Google tweaks its algorithm up to 600 times a year!

 

They made a huge change in the way they rank content yesterday.  According to Mashable 35% of all searches will be affected by this shift.  Fresh content is carrying more weight than ever!  Find out how to leverage this change by checking out the video below.  Aren’t you glad you are a blogger?????

It is no longer news to hear that since the Financial Crisis many things have changed, and countless people have had to cope with a drastically negative transformation in their financial lives.  What is coming as news are the lasting effects the Crisis is having on consumer behavior.  Absolute Strategy Research’s (“ASR”) recent consumer survey brings results from the past three years on U.S. Household Finances showing a definitive change in consumer attitudes towards debt.  Two out of every three Americans questioned believe that the Financial Crisis has fundamentally changed their attitude towards debt, and almost half those polled are not prepared to take any risk with their savings.  There is a serious collapse in consumer confidence due to negative wealth effects; 27% of Americans believe their homes are worth less than what they owe on their mortgage.

What Consumers Need Now

With these statistics it is clear to see that consumers aren’t confident that housing is a good investment at the present time.  The group reporting a change in attitude towards debt in the study tends to be much more hesitant to take financial risk; only 24% are prepared to take risks with their savings.  With these results, we should expect many more buyers to focus on whether or not the decision to buy a home or invest in real estate makes financial sense.  What consumers need now is a higher sense of security; they need to know that the decision they are making is a good investment with low risk factors in the long-term.  They need information about the long-term effects that buying a home will have on their finances.

How Real Estate Agents Can Help

 

Real estate agents can’t expect to continue their practices without responding in some way to these changes in consumer attitudes.  Consumer hesitancy poses real estate agents with a new challenge and an opportunity, the opportunity to be integral in forming a response to consumer apprehension by helping to ease hesitancy when it comes to making investments in real estate.  The role of the real estate agent can be first to inform clients in an open and honest way about what the process of buying a home entails and what options there are available to consumers on the market within their means.  The future of the housing market hinges upon a new investment in communication between agents and consumers.

 

Tools For Change: Confidence Building Calculators

Perhaps the best resources available to help consumers work through their hesitancy are decision-making tools, and fortunately there are a host of these tools and financial calculators online.  While a lot of them begin to address consumer needs, most haven’t changed since the late nineties, and it didn’t take a lot of thought from the SmartAsset  team (www.smartasset.com)to realize that today’s consumer, having grown up with the internet, expects much more.  That is why we have developed a web app that helps consumers to measure affordability, evaluate financing alternatives, and test the cash flow impact for big financial decisions such as buying a home.  With a few pieces of information from a potential home buyer, our tool can help determine how much home a particular consumer can afford and how best to finance it.  It spells out the ramifications of their decision and allows them to see how it will affect their finances over time; we think it is an awesome tool in terms of providing consumers with the information they need when trying to decide if a decision makes financial sense.  If real estate agents can tap into this resource and help consumers through the home buying process with it, we think this can lead to a constructive way of working through consumer hesitancy towards investment in real estate.  There is no reason why real estate agents can’t take part in providing consumers with actionable, objective, personalized, and easy-to-understand advice. Trustworthy information feeds consumer confidence, and everyone has something to gain from this.

This article was written by Michael Carvin the Founder and CEO of Smart Asset.  Check out his site to get a free invite to his software www.smartasset.com

 

I spent way more money this month than I made in October!  Vacations and doctors bills in the same month will do that to you. Not good.

I have to admit I have never been good at budgeting.  I have always had a sales job so whenever I spent more than I should have, I worked harder to sell more.  Not a good strategy for a Dad with a family of four, even though it worked ok in my twenties. :-)

Knowing that I am not proficient at tracking my income and spending, I begrudgingly looked for an app to help.  Apps get me to do things that I normally wouldn’t do because they usually have a “gameification” aspect to them.  The motivation for a higher score, goal, badge, or some type of visual indicator usually keeps me going.  Well, I found a amazingly simple app that already has helped me become more organized.  You can set up your entire financial world in less than 5 minutes and it works automatically….. right up my alley!  Also, stick around for the end for my bonus app that you will love too!

 

 

 

Real Estate is more confusing than ever these days.  With so many places to spend your time and money, it’s a wonder you have time to sell homes!  Should you be on Twitter?  Should you delete your Facebook business page because it’s a giant time suck and not making you any money?  Website or blog….or both?  When should you throw in the towel on some of these newer forms of exposure (notice I didn’t say marketing).

To understand which mediums are actually working for us or at least moving in the right direction, we need to set a baseline metric for each to start from.  I found a website that can help!  Check out the video to learn more.