keywords tag in ranking but does use the Meta Description tag. Not only is this tag the first place it looks for the “snippets” displayed for your site’s description in the search results but Google also compares the contents of the description tag to the keywords being searched for to see if the site is a good match for the search.

He also addresses links. You may see that a site has thousands of links pointing at it but that doesn’t mean that Google is considering any of them when ranking the site. The only links Google considers in a positive way when ranking a site are links from sites that Google trusts. The rest are just ignored. Links that are deemed to be purchased or obtained from a “link farm” or similar scheme can still get you penalized and not just ignored. The message is to acquire good quality links and to not waste your time on the rest.

There has long been this misinformation floating around that the best top level domain (TLD) to have for your website is a .com domain. According to Matt that is not the case. All TLDs are treated the same. He did say that if there were a particular TLD that was primarily used for spam content Google may approach a site with more caution. For me, I would think a good example of that would be that having an english language site in a .ru (Russian) domain. That would not be a good idea as that domain is widely used by Russian spammers for english language spam. I doubt most Realtors and their real estate webmasters would be considering using a .ru domain, right?

Thanks for the reminders Matt!