Change the font size of the articles
Blog Lead Tips



Blog SEO Tips Blog Marketing Tips

Legal

Creative Commons 

License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs 2.5 License.
©2006-2013 RealEstateTomato.com

« Writing Your Real Estate Blog Primarily to Google is a Squandered Opportunity. | Main | Finding Time To Blog As A Real Estate Professional »

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exactly Why You Should Bore Blog Readers With Real Estate Statistics

Things have been a bit quiet here at the Vine for the last couple of weeks, and that only ever means one thing: We’re Growing Again.  We’ve recently brought on 3 additional members to our team in order to bolster our strengths in design, service, and training.   Our publishing pace always suffers when I have to be so “hands on” in training and transistion.  Look for a surge next week!

Fortunately, we have the support of guest bloggers.  This week, Margaret Woda (FocusOnCrofton.com) makes her Real Estate Tomato debut with an excellent post on her person experience with blogging about her local real estate statistics.  Take it away Margaret!

Why Bore Blog Readers With Statistics?

By Margaret Woda

My community real estate blog “for and about Crofton, Maryland” is picking up steam with more hits and page views each month.  Creative, articulate, helpful – these are adjectives I’ve read or heard regarding some of my posts, and reader approval can be very addictive.  So why would I want to risk this approval by boring Focus On Crofton readers with real estate statistics?  In a word…

“RESULTS”

Apparently consumers don’t find those statistics as boring to read as I do to blog about them.

Once Upon A Time

Feb. 2007As a blogging newbie, with little experience even reading any real estate blogs, I wrote a Crofton Real Estate Market Update as my very first post.  I simply expressed my opinion about the implications of statistics from our regional MLS for the previous month.  Believe me, I have no shortage of opinions, so this was an easy inaugural blog for me.

A few days later, I received a client contact through the ActiveRain dashboard, so there was no doubt as to the source of this business.  That inquiry turned into a listing within a week of my first blog post and, needless to say, I was quick to acknowledge the benefit of blogging.  It didn’t occur to me at that time, however, that this topic was a factor in creating the new business.

How-to, Why, and Where blogs followed, but the next consumer to contact me through the contact page of my blog said he read my real estate market update; in fact, he was angry that his agent hadn’t kept him informed about the market by providing this data to him.  He continued reading my blog posts over the next several weeks and listed his home with me when the earlier listing expired.  Now I knew that I was on to something with this informative real estate market update.

On a roll

Funny thing about these two listing appointments – the sellers were ready to list with me when I walked through their front door, without even viewing my listing presentation.  It seems they were already satisfied that I’m a local real estate expert, after reading the real estate market update on my blog.

With two out of two new client contacts within a month resulting from one real estate market update, I started writing similar posts with statistics for adjacent zip codes.  Lo and behold, more seller clients came my way, along with two $800,000 listings in nearby zip codes.  When asked, they said they found me through the search engines.  Again, a single market update for their zip code was the only possible source for this new business.

I could go on and report subsequent updates and new clients, such as two current listings from this source, but surely you can see WHY I continue to “bore” readers with real estate statistics each month in my Real Estate Tomato blog, Focus On Crofton.

Finding the data

My regional multiple listing service publishes statistics on the 10th of each month for the previous month, so creating a real estate update is easy for me.  I choose a clear easy-to-read and understand one-page format of zip code data, as my resource, although county and regional information is available, as well.  Your multiple listing service probably publishes such information periodically – even if you’ve never seen it.  Look on their website, or call and ask where you can find it.

Calculating the information yourself by running your own MLS search for the previous month is a little more time consuming, but it’s not difficult.  I know, because I’ve done it myself for categories not reported by my multiple listing service – detached homes, townhouses and condos, for example, or individual subdivisions.

If you set up an Excel spread sheet,as I did when I wrote that first real estate update, it’s quick and easy to add new figures each month.  I created a separate spreadsheet for each zip code, and set up several categories: # of Units Sold, # of Days on Market, Average Sold Price, Median Sold Price, and Sold Price vs. List Price. 

Presentation

Consumers responded to a simple basic real estate market update in narrative format.  Yet I suffered from “graph-envy” when I saw the colorful graphs and charts used by other real estate professionals in their blogs, because I felt they made the information more attractive to the eye.

Real Estate Market StudyAnother blogger pointed out the graph wizard available in MS Excel and soon I, too, was producing colorful graphs for my reports.  However, t’s worth noting that consumer response did not increase when I added these graphs.

As the market flattened in recent months, graphs no longer seemed to add that visual interest to my blog, so I started creating tables in MS Word or MS Publisher.  These aren’t as colorful as the graphs or as boring to the eye as the narrative – and they work for today’s market.  But you can get creative…  Last month, I even added a little 2–frame comic strip to my real estate market report.

Whatever the statistics may be and however you present them, those numbers are simply the foundation of any real estate market update.  It’s your narrative that makes any report interesting… your professional opinion about what it all means to consumers.  Here are some examples:  Crofton Real Estate Market Update - October 2007 (detailed, with graphs); Crofton Real Estate Market Study - March 2008(short, with a single chart).

Occasionally, I’ve include information from the real estate market updates in a blog about a specific topic, such as Gambrills Residents Worry About Pollutant.  This post includes some of those “boring” real estate statistics for three adjacent zip codes, effectively making a point with facts, rather than expressing an opinion.

The Bottom Line

Demonstrating knowledge of the local real estate market is probably one of your goals for even having a blog, yet sometimes I think real estate blogs sound a bit like travel brochures, touting places to visit and things to do in our communities.  Yes, those posts say “I know my community” - but they don’t say “I know timely and relevant real estate information.”

There’s no more effective way to communicate our local real estate expertise than creating a real estate market update for our blog.  It may be one of the more tedious posts we put together each month, but who cares about that when consumer contacts are a direct result.  They find our reports to be interesting and relevant, and we may be the only (or best) source of that information for consumers in our market.

The bottom line?  RESULTS.  What better reason could there be for boring blog readers with statistics!

Thanks a ton, Margaret!

Margaret is an exceptionally professional Realtor in Crofton, Maryland.
Her writings and real estate tools can be found at www.FocusOnCrofton.com
Voice: (410) 451-1900

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not Subscribe to be notified of the next one?

Related Must Reads:
Localism: Winning the Hearts and Minds
Of Blogs and Bricks
6 Strategies To Developing Quick and Beneficial Blog Content

 Follow Us on Twitter and Get Our Daily Real Estate Blog Tips!

Are You Ready?


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bf76153ef00e551ec47248834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Exactly Why You Should Bore Blog Readers With Real Estate Statistics:

Comments

Statistics are only boring to people who aren't looking to buy or sell -- and you aren't blogging to those folks anyway. I think stats are great.

Great post! I've been debating a "stats" post for a couple of weeks now. I think like many agents though, I have a fear of posting anything that comes across as less-than-spectacular news. But I believe it's the honesty of sharing mediocre or even bad news that wins clients over.
Thanks for the post, and best wishes!

Thanks, Margaret - my colleague down the road. Like the previous commenter, I've been grappling with this issue of late, talking to other bloggers and trying to figure out how best to present the "stats" segment of my blog - something I've not, frankly, given my full attention. So your post is very timely for me. I appreciate your real life anecdotes and the voice of experience. This is the kick in the fanny I need. So thanks. And by the way: you're a great writer.

Ken

Margaret, I agree graphs are a valuable way to demonstrate to the consumer we are in fact paying attention to the market.

Also I'd like to note, when I am late posting the stats, I get a reminder from one of the many silent readers who actually look forward to this dry, boring stuff!

We never know who is paying attention.

Great post!

Jim, thank you for the compliment and for the honor of appearing on the Real Estate Tomato Blog.

Wade, I think that just may be the answer. If you're in the market, you can't get enough of those statistics!

Andy, Give it a try, and let me know when you get your first client contact from a market report. We can celebrate it together.

Ken, I'm a subscriber to your blog! My format changes from month to month with my mood - I don't think HOW you share the statistics matters as much as the fact you DO it.

Kristal, 'Looks like your readers appreciate those stats, as well!

Steve, Short and sweet comment. Seriously, glad you saw this post and commented, since you're the one who nagged me into the world of blogging.

I actually had the local newspaper contact me recently because I frequently use statistics in my blog. I'll be providing them with data for a Sunday article about inventory in the near future. My blog traffic is solid right now and I'm hoping this will give me an edge and some nice publicity. We'll see...

What do you all think is a good frequency to post statistics? Monthly? Quarterly? I see some blogs that post weekly, and even have a stock ticker-esque graph. My market is so small - plus it's a seasonal second home market - that I worry that anything less than quarterly might unfairly distort market trends by lack of sample size. Sure, there are always folks that will misinterpret any stat, but still.... any thoughts out there?

Thanks!

Margaret,

Statistics are one of the most read posts that we have on our real estate blog that my brother and I operate in Long Beach, CA. Other real estate professionals would tell us it is boring but like you it has produced outstanding results and we have ended up the source for information following the patterns you mention.

Great work, Joey

Great post Margaret, and 100% correct on the stats! Folks that are serious about real estate eat those up, and they generate media calls as well.

I use the Google spreadsheet for my graphs and charts, and it works well. Like you said, I don't know that the graphs help, but they do add some color.

You mentioned increasing hits and page views. What do you average in visitors each week? I have been asking around the RE.net just to get an idea, as we have seemed to top out at between 150 and 200 visitors per week. We are getting some very good interaction, I just want something to compare our numbers to. If you prefer, you can email me directly.

Amy, that's GREAT that the press is looking to you as an expert. It's about time someone gave us credit for being legitimate experts in real estate!

John, our MLS statistics come out monthly, for the previous month, so it's in my plan for the 10th of each month. However, I sometimes offer different statistics about 2-weeks later - what's on the market now.

Joey, I'll have to check out your blog - I don't think I've seen it. I lucked in to this phenomena by posting my commentary on statistics in my very first blog, and getting such good results.

Charles, I'm a subscriber and I enjoy your post, when I have time to read it. I'll have to check out the Google spsreadsheet for graphs and charts - thanks for the suggestion.

Blogging creates a transparency b/t our potential customers and us Realtors.

Beyond stats, visitors want to know our opinion...they want us to extrapolate those stats. I have no problem debating the "experts" on local market-related topics.

In fact, today's hot topic...unfortunately...is short sales. The truth about shorts sales is different from what our potential customers hear from mainstream media.

Why is that?

Bloggers provide a powerful(often informed, experienced) voice regarding local real estate market conditions.

Congratulations to you.

Mike

We recently started seeing MacMansions being listed by the foot price - not the "big" number. Made for a pretty graph comparison...

Stats are fine but it is all in the presentation. I think the best way is to incorporate stats into the story you are trying to convey to your readers and/or clients.

There is nothing worse than stats without the explanation of the real story. Stats alone remind me of Ben Stein in "Ferris Buehler's Day Off." Dry, boring, monotone.

Tell a great story with using stats and make it memorable.

This article was so very timely. Thank you, Margaret and Jim. I'm getting ready to graduate from the Tomato (read: wet-behind-the-ears) and had Chris Daley call to check in and take a look at my site.

His main comment that was I had everything but the market statistics . . . duh. It was an eye-opener for me to realize that not every post had to be a mini-novel. So, just as my mind was spinning about how to put it together, along came this post!

And I'd like to see some response to Charles' question about weekly visitorship. Obviously, I've been missing a few things, but I'm averaging about 100 visits a week. I'm wondering what the numbers are like for those of you who have been at it longer than I.

Mike - You are absolutely right. If you checked out my real estate market updates, you saw a LOT of interpretation.

Eleanor - Goodness, I wouldn't know where to start!

Chris - So true, the stats are simply the foundation upon which the blog post is built. Did you take a minute to click through to my samples? If results mean anything, the balance in my posts of stats and commentary must be just right.

Dawn - 'Glad our timing was right for you! Email me for my stats.

Margaret - this is an excellent post and reminder how much consumers love the data and our analysis of our markets. Thanks for sharing your approach. I always enjoy your blog :)

Margaret,
Couldn't agree more. Since I started back in 2006, I have always worked each month on my statistics. Usually, I get calls when I'm late putting the data up. In fact, Jason and Tomato are probably the two most likely people I know that would say..."oh my gosh, Gena and her statistics!"

I believe that they are essential for many home buyers and should be helpful to home sellers as well.

Congratulations on your upcoming interview. Good job!

In 2008, Real Estate Blogs are definately important for real estte businesses. If you think about it, over 3/4 of people who are thinking about buying a home, go on the internet first. Now, if you don't think there is a market on the internet for real estate then I don't know what.

Put together a free report that you can give away to your visitors and you'll start to grow your buyers list. That's what I did and it's getting better every day.

Peter

I agree that any real estate blog that is targeted toward the consumer should include some version of market statistics on a regular basis. I find it tedious to read the posts on other blogs when the stats are put into narrative form, so I started using Excel tables. The first few months I just posted the current month's information, but now I do two columns - current and previous month, so people can see if there is a change.

I cover 3 counties in my market reports, one per day for 3 days at the beginning of each month. And, by listing each of the school districts that I cover in the tables, I'm also adding a lot of keywords to help the search engines find me.

I even thought about doing it weekly at one point...but I hate to start something that I can't be consistant on. There are weeks that my clients just take up all my time. I guess it is a good problem to have, so my readers will just have to understand on months like this one when I'm too busy to post much.

Cyndee - Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm a big fan of your blog, and wish I could get to it more ofen.

Gena - I'll have to check out your blog and statistical reports to see if I can get some good ideas from your format.

Peter - It must be true, because I've heard from people that never would have contacted me without my blog and my real estate updates.

Karen - Ouch! The thought of weekly statistics would be overwhelming for me. I usually post 3-4 times per week, and there wouldn't be enough time for other topics if I did statistics that often. And you're right, you wouldn't want to start it if you couldn't maintain it for the long haul.

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Great and obvious post...to do this well is the key. Everyone wants/needs to know the market update and what is happening in their local area. This will also keep readers coming back...if it is not too stale and fun. That seems to be the key.

I needed to read this.
I just did a stats post today. I was having one of those, blah days wondering why I spend so much time on these graphs. I find that the time I spend blogging if anything makes me much more intelligent concerning my market. Great ideas with the graphs.

Margaret, you crack me up...some of your blogs are fun to read but you must have too much time on your hands to write such detailed blogs. I commend you for that! I'm an empty nester too and hope that once my site is up and running I can be half as good as you! My tomato site should be active soon, we're working on it, I'm a new tomato.

That was a really good post. Simple, straightforward, to-the-point, and informative. I struggle with the market updates just like you (did). You've given me new reason to charge ahead and post them more often!

The comments to this entry are closed.