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Internet Marketing Sells Homes: Is Your Realtor Tech-Savvy?

Apr 15, 2008
When it comes to selling a home, in today's world, a tech-savvy listing agent is more important than you may think. No longer are simple newspaper ads, or faxes to the multiple listing service enough. In our information hungry society, the agents who are up-to-date with internet marketing techniques will get their listings noticed faster.

Traditional marketing methods are still important. But, with 80% of home buyers starting their search online, a real estate agent with an online presence will get your listing noticed. Simply looking at an agencies website (or an agent's site) can let you know about their Internet marketing plan.

Here is what a good marketing plan should include:

Both an Agency and an Agent's Site:

To put is simply, websites matter in the real estate business. The agent you choose should have his/her own site. The agency itself should also have a site. Clean site designs, and regular updates, are both good indications that they are up to date with their marketing techniques.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Having a website isn't enough by itself. In order for people to find that site needs to be optimized for search engines. One good indication that the company is working towards SEO is regular content updates with useful information for buyers.

To find out how well a site is already optimized, try Googling "real estate (insert city here)". If the agent's, or the agencies, site show up on the first few pages this indicate good SEO.

Multiple Listing Service (with IDX):

MLS's or multiple listing services have been around for a while. They provide the processes through which an agency can share their listings with other real estate agencies. There aren't many agencies that don't use these services. In today's world, however, you want MLS with IDX.

IDX stands for internet data exchange. The term actually comes from the computer industry. As it applies to real estate, it is the process through which a real estate site can gather information from the multiple listing services for display on their own website.

To find out if an agencies site is IDX enabled (most agent's personal sites most likely won't be), do a search MLS listings for the area. Look at one listing on that site, and then find the same listing on the agency site. If they are similar in content (not style) then the site is likely IDX enabled.

Listing Syndication:

This is one area that many agencies overlook. When a listing is submitted to an MLS service the listing will also be syndicated on Realtor.com. Some agencies feel this is enough and forget the other syndication services. Trulia.com, Google Base, Yahoo Real Estate, and Propsmart, are just some of the bigger services.

To see if an agent takes the time to syndicate their listings head to one of those sites, and search for the agent (or agency) by name.

When it's time to sell your home, it is important that you choose an agent that is up with the times. You now have a few simple methods to check for yourself.

The other, obvious, method would be to ask. When you mention SEO or IDX, and they look at you with a blank stare, it may be a good indication that you should find a different listing agent.
About the Author
Ronnie Bredahl is an Austin Realtor and owner of Austin Referral Realty. Read more real estate articles or search the Austin MLS for available Austin Homes.
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