April Newsletter

a picture of bluebonnets in North Texas
North Texas Bluebonnets

April showers bring May flowers- or so we’ve heard. This year it appears that our wet winter has brought beautiful April wildflowers to North Texas. The picture above is was taken in Pilot Point. The blooming of the bluebonnets in our area has been spectacular. If you are not from Texas you may not know that bluebonnets are the official state flower or the annual tradition of bluebonnet pictures. It seems that everyone seeks out the best fields of bluebonnets to take pics of the family or kids or pets and this year even the police got in on the tradition.

Speaking of traditions, it is springtime which is traditionally the strong selling season for our real estate markets. This year is no exception as the markets have heated up since last month. That said, when looking at the charts from the same time last year, we have definitely slowed down the pace. With the large population growth we’ve had (we’ve gained over 1 million in less than a decade) the large demand and limited supply caused prices to increase rapidly. That rapid pace has begun to slow as affordability has now become an issue for buyers. Mortgage interest rates which had dropped are now increasing again.

According to the Texas Housing Insights,
Texas housing sales increased 5.2 percent from January amid lower mortgage rates and decreased price pressure. Supply indicators were mixed with single-family construction permits and total housing starts stabilizing after a shaky end to 2018, but single-family private construction values continued to slide. On the demand side, the typical Texas home continued to average just 60 days on the market and sold above 95 percent of the original list price. Lower mortgage rates provided incentives for prospective purchasers, but housing affordability remained a challenge across the state. Overall, the healthy labor market, population growth, and the economic expansion supported strong housing demand.

Here are our numbers for this month. Remember to hover over the chart to see the numbers and trends:

Market Data

MARCH 2019
Denton County
$315,000 | -1.3%
Collin County
$335,875 | +0.1%
Dallas County
$245,000 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
$239,000 | +4.8%
Overall YoY trends are slightly down for Denton County, flat for Collin and Dallas County and slightly up for Tarrant County. 
MARCH 2019
Denton County
$138 | +1.5%
Collin County
$137 | +0.7%
Dallas County
$134 | +1.5%
Tarrant County
$122 | +4.3%
The price per square foot trends are also showing less of an increase YoY than previous years. 
MARCH 2019
Denton County
1,289 | +3.6%
Collin County
1,322 | -11.0%
Dallas County
2,075 | -4.5%
Tarrant County
2,356 | +3.2%
The number of sales is down for Collin and Denton Counties and just slightly up in Denton and Tarrant Counties.   Slower volume is a trend for a slower market. 
MARCH 2019
Denton County
2.8 | +27.3%
Collin County
3.3 | +32.0%
Dallas County
2.9 | +31.8%
Tarrant County
2.0 | +17.6%

The months supply of inventory is up from the same time last year in all four counties. It is noted that this is still an under supply as a more balanced market has 4-6 months of supply. This appears to be a trend to a more balanced market.

MARCH 2019
Denton County
30 | +87.5%
Collin County
37 | +94.7%
Dallas County
22 | +69.2%
Tarrant County
19 | +46.2%
The YoY trends are definitely up for all four counties for the number of days on the market.   It is noted that the median number of Days on the Market (DOM) is around one month and they are down from last month.  This is typically one of the months when properties move the fastest. 

Commercial Corner

Industrial or Retail? As we have seen the effects of online retail impact the brick and mortar stores, the demand for industrial space for online retailers continues to grow. This was an interesting read –Self-Storage: A Little Bit Industrial, A Little Bit Retail.

If you need an appraisal for industrial property, this is a service we provide. Contact us for more information.

In summary, our markets are still appreciating just at a slower pace. With demand still strong as a result of population growth and a strong economy the housing market is still strong. As interest rates begin to rise again and affordability prices some out of the market, the slowing has occurred.

We hope that you are enjoying your spring and we look forward to sharing you more real estate news and trends next month.

March Newsletter

Image by The_Smell_of_Roses from Pixabay

March, when days are getting long,
Let thy growing hours be strong
To set right some wintry wrong.
~Caroline May, 1887

The signs of seasonal change are here. Many of the trees have buds or flowers appearing. Our local Tulip Farm is open as some of the tulips have emerged. If you are in North Texas we highly recommend taking a trip to see the tulips. If you enjoy nature you will be thrilled as the bluebonnets are to be spectacular this year because of our rainy winter. Here is a list of great placed to see bluebonnets: 5 Great Places to See Beautiful Bonnets in Texas.

What about our real estate markets? Well as we have been reporting the DFW markets are slowing down. The median sales prices have moved up slightly or are flat. Prices have been appreciating at such a fast rate that the market is starting to become more balanced. There are more listings and they are staying on the market longer. This is good news for buyers.

Affordability has been declining since 2012, thus a slow down will help some who have been getting priced out of the market. We do not think that we are headed for a crash just a slow down as the rapid price appreciation we’ve seen in the last five years was unstainable. What goes up must eventually come down. Mortgage interest rates, which had climbed in November, then dropped are starting to trend back up.

Market Updates- Denton, Collin, Dallas & Tarrant Counties

** Make sure you hover over the charts to see all of the data**

FEBRUARY 2019 (YoY Trends)

Denton County
$304,990 | +1.7%

Collin County
$325,000 | +1.6%
Dallas County
$235,000 | -3.1%
Tarrant County
$230,886 | +4.9%

The median sales price for single-family residences are almost flat in Denton and Collin Counties, they have decreased in Dallas County and had on a modest increase from the same time last year in Tarrant County.

FEBRUARY 2019 (YoY Trends)

Denton County
$137 | +1.5%

Collin County
$135 | +0.7%
Dallas County
$130 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
$121 | +6.1%

The price per square foot metrics are also trending the same. They are flat in Dallas County, slight in Denton and Collin County and up 6.1% in Tarrant County. All of these trends are compared to the same time last year. There are slight increases from last month which is typical as prices begin to pick up as we head into the spring selling season.

FEBRUARY 2019 (YoY Trends)

Denton County
2.8 | +40.0%

Collin County
3.1 | +34.8%
Dallas County
2.8 | +33.3%
Tarrant County
2.0 | +25.0%

A definite indicator of a market slow down is an increase in supply. The increase has been double-digit percentages in all four counties. The supply is still three months or less- which is an undersupply. A four to six month supply is a more balanced market. The market is trending to a more balanced market as the supply increases. New construction has helped with the increase in supply.

FEBRUARY 2019 (YoY Trends)

Denton County
894 | -7.9%

Collin County
993 | -12.8%
Dallas County
1,573 | -4.0%
Tarrant County
1,789 | -2.6%

Volume in down in all four counties. It is typical for sale volume to be down in the winter months, however, these are down compared to last year.

Rolling Stone article about the real estate appraiser of the world's most gruesome murder sites

Did you know that real estate appraisers are Rock Stars? Well at least this one is. Check out this fascinating read about appraising stigmatized properties in Rolling Stone Magazine.

2019 Happiest Cities in America per Wallet Hub

Congratulations to the city of Plano, TX in Collin County. They were selected as the #1 Happiest City in America per Wallet Hub. Have you been to Plano lately? We certainly are happy when we visit Plano.

Commercial Corner

Since we also provide commercial appraisals as well as residential, we thought we would add a section to cover a little bit of commercial real estate news.

  • CRE Nationally – Growth in U.S. commercial property prices slowed to the weakest annual pace in eight years in January, reported Real Capital Analytics, New York. Industrial properties were strong keeping it from slowing more. Just as we are seeing slowing in residential markets, the same holds true for CRE. Read more here.
  • CRE Texas -The overall strong performance in the Texas economy translates into a positive outlook for the commercial real estate sector. The outlook for 2019 appears to be positive for commercial real estate due to the strength of the U.S. and Texas economies. According to Texas Real Estate Center Overall, the dollar volume of mortgage originations in the office sector has stabilized since 2015. While industrial borrowing showed little movement from the first half of 2017, dollar volume of mortgage originations increased sharply from 2016 to 2017. Over the long term, retail borrowing has declined in dollar value of mortgage originations; new loans on retail properties measured 70 percent lower than 2007. You can read the full report here.
  • Industrial Strength– E-Commerce has supercharged the industrial sector. This was just one of the four takeaways From Marcus & Millichap’s 2019 Office and Industrial Forecast

We hope that you enjoyed this new format for the newsletter. Please let us know what you think! Also while you are here check out our latest posts:

  • The Problems with the Price Per Square Foot Method– Do you use this method when determining the price or value of a home? Read this to find out how this method can lead you astray.
  • A Market Advantage- Tips for Selling a Home in Winter– This is a guest post from contributor Patrick Young who is an advocate for people with disabilities. If you would like to submit a guest post just contact us at www.dwslaterco.com and let us know what you would like to write about and if it is relevant to our readers we will consider it.

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A Market Advantage: Tips for Selling a House in Winter

This article is written by Patrick Young who has been a regular contributor to our blog.  Patrick is an advocate for those with disabilities and writes important information pertaining to those with disabilities. This article focuses on selling your home in the winter.



A Market Advantage: Tips for Selling a House in Winter

Real estate tradition holds that spring and summer are the traditional home-buying seasons. After all, the weather’s more accommodating, and it’s easier to make a house look appealing if the trees aren’t bare and snow isn’t blowing. But for prospective buyers who don’t find the right house at the right price during the warmer-weather months, winter may the time they need to get a deal done.

If you’re a seller, buyers who weren’t able to find a deal in the warmer seasons are well-motivated, which can be a real windfall for a seller who needs to get top price for their property. Bear in mind that you needn’t price your house lower than you otherwise would simply because you’re selling in winter.

Curb appeal

Come wintertime, antsy buyers start feeling the heat, with end-of-year tax benefits at issue and the need to move out of a home they’ve put up for sale or a lease that’s terminating. You can capitalize on a situation that’s to your advantage by maximizing your property’s curb appeal. When the flowers are blooming and the sun’s shining, prettying up a home’s exterior and front landscape is a comparatively easy undertaking. But with bare trees and snow cover, getting that “wow factor” isn’t so easy, and some home owners come up short as a result.

Make sure to rake up all those leaves or hire a lawn service to do the job for you. Keep the lawn well-cropped and edged, and keep all walkways and sidewalks swept and cleared of leaves, snow, twigs, and acorns. The gutters often go overlooked by people selling in colder months, so make sure to do a thorough cleaning of yours to give the impression that yours is a well-kept and cared-for property, worth every cent of what you’re asking for it. There are many gutter-cleaning services that can do the job for you reasonably if physical restrictions or age prevent you from getting up on the roof.

Promote your property

Photos are an important way to promote your property on your realtor’s website and via social media, but unfortunately, winter exterior shots don’t make the kind of impression that photos taken in the summer do. Accentuate any photos taken earlier in the year or, if necessary, arrange for a professionally staged exterior shot once your lawn and the front of your house have been cleaned, raked, and well-groomed for the occasion.

Stage, stage, stage

If you’re selling in winter, your best bet may be to accentuate what your house has to offer on the inside, so stage each room carefully. Sometimes, knowing who you’re dealing with may suggest a staging strategy that makes the difference. Prospective buyers whose kids have moved out, for example, may be looking for an in-home work space, so carefully staging a third bedroom or finished basement may give them an idea that seals the deal. Similarly, a young couple may be looking for a room that would make a good nursery, so remove any extraneous furniture and clutter from an extra bedroom to help them envision themselves caring for a newborn in that space. In general, decluttering as much as possible is best. You can do it yourself or even hire professionals to complete the job. Check reviews and price quotes online before hiring a packing service.

If you’re pressed for time, there are simple and quick ways to help get your home ready for potential buyers. Load the dishwasher, brighten the house by turning on all the lights and opening the curtains, and get rid of bad odors by taking out the trash and spraying Febreze in the affected rooms.

Repairs, renovations

Make a careful survey of your house, and take care of any fixes or upgrades that might help prevent damage resulting from harsh winter weather. Pay special attention to the roof and exterior walls, and have your HVAC unit serviced if necessary.

Selling a house in the winter can give you a valuable market advantage, particularly with fewer houses on the market and plenty of buyers needing to find the right house and finalize a deal. Pay careful attention to your property’s external appearance, and stage each room with great care, making sure to show off the space and flow inherent in your space.


photo courtesy of Pixabay

This is a guest post from Patrick Young. Patrick created AbleUSA to offer resources to people with disabilities and officer advice about navigating various aspects of life. For more information and resources, you can contact Patrick at AbleUSA.


We do not sell real estate but appraise it.  If you would like to provide a guest post please contact us at www.dwslaterco.com.  It is our desire to provide you with relevant information in regards to real estate appraising and those who use appraisal services.   

The Problems with the Price Per Square Foot Method

Do you know the price per square foot method for determining the value of a property? Do you use it? This is a topic that has been written and discussed much and for good reason. Real estate agents, buyers, seller’s, lenders, or investors all like an easy way to determine the value of a home. Many will use the price per square foot method.

Example: You know that a property which is 2,500 sq ft in size sold for $350,000. You take the price of the home, divide it by 2,500 and ………..(drum roll)………- the price per square foot is $140! Now, your house is 3,500 sq ft, so using the price per square foot method, you multiply 3,500 x 140 and………..(another drum roll)…… your house is $490,000! Wow! Wasn’t that easy? Well, it might be easy but there are many problems that can occur using this method for determining value. It is my desire to share some of the reasons why this might not be the best method for many, many properties.

Many Factors Contribute to Value

One of the problems with using the price per square foot method is that it does not consider any of the other factors that contribute to the value of a home. When you use the price per square foot method, you are only considering the size of the home and nothing else. You could over price or under price a home looking at only the square footage. Here are some of the other factors that contribute to the value of a property and should be considered when determining value:

  • Location – the location of a property can have either a positive or negative impact on the value of a home. A property located with a beautiful view of a lake will have more value than a property located with a view of the local trash dump. A property located in a gated private community with access to a community pool, clubhouse, tennis courts, and a private lake will have more value than one that is not located in such a development. Would you love drinking your coffee and listening to the birds with the view below or next to the noisy highway that drowns out the sounds of the birds each morning?
This back porch view would contribute to overall the value of the property.
  • Amenities- There are so many additional features or amenities that also contribute to the overall value of a property. Some common amenities in our markets are swimming pools, pool houses, workshops, guest houses, barns, or party rooms. For lake homes, boat docks, lifts, and boathouses give added value. When you look at only the price per square foot, you are not considering any of these amenities.
  • Condition-One very important factor that impacts value is the condition of a home. If your neighbor’s house sold for $225,000 and it is the same size, same age and located next door then your house should be worth $225,000 right? Well, it would except that before their house sold, it had a new roof, all of the flooring replaced, the kitchens and bathrooms updated with new fixtures, and the interior and exterior was repainted. Your house still has the 1970’s avocado green appliances, shag carpet, popcorn ceilings, and original roof. The conditions of the two homes are not equal. Using the price per square foot method does not consider the condition of a home.
  • Quality of Construction– Similar to the condition of a home, the quality of the construction is also a factor when determining the value of a home. Understandably, a home with a much superior quality of construction will sell for more than one that is less. Real estate appraisers look for the quality of the construction in such things as the flooring, custom cabinets, high grade or commercial grade appliances, built-ins, custom trim, and finishes. Price per square foot does not consider the quality of construction.
  • Age-Related to the condition of a home is the age. It is best to compare homes that are of similar age. One of the things that appraisers determine in the appraisal process is the economic life of a property. At some point, a property will reach the end of its economic life, most of the contributory value of a property will be in the land alone. At this time, the highest and best use will be for it to be demolished. That is not to say that all older homes have reached the end of their economic life. We see many that are remodeled, preserved and well maintained. The point is that when finding homes that are comparable, having homes of similar age is important. Price per square foot does not consider the age of a home.

Law of Diminishing Returns

Another reason that price per square foot will give you inaccurate and false results has to do with the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. The law of diminishing returns is defined as” the premise that additional expenditures beyond a certain point ( the point of decreasing returns) will not yield a return commensurate with the additional investment.”- The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal 4th Edition.

Let’s go with the example I began with and that the house that sold for $350,000 is located right next door to my house. Both are in the same location, have the same view, are the same age, are in the same condition, have the same quality of construction and amenities. All is the same except for the size, so the price per square foot method should be great, right? Well, unfortunately since my house is 3,500 sq ft and the house next door is 2,500 square feet. That is a very large difference in size. The law of diminishing returns would factor in here and my larger house is going to sell for a smaller price per square foot than my neighbor’s house.

Do you ever shop at Sam’s Club, Costco? The price per unit goes down the more that you buy in bulk. Back when we had all of our 7 kids at home, it was so beneficial for us to buy in bulk as the price per ounce or price per pound was less. I mean we went through a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread each day! One of the best analogies that many of you can relate to is from appraiser Ryan Lundquist as he used the analogy for Starbucks and the price per square foot–the price per ounce differences in the Tall, Venti and Grande at Starbucks diminish as the size increases. Same principle.

Price Per Square Foot and Trends

One of the reasons, I decided to write this post is because I had a reader ask me about the price per square foot trends that we publish in our monthly newsletter. Our company publishes a monthly newsletter with market updates and trends. One of the metrics that we look at is the price per square foot trend. (if you are interested in our monthly newsletter you can sign up at our website or on the sidebar of this blog) Someone wrote to me to ask about if his property had a horse barn and was on five acres would the price per square foot trends we reported apply? The answer, of course, was no.

The trends are a broad look at larger market areas and not his specific smaller market area. Plus of course, it didn’t consider his larger lot size and amenities. The trends are really just a metric to look at to see what the overall market is doing. It is one of the many things that we look at. The next time you read a headline about prices up 25% or homes selling at $125, please do not use those numbers for your own home. Each property is unique and will require an expert in valuation to help you in knowing what your home is worth.

Here is a trends chart from our newsletter-(Hover over it and you can see the numbers for each month)

So, I hope you find this helpful. Know that using the price per square foot method can get you inaccurate results. I have only shared some of the problems that would change the result of the price per square foot method. Unless a home is similar in every way, chances are there are factors that will skew the result of price per square foot. What did I leave out? Do you use this method? If you have any questions about this, appraising or real estate appraisals please contact us at www.dwslaterco.com

Helpful Resources:

Starbucks and the price per square foot – Ryan Lundquist, Appraiser from the Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Why price per square foot can be an agent’s worst enemy when pricing a home- Tom Horn, Appraiser from the Birmingham Appraisal Blog

Price Per Square Foot is a Poor Value Indicator– Bill Gassett , Realtor from the Maximum Real Estate Exposure Blog

February Newsletter

“Groundhog found fog. New snows and blue toes. Fine and dandy for Valentine candy. Snow spittin’; if you’re not mitten-smitten, you’ll be frostbitten! By jing-y feels spring-y.” ― The Old Farmer’s Almanac 

Here in North Texas, February is typically a mix of cold weather with a few “spring-like” days.  It is a shorter month and it just seems to go by very quickly.  We all enjoy some love for Valentines Day and some get an extra day off for President’s Day.  We hope that you were able to enjoy both.  As far as real estate markets, the word is slow. Not crashing, not breaking but definitely slowing the pace it has been at. The numbers we are giving you are from January as we wait each month until all of the data comes in.   Sale prices are just slightly up or even flat from the same time last year and down from last month.  Marketing times are lengthening and supplies are beginning to increase- moving to a more balanced market.  It is typically slower in the winter months as prices and volume pick up in the spring.  Spring looks to be slower than what we have had in the last 3-5 years.  The market has just let off of the accelerator in DFW.  Here’s a look at the current numbers as well as recent some snapshots of the market. 

The median sales price for single family homes for all four counties is down from last month but slightly up when compared to the same time last year.  Here are the YoY stats:

Denton County
$299,990 | +2.0%
Collin County
$314,990 | +1.6%
Dallas County
$215,000 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
$220,000 | +3.3%

The median price per square foot for single family homes in all four counties is up from the same time last year.  Collin, Dallas & Tarrant counties are down from last month and Denton is flat month to month.   Here are the YoY stats: 

Denton County
$136 | +2.3%
Collin County
$135 | +1.5%
Dallas County
$126 | +4.1%
Tarrant County
$119 | +7.2%

The supply of inventory for all four counties is increasing.  All but Collin county increased month to month.  There has been an increase in construction which has helped with the inventory.  The official numbers for building permits is not yet available due to the delays in the government shutdown.  We will share those next month if they are available.  Here are the YoY stats for supply in all four counties: 

Denton County
2.8 | +47.4%
Collin County
3.0 | +36.4%
Dallas County
2.7 | +35.0%
Tarrant County
2.0 | +25.0%

The volume is slowing down.  In all four counties, the number of closed sales was down from the month before and all four counties are posting double-digit declines from the same time last year.  Here are the YoY stats: 

Denton County
686 | -14.7%
Collin County
773 | -12.1%
Dallas County
1,270 | -14.0%
Tarrant County
1,393 | -12.8%

Current Market Activity –  We thought we would share a little insight into what is currently occurring in the markets.  This is a 24-hour snapshot of each county.  You can see that all of them have just as many price decreases as listings with Collin and Denton counties showing more decreases than the number of new listings.  This may be even more telling of a slower spring selling season ahead.  

We hope that you found this helpful. A reminder that these are general market trends and metrics.  These may not apply to your specific property as there are so many different factors that impact the value of individual properties.  

Lake Kiowa Market Update

Lake Kiowa is a private gated community located on the southeastern section of Cooke County. It has a private lake, 18 hole golf course, a community center, parks, tennis courts, and trails. The area is served by the Callisburg Independent School District. It is located 11 miles southeast of Gainesville, the county seat of Cooke County. It is 70 miles northwest of Dallas and 72 miles northeast of Fort Worth where international and national amenities can be found. The community was constructed in 1968. There are a large variety of homes of various sizes, ages and designs. We appraise in this community often. As a part of the appraisal process, we analyze the market. Here is a recent analysis of the Lake Kiowa community.– Make sure to scroll across the graphs as they are interactive!

Lake Kiowa and Cooke County Data

The current median sales price for Lake Kiowa is$343,750 which is up +20.6% YoY. The current median sales price for Cooke County is $215,000 which is up +10.5% YoY. You can see that Lake Kiowa median sales price is appreciating , particulary within the past 2 years.

The current median price per sq. ft. is $145 which is up +18.9% YoY. The current median price per sq. ft. is $117 which is up +13.6% YoY. The price per sq. ft. also shows the appreciation seen in Lake Kiowa within the past 2 years.

Lake Kiowa currently shows a 5.3 month supply which is an increase +35.9% YoY. Cooke County currently has a 4.6 month supply which is -8.0% YoY. You can see that as the supply decreased, the median sale prices increased. There are many recent newly constructed homes in Lake Kiowa, as a result, the supply is now increasing. As the supply increases, the rate of price appreciation will most likely decrease since these are typically inversely related to each other.

The number of days on the market for both Lake Kiowa and Cooke County have both decreased with Lake Kiowa at 28 days (  -22.2% YoY) and Cooke County at 30 days ( -18.9% YoY)

Overall Lake Kiowa community is showing strong growth with new construction increasing and very limited foreclosure rates. We hope that you found this market analysis helpful. Please remember that these are general trends and should not be applied to your specific property. If you need assistance for a specific property in Lake Kiowa please feel to contact us at www.dwslaterco.com

How’s Your Online Presence?

Let’s face it. We live in a time where we are online. We are actually online probably more that we all would like to admit. Our phones have become our portable personal computers and we have access to so very much. If we want to check out restaurants in a place we are visiting, we easily can google it or ask our virtual assistants Alexa or Siri. Gone are the days when we would look up information in the yellow pages. My kids do not even know what the yellow pages are. We need to consider our online presence.

If you have a business and do not have an online presence many will not be able to find you or they will wonder if your business is still in operation. We recently had our heater stop working. Even though we live in Texas, it can get below freezing here in our area. Now, we have a local person that we have used and trusted for our heating and cooling service for years but I still had to search for their phone number. If I couldn’t find them online, I would probably wonder if they were still in business. Fortunately, they had a great informational website and they were able to come out and do a fantastic job repairing our heating system.

The internet is now the information database at our fingertips, so if you are a business owner, an online presence is essential. What I would like to talk about is what does that online presence look like? How much of a presence do you need? How do you go about creating that online presence?


Your business website is the foundation of your online presence. It is your home base. It is where to let the world know who you are, what types of products or services you provide and how to get in contact with you. If you do not have a website or if you have a website but you haven’t looked at it or tweaked it in a while, then this is where you start.

If you can imagine, we started our website about a decade ago. We bought our domain and then I actually created the website using Microsoft Publisher. The work was tedious, cumbersome and the site itself was very clunky and slow. This was the beginning of our online presence. Thankfully, website creators have made the process much easier. Once we realized there were sites available to help with creating a website, we switched our domain to Wix and we now use their services.

I am not an expert in website creation. I would like to share with you some of the services available in order to create a website. ( Note- if yo u already own a domain name like we did all of these different platforms will be able to transfer it over. If you do not own a domain, there are many to choose from and all of them will offer a domain as a part of their service).

Wix Logo
  • W ix- I will start with this site because that is what we personally use. Wix is very user-friendly and offers a free service. You can create a website using their services for free in exchange for advertising on their site and their domain. There are several different price points and services they offer. We actually started with just the free version to try it out before we switched our domain. They have lots of fantastic templates to choose from, images and videos. One thing that I don’t like about Wix is that once you choose your template, it is not easily changed for another template. You can certainly change your site and update it but it is not as easy as the pre-formatted templates. They used to have a bad reputation for SEO but that has improved dramatically. (What is SEO? Hang on, and I will cover that in just a bit). Click here for a review of the pros & cons of Wix.

  • WordPress– WordPress began as a blogging platform but is now also a website builder. It also offers free and paid services. This site is a WordPress site. We recently created this site for our blog because WordPress is such a great blog platform. Wix also offers a blog platform but I wanted more flexibility that comes with a WordPress blog. WordPress is a little more complex and there are actually two different platforms. WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The main difference between the two is the hosting service. WordPress.org you host the site and have to select and pay for a hosting service. This is where the flexibility and control come from. With WordPress.com, they host the service and offer a free site as well. There are great templates and it is easy to switch from one to another after your site is set up.
  • Appraiser Web Solutions is a new service developed by my appraiser colleague, Steve Whitby. It is a service that is designed specifically for appraisers. If the idea of trying to create your own website and platform is overwhelming, then consider using this service. They really specialize in SEO which is Search Engine Optimization. SEO is really key to being found in google searches. You may have created a fabulous website but without great SEO someone searching for appraisers in your area might not find you. You remember when I mentioned earlier about the old yellow pages? Back in 80’s when my husband started his first business he named it Ascott Agency so that it would be first on the list in the yellow pages as they were in alphabetical order. He was doing SEO for the yellow pages! SEO is what will put you at the top of a search list on Google. The Appraiser Web Solutions really emphasizes SEO in their website creation and they offer different services and pricing so if you are interested in having great search results and website presence check out their website here for more information.
  • Other Website Builders- There are many more website builders available. All of them are a bit different. I have only shared the ones that I am most familiar with. If you are a great researcher and gatherer of information then you can check out this list: The 10 Best Free Website Builders in 2019. Please feel free to share in the comments below some that you think are good or that you recommend. The bottom line is that there are many options available to you to create your website. So if you haven’t already created that first and foundational online presence, then now’s the time and there’s plenty of help out there to create your website.

Also, if you are not subscribed to the monthly paid edition of Appraisal Today, I highly recommend it. The December 2018 edition has a lot of great information about creating and managing your website. If you subscribe you can access the past 24+ issues. You can subscribe here.

Social Media

Are you on social media? How often? Should you use social media for your business? If so which ones? Did you know that Facebook is the most widely used social media platform for adults? Social Media can help direct people to your website. As my appraiser colleague, Lori Noble says ” the website is home base but you have to pitch the ball to get the game started “. Social media can be a very powerful way to get information about your business and your services to potential clients. Did you know that 60% of people will check out a business Facebook Business Page before a website? 80% of people will use the Facebook Business Page to validate the business after viewing the website (source: Retail Marketing Academy). Look at the chart below from Pew Research which shows the percentage of adults that use social media.

There are so many different platforms, which are the best? How can I manage them all? My recommendation is to concentrate on only one or two. Once you get proficient at the others you can add some more if you would like. There are apps like Buffer or Hootsuite that can help you manage more than on social media account but if you are just getting started I would only start out with one at a time. The chart below shows the different media platforms and the percentage of adults that use them.

  • Facebook is still the number one social media platform with the most traffic. Creating a Facebook Page is really easy. You do need to have your own personal Facebook account to create the page but rest assured that your personal Facebook profile will not be shared on your business account. There are lots of articles that can help you set up a Facebook Business Page. Here is an article from Facebook: Create a free business Page in minutes If you need more help there are also YouTube videos that can show you exactly how to do it. Once you create your Facebook Business Page make sure to share the link to your website. I recommend sharing information related to your market area, some local market data or national market data. Facebook has changed their algorithms and so it is not as easy to share or been seen on Facebook as it once was but occasionally spending a nominal fee boosting a post with a targeted audience is worthwhile.
  • Twitter   We have a Twitter business page and share various articles and information related to real estate appraisal as well as our monthly newsletters and blog posts. A twitter account is easy to set up. We use our logo as the profile picture. Twitter used to be limited to 140 characters but they increased it 280. What I personally like about Twitter is that I can create or subscribe to lists. I personally have a list of people that I created which are related to real estate, appraising or mortgage lending (if you are on Twitter, let me know and I can add you to my list). I also subscribe to other people’s lists. My favorite is Jonathan Miller’s appraiser list. I also have a list of my family & friends, sports and weather. Not all of my lists are public which is great. This gives you more control over what shows up in your Twitter feed. Anytime I want to see what is going on in real time with say, the weather, I just look at my weather list. All of my twitter feed will just be of weather people that I follow. The same for appraisers or real estate.
  • Instagram has become very popular with millennials and I personally like hanging out there. Instagram is full of images. I think that is why I like it. Unlike Twitter, you are not limited to the number of characters you can use but you do need an image with every post. Instagram is now owned by Facebook so they have made it easy to connect the two platforms. You can have it set up so that if you create a post in Instagram it will automatically share it to Facebook. At this time we do not have a DW Slater Co Instagram account but are considering it. We have mainly focused on Facebook and Twitter at this time. Those of you who use Instagram for your business please feel free to share about your experience in the comments below.
  • LinkedIn is a business platform. We have a company page in LinkedIn as well. It is similar to Facebook in that you have to have an account with them to create your business page. Creating a business page if very simple and they just changed the format making it even more user-friendly. They also have a publishing platform and the ability to be a part of groups in related professional fields. If you like a professional business platform then this is a great place for you. I love being able to connect with other professionals in related fields. We have also had direct requests for appraisal services from our online presence at LinkedIn so I highly recommend it.

There are certainly many more social media platforms such as Pinterest, Snap Chat, NextDoor, WhatsApp, etc. but I have only written about those that I have used and are familar with. If you are really rocking it on one of these other platforms please share about it in the comments below. We all would love to hear about your experience with it. We do have an online presence at Google+ however that site will be shut down and discontinued in April 2019. I do not know of anything at this time that will replace Google+.

Content Creation

Once you have your website set up and your social media accounts, the next step is to consider creating content to share. Content creation comes in many forms such as Blogs, Newsletters, Vlogs, or Podcasts. You will want to determine what it is you want to share and who is your audience. I will discuss some of these briefly.

  • Blogs- This, of course, is what I do as you are currently reading my blog. Blogs are a great way to get information to your audience. I started my blog in 2014 because I found that so many people didn’t understand what appraisers did or the purpose of an appraisal. I have enjoyed connecting with others in the profession via my blog. There are some great appraisal blogs out there. Ryan Lundquist and Tom Horn have both been blogging for a long time and are the trailblazers for appraisal blogging. If you don’t follow either one of their blogs, I highly recommend it. If you are considering an appraisal blog, Ryan Lundquist shared this great post Tips for effective blogging for business and Tom Horn wrote this post which shares how to start a WordPress blog. Also if you have any questions feel free to contact me. If I don’t have an answer I will do my best to direct you to someone who does.

  • Podcasts I have just recently become a huge fan of listening to podcasts throughout the day and some of the podcasts, I enjoy daily are real estate appraisal related. Podcasts are just for listening. I have often said that I don’t think I would do a podcast because I am not sure if anyone could get past my deep East Texas accent to hear what I am saying. I wrote this post earlier about the best real estate appraisal podcasts. Check them out!

I hope that I didn’t overwhelm you with too much content and for many of you, none of this is new information. My intent is to encourage those that do not have a strong online presence for their business, to get started or think about increasing your current online presence. I really only scratched the surface. Start with your foundation- the website, then work on a social media platform, then content creation. What did I leave out? Which platform has worked for you? Do you have questions?

Same Blog, New Site

Welcome to our new blog site! Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to our blog at DW Slater Appraisal Company Blog. We have switched to a WordPress platform so this will be the new site for our blog. This platform gives us the capabilities of doing more with our blog and we are looking forward to sharing our content on this new site! The old site will remain so that all of our old content will still be available. All new posts will be sent from this site: www.dwslaterco.blog.

Please let us know what topics you would like us to cover and share with us either below in the comment section or send us a message at www.dwslaterco.com.