The consumer's ability to use the Internet to research
real estate information, obtain mortgage loan pre-approval,
receive their credit report and credit scores and initiate
the search in finding available homes for sale has become
a common occurrence. If today's real estate agent is
going to satisfy the needs of the Internet consumer,
the agent must become the focal point the consumer turns
to for answers in their quest for information.
Real estate agents can empower the consumer and lessen
their frustration with the sale or buying process by
organizing and providing the tools and information resources
available on the internet into a single portal resource.
With this in mind we begin with a discussion on assembling
the requisite tools and information that would set an
agent apart from their competition as a resource worthy
of the consumer's attention. Begin from the consumer's
point of view by asking the question...
Consumers Search for Information
With the increase in the number
of consumers and real estate agents on the Internet,
today's agent must tackle the problem of having
a web presence that can be found by the consumer
searching the Internet. Aspects that must
be factored into their web presence include.
» Recripocal Linking
» Multiple Entry Points
» Network Affiliation
Once found, the real estate agent's
website should organize and present the relevant
information to the consumer from all of the available
Internet tools and resources pertaining to real
estate in that locale or region. Several examples
» Loan Approval
» Credit Report/Scores
» MLS Access
» Street Maps
» Finding an Agent
The desired result is that the consumer finds
the buying or selling experience enjoyable and
directly attributable to your website presence.
Your website(s) should incorporate your business
plan into their design allowing:
» Consumers to be a more integral and
controlling part of the real estate transaction,
and Result in a reduction in the amount of effort
expended by the agent per client.
The vast majority of consumers on the
internet today are primarily searching for the active
homes available for sale and secondarily for other real
estate related information. With the advent of
Internet Data Exchange (IDX) and Virtual Office Website
(VOW) capabilities, the consumer can view available
homes of potential interest online. Some of the
tools and information available to the consumer include
Finding an Agent
The real estate agent website is generally
web positioned geographically. When the consumer
searches for available homes for sale in a given area,
they will find a number of real estate agents' websites.
Where available, the real estate agent
should provide access to the available listed homes'
information. Many multiple listing services today
offer a VOW capability to member agents allowing the
consumers direct access to information about available
homes for sale. As a buyer's agent, hosting a
VOW framed within the agent's website is a valuable
capability requisite for an Internet oriented buyer
to find value in the agent's services.
There are a significant number of companies
providing merged credit reports and scores for a reasonable
fee. Consumers with credit challenges can take
advantage of accessing their credit information in a
consolidated format and in a timely manner allowing
them to get a jump on resolving any credit issues before
making mortgage application.
A consumer should obtain a mortgage pre-approval
from a local or regional mortgage lender if possible
that is familiar with real property issues common to
the locale of interest. A local or regional
mortgage lender that can provide pre-approval services
online is a plus.
A number of free sources of maps for determining
geographic locations are available on the Internet.
If your MLS uses a specific mapping system, providing
the consumer with online access to maps that equate
to the MLS information is a tremendous asset and convenience
to the consumer.