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REAL ESTATE SURFING ON THE WEB � FINDING NEAT STUFF!



When selling on the Internet there are at least four things you will be doing:

  1. Gathering information to support your sales effort,

  2. Finding buyers who may have an interest,

  3. Sending information to people you suspect have an interest and

  4. Responding to inquiries.

Last time we talked about getting started in Cyberspace. This time let's talk about gathering information. The question then is, "Once I'm on the Internet ----"What kind of neat Real Estate stuff can I find?" The answer is--- lots-and any kind of information you could imagine. The trick is to gather the information which will support your sales effort.

Let's assume that you are now connected to the Internet (if you aren't, save this column and pull it out once you are). Two of the first things you want to learn about are "SEARCH ENGINES " and " BOOKMARKS" . SEARCH Engines are used to find stuff. Bookmarks are used to keep track of the Stuff you find that you really like and want to revisit. Let's look at each in turn.

SEARCH ENGINES. Burn your phone books! Just call 411-the problem is that Ma Bell will now charge you to do this. The Internet has it's own 411-its own yellow pages --- and they are all free! They are called search engines. You tell them what you want to find and the search engine goes out and finds it for you.

The big problem with the Internet is that there is so much stuff out there it is impossible to wade through it all without help. Let's look at the Internet's equivalent of 411.

I'll use my favorite Alta Vista (one of many search engines) to show you how a search engine works. AltaVista describes itself as follows: "AltaVista gives you access to the largest Web index: 30 million pages found on 225,000 servers, and three million articles from 14,000 Usenet news groups. You locate Alta Vista at http://www.altavista.digital.com

As I type this article I have connected to the WWW. I just searched for "net lease' to get any information I could find on net leased properties on the WWW. I got a list of 700 locations to look for more. Similarly, I entered "shopping center for sale" and up popped 14 gems ready to add to my portfolio! (PS I entered "shopping center" first and got 20,000 hits. Then I narrowed the search.). each search took me less than 15 seconds!

Alta Vista is one of hundreds of search engines. A few of the more popular search engines are: Yahoo, Infoseek, Lycos, and Excite.

In the months ahead we will see the more widespread emergence of the super smart variations of search engines called "agents' (not real estate agents). Search agents will go looking for quite specific information �quickly, automatically and thoroughly. Agents are our " information butlers"!

In the meantime real estate professionals who will survive and thrive will start to learn the rudimentary principals of searching in Cyberspace.

BOOKMARKS

I bet you've been thinking-"Ya but I'll go crazy tying in all those cussed http's and www's and friblystrudle dot com's"! Bookmarks will come to the rescue and save you tons of time! Here is how they work

Remember books? We'd shove a piece of paper or some used dental floss at the location to which we wanted to return. Understanding what bookmarks do is as easy as that.

Most Web browsers ( those things on our computer that let us roam around the Internet) have a rather simple bookmark filing system built in. In addition to those there are "add on " programs that allow you to file your bookmarks in a very logical order.

There is a super bookmark add-on to Netscape called Smartmarks. Smartmarks lets me file all of my bookmarks in a very logical filing system . With this software I can quickly find the Web address for any site I have filed. All I have to do is hook up to the web and click the bookmark I want and Shazzam-I'm there! Smartmarks does other neat things too . It will monitor sites and let you know when any changes have taken place.

WRAPUP:

The Internet is like the old wild west --- you really need a guide. Search engines will help guide you through the wilderness. Bookmarks will help you keep track of where you've been and show you how to get back.