I recently returned from the Luxury Portfolio International and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World Annual Conferences in Las Vegas with Chris Meyers and several other members of our management team. More than 2,000 brokers, agents, relocation, marketing and technology personnel from all over the world were in attendance. Across the board, we heard that most markets considered themselves to be “nearly recovered,” with home prices rising and markets improving overall.
The conference had outstanding educational sessions, and we learned from some of the best: Matthew Ferrara, Steve Harney and Mike Staver, to name a few. But the highlight was Houlihan Lawrence being honored with the following awards:
• Most Outgoing Closings Award for the Million Dollar Club
• 2012 Award of Excellence for Outgoing Sales Production
• WQC – Website Quality Certification
Congratulations to all of our sales associates for helping us achieve these milestones and the global recognition it brings to Houlihan Lawrence. Our agents are simply, THE BEST!
After the launch of our new website last fall, we are proud to announce HoulihanLawrence.com, has once again earned the Website Quality Certification (WQC), presented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® to member companies that have demonstrated excellence in website design, functionality and execution.
Every aspect of our site, HoulihanLawrence.com, was reviewed to ensure exacting standards were met in six key areas, ranging from design and content to human interactivity to search engine optimization. The WQC was introduced in 2009 to recognize and encourage superior websites among Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s 600 member firms. Houlihan Lawrence is one of 124 brokerages from around the world to earn the 2013 WQC designation.
With over 90 percent of people using the Internet in their home search, it is essential for any successful real estate firm to have an engaging, informative and easy-to-use website,” notes Pam O’Connor, president/CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. “By earning the Website Quality Certification, HoulihanLawrence.com has demonstrated that it provides vital online resources to home buyers and sellers.”
The launch of our new website last November included updated features that all work to enhance the experience of users searching for homes online. Our market report videos present clear and concise graphs and charts detailing monthly market activity; VIP Membership gives users a special glimpse into pending transactions within a specific market area; and our Community Conversations page allow users to rate and review towns, villages and cities throughout Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, much like Yelp, Amazon or Google Reviews.
Each year, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) hosts “Light the Night Walk” events in communities across the country. Teams of families, friends, co-workers and corporations come together to raise funds and bring help and hope to people battling blood cancers.
Earlier this month, the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society held their annual awards dinner to honor individuals, teams and sponsors who helped raise a whopping $850,000 for our local chapter. As a corporate sponsor of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night event, Houlihan Lawrence would like to congratulate the thousands of volunteers and supporters who participated in such a successful event!
Approximately every four minutes, one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma are the most commonly known blood cancers, but there are a host of other diseases that are also blood cancers, all of which afflict individuals of any age. Chances are you know someone – a family member, friend, or colleague – who has been effected by a blood cancer and it is a cause that is near and dear to Houlihan Lawrence and its employees.
Sixty years ago, a diagnosis of blood cancer was fatal. Now, thanks to decades of research advanced by LLS and others, people are winning their battles against blood cancers. LLS have made a significant difference in patients’ lives and the mission continues until there’s a cure. The goal of the Light the Night Walk for the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter of LLS is to raise $1 million in 2013 and Houlihan Lawrence is proud to play a role in helping them achieve that goal. As a longtime sponsor, advocate, and friend, we are committed to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as they fight the good fight to find a cure.
It will be Punxsutawney Phil’s 127th prognostication this weekend! While he’s the only true weather forecasting groundhog, Houlihan Lawrence knows that spring is just around the corner no matter what Phil predicts for the remainder of this winter.
Here are seven tips to consider when preparing your home for sale this spring:
- De-Personalize and de-clutter. Nothing is more distracting to a potential buyer than a home that is loaded with personal photos and vast quantities of knick-knacks and disorderly clutter. Buyers want to imagine their own possessions and mementos in your home. They also want to be able to view the house without a lot of distractions. Consider donating or throwing away items you no longer need and don’t want to take with you when you move.
- Organize your closets and cabinets. If your closets and cabinets are packed, the message you send to buyers is that there is not enough storage space. A well-organized closet or cabinet is an indication that you are taking good care of the entire property. Evaluate what you need and pack or get rid of the rest. Less is more in this case.
- Clean, polish, dust, wax, wash and vacuum. A clean house smells fresh and looks great. View your home as if for the first time. Are the windows clean, are cobwebs hanging from the ceiling? Do the floors need vacuuming? Is the bathtub grout stained and dingy? A little sparkle goes a long way!
- Make minor repairs. Walk around your home and look to see if there is anything that can be easily repaired. Check for leaking pipes and faucets, clogged drains, broken toilets and sinks. Replace broken switches, outlets and light fixtures. Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors if you don’t already have any. If you have any rotten windowsills, broken steps or cracked window glass, plan to make those repairs as soon as the weather allows.
- Refresh ceilings, walls and floors. A fresh coat of paint is the most cost-effective improvement you can do to prepare your home for sale. Removing dated wallpaper and textured ceilings, replacing worn carpet and refinishing wood floors also makes your home appealing to buyers.
- Updates for your kitchen. If your cabinets are painted, apply a fresh coat of paint. Replace older cabinet hardware and faucets with new. Make sure your sink isn’t stained and unsightly. Consider a new light fixture if your current one is dated.
- Create curb appeal. It may not be warm enough outside to do all the necessary cosmetic repairs needed for the exterior of your home. As soon as you are able, consider repairing walkways leading to your front door, resurfacing asphalt driveways, planting or potting flowers by the entry, replacing old locks and doorknobs. Buy a new welcome mat. Any or all of these improvements will make a great first impression on potential homebuyers.
Evaluating your home the way a buyer would is a step in the right direction. When you list your house for sale this spring is it in “move-in condition”? Give yourself one advantage over your competition by doing everything you can to make sure your house shines.
By now, we’ve all heard the term “social networking.” Sharing articles about the real estate market on Facebook, tweeting tips and tricks about how to make homes seem more spacious, and forming connections with clients and agents on LinkedIn. No doubt this socially-driven technological revolution has become a crucial tool for business–but isn’t it a breathe of fresh air to see your fans, followers, likes, and connections in person every once in a while?
Last Wednesday, agents from Houlihan Lawrence and Halstead Property met at 3 Stone Bridge Road in Purchase for a morning of networking. Guests were treated to a market update from Houlihan Lawrence COO Chris Meyers and Halstead’s chief economist Gregory Heym.
Establishing connections with other agents is imperative, especially for those working in New York City and New York-metro area. In early 2012, Houlihan Lawrence and Halstead Property became two of four residential brokerages (including Coach Realtors and Turpin Realtors) to join forces through the Tri-State Alliance, a partnership that maximizes exposure to listings via the web. Through the Tri-State Alliance, each firm’s respective listings are found on all four brokerage websites, which ultimately enhances a user’s experience when searching for homes online and provides our sellers with more exposure through the New York-metro area.
Visit our Facebook page to see more from Wednesday’s networking event.
Pops. Daddy. Father. Old man. There are a million ways to spell it, say it, and yell it, but unfortunately there’s only one day that’s carved out per year to fully honor the man we often simply refer to as “Dad.” No doubt dads differ far and wide, but for the most part they’ve played a pivotal role in some of life’s greatest celebrations; learning to walk and talk, kindergarten graduation, college sendoff, first job, and many more.
Below are three ways you can help celebrate Father’s Day, be it racing around a go-kart track or sending a simple message on the Internet. Houlihan Lawrence wishes a Happy Father’s Day to all dads across Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties!
Treat Him: One of my favorite places to bring my dad for an ice cold brew is Birdsall House on Main Street in Peekskill. The highly-acclaimed watering hole has a comprehensive draught and bottle list featuring a variety of New York, national and international beers. Better yet, restaurant-goers can enjoy a Sunday “Brunch Prix Fix” for just $19, which includes a complimentary Bloody Mary, mimosa or beer.
Compete With Him: Growing up with sports in the family there was always a competitive nature between my siblings and my dad. Now that our glory days are over, we like to compete on a more laid-back level (though I still win, of course). Check out Grand Prix New York in Mount Kisco–the indoor racing track not only hits you with speeds of up to 40 mph, but features bowling, arcades, and some good eats, too.
Tweet Him: Welcome to Father’s Day circa the 21st Century. Want to brag about how awesome your dad is to the entire Internet? The Journal News (@LoHud) and The Poughkeepsie Journal (@PokJournal) are asking their followers to tweet a picture of their father to put on display before the Twittersphere.
Much like a professional artist, an affective real estate agent must paint a lifelike portrait in order to match buyers with their ideal vision of a home. This sense of creativity and artistic care is equally important for sellers, as agents have taken on a more proactive approach in prepping and staging homes with the advent of virtual tours, websites like Trulia and Zillow, and the Internet in general.
A 22-year Cold Spring resident who’s been with Houlihan Lawrence for the past 18 years, Lesli Uribe has been able to marry her success as a realtor with her life as a professional artist, creating a unique experience for both the buyers and sellers she works with.
“By visualizing what a buyer has described as their picture-perfect home, I can quickly match their wishes to reality,” Lesli says. “Sellers also benefit from this creativity—now it is crucial to stage and prep a house inside and out since first impressions are made while buyers surf the web in their pajamas.”
Now in her 30th year as a visual artist Lesli is honoring the crossroads of her art and real estate career transforming Houlihan Lawrence’s office on Main Street in Cold Spring into a gallery, which features her latest series “Communicate.” Both art and real estate enthusiasts celebrated Lesli’s artwork during the collection’s opening reception at Houlihan Lawrence’s Cold Spring office this past May, illustrating the connection between those who appreciate beautiful art and elegant homes.
“It’s great how Houlihan Lawrence believes in supporting other passions that their extended family believes in, like the arts, cancer research foundations, and more,” Lesli says.
Stop by 60 Main Street in Cold Spring to check out Communicate where it will be on display throughout the summer. For more of Lesli Uribe’s artwork, visit www.lesliuribe.com or The Art of Real Estate on Facebook.
Engagement = Conversion, New York City Buyer Trends and Social Media Selling were among the topics on the tips of many agents’ tongues yesterday at Houlihan Lawrence’s companywide event, Road Map to Success. Hundreds of agents filed into the Westchester Marriott for a day of learning, networking and expanding business.
Agents were first addressed by Houlihan Lawrence Chairman Nancy Seaman, President and CEO Stephen Meyers, and COO Chris Meyers. Currently, Houlihan Lawrence represented 36 percent of the market share for Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess counties from January 1 to April 22 as provided by EAMLS & MHMLS, with pending sales up 43 percent. This theme of moving toward a positive future was on hand for most of the event.
Road Map to Success’ keynote speaker Matthew Ferrara of Matthew Ferrara & Company brought agents into the 21st century with a presentation on Modern Marketing. Ferrara’s speech featured how new, more visual technologies can help agents boost sales, expand their reach, and improve the way they brand their listings. The necessity to use networks like Facebook and Twitter was laid out in his workshop, Social Media Selling
Professionals from within the company and the real estate world hosted these breakout sessions, with topics like the Houlihan Lawrence Advantage to Secrets from the Top.
WellcomeMat co-founder Phil Thomas Di Giulio and Gotham Photo Company President Vince Collura presented agents with the tools to tell a great visual story in Make A Great First Impression. UrbanDigs.com founder and publisher Noah Rosenblatt and Halstead Property general sales manager James Gricar brought agents up to speed on New York City market trends, and Vertical Response Sr. Social Media Manager Derek Overbey outlined how to engage consumers online and turn them into clients in the real world.
Visit our Facebook and Flickr pages for photos from the event, and check out our Tumblr blog for cool Instagram photos, quotes and tweets from our speakers, and more.
With Houlihan Lawrence’s companywide event “Road Map to Success” right around the corner, we wanted to give a special sneak peek into the work of our keynote speaker, Matthew Ferrara.
A seasoned keynote speaker, Ferrara’s “Modern Marketing” presentation will focus on how real estate agents can leverage the power of technology to boost sales and enhance their selling techniques to garner more business. His company, Matthew Ferrara & Company, is a consulting firm that helps clients embrace the digital age through strategic planning, leadership consulting, technology workshops and management training and coaching.
Ferrara will also lead one of Houlihan Lawrence’s Road Map to Success workshops, “Social Media Selling.” In the same vein as “modern marketing,” he’ll explain why it’s important to use social media as a way to expand reach and which strategies should be used to execute social networking effectively.
To find out more information about Matthew Ferrara, visit his website www.matthewferrara.com, blog http://www.matthewferrara.com/blog/ or Facebook page.