Monthly Archives: July 2011


There are 5 pillars to success in this current day and age and the chances are, you’re just missing an element from one of those pillars.

1. Attitude

2. Knowledge

3. Belief

4. Focus

5. Determination

That may be different than what you’ve heard in the past, and you may be thinking… but what about “money“.

“You see, Bryan, it takes money to make money in real estate…”

Well, in just a moment, you’ll see why the money will take care of itself when you have the rest of the pieces in place.

Let’s look at each of these .

1. Attitude

I’m not going to sugarcoat things and tell you that you’ve got to get up every morning and yell at the top of your lungs that today’s going to be the best day of your life. (Don’t get me wrong… I’m not criticizing those who do. If that’s your thing, go for it! It’s certainly not going to hurt matters.)

But I also realize that most people simply won’t do it. But there are other things you can do to change your attitude. You’ve got to understand that it is something you’ve got to work on EVERY DAY of your life because things are going to get in the way and there are going to be days where things just come up and you have to deal with lots of fires. It’s called life!

You have to get off the couch, and I mean that literally. No one is going to do it for you. I was watching this TV show the other night that had a woman who wanted to lose a lot of weight and change her life by becoming a healthier person. At the beginning of the show she weighed 433 pounds. 6 months later she weighed 333 pounds, and although this was a big accomplishment, her trainer who had installed a surveilence camera in her house to monitor her progress caught her sitting on the couch eating a bag of chips. This of course could have been a minor setback or a major one. She chose to not let it get in the way of what she wanted. She made a choice to obtain her goal. There was no place for self pity.

There was no more “poor me”. There was no more “why is everyone else doing, having, [you fill in the blank]”

She made the decision to turn off the pity party faucet and that was that! You can do the same thing and I encourage you to do whatever it takes to make that mental shift in your head.

Just remember, it’s a PERSONAL commitment.

You can tell 1001 people whatever you want, but you won’t see real change until you have a heart to heart talk with yourself and decide that enough is enough.

2. Knowledge

Next we have “knowledge“. This is a tough one because we almost ALWAYS feel that there’s more to learn.

But there’s a pretty good chance you’ve got all the “knowledge” you need OR you have the access to it at a moment’s notice. You will NEVER know all there is to know about anything.

You need to focus on the FUNDAMENTALS. The basics NEVER change…

Stick with one thing and work that. It’s not worth the mental energy you exhaust trying to keep up with everything.

Trust me… I know this from experience. I’ve got 10s of $1000s of dollars of “programs” I’ve never gotten around to.

3. Belief

It’s easy to second-guess yourself or to think you just ought to give up, but belief is CORE to your success. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

This is where the “money” takes care of itself. If you’re passionate and have the belief, everything else comes into play where it needs to.

4. Focus

This is another challenge for a lot of people nowadays. We pride ourselves in being able to do 5 things at once and by how much we can get done.

Here’s the dirty ugly secret about multi-tasking: It doesn’t work!

You can only do one thing well at any given time. Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. So, if you’re watching a webinar, for instance, and checking your email, you might as well turn one off because neither is getting the attention it deserves.

You’ve got to focus and focus hard for anything to be successful.

I suspect a lot of us lack focus because as entrepreneurs, we’ve got to do SO much in the very beginning that it’s sort of a way for us to avoid the things we don’t want to do. I call it productive procrastination.

But, it just doesn’t work. If there’s something you don’t want to do, can’t do, or won’t do, figure out how to offload it. It’s going to keep you from focusing on what you really DO well.

5. Determination

This might sting a little!

Most people are not successful because they lack determination. Determination is not simply, “I’d like to be rich and I just hope that one of these days I’ll find the right info-product that has the magic button”.

There is NO magic button.

Nobody is going to literally do all the work for you and then deposit millions of dollars into your bank account. I hate to break it to you, but that’s just life.

You’ve got to put in effort, a lot of effort.

You have to do things that you don’t want to do sometimes – at least until you can afford to hire someone else to do those things for you.

You’ve got to get your goals out in front of you and not let anyone get in your way. You’ve got to find solutions when problems arise, not excuses. You’ve got to work through the challenges when they arise in order to get results.



From Real Estate Training Academy

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Offers Easy Money for Real Estate Investing

The current economic crisis has led to tighter lending standards and less money in real estate investing there. The current difficulties in obtaining loans and hard money mortgage lenders has pushed real estate investors turn to private money sources such as real estate transactions.


The private mortgage money for people with money to invest in higher returns than traditional investment security for the investment of private funds is normally provided by the institution itself and not the borrower

Why choose a private money investing in real estate business?

1) credit limits less

Credit of the borrower is not as private money loans since the loan is secured by the property itself.

2) Easier to get

Banks and money lenders hard to set more restrictions than the issue of private financing real estate investing and lending money. Private money loans are easy to do so when the writer is less than the lender.

So you can have your money within days. If the real estate business looks profitable for the lender, it is funded. Private financing often obtained money offers that will generate sufficient revenues to interest payments, but are secured by real estate worth significantly more than the loan amount, even latent.

3) Cheap

Having a partner is much more expensive than using private funds. Real estate associations usually share half half profits, but private providers may collect money from more than 8% -15% and a half points or origination fees are generally not paid when loans are used for private money.

4) A few formalities

The most creative proposals are financed with a loan from traditional sources, and even hard money lenders. So, that captures many of the investors in real estate. For example, real estate investment, which has been involved in over the fees may be financed by private funds.

So how do you attract money from private lenders to lend you their money?

First, any lender checking your skills before you trust with their money, a real estate investment site to invite private money is crucial to your businessing property.

Your site must be simple, but unable to persuade investors unambiguously private money that your company real estate investment is the best place to invest their money, the site must be interactive and allow potential private sponsors to register

So the recovery plan and a list of opportunities for success are likely to convince private investors to potential private money lenders, of course, want to see the records of all the bids you’ve done. If you have no previous record, you must have a detailed plan for each division, including estimates of repair, market value, earning potential and all the numbers it is likely that if all the necessary information on all contracts been well cleared.

This continued success in business investment property is guaranteed if you have a continuous supply of private money in their bids.

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SBF: 10 Ways To Improve Your Social Media Karma

NOTE: This post was originally published on the AMEX Open Forum website, where I write a weekly piece on marketing advice for small business owners.

Whether you believe in karma or not, using social media successfully for your small business often has a lot to do with a series of seemingly disconnected events. Every comment you post online, every person you contact and every piece of content you upload adds to the sum total of your efforts in the blogosphere. Building relationships is important in any industry, but social media karma is the idea that what you do and how you behave will ultimately have an effect on you directly or indirectly.

Social media karma is not often written about, but very often spoken about by bloggers, especially successful ones. Here are 10 ways you can improve your social media karma:

  1. Be real. This is the first and foremost principle of furthering your social media karma that I could think of. Being real involves not lying, being transparent about who you are and what you believe, and sharing an honest voice. People trust others that have an authentic voice, and are more likely to refer them to others or help when asked.
  2. Respond to emails. This is tough when you have a high volume of unsolicited emails, but the idea that someone took time to write directly to you should make it enough of a priority to respond. Obviously, this applies to personally written messages, and not to email blasts of press releases. Those are rarely worth a response.
  3. Offer exclusives. Maybe you aren’t breaking “news” online, but the idea of exclusives is not limited to that. If you are going to write about or post something interesting, whether related to your business or not, offer a preview to others in your network. Share ideas as they happen and offer the chance for others to say it first. Exclusives are gold in the blogosphere … everyone wants them.
  4. Make connections. In social settings, the gold standard for making connections is introducing two people to one another who later get married. Social media is no different. If you can be the person making these connections between individuals that may not have met otherwise, you will be remembered by both for your efforts.
  5. Join networks. This is not just about publishing networks, but about social networks of people who are interested in the same things you are. Joining groups like this, and actively participating adds value to the group. As a member, it probably won’t be long before you take something useful from the group – and hopefully add something useful as well.
  6. Avoid snark. Snarkiness is the enemy of good karma. Being rude, uselessly opinionated or arrogant are all rising behaviours from people in social media that add to the sea of needless commentary online. The price for this may not be apparent, as unfortunately, snarkiness does sometimes result in conversation sometimes (who can’t avoid watching a car crash?) — but eventually the snark will catch up to you.
  7. Forgive mistakes. Most bloggers or others in social media are not journalists and don’t have the time or necessity for checking every fact or argument before making it. This does result in mistakes, and people do screw up. Correcting them without holding a grudge is a big deal. Mistakes are made, people are sorry. If they fixed the error, then get over it.
  8. Post to contact. Email is not the only way to get in touch with someone. Posting about something they have written and linking to their blog offers an indirect route to contact, as most bloggers pay attention to who is linking to them. Writing about one of my posts is still the best way to get onto my radar, and I suspect most bloggers are the same way. Communicating in this way avoids the email filter and starts the dialogue.
  9. Comment and participate. This may be part of earlier suggestions, however the idea that you need to be a participant online rather than just an observer is key to this belief. If you expect others to communicate and add comments to your blog, you need to be online doing the same for others. Without participation, it is difficult to belong to a community online or build relationships with others.
  10. Show gratitude. Often mentioned as an important factor in connecting with users, showing gratitude for someone interacting with some content you have posted or a comment you have shared, linking to you, or offering some other effort on your behalf is vital. Appreciation makes someone more likely to believe that you think their efforts are significant and as a result, connect more strongly with you and your blog.
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Top 5 Markets for Investment Potential

With rents climbing and rentals in high demand, investors are being lured to investment properties, taking advantage of low housing prices and interest rates.

Nearly 20 percent of home purchases in May were for investment purposes — that’s up from 17 percent in 2010, according to the National Association of REALTORS

Best cities to invest in rental homes

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

Big single-family home

Image via Wikipedia

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — The housing market in Las Vegas may continue to struggle, but for investors, the city is the best place to buy a home and rent it out, a new report revealed on Monday.

HomeVestors of America and Local Market Monitor released its list of best markets to invest in rental property, and Las Vegas came out on top. HomeVestors is a real-estate investment company; Local Market Monitor is a forecaster of real-estate markets. Read more: Why investing in rentals could be a good move.

In Las Vegas, home prices are down 45% since their peak in 2006, according to the news release from the companies. Even better for investors: Many people who work in the casino industry are renters.

That means investors can buy homes at low prices and have a sizable pool of renters from which to choose.

“What we’re looking for is how do you rank, based on the return that you get on the rentals, counterbalanced with the risk and what the price is,” said David Hicks, the co-president of HomeVestors, the company whose slogan has long been, “We buy ugly houses.”

The return could be short-term (the cash flow attained by renting out the property), long-term (the appreciation of the property over time) or both, he said. The risks include future potential home-price drops in the market.

The report looked particularly at single-family home rentals; about 14% of single-family homes in the country are maintained as rental properties, according to the news release. Renting a single-family home can be especially attractive to families who have lost their homes to foreclosure, Hicks said. Once parents have had a backyard for their children to play in, they often don’t want to live in an apartment home, he said.

Traditionally, HomeVestors franchisees buy only about 12% of houses with the intention of fixing them for rental. A greater percentage of homes are bought to renovate and sell right away, Hicks said.

But that’s changing, and more are looking for income properties, he said.

“We see a lot of investors stung by the stock market over the past few years,” and now they’re turning to real estate, Hicks said. “Even counting the past few years, if you take long-term investing in properties and land, the return on that is some of the best investments people have ever had.”

The calculations in the report assumed markets’ three-year home-price forecasts and gross rents to assign them a risk-return premium. Las Vegas had a 4.7% risk-return premium, relative to the national average; San Francisco, which ranks 100 on the list, had a -2.4% risk-return premium, according to the report.

HomeVestors/Local Market Monitor’s top 10 markets for people to invest in rental property are, in order:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Detroit
  3. Warren, Mich.
  4. Orlando, Fla.
  5. Bakersfield, Calif.
  6. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
  7. Phoenix
  8. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  9. Rochester, N.Y.
  10. Stockton, Calif.

See the full list at

Characteristics of best rental markets

Many of the markets with the highest ratings are those where prices have plummeted, Ingo Winzer, president of Local Market Monitor, said in the release. These homes can be bought at below-average prices and easily turned into competitive rentals.

Take Tampa, where home prices fell 10% in the past year, mainly because of an over-supply of investment properties during the housing boom. Or Phoenix, where home prices have dropped 40% since 2006.

In these metropolitan areas, job markets also may be beginning to improve, according to the release. That’s promising for long-term returns.

But Detroit, which holds the No. 2 spot on the list, is a little different. Detroit’s unemployment rate is 11% and its population has fallen 4% since 2006, according to the news release.

“You get more return on the properties [up front, in rental cash flow], but less hope for values to grow in the future,” Hicks said.

It’s not clear if jobs will return to the struggling city in the future. It’s high on the list, however, because homes can be bought so cheaply, he said.

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Your ‘Code’ to Mobile Marketing Success

| By Michael Russer from

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a crop of young, willing, and able future buyers who seem to have their heads buried in their smartphones. Their phone is their world, but they prefer texting to talking. How can you get their interest — and their business?

QR Codes to the Rescue

QR (Quick Response) codes were invented in Japan by a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. to help identify car parts. Once people recognized their flexibility of encoding links to the Web, they took off in Japan and other East Asian countries. (This is perhaps unsurprising, as mobile Web access is much more common in that part of the world than in the United States.) In fact, you will find QR codes plastered on billboards, signs, storefronts, and just about any place you look in all the major Japanese cities.

Think of the QR code as a two-dimensional barcode that can contain many different kinds of information and present that information in many different ways. QR codes can be read instantly from any number of free smartphone apps. The opportunities for real estate marketing are nearly endless since one of the main uses of QR Codes is to embed URLs that when scanned will take the phone user to wherever the URL was pointing (i.e. your Web site, listing detail information, etc.) They effectively turn anything they are printed on into an active and track-able hyperlink.

You can start your search for free QR code reader apps for your smartphone (by smartphone type) at these places:

There really are only two issues to consider when incorporating QR codes into your marketing:

  1. How to create them
  2. Where to place them for maximum exposure and impact.

Create QR Codes Instantly, for Free

If you do a Google search on “QR code generators,” you’ll find dozens of sites that will create them for you at no cost. My favorite is a site called BeeTagg QR Generator, which allows you to create any number of QR codes in different formats for free.

When you first land on this page, you can enter the URL of the page you want your code to go to and choose the type of code it generates. (Make sure you have the QR Code icon selected and uncheck “Optimize size.”) Then just hit the “Go” button, and you will instantly see your code with download options like this:

Now, this next part is very important. Of the six different download options shown, there are only two you will typically work with. Select Gif if you plan on placing the code on a Web page or e-mail, and Eps if you plan on using it in print.

GIF images are the smallest file sizes for this kind of image and are ideal for placement in Web pages. However, they are not good for print or other media because they don’t scale well. That is, they get blurry or pixelated if you try to blow them up beyond their original size and will become unreadable by the smartphone apps. The EPS file format is ideal for print media because it can scale to any size (including 16-foot billboards) without any loss of fidelity.

Where to Use QR Codes for Maximum Impact

In addition to placing a page-specific QR code on every page of your Web site, you can incorporate them into your marketing in many innovative ways. Here are just some ideas that came out of a recent brainstorming exercise for QR code use:

  • Put them on your sign riders pointing to your Web site with the details for that listing. (Note: Make sure the QR code on the sign rider is at least 10″ x 10″ so it can be scanned from the comfort of a prospect’s car.)
  • Publish a print ad with a QR code pointing to a YouTube video of you walking through your latest listing.
  • Put a QR code decal on your car that points to your Web site, or better yet, an irresistible offer on your Web site. (Again, make sure it is at least 10″ x 10″ so it can be scanned easily by other drivers.)
  • If it is winter, develop a QR code on the sign rider and link it to photos or a video of the house when the landscaping is in full bloom during spring or summer.
  • Sponsor a local team and put the QR code pointing to your Web site on their uniforms.
  • Give away T-shirts with QR codes on them that point to your site.
  • If you send out calendars each year, put a QR code pointing to your Web site on every page.
  • Conduct a QR code open-house “scavenger hunt.” Put a code in print or Web ad for a series of open houses where the code on each home maps you to the next one. Participants have to read them all to get to the prize at the final house — a great idea for a broker open tour.
  • Put a QR code pointing to your Web site on the back of your business card.

QR Code Best Practices

Now before you go all-out with QR codes and start plastering them on every available surface (digital or otherwise), here are some best practices that will help you get the most out of these little boxes:

  • Tell them what it is: Since QR codes are still very leading-edge in this country, it may be a good idea to provide additional info that explains to less technology-capable consumers just what they are. Here’s an example of what shows up on every page of my Web sites that include QR codes:

  • Just click on the link in the image above and see how it takes you to a page that fully explains what QR codes are and their benefits to the consumer.
  • Point to something worthwhile: Make sure that whatever your QR code points to provides real value to the consumer. Ideally, the landing page has a specific call to action and lead-capture mechanism.
  • Make sure your QR codes are readable: Make them big enough for the context they will be used. This means about 175 pixels x 175 pixels for Web pages and e-mail, 10″ x 10″ for outdoor use (sign riders and car decals), and huge for billboards. Test them on your own to ensure they work correctly.
  • Track your QR code traffic: You can easily track site traffic generated by visitors scanning QR codes. If you are using a basic Web analytics program, such as Google Analytics, it’s easy to track QR code traffic by adding a bit of text after the URL you’re pointing to before generating the code. Here’s an example:
  • The highlighted part of the URL was added before generating the code, and will separate the traffic coming in from that source. Your analytics package will show any traffic specifically coming from people scanning the QR codes in your print ads. There is nothing magic or special about the text that comes after “/?source=”; you can make it anything you want — just make sure there are no spaces and that it effectively describes where the code was embedded.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Is this thing really necessary for my business?” If you want to be a leader in your market and really catch the attention and business of up-and-coming buyers, then yes, it is.

Implementing QR codes is not about being a geek. It’s about staying up on things that matter to your customers and serving them in the way they expect. That’s more than a good technology or marketing strategy — it’s good business.

GEEK TIP: Here’s a quick shortcut you can use to place a QR code on any page of your Web site (with the code pointing to that page) just by including the following Javascript in your HTML code where you want the QR code to show up on the page:

<script id=”qr_code” src=””; type=”text/javascript</script>

The resulting QR code will point to the page it’s on. Unless you are comfortable working with HTML code, it’s probably better to give this to your Web designer to implement.

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G.Co: Google Has a New URL Shortener

Google has unveiled, a new URL shortener that will link only to Google products and websites.

The search giant already owns, a URL shortener it launched in 2009. Unlike, the URL shortener can be used for any link on the web via the Google Toolbar.

“We’ll only use to send you to webpages that are owned by Google, and only we can create shortcuts,” Google VP of Consumer Marketing Gary Briggs stated on the company’s blog. “That means you can visit a shortcut confident you will always end up at a page for a Google product or service.”

The tech titan, which has been using the URL shortener for its products until now, clearly wants to limit the confusion about where its links lead to. Separating Google products from should go a long way to solving that problem.

Google isn’t the only company to use .co as its official URL shortener. Twitter obtained last year to improve how links are shared and secured on its platform.

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Top 10 cities: Where to buy now

Business 2.0, in its November 2006 issue, ranks the country’s real estate markets that are most likely to post the biggest home price gains by 2011.

72% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $223,000
2011: $383,000
Population Population
2006: 166,000
2011: 187,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $31,000
2011: $40,200
*Metro region statistics

A small city needs one of two things to jack up housing demand: more people or wealthier people. Unlike the rest of Florida, Panama City hasn’t really attracted either, mainly because it’s isolated on Florida’s panhandle.

The interstate highway system bypasses it, and the runway at the local airport isn’t long enough to support anything beyond regional jets. But now Panama City is poised to host big airliners, more visitors – and a lot more buyers.

State and local governments and a top regional developer, St. Joe Co., are planning to build a new airport by 2008 at a cost of more than $300 million. Locals expect the new facility to open up the region the way Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers helped drive a housing boom along Florida’s southwestern coast in the 1980s.

“Panama City is an economy waiting to break out,” says Steven Cochrane, chief regional economist for Moody’s Other factors increasing demand: Property prices are still low by Florida standards, and the local market has already absorbed a price correction after peaking last year.

Janet Roan, a Century 21 agent in Panama City, notes that two-bedroom beachfront condos are going for as little as $330,000 – down by more than $100,000 from 2005.

CAUTION: Local politicians, notoriously cozy with builders, have green-lighted several master-plan communities for future development. If supply gets out of hand, prices will stall.

64% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $235,000
2011: $386,000
Population Population
2006: 131,000
2011: 147,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $44,400
2011: $51,200
*Metro region statistics

Balmy weather, low property taxes, and a cost of living 3% lower than that of nearby West Palm Beach make this coastal town an affordable alternative, with sandy shores and the best surfing on the East Coast.

“Vero Beach is at high risk in the short term but will move up in the long term,” Cochrane says.

Here’s why: A Florida Atlantic University study says Indian River County and its two closest neighbors will need a projected 154,000 new homes during the next 25 years to house the growing population and replace old structures. A Manpower Employment Outlook Survey predicts growth in construction, manufacturing, and retail jobs too. Per capita income growth closely shadowed that of Martin County, Florida‘s second-wealthiest, and is gaining on that of Palm Beach County, the state’s richest.

CAUTION: Projected job growth in the region will revolve mainly around lower-wage work, which can dampen home values.

63% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $480,000
2011: $784,000
Population Population
2006: 910,000
2011: 934,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $70,000
2011: $87,000
*Metro region statistics

The last place you’d expect to find undervalued real estate is in tony Fairfield County, home to ultra-exclusive towns like Greenwich and Darien, where the Masters of the Universe retreat after a tough day on Wall Street.

But a mere 20 miles up the coast lies the hardscrabble city of Bridgeport, which has long suffered from sleazy politics and urban decay but is finally cleaning up its act. The average home price is severely depressed – $280,000, compared with $840,000 in the county’s other large urban setting, Stamford.

But the wealth is starting to spread: As more businesses have left New York for Greenwich and Stamford, more middle-class workers – entry-level professionals, executive assistants, and so on–have come too, and they’re keen to take advantage of bargain prices.

“Bridgeport has fixed the corruption,” says Norman Feinstein, a principal with New Jersey-based Hampshire Funds. “The local government is pro-development, and buildings are being rehabbed.”

CAUTION: The new demand is not organically driven by Bridgeport’s economy. If the New York business climate starts to slip, all bets are off.

59% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $178,000
2011: $282,000
Population Population
2006: 551,000
2011: 599,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $30,200
2011: $39,100
*Metro region statistics

Aside from the panhandle and Vero Beach, few places in Florida scream out “buy now” like Lakeland. A house goes for a fifth less than the national median of $227,500, and Lakeland is just 30 minutes from Tampa, a juggernaut of 2.7 million people that’s projected to add almost 210,000 more residents over the next five years.

Lakeland is the Greenfield – actually, orange and yellow, because of the surrounding citrus groves – that developers are divvying up to house many of those newcomers.

Meritage Homes, one of the fastest-growing U.S. builders, plans to build more than 1,300 homes in the area by 2008. “All the big national and regional builders have moved into town,” says Larry Comegys, Meritage regional president. “Lakeland has become major.” It also sits along I-4, where the density of development is beginning to mirror the Dulles corridor in Virginia.

CAUTION: Prices tend to top out more quickly in areas like Lakeland that are largely populated by semiskilled service workers.

5. McAllen, TX

57% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $70,000
2011: $109,000
Population Population
2006: 695,000
2011: 785,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $17,000
2011: $23,200
*Metro region statistics

A Hispanic baby boom is working its way through the regional economy, and families will soon be trading up their digs. McAllen is already 85% Latino, and the average age of those households is two decades younger than that of non-Hispanic ones.

Latino families are also larger: 3.8 members, on average, compared with 2.4 for Caucasians. “These border towns have a housing shortage,” Cochrane says. “There’s pent-up demand. They’ll be looking for more space and better space.”

He predicts that incomes will catch up to the area’s economic growth, currently more than double the state average of 2.9%. So far, cheap labor has driven a development boom. Manufacturers locate on both sides of the border to take advantage of low wages and the common market for goods created by NAFTA.

CAUTION: As the economy matures, higher-paying industries like health care and business services will grow. The area could lose its low-wage “nearshoring” edge, slowing down industrial growth and the demand for new homes.

6. San Luis Obispo, CA

40% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $440,000
2011: $615,000
Population Population
2006: 261,000
2011: 287,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $34,400
2011: $42,900
*Metro region statistics

SLO-Town, as the locals call it, is on the development fast track. It’s in the middle of the last semi-rural stretch of central California coastline, and it’s also home to the state’s rising star of wine production, Paso Robles, where even French vintners are buying property.

The Median home price in Paso Robles has shot up by more than 100% since 2000. And according to local developer Peter Laughlin, commercial land has skyrocketed from $3 to $20 a square foot since 2001.

Yet the natural amenities, proximity to Southern California, and relatively low prices support forecasts of a continuing surge. Thousands of retirement-age boomers, it’s said, will sell their SoCal homes for cheaper digs in SLO. Anti-development sentiment also helps. “They’re not zoning quickly enough for the demand,” Laughlin says. “Either they have to allow more homes or prices will go through the roof.”

CAUTION: Prices are already getting ahead of job and income growth.

7. Wilmington, NC

37% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $217,000
2011: $297,000
Population Population
2006: 325,000
2011: 361,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $30,500
2011: $38,300
*Metro region statistics

Nestled between the Cape Fear River and North Carolina’s Inner Bank beaches, Wilmington has great golf, mild weather, natural beauty, and a relatively cheap cost of living, all of which make it popular with both permanent residents and second-home vacationers.

But it hasn’t always been this way. It was an isolated backwater until 1990, when the final 120-mile stretch of I-40 opened. Now the Research Triangle’s well-heeled tech workers can be at the beach in three hours.

As the only city of any significant size on the North Carolina coast, Wilmington may be just at the beginning of its boom. It has a seaport, an international airport, and a UNC campus. But it has also maintained its “historic” ambience, bringing it another revenue stream: Hollywood has filmed 180 features here during the past two decades.

CAUTION: Wilmington has seen a high proportion of speculators invade the region in recent years. Barron’s estimated last year that 38 percent of its homeowners are nonresident investors who use their properties only occasionally, if at all. One other word of warning: hurricanes.

8. Manchester, NH

35% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $226,000
2011: $305,000
Population Population
2006: 404,000
2011: 413,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $41,500
2011: $54,200
*Metro region statistics

New Hampshire’s financial appeal is readily apparent: It has no income or sales tax, and it’s within commuting distance of Boston, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. Manchester, a former textile mill town, is the largest city in northern New England; neighboring Nashua, which twice has won honors as Money Magazine’s “best place to live” in America, shares a border with Massachusetts, which has been losing population since 2004.

“The edges of greater Boston are beyond the state boundary,” notes geographer Andrew Schiller, founder of NeighborhoodScout. “People know they can move out of Boston, get more house for their dollar, and have a great quality of life.”

And now may be a good time to buy, because appreciation rates started dropping in New England several quarters earlier than in the rest of the country. Prices are expected to burst upward again by mid-2007.

CAUTION: It remains to be seen whether southern New Hampshire can buck the larger demographic trend: people leaving New England in droves to seek milder, sunnier climes.

9. Fort Collins, CO

28% Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*
Median home price Median home price
2006: $196,000
2011: $251,000
Population Population
2006: 278,000
2011: 306,000
Per capita income Per capita income
2006: $36,600
2011: $48,400
*Metro region statistics

Fort Collins appears time and again on the media’s “best” lists – best place to live, best place to retire, best place to raise a family, best “dream” town, even the best place to “reinvent your life.”

“Great schools, low crime, good jobs in a high-tech economy,” Money Magazine crowed earlier this year when it named Fort Collins its No. 1 small city. And talk about a lifestyle play: The city is an outdoorsman’s fantasy come to life, boasting 40 parks within the city limits, more than 60 miles of hiking and biking trails, three city-owned golf courses, and easy access to whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, and skiing.

The presence of Colorado State University makes it a college town, to boot. Add to all this that Colorado has been a housing price laggard in recent years, with “relatively anemic” price appreciation, according to economist Andrew Leventis at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. With tech companies fleeing high-priced Silicon Valley, bringing California

How to avoid accidental social media disasters

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15:  Facebook founder...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Do you have an active social media life? If the answer is a ‘Yes’ you need to be reading this post.

Post the ‘Weinergate’ incident, when an accidental tweet with an obscene photo that should have been made via direct message to an on-line girlfriend went public on Rep. Weiner’s timeline forcing his resignation, it is time to list out ways to avoid such social media disasters.

Armed with Android smartphones and numerous social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter is by itself a challenging situation. So you have your personal Twitter and Facebook account, and your companies’/clients’ both on a computer and sometimes even on your smartphone. Juggling these daily is daunting to say the least.

The other aspect is your own social life and how you conduct yourself in social circles, what pictures you post on Twitter and Facebook and so on. Ask around and you’re sure to know quite a number of people who have suffered the ‘Freudian slip‘ or in this case the ‘Freudian click’ sending the wrong message to an ex-flame/spouse. You end up dealing with not just the horror of such a predicament but also the sinking feeling that it could have been easily avoided.

Here’s how you can avoid accidental social media disasters:

1. Always have multiple browsers for handling personal and professional social media accounts. This is by far is the simplest way to sort things out in your head before you post both professional and personal status messages. So, having IE, Chrome, Safari and Firefox for different purposes is adding order to the chaos.

2. Applications like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Seesmic and others all provide quick social media posts from multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts. So, using a particular application for professional use and another for personal is the way to go.

3. Direct messages on Twitter or Facebook messages may seem private, but never forget that nothing on the internet is really private.

4. Be funny but remember the virtual world is full of real people and this includes your friends, family, professional acquaintances, co-workers and other plain nosey people. And there are a few things that should not be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

5. If you are a politician or celebrity, the personal and the professional blur – the social media world may have a lot of bots but there are real people out there, so behave as you would in the real world.

6. After writing out a post or attaching a photo make sure to read it again and checking that its leaving from the right account before hitting ‘send’.

7. Posting from smartphones both in a professional and personal capacity is not good idea. Period. Unless you have two smartphones, which again is just a disaster waiting to happen.

So well accidents happen online all the time and some people pay a heavy price as online reputation is there for all to see and every action you take in the virtual world leaves a trail for someone to dig it all up again.


Posted on: June 29, 2011 By:



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5 Ways to MAXIMIZE Your Website Presence

With the constant evolution of technology, there’s a real need to keep your online presence current and relevant. From content to cutting-edge buttons and widgets, the improvements are endless. However, I believe that if you start with a few, important strategies for improving your website, they will bring you maximum results.

Here are five ways to get the most from your website:

Step 1: Imagine this: placing open house signs at every major intersection to direct home buyers to the location of a home you have listed. Links and main navigation buttons on your homepage allow for quick and easy navigation into specific sections of your website and show visitors that you have valuable content throughout. The easier you make it for users to link deeper into the website, the better.

Step 2: Always start with the towns or communities you specialize in (three to five main areas is a great foundation). Have at least two paragraphs on a separate page for each area. Sure, not everyone is going to read content on that page (that is important for search engines), but they will want to find out what each area offers. By having specific sections on your site that demonstrate your various expertise, it also shows sellers that you are an expert in their area to list their property.

Step 3: If you specialize in niche properties like luxury homes, starter homes or golf course communities, you should prove it. Have buttons that match that specific specialty linking to dedicated pages of custom-written content about that market. This will show buyers and sellers you are the best person to list their home.

Step 4: Have specific MLS searches on every town, community or niche page. For example, on town pages, show properties by map and by price ranges so it’s easy for the visitor to click through and see what’s available. This will distinguish you as the expert in that market, and lets clients know they have arrived at the perfect place to find exactly the kind of property they are looking for. For niche sections like “green properties,” have MLS searches like to show properties that are specific to that category.

Step 5: Create engagement points (“calls to action”) throughout your site and “hook” visitors into an automated drip campaign. Statistics show that home buyers start searching for homes months before they actually buy. If your website allows a visitor to register for the latest listings, foreclosure buys or download articles, you will capture the lead and provide them with the valuable information they want. The tipping point is to make sure they go into drip campaigns that are specific to their needs (for example, the foreclosure buyer goes to a foreclosure buyer drip, or a first-time home buyer goes into the first-time home buyer drip).


BY: Tricia Andreassen, RISMEDIA


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