New fines for not having real estate photos of listings on MLS


Unfortunately, this is seen way to often on Realtor.ca, MLSxchange, and many real estate websites

Effective October 1, 2010 any Active listings that have been on the MLS® for ten days or more without a photo will be assessed a fine for being incomplete. Last week, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board issued an all-member memo regarding this new incomplete fine policy. The Board of Directors recently approved the change in response to numerous complaints from members regarding the volume of listings without photos. Currently, over 10 per cent of Fraser Valley’s Active listings do not have even one photo attached to them.

Because the Board no longer has photography services, it is the responsibility of the listing agent to provide photos. Failure to submit a photograph will result in the following charges:
• After 10 days incomplete after entry date: $10 fine
• After 17 days incomplete after entry date: $15 fine
• After 24 days incomplete after entry date: $25 fine to a maximum of $50

Members who currently have Active listings without photos have a grace period until September 30, 2010 to add at least one photo.

SeeVirtual customer’s do not need to worry as we send you photos immediately when your MLS number becomes available. If you don’t have time to take photos or think yours don’t do the listing justice, then it’s time to hire a real estate photographer.

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Great NYTimes – The Appraisals article on Real Estate Photography

This NYTimes.com article gives a good overview of why using professional photography and getting each room shot right is a huge advantage for selling the home especially when it is right next to similar places on an MLS or Realtor.ca. It has a great flash example at the beginning of the article with a before and after slider you can drag to show the difference between using a point-and-shoot camera, which most real estate agents use for their listings, and a professional photographer using proper lighting and photoshop for post-production. Click the link to read on…

To Sell a Luxe Apartment, No Ordinary Snapshot Will Do

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Photo Source: SeeVirtual’s Flickr Stream

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Around the web this week…

It’s summer, what can we say? We have been a little MIA about posting, enjoying this beautiful weather and busy with lots of virtual tours! To make it up to you, we have extra terrific links this week to help you increase your online and social media education:

Facebook update: it has now reached 500 million users! Do you think social search is going to change the way people look for things?  Drew Meyers from geekestateblog thinks so.  Facebook has also introduced Questions, a beta product, but soon to be rolled out to everyone. Although Facebook has said the purpose is not meant for advertising or selling, but we think companies will find a way to make it work for them. What do you think? Is there a question you could ask 500 million people that could get you some exposure and sales?

Why bother with social media at all? Unmarketing thinks the “how” of word-of-mouth has changed, but not the “why”.  Read about it here.

Do you read the comments section of a blog post or article? We find it’s here that you will find the best and most useful information! Next time you read an article, take a glance at the comments below to see how others interpreted the article and read some very insightful information. Better yet, be social and post a comment yourself! Include your name and website so people can find you if they like what you have to say.

And finally, advice that we needed ourselves, here are some tips for blogging when you don’t have any time .

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Facebook Pages

With all of the changes Facebook has made recently, we think it’s a great time to go over Facebook Pages and how you can utilize this feature for your real estate business. Facebook fan pages are a way to promote your business without linking your personal profile. “Fans” of your business page, are not your “Friends” and they will not be able to see your personal Facebook profile. You don’t even need to have a Facebook profile in order to create a Business page.

Why do you need a Facebook Business page? There are over 500 million active Facebook users whose web traffic recently surpassed that of Google’s, and it’s growing at a rate of 1 million new users per week! The 35+ age group represents 30% of those users and the 55+ age group grew at a rate of 922.5% in 2009. Google and Bing are now showing Facebook pages in their search results.  If your target market is spending a significant amount of time on Facebook, don’t you think you should be where they are? Click here if you still need more convincing.

How best to create a Business page? First, set up your page. You can do this by going here.

When it comes to naming your page, remember that keywords are important. These are the words that people type into the search bar to find what they are looking for.

What is your page about? Don’t assume you have to create a Facebook page that highlights you, as a Realtor. One of the best ways to utilize a Facebook page is to create a page about your niche area. Become the ultimate source for the area by posting upcoming community events, insider knowledge, and local business recommendations. People who live in this niche area will be interested in the page and people who want to live in the area will be too! You can also post your property listings on this page, if they are in the area, but we recommend mixing up listings with community information to provide value and keep people interested.

Follow the steps to set up your page, but before you recommend the page to your Friends, make sure it looks complete. When your Friends click on the link you suggest, it is more likely they will become a fan of a great looking page, than if it is blank and unappealing.

You can also use an application to add more tabs to the top of the page. Click here to add Static FBML, which allows you to create a tab, name it, and then insert HTML code into the page for a more customized look.

We have added our customer satisfaction survey to our Facebook page:

Once you have 25 fans, you will be able to create a customized URL for your Facebook page. This will give you more information about customize names for your Business page. Just remember, once you name your page, you won’t be able to change it.

For more information about Facebook pages, go here.

Check out SeeVirtual’s Business page at www.facebook.com/seevirtual and become a fan!

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Around the web this week…

Happy Friday Everyone! Here’s some social media gold pulled from around the web this week:

– Even we find it hard to maintain a consistent blogging schedule. Here are 6 tips to keep you on track and moving forward so your blog doesn’t become a dusty, forgotten wasteland. (SocialMedia Examiner)

– Okay, you have signed up for Twitter, but now what? Use this tool from Google Labs to find people to follow on Twitter. It works similar to Facebook’s friend suggestions by showing you people who you might like to follow. It worked great for @SeeVirtualSteph!

– One more plug for us: SeeVirtual now posts all virtual tours to Twitter (along with Craigslist, Kijiji and YouTube…) Follow @SeeVirtualTours to check them out.

We hope you have a great weekend!

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SeeVirtual Posts Your Listings on Twitter

Along with Craigslist, Kijiji and YouTube, SeeVirtual now posts all Virtual Tour listings to Twitter.

Google has started to use Twitter “tweets” in its search results. This means that even if you don’t use Twitter as the social media site it is intended, it is still important to archive your property listing information on Twitter. When someone types in the address of your listing into Google, a Twitter link will be part of the search results they are shown. This link will bring them directly to your SeeVirtual Tour page.

Check out all SeeVirtual tours listings on Twitter  www.twitter.com/SeeVirtualTours

For social media advice and information, follow www.twitter.com/SeeVirtualSteph

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Around the web this week…

Welcome to the start of the May Long Weekend. Happy Birthday Queen Victoria!

Before you head out camping, hiking, or holding multiple open houses, check out what’s been going on in the world of social media this week:

Facebook privacy is all we are hearing about lately, the issue even made the cover of Time magazine. Lots of users are either too confused by the options or really just don’t care about their privacy settings to do much about it. We tried out this handy tool to check and change our privacy settings in Facebook. It was super easy and it worked! So take that Zuckerberg and take 5 minutes to check your settings too. (Reclaim Privacy)

Speaking of, Facebook has now reached 400 million users, 50% of whom log on at least once a day. The average user is connected to 60 different groups or pages.  Do you still need convincing to get started with social media? If these guys can do it, and do it successfully, so can you!

Use these tips to help guide you with a strategy.

Now…commence weekend plans.

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Trina Brady – SeeVirtual Featured Realtor

This week, the SeeVirtual Blog is featuring Trina Brady. Trina is a realtor with Homelife Benchmark Realty Cloverdale who specializes in the Cloverdale/ Clayton Heights area. She stands out because she has embraced technology and social media. Trina is a Paperless Realtor, she uses Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, LinkedIn, has multiple Blogs, and incorporates video.

How does she find the time to be so well connected? Trina uses tools that allow her to connect throughout the day. Her weapons: iPhone, Tablet PC, Dashboard for signing documents, mobile printer, MyFax fax-to-email service, and an exchange server. Trina does not use a desktop computer so her office travels with her which allows her to do anything, anywhere.

What motivated her to use the paperless approach? Trina cites the evolution of technology, the way buyers and sellers are more involved these days and felt that if she didn’t embrace technology, she would be left behind. She wanted to remain a step ahead of her clients in terms of information. Being paperless also provides a competitive advantage over other agents, especially in hot markets. When multiple offers are involved, Trina can submit an offer in 5 minutes instead of driving back and forth across town.

How does she make real connections, outside the web? Trina has lived in the Cloverdale/ Clayton heights area for twelve years. She has been past director for the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association, and is currently on the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s technology department. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Trina owned two coffee houses in downtown Cloverdale, so she is used to knowing the inside scoop of what’s going on in her town. She is also involved with a referral network of local Cloverdale professionals.

Why does she use SeeVirtual? Trina likes the professional photography and she feels it is a great tool for pre-screening buyers.  She finds it less inconvenient for sellers because she doesn’t have to get them out of the house for unqualified or uninterested buyers. Trina uses SeeVirtual tours as part of her toolbox and appreciates the integrated social media sharing, automatic uploads to Craigslist, YouTube, and Kijiji, which make sure her listings get a lot of online exposure. SeeVirtual gives her more time to do what she does best, which is “helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals”. Check out Trina Brady’s latest virtual tour.

Would you like to be one of our Featured Realtors? SeeVirtual is always looking for innovative Realtors to highlight. Contact steph@seevirtual360.com for more details.

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Customer Reviews

You know that little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that you walk by every day? There’s no chance you’d try it out, is there? What if a close friend told you they had the most amazing meal there. Would that change your mind?

This is the premise behind the influx of online customer review sites. Sites like Google Places, Yelp, Gigpark, even Yellow Pages, have jumped into the action because it is apparent that the public is no longer swayed by glossy marketing materials and highly controlled branding. They want the real goods and they want it from reliable sources who don’t gain anything from sharing their opinions.

If you have not already submitted your business to these sites, now is a great time to do it. Once created, you can then send your clients the links to review you instead of asking for testimonials for your website. Read this article to find out which questions to ask to get the best reviews.

Review sites are also a great opportunity to manage and provide customer service. If you receive a negative customer review, reply to it on the same site and state how you plan to rectify the situation. Anyone reading the negative review will respect your transparency and know that you take clients’ disappointment seriously.

Think of review sites like word-of-mouth recommendations (only through a mega phone) and sign up today!

Have you used SeeVirtual Marketing & Photography? We would love it if you would review us! Click here, here, or here to let us know how we are doing.

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Around the Web this Week

Happy Friday Everyone!

If your website was a house, would you list it? Read this to see if it needs some spring cleaning. We love the orange shag rug analogy. (Danko)

Avoid these common mistakes Realtors make when using social media. (Future of Real Estate Marketing)

Are you still unsure about using social media? Apparently you are alone! Check out this video which highlights the mind-blowing statistics on social media usage. (YouTube)

Speaking of, here are some quick tips and an overview of how you can use each of the social media sites to their full potential. (Inman News)

Now get off your computer and go enjoy the sun!

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