WordPress Real Estate Themed Websites Are Made To Fix Listing Photos Fast

wordpress real estate themed websites photos

Listing photographs sometimes don’t come out as planned and WordPress real estate themed websites are the best format for not only displaying photos but quickly CHANGING them as well.

Let’s face it, taking photographs has made a quantum leap for consumers and business people.

These days a high megapixel iPhone or smartphone in your pocket can produce crisp, colorful high-quality photographs. Those images can be presented to consumers in mere seconds. There is no film to develop. No prints to order. It’s all instantaneous.

Incredible editing tools make it easy to fix even the crummiest photo in seconds. You can crop a photo, adjust the exposure, add contrast and saturate the colors.

A savvy real estate agent who takes a little bit of time to practice their photo skills and learn how to edit photos can become quite a decent photographer (of course, nothing beats a pro. Those smartphones and iPhones can only do so much and when it comes to illuminating a living room, pros still have the know-how and the lighting tools to make those photos pop).

That’s the good news.

Horrible real estate photographs happen

Then there’s bad news.

Some agents, for whatever reason, think because they have a camera in their pocket they can just snap a quick photo without any thought to composition, clutter or clarity.

In fact, there are websites out there devoted to showing really bad real estate photos. Pictures with weird toilets, homeowners asleep in their beds, pets sprawled out in the middle of the floor and rooms that have more clutter than the local landfill.

Those sites include:

https://www.inman.com/2017/11/14/12-real-estate-listing-photo-crimes-that-you-can-never-unsee/

https://badmlsphotos.com

http://terriblerealestateagentphotos.com/

Shooting a good photograph does take a time and effort. Sitting in a car and sticking an iPhone out of the window probably won’t produce an image that grabs a buyer.

Or taking photos of homes that aren’t ready to be photographed – for example, kitty litter trays in the living room, aren’t going to turn on buyers either.

Most agents know how to do shoot real estate photos. They know to make those counters clean, remove all knick-knacks, open up all the windows to let in natural light.

They also know to turn off the TVs, remove the remotes from the coffee table, get those toys out of the living room, remove old rugs, get the cars out of the driveway, take the magnets off the refrigerator door, etc., etc.

That’s only part of the checklist every agent should adhere to. There’s more. Much more.

WordPress real estate themed websites are perfect for updates

Which is one of the key points of using WordPress real estate themed websites as opposed to other platforms.

WordPress real estate themed websites can make the process of uploading images a whole lot easier. Web design companies such as Home Junction can set up a broker or agent with ready-to-go, easy-to-use WordPress website in a short period of time.

Here are a few reasons why this is the smart choice when it comes to real estate photographs:

  1. Loading photos – WordPress is the No. 1 content management platform in the world. It’s not designed for coders and programmers. It’s designed for the average person. The whole concept behind the site is to make adding content an easy task, not a week-long ordeal.

It’s very easy to add photographs to a WordPress real estate themed website. You upload the photo to the Media Gallery. Add a caption. Insert some tags. Adjust the photo to the size you want. Add a link to another page. Then insert the image onto the page and hit the “Publish” button. It’s now live.

  1. Changing photographs – here’s one of the unwritten truths about photography. After you shoot a bunch of photographs at the property, go back to your office and load the photographs onto your website, you realize then the photo could be better. Much better.

It might be the angle. Or it might be the lighting. Perhaps the home was well lit and then the sun snuck behind some clouds for one key image. Maybe you missed an important feature in the kitchen. Perhaps a cat snuck into the frame at the last second and his eyes are lit up like a beast from outer space.

Whatever. You know the photo could be better. You know the buyer won’t be impressed. And you know the seller will not be happy.

No problem. Go back and shoot the photo over again. Come back to your office, open up the Media Gallery in your WordPress real estate themed website, delete the old photo and add the new one.

No big deal. You don’t need to wait for the company IT person to load the photograph. You don’t need to know HTML coding to load an image. It’s simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Updating photographs – the flexibility that comes with WordPress real estate themed websites is also great for adding more up-to-date and current photographs.

Perhaps, a home is listed in January when there is a foot of snow on the ground. Now its May. The snow is gone, the grass is green and the property looks more appealing.  Maybe the owner upgraded the kitchen cabinets. Or perhaps it was time to stage the home with different furniture. Or, the owner finally got around to painting the living room with a fresh new look.

Shoot the photo and quickly update the listing on your WordPress real estate website.

  1. Increase the number of photographs – the great thing about iPhones, smartphones and digital cameras today is that the number of photos you can take is almost limitless (although it is amazing how you can have accumulate 5,000 photographs on your phone in no time).

Nevertheless, it’s certainly better than shooting a roll of 35mm Kodak film that is limited to just 24 photos.

However, consumers also know this is the age of digital photography. They expect to see numerous photographs of a property, not just the front, back, living room, kitchen, and bathrooms. They want to see multiple angles of the front, back, and side yards. They want to see dozens of photographs of the interior.

With WordPress real estate themed websites, this chore is much easier. In fact, there are many plugins available for WordPress that provide off-the-shelf photo galleries that display those images in a big, bright format that is easy to browse.

Studies show that more than 60% of consumers report they just study the photographs for a listing and pretty much totally ignore the text.

In other words, those photographs are your sales tools. They will sell the home. They will make the owner happy as well.

Are you getting the big picture here? WordPress real estate themed websites are the best in the business for changing and updating photographs and providing formats that make those listings pop with beautiful images.

 

WordPress Real Estate Websites And Real Estate Data Feeds Help You Win The Fresh Content Game

wordpress real estate websites searchWordPress real estate websites are a game changer when it comes to fresh content.

This is the story with many brokers and agents. A few years ago he or she created a website. It looked nice at the time. A neat little package of home listings and information about the company.

The site ranked decently on Google and Bing for the neighborhoods they were farming. Not so much for the local market in general, but still showing up on the second or third page for searches.

Life seemed good. The agent felt good about their website and ready to move on to other projects.

Unfortunately, the internet does not work that way.

For one, there are quite a few people watching your website. Not only people, but robots (search bots as they are more commonly called).

Used to be in the old days, if you had content on your website that was relevant to certain keywords, say that neighborhood you are farming, your website would rank high in the search engines for those target keywords.

However, things have changed significantly from the old days of search.

Now Google and Bing have hundreds of factors they use to evaluate websites.

And one of those factors that continues to receive more emphasis is what’s called a “recency” factor.

In other words, how recent was your last update on the website?

How fresh is your content?

WordPress real estate websites offer advantages for fresh content

Web partners such as Home Junction Inc. offer several tools you can use when it comes to competing with others for the “freshness” factor.

Google and Bing know that consumers want to see new, updated and current content. These are consumers raised on finding quick answers to their questions. Those consumers will reward the most current sites with more visits and time spent on those sites.

The search engines know this. So they push those sites with fresher content closer to the top of the search rankings (although as we said, there are hundreds of other factors, including how many other websites link to a site and also the quality of those websites that link there).

In the past, many websites gamed the system by stuffing their pages with target keywords to gain ranking positions on Google or Bing. Many of those sites weren’t built by companies in the local market.

Then the owner of those websites moved on. Either to create similar sites in other markets for target keywords. Or to capture leads for businesses in those markets.

But how helpful are these sites to consumers?

Google and Bing determined that if these sites are not updating their content with fresh information, then they aren’t very relevant to consumers today. They don’t like stale websites.

Fresh content? Sounds easy. But like baking donuts, we all know that a baker has to get up early every day to keep his products fresh.

This is where Home Junction comes in. There are ways to make the process of creating fresh content easier.

WordPress websites for real estate

Let’s start with the website itself. How outdated is your web platform? Was the site created a few years ago? Is it clunky? Difficult to change?

Do you need to contact a web developer to add fresh content? Is there a long, cumbersome process involved in adding text, photos or videos?

If there is,  it’s time to ditch the platform. Switch to WordPress real estate websites.

WordPress is the leading content management software on the planet. It was designed for bloggers to make it easy for the average Joe and Jane to add text and images to their website. (As a side note, the website code was written for those bots to easily decipher the purpose of the website, which both search engines love. If a bot was capable of love).

The platform then evolved into creating full websites for businesses but with still all the efficacy and ease of the original blogging platform.

Many top brands use WordPress for their content. They include Bloomberg, Disney, Variety, The New Yorker and thousands of others.

With WordPress real estate websites, you can easily go into the administration panel, cut and paste some content into the text box, or write an article or blog directly on the website.

There are controls there to make the text bold, italic or underline it. You can easily add hyperlinks to other pages on your website or link to relevant outside websites as a resource for your readers (which by the way, is another factor Google and Bing use with their ranking algorithms).

Bottom line – WordPress is the fastest way to add fresh content to a website. A task of updating a website requires consistency, and a person certainly doesn’t want to jump through hoops to do it. In fact, it’s human nature. The more difficult it is to accomplish a task, the less likely that task will be repeated on a consistent basis.

But consistency with fresh content is a big factor for Google and Bing. They don’t just want to see you update your content every so often. They want to see a website that updates their content on a regular basis and will reward that website for their efforts (assuming of course, other ranking factors are being met).

Real estate data feeds provide reservoir of fresh content

Ease of updating is one of the keys to providing updates on your website.

The other is finding a source of new content.

That’s where Home Junction also makes this task easy.

Home Junction is a national and recognized provider of national real estate data that can be customized down to the local level.

That real estate data includes: Property Sales, Market Trends, School Data, Business Listings, Demographics, Crime Data, Cost of Living Indices, Boundaries and much more.

For brokers and agents, that data can be tailored to their specific markets – their counties, cities, zip codes and even further down to the neighborhood or subdivision level.

That content is constantly updated.

Talk about a resource for fresh content?

By just adding a few lines of code, a broker or agent can embed a feed of this hyper-local data onto any page of their website. Got listings in a certain neighborhood? You can order all this data, charts on recent sales, trends in prices, etc., just for that neighborhood.

A broker or agent can also use that updated content to blast out information on their social media sites – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

That relevant content will be liked and shared by people in those markets or seeking to move to those markets (social signals by the way, are yet ANOTHER factor that Google and Bing use in determining rankings. We told you things have changed dramatically).

Those Google and Bing bots are hard at work every day scanning millions of websites on the internet. Give them something fresh to report back when they come to your evaluating your website.

By switching to WordPress real estate websites with the right data and the latest plugins, brokers and agents can turn their old, outdated websites into powerhouses of fresh content.

 

 

 

Real Estate Plugins Can Help Home Buyers Who Need Roommates To Pay Their Mortgages

 

real estate map tool

Real estate plugins can help young home buyers attract renters to help with their home loan payments.

Let’s face it, living in urban areas is incredibly expensive and the use of real estate plugins is one way to help home buyers get into a property with the idea of renting out part of it.

Yes, home prices and rental rates are going through the roof in some markets. San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles are seeing record highs for prices. Ironically, Millennials want to move to urban areas more than ever. They are in essence, creating their own dilemma.

In addition, Millennials in most markets have held off the purchase of any property. They didn’t want to commit to a mortgage (even though, in another irony, mortgage rates are near record lows. A rate of 4% is still incredibly attractive compared to the 9% rates and higher we’ve seen).

One solution that is growing is a trend called “Co-Living.”

“What is co-living? It’s a concept that multi-family developers are now using to create “common” areas where several people can live together in one unit. Very similar to a dorm.

What does this have to do with a broker or agent?

Many home buyers today are looking at properties with the potential to rent part of the property out to help cover the mortgage.

It’s a smart strategy. The rental market is super-hot right now. If you own a home or condo in a decent location and can offer an attractive rate, you will get inquiries from renters.

This is where a real estate pro can paint a picture of how a property can be a good source of income.

And one of the best ways to paint that picture is with real estate plugins, such as the widgets offered by real estate data providers such as Home Junction.

Choose from a suite of real estate plugins

Sure, you can tell a home buyer this is a great location.

But why not SHOW them how that property is an ideal location on a map embedded on your website? Get the wheels spinning in the buyers head on how they can also use this information to attract renters.

For example, with the real estate map plugin, an agent or broker can point out a prospective property pulled from MLS data.

Then they can start displaying amenities within certain distances of that property.

Maybe it’s a coastal town and the property is located ten miles away from a beach.

Or perhaps it’s a hipster type town and the home is located three miles from downtown.

How about a plugin for local businesses in relation to a property? Alongside the listing, show a widget for businesses nearby. There’s a cool bookstore over here, just a mile away. Love Starbucks? Here’s a Starbucks and here’s a hip local coffee shop within a five-mile radius. A yoga enthusiast? Here’s a place where you can bend and twist within two miles. Sushi restaurants, clubs, book stores – point them all out in relative proximity to the home for sale.

That’s a powerful selling tool to attract renters…

 School data is a must for any real estate website

How about schools? There are quite a few single parents in society. They are all looking for inexpensive places to rent. Great schools would be an enormous draw and in fact, the main draw for them.

Provide a feed on your website with current school data plugin. Show buyers a comprehensive overview of schools in the area with student/teacher ratios, school demographics, etc. (Also provided by Home Junction).

What are trends for home prices in this area, a young home buyer might want to know. With a real estate plugin for Recent Property Sales, an agent can quickly give that consumer a sense of comfort that property prices have been trending upward in this market for the past few quarters.

Conversely, want to attract sellers in a hot market who have the perfect home that would appeal to renters? Offer the Home Junction Home Estimator widget. Sellers will continually use this plugin to check out the value of their property. One day they are going to decide to sell. Make sure they are on your website when they make this decision and have easy access to a lead form or a phone number.

The challenge of convincing consumers today to purchase a home might seem enormous in current conditions. Inventory is low. Prices are high. Millennials are still reluctant to take out a 30-year mortgage.

But real estate pros know challenges come with the territory.

What’s encouraging, is that today, with big data and geo-spatial technology, brokers and agents have an incredible array of inexpensive real estate plugins at their disposal. Tools they can display on their own website (and make sure they keep their clients on their website or generate their own leads).

Some consumers will want to consider adding renters as a home buying strategy. Maybe that’s the only way they can get in a home. That’s fine. You can help. And with key real estate plugins integrated into the local MLS, you will have the best tools to assist them.

 

 

 

How Property Data Can Make Those Critical Email Open Rates Take Off

property data Property data is a must-have for any broker or agent who sends out email to customers.

Why?

Research shows that poor, unappealing content is the No. 1 reason why people ignore or even (oh no!) unsubscribe from emails lists.

Let’s face it. Every business person loves email. You can launch a message out to thousands of people with just the click of a mouse. For little to no cost. There are no stamps, no envelopes, and no post office.

Therein lies the problems. There are so many emails spewing forth onto the web that people have developed blinders on what’s coming into their inbox anymore.

Consumers have heightened filters for bad emails – they can pore over subject lines faster than an airport scanner and delete the trash quicker than the neighborhood garbage man.

And after all the work a broker or agent has to do to get those email subscribers, you certainly don’t want them hitting that dreaded “unsubscribe” button (a feature that is required by law by the way).

Sure emails are free. But it doesn’t mean a broker or agent does not have to invest both time and resources to make them effective.

Because if they don’t, their competitors will.

Take open rates for example.

Where are your open rates? According to MailChimp, an email delivery platform, the average open rate for real estate agents is 20.84%.

If your emails are not hitting that level, then you’ve got a problem. Not only that, you are leaving purchases and listings on the table. Your email is underperforming.

If you are hitting that level, why not make it better? After all, every increase in open percentages means more potential business.

The great benefit of email to brokers and agents is that you only need one response from an email blast, to make it more than worth the effort. Unlike someone who is selling a watch for $9.99. The price point you are dealing with is a bit higher, say 5,000 times higher.

But it goes even deeper.

Say you have successful open rates for your email blasts. That’s great.

But what’s the click-through rate? (See, we told you, the email landscape is a complex one).

The click-through rate is the number of people who open the email and then proceed to click on a link in the email to visit the website (and advance in that precious sales funnel.)

It’s a simple equation and frankly one that’s kind of fun to watch. The more a consumer advances, the more qualified they are as a buyer or seller. In other words, the more they move toward the site and around the site, the hotter they become as a leat).

According to MailChimp, the average real estate email has a clickthrough rate of 1.91%. Frankly, that’s not a great return for all that effort in building a list and sending out emails.

If your click-through rate is low, then again, you are leaving business on the table. But 2% is not much to rant about either. Plenty of opportunities there.

Property data adds power to your email content

How can you fix this?

The solution is a simple one – content. Interesting, relevant, hyper-local content.

Where do you get that content?

From property data providers such as Home Junction, Inc.

Home Junction is part of the new breed of BIG DATA providers who have the ability to amass a tremendous amount of real estate information from a number of different sources.

Those sources include government records on the county and city levels, information from schools, listings of businesses, etc. etc. etc.

One of the big advancements in BIG DATA has been the ability of these providers to feed that information to a local agent in Anytown, USA.

However, that agent doesn’t have to order giant bulky disks full of information. By implementing a few lines of code, that information is fed directly into an agent’s website on whatever page they want.

For example, if an agent is geo-farming That’s A Great Place to live community, the agent can insert hyper-local data about that community alongside listings.

That hyper-local data includes:

  • Recent Homes Sales
  • Trends for Property Prices
  • School Information including student-teacher ratios
  • Local Business listings based on distance
  • Demographics such as age and income
  • Crime Statistics
  • Cost of Living indices

And much more.

Add punch to those subject lines

Now’s that’s perfect content for an email blast.

Instead of just sending another listing, why not put something to this effect in the subject line?

“What You Should Know About The Local Housing Market”

“Prices Are Rising In Your Area. See Charts”

“See Latest Real Estate Data On Up And Coming Neighborhoods”

“Here Are Some Reasons Why You Might Buy In This Community”

Interested consumers will have an interest in this type of property data.

They know it’s not hype, it’s not salesy, it’s factual.

The beauty of email is that brokers or agents can experiment with different subject lines to see which ones get a maximum open rate.

Some systems even allow A/B split testing for email subscribers lists that have a large enough sample for a decent comparison of one subject line versus another.

They key point here is that you now have valuable data at your fingertips to promote – property data that is local, relevant, accurate and current.

Another beauty of finding great subject lines is that you can use them over and over again, with just a slight modification.

For example, with this subject line: “Check Out Latest Price Trends In My Favorite Neighborhood For July.” If you see this subject line works, all you have to do is change the month. Home Junction will supply a new bit of fresh data every month. It’s that simple.

Do the same type of experimentation to increase click-through rates.

You might not want to splash all that local property data directly on the email page.

Perhaps, just put in some teaser information with a link back to the real estate data on your website.

You could even experiment with putting a contact form someone on your page before the information, prompting people to fill out the form if they are interested in learning more about local listings or selling their property.

(But be careful with this, because any bit of friction before a user reaches their destination on a website might cause them to leave. Maybe put the pop-form after they visit the page. Home Junction can help with this as well).

There’s more to email marketing.

A broker or agent can segment their lists, for example. Just send certain emails to people interested I Want To Live There Neighborhood, for example.

The time and day are also important.

So is inserting the prospects name, etc.

Bottom line. Even with all those features, if you are not sending interesting content, you are not going to boost your open and click-through rates.

It’s that simple. All it takes is one phone call. Then you will give your email blasts a property data rocket to boost their marketing power.

 

 

 

 

School Boundaries On Your Website Will Get You High Marks For Local Knowledge

school boundariesIf schools are one of the most important factors that buyers look for in a home, why don’t you have school boundaries showing prominently on your real estate website?

These simple lines on a map are one incredible selling tool for brokers and agents.

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, the quality of school districts was the FOURTH most important factor for home buyers age 35 to 49. It was the SIXTH most critical factor overall. (As you know, every homeowner also knows the value of schools for property prices, even if they don’t have children).

School boundaries are extremely important to home buyers (and obviously to sellers in quality school districts as well).

A real estate data provider such as Home Junction can easily help a broker or agent integrate critical school boundaries onto their website.

Home Junction gathers giant geo-data sets of information on boundaries.

That data includes:

  • Neighborhoods
  • Subdivisions
  • School attendance boundaries
  • School districts
  • Zip codes

What’s important to note is that these datasets go down not to just the county or zip code level, but all the way to the neighborhoods and subdivisions in an area. This is crucial for school boundaries in particular.

By implementing a simple API (Application Programming Interface), which is basically a few bits of code, a broker or agent can make their website a powerhouse of this hyper-local boundary information.

Agents can feature school boundaries on their web pages

How is this accomplished?

Without getting too technical (Home Junction experts will be glad to explain the technical details if you want) those millions of bits of geo-data are organized to create points or coordinates. Those points are then translated into “shapefiles.”

A shapefile is basically a format for showing geo-metric locations when points are joined together into boundary lines. Those shapes basically look like geometric polygons or the outline of an area on a map.

As you can imagine, for a broker or agent to sit down and compile all this information and then draw all those maps would be, well, just about impossible.

And just when you think you may have completed such a monumental task, the cruel point is, boundaries frequently change.

Especially school boundaries.

Sometimes a school may have too many students and the school attendance zones need to be changed. Or perhaps a new school was recently built and a major shift will be required with all the boundaries in all surrounding neighborhoods.

On top of that, then you have those choice charter school and magnet schools that many parents covet for their children.

In addition to the school boundaries, Home Junction also provides details about schools in a text format showing addresses, contact information, principals name, etc.

They also have datasets on student/teachers ratios, etc.

Promote boundary data to buyers and sellers

Studies show owning a house in a popular school district will have a major impact on the price per square foot compared to homes in other areas.

These hyper-local school boundaries and information are hyper-important datasets.

When talking to potential buyers, are you just telling people about the school districts verbally by happenstance?

Or, are you the local broker or agent who has all these school boundaries laid out on a map integrated with a local MLS database into the website?

Which agent do you think house hunters will be more impressed with? Which agent do you think sellers in great school districts will want to list their homes with?

Which agent has a powerful feature they can promote on their home page? Which agent can promote these school boundaries on their social media sites?

At the end of the day, is your school information an A-plus or a D-minus?

When you display these valuable school boundaries on your website, you move to the head of the class for expertise on one of the most important questions posed by house hunters today.