Final Stretch

After publishing my website for the final presentation, I mentioned that I still had quite a bit of work that needed to be completed. Here are some things that I intend on completing before the final due date.

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Firstly, for the “Understanding the Client” section of the website, I included the traits and skills which clients look for in an agent. I am also going to address each individual skill and explain how agents could develop them by using various marketing tactics.

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For the advertising section of the website I am planning on explaining some adverting strategies realtors could use. Then, I am going to explore the various ways realtors advertise (e.g. websites, flyers, and billboards) and provide a brief explanation of why our culture values these advertising methods in different ways. Furthermore, for the negotiation section, I will explain various strategies and tactics involved in negotiation. I am also going to explain how different cultures perceive negotiation strategies however, I am still considering whether or not I should include these cultural explanations in their individual sections or perhaps develop another section strictly devoted to culture and marketing.

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Another large aspect of my website is the digital tools involved in real estate marketing. As I mentioned earlier, I will be uploading tutorials which instruct agents how to manipulate Geowarehouse to complete various tasks that are crucial to their marketing practices. In my last blog, I uploaded a tutorial which instructs realtors how to use the software to establish a marketing specialization. In the tutorial to come, I will explain how the application can be used to obtain information which influences setting the price of a home.

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Additionally, in my original project sketch, I planned on using Real Tour Vision to complete a virtual tour of a house and then to make some instructive video tutorials which explained how to use unique features of this software. Currently, I am creating the virtual tour and it seems to becoming along nicely however, I am having difficulty exporting the virtual tour; I may just have to use a link. Either way it should look great on my website!

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I hope I am able to create the Real Tour Vision Tutorials soon, as the Virtual Tour is is taking longer than I expected.

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Here is a quick sneak peak I have created using Microsoft Encoder 4 (an application which I mentioned in an earlier blog) enjoy!

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Virtual Tour Software Experience

Earlier I mentioned I was using Real Tour Vision to make a virtual tour of a home. However, before selecting this application, many others were explored.

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For instance, I checked out Vtility which appeared to be a user friendly website. However, after a little research, I discovered that it was a relatively new site and after clicking on the “start” tab to begin making my virtual tour, the website would not stop loading. At first I thought this may have had something to do with my Firefox browser settings however even when I opened it up with Internet Explorer I encountered the same issue. Thus, I concluded that the website was probably under maintenance and continued my search.

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Next, I came across a site known as Makevt. Unfortunately, I was unable to upload pictures onto the site. I am not entirely sure why I could not upload the photos however, I feel like the file type of the photos may have something to do with this issue. Regardless, this little technical difficulty discouraged me enough to keep on searching for virtual tour software.

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In addition, I had another unpleasant experience with a virtual tour website known as youvisit. While manipulating this software I managed to successfully upload my pictures however, after doing so, it was apparent that the website merely arranged the photos in a slideshow format. Rotating the pictures in the virtual tour was the only effect which the website offered. Due to the fact that I have viewed some extremely well made virtual tours with audio and digital effects offered (such as the one below paragraph) I knew there had to be a better free version of a site which I could use .That is when I found Real Tour Vision.

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Manipulating Real Tour Vision’s software has been an absolute delightful experience. By far, it was the easiest virtual tour creation software I encountered during my search. Just moments after coming across the sight, I was creating a free trial and getting started with the software. The software allows its user to perform many different effects on a virtual tour. Some of these effects include unique transitions, timing adjustments, zoom, audio effects, and many more!
Although, the free trial expired after 14 days, you can easily sign up for another one as long you have another email address. I highly recommend this software to any agent or homeowner who is attempting to market a house..

A Review of The Rise of Sustainable Housing; Matthew Mair’s Capstone Project

I have to admit, prior to visiting Matthew’s website; I had little knowledge on the topic of sustainable housing. However, after exploring the various features on his website, I have become enlightened with the importance of the matter in the modern era.

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After searching the web for similar sources, it was evident that Matthew’s website was one of the most informative sources on the topic of sustainable housing. It is an excellent place for anyone who is looking to begin their research on the topic. The website contains (and eventually will contain) information on many aspects of sustainable housing including links to relevant news articles, techniques for building sustainable homes, materials involved and a model of a sustainable house known as the Mothership Earth Design.

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Comments and Suggestions to Matthew
Matthew, overall your project appears to be coming along nicely. You have made a substantial amount of progress since your presentation in early March. Also, your website is one of the most clearly laid out, user friendly and intriguing websites which I have come across in my research on sustainable housing.

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The large size of your header and its accompaniment of the picture of homes made of what appears to be wood, sod, and stone really captures the essence of your topic and drives the user to want to continue exploring into your site. In addition, the history, timeline and design sections are excellent additions to your website. In particularly your Google sketchup of the Mothership Earth Design was really well made. Thus, if you find that you have enough time to make another sustainable housing model I highly recommend that you do so.

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Also, I noticed that your timeline has months included however, I am not sure if these months are the months where the developments actually occurred. If this is the case you should look in getting rid of the months feature on the timeline or notifying your users about this. In addition, while researching your topic on the web I came across a website known as the Sustainability Hub, which contains programs, resources, blogs and educational resources relating to your topic. This site is a great source which you could provide a link for on your website.Also, this site would be a great place to get your site some exposure to people who are highly engaged in sustainable housing, this brings me to my last point. I was not able to come across a social media tab on your website and because you explained how your topic was a modern issue, I think a social media tab would be a great way the general public could get some exposure to your website. These are just suggestions to an already excellent project. Good luck with your remaining work, I cannot wait to see your competed project.

Project Update

Due to the educational nature of my project, I plan on creating instructional video tutorials which will be posted throughout various sections of my website. These tutorials will show new Real Estate agents how to manipulate Geowarehouse and Real Tour Vision (refer to post from February 26th for info on these applications).

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The Geowarehouse tutorials will be largely centred on showing agents how to use the software in a manner which benefits their marketing practices. For instance, I have created a video which explains how Geowarehouse can be used to help new agents establish a specialization and make them more appealing to certain sections of a market.

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Also, I plan on making two more Geowarehouse video tutorials. The first video will be on how agents can manipulate the software to retrieve information which is relevant when setting the price of a property. This information includes the measurements of property, the average price of properties in the area, and what the house’s last sales price was.

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In addition, the second tutorial will be used to provide agents with information they should study before taking their buyers to see homes. This includes demographic information and data pertaining to neighborhood sales.

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To make these tutorials, I have been using a program called Microsoft Encoder Four. Microsoft encoder is an application which permits its user to record his or her desktop screen. It also allows the user to add audio over the video feed. This allows the user to commentate over their videos which makes it an ideal application for creating instructive video tutorials. I have included a video tutorial at the bottom of my blog which I plan on featuring in my website under the “Market and Specialization” section.

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Luckily, while searching through video tutorials on YouTube (many videos instructed how to use Microsoft Encoder and were ironically made with it) I was able to come across a code in one of the comments which gave me access to the pro version.

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Microsoft Encoder Four is also a user friendly application. I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs to create instructive videos which explain how to use certain software applications. Other than researching how to properly save my encoder project as a wmv file, I had very few questions about using the application. Currently, I am looking into extending my editing process in the application. For instance, I am learning how to add script and video in my video to make them look more professional. Hopefully, these tutorials turn out great!

Google Earth Assignment

Prior to working on the Google Earth assignment, I thought I knew how to manipulate the majority of Google Earth software. However, upon completing it, I realized how wrong I was.

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The most amazing part of the assignment was downloading the KML files right into Google Earth. A KML file is a notation for geographic visualizations such as ones in Google Earth.¹ For this assignment, I wanted to explore what KML files already existed for Mississauga, my hometown. I was surprised to come across a Mississauga KML file on Google Earth which clearly indicated the various districts in Mississauga by outlining and filling their areas with different colours. This KML file inspired me to conduct an even more specific exploration of Mississauga by focusing on City Centre, a district many would consider the heart of the city. While exploring City Centre, I made sure to document the iconic landmarks of the area. These landmarks included the Civic Centre Clock Tower, Celebration Square, Square One Shopping Centre and Absolute World (two residential buildings which have become known as the Marilyn Monroe Towers).

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Not only did Google Earth take me to a few of these locations after I searched for their names in the search pane of Google Earth however, it also provided me with links to information about these locations. This information included websites, phone numbers and reviews. However, for the locations which it did not provide search results, I was still able to manually add website and photo links.

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In addition, the Google Earth assignment allowed me to use many constructive tools within the application. For instance, I added a fire insurance plan from 1960 through the “image overlay” feature, drew a polygon over a rapidly developing area in City Centre, and indicated the landmarks I mentioned earlier through bold icons.

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Even after using the necessary tools to complete the assignment, I have to admit, I used some of the other features which the application offered. These tools allowed me to construct paths, view the Earths landmasses earlier in the century, see where the sun was shining at the current time, and explore the sky, moon and the planet Mars.

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Overall, this exercise reminded me of the activities conducted in the GIS workshop and made me realize how astonishing the Google Earth application is. The application and even the pro version are entirely free. I strongly recommend that anyone who is interested in GIS technology uses Google Earth and the pro version to familiarize oneself with how the technology works.

¹http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//00s20000000m000000

A Review of Elora Ont., Ashlee Bergin’s Project

Ashlee Bergin’s capstone project on the town of Elora will hold many interesting features once it is completed. Ashlee’s project aims to document the development of Elora by comparing a series of historical maps with one another. In addition, her project intends on contrasting historical photos of Elora with modern photos and compiling interviews of Elora’s citizens to provide the user of her website with an informed perspective of Elora’s development. This methodology will permit Ashlee to gain an understanding of how Elora’s culture and commerce have changed throughout the years. Furthermore, Ashlee will then be able to explain the significance of these changes.

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In addition, Ashlee’s project will utilize digital humanities tools such as website creation software and GIS technology. This is due to the fact that Ashlee intends on using Wix to create her website and Arcmap to compare old maps of Elora with new maps of the town. Given the nature of her project, the selections of both of these applications are appropriate.


Comments and Suggestions to Ashlee
Ashlee, overall I think your projects off to a great start. Your methodology for determining the cultural and commercial development of Elora is outstanding. Using downtown Elora as an indication of the evolving culture of the town is an excellent idea. Having too large of a scope for this component of your project would be extremely time consuming. Also, conducting interviews with locals on the topic of Elora’s development is a great aspect of your project which I believe you should definitely pursue. Furthermore, I believe it would be extremely effective if you devoted a section of your website to the oral history of Elora, and if possible, conduct a few more interviews. Carrying out interviews in the format of a video would be most effective, in my opinion. This way, the users of your website are able to put a face to the people who make up the town. Also, I know you were planning on using the book, History of Elora, to help you compose the history section your website however, after doing some research on the topic I came across The early history of Elora, Ontario, and vicinity by John Connon. Luckily, the internet archives digitized this work, the link I have provided will take you right to the book. Hopefully you will be able to utilize it in some way. Good luck with the rest of your project I am looking forward to seeing the final product.

Project Proposal

Goals and Project Context

      After a significant amount of research and consideration, I have finally decided what I am going to do for my final project. Having an interest in real estate, and the skills necessary to become a successful agent, I have decided to do my project on effective residential real estate marketing. After one becomes a real estate agent, there is pressure on the agent to get exposure, build clientele and maintain that clientele. Thus, many of the new and inexperienced agents go online to research marketing methods which could lead to their potential success. However, after conducting a significant amount of research on the topic online, I failed to come across a website that credited and referenced reliable academic sources. In addition, I discovered that a vast array of websites (including these three websites 1,2,3) overwhelmed their readers with advertisements  and/or seemed as if they were attempting to pressure their readers into a paid marketing subscription services. Furthermore, these websites generally appeared to contain limited information and failed to provide the reader with a complete understanding of what effective residential real estate marketing entails.

Therefore, after consulting these websites and academic sources on my topic, my goal for the final project was clear. What I intend on doing is creating a website that explains the aspects of effective residential real estate marketing. Some of these aspects include the strategy, selling, negotiation, ethics and web tools involved. Unlike many other websites that I examined, my website will aim to reference reliable academic sources (including various books, articles and studies), have a clear layout of the website, cover multiple aspects of residential real estate marketing, and provide free tutorials (which I intend on creating) of relevant real estate marketing software. Therefore, the main goals of the project are oriented towards research, education and engagement.

Owing to the fact I have limited background knowledge on real estate marketing, other than the research I conducted this semester; this project requires me to complete a substantial amount of research. In addition, this project will aim to act as an educational tool for real estate agents attempting to discover more about successful marketing in the field. Finally, this project will attempt to engage lay and academic audiences on the topic.

Data Acquisition

Due to the fact that the majority of my project will require me to consult relevant academic sources on real estate marketing, and consequently develop the content in my website (using proper citation methods), I will ultimately be repurposing data. I am currently in the process of deciding how to effectively organize the content of my website. However, I have decided that at least one section will explain how real estate agents can utilize certain digital tools (which I will mention in the next section) to enhance their marketing skills. In this section, I aim to create video tutorials which explain how real estate agents and regular people can manipulate and utilize a few of the digital tools I mention. Thus, for this section of my project I will be creating new, educational data.

Tool Application

A significant amount of digital tools will be utilized to create my project. For instance, I plan on using either Wix or Weebly to create my website. This is due to the fact that they both have a reputation of being user-friendly and providing their users with organized web design templates. Being new to website creation, I strongly require these two traits be present in a website creation tool. Although I did consider using a blog at first, I felt as if the information would be more clearly laid out by using a website. From my personal experience, I find it significantly easier to navigate between sections on a website rather than between blog posts on a blog. In addition, although we acquired basic coding skills this semester, I anticipate that using HTML to create my website would most likely be a time consuming and frustrating experience.

Two digital tools which are extremely helpful in real estate marketing are Geowarehouse and Real Tour Vision. Geowarehouse is a website which utilizes Google Maps technology to highlight different levels of property division on Google Maps (including municipalities, neighbourhoods etc). In addition, Geowarehouse allows the user to focus on specific homes and retrieve a significant amount of information relating to a specific property and the area surrounding it. This information includes the property details (perimeter and area measurements of the property), neighbourhood sales information (the average sales price of a house in a specific area), and demographical information (including population, household, socio-economic and cultural information).

      Furthermore, RealTourVision is a virtual tour creator which compiles a series of photos of a house, determines the location of the house on Google Earth, and assembles the photos in an elegant slideshow to market a house effectively. In addition, after becoming comfortable with both of these digital tools, I hope to teach my websites’ users how to adequately utilize the software by creating an instructional video. To create these instructional videos, I intend on manipulating Microsoft Encoder 4 (which essentially video tapes one’s desktop screen) and Windows Live Movie Maker.

New Skill Development

After completing this capstone project, I believe that I will have developed many new skills and improved some of my existing skills. For instance, being almost entirely new to the discipline of real estate marketing, I have had to enhance my research skills to locate a significant amount of reliable academic sources on the subject. A great difficulty I encountered was locating relevant studies relating to real estate marketing. However, by using the advanced search on Primo, I was able to obtain a variety of relevant studies conducted about real estate marketing.

Also, having limited experience in creating websites, I am confident that completing this project will provide me with new digital skills that will strengthen my capabilities online. In addition, this project has influenced me to explore numerous digital tools. For instance, before this semester I did not have any knowledge about Geowarehouse. Presently, I am able to navigate through different municipalities in Ontario and can retrieve interesting information about properties including the demographical statistics of a specific area. Also, this project has inspired me to learn about Real Tour Vision. Currently I cannot effectively manipulate its software, however, by my presentation date in late March; I plan on providing the viewers of my website with an instructional video on how to use this application. Thus, creating video tutorials is another skill I intend on further developing. As mentioned earlier, this heavily relies on my knowledge of Microsoft Encoder 4 and Windows Live Movie Maker. If I am able to successfully learn how to manipulate these applications, I will develop skills on live desktop screen recording and movie editing.

Academic Significance

Although this project intends to act as a legitimate educational tool for real estate agents, if it is executed properly, it has the potential to influence both lay and academic audiences to become engaged in real estate marketing and perhaps use some of the digital tools presented. In addition, due to the fact that my project will greatly deal with business ethics, I hope that I will influence my website’s audience to develop a greater understanding of what clients look for in the people who represent them. Thus, regardless of one’s educational background, I hope that my project will inspire people to become aware of the skills needed to be successful in any occupation involving professionalism in business.