Posts Tagged as listing tool

The Zillow-Trulia Merger & Your Real Estate Business

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will a Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will the Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

On July 28th, Zillow announced via a press release that “it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia, Inc. … in a stock-for-stock transaction. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.”

Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow, stated: “Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals. Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it’s still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web. This is a tremendous opportunity to combine our resources and achieve even more impressive innovation that will benefit consumers and the real estate industry.”

Pete Flint, Trulia’s CEO, then commented: “Trulia and Zillow have a shared mission and vision of empowering consumers while helping real estate agents, brokerages and franchisors benefit from technological innovation. By working together, we will be able to create even more value for home buyers, sellers, and renters, as well as create a robust marketing platform that will help our industry partners connect with potential clients and grow their businesses even more efficiently. Our two companies share complementary employee cultures with innovative, consumer-first philosophies and a deep commitment to create the best products and services for our industry partners.”

By the (self-reported) numbers:
• Zillow reported a record 83 million unique users across mobile and Web in June 2014.
• Trulia reported a record 54 million monthly unique users across its sites and mobile apps in June 2014.
• Approximately half of Trulia.com’s monthly visitors do not visit Zillow.com
• Approximately two-thirds of Zillow.com’s monthly visitors across all devices do not use Trulia.com.
• “Maintaining the two distinct consumer brands will allow the combined company to continue to offer differentiated products and user experiences, attract more users and maximize the distribution of free content across multiple platforms, apps and channels.”

The Zillow-Trulia merger might not create the “pricing power” juggernaut that many people fear. We’ve been reading comments by agents and brokers all over the web, and the fact is that many MLS boards and independent agents are starting to pull their listings – they simply don’t want to have to pay to advertise next to their own listings. There are also frequent rumblings about the data and Zestimates on Zillow being inaccurate.

Citron Research cites a deal struck between Realogy and Zillow/Trulia. Realogy—the world’s largest real estate agency, comprising Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, ERA, Century 21 and Better Homes—secured a lucrative deal for its agents that “prohibits all other agencies from advertising on their listings” at a cost of less than 95% what any other agency pays. What’s more, Realogy is aggressively pursuing their own online offering that will compete head-to-head with Zillow-Trulia in the consumer-focused online real estate space, with a new product expected sometime in 2015.

“We believe that there is a space in there that we can compete in. It will have features like Zillow and Trulia. It will have features that you wouldn’t put on a real estate brokerage website. An example of that would be Zestimate that Zillow uses. There are certain features that we believe we can effectively do and be able to cast a net outcome, a consumer-oriented facing website arena and be able to capture leads, reviewing [scrub then] as I described, and then put them in the hands of our sales associates so we create the business opportunity,” NRT CEO and President Bruce Zipf is quoted as saying on May 9th during a Realogy Investor Day Q&A.

Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, has been quoted as saying, “It ought to be quite clear to a listing agent or a broker that it behooves their seller to have their listing displayed on Zillow and Trulia or sites that Zillow powers.”

Indeed, Zillow powers some of the internet’s major property search engines, and together with Trulia will indeed have a massive reach. But for how long, with competitors like Realogy making such significant strides, technologically and on behalf of its agents at the bargaining table? And how long before Keller Williams, Remax, Berkshire Hathaway, or other agencies demand and negotiate the same deals Zillow-Trulia have granted Realogy?

Many real estate professionals feel a loss of power in the face of the deal, which cements a growing resentment at having to pay Zillow to advertise their listings. Online forums reveal many of these agents calling for boycotts, while still others agree there isn’t another viable option.

Inman News contributing writer Joseph Rand writes in his Op-ed “Why Zulia doesn’t mean checkmate,” that: “The bottom line is that Zillow needs listings more than listings need Zillow. Which means that Zillow needs the people (brokers and agents) who take those listings more than they need Zillow.” I’d venture that he is bang on with that assessment.

Where does your business fit in? Do you use Zillow to obtain leads? One thing I can say with certainty is that this isn’t over, and we’ll be talking about the Zillow-Trulia merger for some time to come. How do you feel about all of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts from the proverbial trenches.

How Single Property Websites Work in Your Favor

Real estate websites that focus on a single property offer huge benefits – both to the real estate agent and to the home seller. Understanding how single property websites work in your favor is important.

“One of the most useful features of individual listing websites is the ability to quickly and easily add listings to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter,” says Amanda Cornelius, real estate web marketing expert, and co-founder/CEO of Properties Online.

“Social networking is a new and exciting form of online marketing. It utilizes viral methods of marketing to create a natural buzz around a property. Essentially, social media marketing is a lot like old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, but it is done on a much larger scale thanks to the wide reach of the Internet.

“For example, if an agent has been active on Facebook and has a couple hundred friends there, they can post each single property website to their Facebook profile to let people know about it. A percentage of these people will like what they see and spread the word, either in person to their friends and family, or online, on their own social networks.”

With individual listing sites, the connection between the website and social media sites is easy and automatic. Simply adding listings through a Facebook app will ensure that Facebook dynamically updates the agent’s profile as properties and homes are added, edited or removed.

Using a comprehensive, leading single property website service like Listing Domains takes all the hassle out of linking across your important web locations. What’s more, it saves you time by automating what could otherwise be time intensive processes.

Marketing your listings online can truly be easy, if you have the right tools.

2016 Real Estate Trends: The Move Towards Online Real Estate

Capture More Leads with Single Property Websites

You have no doubt heard of single property (individual listings) websites. These websites highlight and market a single property for sale, truly showcasing a listing. Used correctly, these websites will help to sell your real estate listings faster, at a higher price point. If that’s not enough, you truly can capture more leads with single property websites.

A service such as Listing Domains will enhance your websites with several lead generating contact forms, including free listing updates, which allows visitors to fill out a form to request email updates of new listings that match their specific criteria. Other helpful features include viewing scheduling, which allows prospects to request a viewing of the property at a specific time and date and the ability for website visitors to easily request additional information about your listing.

Other handy lead generating features on the Listing Domains individual property website service include:

CRM. The Customer Relationship Management tool allows you to view all your website leads, convert them to contacts, and export them to 3rd party software platforms like Outlook, Constant Contact and more.

Mobile Guestbook. Each single property website includes a mobile guest book lead capture form. This encourages the mobile visitor to leave their contact information so you can follow up with them directly.

TEXT-the-Domain Lead Capture. This upgrade option makes it possible for you to market your listing across a whole new medium. Prospects can TEXT-the-Domain of your property website to get all the listing details, photos and your contact information. In turn, their cell phone number is sent to you for immediate follow-up.

Branding and Contact Information. Every site will display your photograph, company logo and contact information. Your individual listings websites will all link to one another to help generate more traffic to your other listings. And, of course, each website will link back to your agent and/or company website to help generate traffic there, as well.

Lead Alert Text. The Leads2Text service enables your website leads to be sent immediately to your text enabled cell phone. If someone fills out a form on your website, Leads2Text will convert their message to text and transmit it to your cell phone so you can follow up while your prospect is still viewing your website.

Lighting Is the Key to Creating Dramatic Real Estate Listing Photos

A professional real estate photographer’s creative use of computer technology to market his services is attracting the attention of both the real estate and technology worlds. Using JavaScript code to apply the mouse-over effect to online photographs, Dallas-based real estate photographer Lance Hames has come up with a unique method of displaying before and after photographs that is both startling and striking. It’s an effective marketing tool that is earning Hames’ website HomeSnappers.com national recognition.

photography

Hames’ website is worth a look not only for its novel application of real estate marketing tools; but also for its dramatic illustration of the difference between amateur and professional real estate listing photographs. If you study the before and after photos displayed on the website, it’s hard not to notice the striking difference that lighting and photographic angle make in creating real estate listing photos that will appeal to home buyers. That’s an important consideration when deciding whether to hire a professional photographer or snap listing domain photos yourself.

There are a lot of bad real estate listing photos on real estate sites and bad photos don’t sell houses. Buying a home is a visual experience and attractive listing domain photos attract buyers. With a suite of attractive photographs, real estate agents can easily create stunning real estate videos of individual listings using Virtuet. Included as a free service with any Properties Online website product, Virtuet allows Realtors to create professional-looking real estate videos that can be embedded in listing domains, Realtor websites and blogs or posted to Facebook or YouTube.

Professional real estate photographers have the expertise, camera and lighting equipment, and software needed to create clear, bright, well-staged listing photographs; and many Realtors find their services instrumental in selling homes. But even if you don’t use their services, real estate agents can learn from their techniques. Look at the before and after photos on Home Snappers again. In each photo the photographer has enhanced natural lighting and stepped back to reveal as much of the room and, when rooms flow into each other, nearby area as possible. Two simple things; huge difference!

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.”