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Volume 34
Issue 35
 
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Real Estate
Task Force compelled to sue record company over rights to trademark
It wasn't long ago that competition was so fierce for houses, they were selling almost as fast as they hit the market. Real estate agents were advising potential buyers to put in bids above the asking price if they thought they had found the home of their dreams.

These days, it's taking weeks, sometimes months for houses to sell. Among the many explanations being offered for the slowdown: a greater inventory of homes, higher interest rates and higher gas prices.

It is times like these that having the right agent can make all the difference in the world. But many home sellers may be shortchanging themselves by working with an agent merely because they were recommended by a relative or a neighbor, or simply because they came across one of their marketing campaigns just when they were considering a move.

So how do you find that perfect match? You could start by getting references from friends, family and acquaintances, making sure that the agents you are considering have a proven track record in the community - then do your homework.

o Check out the agent's Web site to see how well they present their listings. According to the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) 2005 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, lots of photos and detailed information about the property are two key features buyers are looking for when conducting research online. Better quality listing content is therefore likely to generate more inquiries and prospects.

o Send an inquiry to each agent through their Web site to see how long it takes them to respond. An independent survey conducted by Realtor.com unveiled that 45 percent of online consumer inquiries go unanswered by real estate agents. With 45 percent of consumers expecting a response within 30 minutes, and 65 percent expecting a response within four hours, according to the same report, how fast your candidates get back to you provides a good measure of how effective they will be in selling your home.

o Test to see if any of the candidates' listings appear among the top five results on major search engines like Google.com and some of the popular real estate search sites, like Trulia.com and Oodle.com. Specify your neighborhood name and city name in your search. Do this by typing in 'homes for sale in . . . the neighborhood name, city name, state name.'

"There are a lot of agents out there who think they can just stick a sign in the yard, take out an ad or two in the newspaper and sit back and wait for a buyer to come along. That approach may have worked in the mid and late 1990s, but not in today's climate. The key to success, today, is being able to effectively market your properties where people are looking - and that's online," says Jay Thompson of Century 21 Aware Realty in Mesa, Ariz.

Thompson has seen his business increase tenfold since switching almost exclusively to online marketing with the help of Point2 Agent, a comprehensive lead generation and online marketing software for real estate brokers and agents.

"Point2 Agent allows the real estate professional to really showcase their listings. They have the ability to display up to 36 images with each listing, along with detailed information about the property, such as room dimensions, neighborhood features and schools. They also gain the benefit of being able to instantly syndicate the listing to thousands of other Point2 Agent Web sites, as well as popular consumer real estate search sites such as Google Base, Yahoo! Classifieds, Trulia, Oodle and LiveDeal," says Brendan King, chief operating officer of Point2 Technologies, Realty Solutions.

Thompson says that's one of the best features of the software. "I often get calls within hours of the listing going up. Sometimes even from people in a nearby community who are curious. Other times from people who live in other states or countries, who saw the listing online. You can't ask for better advertising," says Thompson.

"A year ago people would call and say 'I want a three bedroom, three bath house in Phoenix,' and we'd search the listings on the MLS for them. Now people call in asking if we can show them a home they found on their own online that they thought was pretty cool," added Thompson.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), over 80 percent of home buyers will use the Internet in their next home search. So make sure your agent is up on the latest technology.

Whether you're buying or selling, log on to www.point2homes.com and take a look at listings offered by thousands of Point2 Agent users across the country.



Courtesy of ARA Content
 

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