November 30, 2007
An article appeared on REM Online this week outlining a decision by CREA members at its October Assembly in Calgary to ‘re-brand’ their mls.ca website.
The solution involves a re-branded Realtor.ca home page, displaying all the services that Realtors provide, including mls listings, reachable by typing in “Realtor.ca” or “mls.ca“. (Note that the mls.ca website provides consumers with searchable access to most listings owned by real estate agencies from coast to coast. )
Their re-branding solution, however, did meet some resistance from members, citing potential confusion with “Realtor.com” in the U.S.
Ann Bosely, CREA president, says ““We’re talking with the U.S. right now – we want to find out how many Canadians really are on Realtor.com, we’re talking about maybe linking the two the way we do with worldproperties.com. I suspect we’ll end up with Realtor.ca, but we’ve got to clear the way to make it the best we possibly can.”
In somewhat related news, a post by Joel Burslem from the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog, discusses the latest Neighbourhood tool that was recently added to Realtor.com.
The Neighbourhood tool leverages their extensive database of homes for sale, to provide consumers with Zillow-like access to average list prices at the neighbourhood level. Included are some great maps, as well as demographic and other neighbourhood-specific information for consumers.
Whether CREA decides to implement the same functionality on Realtor.ca is yet to be known, but it is unlikely they will be able to keep up with the advances made by their counterparts south of the border.
November 27, 2007
Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm that tracks local advertising, released a new report last week on real estate spending, entitled Real Estate Outlook 2007-2012.
The report examines print vs. online advertising spending patterns among real estate agents and brokers in 2007. It also provides a forecast for the next 5 years.
“Real estate brokers and agents will continue to devote more marketing budgets to online media. This year they will spend $2.6 billion on online media and by 2012 online will topple newspapers share.”
However, the internet marketing experts over at Koeppel Direct suggest that real estate brokers should use a combination of print, online, and broadcast advertising to generate leads.
Peter Koeppel, president of Koeppel Direct, provides more detail in the latest Real Estate Broker’s Insider newsletter (available by subscription).
At Base 10, we believe single property websites allow real estate agents and brokers in Canada to leverage their advertising dollars by creating a link between print and online advertising.
By featuring a unique domain name in your print ads, readers are easily referred to detailed information on the Internet, including photos, maps, neighbourhood information, and even video content.
November 25, 2007
During the annual NAR conference last week in Las Vegas, Steve Kantor, president of Best Agent Business, conducted a survey among top real estate agents to collect ideas on how to succeed at selling homes.
So far, Kantor has compiled over 1,000 ideas from hundreds of contributing agents and has compiled them into an e-book.
Although, the e-book is currently for sale at http://www.realestatein2008.org/ for a price of $19.95, real estate agents are still contributing ideas online for the updated version of the book, to be made available in December, 2007.
All agents who contribute an idea via the online survey by November 30th will receive a FREE copy of the eBook and be acknowledged in the books credits.
To complete the survey, visit http://www.bestagentbusiness.com/realestatebook2008.html
November 21, 2007
According to an article on the Seattle Times website, Rich Barton, founder and chief executive of Zillow.com said he’d like to replicate Zillow’s offerings in Canada.
For those who don’t know, Zillow.com is a rapidly-growing listings aggregator in the U.S who also provide a unique and automated home valuation estimator tool (called Zestimates) for almost any property in the United States. Zillow’s Zestimates are calculated using an estimated 40,000 listings it currently holds in its database.
Meanwhile, the Zillow home valuation estimator is about to get a whole lot more accurate with news that it has secured partnerships with 11 major newspaper companies totaling 282 newspapers across the United States.
This agreement will extend offline content like classified listings and open house information to Zillow, and to share Zillow’s online data and tools with newspaper Web sites. (Note: Pat Kitano over at the Transparent Real Estate blog provides a more in-depth analysis of this news announcement.)
Barton, who apparently owns a vacation home in Whistler, B.C. has undoubtedly been scoping out the opportunities up north as per his plans to extend its reach ever deeper into the industry. Although details are limited on the move into Canada, he did indicate that the challenge will be to get the necessary home data from the real estate industry up here.
Challenging indeed. It is pretty much a certainty that the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) will have little to no interest in sharing their listings data with anyone, as it will dilute the current value of their mls.ca website.
However, it will only be a matter of time before individual brokers from across the country begin to feed their listings to aggregators like Zillow (and other Canadian-friendly aggregators) in an effort to reach an ever-growing Internet audience.
November 15, 2007
Well, its time for all real estate technology bloggers to update their favourite statistic as the National Association of Realtors reports that 84 percent of recent home buyers used the Internet in their search, up from 80 percent in 2006.
The often-quoted number is among a number trends and developments in real estate technologies, revealed this week with the results of NAR’s 2007 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey.
Some of the results were also discussed in sessions at the National Association of Realtors® 2007 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, also happening this week.
You can check out the official release at NAR.org.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, says of the survey results, “Realtors® must be able to capitalize on immediacy and technological trends to better serve their clients by providing information and services home buyers and sellers want and need in real time,”
Ross also spoke about the importance of specializing in niche markets, such as recent immigrants, baby boomers, or members of “Generation Y”.
November 14, 2007
We are currently seeking real estate photographers from across Canada to become approved UniqueHomeSites.com service providers.
The new program is designed for photographers wishing to capitalize on the growing use of photography and virtual tours when marketing a home for sale.
Under the program, photographers are able to set their own pricing for the services they offer. UniqueHomeSites provides a functional and professionally-designed single property website.
To learn more details about the program contact:
VP New Product Development and Sales
November 9, 2007
It seems Internet usage is getting closer and closer to commonplace in households and in the office as a recent poll estimates that 79% of adults are now online.
When Harris Interactive began the survey back in 1995, only nine percent of adults reported they went online.
The amount of time that people are spending online has also risen. The average number of hours per week that people are spending online is now at 11 hours, up from 9 hours last year and 8 hours in 2005.
On the other end of the Internet usage spectrum, Michelle Hoffman at Realtor Magazine Online writes a very good article about Generation Y – a demographic comprised of people born between 1970 and the mid nineties.
The article stresses the importance of technology in reaching out to this demographic via the Internet, as well as other tips for real estate agents.