Thursday, June 2, 2022

Why Real Estate Professionals Need Market Research

“How did he/she know that?” If you have ever missed out on a property or real estate opportunity because you simply didn’t know about it soon enough, you know the significance of Market Research.


The right information transforms in to the right opportunity. You could be a real estate agent that doesn’t know you just outsold your farm area’s top producer last month. You could be an investor who didn’t know that a property you turned down had additional zoning options. You could have lost out on a bid because you didn’t include enough information.


If you work for a company which provides “market research”, it means that others in the same office also gain access to the same information. However, what helps your company may not always help YOU.


You need facts and data to help toward your next sale, transaction, or goal. One important fact is that there are only so many hours in the day. Not enough to be able to gather and promote the important elements which could be the key toward your next success.


There is a big difference between “shared research” and your very own “market research”. That difference impacts your bottom line.




For example, research is crucial for a law firm of any size. There is a lot more than the facts relating to the case an attorney needs to win. They need to find and pull specific information from other cases which went in the direction he/she hopes to accomplish. They need to find and pull facts and theories which support the argument they need to present. Additional research may include digging up facts about the other party and elements of the legal action which could be used to cast a negative light on the opposition.


Chances are the opposing side anticipates the “common” data and will be ready to defend and argue.


Think about this for real estate. If your offer, your comps, or your proposal contains the same data as your competitors, your presentation is much less likely to stand out.


In every instance, if you can bring unique and helpful market research to the table, you stand to gain because of it. Just like with law firms, you don’t have to do it all yourself.


FIRST IN performs market research, whether on long term retainer or for a short-term project, to make you or your business be the shining star!


One agent in a small community, which earlier had us sort their database, needed more single family homes for buyers. Market research uncovered a multi-family listing which sat untouched for six months but was also zoned for single-family.


An email to only to his local investors produced a buyer. That buyer quickly tore down and built an upscale single family home, from which the sale brought the investor roughly $100,000 profit eight months later. That agent gained two commissions within one year from the same parcel from this opportunity which would not have happened without our services.


Another agent was able to point out how a competitor failing to update their website cost a seller thousands of dollars and what she does to prevent those mistakes for her client.


Chances are you don’t have time to explore ways you can beat your competitors, but knowing those “ways” would increase your income by thousands of dollars. Hiring FIRSTIN to monitor your competition while creating advantages for you or your company allows you to do just that.


How do your competitors acquire their leads? Why does their process differ from yours? What distinct advantages can you bring to the table?


Whether you hire us for ongoing “behind the scenes” research and monitoring, or for a live virtual session to provide and receive immediate and direct input and strategies, it’s easy to add a new member to your success team!

Monday, April 11, 2022

How Landlords Can Pre-Lease Apartments - and Keep Them Leased In Advance

You have the floor plans and/or blueprints for a 20 or more unit multi-family property. It is weeks (maybe months) before construction or renovation begins. Your goal is to have every available unit leased before your “ready” or delivery date.


Perhaps you own and operate large apartment buildings and want to keep every unit under lease. Even if fully rented now, leases expire and some valued tenants will relocate, creating future vacancies.


Either way, currently you are not able to do advance showings of available units in order to get them all leased. However, having a leasing office or model apartment costs you for the space, the staff, and maintenance every month it is needed. Paying commissions to a broker may get the job done, but results in thousands of dollars out of your pocket. As tenants come and go, those thousands in tenant acquisition costs continue to add up.


FIRST IN Real Estate Marketing has a complete solution for apartment building owners (and leasing managers). This solution reduces or eliminates the need for the aforementioned ongoing costs.


It starts with our “Custom Interactive Virtual Staging”. The tech team starts with your floor plans and/or blueprints. There is no need for the property to exist, or to visit the property site. Created to scale, the tech team showcases the specifics of each room or area of the property. You could have selected rooms be done, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. You could do a “before and after” to showcase a renovation. You can show “Behind the Walls” to feature integration of HVAC, Solar Panels, or retrofitting. If your units offer a spectacular view, it can also be shown as part of the created “tour”.


The strength is that a potential tenant can literally do a lot more using this feature than if they were standing inside the actual property!


Custom Interactive Virtual Staging can be used to impress:


+ Investors, Potential Partners

+ Contractors, Installers

+ Potential Tenants


Perhaps the most popular of the amenities is our ability to add Selection Panels for the viewing experience. One example is a Paint Panel which allows potential tenants to experience specific rooms while able to choose among a panel of wall colors. They would see how certain colors would match their furniture.


Other examples are Selection Panels for flooring choices, fixtures, and/or furniture styles. These are custom designed to help potential tenants envision themselves and their possessions being in your property.


Meanwhile, contractors and installers can use this to determine how and where to handle the job they are assigned.


Once prepared to meet your specifications, the next step is to implement your method(s) to showcase your property. Your choices of methods include:


+ Online tours

+ In-person presentations

+ Virtual Reality goggles


Online Tours allow potential tenants to do a 360 tour at any time, and (if you choose) be able to apply while still visiting your website. This amazing technology allows for family members in different locations to login and “tour” simultaneously!


In-person presentations allow you to showcase the property on any size monitor or screen at sales offices, conference rooms, conventions, or anywhere you have potential tenants.


Virtual Reality goggles can be utilized to let potential tenants to walk or ride through your unit(s) as if they are actually there by doing a 360 tour. They have the ability to change colors, flooring, and/or whatever you use Selection Panels for.


Once fully leased, this ongoing feature can be used to showcase for upcoming vacancies. (If a tenant is moving out at the end of March, you could let them experience the unit long before its April 15th availability.)


If and when you operate other apartment buildings, chances are we can modify your Custom Interactive Virtual Staging for future use for a lower cost. Therefore, your cost to fill “new” vacancies will be even less.


All you need are floor plans and/or blueprints to request your free estimate. Our team will take it from there. You could be ready to pre-lease or lease using this custom program within 30 to 60 days!


Custom Interactive Virtual Staging 





Friday, October 1, 2021

This Great Idea Ames At All Communities

Let's see if we can get the students at Ames, Iowa to lead the way by example with this great idea for community engagement.

They have come up with themed gatherings for the entire community. Since I work with real estate brokers and brokerages around the country on marketing, I can't help but think this is an idea which should be "sponsored" by local brokerages in communities all over.

THIS is how you develop rapport with local homeowners of all ages and ethnic groups. I'm happy to help new marketing clients on this.

Here is the article with this fantastic idea:

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Selling Houses On A $10 Budget

There are times when the marketing budget is limited while looking to sell a property. Sometimes it is more practical to spend on marketing instead of spending hundreds or thousands producing a professional video. After all, there are plenty of poorly shot videos which still get tons of views. This is where a Smart Phone Property Tour makes a big difference.


Sometimes a listed property will only have certain rooms or areas that will appeal to potential buyers. That could be another reason why it isn’t worth having a professional video shoot. Many agents spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a video tour, and then lack the funds to generate views.


Many smart phones include video cameras with good to excellent quality. An agent can create his or her own video at a listed property. He or she can script and narrate it while walking through various rooms. Or, they can concentrate on the kitchen or rooms which are the best selling points. This can be done with or without editing or post production, such as music or tight edits.


If not satisfied with how it looks, a video can be done again until it looks “right”. Once it is completed, it can easily be available for viewing through both android and iPhones. By choosing a Smart Phone Property Tour, the video, regardless of length, can easily be seen by potential buyers.


There are no technical requirements beyond submitting your video with the order. A custom web link will be assigned. The direct link to the video can be based on the street address of the property, the name of the development, or the name of the listing agent.


Within a matter of hours, the property video can be promoted to potential buyers at little to no additional expense. The agent simply adds the link to existing web pages and social media feeds, as well as printed materials. In some circumstances, it can be placed on the For Sale sign at the property.


Obviously, whenever a potential buyer likes what they see on their phone, they can quickly and easily contact the agent. After all, he or she already has their phone in their hands! This one-step process enables hundreds of potential buyers to easily view the video and contact the agent.


Cost is only $10 per month per property, with no limit to the number of listings which can be submitted. Smart Phone Property Tours are available now.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Getting Your Video Tours On Potential Buyer Phones

Some agents spend a significant portion of their marketing budget for a listing to have a Matterport tour produced and ready to go as soon as possible. No matter how excellent the finished product is, the challenge becomes getting as many potential buyers as possible to see it. The new Smart Phone Property Tour feature comes to the rescue.


The agent’s web page may not have enough visitors to generate significant enough viewing. When placed on the company’s website, their tour often becomes one of many currently available. Social media promotion results tend to vary. In those situations, a potential buyer may easily be distracted by seeing other similar listings.


Meanwhile, chances are most home buyers have no idea what Matterport is or does. Some agents will not share a tour with their buying clients because they do not spend on them for their own sellers. Advertising of the listing needs to contain the important facts and amenities of the listing.


With a Smart Phone Property Tour to support a professional video tour, potential buyers can easily experience your listing. It becomes one easy step for them to have it on their phone for easy viewing. This is technology they can easily use, whether they have an android or iPhone.


There is absolutely nothing to change or add to your professional video tour. The result is that it becomes available to potential buyers everywhere they can use their phone.


Each “tour” is assigned a custom easy to remember link, which can be selected by the listing agent. The custom link could contain the property address or street number, such as 7654 for 7654 Main Street. It could be the name of the development, such as "West Hills", or the name of the listing agent.


Creating an easy link for potential buyers makes it simple to pick up their phone and check out the tour. It will be just as easy for them when linked from social media or anywhere else. The agent is able to choose their custom link, subject to availability.


A Smart Phone Property Tour is available for only $10 per month per property.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Easy Creation of Interactive Virtual Staging

FIRST IN Interactive Virtual Staging process begins with our tech team creating the property (or selected portions) to scale. This is referred to as a “Virtual Environment”, which is designed to look and function exactly like the property it portrays.


This is created from floor plans, blueprints, or sketches, and is based on the square footage of the property and the various rooms or areas. Because each “Environment” is created from floor plans or drawings, there is no need to visit the property or property site. A subject property can have a Virtual Environment completed at any phase, ranging from before groundbreaking to existing for many years.


The creative process can include the entire property or only selected rooms or areas. For example, it is possible to feature the master bedroom and a 2nd and 3rd bedroom instead of an entire unit, or show one bathroom with a shower and another with a bathtub.


Residential properties offering a specific view, such as a waterfront or elevated city view, can submit specific photos of the view for the tech team to incorporate. This includes upper floors, with drone photos a possibility.


A FIRST INVirtual Environment can feature an entire interior (or selected rooms as indicated above). Exterior space and amenities can be included if desired. Most common exterior requests include showcasing landscaping, a pool, deck, and/or patio, and parking options. If a developer or builders wishes to show exterior design styles and allow for paint color choices, it can be included.


Specific square footage and layouts are important to the final presentation. Potential buyers or tenants experiencing the property Environment should be able to negotiate hallways, corners, and shelf heights as realistically as possible.


The process of creating a precise Virtual Environment from scratch takes our tech team several business days to complete, and is key part of the preparation process.


Residential developers, builders, or brokers, anywhere in the world can request a free no obligation estimate by providing the necessary information on qualifying properties. 


Once created, there are numerous ways that everyone from designers, installers, and contractors to potential buyers, tenants, lenders, and investors can "view" the exact property or selected rooms. These ways range from being at the property site or sales office to online from anywhere. 


Consequently, important decisions can easily be made prior to visiting the property site and/or prior to the property being built or completed. 


Friday, March 26, 2021

The Importance of Advance Interactive Virtual Staging During New Construction

Ultimately, the goal is to market each property to the end user, whether it is a potential buyer or tenant. It is this phase which is the most significant use of a finished InteractiveVirtual Staging Environment.



This is because the subject property does not need to be built or completed, since all that is needed are the plans. Its location can be anywhere in the world including multiple locations.


Perhaps the most significant feature of FIRST IN Interactive Virtual Staging is that a potential buyer or tenant can actually do more with it than if they were standing inside of the completed property. While at the property, they might not like how a wall color, flooring, fixtures, or the furniture style looks. You can show them photos of sample tiles, but a hand held sample does not do your property justice.


When using our Interactive Virtual Staging, they can experience the property under a variety of choices. Once they see how furniture similar to theirs would look, or with a preferred choice of color, their level of interest is certain to increase.


Potential buyers and tenants can experience this feature at the property. Better yet, they can also experience it from the comfort of their current home. They could be in your sales office or anywhere there is Wi-Fi. If using Virtual Reality goggles (or with a Play Station 5), they could “walk through” the property room by room and make choices.


A huge element to this feature is that our Interactive Virtual Staging can be available months before construction or renovation is completed. The original idea of this concept is to be able to have it sold (or rented) on the ready date.


There are many financial advantages for a builder/developer to have the property sold or rented before the ready date. The immediate financial savings include:


+ Maintenance costs

+ Security costs

+ Personnel (property manager, sales staff)

+ Utilities costs

+ Possible staging costs

+ Possible mortgage or construction loan interest costs


Before Interactive Virtual Staging was so readily available, it would take months and months to sell out a development. The monthly costs for several units, even for three months, often far exceed the cost of our Interactive Virtual Staging. Real estate agents and brokers had to wait those months before earning their commissions.


Meanwhile, having a new project sold or leased as soon as possible allows the builder/developer to more quickly move on to their next project. That could add millions of dollars more to their pockets more quickly!


This is why Interactive Virtual Staging is so effective. The savings and financial benefit outweighs the cost. Potential buyers and tenants gain more and better choices with more reasons to consider the property, even if they can see it.


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Retire In Style - Strategies Toward Finding Your Dream Home

 This helpful article provided by Bob Shannon at :


Retirement is the long-awaited reward after a lengthy career. Dreams don’t end at retirement though, as this is merely the beginning of a rich, rewarding chapter of life. Retirement dreams often come with ideas in mind such as more time with family, traveling and diving into hobbies like homesteading. An important factor to consider along the way is whether your current home has adequate space for your family to visit as well as areas for your hobbies and daily living needs. If the logistics of buying a new home to meet your retirement needs feels daunting, there are some strategies you can employ to ensure success.


What to Consider for the Home

It can be challenging to find a home that matches your dreams and fits the budget. Finding an affordable home doesn’t mean you need to compromise your ideals, it may just require you to use your ingenuity to make it work. If you find a home with good bones and the basic idea of what you are seeking, don’t be shy about renovating. Often the difference between decent and ideal is simply a matter of knocking down a wall, adding an addition or building on a sunroom. Let your imagination guide you.


Home shopping is an emotional experience, and as a result, it is easy to fall in love with a place that isn’t suited for your practical needs in daily life. Before you begin shopping for homes, consider your square footage needs, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and space for starting seedlings and hatching chicks if you plan to homestead. Designated space for a workshop can be ideal to avoid having to drag out equipment and put it away after each use. And the grandchildren might also enjoy having their own playroom for the same reason.

What to Consider About Lending


If you’ll need to take out a mortgage, there’s a lot to think about. As you consider loan options, shop around for the best lender. Your specific mortgage needs may differ from others, and a reputable lender will walk you through all the options to ensure that you get the best mortgage possible. You may be able to access lower closing costs through certain lenders or obtain a loan that is geared toward seniors. Beware of predatory lending and other scams on seniors, however, and if a plan seems too good to be true, it probably is. Consumer protections exist, and if you wish to check on the reputation of a lender, consider doing a background check on the organization before giving them any information.


Real estate can move quickly. It may feel as though you are being rushed through the process, but often realtors watch their clients lose a dream home because they were hesitant to take action.

The Silver Lining for Acting Fast

Acting fast on a real estate transaction can feel like a major gamble, particularly if your current home has not yet sold. The risk can offer rewards if you can withstand the pressure of buying before selling. Some of the rewards for buying first include the option to rent your existing home to pay for your new home’s mortgage and the ability to focus on one transaction at a time. Talk to your real estate agent as soon as possible if you realize you’ll need an extended closing.


Your retirement dream home may be more accessible than you think. Make a plan in advance, considering your housing and hobby needs, as well as space for your loved ones to visit. Make sure you invest time in learning about loan options prior to starting the process, and as you begin house shopping, keep your eye on renovation potential as a means of finding an affordable home. Honor your retirement dreams and enjoy your golden years in a home that makes you smile.


Again - our thanks to Bob Shannon at