Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Resolving the Real Estate Crisis in Cleveland

One of the greatest traits that I see in Clevelander’s is their love for the city. Everyone takes pride in the unique corners the city has to offer, and we are eating up all this positive attention the city has been getting.  Cleveland has JUST been listed by Fortune as one of the top 3 cities to flee to in order to build wealth, to build a nest egg and to be able to afford a home you love and can create a future in.

As attention is given to the positive aspects that this city offers, it is important to keep the hurdles in mind so as to not forget to take them into consideration when approaching current listings. 
Millennial Demographic Shifts in Inner-City Cleveland

What happens when you mix a generation that values freedom, uniqueness, and excitement? You get a cultural shift that changes how the game is played. This shift we are seeing in Cleveland has sent ripples into every corner of the pool, affecting jobs, family life, and yes, even real estate.

Millennials are making moves into the downtown areas, as companies move from the suburbs to inner-city.  These companies are shifting because they know that millennials are looking for exciting atmospheres, so management creates unique spaces right in the middle of the hustle and bustle to attract this new talent.  As millennials take more and more jobs downtown, they are also looking to shorten their commute and so will look for apartments that are closer to work and to the nightlife.

While the rule-of-thumb in the past has been that most generations would rather own than rent, millennials are more interested in renting since it gives them flexibility to move around.  Additionally, as more areas are getting renovated -- such as the Flats -- millennials are flocking to these newer areas, and will often wait for current construction projects to finish before leaving their more suburban flat and making the move downtown.

What this means for you is an audit of the values you are selling a house or a unit on.  If your current listing has a great social community, that’s of value to the millennial crowd and will get their attention more than a renovated porch will.

With new residential units comes the entertainment.  The Punch Bowl Social Club offers locals a new place to socialize at in the Flats district. For more, visit

Ohio & Cleveland Housing Sales

Overall, the nation’s housing sales have been slowly stabilizing, and Ohio has been no exception. Ohio’s housing sales have been in cadence with the nation’s slow and steady growth, leading to the state’s busiest September in years.

Sales have been slow to grow, but the data is there to prove the confidence is inching back into the real estate market. Pricing for these sales has not grown at the same pace, but at least we are seeing growth in the right direction.  

As an agent operating in and around the Cleveland area, you can take this knowledge and apply it to your selling method. Be confident that market confidence is there, but take heed at how aggressively priced your listings are. 

Urbanization in Cleveland

With the Republican National Convention coming, the city’s organizations are in high-gear getting prepared.  Everyone is getting ready to make changes, such as improving the downtown lakefront.  In an article recently published by Michelle Jarboe of The Plain Dealer, she states that the city is looking to employ a new financial tool that will allocate property tax revenues to pay for roads, landscaping, and parks.

This kind of urban expansion creates a more interesting cityscape, one that more people want to be in and around as much as possible.  

As more of the Cleveland landscape changes, with it will come economic and social impacts. As more people are drawn to be closer to the city, renovations on apartment buildings that have long been away from the public eye will need to occur.  

You as a realtor should be keeping an eye and ear out of new projects happening around the city, with the knowledge that any renovations in a neighborhood will increase its appeal for prospects.

The anticipated renovations for Public Square in downtown Cleveland. More about this project can be found at

Real Estate Technology Available

The technology landscape changed.  A lot. Are you up to speed?

It’s hard to be. Keeping track of multiple social media accounts while also trying to balance your listings.

One major way to stay on top of your tech game is get involved in social media channels. Share content that your potential buyers will find useful.  On Instagram, share pictures of a family in front of their new home they just bought, or cute seasonal porch ideas. Pinterest is a great place to turn to for creativity on how to engage with potential buyers.  You can also create boards that will provide your followers with decorating ideas for specific rooms, seasons, or events.

Getting yourself out there and letting it be known that you are there for their benefit will go a long way with your clients.  But it’s not just social media you need to be aware of -- new technologies are adding a new edge to real estate technology.

Virtual tours and 3D models of home are gaining popularity in every business sector. In real estate, it is without question the best way to highlight a space on your website.  Not only do they allow users to interact easily, but they help ensure that people coming in the door for a tour or open house know exactly what they want -- and that this house could very possibly have it. Virtual tours also look sleeker, so it is luxurious upgrade to typical photos done by most real estate agents.

From an organizational standpoint, apps like GoConnect equips real estate agents with a simple software that allows for easy listings management. As apps similar to this come to the market, managing your listings can be done more easily -- so don’t waste any more time, get these apps and start managing smartly -- or other people who are using it will beat ya to it.

The Tour Builder created by Virtual Compass allows you to easily create an affordable virtual tour to highlight your latest listings.

Cleveland’s Income Inequality

By nature, larger cities will always have more income inequality than others. Though Cleveland may not be as large as Los Angeles, we are having similar issues, just slightly scaled down.

It is important to remember that housing is not just one, simple market -- it is affected by virtually every economic indicator you can list. As disposable income has been increasing post-recession, home renovations and selling have been increasing as well.

High-income buyers have not felt the recession nor post-recession effects as much, partly because they rely less on financing due to their personal levels of wealth.

Despite the modest growth we see in housing confidence, getting a loan or a line of credit for a new house is getting harder for the poor and easier for the wealthy.  

What does this mean for you? It means working more with your prospects, and not for them.  Take the time to get their “big picture” dream, but be realistic with their budgets.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of 5 factors affecting Cleveland’s real estate, get out there and close some sales!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Millennial Students: What Do They Want?

The millennial students are entirely different from the previous generations. In fact, they are among the most studied generations. The huge list of researches and studies has provided people the unique insights into their attitudes, behaviors and preferences. 

Based on the popular opinions, Millennials are more community oriented, more caring and even more politically engaged than the previous generations. Apart from it, they want to become more focused on extrinsic set of life goals. They are also less concerned with civic engagement and other things. 

Considered to be self-absorbed and self-confident, they want to continue to influence the education. As students, they are after bringing a new generational personality. This personality is done of structure, confidence, team orientation, and level of optimism.

They are basing their research when looking at colleges to a less formal learning environment. They are aiming for a learning environment at college that combines the best and most structured learning. And, they best prefer for a group-based practical learning. This is their main consideration as far as going to college institution is concerned. 

Just like their corporate peers, they are also concentrated in entering the teaching ranks. They like it more receiving frequent feedbacks, recognition, fairness and recognition. Even the parents of the millennial students are influencing the environment, or the school. This is where their children continue their educational experience. 

Even though college prices continue to increase rapidly as compared to the prices of services and goods, more families and millennial students still struggle of entering a college institution. They are aiming to pay for higher more quality education. They are looking for ways in financing their education. 

Millennials usually score the high on their IQ tests including on certain traits like self-liking, assertiveness, high expectations, self-esteem and extraversion. Apart from it, they are aiming for a completely structured path in academic. They are also looking for the best and most special treatment and they are looking for ways to know what knowledge is needed for exams. 

Even college professors are getting this sense that students want to be entertained by their instructors. This is because of the reason that the present instructors have also experienced Millennials who leave them challenged all the time. They were always challenged prior to their grades and their assignments.

The millennial students want for a transactional relationship to the present education. They are considering higher education to be a necessity. They also believe that this is a costly consumer good. As such, the commodity mind-set of the students is like translating tuition into a college degree. 
As they look for colleges, they want their professors to be approachable, accessible all the time. They also want them to connect lessons to real life situations. This is the only way for them to benefit most from the lessons, techniques and strategies taught in college in real life. This is by far a practical way of them benefitting from the school they attended in. 

As virtual learning is believed to be on the rise, this is also their consideration. They tour around the different colleges that offer this virtual-based learning. As such, millennial students are sized up to be the most educated generation in the history of mankind! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Virtual College Recruitment

Last blog post, I mentioned a bit how the Virtual Compass team worked with Ursuline College. This time, I thought it would be nice to take you in for a closer look into why Ursuline chose a virtual tour, what their tour highlights and why, and a little bit about our team’s inner-workings. Throughout, you’ll have the chance to see what we do and how we can help you should you also choose Virtual Compass to build a tour for you.

Ursuline College is a small liberal arts school in Pepper Pike, Ohio. The admissions team at Ursuline College chose to do something a bit different that placed them on the edge of new college recruitment techniques.  While most universities and colleges have not changed their recruiting campaigns, and most use the same approach as they did 50 years ago, Ursuline tried something new, and in doing so, is able to better position themselves as an innovative leader for college recruitments.

Choosing a virtual tour is showing prospective students that you understand the values they hold, the concerns they have, and the college life they want.  Current students want different things than prior generations, pushing admissions teams to consider alternative solutions.  There have been considerable value shifts as to what students expect from a college experience and it is the duty of the colleges to keep track of these changes and to make sure that they highlight what the students want to see.

For many millennial students, they are looking for different.  They want engagement from a college, the chance to picture themselves at yours, enjoying your campus.  I’ll be sure to write more in a later post about college branding and ways to position your college best.  For now, it’s more about recognizing that you, as an admissions team member, have to control each interaction that a student will have with your university and make sure their experience is up to par -- whether it be done on the computer or from a campus visit.

Before students even make the first visit out to see you face-to-face, they want to feel connected -- else, you could find yourself down a campus visit. Ursuline recognized the need to be creative when it came to engaging their prospective students, and chose the virtual tour route.

The Ursuline Campus is extremely beautiful -- more so than just photos could capture. With a virtual tour, they were able to not just capture it, but really show it off.  We were able to upload pictures of the main stops around campus like academic buildings, dormitories, and cafeterias. We then added labels and descriptive text for the students to peruse at their own pace.

With this versatility, students are able to take a tour from the comfort of their own home in a way that initiates them into the campus and introduces them to the school offerings. Ursuline saw a chance to do more than show off their class schedule, they showed off their campus life.  Their virtual tour helps students to picture what their life would look like on campus.

They saw the need for students to be interested and engaged from first contact -- which is often done through the website.  If you are like Ursuline and looking to update your college recruitment techniques, reach out to us!

We’d also love to hear back from YOU! To all the college admissions teams out there, how are you managing the changing landscape of college recruitment? We naturally think the virtual tour is one facet of an amazing marketing strategy, but we are seeing Ursuline host events that are of interest to their current students, thus attracting the right prospects.  For example, Ursuline is hosting TedxUrsulineCollege which will give students and community members the chance to listen in on talks inspiring the audience and encouraging dialogue.

We can all take some #MatriculationEducation tips from Ursuline.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Welcome to Virtual Compass!


We're happy to have you here. Let me tell you a little bit about Virtual Compass: who we are, what we do and how we hope to help you reach your goals.

Virtual Compass is a Cleveland based start-up born in 2014.  We are a proud graduate of the 2015 Cleveland Flashstarts Accelerator Program.  We have been teamed up with a world-class group of mentors.  It was through this program that we are able to be who and what we are today. So, welcome, we are Virtual Compass, and we are a team of software developers and growth enthusiasts.  We work hard so that you don't have to when it comes to marketing your space.

What spaces do we market, exactly? The short answer is all of them!

The longer answer is that we work across various industries, not for any strategic reason, but rather because beautiful locations are everywhere.

Our initial industry was college campuses.  We started with a college in our backyard -- the lovely Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio.  What we created for them was an online, virtual tour that let potential students experience the campus first hand.

We found that many students from across the nation (and globe!) may be interested in attending a school that is not easy to visit, so college campuses are struggling to reach those audiences. The virtual tour lets these potential students -- whether they be far away or right next door -- get a feel for what it would be like to walk around the area. It lets them see the quad, the library, the cafeteria; it shows them all the spots they will be spending time in, and we do it in a way that is more interactive that a photo gallery of a university.  We do it in such a way that students can easily picture themselves sitting on the quad, meeting up with friends, and walking to class.  Our map feature also allows students to click on a specific building and get the history and any additional general information that the admissions team deems fit. This way, students could be sitting at home in California, but touring a university in Massachusetts.

This interactive approach is revolutionizing how admission departments at colleges recruit new students, and we're at the forefront of it all.

After designing a few college tours, we realized that we could help more industries that just college campuses. This is why we opened up to restaurants, event spaces, real estate, and more.  As any real estate agent will tell you, it's all about "Location, location, location!"  We make it so that no matter what industry you're in, or what town, anyone from anywhere will be able to see *your* location.

We are just starting to take off, and we are excited to take you with us.  Throughout the life of this blog, I'll be showing off some more benefits of Virtual Compass and explaining in a bit more depth what we do.  There will also be posts about how you can best position yourself in your respective industry, as well as sending new marketing tips and techniques you may find useful directly to you.  Every now and then, we'll even highlight a tour on this blog so you can see why virtual tours are quickly becoming the preferred marketing method around the globe.

Feel free to contact us with comments and questions.  We look forward to meeting you!