Infographic: What You Need to Know About Millennial Homebuyers

Millennials have been the largest group of homebuyers for the last three years running, and with most millennials yet to enter the housing market, their dominance is unlikely to end any time soon. This is great news for real estate agents. In 2016, 88 percent of all buyers used an agent; however, a full 92 percent of millennials purchased their home with the help of an agent! That said, understanding who this group of buyers is, how they search, and why they choose to work with agents will help you shape your business to best serve and appeal to the needs of this growing pool of buyers.

Before you can work with millennial buyers, you have to find them. Don’t let any more millennials fall into the hands of your competitors! Ask us how Local Connect can help you target quality buyers and sellers in the initial stages of their transactions so you can start connecting with them today!


Posted by Mark Mathis on RISMedia


8 High-Tech Features to Include in Your Next Remodel

You’ve torn out the old carpet and replaced the kitchen cabinets, and your renovation is almost complete. Before you put everything back together, consider including some high-tech features on your list of remodeling must-haves. Adding a few new smart devices is a cinch when you’re in the process of remodeling—why not make a little room in the budget for something that can make your life easier and help cut down on expenses overall?

Here are eight of the coolest smart devices to include in your home remodel.

Fictive application controlling the modern house

Fictive application controlling the modern house

1. Nest Cam

With its wide range of consumer-friendly smart products, Nest has made a big name for itself in the smart home industry—and this powerful little camera is one of the main reasons why. The Nest Cam records in crystal-clear 1080p resolution and streams 24/7, so you’ll never miss a thing. The Nest Cam Indoor also comes equipped with a speaker and a mic and will alert you if you’re not at home and it detects motion or conspicuous noises.

2. Philips Hue

Philips Hue LED lightbulbs are smart and energy-efficient, allowing you to control the lighting in your home while cutting energy costs. There are 16 million colors and a variety of smart controls to choose from, making your lighting system as subtle or dramatic as you’d like. Sync your lights with movies or music, set the ambience for concentration, or create a gentle morning lighting routine. With the Philips Hue Bridge, you can link up to 50 lights and other accessories, making a completely customizable lighting experience.

3. Vivint Doorbell Camera

Vivint’s sleek Doorbell Camera lets you see who’s at your door no matter where you are. With a 180-degree look at your porch and night-vision capabilities, you always have a clear view. The Vivint Sky app will send you a notification whenever someone rings the bell and allows you to turn the camera on and off and adjust your doorbell chime. You can also lock and unlock the door remotely, and speak to friends and strangers through the doorbell.

4. Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener

The Chamberlain garage door opener connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere. Chamberlain says it’s compatible with any garage door opener made after 1993: the only requirement is that it must include safety sensors at the bottom of the track. And prepare yourself—CNET called it a “smart-home gateway drug.”

5. August Smart Lock

August’s Smart Lock replaces the interior side of your deadbolt (so it doesn’t throw off the look from the outside), granting you the ability to lock and unlock your door with your smartphone. The Smart Lock doesn’t stop there, though. You can create virtual keys for your family and friends, granting them access as well. The August Home app will even auto-lock the door behind you and unlock the door for you as you approach—you don’t have to do a thing.

6. Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest’s Learning Thermostat learns your patterns as you use it—within a week it will adapt to your preferred temperatures and set itself to match your preferences. If you like your home cooler at night and warmer in the morning, for example, the Learning Thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature for you. It will also adjust to an energy-saving mode when you’re not home. The company says it can pay for itself in energy savings after just two years.

7. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

This Energy Star-rated refrigerator does things you never knew you wanted your fridge to do. For starters, every time you close the door, three cameras take pictures of the contents inside. You can then check what’s in your fridge from your phone, so you never have to wonder what you need from the store. If you’d rather not go to the store yourself, you can place an online order using Groceries by Mastercard, one of many included apps accessible right from the touchscreen on the door. You can also sync and display calendars and photos on the screen, leave notes, stream music—even watch TV.

8. Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is a 360-degree Bluetooth speaker featuring Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant. Alexa can stream music, tell you the weather, answer your questions, get traffic updates and sports scores—all the stuff you expect a voice assistant to do. The main reason it’s on this list, though, is that it can connect to a number of smart devices from other manufacturers, allowing you to control your lights, locks and thermostat with your voice.

These eight gadgets can add some serious value to your life and home. If you’re already remodeling, now’s the perfect time to try a few out and get a little taste of the future.


Posted by Jonathan Deesing on RISMedia’s HouseCall

6 Ways Home Automation Tools Can Make Your Life Easier

These clever tools and gadgets take care of your home while you’re on the go.

Shutterstock ID 316889645

Shutterstock ID 316889645

By 2019, the number of North American households with smart home systems is predicted to reach 38.2 million, up from just over 10 million in 2014. (Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg is even devoting 2016 to creating his own home automation system.)

Home automation essentially helps you control or manage your home via devices or applications. You may be familiar with the phrase “smart home.” Think of home automation as Internet-connected devices that help make your home life more efficient — or smarter.

Try not to let home automation intimidate you, though. Truly, anyone can turn their humble abode into a smart home, one device at a time — and you don’t even have to hire anyone to do it for you.

So whether you’re ready to go all in and automate everything under your roof, or you’re just curious about how you can begin to incorporate some home automation elements, read on to learn a few easy ways to start.

The possibilities really are endless

You’ve probably already heard about tech gadgets that help keep your home secure, control your thermostat, or program your lights.

These are some of the most discussed uses of home automation, but they’re really only the beginning. There are quite a few not-so-common home automation options out there worth a look.

Check on your pet from the office

From Piper to Motorola Pet Scout to Misafes, there are many products focused on keeping your pet safe and happy, while giving you peace of mind.

You can find wireless camera devices that let you see what your pup is up to all day, while also allowing for two-way audio — so not only can you hear if Fido is barking, but you can talk to him, too.

Some devices, like the Belkin NetCam, can even email you after detecting motion in a designated area, so you’ll know every time your pet goes in and out of a typically off-limits room, or you can simply check how often your pup uses the doggy door.

You can try just about any wireless security camera of your choice, or opt for products specifically for monitoring pets.

Clean your home

The iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot will put an end to your vacuum chore days and make cleaning your home smarter than ever. Its internal camera allows this cleaning robot to map out the layout of your home, so it knows where it’s been and where it still needs to go. It’s also wirelessly connected to its own app, so you can schedule it to clean when you’re at the office, running errands, or just out with friends — all with just one tap to the app.

Other automatic cleaning devices include the Samsung POWERbot, the bObsweep bObi, and the Miele Scout.

Gain a personal assistant

Perhaps the most well-known personal assistant on the home automation market is the Amazon Echo. The Echo is activated by your voice, and allows you to listen to your favorite Pandora station or Amazon Prime music on command; get the latest news, weather, or traffic reports; and control other smart home devices.

As an alternative to Echo, keep tabs on ivee, available for pre-order now with estimated shipping in April 2016.

Water your plants

Sure, you can set reminders to water your plants, but you don’t have to with Tableau. With a smart watering system, your plants will be good to go while you’re away.

Tableau tracks how much water your plants get, and can care for up to three plants for up to one full month.

Cook dinner remotely

Have you ever heard of a Wi-Fi slow cooker? Yep, it’s a real thing. The Crock-Pot WeMo Smart Slow Cooker lets you decide when to start cooking dinner, all from a free WeMo app.

And if you get stuck away from home longer than planned, you can adjust the timer to continue warming to avoid an overcooked or cold meal.

Monitor water leaks

Water leaks are common, but home automation can help monitor the situation and prevent the much-feared basement flood.

The Fibaro Flood Sensor can be installed in any hard-to-reach space, and will alert you if it detects movement, water, or a change in temperature. Everspring’s Wireless Flood Detector works similarly, in that it sounds an alarm if it comes in contact with water. And theSmartSense Moisture Sensor alerts your phone via text or push notification if it ever detects a leak.

Home automation for anyone

Whether you’re living in a dorm, just bought your first home, or you’re a senior wanting to try out home automation, there’s a device on the market for you.

While there are home automation devices for every space in and out of your home, don’t let that overwhelm you. Which tasks frustrate you most? What do you want more help with around the house? What “just for fun” activities do you wish you could do from anywhere?

Consider what you care most about and start there. Add a home automation device one at a time, and you’ll be a smart home guru in no time.

Posted by Sarah Pike on Zillow

How to increase listing viewership and connect with sincere buyers

Tap into your listing’s potential!

Companies such as Matterport, Toursler and iGuide offer a much richer experience with listings and allow buyers to get an accurate sense of space of the property.

For a time, I owned a Matterport camera and scanned listings myself. Then I found a more complete solution with Toursler through a local service provider, Architech 3D Imaging.

With Toursler, we found a solution that meets all of our needs for our new listings. Beautiful, professional photographs, a clean floor plan and a showing that allows buyers to walk in and around our listings digitally.

Digital showings are a great way to stand out from the competition and provide a true value to sellers. This technology contains proven marketing materials in addition to the most innovative and advanced way to experience a real estate listing.

By leading with the latest digital showing technology, we are immediately able to distance ourselves from the majority of our competition.

Unmatched engagement and results

Although the digital showings are extremely effective at winning listings, they don’t stop there. Online viewing of video content is usually measured in seconds.

Facebook counts three seconds of playing video as a view, which includes its auto-play feature.

Research tells us the shorter a video the better; video completion rates fall significantly with videos longer than 60 seconds.

Only about 50 percent of your audience is paying attention after 30 seconds.

In contrast, Toursler claims that users are actively engaged with their digital showing for an average of six minutes.

Unfortunately, Matterport has not released any analytics. However, I imagine the data would be similar. Digital showings appear to be exponentially more engaging than most videos and your basic slideshow set to music.

I can’t stress this point enough — if 1,000 buyers view your listing video, it would be a little over eight hours of passive eyeballs engaged with your video 30 seconds at a time.

With a high-quality digital showing, you are looking at about 100 hours of buyers actively exploring and interacting with your listing. The results are simply astounding.

The increased engagement results in significantly more inquiries and offers — all with fewer days on market. But benefits of the digital showing technology doesn’t stop there because they make you more efficient.

We see fewer physical showings on listings with digital technology because they weed out the tire kickers. Most showings are fruitless because they don’t result in an offer and are thus a needless disturbance to the seller. However, 3-D technology filters out those that aren’t sincerely interested in purchasing.

In several instances, this offer has been made after a single physical showing. Buyers often use the tours to review the property after that first showing and download the floor plan to explore design and furnishing options.

All of this helps get buyers to envision themselves in the home with the added benefit of fewer disturbances to the sellers.

A new generation is now entering homeownership, and their demand for richer, better and more engaging experiences in real estate is apparent.

This technology has been an enormous win for our team, and it can be so for you as well. Nothing would make me happier than to see more of the listings I show buyers have the same tools and quality content available to aid their decision-making process.

Posted by Brandon Doyle on Inman


Check out these links to sample 3-D tours!