It’s closing day. Say cheese! All those photos of smiling faces on closing day offer proof that most folks are delighted to be closing on a home. Either they’re getting the keys to their new property or they’re getting a check for the sale.

Before the popularity of social media, most people mailed out moving announcements to let friends know they’d bought a home. Today, social media now plays a dominate role in announcing a move.

In this age of selfies and sharing, many homebuyers, sellers, and agents like to announce this kind of cheerful news with a closing photo. Just check out the social media posts on popular sites to find friends and families celebrating big events in their lives. Buying or selling a home is one of those big events.

“It’s a major milestone in your life,” says Kimberly Rote of Allie Beth Allman & Associates. She rates buying a home up there with getting married or having a baby.

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fan

It all started when a friend posted on Facebook, asking if she’d be crazy to remove the ceiling fans from her home right now. “Um, yes, this is Texas and it is summer,” was pretty much the universal response.

But this got us thinking — what if you really hate fans? And how many people out there actually hate ceiling fans? Over here, we kind of feel that anything that helps you avoid the Texas heat and move the air-conditioned air around your house more efficiently is A-OK, but we also know that well, ceiling fans can be kinda ugly.

So we ran some polls: Facebook, Facebook Stories, Twitter, and Instagram Stories. Overwhelmingly, people said they were Team Fan, but there were about 10-36 percent (depending on the poll) that said they hated fans. (more…)

questionableIt started with one photo of questionable design acumen showing up in my Facebook feed.

Of course, I had to show it to my coworkers, I mean, have you been here before? Getting my coworkers to react to the things I find while looking for the Wednesday WTF is like 22.3 percent of the fun of doing the Wednesday WTF.

So I just dropped this in the main Slack channel like it was NBD. (more…)

bathroom

Photo via Pinterest

[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2019! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at CandysDirt.com!]

Bethany: This year, we started a regular feature on our Facebook page where we ask a question every Friday. Sometimes the questions are about the real estate business, but sometimes, like our choice for Best of Friday Question, it’s about a hot button topic that everyone has a very firm opinion on. 

Carpet in the bathroom. For us, a discussion about it started with a picture someone sent for a folder I keep of random godawfulness for a future Wednesday WTF piece.

I showed it to Executive Editor Joanna England, because this is how we torture each other during the workday. One thing led to another, and suddenly we had another Friday Question, which we posed on our Facebook page as a poll: “Carpet in the bathroom is a) Gross, stop it; or b) A perfectly lovely choice. (more…)

Technology can be a giant pain in the butt, but it can also keep us remarkably productive. It’s also pretty amazing that what we have now often wasn’t available 10 years ago, even, but there is an entire generation that has never known that you couldn’t always carry your computer in your back pocket.

Just the other day, a kid asked me how I knew where to go in the “olden days,” before there were cell phones that could give you directions.

“What do you consider to be the olden days?” I asked him.

“You know, about 1993 when you were a new baby,” he replied, matter-of-factly.

First, bless his heart for thinking I was born in 1993, and secondly, I had to think — remember the days of printing out the directions from Mapquest, or going to AAA for a TripTik?

Almost two weeks ago, I went to the Online News Association’s annual convention and encountered the latest in tech for journalists, and attended a forecast of what the technology landscape would look like in the next few years.

So all of that was swirling around last Friday when we posed our Friday question on Facebook. We were curious — what do you use to keep yourself organized, or even entertained?

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After last week’s lengthy look at what buyers and sellers should know about the home buying process, we thought we’d take a look at something that seems to be the genesis of many a family argument — home cooling.

In the summer, especially in Texas, it seems like the AC is switched on by mid-May and doesn’t go off until sometime in November. Do you set the thermostat low in hopes that it keeps the house bearable and sell a kidney to pay the electric bill, or do you keep it a little higher and just try not to die?

People have varied opinions on which is better, and what they can tolerate.

So our Aug. 22 Friday Question asked readers to let us know what their thermostats were set on — and why.

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Home For Sale yard Sign

After living at 7303 Coronado Avenue for 16 years, Karen Nealy decided to try and test the waters to see if she was ready to sell her home in Lakewood Hills. She’s been looking to move closer to the lake, perhaps Rockwall, with plenty of room to roam around.

“We almost bought a house yesterday that we really liked,” Nealy said a week or so ago. That’s what prompted her to “test the waters” and put her three-bedroom, two-bath home on the Lakewood Online Yard Sale Facebook page without the help of a Realtor. Since then she’s put it up as For Sale By Owner on Zillow, advertising the 1,504-square-foot traditional for $299,900.

“We know Realtors can get it out there to more people,” Nealy said, but she is doing a more improvisational trial and error approach to selling her home, which she calls a “fixer-upper.” She thinks it’s a fantastic property to add on to, perhaps for a family that wants to be inside the Lakewood Elementary School attendance zone.

Do-it-yourself listings on social media is a growing trend, but will it end up costing sellers in the long run?

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katie new

For both consumers and Realtors, Dallas’ market can be challenging if you aren’t using every resource available to maximize exposure. Homes that are marketed well and priced right are flying off the market, but if you or your agent is not taking advantage of networking opportunities, you’re missing out!

But how can tomorrow’s Inman News Agent Reboot help you make 2013 your highest grossing year ever? Find out more about it from Katie Lance of Katie Lance Consulting and Inman Social Media Director Laura Monroe, as well as Inman ambassador and designer Karen Eubank.

Want to score a free ticket? We have five to give away thanks to Karen Eubank of Eubank Staging! The first five people email your full name and daytime phone number to jo@candysdirt.com will win!

CandysDirt.com: Hi ladies, what’s going on this year at Agent Reboot in Dallas? What a difference a year makes. The world is a lot different this year here in Texas real estate, isn’t it?

Katie Lance: Yes for sure! The market is starting to heat up all over the country and Dallas is no exception!

Laura Munroe: We certainly are seeing lots of changes with the low inventory, multiple offers, and this means agents are back to working full time!

Karen Eubank: Wow is it ever different this year. Hot, hot, hot. I’m taking time out for Agent Reboot because I think it’s one of the most important industry events you can attend. I left last year with information that helped me grow my business. I was blown away by the speakers and all I learned.

Laura munroe

CD: We have so little inventory and homes are selling almost before being listed. How does that impact an agent’s social media strategy?

Katie: I think it’s more important than ever for agents to be able to leverage their social networks by really taking the time to build relationships with their clients and potential buyers/sellers. Social media has never been a place to push listings, but it’s a great place to showcase that the market is hot by celebrating happy clients!

Laura: With agents competing for listings, it’s more important than ever to have your brand accessible on social media, as building those relationships over time takes a commitment to be top of mind. Not only that, but an agent’s presence needs to be optimized for mobile devices so that sellers and buyers can find you quickly and efficiently.

Karen: I try to stay social media savvy and my agents know that. I find more and more are asking me about the latest tool and what I’m doing because they are selling homes through social media and they want to know what is up and coming, one of the many reasons to attend Agent Reboot! I see agents constantly posting photos of their properties this year, they were not doing that last year. You have to meet your buyer where they are. Buyers are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram so anyone in the real estate industry needs to be on all of the social media platforms to reach the broadest audience. Social media is the hip pocket strategy!

CD: Karen, does the hot market mean sellers don’t have to stage anymore?

Karen: Not at all. If anything I see MORE staging going on. I’m booking a week to 10 days out and so are all of my fellow stagers in the Real Estate Staging Association. Stagers have never been busier. There was a two week lull when the market got hot then sellers and agents realized … hmmm we can get MORE money if we just take a little bit of time to go ahead and stage. The result is lines down the street on the first day of showing. Staging prepares your home for those crucial professional photographs. Staging and photography go hand in hand. You need both to properly market a home. Remember buyers are looking on iPhones and iPads for homes, they are looking on the run and those photos have to capture them instantly. Then the potential buyer has to get to that house instantly, because they are moving so fast!

CD: Katie, this huge turn-about must have you tweaking your tweets. What are you telling agents now?

Karen Eubank

Katie: I am telling agents that real estate is still a people business and one of the best ways to cultivate and build relationships over the long haul is through social media. Social is just one more communication tool to keep in touch! Social is also a place to put relevant content about the local market and community activities!

CD: Laura, tell us three things agents will take away and take home from this year’s Agent Reboot. (PS: May I suggest you add a cowboy boot to your logo in Texas?)

Laura: This year’s Agent Reboot is about doing things better, not adding to what agents already do in day. From cultivating our social relationships, attracting and managing leads, branding your online and offline marketing to make it all work seamlessly, and knowing what it means to optimize your presence for mobile consumers.

CD: Why do you think our Texas market is s strong and how long will it stay strong?

Laura: Texas has had a amazing job growth as a whole for many reasons, and has been on the forefront of the housing recovery. It wasn’t as hard hit during the recession and the economic factors have continued to attract growth!

CD: So agents are busy, sales are hot, checks are going into their bank accounts, does this mean agents can abandon their Facebook pages and chill on the tweets?

Laura: Being busy doesn’t mean abandoning anything! It means getting you have to be smart about where you are spending your time. Creating and having a social media strategy that fits into your overall marketing strategy is even more important…knowing what works and what doesn’t to fine tune and rock your results!

Katie: No, they can’t abandon their Facebook pages unless they want to appear out of business. It’s important in busy and slower times to be consistent in marketing and staying in touch with clients — and Facebook is no exception.

Karen: Social media is here to stay. It’s the most effective means of communication and the best visibility. Thatis what selling is all about, communication and visibility. It’s a smart part of every marketing package whether you are a Realtor, a stager, a home inspector or a real estate photographer. You have to be easily visible and so does your “product.”