Monday, November 19, 2012

Coming soon...

The iPhone (iOS) and Android powered phones have been around for a while now and 1000's of 'apps' have been downloaded to enable users to go about their daily lives, hobbies etc.  Developers were not slow to target estate agencies and convince them that their own App was a 'must have'.

I have always been resistant to their charms and pleadings as I firmly believed an agent's app was nothing more than egotistical vanity! After all, I would rant, why does anyone want to use a search tool for just my listed properties? Homebuyers are looking for their next home and they really don't care who has it for sale - that's why Rightmove has been so successful.

That was until I was introduced to Paul Fuggle (rhymes with Bugle) www.gobusinessapps.com  . Paul is currently creating me an app that let's me communicate with everyone downloading it, via Push technology. I can reach out to people rather than passively waiting for them to search my website or use the more usual app. 

Definition from Kenneth W. Umbach, Ph.D. Of California State Library

Push technology is a relatively new means for automating the delivery of news and information to computer “desktops” on the Internet and on internal organizational intra- nets. Push methods differ from e-mail in their immediacy--real-time data delivery versus a typically delayed “store and forward” methodology used for e-mail--and in their capacity to provide complex graphics, sound, hyperlinks, and scrolling data that e-mail is not designed to accommodate.

Say you are looking for a 3 bed semi in Ely at £200,000 or less. Record that requirement in the app and as soon as we have one we'll alert you - straight to your phone. It’s not like a text message as you can access all the rich content of a website like photos, video, floorplans etc through the app. But, like a text message, you don't have to read it straightaway. The app user can wait until they have access to a wi-fi network to look at this information. 
The other area that has been concerning me is that more and more people access the web and search online from mobile devices (phones and tablets). If your website is not mobile compatible then the chances are users will get fed up scrolling about their smaller screens to see everything they need to. In addition to the app, when mobile users type in our web address they will automatically be taken to a mobile-friendly version of our site containing all the essential information of the main site.  Rental property won't be left out and there will be documents and information for landlords and tenants.

Mobile searches have grown 400% since 2010

By 2013, more people will use mobiles than PC’s to search online

Local searches account for 40% of mobile search usage, with 70% of these queries resulting in action within 1 
hour 


For tenants we've included the 'Tenant Cam'. Basically you use your phones' camera to photograph what you are having a problem with and send it to us. This enables us to route the appropriate repair person to you with the knowledge of what's needed and should help us get things sorted faster.

If you are a buyer new to the Ely area it may be easy to lose your car in the town's car parks so we've included 'Find my Car'. Get out of the car, allow your built in GPS to locate you, press the button to 'store' this location then off you go. Time to return to the car? Just click on 'Find' and the phones' GPS will take you back to your start point!

We are a little way from launch but be assured we'll 'Push' this info to you as soon as it's ready!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 is nearly done, roll on 2013!


We are now past mid way through November 2012 and although the market seems to be holding up remarkably well I suspect we won't get far into December before the season takes the focus of most sellers and buyers in another direction. For those who are going to give up on this year and decide to launch or re-launch their property into the early 2013 market then here a few tips on choosing that all important estate agent:
  • How long have you been in residential property sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.
  • What designations do you hold? Designations such as FNAEA and MRICS, which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training, are held only by about 25% of estate agents.
  • How many homes did you and your firm sell last year? By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the agent has.
  • How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market? The agent you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics to provide a comparison.
  • How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices? This is one indication of how skilled the agent is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool market.
  • What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has progressive (not aggressive!) and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your agent is responsive.
  • Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because agents are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, builders and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive commission from any of the providers.
  • What’s your business philosophy? While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.
  • How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but how you judge the response will reflect your own desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you prefer not to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit? Would you like a log-in to a 'vendor portal' to see what is happening?
  • Have a pre-sale home appraisal. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale marketing appraisal. An estate agent will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before viewings begin.
  • Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or loft. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and skirtings to make the house shine.
  • Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn out or will need to be replaced soon, such as your flooring or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.
  • Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the boiler, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.
  • Spruce up the kerb appeal. Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and damage?
  • Call David Clark and Company on 01353 665020 to get the ball rolling! www.clarkhomes.co.uk