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"Leveraging Business Through Realtor.com"


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Stuart Wolff Photo
4/2/99 Interview with Stuart Wolff

Realtor.com
225 Hillcrest Drive, Suite 100
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Biography

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Today's Dominant Real Estate Consumer Site

  1. Statistics indicate that on average each home listed on Realtor.com is viewed 174 times per month; the site has 1.2 million listings; visitors are viewing about 3,000 houses per minute.
  2. According to Mediametrics, Realtor.com is one of the 40 fastest growing web sites in the world; the success of the site results from the collective effort of RealSelect and the NAR, plus numerous Realtors, Brokers and MLSs.
  3. The relationship with the National Association of Realtors is central to the site; the NAR started it in 1995, but RealSelect has operated it on their behalf since 12/1996; the NAR has an ownership position in RealSelect.
Differences from the Competition

  1. Realtor.com has more listings than any other web site - the only complete database of homes for sale in the US.
  2. According to the recent independent study by Clareity Consulting, most competitors have regional listings numbering no more than 150,000-300,000; controversy over the study centers on the discovery that some sites have exaggerated their numbers.
  3. Through unique relationships with major portals, Realtor.com is the major Real Estate partner for 5 of the top 6 or 7 search engines.
  4. In joining Realtor.com for your listings, you get exposure on the popular Realtor.com site plus the network of portals - America On Line, Excite, Netscape, InfoSeek and Lycos - to give you 100% reach to all home shoppers.
  5. In last spring's Listings Shoot-Out, hosted by Clareity's Gregg Larson, Realtor.com, Microsoft, CyberHomes and HomeSeekers were all represented; the subsequent study makes Realtor.com look good.
Residential and Commercial Services

  1. Most Realtors post listings to Realtor.com via their MLS, but an independent Realtor can be linked to a contiguous MLS by RealSelect.
  2. RealSelect has just launched CommercialSource, but how it will unfold is uncertain; the Commercial side is very different from Residential, e.g., there is a more reluctant attitude about sharing data.
  3. The Commercial arena is less about technology and more about business models; the Internet is certain to cause the models to evolve; RealSelect intends to make CommercialSourse responsive to what the Commercial industry decides it needs.
Leveraging Business through Realtor.com

  1. The industry has done a good job of aggressively creating opportunity from the Internet by controlling Realtor.com, the primary source of Real Estate information on the Internet.
  2. Individual Realtors need to seize the Internet as a tremendous tool - by providing the information that consumers want, the Realtor maintains relationships with them.
  3. In addition to listings, Realtor.com offers Agents and Brokers a marketing program that allows them to plug in easily to reach consumers via the greatest marketing medium of all time.
  4. To do business over the Internet, you need to communicate electronically by email, and to have a home page with effective links.
  5. A Personal Planner feature on Realtor.com allows consumers to store profiles of Realtors and/or homes and be notified as new subjects meeting the criteria get listed.
One Place

  1. This product, marketed by a subsidiary called The Enterprise, Ltd., notifies Agents of consumer interest from a variety of sources, including Realtor.com, their Broker web site and their voice activated hotlines.
  2. Leads are relayed by email and pager to you wherever you are; caller ID enables you to call back; if consumers don't get immediate feedback from you, they will move on, so you often have only a few minutes to respond; One Place gives you the technology you need to do so.
  3. Typically One Place is installed by a Broker for one or more offices; Agents are billed a monthly subscription fee by the Broker or directly by Enterprise.
Progress with Virtual Tours

  1. The problems have been high pricing and the need for consumers to download software.
  2. RealSelect's partner JutVision has created technology that doesn't require any plug-ins for consumers and costs only $99 per virtual tour; they are deploying a national sales force to make it available in all major markets and many minor markets.
  3. The service includes JutVision shooting the footage.
  4. The next advance will be expansion of bandwidth so that the tour experience will be even faster; RealSelect is working with the cable modem service @Home to be ready for broad band.
How Realtors Should Take Advantage of the Internet

  1. Learn along with the Internet; don't wait until everyone else is online to begin; 41% of adults are already connected.
  2. Develop your own business practices so that you can respond rapidly; target your own constituency with the right messages.
  3. Opportunities to expand business are great for Realtors who approach the Internet aggressively; highlight whatever your specialty is - the Internet allows segmentation of the marketplace in ways that had only been dreamed of a few years ago.
Internet Sites

  1. Personal favorites include Cnet for computer news and information; Amazon.com for books; E-Toys for toys.
  2. The major categories were staked out years ago, but now the minor categories are multiplying; watch for the appearance of more and more special sites.
The Future for Residential Listing Sites

  1. Consolidation in the media business has been the pattern - several key portals have already been acquired; Residential listing space is already twice as busy as all other Real Estate sites combined, so consolidation has already occurred with Realtor.com in the lead.
  2. The Internet is changing all of society, not just business; the free flow of information is a basic support for democracy and for consumerism.
  3. We must guard against too much consolidation at the top to be sure that nobody controls the flow of information; the Internet should and will continue to proliferate and to empower people by educating them.
Contact Information for Stuart Wolff:

(v) 800-878-4166
(f) 805-557-2699
(e) stuart.wolff@realtor.com
(w)www.realtor.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

NAR residential property listings
Mediametrics.com
Clareity Consulting
Cyberhomes.com
Homeseekers.com
Commercialsource.com
Personal Planner home listing notification
Enterprise's One Place Click on "product information"
JutVision virtual tours
Home.com

Personal favorites:
cnet.com/
Amazon.com
etoys.com
Onerealtorplace.com