Monday, October 21, 2013

Halloween is My Favorite Holiday

I've always loved Halloween.  When I was younger there were years that I'd switch costumes and go out again to the same homes.  Sometimes I'd have bags of candy, which is my vice.

ghould and his gal Halloween 05
Ghoul and his gal bridge - Halloween 05
When I had my kids (all grown now), I'd make their costumes from scratch.  I'd sew up clown outfits with hats, a full cat outfit that my 2 sons both wore and my granddaughter also trick or treated in when she was 3. My daughter was a gypsy, a scary witch, an alien and many more great costumes.  Both of my sons just wanted to be a punk rocker many years in a row.  My middle son once wore my brother's original & cheesy Batman costume.  It was cool because it was from the 60's.  I loved my youngest son's scarecrow outfit but I think the straw bothered him.  Someone was a ninja and pirate.

As much as I always loved Halloween, I can't remember many of my costumes as a child.  As an adult, I was a nurse, a scary ghoul bride, a native with a real fish on a spear, and Harriet as part of a duo with my husband, Ozzie (he was Ozzie Osbourne) and Harriet - a take on the old TV show.  I won an award for being a clarinet band member (I ordered real school band costumes from eBay), won an award for Ugly Betty and won 2nd place for ho' White.

My husband won a couple awards, one for Marge Simpson (I couldn't look at him without laughing) and one for a scary ghoul.  He's in a band and for many years they would play at a barn loft party.  The attendees were very creative and spent a lot of time (and money) on their costumes.  He hasn't played in years but they're going to play again this year.

Here's a quick video of our house this year with our new organ playing skeleton:

Here's wishing you a safe and happy Halloween 2013!

Monday, September 30, 2013

September Slowdown

As I sit trying to get better from being hit hard by a really bad cold or an early bout of flu, I am happy that I haven't been so busy selling real estate during my sickness but sad that our busy season is going through its normal slow-down after the school season began.  Real estate is seasonal and the slowdown at this time of year affects single family homes more than attached properties.  In fact, I had 2 offers on a Palos Hills condominium that went back on the market because financing fell through with the first buyer.

I love the Fall season but I hate that winter is right around the corner.  The leaves on trees are already changing and I hope to capture some beautiful Fall photos.  I'm already seeing Halloween decor on neighboring homes.  My husband junk picked an organ from someone's trash and will have our ghoul guy playing some creepy tunes on it.  That will be a one-time decoration as we're not storing that big thing just for Halloween.  I hope we have nice weather for trick or treating this year.  I think last year was a little cold.

Now that we're not so stressfully busy I'll be able to work on my final real estate website transfer from a long-time host/webmaster to a Wordpress set-up.  I hope I'm doing the right thing!  It's a big step.  Some clients of the site provider feel that the website itself helps them attract clients.  I don't think that's 100% true. Many of today's newest real estate website providers are building their sites using custom Wordpress themes.

I've written many posts on how I can no longer attain #1 organic search results because of Google's algorithm changes that put all the big real estate portals above my sites.  These are sites of mine that were #1 for many years.  One site fell to page 2 and my oldest site is still on page one but "below the fold."  That's why I created 2 new niche hyper-local websites, which I'll share my latest posts with.

The problem is, the big portals have outdated information and their crazy home estimates that can be 20%+ off!  That's a huge difference.  Yet when a buyer searches for certain keywords, instead of getting a good, local site from an agent that works in that particular town and has updated data, they'll get a huge nationwide portal with listings that have already sold and closed and other properties that are not up-for-sale.

One popular real estate site started listing homes that are in some stage of foreclosure.  Many of these homes will never be on the market.  Some of them will be taken out of foreclosure proceedings by the current home owners.  Yet this website lists them all.  I know some buyers that would go up to the home and start looking around.  I hope they realize that in many cases there will be an angry or scared owner that will call the police for trespassing - or worse!

Homes in Homer Glen

Click the link to see 2nd Quarter sales for single family Homer Glen homes.  I was hoping for better statistics and I'm hoping year-end data will be more positive all-around.

Orland Park Real Estate

I'm loving my new website with MLS search, or as it's called, IDX search through iHomefinder.  I'm trying out several different IDX providers on all of my newly vamped websites and will try yet another when I make my final change to my main website.  I created a pre-done search for Orland Park foreclosures and the link will take you to a blog post explaining foreclosures and some differences between a foreclosure and short sale.

Oak Lawn Real Estate

I created the same search for Oak Lawn foreclosures, so click the link and you'll read another blog post all about it.  Some of the searches I create can be embedded into individual blog posts, but those are more general searches such as by a certain price range.  When you get more advanced I can only provide a link to the pre-made search.

Real estates sales do continue throughout the year, so if you are still considering buying and/or selling property, give The Judy Orr Team a call at 708-536-8200.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Best August Real Estate Blog Posts

I like to recap some of the prior month's real estate posts I've written in other sources, so here they are for August 2013.

Orland Park Homes and Real Estate

Orland Park homes and real estate website
The website isn't just about real estate and homes for sale.  I live and work in Orland Park so like to throw a local lifestyle spin on the website.  In fact, although I don't get a lot of people relocating into Orland Park, I'd like to paint a true picture of living in this popular southwest suburb.

I wrote about a great fast food diner and find out by a comment that the place might be moving from their current Orland Park location.  Go figure. Baby's Cheesecake and Lemonade has other locations, although they're a bit too far for me.  If they move I hope it's not too far away.

Although there are lifestyle articles on the site, it is about real estate, after all.  I'm really interested to see how 2013 will compare with 2012.  I don't really need to read statistics to know we're much busier this year compared to last, but I wasn't sure about how that affected prices.  You can see the difference between Orland Park homes sold in July of 2013 vs. 2012.  It's good news!

Homer Glen Homes and Real Estate

Homer Glen homes and real estate website
I've been transferring older posts to my new Homer Glen website template and it's literally been copy and paste.  Lots of time consuming work and I hope I keep this site as I'll have to do it all over again if I decide to switch back to Wordpress (although I kept my last back-up from my prior Wordpress site).

I'm having fun creating pre-set searches and I know many local buyers are interested in Homer Glen short sales.  Not only does this post give the link to show all current short sales in the village, but it explains what short sales are and how they work.  Many buyers have heard about short sales but don't fully understand what they really are.  This post should explain everything in easy-to-understand language.

Another fun way to search for Homer Glen real estate is by viewing pre-made searches by price.  Click Homer Glen homes for sale to see all single family properties priced $200,000 and under.  There are several ways to get to this pre-made search.  You can find the link in the post or on the right-hand sidebar on the Home Page.  It is also under the Search Homes tab on the top menu and this shows on every page on the website.

All of these pre-made searches will continually update the results, so you'll always have fresh listings no matter what the search parameters are.  Don't forget, you can always create your own advanced search of Homer Glen real estate.  We realize you might need more than just price.  You might need a certain price with a certain number of bedrooms and baths, etc.  If the pre-made searches are giving you properties you're not interested in then create your own personal search.  The best way to keep updated is to create an Automated Search that will send listings directly to your e-mail.  You'll never miss what might be the pefect place for you.

I sold another home in popular Meadowview Estates in Homer Glen.  This post will give you a little information on this subdivision.

Homer Glen doesn't have a lot of restaurants so we go to different towns a lot (we live in Homer Glen even though we have an Orland Park address - it's a long story).  One of our favorites is in the neighboring town of Lemont called 3 Corners Grill & Tap.  It just goes to prove you can be in a weird location and still prosper if you have something great to offer, and 3 Corners has great food you don't usually find in a restaurant/bar.

I've written other posts but these are the ones I wanted to feature here.  Homer Glen and Orland Park are the two major towns I work in.  Call Judy Orr if you're interested in either of these towns, or any southwest Chicago suburbs - 708-536-8200.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Best Recent Oak Lawn Real Estate Posts

You've already been introduced to the new Oak Lawn real estate website.  This is the #1 local site for Oak Lawn homes and other real estate.  Because of the new website created, the site might have lost its first page Google position because of the new pages created and Google having to find and index them. Once that is accomplished I think we'll be back at the top again.

In an effort to kick-start indexing of the new site I'm listing some of the most interesting blog posts recently transferred over:
Each of the above links offer even more ways to see searches already done for you or the ability to create a custom search for Oak Lawn or any of the towns our large MLS services.  The pre-made searches will constantly update themselves so you'll always have the latest listings.  

We created this new website for it's ease of use and the ability on our end to create these kinds of searches so you can quickly check the current market in types of listings, price ranges and more.  We will be adding more custom searches to the website so come back and see what's new!

The Judy Orr Team, your Oak Lawn REALTORS - we've lived and worked in Oak Lawn, IL for many years and we know this popular village.  Call us at 708-536-8200.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A New Look For Oak Lawn Real Estate Website

Oak Lawn Homes & Real Estate website

I've been making a lot of website changes lately, and I picked the wrong time to do it.  Oak Lawn real estate has been hot lately and I chose the busiest time of the year to make changes to multiple websites, as you can see in this blog.  I still have one more to go.

This is my first real estate website I ever created.  At the time, I was living in Oak Lawn and created a website that covered this popular village (has the most sales of the main southwest suburban area I work in) and the surrounding towns.  

Because it was such a niche site it was #1 in Google if you did a search for Oak Lawn real estate.  Things have changed with recent Google algorithm changes and the big portals that have deep pockets, and although the site is still on the first page it has lost it's number one position.  But it is still the 1st local website that shows up in a normal Google search in the regular (not local) results.  I get a lot of business from it.

Why did I make all these changes?  I believe in creating what is called hyper-local sites for my main areas.  I think with the Google changes and competing against these big portals, it is more important for us "little guys" to try to beat them in local organic searches.

I feel I'm providing the best information for Oak Lawn real estate than those big real estate websites can.  I know the village first-hand as I grew up there and lived there as an adult for many years.  Both my team-mates, my husband and daughter, also lived in the village for many years.

If you're interested in searching for Oak Lawn homes, give Judy Orr a call at 708-536-8200.  We are your Oak Lawn REALTORS.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Introducing the New Orland Park Real Estate Website

Orland Park homes and real estate website

I created a website years ago for Orland Park real estate but at the time there wasn't any talk about hyper-local niche websites.  What does that term mean?  It could mean anything from a website created for Senior Lifestyle & Living, real estate for members of the Armed Forces, golf properties, beach properties, etc. It can also mean a site created for a specific area such as one town or even a subdivision.

The reason I shut down the website in the past was because I didn't understand the power of keeping things local.  Most real estate agents take business where they can get it, and I work in about 40+ different towns in the southwest Chicago suburbs.  

Over the years I've heard of some agents that work a very small area.  One real estate agent works within a mile radius.  She states that she can walk to any of her listings.  I don't know how she can make a living in such a small territory and I wonder if she turns down buyers who want to venture out of her boundaries.

I also met a gentleman who did the websites for a brokerage in Florida where agents were assigned an area (normally unheard of in real estate sales) and the websites pulled in the leads for these agents.  He said they made more money working those small areas than they ever did before, selling wherever business brought them.

As real estate agents we sometimes spread ourselves too thin in areas covered.  We don't make our mark in any one of them.  I did create one local real estate niche site for Oak Lawn that held it's #1 position for many years.  I used to live there so it was a perfect match.  But now my office and home are in Orland Park (I live in Homer Glen with an Orland Park address), and I want to make my presence in these two villages.  I was listed as a 5 Star Real Estate Agent for Orland Park in Chicago Magazine's October 2012 issue and am hoping to make it again this year.

Please visit the site if you're interested in Orland Park.  It offers more than just real estate.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Homer Glen Real Estate Website

There is a new website created for Homer Glen homes, real estate and lifestyle.  It features a search of Homer Glen homes for sale, a mortgage calculator and current interest rates, a blog with Homer Glen news and reviews plus more.

We created this site so it is fun and easy-to-use.  You can access the Home Search from almost every page. You can see current blog posts with thumbnail photos to help you choose.  There are pre-made searches already created in the Search Homes menu section.

As a buyer, you can use the pre-done Homer Glen homes for sale searches or create your own custom search.  You can make things even easier by filling out an easy form and get all active listings sent directly to your e-mail.

Homer Glen home sellers can get an online market valuation of their home.  They can also search for area homes to keep updated with the current market.

There is a ton of useful information for both buyers and sellers and you could spend hours on this website.  We live and work in Homer Glen and wanted to create a blog/site for the village we love living in.  We hope Homer Glen residents or anyone interested in this growing village enjoys, reads and participates in this site created just for them.

Homer Glen homes for sale website