New Corporate Website Update

Our new tablet-friendly corporate website is continuing to develop. We have added functionality to the site, which will replace the current www.helpusell.com for desktop computers and tablets in the coming months.

Help-U-Sell Real Estate's new Find a Local Office feature
Help-U-Sell Real Estate's new website will enable visitors to find a local office without leaving the homepage.

When visitors come to the corporate site, they will be able to find the nearest office without leaving the homepage and, if there are multiple results, choose one of the offices as their favorite office. When the visitor returns to the site from the same computer or tablet, the office will be saved as the default. The system will use geolocation to determine the closest offices. Visitors can also perform a search by entering in a zip code of the city where they want to find an office.

We are also refining the search results for property searches. This is the only aspect of the new corporate site redesign that will impact the broker sites.

Help-U-Sell Real Estate property search results example 1
The new Help-U-Sell Real Estate property search results will have 'heat indexes' where listings are concentrated. By clicking on one of the numbered spots, the searcher will home in on a closer area.

The design and filters are still in progress, but the functionality is mostly in place now on our development site.

Searchers will be able to zoom in on a specific area by clicking on the “heat index” spots indicated with a number, by moving the map to a particular area, or by drawing boundaries on the map either with the mouse or a finger.

The new Help-U-Sell Real Estate site lets visitors draw search boundaries.
The new site lets visitors draw search boundaries.

Mousing over or tapping on a pin on the map will bring up a small popup box with a thumbnail photo and a few basic details about the property. Clicking on or double-tapping the pin will bring up a larger popup box with a larger photo, more details, and a link to the property details page.

We will share more updates on the new site as it develops. If you are a broker and have suggestions for the site’s design or functionality, please share those with us so that we can consider how we might add them to the site.

New Widget to Display Key Performance Indicators

Help-U-Sell Real Estate Key Performance Indicator Widget
The new widget displays an office's sold and saved information and key performance indicators.

Help-U-Sell Real Estate brokers can show off their offices’ achievements, including how much they saved their seller clients, with a new widget. The widget displays as a table and can also contain data on other key performance indicators, such as total number of listings sold, days on market, and percentage of listings sold by MLS agents and sold in-house.

The widget will show the closing date, address, sale prices, days on market, and seller savings for each property an office sold. The data are pulled from the reported transactions in the Office Management System dating back to 2009. Offices can manually enter transactions that took place prior to that year. All data fields are optional, so offices can select to display the ones that most effectively reflect the offices’ success and abilities.

Because it is a widget, it automatically updates and it can be placed on any web page that an office can access from the back-end. So, a broker can embed the code on his blog, a third-party website, or on any page on his Help-U-Sell site.

Sold and Saved Widget in the Help-U-Sell Real Estate OMS
Brokers can customize the sold and saved widget in Help-U-Sell Real Estate's Office Management System.

Brokers can access the new widget in OMS by clicking Website Widgets on the “Setup” tab. On the Website Widgets page, select Sold and Save Widget from the drop-down menu. All customization, from resizing to choosing what is displayed, happens here. Once everything is set up the way you want it, copy the code in the box and place it on the page where you want the widget to appear.

Help-U-Sell Real Estate’s New Tablet-Friendly Website

Help-U-Sell Real Estate's New Mobile-Friendly Website
Help-U-Sell Real Estate plans to launch its mobile-friendly website early this summer. Here is a screenshot of the homepage as a work-in-progress.

More than 40 percent of Help-U-Sell Real Estate’s website visitors view the site from a mobile device. With that number expected to grow as more people switch from laptops to tablets, we saw the need to create a mobile-friendly corporate site.

The new site will:

    * be scalable to fit any device
    * have a simpler design with more interactive video elements
    * feature submenus within internal pages
    * incorporate new search functionality that will use spatial data instead of city and suburbs.

The new search results page will be a full-screen map with an overlay of the filter options. Neighborhoods will replace cities in the locations field so that users can home in on to the exact areas and even the school districts they prefer. Users also will be able to search any criteria, from a street name to a zip code.

The asking price for each property will show up on the “pin” on the map. Tapping the pin will highlight the thumbnail photo and address of the property on a list to the right of the map.

The map will also update when it is moved or expanded, showing property pins in the newly viewed area.

The search functionality and map will roll out to broker websites when the corporate site launches. The soft launch is slated for spring, with the official launch planned for early summer.

Preparing for Real Estate Success in 2014

At this time of year, everyone’s reflecting on the past 12 months and looking ahead to the next 12 (or just scrambling to get ready for Christmas!). If you’re looking for guidance on preparing for 2014, two articles I’ve read recently offer steps to follow.

Finances

Inman Next contributor ActiveRain suggests poring over your November credit card statement for any unnecessary business spending. I would add be sure to check your unpaid invoices and other sources of expense information, too.

Staffing

Our friend James Dingman encourages his readers to consider hiring support staff and perhaps a buyers’ agent or two and a listing agent. Analyze your workload and workflow to determine what business model would make the most sense for you at this stage. If you need more guidance on this important topic, set an appointment with your coach for next month.

Marketing

This is a broad topic that ActiveRain and James bestow with their attention. ActiveRain suggests attending holiday parties, and you might want to be prepared with a year-end market analysis you can summarize for anyone who asks. Knocking on doors with this information is another suggestion. Longer-term, the company’s blog post says you should re-examine your market niche. Who or what is your ideal target market? James thinks expanding your reach, specifically your targeted neighborhoods, could be a good move. He also advocates “supercharging your marketing” on the Internet, whether it’s on real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow or with pay-per-click, targeted ads on Google and Facebook.

Updating

ActiveRain says this is a good time to take control of your contact management system. Update it with your latest leads and any new contact information so that you can reach out to them next year. Get all of your social media profiles in order (or shut down ones you’re not actively using). Review your website page by page. Do you have inaccurate or expired information posted? What about pages that have not been localized with your office name and location?

If this seems overwhelming, it doesn’t all have to be completed by Dec. 31, just have it on your radar for early 2014.

You can read the full articles on the Set Fee Blog and Inman Next.

Have a prosperous New Year!

Live from Success Summit 2013

We’ve just started day two of our annual Success Summit in Las Vegas!

Yesterday, we welcomed brokers and agents from all over the country, including our newest franchisee, who just signed with us at the meeting.

Help-U-Sell Success Summit 2013
Opening session of Help-U-Sell Success Summit 2013

In addition to the opening session, we held three breakout sessions on technology, coaching and marketing; as well as a marketing roundtable session, where our offices shared marketing techniques that work for them. We ended the day with a reception overlooking the Strip.

Success Summit reception
Help-U-Sell Success Summit reception

Today, we have a full day of general and breakout sessions. A special thank-you to Mike Paholke of Excel Printing and Mailing for bringing new marketing materials and showing us how to order them, and to John Powell and Jack Bailey for their coaching sessions.

If you aren’t in attendance and would like to follow the happenings in Las Vegas, search #SuccessSummit13 on Twitter.