Conclusion - First Time Home Buyers can't find the Blogs that explain how to Buy a Home

Nigel at the Salt Lake City RE blog made a comment inquiring about blogs that attract first time home buyers. I replied that the first time home buyer would likely google to find information on home buying and the typical RealEstateABC and home listing sites would place high. I later test googled "how to buy a home", "first time home buyer" and "home buying guide" to see what a prospective first time buyer would see on the top page. The returned queries were obvious - the typical "how-to" sites like and sites run by lead generation companies and lenders that search engine optimized to rank high on these particular queries. No blogs show up.

When I enter the same queries into a blog search engine - Technorati - NONE of the returned results (even with "a lot of authority") provide information with any relevance to a first home buyer. (I've always thought Technorati was completely off target with queries, it's the next topic for exploration)

I assume this is one big reason why no first time home buyers ever read blogs to understand the home buying process... they can't find them. In fact, I'll also assume most of these buyers don't know blogs even exist.

Tonight, Nigel replied with the same conclusion - first time buyers don't read the blogs.  He speculates whether developing a blog that focuses on "how-to's" and provides a forum for first time home buyers would get traffic, at least enough to support it financially.

Again, my initial take is - how will the first time home buyer ever find such a blog? (given the assumption search engines won't point to it right away). I was thinking it may be more appropriate for Nigel to develop his existing blog just as he is doing now focusing on local issues and other topics that are attractive to his readership. He should prepare a series of articles for first time home buyers that may eventually attract organic search returns. As the consumer market begins to understand feeds and subscriptions, particularly with the release of MS Vista's RSS capabilities and the consequent media attention on blogging, blogs will eventually be subscribed by the first time buyers Nigel is searching for.


Here are the types of sites returned from the example query :

how to buy a home

  1. HUD info
  3. FannieMae site
  4. Washington Post real estate listing page
  5. For Sale by Owner
  6. HUD home buying guide
  7. Homegain - a lead generation company
  8. MSN real estate

first time home buyer

  1. HUD info
  3. Homefair - a site
  4. Countrywide
  5. Amazon book
  6. - a mortgage rate aggregator
  7. Century 21
  8. Mortgage calculator - leads to LoanApp, a lead generation company
  9. - links to lead generation companies

home buying guide

  1. FannieMae site
  2. HUD
  3. HUD
  4. Link aggregator
  5. MSN
  6. RealEstateABC
  7. Long & Foster Realty (northeast)

Technorati tags


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  • 10/18/2006 10:21 PM Kevin wrote:
    Most real estate bloggers, myself included, struggle to figure out the right mix of local, client-centered content to attract clients and general business-centered content to generate readership. It's a Catch-22 right now -- not much of the general public is reading real-estate related blogs now, so we write to the audience we currently have, which tends to be other real estate bloggers. They, unfortunately, tend not to be our clients.
    Reply to this
    1. 10/19/2006 8:15 PM P Kitano wrote:
      Yep, you Realtors (frankly, all us bloggers) are waiting for the Consumer to play catchup...  Kevin, here's a ball into your court - Joseph at Sellsius and I were discussing putting together a collaborative blog on the order of RealtyBlogging that would focus on First Time Home Buyers. Moreover, we'd like to see if a collaborative blog like this will attract this elusive Consumer into reading a Blog rather than RealEstateABC. And finally, as the FTHB blog grows, we would hope it will displace those SEoptimized Homegain organic placements on google, and become a true resource for the consumer that they can actually find. And of course, we can finally talk to someone besides ourselves Are you in? (Nigel - your take?)

      Reply to this
      1. 10/20/2006 10:41 AM Nigel Swaby wrote:
        I definitely think collaboration by professionals in the real estate industry is a good idea. We all know real estate is very local, so professionals who know local areas would be needed.

        My initial concept is more consumer driven though. Kind of like a Q&A session. Though the discussion would be loosely moderated, I envision very generic posts to begin, with questions or answers filled in by FTHBs and real estate professionals, or whoever else wants to chime in.

        In my vision, the posts would be broken down by State and the discussion would be free flowing. As professionals, I think we'll be suprised as to what really drives FTHBs and people in their first homes.
        Reply to this
        1. 10/20/2006 2:34 PM P Kitano wrote:
          Thx for the feedback Nigel... stay tuned...


          Reply to this

  • 10/19/2006 2:02 PM teresa boardman wrote:
    I have several of the links you listed on both my web site and blog for home buyers. I also have a first time home buyer and a home buyer category. Buyers are finding the stuff through the search engines. That doesn't mean I don't need to do more.
    Reply to this

  • 11/27/2006 11:29 AM Joseph France wrote:
    I found your entry while searching specifically for First Time Home Buyer blogs, and you're right. It's tough to be featured high on Google when it comes to home buyer education. We produce a magazine called The First Time Home Buyer. Online we are slowly moving up the Google ladder and also starting our own blog with additional information for those who do not yet get the magazine. Maybe we can chat about some ideas.
    Reply to this
    1. 11/28/2006 12:36 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Pleased to meet you Joseph... checked your site... let's chat... I have a few ideas...

      Reply to this

    2. 4/25/2007 10:12 AM April Groves wrote:
      Joseph - thanks for the resource! It was just the link I needed! Keep me posted about the blog formation.
      Reply to this

  • 12/21/2006 2:11 PM Rich Schiffer, REALTOR wrote:
    I went to, and did a search for "The Home Buying Process: Step by Step"

    I found several relevent articles. (including one I wrote in the #2 position) But I started off knowing what to search for. Search results will only be as effective as the search parameters, and the typical user starts off with a very broad search. Companies spend big bucks bidding on keyword searches trying to capture those broad searches to their own sites. The average individual posting a blog does not have the $$$ to compete with that. The only thing we can do is try to tag our blogs in such a way as to capture the attention of the search engines, and hope for the best.
    Reply to this

  • 3/12/2007 10:41 AM Elizabeth Weintraub wrote:
    Heh, heh, I have to chuckle. does not spend billions doing search engine optimization for my site. I do it myself. And, which is owned by The New York Times, is not simply a "how to" site; it provides practical advice and consumer information in a unique manner from an insider's viewpoint. Not only do consumers read my site, but real estate professionals subscribe to my feeds.

    The way moves up in google ranks is by a multiple of methods. I link consistently to other sites, and they link back to me. I select key words for each article of content I write, and I use those words. I submit links in other articles of content to each other. I write my metatitles with keywords, repeated for clarity. I optimize each page. I write articles for other Web sites that include links back to my own site. But probably most important is I write articles that sources such as Google, and Yahoo find relevant, quote and link to.

    Most of my readers find my articles first, my blog second and my professional site third. I believe that if you give a reader the information they are looking for first, they will return the loyalty by subscribing to your blog.

    I also send out a newsletter once a week. It's not huge numbers, but I do have a little more than 13,000 newsletter subscribers who receive it. Content is key.

    There are few tricks, of course. to landing your blogs in search engines such as google alerts. Linking to previous blogs you have written, for example, inside an existing blog. Including dates in your blog title. Making your blog title a hyperlink. Including links in your blog to other content pieces. Using two pages to write your blog that link forward and backward through a "read more" link. Or so I am told. I have not yet been successful at that particular aspect yet.

    The Real Estate Tomato offers very practical search engine optimization advice, too. But it's an art, and it constantly changes. It's not enough to just write a good blog these days. Always, do SEO, and you will be rewarded.
    Reply to this
    1. 3/12/2007 10:59 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thank you so much for your generous advice Elizabeth. Of course, / NYT is a consumer portal and an opportune gateway from consumer to blogging community... I've always been keen on opening that gateway and you're well positioned to making that happen...

      I was pleased to see you're from Sacramento, I didn't know that... we're neighbors.

      Reply to this

  • 3/12/2007 1:18 PM Elizabeth Weintraub wrote:
    Well, we now share the same MLS. You're based in The City, right?
    Reply to this
    1. 3/12/2007 1:36 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Well, it's about time we can share the same MLS, now I think Contra Costa/Alameda MLS needs to enter the fold for the system to be more unified in NorCal. I'm not a realtor, but I've heard plenty of complaints about the SFAR MLS.

      Reply to this

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