Previous month:
October 2009
Next month:
December 2009

November 2009

Global Listing and Referral Platform

As you know, Members of the Institute receive free accounts on ProxioPro, an international MLS and referral platform.  It is about to get even better...

Proxio has some BIG NEWS.  They have announced a partnership with ICREA, the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations to roll out the Proxio Platform to associations around the world and integrate the Proxio platform with the www.worldproperties.com website. 

This will create great opportunities for you to market yourself and your properties to even more agents around the world.


Here's their Press Release:

INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS PARTNERS TO DELIVER
MULTILANGUAGE TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS TO AGENTS

ICREA selects Proxio to provide cross-border client referral and property listing exchange support in 11 languages for real estate brokers and agents in 40+ countries.

CHICAGO, IL, / CUPERTINO, CA, (Nov. 19, 2009) - ICREA, a consortium of the world’s leading real estate associations, and Proxio, Inc., the international marketing and networking platform for real estate, today announced a partnership to provide the “Global Listing and Referral Platform” a transnational referral platform and world listing exchange application on ICREA’s website Worldproperties.comThe platform application will serve for 1.7 million ICREA agent/broker members throughout the world affiliated with one of more than 40 leading national and regional real estate associations affiliated with ICREA.

The partnership was presented to the annual Plenary of ICREA, held in San Diego, CA, last Friday, where ICREA association representatives viewed a prototype for a new design of WorldProperties.com, which includes the introduction of the Global Listing and Referral Platform. The site will be re-launched to take advantage of the Proxio technology and to better showcase to agents/brokers and to consumers over 4 million properties from ICREA member associations.

Property listings and agent/broker profiles will be searchable in 11 languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese and Korean. Additional languages will be added as the project develops.

“We chose Proxio as our technology partner because they offer a unique set of networking services for real estate professionals, and because they provide all of their services in multiple languages and customizable formats,” said ICREA CEO Thijs Stoffer. “In today’s industry, agents who market themselves and their listings on a global scale are much more likely to do business. ICREA agents and brokers participating in ICREA’s Global Referral and Listing Platform can work in their own languages, and have the option of easily building personal referral networks and promoting listings to other agents worldwide, which helps them grow their businesses.“

ICREA member associations see the Proxio partnership as the foundation of an important member service. “During down markets, agents must be creative in marketing themselves and their listings,” said Stoffer. “While the market may slow in one part of the world, there are buyers elsewhere around the globe looking for distinctive properties for both personal and investment use and WorldProperties.com is the place to find these properties.”

“ICREA is an outstanding organization, promoting professional standards for international real estate transactions and working to provide the best possible information and services to international agents and consumers,” said Janet Case, Proxio’s CEO. “Our technology couldn’t have found a more appropriate application, and we are delighted to have been chosen to be ICREA’s partner.”

ICREA Board Chair Peter Bolton King agrees. “What is unique about WorldProperties.com is that 100 percent of the properties displayed are represented by a professional who abides by a national code of conduct. This gives consumers as well as other agents the assurance they are dealing with a professional,” said Bolton King, CEO of the UK’s National Association of Estate Agents. “The partnership with Proxio will provide enhanced services to our members, allowing them to easily connect with each other and initiate referral transactions—across borders and across languages.”

The newly designed WorldProperties.com site is expected to go live by the end of 1Q 2010.

About ICREA:
The International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA) is an alliance of the world’s leading real estate associations. The only organization of its kind, ICREA has dedicated itself to the international promotion of its members’ businesses and has had great success in building a partnership that is improving in the way real property is transacted across national borders and in advocating for industry on global issues. ICREA and its member associations are committed to high standards of professional conduct for member brokers. ICREA members include national real estate associations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, India, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela, and also countries organized in regional associations representing Central America (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala) and the Arab Region including Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Learn more about ICREA at www.worldproperties.com or contact ICREA at icrea@worldproperties.com.

About Proxio, Inc.
Proxio internationalizes real estate professionals worldwide by providing property display technology and networking solutions in multiple languages. Proxio’s platform delivers white label marketing and networking applications under license to real estate organizations and enterprises. MLSs, associations, and brokerages use Proxio’s technology and services to extend their reach internationally—to enable their members to transact business across the globe, and to provide a greater value proposition for the clients they serve. Located in Silicon Valley, Proxio’s team of experienced real estate technology professionals is dedicated to creating borderless real estate markets and serving the needs of agents and their multicultural clients. For more information visit
www.proxio.com and follow us on twitter.com/ProxioPro or join our community on Facebook.

###

Download Full Press Release (PDF 119k)


Luxury Expert Agent Panel at NAR 2009

The real estate market may be down, but interest in the luxury market is still high, as evidenced by attendance at the Luxury Expert Agent Panel presentation at NAR.   Three of our Institute members  packed the room!  All 400 chairs in the room were full and a few people managed to squeeze in to stand at the back before the room monitors closed the door and began to turn people away. 

Those who made it in were taking notes as Bruce Kink of The Kink Team /Keller Williams, Houston (TX); Carole Smith from Esslinger, Wooten, Maxwell, Inc. in Miami (FL); and Anita Rich from the Rich Group/Keller Williams, Los Angeles shared information and ideas about how they have continued to prosper in today’s market. 

If you missed the session, their three presentations are available for you to download below.
As panel moderator, Institute Founder Laurie Moore-Moore pulled six “keeper ideas” from each presentation as a quick summary of some of the key points for attendees.

From Bruce Kink
  1. As wealth goes up, so does Internet use – so have an Internet strategy which includes a property website for each listing. Include complete descriptions, photos, floor plans, site plans, inspections, and more!  Then drive prospects to the websites.
  2. Know the luxury market.  Statistics = Credibility.
  3. Remember you are selling the lifestyle of the community as well as the home’s lifestyle.
  4. Great photos add marketing power.
  5. VIP invitation-only events are good marketing tools at the luxury level.
  6. Network with top luxury agents locally and nationally.
Bruce's Presentation (PDF 1.6 MB)

From Carole Smith
  1. Carole did a case study of a marketing plan for a home which was designed to house and display an art collection.
  2. Discover your listings “Unique Selling Proposition (USP)” – every home has a story, it’s your job to tell it.  The USP is what you use to differentiate your home in the marketplace.
  3. To discover a home’s uniqueness start by asking what the seller liked about the home, list the features, amenities, and negatives. 
  4. Name your luxury listings (Carole’s listing was named after the sculpture at the entrance).
  5. Market jointly with others who are trying to reach the same clientele you are targeting (in Carole’s case she built some of her marketing around an art show and local art galleries).
  6. Involve the sellers, make them proactive in the marketing of their home.
  7. Use public relations to create buzz.  It is inexpensive, affordable marketing.
Carole's Presentation (PDF 600k)

From Anita Rich
  1. We don’t need a “real job,” we are in the best profession!  It is important to continue to build skills as real estate professionals – education is a key to success.
  2. There is power in remembering to ask for the business
  3. Take the time to educate yourself about your luxury market by price range. Know the stats for each price range and know the inventory.
  4. Do something creative to establish rapport.  Anita share photographs of the LA area from the 1900s.  This gets the conversation going and breaks the ice with a seller prospect.
  5. Get involved in local arts, civic, or non-profit organizations.  Give back to the community and build relationships.
  6. Network, network, network with other luxury agents in your market.
Anita's Presentation (PDF 1 MB)

A big "thank you" to all of them for sharing their expertise and insights!

Luxury Market News: Canada & Hong Kong

The Wall Street Journal reports that the International Monetary Fund express concern yesterday about real estate prices in Hong Kong, which are up 30% this year.  Concern is that a bubble may be brewing.

Prices for luxury homes are at an all-time peak in Hong Kong despite a tightening of lending requirements increasing the required down payment on luxury homes to 40%. 

Star

A little closer to home, a RE/MAX Ontario Atlantic Canada report released yesterday is showing some pretty strong numbers in the Canadian luxury market. 

"Twelve months of healthy home buying activity have clearly been crammed into five short months," Michael Polzler, executive vice president of RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada.

Toronto has seen a boost in sales of "entry-level" luxury homes in the $1M-$1.5M price range, driven primarily by Bay Street banking bonuses.  There have been over 1,700 sales at $1M+ this year in the Toronto area.

Reports from CTV and The Star have more details.


Staging, marketing and storytelling

"The Story Seller" is the title of an article that ran in the New York Times Magazine a couple weeks ago.  If you haven't read it, check it out--it's a nice profile of Meridith Baer whom the NYT calls the grandest of the grandes dammes of home staging.

The piece gets at the heart of good staging, and for that matter good marketing.  It is all about helping the prospect envision themselves living a happy life in the home.  As Baer herself puts it:

“We’re not finding the cure to cancer,” Baer says. “But we are helping people see how they’ll live in the house — where they’ll hang art, where they’ll eat. The kind of thing they’re not good at because they are finding the cure to cancer.”

Whether one is writing advertising copy, staging the home, or planning a real estate soiree, the trick of course is to understand the lifestyles, tastes, and values of your prospects and to craft experiences that satisfy these and at the same time provide a tempting aspirational tickle. 

It is about crafting a compelling and pleasing story or vision into which your prospects can place themselves.  Baer has taken her experience as a screenwriter doing just this and applied it to the staging of homes.