Exactly Why You Should Bore Blog Readers With Real Estate Statistics

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This week, Margaret Woda (FocusOnCrofton.com) makes her Real Estate Tomato debut with an excellent post on her person experience with blogging about her local real estate statistics.  Take it away Margaret!

Why Bore Blog Readers With Statistics?

By Margaret Woda

My community real estate blog “for and about Crofton, Maryland” is picking up steam with more hits and page views each month.  Creative, articulate, helpful – these are adjectives I’ve read or heard regarding some of my posts, and reader approval can be very addictive.  So why would I want to risk this approval by boring Focus On Crofton readers with real estate statistics?  In a word…

“RESULTS”

Apparently consumers don’t find those statistics as boring to read as I do to blog about them.

Once Upon A Time

market-studyAs a blogging newbie, with little experience even reading any real estate blogs, I wrote a Crofton Real Estate Market Update as my very first post.  I simply expressed my opinion about the implications of statistics from our regional MLS for the previous month.  Believe me, I have no shortage of opinions, so this was an easy inaugural blog for me.

A few days later, I received a client contact through the ActiveRain dashboard, so there was no doubt as to the source of this business.  That inquiry turned into a listing within a week of my first blog post and, needless to say, I was quick to acknowledge the benefit of blogging.  It didn’t occur to me at that time, however, that this topic was a factor in creating the new business.

How-to, Why, and Where blogs followed, but the next consumer to contact me through the contact page of my blog said he read my real estate market update; in fact, he was angry that his agent hadn’t kept him informed about the market by providing this data to him.  He continued reading my blog posts over the next several weeks and listed his home with me when the earlier listing expired.  Now I knew that I was on to something with this informative real estate market update.

On a roll

Funny thing about these two listing appointments – the sellers were ready to list with me when I walked through their front door, without even viewing my listing presentation.  It seems they were already satisfied that I’m a local real estate expert, after reading the real estate market update on my blog.

With two out of two new client contacts within a month resulting from one real estate market update, I started writing similar posts with statistics for adjacent zip codes.  Lo and behold, more seller clients came my way, along with two $800,000 listings in nearby zip codes.  When asked, they said they found me through the search engines.  Again, a single market update for their zip code was the only possible source for this new business.

I could go on and report subsequent updates and new clients, such as two current listings from this source, but surely you can see WHY I continue to “bore” readers with real estate statistics each month in my Real Estate Tomato blog, Focus On Crofton.

Finding the data

My regional multiple listing service publishes statistics on the 10th of each month for the previous month, so creating a real estate update is easy for me.  I choose a clear easy-to-read and understand one-page format of zip code data, as my resource, although county and regional information is available, as well.  Your multiple listing service probably publishes such information periodically – even if you’ve never seen it.  Look on their website, or call and ask where you can find it.

Calculating the information yourself by running your own MLS search for the previous month is a little more time consuming, but it’s not difficult.  I know, because I’ve done it myself for categories not reported by my multiple listing service – detached homes, townhouses and condos, for example, or individual subdivisions.

If you set up an Excel spread sheet, as I did when I wrote that first real estate update, it’s quick and easy to add new figures each month.  I created a separate spreadsheet for each zip code, and set up several categories: # of Units Sold, # of Days on Market, Average Sold Price, Median Sold Price, and Sold Price vs. List Price.

Presentation

Whatever the statistics may be and however you present them, those numbers are simply the foundation of any real estate market update.

Consumers responded to a simple basic real estate market update in narrative format. Yet I suffered from “graph-envy” when I saw the colorful graphs and charts used by other real estate professionals in their blogs, because I felt they made the information more attractive to the eye.

Another blogger pointed out the graph wizard available in MS Excel and soon I, too, was producing colorful graphs for my reports.  However, t’s worth noting that consumer response did not increase when I added these graphs.

As the market flattened in recent months, graphs no longer seemed to add that visual interest to my blog, so I started creating tables in MS Word or MS Publisher.  These aren’t as colorful as the graphs or as boring to the eye as the narrative – and they work for today’s market.  But you can get creative…  Last month, I even added a little 2–frame comic strip to my real estate market report.

Whatever the statistics may be and however you present them, those numbers are simply the foundation of any real estate market update. It’s your narrative that makes any report interesting… your professional opinion about what it all means to consumers.  Here are some examples:  Crofton Real Estate Market Update – October 2007 (detailed, with graphs); Crofton Real Estate Market Study – March 2008(short, with a single chart).

Occasionally, I’ve include information from the real estate market updates in a blog about a specific topic, such as Gambrills Residents Worry About Pollutant.  This post includes some of those “boring” real estate statistics for three adjacent zip codes, effectively making a point with facts, rather than expressing an opinion.

The Bottom Line

Demonstrating knowledge of the local real estate market is probably one of your goals for even having a blog, yet sometimes I think real estate blogs sound a bit like travel brochures, touting places to visit and things to do in our communities.  Yes, those posts say “I know my community” – but they don’t say “I know timely and relevant real estate information.”

There’s no more effective way to communicate our local real estate expertise than creating a real estate market update for our blog.  It may be one of the more tedious posts we put together each month, but who cares about that when consumer contacts are a direct result.  They find our reports to be interesting and relevant, and we may be the only (or best) source of that information for consumers in our market.

The bottom line?  RESULTS.  What better reason could there be for boring blog readers with statistics!

Thanks a ton, Margaret!

Margaret is an exceptionally professional Realtor in Crofton, Maryland.
Her writings and real estate tools can be found at www.FocusOnCrofton.com
Voice: (410) 451-1900