My goal to make the process of buying and selling real estate a positive and rewarding experience for my clients. This year it means working closer to home, closer to clients and using the internet and social media to provide access to information.
In late 2013 I moved my license from back Nanaimo to REMAX Ocean Pointe Realty in my home town. Ladysmith is only a tenth the size of Nanaimo and I can have far richer interactions working in the same town where am involved in community activities and where my family and friends are. Using social media and other tools I have a far greater reach. I am still only 25 minutes from the Cowichan Valley in the South and Nanaimo to the North so I can cover an even larger area than before.
Things have changed dramatically in the real estate industry. So much of the information people need to search for a home is online. Personal contact and referrals will always be a major factor, however most people now use the internet to research properties and the market prior to purchasing or selling. By the time we meet many people have a good idea of their goals. Aside from my role of showing properties, researching, negotiating and ensuring a smooth transaction, how can I add value?
Part of my strategy is to create a channel to promote and market the quality of life in our region and specifically our community. I do this through social media, articles (blogs), online classifieds and newsletters. These all lead back to a comprehensive website promoting local listings and the "Vancouver Island Lifestyle".
Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram have changed the ways that the world shares information. Does social media sell property? The jury is still out, however it is a good way to stay connected to people and to share information. I try to keep my social media engagement light but relevant and do not focus so much on hard business or kittens. I do not buy “likes” of fake “followers” as has become the custom for many social media promoters. However I do pay a company (cityblast.com) to provide a stream of 4-7 posts a week of relevant content to these sites.
Facebook Page: facebook.com/beltgensproperties
To a lesser degree I also use Instagram and Pinterest.
My social media network has grown organically to around 1,500 "real followers" and has a potential network effect of over 8 million professionals, according to LinkedIn's statistics. Take a look and follow if you are interested.
Craigslist, Kijiji and others:
Something that I am trying to be more consistent with this year is posting listings to online classified advertising sites such as Kijiji, Craigslist and others. I believe that these sites have the potential to generate inquiries which can lead to sales. This is a new approach for me and I am testing the water carefully to make sure that my clients privacy is not compromised and also follow the regulations of the Real Estate Association.
I recently set up a weekly newsletter called Vancouver Island Lifestyle. http://paper.li/VI_Realinfo/1373163387#
I use an an online site called “paper.li” that gathers information from sources I choose and my social media channels. The paper includes an editorial, links to Island activities, helpful real estate and home maintenance tips and more. While the distribution is not large yet it is growing. Please take a look and if you like it click the subscribe button.
The Interactive Website:
My "Vancouver Island Lifestyle" website can be reached under multiple search names including
The website now has an average of 1,200 to 1,500 visitors per month and 8,000 to 10,000 hits per month and growing. New features on the site include videos, more detailed property search, bigger featured listings, editorials (blogs) and links back to my social media channels and to my weekly newsletter.
Migration to the Coast as an escape from the cold:
The cold winter has influenced many people from across North America to consider the West Coast as a destination for holiday and permanent residence. Most of the buyers I am working with are from Alberta and Saskatchewan. Many of these new clients are looking for homes with waterfront or ocean views. For people who are considering selling a home that is attractive to this group it is a good time to sell. These are the people that I am targeting with my promotion of the Vancouver Island Lifestyle.
I have personally bought and sold several homes and properties over the years. I have worked with good REALTORs and less good ones. I know the difference and employ that knowledge to make sure that my clients have the best real estate experience that I can provide. My knowledge and experience is broad but my method is personal. My references are on the homepage of my website. http://vanislelifestyle.ca