Text Message Marketing - The Next Wave of 'Green' Real Estate Marketing Tools

Real estate agents are always looking for a new method to increase their marketing effectiveness while reducing their efforts. Digital flyers via SMS text messaging is the way to go!

SMS (text message) marketing is poised to see ten-fold growth during 2010, and triple digit increases through 2012 (according to data from the Yankee Group). Through the use of mobile short codes and keywords, real estate agents can use this technology to deliver comprehensive data about their listings directly to prospective clients.

An example of the use of the system would be if an agent advertised "Text HOME123 to 69302 for more details". That could generate a message that could outline the info on the property and provide a link directly to the MLS listing like this:

54 Meadowhawk: 4 bed/7bath. Great entertaining home! Call Rob: 702-555-1212 Full MLS: [link would be here]

By embedding the tiny URL into the text message, the agent can deliver a link to the full MLS listing, or a custom landing page (digital flyer), without the hassle or expense of printing hundreds of flyers. Plus, the text messages don't use any natural resources, so you are deploying a 'green' solution as part of your marketing efforts and it can be easily forwarded to the buyer's spouse, friend, or buying agent.

Current 'green' solutions are available by way of voice recordings or short distance radio broadcasts, but these methods of advertising have the following limitations:

  • They don't permit the perspective buyer to save the information
  • They don't provide pictures
  • The agent doesn't get to collect the buyer's contact information

With real estate text message marketing, the agent gains the following benefits:

  • Always Working - A system that is working for them while they eat, sleep, or close other sales
  • Full Details - Can deliver a link to the full MLS listing or custom digital marketing flyer
  • Data Collection - Collect the cell phone number of every user so that they can reply to them in person
  • Flexibility - Allows for instant changes to the response message (unlike printed marketing materials)
  • Cost Effective - Is far more cost effective than print (about 7 cents per message compared to 20 cents per printed flyer)

Text message marketing for real estate is just beginning to hit its stride. Just as Internet has been a game-changer for real estate marketing, the use of mobile marketing as part of your comprehensive marketing plan is going to be required.

Green Real Estate Upgrades and Renovations - How to Save Money on Heating and Cooling

The following interview was conducted with Marlayna Phenechka, a building subcontractor based in Asheville, North Carolina who practices green building and sustainable thinking. Phenechka has worked on both residential and commercial real estate projects in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. She outlines some basic upgrades to facilitate more efficient and less expensive heating and cooling. The upgrades are a smart investment for the average consumer since the money spent is quickly recouped.

Turn Off the Hot Water! On-Demand Hot Water Heaters
(Estimated Cost: $250-800 Labor: $400-1400)

The resources used to heat water is expensive, often the second highest residential energy use in homes. Did you know most hot water heaters in homes are designed to keep water hot constantly? One good way to save electricity or gas is to simply turn off the hot water, and turn it on only when needed. Consult an electrician to install a timer or switch. Have them turn the water heater down from a manufacture's scalding 140 to 115 degrees. Another overlooked method to cutting costly water utility bills is to simply buy a 'blanket' for your water heater.

In Europe, modern Asia and Israel, On-Demand, or Tankless, Hot Water Heaters are more common than the hot water tanks in US homes. These cost effective, efficient devices turn hot water off unless it's in use. Phenechka says, "There's an off mode on this system. There is no pilot light either, which saves valuable energy. Many On-Demand Hot Water Heaters are even made with a temperature remote control feature so the user can adjust the temperature to his or her preference, saving even more energy."

The best On-Demand or Tankless Hot Water Heater uses liquid propane or gas as a source of energy. If main power is shut down for some reason there will still be hot water. "The size of an On-Demand Hot Water Heater is about the same as a backpack and weighs approximately 30-40 pounds," Phenechka adds. In some cases, installing a gas line to fuel the On-Demand Hot Water Heater may incur an extra expense, though liquid propane may be a better option. The majority of US states offer a tax credit for these devices.

Heat Pump Heating and Cooling Systems
(Estimated Cost for the system and installation $3,000-8,500)

Heat Pumps are a great way to conserve money on heating and cooling. "Some heat pumps come with heat and air conditioning and are well worth the initial investment. During milder winter days, the heat pump draws in warm air through the home's ducts; in the summer, it pulls in cool air and dehumidifies it at the same time," says Phenechka. A heat pump is far more efficient then many other heating and cooling systems and saves some homeowners as much as $100 per month or more. Make sure you purchase a programmable thermostat with the system and check and seal any leaks all your original air ducts and returns to optimize your investment!

Attic Exhaust Fan
(Estimated Cost: $80-$250)

Installing (or repairing) an exhaust, or gable, fan in the attic can make a huge difference in airflow, humidity, and temperature in a home. Solar exhaust fans, with their own tiny solar panel are now available at many of the big box stores! Hot air especially gets trapped in the attic, and without an exhaust fan, it is hard for this air to move and the home's temperature stays high. Attic fans are easily installed, and most have sensors for temperature and humidity so the fan automatically turns on. A gable fan ensures that even if there is air conditioning in the home it is not overused.

There is also a whole house fan system made to work in conjunction with an attic fan. The whole house fan system is an alternative to air conditioning especially in cooler, dry climates. It harnesses and pulls in the cool air that exists outside to the interior of a home through open windows at night.

Ceiling Fans
(Cost: $50-$100 each)

Ceiling fans also eliminate much of the need for air conditioning and sometimes act as a complete alternative to AC. "Ceiling fans have a wind chill factor of three and up," states Phenechka "a ceiling fan in each room can have a huge impact on the comfort inside." When a home is being heated in the winter, a ceiling fan will help spread the heated air more evenly throughout the house. Ceiling fans are a great way to upgrade a home, and many attractive fans, some with lighting fixtures, are available to choose from. Don't forget to use energy efficient bulbs in the ceiling fan for increased energy savings.

Green Upgrades and Renovations for Commercial Real Estate

Many of the green strategies mentioned not only have value for residential homeowners but also for commercial real estate such as retail stores, office buildings, apartment buildings, factory plants, restaurants and shopping malls. Heating and cooling costs are a major issue for commercial real estate developers and investors. If you want to save money on monthly bills consider hiring a green building and renovation specialist to upgrade the heating and cooling system of your commercial property. Commercial fan systems and on demand hot water heaters can hold great long term value for commercial real estate owners and are a healthy business investment.

These simple, green living recommendations will make your home or building more energy efficient and save you money over the long term. Whether you have hundred or thousands to spend on environmentally conscious, real estate upgrades and renovations there are affordable green solutions to keep your heating and cooling costs down. In a time of rising energy costs, it makes sense to go green. These kinds of heating and cooling upgrades and renovations will increase the value of your commercial or residential property and make it more attractive to future buyers.

Greening Real Estate - Tips For a Greener Home

If you own your home, it probably represents the largest capital investment you have. Even if you are renting on a long or short term basis, it will still represent a large potion of your monthly expenditure, in rental payments, utility and possibly maintenance costs.

With utility costs continuing to rise, due largely to the increasing cost of fossil fuels, it makes sense to look at making sensible investments to reduce energy use and therefore monthly expenditure.

What is a sensible expenditure will depend on the length of time you will continue to occupy your property but anything that will reduce ongoing costs sufficiently to pay for the one of alteration is worth considering.

Even if you are renting a property it could be worth speaking with your landlord and seeing if they will fund the works or part of them, as expenditure will continue to benefit tenants in the future.

There are some quick wins, with insulation being amongst the lowest cost improvement for the greatest gains. Adding extra insulating to a loft will help keep in the heat, which has a natural tendency to rise and escape upwards. Cavity wall insulation can also help keep in your valuable heat.

An immediate saving can be had by turning down the thermostat on your heating system. This saving, which costs absolutely no money to implement, can save 1 % of your heating bill for each 1 degree of reduction over an eight hour period. By gradually reducing the temperature by a small amount each week, it is possible to build up to significant savings. If you are going out, try and get into the habit of turning the thermostat down even more; it may be a little cooler when you get home, but you will save energy and money. If your heating is not programmed to go off at night, consider doing this, or turning it down by a further 5 degrees for a further 5 per cent saving on your heating bills.

Another simple saving is to replace existing light bulbs with low energy ones. These are now available very cheaply (and as traditional light bulbs are being phased out the low energy options is now in many cases the cheaper option). These will start saving you money on your electricity bills straight away, and if you are renting short term, you can simply swap the bulbs back when you come to move again and take the energy efficient ones with you.

If these savings are not enough see how you can save water (which will also save energy to heat it). Showering uses less water than baths and there are simple attachments that will even reduce the amount of water most showers uses, without effecting the quality of your shower. Finally a plastic bottle filled with water in a toilet cistern can save several litres of water every flush. If you pay for your water through a water meter then this could save you money and if not it will still help make your home a greener one.

Dominate the Green Real Estate Market

It might seem that in rough economic times, people's main priority would be on saving or generating money. There is some truth to this statement, but it is not the whole truth. Some home buyers are not just looking for a good financial deal. They also want to buy a "green" or environmentally friendly property. Actually, they might even be fusing their financial and environmental concerns by seeing saved energy as saved money, and a healthier planet as good for their own health, too. Either way, it might behoove home sellers and real estate agents to see how they can attract and keep the attention of eco-conscious buyers.

Firstly, you might try making small but critical changes to the property itself in order to make it more environmentally friendly. Some of these changes can actually be classified as basic sprucing-up of a home that is up for sale. For instance, a seller might want to fix a leaky pipe. Fixing that pipe will save precious water-a plus for many environmentally-conscious buyers. However, it should appeal to most buyers, whether they worry much about the environment or not. Bad plumbing will definitely make the property harder to sell, and may get you in trouble after the sale, if you concealed the problem from the buyer and did not fix it. Some areas have very strict laws about such things.

Now, think energy. Recent scientific data, natural events, and media blitzes have all contributed to a widespread concern over global warming. Human energy consumption has been pinpointed as a major contributor to global warming. If you add some insulation to windows or doors, or make sure that light fittings are compatible with energy-saving light bulbs, you will be better able to draw in people who want to help our planet.

Furthermore, you should do research on the house. What is it made of? Does it include any special materials that are environmentally friendly, or were procured in a way that does not harm the planet much? Hopefully, you will find some data that will please buyers of green real estate. If not, well, at least you will be able to answer the questions of such buyers, in case they are curious about building materials.

Even the location of a home might have some sort of "green" slant to it. Perhaps it is in an area close to a recycling center, or is situated such that a prospective buyer might be able to easily set up solar energy panels. Perhaps it is located on a windy spot, which allows the owner to cut down on air-conditioning expenses. If the house happens to be near critical locations such as the buyer's workplace, this means that he/she can save on gasoline. If the home is very close to a public transportation station, even better! These are some location-related factors that can help you market a home to an eco-conscious buyer. As a seller or agent, you might want to include such information in your sales pitch.

Eco Friendly Mountain Homes and Land Near Asheville - Green Real Estate in Western North Carolina

In 2007 issues like pollution, cancer and global warming are found on the American news every week. In the last five years these universal problems have been acknowledged and started to emerge in mainstream consciousness. Solutions such as renewable energy, green building and organic farming are now hot topics being talked about on TV, in newspapers and on the radio. In order to preserve the planet for future generations, it is essential that natural green building is embraced and eco homes and other green practices become the standard. One community that is leading the way is a beautiful city nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains: Asheville, North Carolina.

Working Together to Preserve Western North Carolina

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of WNC environmental concerns are a top priority. Preserving the natural environment of the mountains insures the health and safety of communities throughout the region. The city of Asheville, along with other counties and towns in WNC, like Black Mountain, recognizes that green space, green building and alternative resources are the wave of the future. Asheville is home to numerous green projects and initiatives. Blue Ridge BioFuels is an organization that has opened six biodiesel pumps at gas stations in the area. Blue Ridge BioFuels also supplies BioHeat for furnaces. Home delivery and competitive prices make it simple to begin using alternative fuels at home and on the road. Green building also plays a huge role in preserving local natural resources. Use of recycled construction materials, rainwater collection systems, and solar power all benefit the forests, animals and people.

The Possibilities Are Endless With Green Real Estate in Asheville, NC

In December of 2006 Asheville joined about fifty other municipalities across the country and passed a resolution stating that all new municipal buildings will be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications. LEED is a nationally accepted green building rating system created by the U.S, Green Building Council, http://www.usgbc.org, and sets the standard for the design, construction and maintenance of energy efficient homes and buildings. Asheville is also home to the Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC), http://www.wncgbc.org. WNCGBC educates local contractors and builders about the latest green building techniques and practices. WNCGBC also works with city, state and county officials to make eco-friendly recommendations for local building standards. In Asheville, NC homebuyers searching for eco houses or green home building projects have a variety of options from downtown apartments to eco-friendly, real estate developments.

Sustainable Green Building: Find the Perfect, Eco-Friendly Real Estate in Western North Carolina

In Asheville, NC many homeowners, architects and builders work diligently to follow eco-friendly building, design and maintenance plans. To complete a green building project specific topics must be addressed including:

-Sustainable Development

-Alternative Energy

-Energy Efficiency

-Green Building Materials

-Forest Preservation

-Renewable Resources

Whether you are searching for a green condo centrally located in downtown Asheville or an eco home in a private, gated community you can find the perfect green real estate in Western North Carolina. In the mountains it is simple to contribute and help preserve Asheville's excellent quality of life for years to come.