- The Central Texas MLS (CTXMLS) begins January 1st, 2017 with Temple/Belton, Williamson County and Four Rivers
- Facebook advertising is increasing in popularity due to it’s targeting capabilities and relative cheapness
- Realtors are not appraisers, even though they do some of the same things
The Texas Realtor Convention is an annual four day get together for the Realtor crowd and people who work with Realtors. The convention usually features a who’s who of the State’s top agents and brokers, and is a chance for the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) to get some official business done. For the agents, it’s a chance to get learn about other markets, discover new techniques and technologies, earn annual education credits, and spend time on the beach! Unlike last year, I wisely went for all four days this year (though no beach time for me). The four day schedule is still available here.
- Killeen Buyers Have it Good – My Experience at the Texas Association of Realtors Conference in Fort Worth, 2015
Each convention also kicks off with an opening ceremony of sorts with a motivational speaker. This year’s opening speaker was J R Martinez, the veteran and Dancing With the Stars season 13 victor.
The Central Texas MLS
MLS consolidation is the future of real estate. It is inevitable. Either associations will do it, or giants like Zillow will do it for them.
MLS consolidation was a hot topic at the Galveston convention – and was close to home! Our neighboring associations will consolidate into a giant, Central Texas MLS (CTXMLS) as of January 1st of 2017. The convention featured a forum with the key players in the Central Texas MLS initiative. The Temple/Belton, Williamson County, and Four Rivers Associations are already on board. Fort Hood, Waco, Highland Lakes and other associations have all been invited.
MLS consolidation does a number of things for Realtors and their clients:
- It gives agents access to more information.
- It ensures you don’t miss a recent comparable sale because it is on Temple or Austin’s MLS.
- It ensures your appraisers don’t miss comparable sales, either.
- Realtors can stop scrambling to third party websites like Realtor.com to find listings every time a buyer asks about a listing that happens to be on a neighboring MLS.
- It helps deconflict data so that agents better know their market statistics.
- It gets your sellers’ homes maximum exposure in markets just 20 minutes away.
- Agents save on MLS fees by dropping 2nd, 3rd, 4th and more MLS memberships.
- And finally, consolidating MLSes results in economies of scale, freeing up money to either reduce fees or spend money on additional MLS technology.
It’s very exciting what our neighbors are doing around us, and I am hopeful FHAAR will get on board soon!
Facebook vs. Google
You may not realize it, but Facebook and Google are enemies. The two make up 64% of all online advertising with Google being the behemoth but Facebook quickly catching up. Online advertising is an important issue to many successful real estate agents and brokers.
Both companies have pros and cons:
Google advertising (Google Adwords – a form of Pay-per-click / PPC) is expensive, but often yields consumers closer to the purchasing decision than Facebook. You can show ads for people searching for very specific items, e.g. someone who searches “Buy new homes in Killeen, TX”. A person searching those words is probably pretty serious about finding a house.
Facebook has a different kind of targeting altogether, popping up in the news feeds of demographics that you target. Instead of advertising based on search key words, you can pick your audience (for example, homeowners in Harker Heights) and advertise just to them. You can even get pretty specific – those who have made a mortgage inquiry recently, likely to move, or by income. Facebook is a cheaper advertising method, but more passive, as you will wind up in the newsfeeds of many who may not be close to buying or selling a home.
One thing both giants love, however, are videos. Google bought Youtube and gives SEO perks to pages with original videos. Facebook recently launched Facebook Live and gives preferential treatment to videos in people’s newsfeeds. If you are looking to do marketing on either platform, incorporating a video strategy is extremely important. Check out my own neighborhood videos, and also Ron Cooks, another agent in the Fort Hood area who has figured video out!
Realtors Can’t Give Home Valuations
On my very own site, I have “Home Valuation” on quite a few buttons. Realtors, however, have to be careful about using the word “value”. Technically, only licensed appraisers can determine a home “value”.
Instead, as a Realtor, we can recommend prices, not values. Instead, we should offer “Price Estimates” or other lingo to that sort. The word “value” is a no go.
It is a small difference to be sure, but an important one!
I wrote an article for Inman in which I talk about the 7 must-dos for a new agent. Attending the convention is one of those must-dos. It is free (minus travel and accommodation), and you can also pick up your CE (Continuing Education) requirements on the cheap. Galveston was my second convention, and I won’t be missing any more in the future, as they have a lot of material of tremendous help to me as an agent and, by extension, my buyers and sellers.