Tag Archives: mobile homes

Marketing to the Retirement-Age Consumer

 

The marketing and advertising world is ever changing, and something we hear quite a bit is that you have to keep on top of the next generation, making sure everything is new, exciting and changing with the time.

While these are important factors, in our industry it’s also important to maintain and customize your advertising to the generations that are looking to retire!

Some key details about your community, your home, or the area your home is located can be ideal for a retirement-age buyer. Here are some items you want to be sure to include:

Is your community an “Age Restricted” community?

Some communities require their home owners to be 55+ in an effort to maintain an environment suitable for this demographic. This is important to add to your community listing and your home listing. It is also helpful to note if your community allows exceptions to this rule.

Does your community allow Pets?

Not only do you want to include in your advertisements if the community allows pets, but it is helpful to detail specific restrictions. Some allow cats but not dogs. Some allow cats and dogs but only certain breeds or dogs of a certain weight. All of these details are incredibly important since no one wants to leave behind their furry family member!

Is the home accessible?

Some homes have modifications added to allow more accessibility for an individual who has a disability. If your home or the community has any specific features that would be helpful or useful for someone in this position be sure and include this in the description.

What is the community like?

We all have our own idea of what our “perfect” retirement environment would be. Is your community on the waterfront with access to fishing, or walks through a wooded path? Or maybe your community is a social one with planned activities and a game room. Either way letting the buyer know what the atmosphere of the community provides can be essential.

What is the area like?

Similar to the including details about the community, accessibility to grocery stores, shopping malls, cultural events and other local attractions are great details to provide your buyer.

While these tips might sound simple to include, they can make the difference in turning that interested shopper into a buyer!

What’s the Deal?

Big Investors Move to Find Best Deals Before Market Levels

Lakeway Mobile Estates,Bellingham, Wash.

From Bellingham, Wash. to Newnan, Ga., Jon Harrison scans the map for just the right patch of land. He talks to brokers, scours county records and relies on whatever information he can gain from inside sources.

All in the name of finding the prime manufactured home community.

Harrison isn’t looking for his retirement place. He’s not looking for the simple yet ideal coastal getaway for the family. He works for Inspire Communities, not the largest of the community owners, but certainly entrenched in the top quarter of the industry.

A former broker himself, Harrison is in acquisitions, and always is looking for the perfect mix of placement and amenities that can be a great home for 200 hundred residents or more – and no less important, a stellar portfolio addition for the company owners and investors.

Continue reading

Effective Marketing Strategies for the Web (Webinar)

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

Recently I had the honor of presenting at the joint MHCA and MHIA 2015 Conference. It was a wonderful event! When I returned to the office, I made a recording of the presentation for those of you who are outside of Arizona or unable to attend. Want to learn how to create home listings for the web that will get you the best leads? Want to learn the number one thing that buyers click on? Grab a cup of coffee and a notebook and get the inside scoop:

Thank you, once again, to MHCA and MHIA for being such wonderful hosts.
MHCA MHIA logos

Smart Phone Shoppers – And Why it Matters to You

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

89% of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine at the onset and throughout their research.

Mobile applications are used by 68% of new home shoppers at the onset and throughout their research.

(Source: Google & Compete Home Shopper Mobile Survey, 2012)
Where Shoppers use their mobile devices

(click to enlarge)

More and more, people are using their smart phones to shop for homes. What are they doing on their phones? Well, according to Google and Compete.com they:

  • Read general home information (51%)
  • Get directions to visit a home (48%)
  • Compare prices (44%)
  • Compare features (35%)
  • Search a listing company’s inventory (35%)
  • Call a listing company (28%)
  • Locate a listing agent (21%)
  • Read reviews (21%)
  • Research mortgage financing (20%)
  • Contact a listing agent, other than by calling (18%)
  • Watch an online video about a home (16%)
  • Other (3%)

MHVillage has a mobile app designed for buyers shopping for homes. Approximately 7,000 people a day look for manufactured housing using our mobile site. There is a huge market of home buyers looking for manufactured housing using their mobile devices; let’s see how the items above specifically impact your sales.

Read General Home Information

I’ve written about this before, but home descriptions matter. Let me give you two examples of homes that are on the site right now.

House One:

BEAUTIFUL VIEWS WITH WELL MAINTAINED MANUFACTURED HOME WITH GARAGE. LOCATED IN A 5 STAR COMMUNITY. PRICE TO SELL HAVE TO SEE TO BELIEVE CALL XXX-XXX-XXXX

House Two:

This beautiful home has over $60,000 in upgrades. tile floors throughout, tile counters, additional tiled & lighting above & below plant shelves in living room, bedroom & bath. Every room has fans & are wired for phones & Internet except baths, dining room & kitchen. This house is handicap friendly with raised toilets, vanities and an entrance ramp. A hobby room off the master with 7 cabinets & 3 banks of drawers.  5 cabinets in the Laundry room with tile counters. The master bedroom has a huge walk in closet and the master shower is tiled to the ceiling. The spacious kitchen is a cooks kitchen!!  Built for entertaining!!  Extended counter, massive amount of cabinets with all tile counters (great for a buffet), access to corner cabinets with double entry and new faucet.  There is a water softener & RO system. The garage is 34ft with 14 ceiling to floor cabinets and workbench. Extra outlets in the garage, house & good sized extra room. An extra area for the BBQ has been poured and front steps have been added. It has sun screens all around and also has a mountain view.

Both of these homes are in the same manufactured home community, but one of them gives the home shopper more of what they are looking for. Not only does the description in House Two give more information about the property, it also tells a great story. House Two is a home – it’s a place to cook up a great buffet dinner with the extended family or spend nice evenings grilling outdoors. These are the things that sell people on a home.

Get Directions to Visit a Home

On MHVillage, we make it easy for buyers to find your homes. Our website is designed for location-based searches. In fact, did you know that on the MHVillage mobile app, we have a button that buyers can click to “View Nearby Homes”? It uses their current location and pulls in all the surrounding homes, so if a home buyer is out driving around looking at neighborhoods, they can instantly see what is available in their area.

Compare Prices

It is probably not a big surprise that home owners compare prices. The best way to handle price comparisons is not to change the price of the home, the best way is to offer a better home. This is where creating good, solid home listings pay off – photos, descriptions, and caption lines, these can help you show buyers why your home is the best deal in the neighborhood. (For more information read: Three Easy Steps to Powerful LIstings That Sell, Part Three – The Right Price)

Compare Features

Do I sound like a broken record when I say I’ve written about this before? MHVillage makes it easy to showcase your home’s features – and it’s free. Learn how here: Missed Marketing Opportunity – Don’t Forget the Features!

Search a Company’s Inventory

Ahem: Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Step to Getting More Leads

(Note: if you have your own website and are having a hard time keeping your inventory on it and up to date, let us know. If you have over 50 listings, we have a simple product called an i-Frame that will let you enter your homes on MHVillage and have them automatically update on your own website.)

Call a Listing Company and Locate an Agent

Here’s another reason to make sure that your company’s information is up-to-date. The best place to do that on MHVillage is on your Sales Center page. (Read about your Sales Center here.) If you are a Real Estate agent and help people sell their homes, be sure and add that information to your Company description! We get calls everyday from homeowners looking for a professional who can them sell their home.

Watch an Online Video About a Home

More and more people are expecting video tours. They are easy to do, you can upload them to YouTube and your own website. MHVillage offers a special link on Premium homes and Showcased communities so you can upload your video links on our site as well.

Putting It All Together

So, what does this tell you? That today’s shoppers aren’t predictable. Some shop with desktop computers, some on their phones. (Some will use both.) Some while shop while at home, some while at work, and some while eating dinner in a restaurant. There are buyers who will want to call you, others will prefer email. Your best bet? Use the tips and techniques in this newsletter to create the best listings you can – the more powerful the listings, the better the leads. If you need help, contact us and we’ll help you make the most out of your MHVillage account.

 

Are You Ready for Vacation Home Shoppers?

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE
Park Place in Sebastian, Florida. I'm in Michigan as I write this and this photo makes me want to hop on a plane!

Park Place in Sebastian, Florida. This looks like heaven to a Michigander like me.

As the weather starts to get colder in the Norther climates, people start thinking about vacation properties. If you are located in a warm weather state, did you know that: 56% of vacation home buyers start their home search online and 93% of vacation home shoppers use the internet during their home search?*

In other words, well over half of the people who start thinking about vacation properties start their search by looking online, and almost all of them use the internet at sometime during their search! That’s why if you have manufactured homes in communities frequented by out-of-state (or out of country) vacationers, you need to have all your home listings online. Not only that, but you need to make sure that all your community data is up to date and looking it’s best.

Here are five quick tips to draw the attention of Vacation Shoppers:

  • Make sure all your inventory is online. Vacationers will have to travel to purchase a home, and they are going to be more likely to go to places where they can see as many options as possible in a single trip. Having more homes available makes you more attractive than your competitors.
  • Of course vacationers want different from things than year round residents. Make sure your community and your homes on MHVillage list rental and site leasing specials, promotions, special events, and other opportunities.
  • Have vacant sites in your community? Turn that into a selling point! Now is the time to include in your community description that buyers can purchase the perfect home and have it placed in the community of their dreams – yours!
  • Do a quick survey of your photos on MHVillage. If possible, get photos with blue skies and sunshine – something the Northern climates are starting to lack. Include photos of shuffleboard courts, pools, tennis courts, golf courses and anything else that would draw in people looking to relax and have a good time. Photos of landscaping showing flowers and palm trees are also winners.
  • Take a look at your Caption lines, do they have a call to action for vacation home buyers? There is a great article on how to write captions lines on this newsletter (Missed Marketing Opportunities – Caption Lines) take a look at that, and then craft Captions that draw folks from out-of-state. (Hint: Heated Pool, Resident Activities, and Beautiful Ocean Breezes)

If you have any questions about updating your community or home listings on MHVillage.com, please let us know. We are always happy to walk you through the site!

 

*Source: The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate

Easy Steps to Powerful Home Listings that Sell – Captions and Thumbnails

Note from the Editor: Following is an article we ran a little while back and are republishing as part of our “Missed Marketing OpportunitiesSeries. This series of articles highlights easy tips and techniques for increasing both the number, and the effectiveness, of your leads. The following is a prime example of a simple tool that will help your listings to attract more home buyers:

Easy Steps to Powerful Home Listings that Sell

Did you know certain manufactured home listings on MHVillage are far more likely to be looked at by buyers than others?  We recently discovered that there are some listings that always catch buyers’ eyes – even compared to similarly priced, nearby homes.

These high-performing power listings weren’t always the first ones in the list, or the cheapest, or even the fanciest homes.  However, they do have three special listing details all in common – and here’s the best part – these details can be added to any home listing – regardless of the home!  In this three part series we are going to discuss each of these details, why they matter, and how they can triple your listing’s visitors.

Part 1 – The Compelling Thumbnail

On MHVillage the Thumbnail Photo is the first impression buyers get of your home.  When someone does a search on www.mhvillage.com, they’ll get a list of manufactured homes for sale and rent in their area.  The thumbnail is the only photo they see in that search.  Here’s an example:

The screen capture below is from search we did on our test server (with made-up listings) for the zip code 49548. This search found 41 homes, but here we are only showing the first one. The Thumbnail Photo is the picture of the house on the left.

Why Does the Thumbnail Photo Matter?

For buyers searching through a long list of homes for sale, the Thumbnail Photo is their first real impression of the home – and we all know how important first impressions are!  A great thumbnail will get those buyers to click on the listing to learn more and see all the other photos of the home.

Our research shows that top performing home listing will have ALL of the following in their Thumbnail Photo:

This is a  great example of an eye catching Thumbnail Photo.

  • Frontal view of the home taken slightly from one side. The front of your home is the most important, however, most homes look flattened out if taken directly from the front.  A shot slightly to one side will be more flattering.
  • The home must fill the frame. Try to add too much landscaping and the home will turn into a tiny dot in the middle of a green square. Save the great landscaping or home settings for other photos.  Your first photo should feature the home only.
  • Remove all clutter. The home must present simple, solid shapes. Remove all trash cans, toys, cars, etc, and take the photo from an angle that is the least “busy.”
  • Bright sunlight on the front of the home.This is one of the easiest ideas to understand but one of the hardest to do in practice. Why? Because you might have to make two or three trips at a specific time of day before you will get the best lighting for your home, but only full sun will create the darks, lights, and rich colors that remain crisp when a photo is shrunk down to thumbnail size.

The Thumbnail Photo in our example follows ALL the rules listed above. We can clearly see the garage, green grass, paved driveway, covered porch, and roof line. Everything about this thumbnail invites buyers to “click through” and learn more.

Creating/Editing Your Own Thumbnail Photos on MHVillage:

The Thumbnail Photo is automatically created by MHVillage from your first photo. You can always choose which of your photos you want to be the Thumbnail by changing (or adding) the top photo.  Here’s how:

  1. Log into your MHVillage account with your email address and password.
  2. On the left side of your account screen, click “View/Change/Remove Listings”
  3. Scroll down to your listing of interest. On the right side of that listing click “Edit Photos”
  4. Your thumbnail is the top photo on the left of the page.
  5. You can change that photo by dragging one of the lower photos to the top position.  Or you can also upload a new one by clicking the big “Add Photos” button.

Note: only Featured and Premium listings have Thumbnail Photos. If you have a Basic listing, consider upgrading to one of the other listing types to create a Thumbnail.

  1. Log into your MHVillage account with your email address and password.
  2. On the left side of your logged in screen, click “View/Change/Remove Listings”
  3. Scroll down to your listing of interest. On the right side of that listing click “Enhance Listing”
  4. Near the top of the page select either “Featured Package” or “Premium Package”
  5. Your Thumbnail will automatically be created for you!

Want to read more on how to improve your online manufactured home listings? Be sure and check out our complete Missed Marketing Opportunities Series. You can also get new articles emailed directly to you the day we publish them on the newsletter, by signing up on the right!

Missed Marketing Opportunity: Skimping on the Description

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

The last few weeks I have been posting articles on the Missed Marketing Opportunities Professionals sometimes miss on MHVillage. These are simple, easy-to-do tips that can really change the effectiveness of your online advertising. Some of these tips may cost a few dollars, but most are free – including today’s tip: Writing Great Home Descriptions.

Whether you are advertising your manufactured homes for sale or rent on MHVillage, your own website or both, good, solid home descriptions are an essential key. To explain why, I am going to republish an article I wrote way back in 2010. I’ve updated it a little and added some additional data, but what was true 3 years ago is even more true today:

Missed Marketing Opportunity: Not Taking The Time To Write Great Home Descriptions That Sell

Here at MHVillage, we believe that almost everyone who wants to sell their manufactured home would be well served by working with a professional. After all, selling a home can be a complicated and confusing process, and many folks simply don’t have the time, or the know-how, to properly sell property. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from listings For Sale By Owner (FSBO.) In fact, homeowners tend to write terrific home descriptions and take great photos. Why? Because they care.

What FSBOs have that Manufactured Home Professionals Do Not:

Living, breathing day in and day out knowledge of the home.  When you live in a home, you know what makes it great; you know why you bought it in the first place. Maybe it was the amenities offered by the mobile home community, the great view, the good school system, the spacious living room or the deck out back. Maybe it was a simply good place to live with a low lot rent, but in any case, a homeowner intimately knows the pros and cons of their own homes. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. Here are two actual mobile home descriptions from MHVillage:

Home #1

This gorgeous home has lots of storage with open floor space. The home includes: A large kitchen with lots of oak cabinets and counter top space, breakfast bar, pantry, formal dining room, bright, cheerful breakfast/sun room, PLUS family room. Surrounded by trees but with an easy care yard, on park walking path. Floor Plan offers a private, master suite with separate walk in shower, garden tub, linen closet and skylight. Double tandem carport, 2 decks, one which overlooks green belt area. Ceiling fans in every room, and an evaporator cooler that keeps this home cool and comfortable.  Please call 999-999-9999 for more information or to schedule a walk through.

Home #2

New carpet and hardwood floors.

Hmmmm…. which home would you want to drive out and see? Keep in mind that both these homes are in the same manufactured home community, both listed at about the same price. The only major difference is that one of these homes was listed by the owner and another was listed by an industry professional. Can you guess which one? The top description was written by a homeowner who is obviously passionate about their home and willing to go the extra step to sell it. And you know what? It works!

Use the Description not only for the home, but also to highlight great features in the community.

Use the Description Section for not only the home, but also to highlight great features in the community.

When you are listing your homes online, you need to take a few extra steps to capture the buyer’s attention. When people are walking through a home, they can sell themselves on the walk-in closets and extra bathrooms, but when they are viewing it online you need to use a combination of photos and words to tell the story. (To learn more about why check out check out last week’s article.) Every MHVillage listing comes with a description section with ample space for you to really sell your manufactured home. We’ve also added bullet points and text tools so you can use Bold, Italics and Underlined type – and there’s even a spell check tool so you know everything is correct.

Also, note how the homeowner above added a call to action on the bottom of their description: Please call 999-999-9999 for more information or to schedule a walk through. Every home you list should have something like this in the description. Encourage potential buyers to call, email, or check out your website. Let them know about special offers or if you offer financing. This is your chance to directly reach out to the buyer and start the buying process!

Looking for ideas on what to say?

If you are brokering the home, talk to the homeowner.  Ask them to tell you what they liked most about their home.  They may also know features about the neighborhood or the park itself, that can be big selling points.

The description section on MHVillage allows you to really sell your homes.

Or, try walking through the home as a buyer yourself.  Ask yourself the simple question, “Why should someone buy this home?”  If it is a handyman special – there is nothing wrong with stating it. In fact, that let’s buyers know what to expect when they come look at the property.  Many mobile homes come with extras people like: garden tubs, extra pantries, laundry areas and so on. Also look at the area where the home is located – is it close to schools, shopping, parks or bus lines?  Are there community features people would like? Examples could include a playground, shuffleboard courts, a pool or community activities.  Don’t wait to tell people about these features until they are at the home – you need to sell them first, so they get out of the computer chair and grab their car keys!

 

Looking for more tips on how to get more leads? Here are links to the other articles in the series:

Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage

Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Tip To Getting More Leads

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Don’t Forget the Features!

To keep up with new articles in the series as they are posted, just subscribe on the right! They will be instantly emailed right to you.

The May Statistics Are In!

More Traffic More Sales More Leads Ad

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

Last month was a great one on MHVillage! Here’s a quick look at the numbers:

Website Visits

May 2013 – 1,604,921

Year to Date – 8,117,678

To put it simply, this the reason why we call MHVillage the #1 Marketplace to Buy, Sell or Rent Manufactured Homes.  Every month our site receives well over a million visits by people searching for affordable housing. Don’t forget – not only are they shopping on their desktop computers, more and more shoppers are searching using their smart phones. That’s why back in February we released a special mobile version of our site specifically to generate more leads for you.

Sales Leads

May 2013 – 55,925

Year to Date – 298,286

Don’t miss the fine print on those numbers – these do not include the estimated 40,000 phone inquiries generated each month! Are you looking for more sales leads? Then keep an eye on this blog! I am writing a series specifically for you. (Or, to get my articles delivered directly to your email, just subscribe over on the right side of the blog.) Here are the first two articles in the series:

Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage

Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Tip to Getting More Leads

Homes Sold

May 2013 – 5,070

Year to Date – 27,167

This is what it all comes down to, right? While solid sales leads are the right first step, the sale is the result we want. Over 5,000 homes are being marked as Sold on MHVillage each month. Manufactured homes all across the country, in all price ranges, in all kinds of communities, and of course, new homes that are being purchased and sited. If you have any questions about adding your home listings to MHVillage, email us – we are happy to help!

NEW on MHVillage – Shopping on Your Smart Phone!

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE
Home buyers can now use their phones to find your listings!

Home buyers can now use their phones to find your listings!

On February 25th, MHVillage launched an exciting new tool for manufactured home buyers: a mobile version of our website. Now there are two ways for buyers to find you on MHVillage – with their computer, or on their smart phone!

As you know, MHVillage has a lot of information. This new mobile site is a simplified version that works like an app. We’ve specifically optimized it to help buyers find manufactured homes, communities and sale centers. It is popular already – there are currently over 6,000 people a day using their phone to shop MHVillage for homes and communities.

Here’s a breakdown of what buyers are using to shop:

Smart Phone Usage on MHVillage

Smart Phone Operating Systems on MHVillage

Andriod – 65%
iOS – 33%
Windows Phone – 1%
BlackBerry – 0.5%
Samsung – 0.2%

Please note: our mobile site was built as a lead generation tool. Some MHVillage features are still only available on the full desktop version of the site. (You can’t list or edit your homes, for example.)

To use our new mobile site, just go to MHVillage.com on your smart phone. We will automatically ask you if you’d like to try it out. (You can switch back to the desktop version at any time.) If you have already tried our new mobile site, let us know what you think. We’d love to hear your feedback!