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"Coping With The Internet-Empowered Consumer"


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Skip Weber Photo
2/2/01 Interview with Skip Weber

Realty U
3544 West Chester Pike
Newtown Square, PA 19073
Biography

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Company Evolution

  1. Polley Associates is a proprietary real estate education institution in the mid-Atlantic states and a founding member of the education consortium of 35 such proprietary schools known as Inner Circle Education; on January 1, 2001, Inner Circle Education became RealtyU.
  2. Realty U's real estate and real estate-related schools cover keymarkets across the U.S. and Canada; the consortium came together through the efforts of the Real Estate Buyers Agent Council (REBAC)to benefit from group purchasing, creation and delivery systems.
Strategic Alliance with the Society

  1. Over the past year, Realty U has worked in strategic alliance with the Society to develop the RECS designation course called "Selling in CyberSpace", which will be given at Realty U locations.
  2. Inner Circle previously developed a national marketing program for REBAC that still brings in 4,000-5,000 new members a year into the NAR organization under the Accredited Buyers Representative(ABR) designation.
  3. The service costs the agent/broker nothing. Income is generated from the settlement service providers (title companies, escrow companies,appraisers, lenders, etc.) agents can choose to use any settlement service provider.
The Internet-Empowered Consumer (IEC)

  1. Real estate consumers who use the Internet to shop for properties and/or real estate services are shielded by anonymity from the influence of powerful sales personalities.
  2. They can by-pass Realtor/gatekeepers to access unlimited real estate information on their own; therefore, in contrast to traditional real estate consumers, they have a much higher confidence level.
  3. The experience gained in the development, on-going modification and national delivery of the ABR course has been applied to the RECS course, which is being coordinated by the same leader, Norman Fehr.
  4. The Realty U presentation of the RECS course is expected to significantly increase Society membership and awareness of the RECS designation at a time when demand in the marketplace for it is developing.
Course Content

  1. "Selling in CyberSpace" is a two-day, 14-15 hour course covering three major skill areas: web browser, searching and email;introductory material gives students understanding of the impact of the Web on real estate.
  2. A fourth area of concentration deals with benefits of the Real Estate CyberSpace Society; based on candid examination of numerous organizations and designations, Weber emphasizes that the Society offers extensive advantages to its members that deserve to be presented to Realty U students.
  3. The Realty U course is unique in the Internet training area in preparing students to take full advantage of the Society's tools and services; a year's membership in the Society is included in the cost of the course; if you are a member when you take it, you get a year's renewal.
  4. In many states, the course will also be approved for continuing education credit; students will receive a strong, practical grounding in the three skill areas and a good understanding of the power of Internet tools in their real estate business.
  5. The practicum for the course consists of chores relating to the Society's tools ‹students actually configure their Personal Web Site, customize their CyberTips newsletter and utilize other aspects of membership; completing the practicum is the requirement for receiving the RECS designation.
Special Attributes of the Seminar

  1. Market research indicates a strong demand for a "live" course; "Selling in CyberSpace" is totally live with personal interactivity, skill drills and brainstorming among students built into the classroom approach.
  2. The "AfterCare" provided by Society membership gives students support to apply fully what they have learned in the program.
  3. The NAR's e-PRO online course and the RECS designation course are in many respects complimentary, but they may appeal to different markets - "Selling in CyberSpace" having a broader appeal becauseof its personal delivery.
  4. A prospective student for RECS needs only basic Windows skills - everything else is covered in the course manual, a permanent reference; e-PRO, because it is online, requires a higher level of skill from the outset.
A Sample Tip from the Course

  1. Senders of messages typically do not use the signature feature in email, but your signature should be tied to all your email for legal and business reasons.
  2. Be sure to include all your contact components as part of the signature - name, address, phone, fax, email and web addresses - so that all the ways of communicating with you are clear.
  3. Agents are taught in the course how to include information special to a property in an expanded signature section; this trick is an effective way to give Web consumers the immediacy they want.
Who Can Benefit

  1. Many examples in the course are oriented toward residential, but the substance will benefit any real estate related professional; the course addresses how people on the Web think differently and how a professional needs to play into that thinking, regardless of real estate specialty.
  2. In essence, the course contrasts the old style of a real estate pro being an intermediary (face to face) with the new style of beginning as "infomediary" (via the Internet); a relationship must be built patiently through your email and web sites, sometimes over weeks or months.
Helpful Places on the Web

Personal favorites of Weber include Whalemale.com (for sending large files) and When.com (for scheduling).

Course Particulars

  1. The course will start to be offered as of March 1, 2001; check locations and times at REcyber.com, RealtyU.com or the old InnerCircle.com site.
  2. If 10-20 people are interested in taking the course at a location not offered, special arrangements can be made; contact the Society or RealtyU.
  3. The course fee should be in the range of $295-$325, including a year's membership in the Society (a $149 value).
Where Real Estate Education Is Headed

  1. Real estate education may be taking place 25% via the Web in five years and perhaps 50% via the Web in ten years.
  2. The percentage of real estate business accomplished on the Web will be much higher; the 35%-50% of real estate licensees who fully utilize technology will be the top producers.
Contact Information for Skip Weber:

(v) 610-353-6776
(f) 610-353-5438
(e) hweber@PolleyAssociates.com
(w)www.RealtyU.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

RealtyU
Real Estate CyberSpace Society
Polley Associates
InnerCircleEducation
WhaleMail.com
When.com