Industry News

INFOGRAPHICS: Distressed Properties for January – June 2011

See a visual representation of distressed properties in our market!

Last May, we debuted new infographics to show how distressed properties identified as Short Sales and Bank Owned were represented in the 2010 housing market. Now, we’re pleased to present new infographics on distressed properties for the first two quarters of 2011! When compared with the data from 2010, these stats offer a more comprehensive picture of how the local housing market has changed in the past year and a half.

(Click the image to enlarge.)

The above infographic shows a visual representation of the number of Bank Owned and Short Sales in all areas of the RMLS™ system during the first half of 2011. The top half shows new listings and sales from January through June 2011, while the bottom half shows new listings and sales by quarter. To download or print the infographic, click here.

Below are links to additional infographics for some of our larger areas*:
Portland Metro
Clark County, WA
Lane County, OR
Douglas County, OR
*If you want information on percentages of distressed sales in other areas not represented by our infographics, please contact us at communications@rmls.com.

As can be seen from the above infographic, the percentage of distressed sales in the overall housing market increased for closed sales compared with new listings. However, the amount of short sales decreased as a percentage of closed sales versus new listings, while the amount of bank owned properties greatly increased.

The quarterly trend shows a decrease of new listings that were distressed, when comparing Quarter 1 with Quarter 2. Distressed sales also decreased as a percentage of closed sales in a comparison of Quarter 1 and Quarter 2. This trend remains consistent with the data from Quarters 1 and 2 from 2010.

Here are some additional facts about distressed properties in the first half of 2011:

  • In a comparison of the first half of 2010 with the same period in 2011, distressed sales as a percentage of new listings increased by 4.5% (20.9% v. 25.4%).
  • In a comparison of the first half of 2010 with the same period in 2011, distressed sales as a percentage of closed sales increased by 9.9% (28.1% v. 38%).
  • Short Sales comprised 13.4% of new listings and 10.1% of sales in 2011, up 2.1% and 1.1% from 2010, respectively.
  • Bank Owned properties comprised 12.1% of new listings and 27.9% of sales in 2011, up 2.4% and 8.8% from 2010, respectively.

Mobile App for On-The-Go Realtor® Safety

Available for purchase at the iTunes Store

Although June is not Realtor® Safety Month (September is!), it’s important to keep up-to-date with any safety resources that become newly available, whether it’s “Safety Month” or not. Often times, real estate professionals are left alone when showing an open house or when meeting a potential client. These occasions can be potentially dangerous. We’ve just stumbled across a mobile application that may help real estate professionals in the event of an emergency. We thought we’d share it with you!

Real Alert – The Safety App for Realtors®

Developed by Michelle Jones, an Austin Realtor®, Real Alert is a mobile application compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices. It is available in the iTunes Store for $1.99. This application has several key functions enabling users to get help quickly:

  • Quick Tap Alarm Button
  • Quick Tap Call 911 Button
  • Locate Nearest Hospital Button
  • Quick Tap Alert A Friend
  • Built-In Flashlight

For more information or to purchase the mobile app, click here.

Other Resources:

National Association of Realtors® Field Guide to Safety. Visit NAR’s website for safety guides, handouts and tips. Click here.

Selling Safely Brochure. Home sellers need to learn safety practices, too. We have recently revamped the RMLS Selling Safely Brochure and it’s now available to download. This brochure is great for agents to give to their clients! It provides tips for clients on selling their home safely and has a place for the agent to provide their contact information! Click here to download the brochure.

Remember that old saying, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Adventures in Social Media

Stay current with the RMLS™ Twitter and Facebook accounts!

Sometime during the last decade, the term “social media” grew more fiercely than wildfire. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Foursquare and LinkedIn were created. To go even farther, we began to see social media in the form of blogging (WordPress, Blogspot), micro-blogging (Twitter), online reviewing (Yelp), photo-sharing (Flickr) and smart purchasing (Groupon).

It’s difficult trying to keep up with the constant flow of new social media applications, trends and products that come on the market each day. Due to the fact that social media has started to play a more key role in the real estate industy, RMLS™ is making an effort at “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Here’s how you can benefit from our efforts:

Did you know you can check up on our Twitter feed, Facebook page and RMLS™ Updates blog, without creating an account of your own? Say there is an RMLSweb outage (which is not something we like to think about, but it has happened before) and you want up-to-date information, here is what you can do: 

Twitter: Go to http://twitter.com/RMLSweb

This will take you to the RMLS™ Twitter account, where you can see all of our recent “tweets” and our Twitter profile (even if you don’t have a Twitter account of your own!). From here, you can choose to “follow” us if you have an account! We recommend you do so in order to stay current with our updates.

Facebook: Go to http://www.facebook.com/RMLSweb
Here, you will be directed to our Facebook page! A goal of ours for 2011 is to increase our fan base on our Facebook page. Since we’re on the hunt for new fans, make sure to “like” our page!

Blog: For those of you who may have stumbled upon a link to this blog, at any time you can access it by going to: http://rmlsweb.wordpress.com/ 

We plan on doing some cool contests and giveaways in the future for those following us on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to win some free stuff!  Also, don’t forget to tune in for these weekly events:

  • Tuesday Training Tip – Each Tuesday we post an interesting RMLSweb training tip to our Facebook and Twitter accounts regarding certain aspects of the RMLSweb system.
  • Friday Fun Fact – Each Friday we post a humorous fact on Twitter and Facebook about a fact of the day and how it coincides with a statistic from RMLSweb

Finally, if you are looking to become a more efficient social media user, check out tools such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck that allow you to view and post to your Twitter, Facebook and Blog feeds – all at once!

Happy social media adventures!

AT&T’s 4G masquerade

Motorola Atrix 4G

ATT says it’s not capping upload speeds on the Motorola Atrix 4G.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

There are some angry ATT customers out there, and rightfully so.

Over the past few weeks, there have been mounting complaints and reports against the carrier about capping upload speeds on its 4G devices, specifically the HTC Inspire 4G and the Motorola Atrix 4G. ATT remained mum on the subject until late last week when a customer filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

ATT states:

ATT is focused on delivering a wide choice of solutions and the best possible smartphone experience to our customers. Be assured that ATT has not “capped” the upload speeds on the Atrix 4G. The Atrix 4G is an HSUPA-capable device, and we currently are performing the testing and preparations necessary to ensure that, when we turn this feature on, you will continue to have a world class experience. Please keep in mind, software is only one of many factors that can affect speeds experienced. Factors such as location, time of day, network capacity and facilities, can have an impact as well.

So according to the statement, the carrier isn’t putting a cap on data (we beg to differ), rather it hasn’t yet enabled the HSUPA radio inside the smartphone. HSUPA, which stands for High-Speed Uplink Packet Access, is the protocol that allows for faster upload speeds (up to 5.76Mbps) on your mobile phone.

However, the problem isn’t just that these devices aren’t living up to their 4G potential; they’re actually delivering speeds slower than some of the carrier’s 3G smartphones, which we’ve experienced firsthand. In our tests, the Inspire 4G averaged upload speeds of 150kbps and the Atrix 4G averaged 180kbps in the Manhattan area, while the 3G-enabled
iPhone 4 averaged 850kbps.

The issue has prompted multiple forum threads, calls to the ATT president’s office, and one ATT customer, Zack Nebbaki, has even started an online petition against the carrier for capping its upload speeds.

“The main reason I bought it [the Motorola Atrix 4G] was because it was advertised as being the most powerful smartphone in the market, and I was also getting tired of my iPhone 4. It also advertised 4G connectivity as soon as ATT’s backhaul was in place, and promised the fastest data connectivity on a phone on their network. This latter part has proven to be incorrect,” Nebbaki told CNET in an e-mail.

Nebbaki said after buying the Atrix and getting dismal upload speeds in multiple locations, he called ATT to make sure there wasn’t an outage in his area. There wasn’t, but ATT offered no clear explanation or resolution, so after doing some research on the Internet and seeing that others were having the same issues, he decided to start the petition, which had 870 signatures as of press time.

“There is so much misinformation being touted by ATT that they need to make a public official statement–preferably a promise of support with a date on which to expect it–and hopefully this petition will help them see that they need to speed this along a little bit,” said Nebbaki.

He added that the carrier’s response wasn’t enough. “In my opinion, ATT’s reaction is what you can call ‘PR lingo,’” said Nebbaki. “How can they say that they are not capping upload speeds but they will turn on HSUPA later on. This answer does not make sense to me because doesn’t turning off HSUPA mean that the upload speeds are crippled?”

CNET asked ATT when it would enable HSUPA and why the issue wasn’t made clear to customers from the beginning, but an ATT representative said it wasn’t commenting on the situation beyond what was stated above.

Earlier today, PC Mag posted a story saying that ATT is shamelessly lying about 4G, and they’re right. Though the devices are technically 4G capable, the fact is that they’re not capable right now and the carrier’s advertising fails to mention this minor detail.

With heavy competition among the carriers, the definition of 4G has been muddied, but at least, with T-Mobile and Sprint, we’re actually seeing faster data speeds on their 4G devices.

It would have been one thing if ATT was forthright from the get-go. I’m guessing customers would have been a little more understanding had ATT said that the feature would be enabled in the future because the Motorola Atrix 4G and HTC Inspire 4G are great devices even without 4G, but now they just look shady.

For Nebbaki’s part, he says he hopes that ATT will provide a reason for its actions and make a public commitment to turning on HSUPA on its 4G devices in a reasonable time frame. We’re hoping for the same.

Two Little Known Secrets To Strengthening Your Email List

This is a guest post by Shaun. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

When it comes to building a successful mailing list, there are a few standard things everyone knows you should do: Give out a free incentive, have your opt in box in a highly visible position, and don’t annoy your subscribers.

Today however, we’re going to look at a couple of the lesser known things you can do to strengthen your list. So read on, and feel free to add any additional tips in the comments.

1. Giving The Reader Something More To Do

If you send relevant emails to your subscribers, you should hopefully peak their interest and get them excited about what you’re talking about. If you do this successfully but then don’t give your subscriber anything more to do once they finish your email, you are effectively losing out on a big opportunity. This person has just been warmed up and is ready to go, so not giving them anything more to read or interact with is a big waste.

One thing I like to do is link to a relevant blog post at the end of each of my emails. Let’s say for example I’m giving a tips on how to increase your subscriber rates in one of my emails. At the end I’d then add a link to my post with further information on this topic, and entice the reader to read on.

There are three main benefits to doing this:

  1. Building a stronger relationship with your subscribers. You can offer a lot of value using this method without sending overwhelmingly long emails. You’re basically introducing people to a subject in your email, and giving them all the details in your relevant blog post. Giving this much value will mean people learn to trust your emails, and stay responsive to them for a long time to come.
  2. You get more visitors back to your site. This will increase your site’s page views and get people finding content they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. This can build life long fans, and mean your older blog posts still get regular views.
  3. You will make more money. If these blog posts you lead them back to have affiliate offers or your own products for sale, you will get a percentage of people buying them if it is a topic they are interested in.

I like to include this strategy in my autoresponder series, as it means people will always have new things on my site to look at. When people first visit your blog and subscribe, most of the time they don’t go through your archives or look at any posts past the first two pages. This strategy will allow people to see your older and lesser known posts that are still as helpful as ever.

It also allows you to set out a clear path, and gets people to view your content in a order it’ll benefit them the most.

2. Delete Non Responsive Subscribers

This may sound like a weird thing to do, but at times it can be beneficial to delete some of your subscribers. I know this goes against what many bloggers recommend, but there is a reason behind this logic. Many bloggers feel that the bigger your list is, the more successful you are. This however couldn’t be further from the truth, as having a list of thousands isn’t worth anything if they don’t interact with your emails. Not only will they not benefit your business in any way, they will actually hinder your business and lose you money.

Think about it, if you’re using a email marketing service such as Aweber, having more people then necessary on your list is costing you money. As most of you know, the more people on your list, the higher your monthly Aweber fee is. Similarly, the less subscribers you have, the less you’ll pay to keep their service going every month.

So let’s say for example you have 3,000 people on your list. You will be paying $49 a month to keep your mailing list up and running, according to Aweber’s current price plan. But imagine 1,000 of your subscribers never open your emails and never contribute to your business in anyway, this will be 1,000 subscribers you could easily delete from your list without it having any negative implications on your business. It will have positive implications however, as deleting these 1,000 subscribers will bring you down to a lower price band. So instead of paying $49 a month, you’ll pay $29 a month and have better list statistics (A higher open rate, more link clicks etc).

So how would you know which subscribers to delete? Well luckily, most email marketing services keep these sort of stats for you. You should easily be able to see who never opens any of your emails, and doesn’t click any of your links. These stats are usually rounded up to give a general rating for each person on your mailing list, and anyone with the lowest rating should be deleted.

Got More Tips?

Both of these methods can help you streamline your email marketing campaign, savings you money and building a stronger relationship with your subscribers. As I’m sure you know though, there are a whole heap of other things you can do to get more subscribers and keep them interactive. So, what email marketing techniques do you use to strengthen your list building efforts? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Shaun is the author of Ultimate Mailing List, a site dedicated to help improve your email marketing campaigns.

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Spread the Word Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to our winners and to the three schools that will receive gift certificates for art supplies!

A $100 gift certificate from RMLS™ is currently on its way to three schools in Oregon and SW Washington. Winners of our Spread the Word Contest were able to choose the school that would receive one of three gift certificates, which is to be used to purchase art supplies for students.

The Fair Housing Council of Oregon’s annual Fair Housing Poster Contest is underway, with submissions due March 17th. RMLS™ encouraged our subscribers to submit a plan for how they were helping to spread word of this contest for children. The first two subscribers who emailed us their “Spread the Word” plan won a $100 gift certificate for art supplies to donate to the school of their choice! However, we had three great plans emailed to us within a short period of time and decided to award three winners instead of just two!

Congratulations to our winners:
Sheila Done, Century 21 Wright & Assoc.
Wendy Wampach, RE/MAX Equity Group
Joy Hurley, Coldwell Banker Professional Group

Sheila Done chose Ladd Acres Elementary School in Hillsboro as the recipient of her $100 gift certificate for art supplies. Sheila has two children (in first and fifth grade) who attend this school and was happy to help get the word out about the poster contest. Her plan consisted of emailing teachers and parents of students at the school, in addition to posting the contest flyer on the school’s front doors. Below is a picture of students from Ladd Acres Elementary who will benefit from these art supplies!

Wendy Wampach chose to donate her gift certificate to Mill Plain Elementary in Vancouver, Washington, where she is the current Art Discovery Coordinator. She also teaches art classes to students at Mill Plain Elementary. Wendy sent the Fair Housing contest flyer to the District Coordinator and to the other Art Coordinators for the Evergreen School district. With a total of 21 elementary schools in the district and more than 300 art volunteers, this plan surely helped spread awareness of the poster contest. Here is a photo of some Mill Plain Elementary students engaged in artistic activities:

 

Joy Hurley serves as a Board Member for Yamhelas Community Resource Center (YCRC). YCRC is a local 501c-3 that organizes a preschool and after-school programs for at-risk youth in the communities of Yamhill and Washington Counties. The organization collaborates not only with the school district, but also with other local non-profits to provide resources for children. To help get the word out about the Fair Housing Poster Contest, Joy’s plan included distributing copies of the flyer to the YCRC art class and the local Girl Scout Troop. She also requested that the school district place the flyer on their website. Joy is excited to have won the gift certificate for YCRC, as she says its art program is in need of funds and will find this donation very useful. Here is an example of art done by some of the students:

Again, congratulations to our winners who took time out of their schedules to help spread awareness of the Fair Housing Poster Contest. They should also be commended for submitting plans to RMLS™ in an effort to win $100 for a school in need of art funds. Let’s also congratulate those who did not win, but who are helping to spread the word anyway. This poster contest is a great way to get kids involved in a fun community project. Hopefully the Fair Housing Council will see an outstanding turnout of poster submissions to their contest!

For more information on the poster contest, visit the Fair Housing Council of Oregon’s website. Or, click here for a copy of the contest brochure!

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