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The Consumer

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.

» Significant Content
» Web Positioning
» Recripocal Linking
» Multiple Entry Points
» Network Affiliation


 Utilizing the Internet

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 include:

» Loan Approval Online
» Credit Report/Scores
» MLS Access
» Street Maps
» Finding an Agent


Simplifying the Transaction    

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.

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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 the following:

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.

MLS Access

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.

Credit Reports

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.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

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.

Street Maps

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.

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