Maryland Real Estate and Community News

July 8, 2022

Small Business Websites and SEO

I am on a recent journey that I feel many other small business owners find themselves on.  How in the world do I position myself online to stand out while showing professionalism, experience, and a genuine personality?  I am not a robot, and I am a talent you should consider hiring.  I personally have chosen a profession where everyone and their brother can enter my business and take a 3-month course and compete against me.  Real estate agents grow on trees.  Over 50,000 competitors exist in my little state of Maryland alone and to the general public we can all look very similar.  Your industry might be similar. 

 

I can speak to real estate at least as that is what I have known for the past 15 years.  After many years of being in the business and seeing folks come and go and watching those at the top remain there year after year in my industry, you can see the difference.  Thousands enter and thousands exit while the top 100 stay the same it seems.  The dedication, sacrifice, and challenges you will need to overcome to be a top performer consistently is not to be understated.  Selling one house is the easy part it seems.  Conveying that confidence and the network you gain by choosing the right agent/company is vital.  Now how to do that online with people you don’t know?

 

I don’t have the answer.  Sorry, that might not be a good thing to admit in a blog post about the subject, but I don’t.  This is more of a rant if I must admit.  What makes me feel better is I don’t think many others have it figured out either.  I have spoken to several website and SEO (search engine optimization) companies lately and they charge a small ransom for their expert opinions but most of them don’t know my industry that well.  Would they know your industry any better?  I hope so.  For now, we have decided to switch website platforms that can showcase our entire market of homes for sale in a way that simulates the big dogs in the space like Zillow… who have billions to spend… while being a “professional business card” online when someone looks us up.

 

I have started to rely on the advice of some of our clients that are consultants in this space that serve much larger businesses that have deep pockets and budgets. They seem to offer very basic and sound advice.  Be a human online.  Be what the bigger companies you compete against can’t be in your hyper-local marketplace and do the things most others feel uncomfortable or unwilling to do that are a similar size to you.  That translates to YouTube videos, blogging, posting consistently, getting reviews, getting backlinks from other local businesses to your website and the like.  Yuck, that sounds like a lot of work you say.  It will work though I have been assured.  It takes a brave soul to be vulnerable online and face potential criticism.  I am not good at it personally yet; I want to be liked and don’t want to show up poorly.  I am committed to getting better though.  So here I go on my own personal journey as a small business owner, I wish you the best luck on yours. 

Posted in Real Estate News
March 16, 2022

Letter From Matt

 

 

March Newsletter

 

 
Market Update
It is plain to see, we find ourselves in complicated, stressful times both nationally and internationally.  I wanted to share a few thoughts from my front row seat in the real estate community here in Maryland.
 
The typical questions I get asked at a cocktail party lately are answered as follows:  Disclaimer: please remember that while I have a degree in Finance and Economics, I am not a professional economist or financial advisor, just your nerdy Realtor :)

 
How does the conflict in Ukraine affect the Maryland housing market:
For starters, supply and demand are the fundamental driving factors of the real estate market.  Supply is still at a recording setting low, and that hasn’t changed.   The war has created a great amount of uncertainty in the global markets, and that uncertainty pushes investors towards safety.  U.S. debt and mortgage backed securities remain a very stable choice, and billions have flowed into those over the last couple weeks.  This pushes mortgage rates back down, allowing buyers more buying power while also allowing home values to climb.  As the war continues and sanctions on Russia become felt globally,  inflationary pressure will have a greater impact on the housing market, and the Fed will need to raise rates to protect it.

 
Inflation, Inflation, Inflation… Is that a question or a statement?
The federal reserve will likely feel the need to curb inflation by raising interest rates faster than previously predicted as that is the main method used to keep inflation in check nationally.   This will push mortgage rates up, reduce buying power, and  eventually help to stabilize  rising home values.  Every decision has both positive and negative consequences.  It simply isn’t an easy topic to answer in just a sentence. Essentially, home values/prices will rise due to lack of supply and due to rising construction costs, fuel costs and so forth.

 
Basic note on inflation:  Inflation pushes your home’s value up over time, and you have a financial instrument called a mortgage which allows you to use someone else’s money at a low, fixed rate to purchase a home. Let’s say you borrowed $500k on a mortgage at a fixed 4% rate and inflation is soaring at 7% or more.  That means you have a net benefit of 3%+ on someone else’s money!  These are certainly unique times we live in.  Owning your home out right with no debt might feel warm and fuzzy, but you miss out on this shield against inflation.

 
Should I consider investing in real estate right now?  Seems risky right?
One of the very best inflationary protection measures we can all take is to secure a low, fixed rate mortgage and spread it over a long period of time.  Personally, I am buying up rental properties at a fast pace.  I purchased another $1.2 million worth of properties to rent in the last 60 days and secured them each to a 4%, 30 year fixed rate mortgage.  If investment real estate is not something you are considering within your portfolio, we need to talk.  The US equity market has had the second worst start in 123 years, worse than the 1920 Great Depression.  Your average financial advisor likely knows very little on the subject of real estate investment and is not incentivized to even utter a word about it.  Real estate investing has created 90% of the world's millionaires. Realty is one of the most reliable wealth-building structures, as well as  an essential element of a well-diversified portfolio.  I scratch my head when my clients say they have never read a single book on the subject.  What better time to learn?

 
Is now still a good time to sell my family’s home?
If you are considering selling your primary residence then you should still be doing so.  Prices are near all time highs and you can lock in the financial gain.  Until you lock it in, you only have unrealized gains which are hard to spend :)  It remains a strong sellers market.  We have strategies which allow you to make a move and not wind up homeless as you find your new home.  We do it everyday.

 
Should we consider buying a new home right now in these crazy times?
For buyers, interest rates remain exceptionally low, far below the historical averages, and you can lock in a long term asset. I hear that many folks are waiting a bit to let things return to “normal”.  The rising prices of homes are unlikely to change in the short term and there are zero guarantees “normal” will be around the corner. Inflation and supply/demand pressures are unlikely to be changing soon.

 
This might have rambled on longer than it should have but I am passionate on the subject and enjoy what I do.  Feel free to give me a ring directly to discuss your real estate situation further.  Your referrals are always appreciated, I will be sure to take care of them.  
Stay well.
 
Matt Rhine
Posted in Monthly Newsletter
Nov. 30, 2021

The Great Debate! - "Riley's Corner" Pie vs Cake

 

We hope you just enjoyed an amazing holiday full of rest, relaxation and spending time with your friends and family. Matt and I were able to sneak away with our significant others for the holidays. We both enjoyed amazing food and great company. We are so thankful and blessed we both are able to take time off this year!

 

During the holidays, we like to thank our past, future and current clients in a really special way.  We recently just had our Annual Pie Giveaway Event where over 50+ people were given a free pie for Thanksgiving from The Matt Rhine Group. We team up with a local bakery in our area, Enchanted Cakes & Treats, for an amazing day of free pie goodness. We highly recommend you get on our mailing list so we can add you to the fun!

 

We had such a great turn out. So many participants have texted pictures with their pie/family selfies. We love it! But it sparked a very interesting debate between Matt and I. What is better?? Cake?? or Pie??

 

Seems like such a silly thing to debate but when we started asking our friends and family, the conversation grew heated! People were super passionate about cake over pie and pie over cake. Many of my family members laughed at me and said "Pie is a holiday thing, not an everyday treat." Others mentioned "Cake is the true winner and way more versatile!" Some disagreed and said  "Cake is only for birthdays!" With conviction, people were ready to go to war over which dessert was superior. I personally LOVE cake. If there is an event with no cake, it's not an event in my opinion. Bring on the calories!

 

What is YOUR opinion? Cake or Pie?? 

 

I hope you all had an amazing Holiday and we look forward to reconnecting for future events in December.

 

Riley


Posted in Community News