Defining Homes: Ask the Experts

As Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a number of other social networking sites are more and more prevalent in everyday life — professional and personal — we wondered whether the trend is effective as a marketing tool in the real estate industry as a marketing tool. Area agents put in their two cents worth on how the trend works, or doesn’t work, for them in their work.

Vice president of real estate services for Prudential, Steve Shatsky has presided over classes on the use of social networks in business. He discusses, at length, how the trend has worked for him and the strategies behind using the networks.

Now we’re just waiting for all of them to accept our friend requests.


Steve Habgood

Steve Habgood

Hewitt & Habgood Realty Group

Social networking is an important component of an overall marketing effort. It helps keep us connected with our friends, family and clients on a personal, individual level. We d

on’t use it to push all our new listings or open houses. It’s more of a pull marketing rather than push marketing effort. Brian Bleeker on our team is especially effective in using it to keep connected and informed about what’s going on in his circle of friends and clients.

Mike Grossman

Re/Max Urban

Social networking is not a tool to sell real estate in my opinion. It is an effective way to stay in “personal touch” with customers, clients, friends and acquaintances and to inform them of emerging trends, market conditions and updated information regarding real estate.

Jack Evans

Ellen Terry, a division of Ebby Halliday Real Estate

Just today, I received an invitation to join a new group: “Realtors on Facebook.” The purpose of the realtor group so far has been to let member Realtors know about new listings and buyer needs (looking for something that is not active on the market).

Bob McCranie

Texas Pride Realty

I have different fan pages for the 20 or so towns I work in. I advertise those pages and invite other people to put content on those pages. I get people who aren’t even friends to participate and solicit buyers and sellers.

Jere Becker

Jere Becker

Pinnacle Experts Group

For investment houses I am looking to sell or rent, I use it to market the property, especially now where there are so many buyers looking for seller financing and don’t use the services of a Realtor. Video is going to be the preferred medium for viewing properties and the link is easy to put into social media.

To find clients who want to sell, I use it to market my services. Also, real estate is evolving into a consulting business where my clients pay only for the services they want.

Steve Shatsky

Steve Shatsky

Prudential Texas Properties

Social networking is not a “new” tool. Agents on the cutting edge in building business and effectively marketing their clients’ properties have been using it for several years now. In fact, any agent today who does not have a social networking strategy as part of both his/her business and marketing plans is missing a critical component.

I have been successfully using Facebook to create visibility for listings and draw attention to open houses. I have also used Facebook to connect with and strengthen my relationships with clients. Real estate is a business of relationships and Facebook allows me to communicate and get to know my clients even better, while it allows them to get to know me better, as well.

My Dallasism.com blog has served multiple purposes. It has provided a search engine optimized platform to promote my listings to prospective buyers searching for homes on the Internet. It also allows me to provide monthly market reports for all the Turtle Creek highrises to prospective buyers and sellers searching for information on the Internet.

Dallasism.com has introduced new clients to me and my market expertise in the Turtle Creek area.

Lastly, I have blogged and been an ambassador for ActiveRain (an international real estate networking and blogging website) for more than three years. My blogging as a member of the ActiveRain community has allowed me to develop relationships and a nationwide network of real estate agents who refer business to me and with whom I network to share marketing and business ideas. This has been invaluable, allowing me to gain insight into new trends and innovative technologies, giving me a competitive advantage over agents whose networking is confined to only a local level.

Shatsky is vice president of real estate services, Dallas office manager for Prudential Texas Properties. He has recently taught classes on the use of blogging and Facebook in real estate at several locations across the DFW area for the MetroTex Association of Realtors. He was a panelist on the topic of real estate blogging for ActiveRain at their RainCamp-Charlotte event last fall, and will be speaking on a panel covering the topic of short sales at the Prudential Real Estate sales convention in San Diego in March.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Look closer • Defining Homes

Buyers and owners alike can always find hidden discounts

By M. M. Adjarian

These days, there’s no denying that anyone who owns, sells or buys property is concerned with the bottom line. With liquidity in short supply and loans more difficult to secure, homeowners and homebuyers are looking for ways to get the most and best for their money. Besides, who doesn’t like a good deal?

With his experience as a Dallas Realtor, Rogers Healy of Rogers Healy and Associates Residential Real Estate, knows what to look for regarding money-saving opportunities for people standing on either side of the property-owning fence.

If a property owner is specifically renovating to sell, taking care of electrical, plumbing, roofing, foundation and window issues should be at the top of any to-do list.

“It’s the stuff that a homebuyer’s going to ask for when they get the house under contract,” says Healy.

Healy advises to do research on how much projects will cost and then to get bids from contractors.

“In the economy that we’re in, people are definitely willing to work for less,” he says.

Just don’t limit searches for bids to the newspapers and telephone book. Consider a modern approach. Healy suggests that social networking is a reliable way to go with the search. Plus, feedback is easily found.

“I think you can catch some great deals on Facebook fan pages and on Twitter as well,” Healy says. “That and also skimming the paper. Places like Home Depot and Lowe’s will compete against each other for your business, meaning they will want you to come to their store for the better deal.”

Realty offices are a surprising resource. After buying your home,  the affair, with your agent doesn’t stop there. Agents and firms can also provide homeowners the names of vendors specializing in renovation materials and services.

Healy’s own firm has a service provider list “of at least three people for everything from aquarium installation to air duct cleaning” that it shares with clients and non-clients alike. The one word of caution Healy has for home renovators is that a project could run double the expected price tag.

“Prepare for it to cost more money than you think,” he says.

Financial flexibility is crucial for those selling their home. Properties stay on the market longer due to the economic situation and seasonal fluctuations. These conditions are creating possibilities for property discounts that come from homeowners willing to sell for a lesser price.

One option would allow the seller to finance a home purchase. Another, which is becoming increasingly popular, is leasing to own the property.

“People who maybe have been burned or don’t have great credit or don’t have a huge amount of liquidity can get on a contract and then have an extended option period which is the lease,” Healy explains. “At the end of the lease, they have the option to apply a percentage of the money they’ve paid as rent as a down payment and purchase the property.”

Neither method of financing provides buyers with discounts, but  offer possibilities for home ownership to more people.

Affordable options and breaks are also offered to veterans, individuals who have owned property for two or more years and first-time buyers.
Or you could just be in the right job at the right time.

“A couple of banks I know of are doing creative financing if the buyer is a CPA, a dentist, an accountant or an attorney,” Healy adds.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of Defining Homes Magazine October 8, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas