Monday, May 25, 2015

Living in Kingston, New York

The Place

The sprawling yet tiny city of Kingston, New York is full of things to do and close to more things to do in nearby Saugerties, Rosendale, and New Paltz. The city is perfectly laid out for pedestrians and homes here are quite affordable. The city is divided into three distinct sections: The Rondout-West Strand District, Midtown and the Uptown Business District.

 Kingston is bordered by two waterfronts: the Hudson River and Rondout Creek. Kingston's waterfronts are great, but if you're a hiker you'll really enjoy the close proximity to many parks and nature preserves including the Catskills Mountains and Shawangunk Ridge.

The History

Kingston was settled by the Dutch in 1600s. The first constitution of New York State was written here and Kingston became the first capital of New York. In retaliation, the British burned it and this is re-enacted here every few years or so.

The Buildings

The architecture here is a quirky mix of beautiful old buildings and run-down store fronts. Check out Broadway for some funky, old, faded and abandoned buildings. As do many of the towns in the Hudson Valley, Kingston  is full of natural beauty and historic charm.

Four Corners is said to be the only intersection in the United States with 18th century stone houses on every corner.

If you're looking to buy real estate, you'll find a selection of Colonials, or Victorian's with high ceilings, or some houses built in the arts and crafts style. You'll also see a few homes built from kits supplies by Sears and Montgomery Ward.

In about the last seven years or so, there's been some new construction to add to the eclectic character of Kingston.

The Facts

Some quick facts on Kingston:
- population is almost 24,000
- median home cost is $140,000
- cost of living is 90% higher than rest of nation

Want to know more? Visit Nutshell Realty in Ulster County NY.
Image by Doug Kerr - Flickr Kingston NY

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Dominate for a Community with Real Estate Blogging

Zillow, Trulia, Realtor OH MY! How can the podunk little real estate agent compete on the search engines? They dominate all the major broad keywords and unless you've had a domain for 20+ years, have 18,000 high quality back links or a killer website, you're just not going to show up. Blogging for a week or two or even a couple months is just not going to get you there. So what's an agent to do?

There is a way to compete but it does take time. Nothing is going to rank immediately but regardless of whether you've had a website for a couple years or just starting up, there is a way to compete.

Find your niche and run with it.

So, you might service a large area such as my client in the Scottsdale real estate market but that's a big area. There are smaller communities and neighborhoods all over and how are you suppose to rank for all of them? The answer... you're probably not going to. But if you live in a particular neighborhood that you love and really want to farm that area then it can be done.

Here's How:

First, make sure no one else is farming that area. If you know of another agent that sends out postcards, shows up for every search result and is in the local newspaper every week, you're probably not going to compete, at least not right away, anyway. Find a neighborhood of at least 200 homes that no one is dominating. It can be done. Every market is different. Some communities in Florida have two agents for every one house and that's really tough, but there are other markets that the ratio is more balanced. Depending on your area, it could be more or less difficult to find this neighborhood.

Once you have the neighborhood pegged, do some preliminary searches for various key words and phrases. Let's take Grayhawk in North Scottsdale; what type of homes are there, how are people searching, and are there micro-communities within the main subdivision? Grayhawk has about 50 smaller neighborhoods with single family homes, town homes and condos. This could be really extensive, but this is GREAT.  Start jotting down ideas to blog about as they come to you. Even though the big guys might still dominate on a larger community you can be way more extensive in your research making you the authority.

Then write.

I'm not talking a couple blogs here or there, I'm talking at least 2-4 every week on your community. Take video, pictures and research the area. Use long-tail titles to really emphasize your knowledge of an area. Here are just a few titles that would be great long-tail searches:

  • "Community real estate market report (Date)" - these can be done with graphs, words and images
  • "Local Events in Community" - There might be something every month or week which would take up that blog post.
  • "How Much Home will $400,000 (or whatever figure) Buy you in Community"
  • "Important Tips for Buying a Home in Community" - geo-target basic real estate news or focus on the difference buying in one community over another. Some communities may be gated, have buyer rules, etc...
  • "4 Bedroom Homes in Community" - talk about the layout, design or home builder and do this for all the layouts"
  • "Homes with Pools in Community" 
  • "Homes Near Golf Course in Community"
  • "Homes Near (Major college or school) in Community"
  • "What School District is in Community"
  • "Best Schools in Community"
  • "Commute Routes to City from Community"
  • "Amenities in Community"
  • "Short Sale Homes in Community"
  • "Foreclosure Homes in Community"
  • "Shopping in Community"
You get the idea. There are lots and lots of details you can blog about in a certain neighborhood. 

Then Promote.

You can't operate in a bubble. If people don't know you are the expert in the community they can't find you or read about you. You'll want to promote your information. This can be done on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest or Google Plus. Pick 2-4 social media outlets and run with them.

Facebook - Create a Facebook page just for that community, or promote it on your own business page if you have one. Spend a little money promoting that page for more likes and tailor your audience to people that live in your major city and are looking to buy or sell. 

Twitter - promote your links from your blog on Twitter and always use the same hashtag of the community.

Pinterest - This is great resource because you can create boards just surrounding that community. You can post links and images, video and pictures all focused on that community.

Google Plus -  Google plus is great because any link you post on Google plus will get instantly indexed. This is a great way to get found on Google by promoting your links over on Google class. You can also create a community built around your community so that all of your links will be posted in that community and people can follow that community specifically.

Then you check.

So after you've exhausted your knowledge on a community you want to check your ranking. Look up that community and see if you are starting to rank. If you still don't find yourself anywhere then you need to keep writing. Eventually, Google will realize that you are an expert in the community and will start transferring your weblog page for information higher and higher.

 It can be difficult to dominate but by starting with a smaller community and building up authority in the smaller areas then you can branch out to the next community and the next one.