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"Web Site Strategies For Real Estate Pros"


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David Weissman Photo
10/24/97 Interview with David Weissman

REdirect
4169 Via Marina, Suite 308
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Biography

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Introduction to REdirect

  1. This Web site consists of databases of commercial RE debt and equity sources; all the firms included are principles who are currently doing deals.
  2. On the debt side, a user fills in parameters for a potential loan and receives a list of lenders and mortgage bankers who can do that loan; the user also can access particular information about each company on the list; on the equity side, similar information on a smaller scale is available for sellers looking for all-cash buyers.
  3. At present, there is no cost for the information; REdirect is supported by advertising and by Weissman's consulting work.
Conducting a Search via REdirect

  1. The financing search input form includes seven parameters - type of lender, state, type of property (53 choices), type of neighborhood, loan to value, type of loan and dollar amount; a user must complete at least three.
  2. Each name on the results list links to a page about the lender, which may include company contacts, hyperlinks to email and Web pages, basic underwriting parameters, minimum debt coverage ratios, maximum loan to value and preferred transaction range.
  3. The lender may also allow REdirect to share information with the user about the lender's recent deals, including interest rate dollar amount, location and type of property, and a list of lenders or correspondents; additional hyperlinks take the user to any of these who are also in the REdirect database.
  4. The equity search process parallels the search for lenders with slightly different parameters geared for a property owner or broker who seeks an appropriate buyer.
Weissman's Entry into Cyberspace

  1. Twelve years' experience in commercial RE taught Weissman that the two key business factors are always relationships and information; he recognized that leveling the playing field with regard to the finite information would free players to spend more time on cultivating relationships.
  2. Seeing the Internet as the perfect medium for disseminating the information, Weissman preferred to be the person controlling the playing field rather than one of the people running around on it.
  3. He started the service as a bulletin board system in 1995, and despite some technological glitches, was able to convert successfully to the Web in early 1996.
Utilizing an Email Newsletter

  1. REdirections is a means to keep people informed about developments of REdirect such as new entries to the databases; it also includes technology and productivity issues; though focused on commercial real estate, many topics are of broader interest.
  2. The mailing list for it includes many owners and lenders- to sign up for REdirections, send your email address to redirectco@worldnet.att.net.
  3. The publication is distributed three times a month; sample topics are how to block spam, reviews of good Web sites, the year 2000 problem, privacy and encryption.
  4. Email is an effective tool for building traffic to a Web page; hits to REdirect increase noticeably for several days after the newsletter goes out; REdirections also attracts new applicants to be listed in the databases.
Recommended Web Resources

  1. A very good source for mapping capability is Mapblast, which offers a variety of map types and accuracy.
  2. Among good real estate specific sites are Innvest.com for people interested in the hotel market and Allapartments.com, the largest apartment database in the country; they illustrate that a broker can enhance his visibility in his market by having a definitive, industry specific Web site.
  3. The best sites are informative, easy to use and allow for good interaction with the user; a prime brokerage site is www.mmreibc.com.
  4. A good REIT Web site addresses all three constituencies: investors, tenants & properties, and the Real Estate community; two good ones are Berkshire Realty's brireit.com and Burnham Pacific's burnhampac.com.
Web Site Strategies

  1. Keep the page clean, avoiding heavy graphics so that it will come up quickly for users.
  2. Include an email link, a phone and fax number on every page of the Web site to facilitate your being contacted; using frames is one way to constantly display contact information..
  3. Be sure the page tells what you do well, how to reach you, and why people should do business with you; interactive forms for visitors to fill out for more information are effective.
  4. Displaying biographies of company executives with pictures helps to establish rapport with potential clients.
  5. Use the Web to distinguish yourself from your competition by clarifying where you provide special service.
  6. To stimulate visits to your page, include your url on everything else that you use (stationery, business cards, advertisements) and mention it at speaking engagements; update your Web site periodically to keep people interested in coming back to it.
  7. Use an email newsletter or some other strategy to keep your constituency in touch with what is new with your company.
Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Don't get too enamored of Internet bells and whistles; business sites should focus on presenting clean, easy-to-access information.
  2. Don't skimp on the information provided; give visitors what they need to know to carry their potential interest in your business forward; your Web page can be used to disseminate most printed information - saving time, especially across time zones and saving money on printing and postage.
The Vision for Real Estate Deal Making

  1. Within two to three years, everyone will express amazement that there was a point where they didn't do business on the Web; in ten years, everyone in the industry will need to be proficient in how to use the Net and technology.
  2. There will probably be fewer people working in both the commercial and residential sectors, but client/broker relationships will be more important than ever; you will need to be first in getting your client information on every property of interest.
  3. Video conferencing, white boards and virtual tours will be common; much of the basic decision making and due diligence will be handled over the Net.
  4. E-commerce and transactions online will overtake paper money so that deals can be conducted solely over the Internet; the time frame from decision-to-sell to completion of the transaction will shrink dramatically.
Contact Information for David Weissman:

(v) 310-301-1954
(f) 310-301-9996
(e) af835@lafn.org
(w)www.redirectco.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

MapBlast
Innvest
All Apartments
Marcus & Millichap
Berkshire Realty
Burnham Pacific