Real Living HER’s Builder Developer Services Division Wins Big at the MAME Awards

Congratulations to the Real Living HER Sales Associates, Builder Developer Services Division members and Marketing Group for bringing home literally boxes of awards from the 24th Annual Marketing and Merchandising Excellence Awards (MAME) honoring top achievers in the new home industry from 2010, presented by the Columbus BIA.

Also, special thanks to Real Living Title and Real Living Mortgage for being a part of our title sponsorship of the event. Here is a rundown of the winning categories:

Realtor Sales Citations:
$1 million category – Jeanne Cousino and Sharon Wholaver (The Yoder-Barnhart Connection team)
$2 million category – Nicole Yoder, The Yoder-Barnhart Connection Team

Grand Marketing Award:
Best of Show – Real Living HER Marketing Group

Leadership Awards:
Sales Manager of the Year – Butch Wahlsmith, General Manager, Builder Developer Services Division
Marketing Director of the Year – Jim Stevenson, SVP Marketing and Strategic Services

 Marketing and Advertising Awards:
First place – Most unique logo (Curbside Info)
First Place – Exceptional Virtual Tour (Real Living Tours)
First Place – Top Company or Product Brochure (various community developments)
First Place – Best Newsletter/E-newsletter (company newsletter)
First Place – Outstanding Color Newspaper Ad (Jeanne Cousino)
First Place – Most Creative TV Commercial (Curbside Info)
First Place – Most Valuable Multi-Media Campaign (Curbside Info)
Tied for First Place – Most Creative Website (


Curbside Info Commercial

Curbside Info

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Sponsored by Real Living Mortgage

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Curbside Info lets you get information about any home on the market from any phone just by calling one number, (614) 221-7400, and simply entering the street address. That’s it. The service will prompt you through all of your options from there.

To register to use this free service, simply click this registration widget and enter your information.

Marketing Your Home Online

It’s hard to deny the power of the Internet today. Between staying connected with distant family and friends, paying our bills and researching virtually anything, the Internet allows us the ability to multitask from the comfort of our own homes. But more importantly, to those interested in the real estate industry, the Internet has made the home-selling process easier than ever.

Tech-savvy, first-time home buyers are leading the 90 percent of buyers who use the Internet during the home search process (Source: NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 2010). The Internet is the fastest-growing space for consumers to learn and gain information about the real estate industry. With this many buyers surfing the Web for a new home – you’ll want your listing on there, so ask your real estate agent which marketing tools he or she will use to list your home, and make sure the Internet is at the top of the list. The following tools and strategies addressed in this column are essential to marketing a home, so make sure your agent is using all of these necessary tools.

Let’s start with digital marketing and the concepts associated with it: online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and permission-based e-mail marketing. Agents who use online marketing strategies will typically post your listing on the brokerage’s Web site and on his or her personal site. Look for agents who update their sites often. There are several advantages to Web listings. For example, they offer quality color photos of your home, detailed property information, virtual tours, floor plans and school and community data.

Here are some websites Real Living HER agents can use to help market your home online:

SEO is the process of increasing quality web traffic to a site by way of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. Agents that frequently update their Web sites with pertinent content and listings will have better SEO, which increases the number of views of your listing. This important component of digital marketing is worth asking your agent about.

E-mail marketing is another player in the digital marketing game. Qualified agents today stay connected with clients, family and friends by sending them e-newsletters and e-cards. A friendly holiday wish accompanied with your home listing is a great way to attract more potential buyers to your home.

Another growing industry trend is the use of podcasts, which are media files distributed over the Internet. Agents are now able to post podcasts of your home that can be downloaded free from Web sites and viewed on computers and portable devices.

With the emergence of the Internet, podcasting and even wireless mobile Internet, the sky is the limit as to how many potential buyers can view your listing. So now, as an informed home seller, talk with your real estate agent about how he or she plans to market your home and get it ready to sell!

Make a House Hunt Checklist

Are you on the house hunt? Touring dozens of homes can be an overwhelming process for anybody. If you find yourself asking whether it was the second or the ninth house with that great fireplace, then you may need a better way to organize your observations. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a checklist. Consider ranking elements like the home, neighborhood and schools on a scale as either “good”, “average” or “poor”.

Click here to download your own House Hunt Checklist, then read on for other important considerations.

The Home
Space is one of the first things people notice when touring a home. Are there enough bedrooms to accommodate the household? How spacious are storage closets? Square footage and the practicality of the floor plan are elements that demand major consideration. Is there a garage or a basement? These are some standards you should have set in your head before beginning your home search, but it doesn’t hurt to add these elements to the checklist. After you’ve evaluated the space, take time to note the condition of the home. Some suggest breaking it down further into interior and exterior conditions. Look specifically for dampness and odors in the basement, age and condition of the roof as well as the functionality of gutters and downspouts. Finally, don’t forget to make note of extra perks such as a fireplace, great landscaping, fences, a patio/deck, screens and storm windows as well as overall energy efficiency.

The Neighborhood
One of the most common things homebuyers look for in a neighborhood is safety. Individuals want to feel secure in their new surroundings. Other high-ranking aspects include: traffic, noise level, parking and zoning restrictions. How close are you to police and fire stations, the hospital or schools? Does the neighborhood provide snow removal or trash services? Don’t forget to investigate these issues by creating a physical or mental checklist.

For those who have children, what school district you choose is an important consideration. Feel free to further research the reputation of the schools, quality of teachers and achievement test scores for students attending these schools. Other considerations include class sizes, busing distance and the age and condition of the buildings that your children could potentially attend. Taking the time to meet with faculty, tour the school and talk with parents of pupils who attend the school will help you make an informed decision.

Location is becoming a greater concern for many homebuyers due to increased gas prices. When looking at a home, take the time to figure out how far you would be from the grocery store, schools, child care, shopping, highways, etc. Is there public transportation in your area? How far are you willing to commute each day? These are some things you want to ask yourself as you evaluate the location of a home.

Taking the time to look at all aspects of a home—from the actual structure to the neighborhood, schools and location will help you make a more accurate and informed decision when choosing a home. For additional questions on your home search, contact me today.

Prepare for Effective Snow Removal this Winter

You can never be too prepared when it comes to winter weather. Make sure to stock up on supplies before snow accumulation begins. Start with salt. Believe it or not, there are a variety of salts to choose from. Traditional rock salt effectively melts snow, but it isn’t the most environmentally-friendly option. Some eco-friendly choices that melt snow and help combat re-icing include magnesium acetate and calcium chloride. Magnesium acetate is probably the least destructive to vegetation, but it’s costly and not quite as effective. Calcium chloride is a little more expensive than rock salt, but you don’t need to distribute as much. In fact, you only need a handful for every three square yards.

During the Snowfall

Once the snow starts, tune in to the weather reports. If meteorologists forecast a substantial snowfall, start shoveling your driveway and walkways once during the snowfall and once afterwards. This minimizes the chances of injuring your back lifting heavy amounts of snow. Look for shovels with an ergonomic design or choose a rolling snow shovel. Proper snow shoveling techniques start with your legs. Make sure to bend your knees when lifting and moving piles. It’s also important to avoid twisting your torso with a heavy load. Instead, shift your whole body, including your stance. A snow blower is another great option when it comes to snow removal. The only downfall to some models is that they aren’t great at removing ice. They’re ideal for light, powdery snow, but sometimes it takes a heavy shovel or spade to break apart ice.

After the Snowfall

When the snow finally subsides, complete one final shoveling of walkways and driveways. Be certain that you aren’t just pushing snow back into the street because as soon as city trucks plow your road, you’ll end up with a mound of snow on your driveway once again. It’s also important to lay a little extra salt to keep your concrete from re-icing. As always, make sure to replenish salt supplies and properly store equipment.

Alternatives to Traditional Snow Removal

For those who want to avoid shoveling for any number of reasons, consider alternative snowmelt systems like heated driveways. Heated driveways, although expensive, are great for areas that receive frequent snowfall. Basically, a combination of hot water and anti-freeze are forced through tubing under your driveway, walkway or patio. The heat radiated from this system quickly melts any ice and snow on the concrete or asphalt above it.

For more information on how you can better prepare for upcoming snow, ice and winter weather, contact your local agent today!


Looking for a Home in New Albany Ohio?

Looking for a home in New Albany, Ohio? Check out this community video from Real Living HER.