Posts Tagged ‘Edmonton real estate’

Long time, no blog…

March 7, 2009

Perhaps I’m just as caught up as everyone else is re: the economic crisis, but it’s been a bit tough getting back to this blog.

Here’s where we’re at: We’re in the midst of planning our Canada-wide expansion, thanks to all the great activity that’s happened in Edmonton (yay for Edmonton real estate). But, as with all things that you think should be as simple as the flick of a switch (like getting your cable hooked up — why DOES it take so much work to get cable?! 🙂 ), this expansion is going to take longer than expected.

We’re thinking of going into the US. Yuppers. Why not, right? Canada’s one of the toughest places to get a site like this going… so, I mean, if we can do it here (at least in Edmonton), why not try the US, too?

Hope you’re surviving the changing times,


Why do I blog?

December 22, 2008
Blogging to keep a record for my graduate school final project

Blogging to keep a record for my graduate school final project is not only a Web site but also a case study, which is part of my final project for my graduate program. (I’m very interested in social media and, in my day job, I drive the social media marketing team. My grad studies are helping me to fuel my passion from an academic perspective.) The topic of/thesis for my final project isn’t worked out perfectly, but it revolves around these questions:

  • How can professionals & organizations market themselves online today when they do not necessarily control the messages about themselves &/or their companies?
  • Can a self-serving organization truly release control of their messages to users/the public at large? How much does an organization need to control the messages about it?–to what lengths will they go to keep messages coralled?
  • And, finally, what happens when you surrender total control and let people say what they will about you?–what kinds of professionals & organizations are doing this successfully… & unsuccessfully?

This blog has been not a way to voice my opinion — although it seems to have become that — but rather a journal of happenings that I will be able to use to compose the case study element of my final project. The majority of the entries in this blog are here simply as a record of happenings. An artifact. (more…)

Ratings galore! Ah, the beauty of good PR

November 11, 2008

front-pageWell, we had one article in the St. Albert Gazette in early September… but it was buried under what has become the infamous Beekeeper photo (infamous in our little world).

But today. Ah, today. It is good. A normally solemn day (Remembrance Day) was brightened by a very nice article by Bill Mah in the Edmonton Journal. 

The article was great. It was honest and accurate and fair, with a not-100%-glowing review from one of our top-rated agents, Bev O’Shea. Nice balance. We’ve been jumping around all day, watching the really great ratings (praising & criticising) roll on in. And the agent profiles. How nice!   (more…)

7 signs of a motivated agent + a poll

November 4, 2008
Everyone says they can sell your house - but who actually can?

Everyone says they can sell your house - but who actually can?

You already know that selling your house in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Regina, Victoria… um, everywhere in Canada or the US, really, is extremely sticky business right now. It’s tough, to say the least.  

(Unless you’re EREB, in which case you send out a press release claiming that resale is still a-okay – all is actually well in the land of real estate in Edmonton. Gee… isn’t it funny that the real estate association would say that? Yet another reason why believes in the voice of the customer: ‘cos real estate associations are, um, slightly biased. Understandably.)

So when it comes time to choose a real estate agent to help you offload that investment home you kinda knew you shouldn’t’ve bought a year ago, do you want to get a motivated agent… or do you want to face:

  • At least 3 months of being stuck in a contract with a real estate agent who’s not actually moving the needle for you — when every month that passes brings you closer to financial ruin?
  • The frustration of waiting for your agent to schedule an open house, put an ad in the paper, put your photos on MLS or even put a sign up on your front lawn? (more…)

Wanna play? How making things fun will engage your clients

October 30, 2008
Remember fun? Use it to make clients happy.

Remember fun? Use it to make clients happy.

What are your most memorable, exciting moments? Were they in front of a computer? Or were they painting rocks with your kid brother, playing hide-and-seek in the dark… or hiking through slick forests in Hawaii with your partner, laughing about the giant duck-like shoes on your feet?

Guess what! Everyone counts the fun memories as some of their best memories. And almost no one thinks sitting in front of the computer is “fun”.

Yes, we get cool stuff out of sitting in front of the computer. We watch uber-funny commercials on YouTube, and we play Scrabulous (or whatever’s it’s called now) on Facebook with old friends.

But how do you make the entire experience of doing something on the computer fun?

Um, earth to Joanna, you’re supposed to be talking about real estate ratings…
Yes, I know. So here’s the thing: When you’re trying to get your clients to leave you good reviews, do you want them to go through a boring process or a fun process? Does it even matter? Well, if you think a person’s mood in any way influences how they talk about you at that moment, then, yes, I’d say it matters, wouldn’t you?

That’s why we tried to make the review process on as enjoyable as possible for your clients. Here are a few things we’ve done to make it non-boring:

  • Used bright, fun colours rather than sedate, “too professional” or “too sophisticated” colours
  • Used big blocks to help people find what they need to do, like the 3 big blocks on the home page
  • Kept the tone casual and familiar, not stuffy (more…)

GUEST POST: Kevin Grenier, Edmonton real estate agent

October 29, 2008

I’d like to welcome Kevin Grenier, licensed real estate agent in Edmonton, Alberta, to our blog. He’s one of the top-reviewed agents on our site, and he’s got plenty of useful advice to share with homebuyers and sellers — and real estate agents! — out there. What better way to find a real estate agent than to check out his reviews on our site… and then read some of his great tips?

Without further ado, Kevin, take it away!


Kevin Grenier, Top-Rated Real Estate Agent in Edmonton

Kevin Grenier, Top-Rated Real Estate Agent in Edmonton

Many people don’t realize that there is a very important story being told with every line they put into an offer when buying a home. This is vital information to know either as a seller or a buyer. This first of a series of blogs covers the deposit, what you don’t know could cost you the deal.
First things first. In preparing to write an offer as a buyer, find out as much as you can regarding the pertinent facts, such as:
• Seller motivation
• Preferred possession date
• Presence of competing offers
• Any offers received prior that were rejected
• Any current interest (buyers that have booked a second showing or have said they want to write an offer)

Seller motivation is key. If the seller doesn’t need to sell the house and they have priced it above fair market value, you could be wasting your time and in for a whole lot of frustration. People get frustrated with buying and or selling real estate primarily because of one thing: working with a seller or a buyer that is not motivated, and by motivation I mean “a genuine need to buy or need to sell”. More on this in a later blog.

What about the “story”?

Glad you asked, let’s get started.  (more…)

You’ve got word of mouth. Now, how to amplify it?

October 29, 2008
Wish you could make your clients talk about you?

Wish you could make your clients talk about you?

Ah, word of mouth. That great, elusive golden ticket to free marketing…. Not quite, actually. Sorry to break it to you. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real + useful.

I worked for a word-of-mouth marketing agency for about 2 years as a writer-slash-project manager. We signed people up for marketing programs that got other people talking. But, when it came time to measure success, it was nearly impossible to report out any real data that suggested that word of mouth had increased.

Why’s word of mouth so hard?
Try as you might, it’s nearly impossible to get people to talk about you if there’s nothing to say about you. It’s like trying to write a press release when there’s no news — extremely difficult.

You’ve gotta be doing something different — something much better than your competitors are doing (usually not that hard) and much better than your customers/clients would expect (usually very hard!!! — but you’re up for the challenge as a great real estate agent, yes?).

And then, when you’ve got a little word of mouth, you’ve gotta find a way to turn that into a lot. You want to amplify word of mouth rather than just letting it do its little organic thing and then disappear without a trace.

Hanging your hopes on words in the air
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) breaks word of mouth (WOM) into 2 categories:

  1. Organic – The recommendations you get when you make clients/customers happy and they, in turn, want to see their friends as happy so they recommend that they use you
  2. Amplified – Using campaigns and tools to remind people that you’re totally worth talking about and to give them incentives to do so

Organic WOM usually looks like this: Sue, your happy client, stands in the coffee room at work with coworker Betty talking about the ugly state of the real estate market in Edmonton & Calgary. Betty (more…)

Did you see us at the EREB tradeshow?

October 22, 2008
Scarlett at the What Customers Say tradeshow booth

Scarlett at the What Customers Say tradeshow booth

Well, the big day has come and gone. Today, from 10am to 4pm, hosted a booth at the Edmonton Real Estate Board annual tradeshow.

We had a great turn-out, with lots of real estate agents asking lots of questions. Here are the approximate numbers:

– 100+ agents picked up 5+ postcards each to hand out to their clients (solicit reviews) and/or “stopped by”
– 75+ agents entered their business cards in our draw for a TomTom GPS system
– 25+ agents either set up profiles or “showed great interest” in the site

One agent even invited us to give a presentation at her brokerage (?!) — or her real estate office — in the near future. That’s pretty cool.

Who’s that at the booth?
Since 2 of us at don’t live in Edmonton and the other 2 have ‘regular’ day jobs, we asked our self-employed family members to step in to help out. 🙂 So, that’s Scarlett in the photo — she’s Steven’s wife — and Paul, my younger (yes, Paul, you’re younger) brother, manned the booth, too. Soooo cool of them to give up their whole day to help out.

Now… how to thank them. No idea! But we’re very, very grateful. Kudos to Scarlett and Paul for their awesomeness.

How can you get the info, postcards, etc. that attendees got?
Contact directly! One of the four of us will answer the phone to chat with you or get back to you via email.  

Thanks to everyone who checked out our booth and our site. 🙂 Hope to see more of you in the future.


67 realtor reviews in Edmonton. Just $67 to donate.

October 16, 2008

One of the cool things that we’re doing (well, we think it’s cool) is donating $1 to a local non-profit/charity for every review left. We’ve got 67 reviews now… so that’s $67.

We’d love to donate more, but we need people to leave reviews to get those dollars up. (And we need real estate agents to encourage their clients to rate them!)

QUESTION: Who should we donate our dollars to?

Yes, that whopping $67. When it reaches $75, it goes off to a charity in Edmonton, Alberta.

Tell us who you’d like to see the cash go to. It’s not a ton, I know…….

Oh, when we reach $75, we’re going to stop the donation thing and switch to something else to motivate people to get involved. Of course, as a team, we’re still donating both time and money to non-profits that are close to our hearts, like Basically Babies, Food for Thought, Habitat for Humanity and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. as a company will continue to support the communities we live in and the foundations that keep those communities strong and vibrant.

So we’ll stay involved. But we’ll switch up our incentive for reviewers… evidently, the $1/review just isn’t doin’ it. 🙂


New faster rating process!

October 4, 2008

So, just a quick post here: We’ve officially simplified our rating process. What used to take about 3 minutes (which isn’t that long to me… but it’s definitely long for a lot of people) now takes less than 2 minutes.

And raters don’t need to know the address of the place they bought/sold with the agent they’re reviewing. Nor do they need the dates of the transactions or the general listing/purchase prices.

So it’s simpler. But the data is not quite as rich.

Perhaps in the future, once we’ve built up enough reviews, we can put that functionality back in.

Great news, though, that it’s so much faster and easier. 🙂 And we still ask a lot of great questions —- so here’s hoping!