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"The Globalization of Real Estate"

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Becky Swann Photo
12/7/01 Interview with Becky Swann

1018 Riverside Drive Suite 101
Grapevine, TX 76051

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Finding Quality on the Web

  1. In her RECA interview in December 1996, Swann speculated that the Web would become an efficient tool for consumers to select professional assistance; today she finds it less efficient than she hoped because of the amount of clutter on the Web.
  2. IRED, 'the Yahoo of real estate', helps to organize that clutter for the consumer; the site attempts to index everything on the Web relating to real estate, primarily residential; Peter Pike does a good job on the commercial side.
  3. Sites that have survived long-term reflect a true understanding of the real estate business; folks that jumped in to grab a portion of the profits without having a background in the industry are mostly gone- the dot-com crash speeded the demise of the weaker players.
  4. The scope of IRED is international and goes beyond buying and selling to include home improvement, home services, moving services and anything else significant for changing residences or offices.
  5. IRED even has a 'For Sale by Owner' section, which savvy professionals can use to gather intelligence and possibly mine for business.
  6. A staff of professional site reviewers at IRED rank all the web sites listed (50,000 worldwide); the sites are sorted geographically and by category; the ratings focus on quality of content.
Characteristics of Good Sites

  1. Common qualities include a clear focus on their target audience, a grasp of the industry and a willingness to go beyond traditional definitions of real estate to meet customer needs.
  2. Swann's original standards for evaluating good sites still apply: empathy, clarity, substance, value, hope and credibility.
Outstanding Picks

  1. Current sites that have impressed IRED reviewers with information and personality include AtHomeCharlotte (North Carolina), BuyersInternational (Sarasota, Florida), HistoricRelocations (Selbyville, DE) and Tamborine Mountain (Qld, Australia).
  2. These sites are on the 'favorites list' for: 1) personality, 2) information, 3) usefulness and 4) presentation.
Favorite Web Tools

  1. For looking up domains:; general search engine:
  2. To validate that your web page will work in other people's browsers:; this service will show you the errors in your code.
  3. To view your web page as others see it, try: or
  4. Sites worth a daily visit:;;;
  5. Other sites for site maintenance: HTMLValidator (can be used on your system offline); free GIFOptimizer (will speed loading by reducing the size of your graphics).
  6. Free services on the Web are becoming fewer; even IRED is beginning to charge a small service fee for listing web sites.
  7. To get a free weekly report on the number of links to your site vs. other sites visit; this tool can be used to research your competitors.
Impact of New Technology

  1. PCs, which have freed Realtors from working in an office.
  2. Originally the IRED site was focused entirely on consumers; now the site aims to educate all real estate professionals as well as the public; it also recognizes both the commonalties and differentiations in different locations around the world. and backed-up data in multiple locations.
The Globalization of Real Estate

  1. Real estate is still local, but it is also global; going global for real estate practitioners means understanding the world; IRED contributes to global knowledge while the Society also contributes to global connectivity, networking and community.
  2. Technology will soon make reaching anyone in the world possible; in the present geopolitical climate, cross-cultural understanding is vital.
  3. The Internet, instead of creating an impersonal environment, has vastly expanded people's contacts and their ability to know one another.
Additions to the IRED Site

  1. The columns of Jack Peckham and Michael Russer as well as environmental commentary by Stuart Lieberman appear regularly.
  2. Correspondents cover important issues worldwide, including exclusive commentary by Simeon Mitropolitski on Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Mid East.
  3. In all, IRED offers about 2,000 categories of information.
  4. IRED is different from other directories by offering those it critiques guidance for building a better web site; consultation is available on an hourly basis.
Advice for Someone without a Web Site

  1. Define exactly what you want a web site to and creating a web site is the equivalent of opening a storefront; make decisions on stocking it, staffing it and selling it.
  2. Then find someone who is skilled to help you look at what else they have done; you need support from someone with knowledge about both web sites and the real estate industry.
Outlook for the Next Few Years

The industry will become leaner and leaner; those who survive will be doing business on the Web deliberately.

Contact Information for Becky Swann:

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

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Model sites:

Domain look-up:

Search engine:

Web site validator:

Web view:

Sites to visit daily:

HTML validator:

Free GIF optimizer:

Free report on site links: