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"Great Web Sites and Tools"

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Becky Swann Photo
12/6/96 Interview with Becky Swann

1018 Riverside Drive Suite 101
Grapevine, TX 76051

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Introduction to IRED

  1. The International Real Estate Directory is a comprehensive list of real estate sites that serves two audiences -- Realtors and consumers; Swann's primary interest is the consumer.
  2. Listings include anything related to the real estate industry including appraisers, lenders and government sites.
  3. Seekers of lenders will find listings of those who advertise online and those who actually take applications online; calculators allow the computation of the cost of a mortgage and the cost of living.
  4. Most information is on the residential area, but some commercial information is covered; IRED is the residential equivalent of the commercially focused Pikenet.
Internet Impact on Residential Real Estate

  1. A consumer would find IRED useful for identifying properties, finding agents and learning about communities; an overlooked market is the group who are planning ahead and researching where they want to live.
  2. The Internet will be affecting the future demographics of the nation; agents in small communities are reporting a significant boost in their business from the Internet.
  3. Gary Cooley is generating as much business as he can handle and has put Mountain Home, AR on the map through his page Blackburn Real Estate; Alice Held in Scottsdale, AZ has been successful in expanding into international real estate.
Evaluation of Web Sites

  1. IRED includes comments on the quality of sites -- a "top ten" list appears every month; evaluations are partly intuitive -- those highly rated have unique "personality" to set them apart.
  2. A Web site is tantamount to your office and should express something special about yourself; the Web is about giving not about advertising.
  3. Community information -- the things people need to know before they buy real estate in your community -- is a naturally unique offering for your Web site.
  4. To maintain fresh information as a draw, Peckham's Real Estate Investments Online (in IRED's top ten last month) uses his latest monthly newspaper column on how to use Cyberspace to market real estate.
The Seven Virtues of Real Estate Web Sites

  1. Empathy: relate to the user's needs.
  2. Clarity: make your purpose clear.
  3. Temperance: avoid an emphasis on entertainment and focus on information; be realistic in using tools and features appropriate for your audience -- don't worry about "dumbing down."
  4. Substance: give real content, not just billboard advertising; use the Internet to overcome the public's skepticism about the industry's reputation.
  5. Value: provide information that is practical and not available elsewhere.
  6. Hope: give visitors the expectation of finding new information when they return.
  7. Credibility: include your name, location, telephone number and email address; 50% of sites overlook inclusion of this obvious information.
Putting Together a Web Site

  1. Depending on how much you do yourself, cost can range from nearly nothing to thousands of dollars; hiring a professional to do a serious, information-packed site could run $1,500-$10,000.
  2. The cost of access through a Web provider is about $20-$30 per month; services of a Web designer run about $50/hr.
  3. Contracts for the Web page should be carefully negotiated to avoid problems later; key areas are maintenance, errors and copyrighting.
  4. Maintenance need not be costly if you are prepared to do it yourself; the site can be designed for easy updating -- a factor that should be discussed up-front with the designer.
  5. If errors are made in the design, you should not be expected to pay for their correction -- but this often becomes an issue.
  6. Ownership of the content should be clarified with the designer -- pages are often copyrighted by the designer instead of the Realtor, which creates a problem if the Realtor wishes to change the page or get a new designer.
Top-Rated Sites

  1. The top-rated list is a moving target because of content; a site that is outstanding at one point may not change sufficiently to remain hot.
  2. An example of a site that was listed for November is Bibi Dooman's; she is new to the Web and new as an agent, so her dynamite site is particularly noteworthy.
  3. Another interesting site is the Corporate Housing Connection, which uniquely presents mid-term rental opportunities (between hotel rentals and full leases); their options are attractive for corporate employees on temporary assignments.
  4. Although there are other residential real estate directories, IRED has no competition for its evaluation service.
The Changing Profile of Realtors

  1. Technology is causing top producers to shift focus from volume to quality.
  2. Real estate transactions continue to become increasingly complex, a fact that makes an agent's dependability in looking out for a client's interests all the more important.
  3. The Web is an efficient tool for making a good selection of professional assistance; Web sites can identify what agents have to offer.
Contact Information for Becky Swann:

(v) 817 481 4677
(f) 817 488 3693

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
Blackburn Real Estate
Alice Held's Arizona Relocation Guide
Peckham's Real Estate Investments Online
Bibi Dooman
The Corporate Housing Connection