Archives for August 2007


Email Newsletters for Real Estate Agents

Real estate newsletters are a very popular form of communication. Email newsletters can be a great alternative for busy real estate agents who want to try another marketing medium, save on printing costs and reach a larger audience. Brand yourself as the local expert and offer community information. Include your latest listings and inform your clients with real estate industry news. A concise newsletter with several small informative snippets is the way to go! In addition, you can direct your subscribers back to your website and blog, as well as capture new leads. But before you can do all this, make sure you have collected, and continue to collect, email addresses and update your contact database regularly. There are a variety of online marketing websites that can help you take it from there. Try these similar, yet different marketing solutions on for size:

  1. Constant Contact
    Choose from a variety of professionally designed newsletter templates. You?ll need to insert pictures, contact info AND your own industry articles. Cost is based on your email list size. So the range spans from $15 a month for a list 0-500, all the way to $225 for lists up to 25,000! You can also create unlimited surveys and invite participation from your email list or website visitors.
  2. iContact
    iContact is an email marketing service that provides you with the ability to design a template, insert your content, send, and track email newsletters, RSS feeds, surveys, and autoresponders. Pricing starts at $9.95 per month for 500 contacts to $699 a month for up to 100,000 contacts!
  3. MyNewlsetterBuilder
    MyNewsletterBuilder gives you the ability to incorporate multi-media within your newsletter: virtual tours, audio tours, rotating banner ads, and custom template design. Free 60 day trial. Offers additional services: website design, RSS Feeds Setup, SEO, and more!
  4. EmailFusion
    If you have even less time to create content and you don?t mind spending a bit more, EmailFusion may be the answer for you. Besides having some amazing looking email campaigns, they offer professional pre-written content for your newsletter. And for those of us who prefer original content, you still have the ability to insert your own content. With EmailFusion, you can easily manage your subscribers and receive real time reports with detailed analytics. Pricing on their packages range from $39.95/month to $139/month, all include a $99 one time set-up fee.
  5. Zookoda
    Great solution for real estate bloggers! Promote your blog and your brand! With Zookoda, you can send a daily, weekly, or monthly summary of your blog content. You can also manage your subscribers and enhance your blog with custom a subscription form. For those of you that know a little HMTL, use their Zootags to customize your newsletter. (Format your picture, logo, etc.) Oh, and did I mention it?s FREE! (BTW-We use it and we like it!)
  6. Create your own with a Publisher template!
    This is a great option if you have an assistant or work in a team. And FREE! Create you own Publisher template and have your assistant fill in the local and community info, featured listings, etc. Bloggers, just copy and paste your blog content into your newsletter template. Send your email newsletter right from Publisher (File>Send Email>Send this page as message) and access your Outlook database! And for those of you that are using Publisher 2007, you can take advantage of their new email merge feature. Once you have set up a template, it?s just about plug and play!

Kyte Offers Online TV Technology for your Real Estate Business

Video has been reshaping the Internet, and it?s no different for your real estate business. Think back to your listings online, what do consumers want? Enhanced content?right? They want multiple photos, home tours and now video. So the same could be said for real estate information on your website. A text-based story would work, but imagine an article with video and photo support. Could you prove your point better? Could you also brand yourself better? I believe so!

Introducing; their technology will allow you to create your own FREE real estate TV channel and broadcast it to the world. Your TV channel can include still photos, slide shows, video, music, voice and instant polls to help enhance your online presence and in turn, provide you a competitive edge in your real estate business. You may choose to include videos outlining industry trends, steps towards home ownership, the selling and buying process, real estate investment, or even showcase local attractions & hotspots. Of course you would also include video tours and photos of your listed homes for maximum appeal. Why not also invite colleagues such as your preferred lender to talk on evaluating loans, and improving credit. The ideas are limitless.

Once your TV channel is built, Kyte will allow you to embed it on your website, blog or even Facebook. Then every time you update your TV channel using the interface, your website and blog will be updated simultaneously. Kyte has also integrated chat technology, allowing your audience to leave comments promoting your website community.

If you are interested in leveraging the latest in Internet TV technology for your real estate business don?t wait; create your own channel today!

A few other companies providing similar TV channel technology:

  1. SplashCast
  2. Vidiac
  3. Panjea

vFlyer Offers Single Property Sites

Or, ?custom and vanity domains? as Oliver Muoto prefers. Earlier this month, vFlyer launched their single property site solution, Domain Plus. If you are already using vFlyer to create your listing flyers for syndication, then you may want to consider upgrading your subscription with Domain Plus. If you are not a current vFlyer subscriber, I urge you to check out this valuable real estate marketing tool.

With Domain Plus, you can search for and then purchase the domain name for your vFlyer listing ad or gallery. For example, a listing at 1731 Chanson Place in GA, would have the domain: (Thanks Brad) Now you can spotlight your listings on the Web by giving them their own URL. Show your clients just how dedicated you are to featuring their listing in a variety of mediums?single property sites being one of them. This is a great feature to highlight in your prelisting presentation as well.

vFlyer can save you more time than ever now by giving you an additional marketing option with minimal set up time. Even the best multi-taskers will appreciate the ability to create listing ads, distribute them to leading online marketplaces, and purchase custom domains all in one visit to vFlyer.

vFlyer is offering competitive pricing for their single property sites. You do need to sign up for an annual subscription to take advantage of Domain Plus. For example, a vFlyer starter subscription has an annual fee of $99.50 a year, monthly fee of $9.95 and each domain name can be purchased for $9.95 each. (Total cost $149.25) Also, the more you purchase the more you get. vFlyer is currently promoting their ?FREE Domain Name Offer? until August 31st. Anyone who signs up or upgrades to an annual subscription will get one or more free domain names, as well as 2 months free service.

BTW-vFlyer is not the only one is town offering these bundled services. RealBird provides a similar tool with their Listing Publisher. Both are great offerings depending on your specific Website wants.


11 Powerful Excel Formulas to Clean Your Real Estate Database

Have you ever had the need to reformat a column of data in Excel? Possibly changing how the names read for a mailing list, or reformatting an address. If so you know that the right formulas can save you a great amount of time and frustration. I have 11 powerful excel formulas that will surely help out. Bring the power of Excel?s technology to your desktop.

  1. To extract the first name of a cell: type the following formula in B1 (Results: John)
    =LEFT(A1,FIND(” “,A1))
  2. To extract all of the text after the first word: type the following formula in B2 (Results: L. Smith)
    =MID(A2,FIND(” “,A2,1)+1,LEN(A2))
  3. To extract the last word in a cell: type the following formula in B3 (Results: Smith)
    =RIGHT(A3,FIND(” “,A3))
  4. To change the cell to all lowercase: type the following formula in B4 (Results: john smith)
  5. To change the cell to title case: type the following formula in B5 type the following formula (Results: John Smith)
  6. Change the cell to upper case: type the following formula in B6 (Results: JOHN SMITH)

  1. Takes everything to the left of the comma: type the following formula in B1 (Results: Anytown)
  2. Takes two characters after the comma. A perfect formula to extract state from the cell: type the following formula in C1 (Results: CA)
  3. Take the last 5 characters of the cell. If you have zip +4 change the 5 to 10: In cell D1 type the following formula (Results: 99999)

  1. This formula will join two cells with a space in between: In cell C1 type the following formula (Results: John Smith)
    =A1&” “&B1
  2. Say you have first owner name and second owner name in the next column. You may only have second owner names for half of the list. With the standard concatenate function, you will have an ?&? after each name whether or not there was a 2nd owner name. With my formula it will only add the ?&? if there is a 2nd owner name. So this works conditionally checking for text in the 2nd cell. : In cell C1 type the following formula (Results: John & Amy)
    =MID(IF(ISTEXT(A2),””&A2,””)&IF(ISTEXT(B2),” & “&B2,””),1,100)

To use the formula to populate the entire column you will need to use the “Fill” command. For that see the following graphic:

Once you have finished cleaning and scrubbing your data, you still have one more thing to do. You need to keep the column of data you just created, but remove the formula that was used to generate it.

Begin by highlighting the column of data you just created? column ?B?. Right mouse click on the column heading and choose ?Copy?. Then right click on the same column heading ?B? and select ?Paste Special? then select ?As Values? and click ?OK?.


RSS Feeds: Double the Fun with the Common Feeds List

Technology for Real Estate Feed

Now when you build your subscription list of RSS Feeds in Internet Explorer 7, you can access the same list within Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. Access your important real estate information (like Real Estate Tech Tips from MyTechOpinion) in both places by sharing one RSS Feeds subscription list via the Common Feeds List in Microsoft Windows. The Common Feeds List is used by programs such as Office Outlook 2007 and Internet Explorer 7 as a common location for RSS Feeds information. So, when you add an RSS Feed to any program that uses the Common Feeds List, that RSS Feed is available in all programs automatically. If an RSS Feed is deleted from the Common Feeds List, it will also be removed from Office Outlook 2007. You can change your current settings within the Advanced Options dialog box to begin this synchronization within Explorer and Outlook (see directions below). If you have not started a RSS Feed subscription list you will be prompted to synchronize by a dialog box with the first RSS Feed you choose to add.

Synchronize my Outlook RSS Feed subscriptions with the Common Feeds List

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Other tab, under General, click Advanced Options.
  3. Under General settings, select the Sync RSS Feeds to the Common Feed List check box.

Stop synchronizing my Outlook RSS Feed subscriptions with the Common Feeds List

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Other tab, under General, click Advanced Options.
  3. Under General settings, clear the Sync RSS Feeds to the Common Feed List check box.

The Future of Mobile Real Estate Technology Is Upon Us

While advances in computer hardware seem to appear everyday, it is infrequent that any such advancements truly mean anything to the mobile real estate agent. For the most part, real estate technology applications don?t require much processing power. This means that most real estate agents won?t see any noticeable difference in the use of a brand-new, cutting-edge laptop and one that is a year or 2 old.

Although I did say that it is infrequent that a significant technology advancement is introduced, we are on the verge of 2 such advancements. In fact, these 2 changes in laptop technology are so revolutionary that they are bound to influence the purchases of the mobile real estate agent for years to come.

Solid State Drives (SSD)
Any computer technician will tell you that laptop hard drives are prone to failure, much more so than desktop hard drives. This can be attributed to the bumps and bruises experienced from being a mobile device. No matter how careful you are with your laptop, your hard drive has most likely been knocked around a bit.

Hard drives are also one of the biggest drains on laptop batteries. The process of spinning the hard drive platters sucks a large amount of power.

Solid state drives solve both of these problems. By using flash memory (like thumbdrives, digitial cameras and small MP3 players), solid state drives are able to perform the same tasks as a traditional hard drive, but with no moving parts. No spinning platters means that energy consumption is reduced greatly and the durability of the drives is improved.

Toshiba is about to release the world?s very first laptop with a solid state drive. The Portege R500-S5003 will include a 64GB solid state drive. Upon its release, The Portege R500, with its solid state drive, 7mm thick DVD-RW drive and LED screen, will be the most advanced ultraportable to date.

LED Displays
A discussion on laptop battery life is not complete without talking about the power usage of the display. There is a reason that energy comsumption profiles on laptops dim the display when running off of battery. The display is one of the largest users of battery power of any laptop component.

The newly introduced use of LED lights in laptop displays instead of the traditional cold cathode fluorescent light is drastically changing the way we look at laptop screens. LED produces a brighter, whiter light than fluorescent while consuming far less power. LED lights are also smaller, making screens using them about half as thick as other screens.

LED screens are partly responsible for the recent promotion of ultra-thin laptops. My favorite of these new breed of computer is Dell?s XPS M1330. This 13.1?, media-intensive laptop could be the best blend of business mobility and personal life functionality all housed in a machine that stands barely over 1 inch tall.

Keep these 2 new technologies in mind when you purchase your next laptop computer. The LED screens are becoming quite prevalent, by the end of the year all laptop manufacturers should have an LED option or model.

The solid state drives may take a bit longer to become mainstream. You will start to see them in high-end, ultraportable machines. A hybrid drive (a traditional hard drive with flash memory onboard) may become more popular with manufacturers until the cost of solid state drives comes down and their capacity goes up.

Related Articles:


SpotIt Brings Community Interaction to your Real Estate Website

Do you want an easy and quick way to enhance the content and value of your real estate website? Well, SpotIt?a new solution offered by OnBoard, may have just what you need. SpotIt is a ?plug and play? Web 2.0 solution that allows consumers who visit your website to vote on their favorite local ?spots?. Instantly turn your real estate website into a social networking community by giving visitors the opportunity to create their own categories and vote on them such as ?Best Date Spot? or ?Best Neighborhood for Kids?. SpotIt utilizes OnBoard?s huge store of community, amenity and school information and brings it to you via the SpotIt API or hosted page templates. SpotIt?s easy integration will give your real estate website a more significant presence on the web, as well as increase traffic. This fabulous community tool combines pinpoint mapping and local opinions to give your website visitors ?real? information regarding hot spots in their area. Now your real estate website can promote you as a local expert and facilitate the community dialogue that will get you noticed! Check it out!


RealBird?s New Features and New Business Model

RealBird has reworked their business model for you real estate agents, and will now be offering their RealBird Listing Publisher technology for free?without advertising. RealBird?s Listing Publisher has some great value propositions and is one of 7 great ways to syndicate your listing. To start, Listing Publisher will allow you to create an unrestricted amount of property websites. Since we know that enhanced content online helps sell the home, start by uploading an unlimited amount of property photos. Also use their powerful HTML editor to embed any multimedia content such as a video tour of the home, panoramic slide show or podcasts.

According to NAR, approximately 70% of buyers want to know more about the community they are buying in, so you?ll want to use the rich-text editors to include community and neighborhood information. Potential buyers will also see a ?ValPak? icon to the map providing local coupons to enhance their experience. The Listing Publisher will also cross market your listings on each custom site you?ve created. You will also want to include these listings on your personal website. Simply grab their ?Just Listed? widget to display your listings in the side bar of your website or blog. Or maybe it?s GeoRSS mapping widget you?re looking for. This widget will provide your website visitors local street maps, amazing 40 degree angle “bird’s eye” views (HOT technology) with local points of interest overlay.

Once your site is built, easily publish your listing site to a domain of your choice. Now it?s time to syndicate your listing for maximum exposure. RealBird can help you get the word out to Google Base, Trulia, Edgeio, Lycos Classifieds, Oodle,, Vast, and RealBird?s own You can also grab the code to post on tools like Craigslist, Backpage, Kijiji, Facebook etc.