Monday, July 31, 2006

Gas prices story picked up by Realtor Magazine

Realtor Magazine, the publication of record for 1.3 million members of the National Association of Realtors nationwide, published a three-page article in their August issue addressing the impact of rising gas prices on real estate agents as well as home buyers and sellers.

The story featured our consumer survey from a couple months ago, as well as HouseValues subscriber Eileen Landau and her perspective on the "great gas debate."

Tools for Success

Our business is measured by the success of our customers, so it's particularly exciting to see comments sent in like this from customers across the country. This is from Orren Bateman, an Agent CEO and HouseValues customer in Sandy, Utah. Orren has been with HouseValues since early 2004.

I am a raving fan of HouseValues because the company regularly exceeds my expectations. The high quality advertising HouseValues produces motivates prospects to fill-out a form online so my first phone call can be a natural conversation instead of a lengthy interrogation.

Before I discovered HouseValues two years ago, I was working 80 hours a week because I didn’t have an efficient system for staying in touch with my prospects, past clients, and my sphere of influence. Now that I have imported all those people into Market Leader they automatically get at least two emails a month and I see a list each day of who I need to call. Any lead (or referral), from whatever source, becomes more valuable when you manage it in Market leader.

It’s really nice to have a steady stream of leads coming in and HouseValues offers more than just leads. It is a comprehensive set of tools and resources that educate me, motivate me, and help me be more productive so I can give more personal attention to my active clients.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Picnicing at Safeco Field

More than 600 HouseValues employees and family members enjoyed the sixth-annual HouseValues Company Picnic earlier today, this year from the friendly confines of Safeco Field, home of our Seattle Mariners.

It was an amazing event - complete with a live band, tons of good food, face-painting from the vistor's clubhouse and batting practice in the home and visitor's batting cages. Most of the team from Yakima was there as well, which made the day extra special.

Check out more photos from the event here (more will be added from other cameras over the next couple days).

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The online real estate world is abuzz...

Several of us attended the Real Estate Connect conference this past week in San Francisco, hosted by Inman News and attended by more than 1,500 of the real estate industry's movers and shakers.

Every year this is a fascinating conference - full of energy and excitement over innovative ways to both service home buyers and sellers, as well as help real estate professionals achieve greater success in an increasingly online and digital world.

We had a couple speaking gigs at the show, including a full-day mortgage seminar on Wednesday. Many of the HouseValues employees who attended noted how humbling it was that so many folks see us as the category leader. I attended and participated in many presentations and panels where HouseValues and its products were cited for pioneering the lead generation and lead management space, and where Market Leader in particular was noted as a leading lead management tool for real estate professionals.

While this kind of recognition is nice, it's more important to us that this success and leadership is measured in the success of our customers. We wouldn't be here today if we weren't making our customers more successful.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Future's So Bright...

Our Kirkland-based sales team had an internal sales contest today, during which everyone was encouraged to wear sunglasses while making calls. Tons of energy, wild sunglasses, and a few home-made versions as well.

Check out more photos from the afternoon here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Interest in Second Homes Remains Strong

We recently conducted a poll of home buyers on and, and asked them questions about their interest in second homes. The results were a little surprising.

The survey of more than 1,300 adult consumers found that 21% say they are considering purchasing a second home within a year, while another 42% said they're considering buying within the next two to six years.

Interestingly, nearly one-third (29%) of those considering purchasing second homes don't consider its proximity to their current homes a major factor, saying they'd be willing to fly to reach them.

A quarter (25%) of respondents said they are considering a second home for investment purposes, while 22% said they wanted one for "enjoyment" such as weekend getaways, vacations and family use.

In terms of proximity to geographic features, 40% of respondents said features such as water or mountains would not be a factor because "it's an investment property." Among those who do consider geography an important factor in where they buy, 36% listed proximity to water as key, followed by mountains (17%), golf courses (5%) and the desert (2%).

Although 29% said they would be willing to fly to reach a second home, the largest percentage -- 43% -- said they'd prefer it be within a one-hour drive of their primary residence. Nineteen percent said they'd be willing to drive up to two hours, while 9% said they'd be willing to make up to a six-hour drive.

Asked what factor would most likely cause them not to buy a second home, 32% of respondents listed rising home prices, followed by rising mortgage rates (18%) and job insecurity (12%). Thirty-eight percent listed a variety of other factors.

Read more about this survey here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

124 Listings and Counting...

Overhead on the Mastermind Forum yesterday from Dan Volker, an Agent CEO in Chicago:

One of his seller leads from March of this year tried to sell their home themselves, didn't have any luck, but thanks to Dan's persistence and offers for help (even during their FSBO run) he won the $429,000 listing this weekend. This was Dan's 124th listing generated from HouseValues in his close to three years as a subscriber.

Dan is a star - not only an expert at customer relationship management and Internet marketing, but also a valuable mentor to other agents around Chicago and across the country.

Great work, Dan!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Building Houses, Habitat Style

This past Saturday, a few dozen HouseValues employees from our Kirkland and Yakima offices helped build homes and prepare job sites for Habitat for Humanity. Pictured here are several employees who helped out in the Saturday morning shift. It was really hot here in Seattle, but a great event and a great cause.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sales by Day, Duffers by Weekend...

Earlier this month our sales department held their second-annual HouseValues Golf Scramble. It was a great, very well attended event down at Druid's Glen, a great course nestled just north of Mount Rainier south of Seattle.

It was a great opportunity to get together on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, NOT talk about work, and get to know each other better. Joining several good and not-so-good golfers from our sales department were representatives from several other departments. BBQ afterward during which everyone lied (or at least exaggerated) about how well they played.

Special thanks to Josh Hartnett (pictured with classic golf attire and beer) and Sean Tindall for organizing the event.

More photos from the event below.