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12 Days of iPhone Apps: Day 2: Home Value Pro

On the 2nd day of iPhone Apps
MyTechOpinion blogged to you…
The data from Home Value Pro
Will keep you in the know!

About Home Value Pro:

There have been a variety of consumer facing home search apps released and updated over the course of the year. Both Zillow and Trulia provide feature centric apps making mobile home search a fun, easy, and visual experience. BHGRE’s Home Select app is a helpful tool for home buyers and sellers. Instead of focusing on home search, this app is a consumer’s assistant in the home selection process by providing organization tools and information. If I were looking for my next home, I would enjoy chronicling my favorite homes with pictures, comments, and ratings….and then share my experience with friends and family via email or Facebook. [Read more...]

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Trulia Sure to Impress Consumers with New iPhone App and More

Trulia has been busy creating new features aimed at improving the home search experience while also making housing data readily accessible to today’s consumer. Pete Flint, Trulia CEO, said “At Trulia, our mission is to deliver unique local insight to consumers when they want it, how they want it, and where they want it.  Today’s launch is a big step in this direction.”

Personalization

Trulia knows the areas you care about! How can that be? It’s true now when you visit Tulia’s homepage you’ll see local results for new property listings, home price changes, upcoming open houses, [Read more...]

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Advertise to Your Local Niche via Trulia Pro

If you are looking for an affordable option for advertising to your local audience, Trulia can help. Yesterday, Trulia stepped up with yet another great feature to assist real estate agents and local businesses with the launch of Trulia Pro.

With Trulia Pro, you can target up to 20 locations with unlimited local spotlight ads. Participant listings will also get a boost to the top of relevant search results. And this self-service offering is available via a low fixed fee of $39 a month, or annually for $348 (just $29 a month).

Why advertise at Trulia you say?

“Trulia is the fastest growing online real estate site with approximately 5m unique monthly users and is a top 10 real estate site.” –Rudy Bachraty

Give your brand, your service, and your listings the online visibility they need to take your business to the next level. Advertise with links to your real estate blog and/or Trulia Voices Profile to grow your network of readers, clients, and colleagues.

Oh, and if you are already using another advertising program, Trulia wants to give you 3 months FREE with the purchase of a one year subscription.

Visit the Trulia Blog to learn more!

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Trulia First to Go Google Street View

trulia-street-view.jpgNot since the acquisition of Rudy Bachraty, has the Trulia team unleashed such “coolness” in the real estate community!  As of today, Trulia is the first national real estate search Website to incorporate Google’s Street View technology

Google’s Street View mapping is a phenomenal tool for real estate agents.  With it, agents and consumers can view a property up close at street view level, walk or drive past the property and surrounding neighborhood, and even check out the yard and other attributes of the lot. For those agents specializing in relocation, this is obviously a powerful resource for learning about a new area.  Rudy, Trulia’s Social Media Guru, adds, “Besides zooming in on the minute details of the exterior of the house, now you can actually take a peek at [Read more...]

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Marketing Your Real Estate Blog

Recently I was invited to the Inman Connect in New York to speak on a panel about “Marketing Your Real Estate Blog”. As you may know this can be a tricky topic. Please enjoy this video:

Remember that marketing your real estate blog will come in many forms. Here are a few more ideas:

  1. Start with properly formatted HTML
  2. Create remarkable and link worthy content
  3. Syndicate original content: Ezine Articles, GoArticles
  4. Social Bookmarks: StumbleUpon, Digg and Del.icio.us
  5. Participate in communities: ActiveRain, Zolve, RealTown, Trulia Voices, etc
  6. Guest post on popular blogs
  7. Analytics Software: Google Analytics, Clicky, CrazyEgg
  8. Conduct interviews with opinion leaders
  9. Widgets: MyBlogLog, WidgetBox
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Sidebar "Bling" Cross Promotes Your Online Presence

These days real estate professionals are members of social sites, online communities, blogs and more. So how do we deliver a consistent brand and message over so many tools? Also how to we channel interested parties to our other communities? One way is to use a similar sidebar for each application.

Introducing the BLING Widget for Real Estate Agents

Since we have not seen the perfect sidebar bling application for you real estate agents, we developed one for you to use. You will notice inStep 7″ I instruct you to use the full path to the icons. This is so that you can use this code on real estate networks like Activerain, Facebook and more without making further changes.

Here is an example of the buttons I have created for your use.
(Buttons from left to right: LinkedIn, Facebook, RSS, Activerain, Zolve, MyBlogLog, Google MyMaps, Friendster, Trulia Voices, Zillow and RealTown Real Estate Network.)

DOWNLOAD ZIP FILE OF BUTTONS HERE.

IMPORTANT: If you are adding this to your blog, please make a backup of your template before beginning so you can easily restore things if you need too.

Step 1:
Create a new folder on the root directory of your website or blog and title it “bling

Step 2:
From the icons I’ve created, choose the specific icons you want to use on your sidebar widget and add them to your newly created folder titled “bling”. (Note: Choose either the .jpg files or the .png files. PNG files have a transparent background.)

Step 3:
Start by opening notepad or your HTML editor. Now you will be adding the code from each step to the blank notepad document. Please add each snippet of code to notepad in the order below. If you are advanced, the complete code is avaliable here.

Step 4
Copy the code below. Now paste into the notepad document we opened in Step 3. The code we just copied is for the header of our widget. The widget title is”Find Me Online” If you would like to use a different headline, replace those words with your own. You can also update the header and border color by replacing the hexadecimal (6 Digit) color with one from this chart.

Step 5
Copy the text below. Now paste this code after the code above. We will be editing it as follows:

Replace [Insert URL of Personal Photo] with absolute/full URL to photo. (i.e. http://www.mytechopinion.com/images/reggie.jpg) (Tip: Ideal width is 75 pixels or less)
Replace [Insert Name] with your name
Replace [Insert Company Name] with your company or blog name
Replace [Insert Your Blog or Website URL Here] with your actual URL

Step 6
Copy the code below. This is the DIV for the buttons. Please paste to our open notepade file after the previous code.

Ok, now you will start to add the buttons for your widget. 4 buttons will fit on each row. If you are using more than 4 buttons, you can add another DIV by preforming Step 6 again. This will create a 2nd row of icons.

Step 7
Earlier you added the buttons for your widget into a newly created folder. Now find the corresponding code from the options below. Then add each desired to your notepad or open editor. Look for “<!–Insert Buttons to the left of this block–>” and paste the button(s) code before it.

LinkedIn
Replace [Insert LinkedIn URL] with the link to your LinkedIn Profile.

Facebook
Replace [Insert Facebook URL] with the link to your Facebook Profile. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

ActiveRain
Replace [Insert Activerain URL] with the link to your Activerain Profile or blog. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

RSS
Replace [Insert RSS URL] with the link to your RSS feed URL. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Zolve
Replace [Insert Zolve URL] with the link to your Zolve profile or blog. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

MyBlogLog
Replace [Insert ByBlogLog URL] with the link to your MyBlogLog Community. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Friendster
Replace [Insert Friendster URL] with the link to your Friendster URL. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

MyMaps
Replace [Insert MyMaps URL] with the link to your custom Google MyMaps page. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Trulia Voices
Replace [Insert Trulia Voices URL] with the link to your Trulia Voices profile. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Zillow
Replace [Insert Zillow Profile URL] with a link to your profile on Zillow. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

RealTown Real Estate Network
Replace [Insert RealTown Profile URL] with a link to your profile on RealTown Real Estate Network. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Complete! If you have followed each step closely, you should have the complete code now. Simply copy and paste the code we created into your sidebar (keep in mind the widget is 210 pixels wide) and you will now be cross promoting yourself online. Keep in mind the same exact code can be used on your Activerain sidebar, Facebook and more.
View my profile on Zolve Join my community on MyBlogLog Friend me on Friendster View my location info on MyMaps Grab my RSS Feed Read my blog on Activerain Friend me on Facebook Join me on LinkedIn
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RSS and Pipes are the Future of Real Estate Content

Lately I have been hearing a lot of talk about a technology called Yahoo Pipes, and what it can do to streamline RSS feeds. So today we are going to demystify RSS and Pipes for your benefit!

Let’s Talk RSS
To start, you must be noticing it gets harder and harder each day to keep up on all the great content accross the web. You likely know that Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an easy way to keep up with this ever changing content. Rather than going out to each of your favorite sites one by one to see if they have new and appealing content for you, RSS is designed to bring the content of the sites you subscribe to right to your desktop via a Feed Reader. So rather than individually visiting 25 blogs in a row…simply open your reader and browse all content from one location. Your content comes to you!

Yahoo Pipes Technology Explained
Ok, now that you understand RSS let’s talk about Pipes. The term originally comes from UNIX and means roughly the output from each process is chained together creating a new output. Think of aggregation. You can say that pipes are the natural evolution of the RSS feed. Think about the current state of the blogosphere. Today you write a post on ActiveRain, tomorrow on Zolve, then Trulia and of course there is that guest post you recently did on another blog favorite. Plus this whole time you have been posting on your own blog. So how do you take all this content and mash it up into one feed for your readers? Introducing Yahoo Pipes.

Yahoo Pipes will aggregate and mashup content from around the web using RSS, data sorts, filters and translation. (Did I mention that no programming is required?) So in the example I mentioned above, the pipe you create could be a mashup of all your posts in one place—filtered by your name.

Let’s Build a Pipe
To get started, go to Yahoo Pipes and register for your free account. Once you have logged in, click the “Create a Pipe” button. You’ll notice the canvas appears. Start by simply dragging the module titled “Fetch Feed” from the library pane on the left side onto your working canvas. One by one enter the feeds that you would like to combine. Click the “+” sign to the left of URL to add another feed. Repeat the steps as necessary. Now drag out modules from the library such as “Sort” and “Filter”. Make sure you connect each module by its connecters. Once you have customized your pipe, click the save button and name the feed. Now click properties and give your feed a description and tags. Congratulations! Now save and publish your feed.


See an example of a pipe here. This is a combination of NikNik’s posts here at MyTechOpinion and the HelpMyAgent blog. See tutorials here.

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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, Local.com, Vast, and RealBird’s own SearchOnMaps.com. You can also grab the code to post on tools like Craigslist, Backpage, Kijiji, Facebook etc.