Online real estate opportunity screams – are you listening?

It’s 2010. Real estate is an odyssey. It’s time you took your Web users for the ride of lifetime.

How it was, still is

In the old days, you picked a real estate Website off a vendor’s shelf. Chose a color palette. A layout. Slapped on a logo. Got the IDX paperwork signed. Switched the DNS and you were good to go.

These boilerplate solutions were never optimal. What they told the world is how much you don’t understand the Internet, how little you care about your image, how you can’t effectively market yourself, let alone some stranger’s home. They screamed cheap. Unprofessional. Directionless. All the things people too often associate with real estate.

These products placed your value in the back seat. Or worse, buried it in the trunk under a dirty spare.

You could have done better then. You can – and must – do much better now.

Circumstances dictate a completely different Web strategy today. One that substantiates you as a local expert, a fabulous merchandiser of property, an articulate representative of your community.

Given the content users now search for, these fossilized Websites, replete with SEO smegma on the home page and ubiquitous “tips” stuffed inside like sausage fat, offer the user little by way of substantial value. What good is being seen at the top of the engine when your site is viewed as the bottom in value?

Video, images, and user generated content

Take this $50 shoe. Its detail page with images, video, fluid description and user generated reviews provided my 13-year old with enough decision support to narrow his choices down quickly – then order. Had the content not been there, he’d go elsewhere to find it.

The cynic says “shoes are different than real estate.” I agree. Shoes sell for $50.00. Homes for 10,000 times more. At the very least, homes ought to be merchandised the same. If not 10,000 times better.

As marketers continue to create better online consumer experiences, the pressure is on for real estate to do the same.

Opportunity screams

Go to Flickr. Search your city. How many images here are yours? If the answer isn’t more than anyone else… change that. Who better than you to document every street, neighborhood, hiking, jogging and biking trail, sunset and sunrise vantage point, vista, mesa, valley and alley in the area?  And once you upload images to your account, your developer will have what they need to pull those images into your Website via Flickr’s API.

With only a handful in real estate doing this, opportunity screams.

Go to YouTube. Repeat the process. Granted, shooting, editing and uploading video requires a different skill set, so scour the WellcomeMat directory, locate local videographers and, while there, create your own branded video repository and integrate this content into your website.

With only a handful in real estate doing this, opportunity screams.

Go to this simple property site. Scroll down to the comments box. Even something this simple provides users a way to interact and the listing agent something special to present the seller beyond an analytics graph.

With only a handful in real estate doing this, opportunity screams.


Old prevails in real estate. Mediocrity, its strange bedfellow. The bar, set low so all can reach.

Throughout real estate, static sites filled with yesterday’s news are operated by those who thrive on the can’t, won’t and never will. They’re the lifeblood of the legacy Website vendor.

But wildflowers of gorgeous new sites are popping up here and there. Created by individuals doing it themselves. Their brokerages have become media companies, broadcasting the hits local users want to hear, watch and read.

Real estate is face to face. Mine staring at yours by virtue of your great content. It’s where interaction begins today.