Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Alfano Group's top 10 blog posts of 2017

2017 was a banner year for real estate, with 365 days of fast-paced home sales, prices jumping higher than ever, and demand far outpacing supply in many major markets. There was no more energized housing market than Greater Sacramento, with downtown redevelopment and job growth bringing us on par with California’s other major cities. At the Alfano Group Real Estate Agency, we had the best year ever, too, helping a record number of clients and friends successfully navigate the challenging market, walking away with the keys to their dream house – or huge home sale profits.

Over the next 365 days, smart homeowners and buyers will continue to take advantage of a hot real estate market to achieve their financial goals, and The Alfano Group will be a big part of that.

In order to properly bid adieu to 2017 and ring in the new year, here are our top 10 blog posts from 2017, per your views, reads, and likes.

Thanks again for trusting The Alfano Group with your real estate business and we promise to make it a great 2018!

The Alfano Group Real Estate's top 10 blogs of 2017 (in no particular order):

Examining the relationship between good schools and home values:

Your Sacramento real estate market report:

The 3% Rule: How to potentially make 3% more profit on the sale of your home (Part 1 and 2):

The 10 Most Dangerous Threats in Your Home:

Exposing common real estate, housing, and rental scams. (Scams #1-5)

Buying for profit; 10 ways to make sure your home keeps going up in value:

According to historical market cycles, when will the next real estate crash occur? (Hint: not for a long time!) 

15 Highly creative (and highly questionable) real estate agent ads:

Hero time! 40 Facts about police, firefighters, and paramedics in the USA

Buying a home? You can learn a lot from these past homebuyer regrets:

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Mark of Success: 50 Common Traits of Prosperous People

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Elon Musk; these are some of the most successful people alive today, creating a legacy of contributions to society that also come with unprecedented wealth. But apart from being ultra accomplished, rich, and powerful, they have far more in common than you might think.

In fact, just about every person who is successful at their chosen vocation, whether it’s founding a world-changing charity, being the G.O.A.T. at their professional sport, or building a business empire, has the same traits in common.

Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffet, Donald Bren, Donald Trump and others may have built their success based on real estate and shrewd investments, but these traits will apply to the average person, too, helping anyone achieve great things.

Here are our first 25 common traits of prosperous people, and look for 25 more in part two:

1.         They aren't afraid to put in extra work.
People who achieve big things in life invest extra effort, thought, and creativity into everything they do, no matter how big or small.

2.         Sacrifice. 
When you look at those who achieve excellence in any walk of life, the common pattern is that that had to forgo other fun, comfortable, and even profitable activities in order to focus on a much larger goal. However, this sacrifice is always worth it.

3.         They put in long hours doing what they love.
Successful people got the hard work out of the way early, not looking for shortcuts or get-rich-quick schemes. By doing, they learned to refine their work, maximizing the outcome and minimizing the effort so they grow incredibly efficient.

4.         Problem-solving.
Instead of getting derailed by distractions and day-to-day obstacles, they're always focused on the target, asking questions like: how can I improve?  What is lacking or holding me back?  There is a built-in evaluation of every project they undertake.

5.         Self-awareness.
People who accomplish great things in life hold a deep-seeded confidence in their abilities, but also have an honest and accurate sense of their own strengths and weaknesses. 

6.         Curiosity.

Some of the most unlikely experience gives rise to the best ideas.  Great thinkers get outside their bubble, and open themselves up with a relentless curiosity about the world.

7.         Specialization.
They have become better and better at one thing instead of trying to be proficient in many things. They are specialists; not generalists.

8.         Literacy.
There is no substitute for reading and learning, and ultra-achievers read non-stop. Studies show that 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more every day. Reading is part of that core skill set, no matter the discipline.

9.         Organization and goal setting.
 81% of wealthy and successful people scratch things off a daily To Do list, compared to only 19% of working class people. Just the act of writing down goals is very powerful, allowing the mind to prioritize and receive a jolt of satisfaction from completing even simple tasks.

10.       Wise use of time.
Successful people use their downtime to inspire their projects and explore other ways of thinking.  Since time is our greatest asset, successful people don't spend theirs on empty entertainment. In fact, 67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of TV every day, while 23% of poor people do, and only 6% of wealthy watch reality TV shows vs. 78% of poor.

11.       Milestones.
Setting tangible goals with concrete timetables and planning the action steps to achieve them is crucial to success.  Being able to break down big goals into smaller milestones is key, along with constant reevaluation of their plan as circumstances shift. If we don't, then we aren't experiencing progress and our projects quickly lose momentum.

12.       They understand that failure is not the enemy.
They aren't afraid of making mistakes and even failing because they know it leads to growth.  In fact, if they don't go through enough failure in their lives they understand they're not taking enough risks.

13.       Optimism bias.
Successful people don't wait around to get lucky; they create their own opportunities with hard work, smart planning, and confidence in their efforts. In fact, 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity instead of luck, while only 4% of poor believe the same. Furthermore, 76% of wealthy attribute bad habits to bad "luck" vs. 9% of poor.

14.       They take responsibility.
People who own their actions - good and bad - exhibit supreme accountability. By taking responsibility for the outcomes in their life, they are automatically empowered to change and grow.

15.       Flexible thinking.
Mental agility takes practice, but it’s a necessary skill. Successful people have firm moral and ethical values but flexible thinking based on new information, adjusting their sails depending on how they wind blows. 

16.       Create vs. consume.
Instead of just building wealth and acquiring material comforts, they focus on providing value and building something of worth, whether it's a new business, building a house, or forming a non-profit.

17.       Presence of mind.
The single most important step to happiness is focusing on being fully present and immersed in the moment. This, combined with incessant gratitude, is the mark of super successful people.

18.       Motivation.
Mega high achievers dare to dream about the unattainable...then they attain it!  In fact, 80% of wealthy and successful people are focused on a singular goal – and never take their eye off the ball.

19.       Persistence.
They just don't quit, because it's not even an option. You hear great minds talk about setbacks and disappointments, but they understand that their success is earned by bouncing back.

20.       Dissatisfaction with the status quo.
It’s really about developing a vision rather than accepting mediocrity. 

21.       They lock in and focus – not multi-task.
Multi-tasking is a myth that amounts to “do everything badly.” The human brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time.  Successful people know this and don’t try to juggle – work in immersed short bursts of concerted effort.

22.       Tireless ambition.
Achievers don’t compromise, soften, or quit on their goals. They forgo the safety of too much routine and instead push toward larger self-directed achievements.

23.       They seek out positive learning relationships. 
No one gets great in isolation, and any genius will tell you that they had tons of mentors and also taught themselves.  Exchanging ideas with people who are not like you but may have complementary skills can push you from being very good to excellent.

24.       They surround themselves with people they emulate.
Understand that whoever you spend the most time with is going to determine what you do yourself. Therefore, seek out positive, inspiring, energetic, kind, and dynamic people as friends, co-workers, and collaborators.

25.       They’re consummate networkers.
As the saying goes: your network is your net worth.  We have to talk about our projects in the same energizing way that successful people do to draw in support and create partnerships. In fact, 79% of wealthy people network five hours or more each month to move their projects forward.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Why video marketing is such an important part of selling your home

If you’re thinking of listing your home for sale, you want to work with a  real estate firm that offers cutting-edge technology and online marketing. Likewise, if you’re a home buyer, your time and effort are best used viewing video tours of homes.

Either way, video is now a critical part of the real estate marketing process that can’t be ignored.

For that reason, The Alfano Group real estate agency wants to share these statistics and facts about videos in real estate with you:

The prevalence of video in our daily lives
Every day, about 100 million people watch video on the Internet in the U.S.

In fact, the average video watcher sees 32.2 videos per month (more than one per day) and spends an average of 24 minutes each day watching them.

Astoundingly, 74% - nearly three-quarters – of all Internet traffic in 2017 will be video!

Why is video so powerful for marketing real estate?

According to Forrester Research, just one minute of video is the equivalent to 1.8 million words to the human brain – about the same amount of content as about 3,600 web pages filled with text!

We also retain what we see in video much better. A study by the Online Publishers Association found that 80% of viewers recall a good portion of the videos they viewed online.

In fact, 8 out of 10 internet users remember a video ad from a website they visited within the past 30 days!

Home buyers LOVE video!
At least four out of ten (40%) of home buyers surveyed say that virtual video tours of a home for sale are “very useful.”

Surveys reveal that 58% of current home buyers are looking for (or even expect!) an online video of the home they’re viewing online.

Even more swaying, research proves that home listings with videos as part of their marketing strategy receive 403% more views and inquiries than listings with no video.

What kinds of real estate videos are buyers looking for?

Home shoppers love watching online videos of the homes they’re considering viewing. In fact, 70% of online buyers watch video tours of the inside of the homes they’re browsing.

But home buyers aren’t just looking for quick videos spanning random listings. Instead, they’re looking for specific and tangible information that will influence their decision to make an offer and buy – or not.

Reportedly, 86% of home buyers use video to research the community they’re thinking of buying in.

Thanks to a tandem study conducted by Google and the National Association of Realtors, we have some key insights into the videos that consumers most want to see.

In their published findings, “The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate,” they reported that consumers want to see:

                      86% videos that educate them about the community
                      70% video tours of the homes for sale
                      54% educational videos about the buying and selling process
                      30% testimonial videos from past clients and referral partners, which is important for building trust and a comfort level
                      25% videos about the real estate agent they’re working with and his or her company

Video and mobile are BFFs

For the first time ever, mobile was king. In 2017, social media and Internet browsing on our smartphones and mobile devices surpassed Internet browsing on desktops, laptops, and other devices.

In fact, almost 80% of time spent on social media is now on mobile devices, and we're expected to have 6.1 billion additional smartphone users by 2020.

Home buyers, too, are going mobile, and looking for content, conducting searches, and watching videos on their phones and devices – often on the fly as they go home shopping or walk into an open house.

In fact, consumers these days are watching videos for an average of 1 to 3 minutes on their mobile devices – much longer than on their traditional computers.

Video marketing your listing gets more clicks, likes, and shares

Just by including a video link in an email (such as one promoting new listings), your click-through rate goes up by 200% - which means more exposure for your house for sale.

A fascinating study of consumer behavior actually mapped the eye movements of participants as they browsed the Internet. The study found that when viewing Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) like Google and others, video results drew and kept our attention at a higher rate than other content.

Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the other search engines also give heavier relevance to video content as they’re algorithms rank them. In fact, once a video reaches the first page of Google rankings, consumers are 41% more likely to click that video thumbnail instead of just a link or photo.

Other real estate video facts:

Where are home buyers are searching for these real estate videos? These are the most popular platforms for buyers, sellers, or anyone interested in real estate videos to find them:

51% YouTube
41% Brokerage websites
37% Google results

Are most real estate agents properly utilizing video?

According to independent statistics, only 15% of agents are using videos for marketing, and only 12% of real estate agents have a YouTube account. But even more telling, of that 12% with a YouTube account, only 5% are active on that platform, creating and posting new video content regularly.

However, 85% of buyers and sellers are looking to work with a real estate agent and company that integrates video as part of their home marketing strategy!


Please contact The Alfano Group real estate agency if you’d like more information about how video marketing can help sell your home or make home buying more fun and productive!