Posts by Properties Online (page 90)

Video Chat Offers Realtors New Communication Tool

The integration of video chat with Facebook and Google+ offers Realtors and real estate firms an exciting new communication tool. Readily accessible from Facebook and Google, video chat is easier to use than Skype, making it an effective way for real estate agents to log face-time with long-distance clients. Email communications and tweets are adequate tools for transferring information about real estate listings to long-distance clients and have proven to be an effective way to quickly answer clients’ questions; but they lack the personal connection of face-to-face meetings.

Video chat allows real estate agents and clients to see each other in real time while they are talking, creating a more intimate and personal communication experience. Video chat makes it possible for real estate agents to develop a personal relationship with home buyers that do not live in the area, as well as with local buyers who have extremely limited availability.

The stress of finding and purchasing a home can be particularly grueling for long-distance home buyers who, by virtue of their absence, are forced to be more dependent on their Realtor than local buyers for reliable information about local schools, community services, neighborhood ambience and other issues that are important to home buyers. The ability to actually see their Realtor while discussing their housing needs and potentially suitable real estate listings can provide the extra bit of comfort and reassurance that many long-distance home buyers need.

Beyond its use as a highly effective client communication tool, video chat also offers real estate firms a viable video conferencing alternative. Video chat provides the benefits of video conferencing without the need for a video conferencing system. There’s no complicated set up, specialized equipment, lag time or expense. Video chat allows real estate firms to connect agents or multiple offices in real time for weekly briefings, training sessions or idea exchanges. Video chat allows real estate companies to create an anytime anywhere virtual conference room via computer or smartphone, a considerable advantage in our highly mobile world.

Make sure you’re reaping the full benefits of new real estate technology; contact Properties Online today.

Real Estate ‘Dictionary’ Aimed at Standardizing Descriptions

Real estate websites and classified ads can leave first-time home buyers wishing they had a Secret Agent decoder ring so they could decipher the abbreviations and description shortcuts used by real estate agents to save precious space when posting to  their local MLS system and creating newspaper and online classified ads for their properties. When house hunting, the first thing buyers and sellers need to do is learn the lingo!

Unfortunately, being able to decode a property listing on a real estate site doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a clear picture of the house that’s for sale. Like comparing apples to oranges, one Realtor’s flowery “luxurious master bath” may be another real estate agent’s succinctly stated “full bath.” Even real estate agents can find themselves confused when reading listings from another part of the country. Each regional of the U.S. seems to have its own unique way of describing different real estate features. Being unfamiliar with the local slang can radically skew your interpretation of a real estate listing. For example, a California bungalow could be a Midwest ranch or a New England Cape Cod. Each word conjures up a very different mental image depending on where you live in.

More than 900 nationwide multiple listing sites complicate the issue. Many determine their own listing standards. Discrepancies from one real estate website to another are often found in the way square footage is determined, how living space is defined, and how bedrooms and bathrooms are reported.

Such inconsistencies in the reporting, translation and display of real estate property data have led the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) to consider creating and adopting a standardized Data Dictionary for the real estate industry. Charged with promoting the development and implementation of data standards across the industry, the organization’s board has scheduled a discussion of the Data Dictionary proposal for its April meeting.

Real Estate Standards Organization board chairman Rebecca Jensen, CEO of UtahRealEstate.com, told The Seattle Times that preliminary discussions at the Real Estate Connect conference make publication of the first real estate Data Dictionary “very close.”

Use Real Estate QR Codes to Boost Website Traffic

Sometimes described as bar codes on steroids, QR codes have become an essential mobile marketing tool that offers real estate agents a cheap, easy and effective way to drive traffic to their real estate sites.

Sometimes described as bar codes on steroids, QR codes have become an essential mobile marketing tool that offers real estate agents a cheap, easy and effective way to drive traffic to their real estate sites. Short for Quick Response, real estate QR codes live up to their name. When scanned by a smartphone camera, QR codes immediately transport home buyers and home sellers to a target location; for instance, the Realtor’s website, the agent’s contact information, a particular landing page, a specific property listing or video. QR codes allow consumers to instantly access detailed information about a real estate listing or agent with a wave of their phone. Consumers do not need to enter a web address or click through a series of options. A quick swipe of their phone is all it takes to access the information they want, making QR codes are the perfect mobile marketing tool for today’s successful real estate agent.

Real estate agents can forge connections with potential home buyers and sellers by adding QR codes to business cards, flyers, newspaper ads, direct mail, online property listings and lawn signs, using different QR codes to direct consumers to different sites or information. Different QR codes can be imbedded in different marketing vehicles to help track their effectiveness. QR codes are also proving effective in building social media relationships between real estate agents and potential clients. QR codes are still novel enough to generate excitement and curiosity. People can’t seem to resist scanning QR codes when they appear in Facebook posts and Twitter tweets. Their popularity and convenience are making real estate QR codes the preferred method of linking to detailed information and video tours of new property listings.

As smartphone become the new communication standard and consumer interaction becomes increasingly mobile, QR codes are expected to become the go-to method of imparting information to real estate consumers. PropertiesOnline.com can help you add this powerful mobile marketing tool to your real estate tool bag. Free real estate QR code generation is included with all Properties Online website products.

iPad Is Becoming a Must Have at Real Estate Open Houses

The popularity of the iPad is on track to close the door on traditional real estate open houses. Since its introduction, iPad sales have soared. An estimated 50 million people now own iPads or their Android tablet computer clones. Their slim size, light weight, portability, internet connectivity and compatibility with mobile technology have made iPads the marketing tool of choice for real estate agents.

Easier to use and display and even more portable than laptop computers, it didn’t take iPads long to replace laptops at open houses and client meetings. Their larger screen size also gives tablets a considerable edge over smartphones when it comes to displaying property listings and running walk-through videos for home buyers.

iPads have become de rigueur at open houses. Real estate agents find tablets a convenient and eye-catching way to showcase other area properties. Touch technology still engenders a certain “oh, wow!” response that impresses home shoppers. Some real estate agents have found it profitable to join in sponsoring neighborhood open houses. Tablet tours at each property entice home shoppers to visit other area open houses. But numerous industry watchers believe that tablets and the rise of mobile communication have already rung the death knell for traditional open houses. Time-crunched home buyers would rather check out property video tours on their iPads than spend time traipsing from house to house.

The marrying of tablets and mobile technology allows real estate agents to interact with clients anytime, anywhere. Video conferencing is replacing office visits. Tweets are replacing emails. iPad and iPhone apps allow real estate agents to forward listing information and video tours to clients as soon as new listings are posted. House hunters can now peruse real estate listings from the comfort of their home or while they’re on the go. With an iPad, home buyers can check out new listings while they’re commuting to work or sitting in the parking lot waiting to pick up the soccer car pool. Tablet technology frees real estate agents and home buyers from time and place constraints, opening a new era in real estate.

If you have an iPad, you might want to check out this cool app called Open Home Pro

New Real Estate Listing Network Challenges MLS

The launch of a new real estate listing network aimed at real estate franchises challenges the supremacy of the real estate industry’s traditional multiple listing services (MLS) and is generating a lot of discussion among U.S. Realtors. Developed by behemoth real estate syndicator ListHub, the new Real Estate Network (REN) will expand property listing syndication to the websites of the nation’s biggest real estate franchises. Owned by Move, Inc., ListHub is offering participation in its new Real Estate Network to real estate brokers and multiple listing services as a free and voluntary online real estate tool. RE/MAX, Century 21, Coldwell Banker and Realty Executives International were the first to jump on the bandwagon.

The launch of Real Estate Network will allow the 43,000 real estate brokerage firms, 376 multiple listing services and numerous real estate franchises that currently participate in ListHub to expand their real estate marketing reach by choosing to send their property listings to one or more network members. Members of the new network retain the right to pick and choose the network members with whom they will share property listings and may refuse to share listings with select network members at their discretion.

In the Real Estate Network launch announcement on PR Newswire, Move CEO Steve Berkowitz called the new network “an industry-friendly initiative” that “maximizes and ensures broker control” over the promotion of real estate listings. While Real Estate Network rules are similar to the Internet Date Exchange (IDX) listing parameters imposed by multiple listing services, the game-changing difference is that Real Estate Network mandates a uniform nationwide listing standard.

Several aspects of the new network are generating talk in the real estate community. The possible demise of multiple listing services seems to be the greatest potential impact the new network might have on the real estate industry. Some industry watchers are also predicting that online realty lister Zillow will suffer from competition with a new, broad-scale listing network. The biggest winners may be smaller real estate firms that stand to benefit from free access to real estate tools developed by their bigger brethren.