Any Real Estate agent that has been in the business for any length of time has heard of Realtor.com. Many people outside of the real estate industry have also heard of Realtor.com. When Realtor.com first hit the scene it was an excellent outlet to get a listing out on the internet. That has changed rapidly however. Today it is lagging behind the likes of many sites: Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and even CraigsList.org.
Realtor.com has, in my opinion, become a somewhat dated web site with an older way of doing business. Here is how it works. When an agent gets a listing, that agent has to become a Member of Realtor.com in order for interior photos of their listing to be posted. Realtor.com calls this, Enhanced Listings. Any Realtor® or anyone who has sold their house in the age of the Internet will tell you that without interior photos, you may as well not even bother posting the listing. Most buyers, when shopping online, want to see interior photos in order to even consider a home. Without interior photos most buyers pass it up because they do not want to waste their time.
In order to become a Member of Realtor.com, someone on the Realtor.com sales team will assess how many listings that particular agent has had in the previous year. If you are like a typical agent in Chicago, that could be 10+ listings. With that number a Realtor.com membership will likely run into the thousands. If an agent had no listing the previous year, the membership to Realtor.com is less than $200.
Realtor.com Is a Tough Bill to Pay
In today’s rough economic times it makes it more difficult to become a member of Realtor.com when an agent can post their listings, with interior photos, to websites such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, CraigsList.com, etc. Everyone is strapped for cash these days, including real estate agents.
The bigger question is this…do the sellers expect to see interior photos on Realtor.com? The answer is yes. The seller can benefit from Realtor.com. Buyers that use Realtor.com will see the listing and hopefully there will be interior photos, and with that they might request a showing.
When a consumer or client signs onto Realtor.com there are many amenities on the website that are helpful. A buyer can search for a home via city, price point, bedroom and bath count, etc. The listings are fed to Realtor.com through the Multiple Listing Service in each particular area. Most of the listings are accurate, however it can take a day or two for the listing to be updated in Realtor.com after a price change or if it goes under contract. The buyer can also set up an automatic search themselves and have it sent directly to their iPhone. There are other amenities such as having your credit checked, market conditions, local mortgage interest rates, and automated home valuation products. From a buyer’s perspective this is the entire home shopping web site all in one.
Real Estate’s Future
What every real estate agent needs to keep in mind is that the average home buyer and seller is becoming more and more internet savvy. With all the internet tools out there, the real estate agent needs to stay informed about every tool they have access to. The Chicago Tribune Online posted a very interesting post today entitled, “High-Tech Inroads Point the Way to Real Estate’s Future.” This post is from the perspective of a tech savvy seller/buyer working with an agent that was not quite so up with the times. The agent could have lost the listing due to lack of Internet marketing knowledge. This is a pivotal time in real estate. This market is going to weed out those agents and web sites that do not change with the times.
Illustrations by Luca ContiEmail This Post To a Friend.