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Hi-Tech Tools for REALTORS

High-Tech Tools to Sell Your Home
By Lisa Bouchard Hoe
Hudson Register-Star, July 30, 2016


Not long ago, searching for a new home meant jumping in the car with your real estate agent and driving through neighborhoods, looking at house after house until you find ‘the one.’ While people may still look at  numerous houses before deciding which one is home, chances are that they clicked from webpage to webpage to find them.



According to the National Association of REALTORS® 89 percent of all homebuyers use online tools and resources in their home search. For sellers, this means that embracing new technology when working with an agent to market their property is no longer just a good idea, it’s a necessity. So alongside of certain traditional marketing practices – such as making sure your listing is visible in print publications, such as real estate guides – your REALTOR® will also be maximizing other online marketing and advertising strategies.


“Technology has changed nearly every aspect of the way we live, so it is only natural that it affects the way sellers and their agents market and sell homes,” said Lisa Bouchard Hoe, president of the Columbia-Greene Multiple Listing Service and broker-owner of The Kinderhook Group. “Most potential buyers make their first impression of a home online, and with so much high-quality online media, the bar has been raised for online real estate listings to really ‘wow’ buyers.”


Here are a few high-tech resources and gadgets that can help you and your agent sell your home:


Social Media. These days nearly everyone is on at least one social media platform, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, so including a social media strategy in your home’s marketing plan is becoming par for the course. “A well-placed post on Facebook or a properly timed Tweet can place your listing in front of hundreds, possibly thousands, of potential buyers and usually costs the seller nothing,” said Bouchard Hoe. Brokers, with their sellers support, can also pay to “boost” certain social media posts for a broader reach.


Videography. In addition to still photography, some real estate brokers take the visual presentation of your home one step further, particularly for a dramatic property, by adding video elements and music to still photography. Adding music and video – which can set a more intimate tone for a home, can augment the visual experience of a unique property.


Virtual Staging. If a seller has already moved out and left a home empty, visual effects software can let you fill the empty house with different styles of furniture, art and light fixtures. You can even change the wall color with the click of a mouse. This can help prospective buyers visualize a home’s potential and see what the home looks like when it’s tailored to their tastes. A seller can’t know what every buyer’s taste is, and this allows the home to be staged online in any style at a fraction of the cost.


Aerial technology and drones. It’s common for a prospective buyer to turn to such tools as Google Earth to explore the physical setting of a property – from the street and from the air. But the quality of those images may not be adequate or flattering to your property. It can be costly indeed to hire a plane, pilot and professional photographer to produce aerial photographs, but high quality aerial photography is now just around the corner.


As of Aug 29, 2016, real estate professionals will be allowed to operate drones – unmanned aerial vehicles -- for a host of real estate-related purposes, such as capturing aerial imagery of property listings. The Kinderhook Group is one area agency that has has already invested in this technology for clients seeking to capture high-quality aerial views of their property.


"New drone technologies can help you and your agent to market your home in a way that may have been cost-prohibitive in the past,” said Bouchard Hoe. “This may be a huge benefit in areas like the Hudson Valley, where some homes have beautiful mountain views or sit on a large piece of property. Aerial photography can highlight these features.” 


However, Hoe reminds sellers that anyone using a drone must either hire a professional drone operator or an agent with a Federal Aviation Administration waiver, and other guidelines must be followed.


Wondering what your real estate broker is doing behind the scenes to sell your property? If you are already active on social media sites, become “friends” or “follow” your broker to stay engaged with the action. Through sharing on your own social network channels you can amplify the work of your broker.


By using a few of these tools, you can make your home’s listing more appealing to buyers and hopefully help sell it more quickly this summer or fall.


Lisa Bouchard Hoe is president of the Columbia-Greene-Northern Dutchess Multiple Listing Service and principal broker of The Kinderhook Group.


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