Give Your Home Curb Appeal and Watch it Attract Many More Buyers

Curb appeal is all about bringing out the beauty of the front part of your home. Curb appeal is that subtle quality that makes your home welcoming, inviting, warm, fresh, appealing and interesting. It is what makes a potential buyer want to see more of the house as he/she looks at it for the first time. There are countless stories from real estate agents of buyers refusing to get out of the car to view a house simply because the outside was not well kept. If you have already given the inside of your home a makeover, it is time to deal with the outside so that it does not drive potential buyers away.

It is true that money is not easy to come by, but do not hold back on giving the outside of your home a beauty treatment. You do not have to put yourself in a financial bind to give your home curb appeal, but do not neglect it or buyers will go on to the next house on their list.

The first thing you should do is walk outside and view your house objectively. Try to find the above-mentioned qualities…welcoming, inviting, warm, fresh, appealing, etc. If you cannot see them, then it is likely that no one else will either. Try to remember what attracted you to your home when you drove up and looked at it for the first time.

Perhaps you saw an attractive front door with a well-painted door frame. If the paint on your front door and door frame has faded and/or cracked, then it is time to sand it down and repaint it. If your door is natural wood, then clean and varnish it again. You will be surprised how your wooden door will glow with a good cleaning, treatment and varnish.

Artists use focal points in their artwork to draw the viewer’s eye. No matter how modest your house is, you can find a focal point or something of interest to draw attention. There are details such as shutters, brackets, moldings, eaves, windows and window frames which can be used to draw potential buyer’s eye. You should use contrasting, not too bold, colors that show attention to detail.

People walking up to your home will look at your lawn, and they will notice any worn, brown or missing patches. Make sure you take care of those and also make sure that you mow the lawn. While you are at it, fill your planters with bright flowers if you have them. If not, you may want to go to your local flea market and find some planters to fill. And while you are at the flea market, pick up some hanging pots and plant flowers in them.

You do not want your house looking like the rest of the houses in the neighborhood and strategically placed flowers will make sure that it does not. The idea is to make your house say look at me, without going over the top with colors that will detract rather than add to its beauty. Look at the other houses in your neighborhood and then make yours different and more attractive. That is curb appeal, and it will make your home look much better and it will hopefully sell much faster.

Buyers Guides Vs Unbiased Product Reviews – Why More And More Consumers Are Preferring The Latter?

If you are on the look out for a buyers guide before going on your next shopping spree, here’s something that can help you make a smarter choice! We all know there are buyers guides written and compiled by product experts that are served along with the newspapers and magazines. You can get a buyers guide for buying a new lip color to a new car. Usually these buyers guides tell you everything about your new buy and aren’t you excited at these when they talk about the best features of a new Nokia phone or a new motorbike that is just launched? There isn’t any doubt that these guides are packed with information and still are very powerful tools in today’s markets. Often these guides are compiled by a publishing house and sponsored by manufacturer of products for which the guides are meant for. But let’s keep in mind that most of the time these guides are nothing short of adverts in disguise.

There are several compelling reasons for these buyers guides to mimic an advertisement. One is most of the time the guides are sponsored directly or indirectly (through advertisements) by product manufactures and so the authors cannot really write against the products and therefore have to toe the line of the manufacturers. And since there is no way that the primary players of the buying and selling game, i.e. the buyer, manufacturer or an existing consumer of the product can interact it becomes basically a one-way conversation where the buyer gets to hear all good things about the product. This is more of a biased representation of the products which it features and in most cases the authors of the guides are the company representatives or other hired people having an interest in promotion of the product.

Appropriately a buyers guide, as the name suggests should be buyer or consumer-centric and primarily cater to the betterment of the consumers. If we think hard, we would know that customer satisfaction goes a long way to strengthen the business. So a true buyers guide will not only help the consumers but also the manufacturer of the products in the long run. Once a buyer criticizes a product it actually presents an opportunity for the manufacturer or the sellers to rectify that defect or lacuna or respond to the changing taste of the consumers. But unfortunately such buyers guides are not abundant in circulation and still the vast majorities are the one-way communication types where reporters and paid experts write a product review more as a part of a business deal than a critical review. Probably the authors and publishers of the buyers guide failed to realize the need of the consumers; the consumers are looking for more than brochures in the buyers guides.

So what is the choice before the consumer in the absence of a true buyers guide? Consumers gradually are learning to differentiate between biased information and true feedback. They cannot be just fooled anymore and already many consumers are turning their back to these sponsored guides. They are increasing relying on fellow consumers for information about products and services. Gone are the times when a company can form a consumer opinion by clever advertising and influence buyers to select their products. The consumers in the 21st century have a very powerful tool within their reach and that is internet. There are already hundreds of blogs which anyone can access and these online journals tell us the real consumer experience about products and services. They also narrate the harrowing experience that some consumers had to face due to unscrupulous companies and or inferior products. The information is voluntary and not paid for and so people perceive them as authentic as compared to the adverts. There are positive feedbacks too which are actually recommendations and consumers are taking cues and choosing smartly.

But the battle against biased information that seek to influence and misguide consumers can only be won if there is a larger participation. It is time for consumer action that makes sure consumers reclaim their rights and their voices are heard. Also they deserve timely action as they are tired of the slow and often ineffective consumer forums that have a very poor record in India. In the backdrop of a weak consumer rights protection system and many vested interests only consumers can help fellow consumers and they can do so without spending any money or much effort. There are already few websites available where a consumer can find out feedbacks about a product and also write a review for others to read. But again discretion should be applied as some of the websites contain many bogus reviews and also paid inserts. Consumer blogs are also very good source of unbiased and authentic information. The best part is that a consumer can also interact with the author and can ask specific questions before making a buy decision. So if you are a smart consumer better listen to your folks than an expert when you want to buy a product next time. Don’t worry too much about the experts, you can be an expert overnight and all you just need is to write product reviews which are eagerly waited by other consumers who want to read them.

Seinfeld’s Soda Machine Theorem of Converting Your Prospects Into Buyers

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the car dealership, where Jerry is looking to buy a new car in a dealership from Puddy, his mechanic and Elaine’s boyfriend at the time (George does a hilarious candy bar lineup, but I’ll talk about that one another time). Anyway, Elaine is trying to break up with Puddy, and she’s trying to convince Jerry (and herself) that their relationship has finished in one mighty blow. Jerry says there’s no way that’s possible and that: “breaking up is like trying to tip a soft drink machine over – you can’t do it with one strong push, you have to rock the darn thing back and forth until it finally tips over”

Words of wisdom indeed.

But wise old Seinfeld’s proverb can be applied to more than just dating.

That idiom is right for making a sale too – rarely does it happen with one mighty blow of conviction (that does happen once in awhile, but only with people who know, like and trust you already, i.e. they’re on your house list, usually past customers).

So how do you rock the proverbial soda machine into a sale?

Well, the first obviously (and popular) way is through emails.

Now, one important thing you need to remember when building your email sequence (that your competition is probably not doing because they don’t know what the hell they’re doing) is

People don’t want to be taught – they want to be entertained

The emails are where you bond with your audience and they get to know you, so don’t try too hard teach your audience. Rather, give them some entertaining content with a bit of soft teaching (i.e. tell them what they need to do to fix their problems but NOT HOW to do it), so they enjoy (and even look forward to) your emails, and they get the sense they’ve learned something informative while enjoying themselves.

Another way to rock your audience back and forth until their wallet falls out, which I’ve written about in previous articles, is engaging with them offline.

Direct mail still is, contrary to common belief, a very effective (and much less crowded nowadays) way to connect with qualified prospects and get them to bond with you even faster.

How come you ask?

Because sending someone direct mail with some attention-grabbing mechanism (check out my article about Dan Kennedy and the “grabbers” concept) creates 2 strong beliefs in your prospect’s mind:

That you’re a real person, not some virtual bot or a wet-behind-the-ears newbie trying his luck online, and…

That you’re a serious business – who else sends stuff by mail nowadays? Only big corporations, insurance companies, and the government. Although this is usually a much-hated crowd – they’re perceived as VERY serious, so being a part of that crowd gives the same sense of seriousness to your business.

To stand out of the crowd, go to the extents that your competition will dare not follow.

Car GPS Navigation Systems – A Buyers Guide

In 1973 the U.S. Department of Defence launched the Navstar GPS network. This consisted of 24 satellites orbiting the earth every 12 hours and five ground stations. This positioning system was made available for public use. With this capability, consumer location devices were produced to accurately determine location and other data such as current and average speed, directional heading, and elevation. These GPS devices need an unobstructed view of at least four satellites to provide a reliable 3D fix.

The GPS receiver overlays this location data onto map files stored on the unit, to give a current position on the map as well previous track. The receiver constantly recalculates position, giving real time position.

A typical GPS device contains:

  • 12-channel receiver – the quality of the receiver determines how long it takes the device to acquire a 3D fix.
  • Antenna to capture satellite signals – positioned to get a clear view of the sky.
  • CPU to process the data and overlay on maps
  • DVD Hard-drive – where maps on DVD’s or available online are uploaded and stored. Some cheaper units do not upload the maps, but reference them off the DVD or CD.
  • Display Screen – mostly color with handheld units using black and white
  • Voice Interface – more advanced units

How The GPS Device Gets A Fix

The first time you start your GPS device, its data store is blank so needs a to collect satellite information to determine your position. This is known as a cold start. Some units only take 30 to 45 seconds to acquire a 3D fix during a cold start, while others can take several minutes. Subsequent position updates only take 3 to 4 seconds. If you go out of range from losing line of sight, such as passing behind a large building or through a tunnel, a good receiver will instantly recover, whereas weaker units will require more time to reacquire a 3D fix.

How Different GPS Navigation Units Differ

Location of Antenna – A factory installed in-dash unit antenna is integrated into the dashboard where it has an unobstructed view of the sky. Many portable models have a suction-cup-mounting device to position the device on the windshield. Add-on antennas are also available. Regardless of the type of unit and antenna, the important thing is to keep the antenna visible to the greatest area of sky possible. Choose a unit where this can be done AT THE SAME TIME as being able to maintain a clear view of the screen.

Screens and Display – important to check how bright these are, and if they are clearly visible from the mounted position in bright day light. Onboard navigation systems are generally color screens, and portable units are black and white to save power. Larger screens and integrate better with other vehicle electronics.

Input Buttons – most enroute buttons are on the display screen. Ensure these are easy to use when driving; that is they are big enough and colored sufficiently to see without causing a driving hazard.

Map Media – Earlier models were CD-based, requiring multiple discs to cover the entire United States. Newer in-dash systems are DVD-based; only 1-2 DVD’s required for an entire country of maps.

Cost – In-dash systems are usually more expensive than portable counterparts. Aftermarket in-dash models usually require professional installation and can be just as expensive as the factory models.

Upgrading – always check how easy it is to upgrade the firmware and maps on your GPS unit. Some units detach a portion to be connected to the computer via USB, whereas others are done using a DVD. Those units which can be upgraded online, are much more convenient.

Added Features of GPS Units

Apart from giving you a current position, a number of GPS navigation devices can give you:

  • A track of where you have been – the number of tracks and waypoints stored varies from unit to unit. You may also want to save on part of a track for future use.
  • A path from your current position to your destination
  • Maintain commonly used navigation paths for reuse.
  • Points of Interest – user sets the types of points of interest, such as tourist, bank ATM, petrol stations, historical, accommodation, restaurants etc.
  • Real time traffic reporting to avoid traffic delays. This can also include road works.
  • Voice recognition to receive destination instructions, and voice guidance to give driving instructions
  • Weather updates
  • Street name navigation – instead of just turn left 200m it was say ‘Turn left into Stanley St’
  • Integrated Multimedia players – MP3 players, image viewers, and audio books.
  • Onboard or Portable GPS Navigation

The downside of onboard GPS Navigation units are susceptible to theft; and you cannot take them with you to use in other vehicles or when travelling abroad. Portable units, such as the Garmin StreetPilot 2720, can be used in multiple cars; being easily moved from car to car. Depending upon the power supply and portability, portable and handheld units can be taken when travelling or used on cycles, boats, private aircraft etc.

For more information on Go-Reviews.com Car Electronics Section.