Success is In Season REALTOR NEW JERSEY ® March/April 2023: VOLUME 9 ISSUE 2 NJREALTOR.COM
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New Jersey Realtors® provides legal and legislative updates as well as information on a variety of real estate related topics solely for the use of its members. Due to the wide range of issues affecting its members, NJ Realtors® publishes information concerning those issues that NJ Realtors®, in its sole discretion, deems the most important for its members.
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NEW JERSEY REALTOR® A publication of New Jersey Realtors®
@njrealtors NJRealtors @NJ_Realtors NJ Realtors CONTENTS March/April 2023 President’s View: New Jersey Realtors® We Know Jersey CEO’s Desk: Women in Politics is Back Important Dates & Deadlines Legislative Update: Advocating 101: 23 Ways to Advocate in 2023 Tech Column: zipForm 101: Getting Started with Transactions Town Spotlight: Keansburg Blogging 101 Video Content 101 26 4 5 6 8 10 13 16 2 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR ® | March/April 2023
Join New Jersey Realtors® and key political leaders for an in-person candidate training geared toward encouraging and including women on all political stages. WHEN : April 26, 2023 WHERE : NJ Realtors® Headquarters, 10 Hamilton Ave, Trenton, NJ 08611 in is back! Anyone, regardless of experience or expertise is welcome to register. Register by emailing Catherine Best at firstname.lastname@example.org NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 3
New Jersey Realtors ® We Know Jersey
BY NICK MANIS
With an ever-evolving market and fluctuating mortgage interest rates, this year we’re focusing on educating and encouraging consumers to use a Realtor® and creating awareness for the New Jersey Realtors® brand.
You may be asking yourself, what is New Jersey Realtors® doing to achieve this goal? Allow me to introduce NJ Realtors® 2023 consumer advertising campaign—We Know Jersey. This campaign—which will run in print, on social media and YouTube, and as a robust search engine marketing campaign, emphasizes the Realtor® as the critical part to a home buying, selling, or renting transaction. The other side of the campaign highlights New Jersey Realtors® as indispensable experts when it comes to their areas of expertise.
And, coming this spring, New Jersey Realtors® is launching its first-ever digital out of home campaign. This will help us reach consumers while they’re commuting to work, checking out at the grocery store, filling their cars with gas, and so much more. We’re looking forward to reaching consumers in this new format and can’t wait for the out of home advertisements to officially launch.
I encourage you all to share these new campaign assets to portray how essential Realtors® are to the home buying and selling process and how much Jersey expertise New Jersey Realtors® possess.
Visit nj.realestate/find to see the campaign in action and find resources to share with your clients, and visit photofy.com/nar to sign up for Photofy to download the creative assets.
4 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR ® | March/April 2023
Women in Politics is Back
For the first time ever in person, New Jersey Realtors ® is hosting Women in Politics, a candidate training seminar on April 26 focused on helping Realtor ® women take the first steps towards their political journey. While the training is geared toward helping women get more involved on all political stages, all members are welcome to attend the program.
Women make up 66% of New Jersey Realtors ® members, yet there are just a handful of women who have ever been elected to serve on behalf of New Jerseyans on the federal level. And, according to Rutgers, less than half of current serving representatives on the state level are women, clocking in at just 35%.
We know, through experience and research, that one of the many roadblocks women face in their potential political journeys is the uncertainty about what it actually takes to run for office. With the help of some of the most respected people in politics, this training will help you decide if politics are right for you, work on building connections, provide the education you need to get started, and so much more.
There is no better advocate for the real estate industry than New Jersey Realtors ®. As neighborhood experts who sell their towns each and every day, Realtors ® have one of the most unique perspectives that will help their communities make informed decisions.
Politics need Realtors ® like you to advocate for homeownership and private property rights, and this training will help you make sure you’re ready to represent the community you already serve every day.
Maybe you’re not sure if you’re interested in running for office is for you, which is understandable. But, if you’ve ever felt the pull to give more to the community you live in, I urge you to attend the training and see for yourself. I encourage all of you, regardless of experience or expertise to register for this one-of-a-kind training. Register now by emailing Director of Government Affairs, Catherine Best, at cbest@njrealtor. com. I look forward to seeing you there.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 5
FROM THE CEO’S DESK
6 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR ® | March/April 2023 IMPORTANT DATES & DEADLINES MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 5 Cinco de Mayo 5 Vesak 6-11 National Association of Realtors® Legislative Meetings 14 Mother’s Day 25-27 Shavuot 29 NJ Realtors® Office Closed—Memorial Day Fair Housing Month 1 April Fools’ Day 2 Palm Sunday 5 Passover 7 NJ Realtors® Office Closed Good Friday 9 Easter 16 Orthodox Easter 18 Tax Day 18 Board of Directors Meeting 21 Eid al-Fitr 22 Earth Day Women’s History Month 6-7 Purim 7 Holi 12 Daylight Saving Time Begins 17 St. Patrick’s Day 20 Spring Equinox 22 Ramadan Begins Pride Month 13 Board of Directors Meeting 14 Flag Day 18 Father’s Day 19 NJ Realtors® Office Closed Juneteenth The 2023 Continuing Education Term is Ending Soon CE completed after April 30, 2023 will be subject to a $200 late fee in addition to the license renewal fee. Did you know? Entering your transactions is easier than ever before! We are excited to announce MLS Integration with all MLSs in New Jersey. 1 Head over to coe.njrealtor.com/mls Circle of E xcellence Sales Award ®
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Advocating 101 23 Ways to Advocate in 2023
1. Respond to a Call for Action. When there is legislation the National Association of Realtors ® or NJ Realtors ® strongly supports or opposes, we might ask you for help. Contacting your elected officials is the most effective way to participate in grassroots advocacy.
2. Sign Up for Realtor® Party Mobile Alerts. Simply text the word REALTORS to 30644.
3. Invest in the Realtors® Political Action Committee of NJ. Learn more about the importance of RPAC and how to invest at njrealtor.com.
4. Aware of a local issue? Call the NJ Realtors® Government Affairs Department at 609-341-7100. Recently, the team has worked on burdensome rent control legislation and short-term rental ordinanaces.
5. Participate in Candidate Training. Save the date: NJ Realtors® is hosting a Women’s Candidate Training in-person on April 26 at NJ Realtors® headquarters.
6. Attend the 2023 Realtors® Legislative Meetings from May 6-11 in Washington, D.C. This year, there will be a trade expo, Realtor® block party, and more. Learn more at legislative.realtor.
7. Participate in NJ Realtors® Trenton Day. NJ Realtors® annual event is typically held in June in Trenton. NJ Representatives come to speak to members and answer questions about pertinent legislation. More information about 2023 Trenton Day coming soon!
8. Apply for an NJ Realtors® Committee. From Government Affairs to Risk Management to PR & Marketing, NJ Realtors® has 15 committees to help make your voice heard, stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry, and make connections with other Realtors®. Applications are available every summer.
9. Sign Up to Receive Email Updates from Your Elected Officials. Did you know your State Legislators and members of Congress send emails to their constituents? Sign up for updates on what’s happening on Capitol Hill and in Trenton.
10. Read the NJ Realtors® Legislative Issues Book. Each year, NJ Realtors® Government Affairs Department dives into current important legislative topics and publishes it at issuu.com/newjerseyrealtor. Read this year’s book for information on independent contractor status, lead paint remediation, the state budget, and more.
11. Read “State of the State” Each Week in NJ Realtors® Weekly. Every Wednesday at 4 p.m. NJ Realtors® sends NJ Realtors® Weekly, a full membership weekly newsletter that includes the industry’s top lines for the week. State of the State, a special weekly feature, outlines legislation NJ Realtors® is watching, encourages you to act on certain topics, explains important issues, and more.
12. Call a Colleague and Tell Them About RPAC. RPAC is one of the top tools in NJ Realtors® arsenal. If one of your colleagues doesn’t know what RPAC is and what they do for the industry, be an advocate and tell them about issues RPAC has worked on, such as the realty transfer fee, short-term rentals, and more.
13. VOTE! This year, Primary Election Day is June 6, and the General Election will be held on Nov. 7.
14. Subscribe to the Realtor® Party Newsletter. Everything you need to know about the Realtor® Party is delivered right to your email inbox. Each month they share the industry by the numbers, Realtor® success stories, upcoming volunteer opportunities, and more.
15. Attend a Municipal Meeting. There are many meetings at the local level that might be of interest to a Realtor®, such as a council meeting or planning board. Most municipalities post a calendar of meetings on their website.
8 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR ® | March/April 2023 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
16. Follow and Share NJ Realtors® Content on Social Media. NJ Realtors® shares all the industry news you never knew you needed @njrealtors on Instagram, New Jersey Realtors® on Facebook, and @nj_realtors on Twitter.
17. Know Your Elected Officials Visit house.gov and njleg.state.nj.us to find out who represents your area.
18. Read the Realtor® Party Resource Guide. Discover Realtor® Party beliefs with its Resource Guide. It features educational resources, available grants, highlights success stories, and more. Visit realtorparty. realtor.
19. Encourage Clients to Join NAR’s Home Ownership Matters Program. Homeownership Matters is the National Association of Realtors® consumer advocacy program. Encourage your clients to join at homeownershipmatters.realtor to read up on private property issues, and take action when there’s a homeownership issue in their area.
20. Become a Mentor. Find a newer Realtor® in your office or area and consider guiding them through vital issues and the importance of RPAC so future leaders are just as knowledgeable as our current leaders.
21. Join the NAR Broker Involvement Program. This program provides brokers with resources and tools to help rally their agents when there’s an important legislative issue. Joining the program gives brokers access to the Broker Portal and will send emails to your salespeople so they’re more involved in the industry.
22. Join the Hub. Did you know there’s an online messaging board for Realtors®? Visit thehub.realtor to read the latest news on the national level and subscribe to receive emails through the Hub to stay up-to-date on important industry issues.
23. Help us Stomp Out Bias in Real Estate. NAR offers many resources to help train Realtors® on how to be aware and remove bias from the industry, including the At Home With Diversity® certification, which explains the fair housing laws and best practices for a multicultural real estate market.
NEW JERSEY LEGISLATIVE BILLS
A4648 – Lopez (D19), McKnight (D31)/S3317 –Pou (D35), Ruiz (D29)
Codifies prohibition of discriminatory practices in real estate appraisals and requires real estate appraisers to complete anti-bias training.
New Jersey Realtors® Position: SUPPORT
We support this bill as it will help to end discriminatory practices during the real estate appraisal practice.
9/22/2022 – Introduced in Assembly and referred to Assembly Regulated Professions Committee
11/7/2022 – Introduced in Senate and referred to Senate Commerce Committee
12/19/2022 – Reported out of Senate Committee, second reading in Senate
A4824 – Jasey (D27), Lopez (D19)/ S2981 – Cryan (D20)
Establishes Home Sharing Evaluation Task Force.
New Jersey Realtors® Position: SUPPORT WITH AMENDMENT
We support this bill with an amendment to add a real estate licensee to the task force.
Bill History: 9/22/2022 – Introduced in Senate and referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee
9/29/2022 – Reported out of Senate committee with amendments, second reading in Senate
10/17/2022 – Amended on Senate floor
10/24/2022 – Introduced in Assembly and referred to Assembly Housing Committee
11/21/2022 – Passed by the Senate 36-0, received in Assembly and referred to Assembly Housing Committee
12/5/2022 – Reported out of Assembly committee with amendments, second reading in Assembly
Prohibits construction of commercial or industrial buildings within certain distance of residential homes without homeowner approval; requires development of waiver form to allow construction of commercial or industrial buildings.
New Jersey Realtors® Position: OPPOSE
We oppose this bill as it creates an unnecessary burden on the commercial real estate sector in New Jersey pertaining to new construction of commercial or industrial buildings.
Bill History: 9/29/2022 – Introduced in Senate and referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 9
– Durr (R3)
zipForm 101: Getting Started with Transactions
BY WILLIAM THOMPSON, DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY
Transactions (zipForm Edition) is the preferred transaction management system of NJ Realtors®. This Member Benefit includes the ability to create, fill out, and save all forms in the NJ Realtors® Library of Forms, access to unlimited e-Signature transactions, and more.
NJ Realtors® has a single-sign-on integration with zipForm ensuring you only need one set of credentials for all NJ Realtors® benefits. To log in, go to njrealtor.com/zipform and click the “Log in to zipForm Plus!” button. If you’re not already logged in, you’ll be prompted to do so with your NJ Realtors® email address and password. If you’ve forgotten your password, or never created an account, you can use the “Forgot Password” tool to get started.
Create a Transaction
A transaction in zipForm is simply a collection of details and documents for one real estate transaction. Your first step should always be to create a transaction, which ensures changes are automatically saved. For most accounts, you will be brought to the transaction section by default, however, this can be changed in your account settings, where you’ll find a list of all transactions by their status i.e., active, pending, closed, or inactive. To create a new transaction, click on the “New” button in the second navigation bar, select the transaction type, and enter the basic details. For the transaction’s name, I recommend entering the client’s name and the street address; this field is meant to be an identifier for the transaction, and since working with the same client and even the same property is common, I recommend a combination of the two. Once saved, you’ll be brought to the summary page, which lists more in-depth property details that will be automatically populated as you fill out forms.
Now it’s time to start completing the forms required in a transaction. From within a transaction, switch to the “Documents” tab on the second navigation bar. This area is for you to store any files pertaining to a transaction. Therefore, your first step will be to add the forms you wish to fill out, click on “Add Doc” in the third navigation bar, and select the “Add Form” menu option. This will open the form libraries side panel, where you can choose the appropriate library using the top drop-down menu and see a list of forms available. Click on the name of each form
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you’d like to include in your transaction, and they’ll be automatically added. Once you’re done adding forms, click anywhere outside the menu to close the form libraries panel and view the forms added. Click on the name of the form to open it for editing, I recommend starting with the longest form first (e.g., Contract of Sale or Residential Lease) since the fields you enter on one form will automatically populate in others. Page by page, you can enter the contract details into each editable field. zipForm will automatically save your progress, however, you can always click the “Save” button on the right side of the top bar to save on demand. Additionally, on the top bar, you’ll see options to print, download as PDF, and send for e-signature.
Upload documents completed outside of zipForm, such as a Seller Property Condition Disclosure Statement that is typically completed by hand. Select “Browse for Document” from the Add Doc menu options. Storing all transaction files in zipForm will ensure compliance with document retention policies and help keep you organized.
Sending for Signature
Using the new Authentisign service, sending for a signature is easier than ever. Once all forms are completed, click on “Prepare Signing,” and proceed to create a new signing session, click the “Add Participants” button, then “Add from Transaction” to select the signers. Once selected, click on each participant’s name to enter additional signer details (e.g., email address). All forms in the
NJ Realtors® Library of Forms are pre-mapped to each signer; however, if you’ve added any of your own documents, you can drag-and-drop signature, initials, date fields, and more by selecting the “Tools” panel from the right-side menu bar. Once prepared, click the “Next” button at the top-right to finalize and send. Once all participants have signed, you’ll receive an email with the final
copy, which will automatically be saved to your zipForm transaction.
There’s so much you can do with Transactions (zipForm Edition), and we’ve only scratched the surface. Click on the help button at the top right and head to the Learning Center to see an extensive training calendar or watch helpful videos on the many features of zipForm.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 11 TECH COLUMN
SignatureRealtyNJ.com SignatureRealtyAcademy.com Extending Far Beyond A Conventional Brokerage Firm.
CHANGES ON THE HORIZON FOR THE TOWN OF KEANSBURG
BY ERIN McFEETERS
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 13 TOWN SPOTLIGHT
Nestled in Sandy Hook Bay in Monmouth County is the small shore borough of Keansburg. Visitors far and wide around Northern Jersey and New York put Keansburg on the map in the early 1900s as a summer resort town, and now, more than 100 years later, Keansburg is a community with more than 9,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census.
Keansburg is “a small community that is tight-knit and hard-working,” said the Mayor of Keansburg George Hoff. “I like to call it the hidden gem of the Bayshore area.”
Located just 30 minutes from Staten Island and one hour from Manhattan, Keansburg is a convenient spot for New York City commuters and an escape from city life for visitors, but you can’t escape the city too much with views of the New York City skyline right off Keansburg’s coast.
“Our greatest asset is our free beaches which span three miles with a million-dollar view of the New York City skyline,” said Hoff. “Also, our proximity to New York City. You can live here and be in the city via bus or local ferry in an hour.”
Like many shore communities in New Jersey, Keansburg suffered immense damage from Superstorm Sandy in
2012, but according to Hoff, the Army Corp of Engineers replenishment projects helped bring Keansburg beaches back to life. The borough now hosts several festivals and concerts right on the beach during the summer months and was recognized by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association as one of the top five beaches for recreation.
Small businesses in the area also suffered mass destruction from Superstorm Sandy, and rebuilding has taken time.
“The amusement park went through a rebuild after some areas were destroyed during Superstorm Sandy,” said Hoff. “The area has basically stayed the same over the past 20 years, but with the new redevelopment project in the area, it will transform that surrounding area to the amusement park.”
To help with the success of commercial businesses, Keansburg started a business-friendly community project to encourage new businesses to open in town and help guide them.
“We have a business coordinator in Cliff Moore who works with potential new business owners to see if what they want to bring into town is the right fit,” said Hoff.
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“This new process has helped bring several new businesses into town that are succeeding because of this process.”
On the residential side of real estate, you can find small bungalows and Cape-Cod-style homes throughout the borough. Many have recently been raised to help combat hurricane flooding. According to New Jersey Realtors® 2022 year-end housing market data, there were 129 closed sales in Keansburg with a median sales price of $285,000. Homes tended to stay on the market longer than the rest of the state but still received an average of 100% of the listing price.
In the coming years, Keansburg anticipates large-scale redevelopment projects to continue town improvements. According to Hoff, a new multi-floor living and retail space is in the works and he is hopeful it will be finished in the next five years. Once complete, the town has other projects, such as Keansburg’s own ferry system to New York City and two new restaurants: Half-Moon, which just recently opened its doors and Pier 265, which will open by the summer season. Both restaurants will feature water and New York City skyline views.
“There are good things on the horizon for the Borough of Keansburg,” said Hoff.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 15 Paid for by the National Oilheat Research Alliance and the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey Earn FREE CE credits on Zoom with our 2-credit, 2-hour elective CE course “Overcoming Obstacles Selling Oil-Heated Listings” designed to help you sell! You’ll learn how to address the most common objections and misconceptions while showcasing the many benefits of owning an oil-heated home. Learn how to navigate the energy crisis with concerned clients. Live in-office classes or on Zoom. To book a class for your office, go to OilheatCECredits.com. Know More: List and Sell More! FMA-Quarter Page Ad March-April-17195D.indd 1 2/2/23 10:09 AM TOWN SPOTLIGHT
BY LISA FANT
Building a lasting personal brand is crucial to establishing and maintaining client rapport. Making connections and staying ahead of the game with the latest trends, business tools, and resources provide the insight and business value you need to succeed.
Starting a blog can serve as an avenue for increased exposure and engagement while building a personal connection with your readers and prospective clients. It may also convert to better outcomes for your business through increased website traffic, brand visibility, and client trust. According to a recent HubSpot study, business blogging leads to 55% more website visitors.
Creating a platform to relay your message is no easy task, consider these tips and tricks to create a successful blog and elevate your business.
Build an Online Presence
Creating a successful blog with industry knowledge, new ideas, and client tips has no value to consumers if your content isn’t visible. Not only does your online presence help clients find your business but creating and sharing engaging content will showcase your credibility, professionalism, plus keep readers coming back for your expert industry insight.
In your blog, communicate your Realtor® expertise, but don’t be afraid to share your story or your “why.” Clients want to know you can help them secure a home, but they also want to learn about your character and passion for the industry.
Pro tip: Before diving into business content, make your first official blog post an introduction about you and your business.
Your blog is a place to share industry news, answer frequently asked questions, alleviate buyer and seller stressors, and feature your listings. You can even take a call-to-action approach like social media sharing and encouraging discussion through comments. Whatever route you choose, be sure your blog feels conversational and approachable as if you were having a casual conversation with new clients.
Pinpoint Your Target Audience
The ultimate goal is to reach new clients, but how do you ensure the right people are seeing your content?
Your social media pages could be an indicator of your target audience. It’s a place to learn more about people’s likes, dislikes, needs, and opinions. Utilize the audience you’ve already established on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and consider asking followers what kind of content they’re most interested in reading and see which content performs best. This information can be useful for crafting interesting blog content by learning more about who you want to reach and what they want to know.
The valuable content you’re likely already sharing on your website or social media can also be repurposed to fit your blog. For example, if you’ve just shared a post about changes in the housing market, use the statistics to craft longerform blog content about considerations buyers and sellers should make for the current market.
Learn more about common client concerns and use your platform to educate readers. If you’d like to reach
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more first-time buyers, post content relevant to them, such as mortgage finance options, how to avoid missing out on assistance programs, and preparing for surprise costs.
Not only can you target specific groups such as first-time buyers, sellers, or active adults ready to downsize, but you can reach clients looking to buy or sell in the neighborhoods you specialize in and sell. Producing content specific to your target neighborhoods shows you are active in the community and are the go-to resource for all things local.
Keep Things Fresh
With an ever-changing housing market, and evolving technology and best practices, staying in the know is part of being a Realtor ®. The best blogs provide up-to-date information on topics clients care about most. Keeping your content fresh will keep your blog clean and easy to navigate. Additionally, a refreshed blog is great for search engine optimization as it indicates to search engines there is new information available and drives traffic to your page.
TOP 5 BLOGGING SEO TIPS
1. Carefully Research and Choose terms and Phrases Associated with Your Market
Keywords help effectively communicate to the search engine what your content is about.
2. Write a Short, Catchy Title
As your blog grows, it has the potential to become cluttered with too much information or repetitive content. While some of your material may be evergreen, it’s important to update and republish outdated posts. Keep track of frequently asked questions and update posts regularly. Remember to check in on your posts that generate the most readers—it’s a great determinant of which type of content your audience is most interested in and what you may want to continue writing.
Engage the Reader
There is no shortage of real estate industry information but determining your goals and how to relay them in your blog can be overwhelming. Readers want original content from a local expert, but the goal is not to bog them down with excessive information rather than compelling, quality content.
HubSpot recommends the ideal blog post consist of about 2,100 to 2,400 words for SEO purposes, but that doesn’t mean each of your posts has to be so copy-heavy. Long passages tend to encourage readers to skim over information. For straightforward,
Attract your target audience with their needs, and motivations in mind. Aim for titles with no more than 60 characters.
3. Clarify Your Title
HubSpot reports that headlines with bracketed clarifications (e.g., [photos], [interview], [video], [slideshow], etc.) performed 38% better than headlines without clarifications, suggesting readers prefer a clear picture of what’s ahead.
4. Use Internal Links
Optimize your website by linking readers to other relevant content on your website.
5. Proofread, Edit, and Proofread Again
Proofreading your blog posts before publishing is critical. Check for spelling and grammatical errors or inconsistencies so you can put your best work out there.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 17
informative posts, break up a more extensive, copy-heavy piece into a liststyle blog post with bullet points.
If you’re writing an ultimate guide to home renovations that offer the best return on investment, you may want to avoid a list format and instead, incorporate attractive images, catchy headlines, and in-depth descriptions. While a comprehensive guide for relocation buyers may require 2,000 words, you may only need 500 words for a list of affordable curb appeal ideas for the current market.
Read through your posts, and if possible, have someone proofread them. Does the information make sense to someone who is not an expert in your field? As an industry professional, you may be tempted to exhibit your expertise by giving readers as much information as possible; however, your blog can attract a wide range of readers with varying levels of real estate industry knowledge. Avoid industry jargon and acknowledge the many emotions your potential clients may have as new buyers or sellers.
Don’t Forget The Blogging Rules
Plan and keep to a blogging schedule. No matter if you can commit to two or five posts a week, try to be as consistent as possible. A consistent posting schedule ensures your readers can trust that you’re active and available. Your blog is a gateway to your business—if your blog isn’t updated or reputable, chances are readers may hesitate to work with you as clients.
One of the most important things to remember when publishing a
blog is knowing how to do so, both authentically and ethically. Since your blog is a representation of you as a Realtor®, follow best practices on your blog as you would in your business. While original content is always best, finding fresh content ideas can be challenging as your blog grows. Collaboration helps mix up your own content and opens opportunities to learn about a different target market from a fellow agent. Collaboration can include anything from a Q&A with a Realtor® in a different field of expertise, to an interview with a small business owner in your neighborhood. Whether you’re sharing tips from another Realtor® or sharing photos from a local business, be sure to cite sources for any material not created by you.
In a recent article from the National Association of Realtors®, Chloe Hecht, senior counsel with NAR offers several tips to minimize the risks of copyright infringement accusations. “The owner may not be immediately apparent, so budget time to conduct any necessary research and to communicate with the owner about permission,” said Hecht. “If you cannot determine who the owner is, don’t use the work.”
You don’t need to be a professional writer or website designer to craft valuable blog content. As an expert in your field, you already possess the tools you need to create a successful blog. Consider the know-how and value you have to share and start writing!
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For New Jersey residents looking to buy their first home, saving enough money for a down payment often comes second to more immediate costs of living – student loans, childcare, rent, insurance, and additional expenses.
When families are ready to purchase their new home, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency can help.
FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
NJHMFA’s Down Payment Assistance (DPA) program provides up to $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers. These funds are completely forgiven after the borrower lives in their new home for at least five years without refinancing or defaulting on the mortgage.
Learn more at TheRoadHomeNJ.com
To partner on homebuying webinars for your current and potential clients, email email@example.com
Six Tips for Posting on Social Media
BY NICOLE O’ROURKE
Some platforms, such as TikTok, suggest posting multiple times a day because its algorithm will show your content to a wider audience the more you post. This is not necessarily true for every platform and should be handled with caution. In some cases, over-posting can be seen as spam to viewers who are then likely to unfollow. Constant Contact, an online marketing company, suggests these posting guidelines:
• Facebook is a “low-volume, high-value platform,” and it’s important to stick to posting between “three to seven times a week.”
• Instagram has different types of content you can create, but for Instagram in-feed posts, it is best to post “no more than once per day.” Instagram stories are different due to their short life span of disappearing in twenty-four hours and allow for a bit more posting freedom of between “three to ten times a day.” As for Instagram reels, it depends on “your ability to create them,” but posting a few times per month will provide your followers with new and enticing content.
• Twitter is a fast-paced platform that thrives on quick updates and news, allowing for greater posting times such as “one to three times a day.”
If you’re new to social media or are looking to up your skills in 2023, here are six tips to implement into your social media strategy.
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Use a Scheduling Tool
Scheduling tools are important for businesses that post multiple times a week or day, but also can be useful to individuals with busy schedules. There are different arguments about the ideal times to post on social media, but it’s important to do your own research to find what times are best to post for your channels and audience. Scheduling your content allows for the potential of more accounts viewing it, specifically, in the evenings. According to Hubspot, a marketing software company, “scheduling posts in the evenings allows for more engagement that isn’t cut off by a time zone.” However, Sprout Social, a social media software company, argues the best overall time to post is Tuesdays through Thursdays in the morning between 9-10 a.m.
While some scheduling tools and marketing platforms may suggest posting in the mornings and others suggest the evenings, it is best to tailor schedules to when your audience is most active. You can find your audience’s active times for Facebook and Instagram in the Meta Business Suite.
Use popular industry keywords
Using keywords in your social media posts is similar to utilizing a search engine optimization strategy for your website. It’s vital to research what people are searching for in your industry and which keywords are trending to identify which to use. Hashtags can boost engagement by categorizing your posts and attracting followers who are interested in that topic.
Engage Your Audience with Interactive Features
HubSpot recommends using the interactive features offered by the various social media platforms like Twitter polls and Instagram story elements. Instagram stories allow you to create polls, quizzes, and emoji sliders, and there’s also an option for viewers to ask questions which can be especially useful in gaining audience insight.
Use a Graphic Design Tool
Online graphic design tools such as Canva and Adobe Express are free to use and simple to learn to use to spice up your Instagram feed and customize your posts. Both of these tools can be helpful when adding information to listing posts or making your feed clean, cohesive, and professional.
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If you’re struggling with creating content of your own, Photofy is a quick and easy way to personalize pre-made social media campaign templates tailored to your industry and occupation. Simply choose a template you like from the library within the app and customize it by adding your name, company, and contact information. New customized social media templates are now available through the NJ Realtors® Photofy library at no additional cost to members. Simply sign up for Photofy at photofy.com/nar and download the mobile app to get started.
Realtors ® Q&A Meet the Decision Makers
ASSEMBLY REPUBLICAN LEADER JOHN DIMAIO
Welcome to our series, Meet the Decision Makers, where we interview key decision makers on their influential roles within New Jersey. For this issue, we have Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio. His verbatim responses are italicized below. Do you have an idea of someone you’d like us to interview? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in public service?
I have always been interested in giving back to the community, starting with my days on the Hackettstown First Aid Squad when I was just 16. To this day I am a charter member. Also when I was young I was a member of the “Bucket Brigade” that raised money to bring a hospital to Hackettstown. We did succeed! My dad was on town council for a short while and that got me thinking about that kind of civic service. I first ran for council when I was 22 and lost. The next year I ran again and won. After many years
on council I ran for Mayor and served in that capacity for several years (and was the President of the NJ Conference of Mayors one year during that time). From there it was on to the county level as a freeholder, and then the Assembly in 2009. I am very proud to now be the Republican Assembly Leader. Prior to becoming Leader I served on various committees including Appropriations and then as the Republican Budget Officer for three years. So I know numbers! Not enough people are engaged in public service these days, but I believe it is important to give back in some way whether serving on a planning or library board, or recreation board. It doesn’t really matter what path you choose. Whatever you are comfortable doing.
What does the job of Assembly Republican Leader entail in the state of NJ?
The Assemblyman Republican Leader is the No. 2 Republican Leader in the State (Steve Oroho is the Senate Republican Leader). Essentially my job is to be the spokesman for the Assembly
and to oversee our caucus and working with members to ensure that they are engaged with the process. Many times we have differing views on a legislative bill or initiative and it is important that I make sure everyone’s opinions are heard—and understood. We are not always going to agree on everything, but we do need to work together. The challenge we have as the minority party is that while our voices are sometimes heard, the majority party doesn’t always listen. But the administration and the Democratic majority has come around to a degree after we picked up several Assembly seats last year. For example, we have been saying that the Governor’s proposed energy master plan has many question marks and that it would cost residents–and businesses— an enormous amount of money to comply with all the aspects proposed. This would clearly affect the real estate market, as well. The Governor has now backed off on scheduling public hearings for now as they seek to “upgrade” the plan. Our goal is to pick up a few more seats later this year and that certainly would change the geography of the Assembly.
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What have you been working on that would help the real estate market in NJ?
Generally speaking I have always supported legislative bills that make it easier for real estate agents and buyers to complete a deal. With respect to specific bills, I am the prime sponsor on A-960, a bipartisan bill which would exclude gains on sales of certain real estate purchases from taxation under corporation business tax and gross income tax and A-948 which would prohibit the DEP from imposing conditions on projects exempt from “Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.”
In my “other life” I am a real estate agent so I know from the inside the challenges the real estate industry often faces. As the former owner of a family construction business for over 40 years I also understand that side of the business, from getting permits to finishing a project in a timely fashion. To that end last year I co-sponsored A573 intended to expediate construction inspections, something sorely needed.
TOP FIVE QUESTIONS one word response:
What do you think is the most impactful piece of legislation you have worked on?
1 . Does Central NJ exist? Yes, well maybe (just kidding)
2 . Go to Pizza topping: Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato
3 . Pork Roll or Taylor Ham: Pork Roll
4 . Favorite Sports Team: Las Vegas Raiders
5 . Dead or Alive, who is someone you would want to meet? John F. Kennedy
I am going to give a general answer to this question. To me, the most important thing is to do what we can to make New Jersey affordable. We need to ensure that residents do not pay excessive taxes. In New Jersey we are clearly overtaxed and I fight any legislation that would impact a resident’s pocketbook. In that same vein, businesses clearly take the brunt of excessive taxes. The Corporate Business Tax in New Jersey is completely unacceptable and one of the worst in the United States. Our neighbors in the tri-state area have wised up regarding this issue and are offering companies a substantially lower CBT. If we don’t make changes real soon to our CBT and the business climate in general, which has a trickle down effect on real estate, we are going to lose many more
businesses to our neighbors near here, and to the south where in many cases there is virtually no CBT.
What other issues have you been tackling as Assembly Republican Leader?
Three key areas we have been and will continue to focus on are affordability, lowering the corporate business tax and ensuring that our most vulnerable populations including seniors and those with disabilities are taken care of. This year another important focus for us is to fully fund schools throughout the state. The formula now in place definitely needs an overhaul to make it fair for all school districts. We are also committed to doing what we can (as the minority) to limit the addition of new programs. I like to say if you don’t have the money, you don’t build an addition to your house. Let’s take care of our current needs first!
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NJ Realtors ® HOUSING MARKET DATA 101
Abenefit of being a New Jersey Realtor® member is access to the most comprehensive housing data in the state on the municipal, county, and state levels. Use NJ Realtors® data to gain insight into your local market, quantify housing trends, and help your clients through home buying, selling, or renting.
HOUSING MARKET REPORT TERMS DEFINED
New Listings: A count of the properties that have been newly listed on the market in a given month.
Pending Sales: A count of the properties on which offers have been accepted in a given month.
Closed Sales: A count of the actual sales that closed in a given month.
Median Sales Price: The point at which half of the sales sold for more and half sold for less, not accounting for seller concessions, in a given month.
Average Sales Price: The average sales price for all closed sales, not accounting for seller concessions, in a given month.
Percent of List Price Received:
The percentage found when dividing a property’s sales price by its most recent list price, then taking the average for all properties sold in a given month, not accounting for seller concessions.
Days on the Market Until Sale:
The average number of days between when a property is listed and when an offer is accepted in a given month.
Housing Affordability Index: The index measures housing affordability for the region. For example, an index of 120 means the median household income is 120% of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. A higher number means greater affordability.
Inventory of Homes for Sale: The number of properties available for sale in active status at the end of a given month.
Months Supply of Inventory:
The inventory of homes for sale at the end of a given month, divided by the average monthly pending sales from the last 12 months.
Total Market Overview: Key metrics for single-family properties, townhouses, condominiums, and properties in adult communities combined, for the report month and year-to-date starting from the first of the year.
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7 WAYS TO USE THE HOUSING DATA TO BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS
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Market Research: When the new reports are published each month, pull your municipal, county, and state reports to obtain a better sense of the current market.
Listing Presentations: When creating listing presentations for your clients, include highlights from your municipal report for comparison.
Social Media Content: Read the state report and post the highlights in an Instagram carousel or on Instagram stories—tag @njrealtors.
Share Data with Clients: If your client is looking for a home in more than one town, download and send them the reports during their home search each month so they’re well informed.
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Home Pricing : Having trouble nailing down a price with your seller? The reports can help gauge where prices are landing throughout the county and municipality and will help you and your clients make an informed decision.
Video Content: Does a specific data point back up the current market trends? Lights, camera, action, and talk about it in a short video for social media.
Write a Blog Post or LinkedIn Article: Use the housing market data in a longer format. Pull out key statistics and share insight into the climate of the current market.
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Video Content 101
BY NICOLE O’ROURKE
As social media platforms continue to evolve and change, we are seeing a strong increase in short-form video due to its clear success. According to HubSpot, a marketing software company, “short-form [video content] ranks #1 for lead generation and engagement,” and “short-form video has the highest ROI of any social media strategy.” Get started in utilizing video content to help grow your business with these quick tips.
Creating Short-Form Videos
Video content has grown exponentially on social media as it is favored by viewers and most platforms’ algorithms. Creating video content, specifically short-form, has led to massive growth, viral potential, greater exposure, and engagement due to its popularity. Video content is especially useful when trying to appeal to Gen Z, who are most involved and engaged with this form of content and marketing compared to prior generations.
Short-form video is advantageous for sales purposes, as it allows for a dynamic way to showcase listings. Long-form video content is slowly decreasing in popularity, as viewers’ attention spans are decreasing.
According to Later, a social media scheduling tool, “video content typically performs best with most algorithms, based on the fact it captures a viewer’s attention for longer [compared to a photo].” To keep viewers engaged, stick to shorter videos with fast cuts and editing that will capture and hold their attention.
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Use Trending Audio
Instagram and TikTok videos may have a higher chance of going viral using trending audio. With trending audio, viewers are often more likely to watch your video, which can lead to an increase in engagement and followers.
According to HubSpot, an easy way to find trending audio on both platforms is to scroll through your feed or home page to see which sounds pop up most frequently. Another way to indicate if a sound is trending on Instagram is to scroll through reels and look at the lower left-hand corner—if there is an upward arrow to the left of the name of the sound used, it means the audio is trending.
Participate in Trends When Applicable and Appropriate
Participating in trending video formats and audio can increase the chances of your content going viral or at the very least, gaining more views and reaching more accounts. Some trends may be inappropriate for business use, but many are flexible and are easy to personalize to your industry or company.
Use Natural Lighting
To grab viewers’ attention and make your videos and photos look natural, record and photograph content during the day in natural lighting. If you’re unable to record during the day, try using a small LED light that can clip onto your phone, a reasonable alternative to a bulky tripod or ring light attachment.
Use Keywords in Your Video
Use keywords in your videos when editing for Instagram and TikTok to help the algorithm boost your content. Intriguing and commonly searched titles will help draw viewers’ attention while boosting SEO. If you don’t want certain keywords being seen on the screen, you can make the text small and hide it offscreen in the corners of your videos. This will boost your video in the algorithm for people who are searching for those words.
Incorporate Educational Content
Viewers are looking for ways to improve their lives, and short-form video allows them to receive quick tips daily. Providing educational content to viewers can push them further along the decision-making process, or address a pain point they may not have seen beforehand. This content strategy allows you to offer a solution, which they are then more likely to use after becoming educated on the topic.
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Members from Sussex County Raise Funds for the Habitat for Humanity
The Sussex County Association of Realtors® presented a $12,000 check to the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. The donation was part of the proceeds from their Eleventh Annual Golf Classic held in October at the renowned Ballyowen Golf Club.
The Sussex County Habitat for Humanity will use the much-needed funds for a new home build to be constructed in Franklin, New Jersey later this year. SCAR members plan to volunteer their time and hard work into this build and are looking forward to assisting a local family in need.
Greater Bergen Realtors ® Participates in Coat Drive Initiative
Greater Bergen Realtors® Community Service Committee partnered with Jersey Cares for their annual winter coat drive. Each year, Jersey Cares Coat Drive collects and distributes thousands of gently used winter coats to men, women, children, and infants in need. The coats are collected through churches, police stations, schools, and other organizations before being organized, packaged, and delivered by volunteers. Last year, Jersey Cares collected more than 20,000 coats throughout the Garden State. Through their partnership with Greater Bergen Realtors® Community Service Committee over 300 coats were collected for those in need throughout the state of New Jersey this winter.
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SCAR raises much-needed funds for new homes in Franklin, New Jersey.
APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN! Apply Today Educational Foundation Scholarship Applications are now open! Apply at njrealtor.com/ef Deadline to apply is April 9, 2020 Apply Today njrealtorsef.com
Realtors® from Greater Bergen collect more than 300 coats for those in need.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | March/April 2023 | 29 Licensing, Continuing Education & Exam Prep Courses & Seminars Salespersons, Brokers, Appraisers, Mortgage Loan Officers Life, Health, Property, Causality & Title Agents www.AmericanSchoolNJ.com INCLASS ONLINE ONSITE Call 800-288-5154 MARKETPLACE Puzzle provided by sudokuoftheday.com. Get the answers to the puzzle on page 2. SUDOKU Have a few minutes? Challenge yourself! NJMLS listing photos 24/$250 newjerseyimage.com Questions? Comments? Email email@example.com @njrealtors For the Latest Industry News, Follow Us On
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