The following is a roundup of real estate-related blog posts from around the Web:

Web 2.0 marketing: Listen, then build
Bill Rice offers an excellent A-to-Z primer on Web 2.0 marketing on Better Closer. While Rice’s advice is geared to mortgage lenders, it’s transferable to real estate brokers or agents — or anybody who does marketing. In addition to links that help you do the nuts-and-bolts assembly — where to get a blog, resources for putting audio and video on the net, and how to distribute content using RSS or promote it on Twitter, Delicious, Digg and Stumbleupon — Rice offers some insight into a less technical topic many folks give little thought to: finding out who your prospective customers are and what they talk about. Rice suggests searching out conversations on blogs, discussion groups and Twitter in order to find out "where (prospects) are, who they talk to, and the funny words they use." These conversations "will give you valuable information. It will reveal their pain, like their monthly payments going up unexpectedly, a job loss, or maybe a divorce that is going to force them to reconsider their current home or loan. Maybe they are just concerned about the stability of their lender or even getting a bargain on a foreclosure." Once you have determined what your prospects want and how they ask for it, "build your Web 2.0 mortgage marketing platform."
Better Closer

Exploring the hot transfer ROI
Are services that offer to "live transfer" Internet leads to a mortgage broker or real estate agent’s phone worth the cost? The anonymous "SomeInsider" at Lead Critic explores the issue. There are costs associated with every step of the process in generating a live lead: acquiring the lead, contacting the lead, screening the lead, and transferring the lead. SomeInsider thinks that while hot transfer companies can make sense for some companies, "a well-managed shop can replicate much of the pre-screening or pre-qualifying process in-house. By doing so, you are eliminating the third-party costs, their margins and thus greatly reducing your acquisition cost." Don’t lose sight of the fact that, managed properly, many leads will convert down the road. Too often, we "think of these as simply leads rather than customers," SomeInsider says. While it takes time and money to follow up, "a tremendous amount of value can be derived from these leads long after the initial first few days of receipt provided that you are organized enough to adequately follow up on days 20, 30, 60, 90, etc." —LeadCritic

Refinancing that fixer-upper with a 5-year ARM
Real estate professionals who are homeowners themselves aren’t immune to the downturn in some markets, of course, and home stager Marianne Sweet shares her experiences refinancing a home she’d intended to sell as her 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage was set to reset. "We never planned to refinance this home," Sweet writes on MiOaklandCounty.com. "In fact, I believe the phrase ‘if we’re still living here in five years, I’m going to shoot myself’ was voiced when we chose the 5-year plan in 2003." Despite expensive renovations to the home — a "handyman’s special" — the house appraised for $50,000 less than it did five years ago, and for $10,000 less than the purchase price, Sweet says. "Our loan officer told us we were actually quite lucky, as some homes were appraising for almost 50 percent less than their prior purchase prices," she relates. Unlike many homeowners who find themselves with no equity in such circumstances, Sweet and her husband still had 35 percent equity, and were able to refinance into a loan that increased their monthly payments by only $90. —MiOaklandCounty.com

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