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"Blanche Evans Interview 2000"


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12/1/00 Interview with Blanche Evans

Agent News
5949 Sherry Lane, Suite 1250
Dallas, TX 75225
Biography

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Evans' Resources for Realtors

  1. Her book, The Hottest E-Careers in Real Estate, is geared to helping Realtors migrate their services to the Internet.
  2. The publication she edits, Realty Times, the largest, independent real estate news service online, is unique in being online only and in providing an important voice for the industry through its Agent News section.
  3. Distribution partners include Realtor.com, Move.com and major real estate companies such as Coldwell Banker and Prudential.
Industry Change

  1. Although consumer portals remain important, the back-end office is getting more play as dot-coms concentrate on delivering services to brokers and MLS organizations - a new business model is emerging.
  2. MLS offices used to operate in proprietary fashion with their own legacy systems, then began to share listings with 3rd party service providers, such as Realtor.com and HomeAdvisor, and now open listings directly to their broker members for inclusion on broker and agent web sites.
  3. A web environment is necessary for this change, so legacy systems are giving way to information systems that are based in the offices of a service provider such as Interrealty and accessed through the Internet.
  4. Agents have the advantage of being able to connect with MLS services from any modem or wireless PDA; however, they need to be trained in the techniques to capitalize on this access-the Society's new RECS designation course and the NAR's e-PRO certification address this need.
Broker Reciprocity

  1. The concept started in the Northwest among large brokerage firms as a way to preserve their power in the marketplace against more and more listings being picked up by national aggregators such as Realtor.com, HomeAdvisor and Homeseeker.
  2. Brokers agree to allow one another to post each others' listings directly on their company web sites; the MLS facilitates doing so by opening its database, but each broker faces technical challenges in carrying so much information on its site.
  3. Meeting the technical challenges opens up new business opportunities for companies to provide the necessary support services; Interrealty and VISTAinfo are already doing this on the MLS level.
  4. The NAR's directive in May 2000 requested MLSs to open their listings for agents-good for agents by returning marketing control to them and providing them with fresh, daily listings; NAR's partner Homestore also gains because it is already in a position to support agents with the services they would need.
Favorite Sites

  1. To find trends, Evans checks Yahoo, and E*Trade
  2. Big sites that continually update include HomeAdvisor and Realtor.com.
Advice for Agents

  1. Agents must learn to use the Internet whether they want to or not; eventually all real estate services will be put on platforms managed in a web-based environment; brokers will use these platforms with their agents to save money in an environment where fees and profitability are being compressed.
  2. The Internet holds remarkable potential for marketing, communicating and transacting, but the medium is difficult to navigate for the untrained; agents need to beware of making unnecessary mistakes.
  3. Certain niches within real estate will be well supported by the Internet environment, e.g., handling referrals or relocation business; consider capitalizing on these profitable areas.
  4. The Internet enables individual agents to compete with and to cooperate with large players such as CendantMobility.
Transaction Management Platforms

  1. Transaction management software allows the users (MLSs, brokers, agents) to streamline business practices and to create additional revenues.
  2. The selling point for consumers is the platform's tracking power, which also makes the transaction understandable; agents and brokers appreciate that the platforms insure that closings take place-and on time.
Industry Predictions

Real estate commissions may be reduced, but brokers and agents will be making up fees in ways such as originating loans, charging strategic partners to participate on their platform and closing more transactions.

Contact Information for Blanche Evans:

(v) 214-353-6980
(f) 214-353-0699
(e) blanche@realtytimes.com
(w)www.agentnews.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

www.realtytimes.com
www.goggle.com
www.realtor.com
www.move.com
www.homestore.com
homeadvisor.msn.com
www.interrealty.com
www.homeseeker.com
www.vistainfo.com
www.finance.yahoo.com
www.etrade.com
www.cendantmobility.com