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"Keeping Pace With Consumers!"


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Roald Marth Photo
4/5/02 Interview with Roald Marth

WhereToLive.com
7695 Anagram Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Biography

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Recent Changes in the Industry

  1. Real estate has changed very little while technology has changed dramatically; as a result of the boom/bust cycle of 1997-2001, the tech revolution is likely to move forward at a slower pace.
  2. Previously, outsiders moving into the real estate realm hyped the revolution; now industry veterans are re-taking control.
  3. Many RE pros use tech tools on a cursory level but are not really comfortable, they have marginal skills and are reluctant to upgrade.
Overcoming Resistance

  1. A natural, psychological resistance to any change is the greatest challenge for technology evangelists to address.
  2. Real estate practitioners need to pay attention to the basics, first reevaluate your hardware, software and browser; switch to the newest versions (Marth recommends Windows XP).
Money-Making Tips

  1. Focus your Web marketing on one marquee site under your own name as the domain name (e.g., www.RoaldMarth.com); reference yourself at your own domain name for email (e.g. Roald@RoaldMarth.com).
  2. Brokers should have their agents use [brokername].com for their web sites and email.
  3. Any feeder sites should point to your marquee site; take advantage of the national portals that consumers recognize.
  4. Hardware is now available at low prices, and browsers are available with improved capability (Microsoft Internet Explorer); band width is getting fast, available and inexpensive enough to handle wider content.
Must-Have Tools for Agents

  1. First is a quality digital camera; even the cheapest can shoot photos good enough for Internet viewing; consumers appreciate simple photos; stick to the basics of taking pictures (up to a dozen) of each property.
  2. Second is some type of hardware; five years ago, the software had to be on your hard drive, so using a portable notebook made sense; advances in webware give agents adequate flexibility using two PCs (office and home) connected to the Internet at high speed.
  3. Marth's favorite hardware tool is a Blackberry; a wireless direct device like this can send and receive email and keep a calendar and address book; it is smaller and more convenient than a notebook.
  4. Handspring's Treo line is similar to Blackberry; another new product is Samsung's combination personal information manager/telephone; hundreds of new combination handheld devices will appear in 2002-2003.
  5. Prices are so reasonable that you can probably afford to buy something now and replace it in a year if the technology moves in another direction.
  6. Tying the right hardware with the right webware allows you to work anywhere, anytime; this change in mobility is the greatest technology change to benefit the real estate business.
Keeping Pace with Consumers

  1. In 1997, many consumers were further ahead with information technology than the average Realtor; since then, the gap has widened.
  2. Most Internet consumers have high-speed access at work (if not at home) and are required to use their computers as part of their jobs; for agents, it is still acceptable to function in a brokerage firm without using a computer.
  3. Marth challenges brokers to equip their offices with standard computers and require all agents to use them; standardization of hardware, webware and training could dramatically improve the adoption curve for technology in the real estate business.
How to Gain a Competitive Edge

  1. Do the basics better, take hold of technology and actually use it; 'early-adopters' are already following these steps to success.
  2. Take a digital camera with a wide-angle lens to every listing; Sony models with MPEG-1 shoot both video and stills; post your shots of properties on your own web site, on your broker's site and on the national portals.
  3. Be set up so consumers can click on an email link to your direct device to be connected to you in real time.
  4. On your own site offer the tools and information consumers want; be sure your broker's site is strong enough to drive traffic to you; use national real estate web sites to drive traffic to both your broker and agent sites.
WhereToLive.com

  1. Co-founded by Marth and Elizabeth Chesen, the company has been organized by and is owned by leading real estate practitioners to provide agents and brokers with the tools to do the basics well via the Internet.
  2. The product for agents ($1,000 up front and $100/month) supplies a Sony digital camera, a direct wireless device, a web site and an online office that is integrated with their broker and the industry portal of WhereToLive.com.
View for the Industry

Industry insiders should retake control of their own destiny on the Web and focus on being effective, not being fancy; this approach is what will matter most to the industry over the next three to five years.

Contact Information for Roald Marth:

(v) 800-709-2878
(f) 800-709-2880
(e) roald.marth@teamwheretolive.com
(w)www.wheretolive.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Weretolive.com
Bblackberry.com
Handspring.com
CEOexpress.com
Quicken.com
Webwasher.com
News.com