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Welcome to your constantly updated resource for news and views on the Brookline Real Estate market. Here you will find commentary and statistics to explain the daily changes in the Brookline specific housing market.

Whether you're looking for an estate in Cottage Farm, a condo in Brookline Village or are just stopping by please feel free to read along and comment at will. If you are interested in speaking about renting an apartment, buyer representation or listing your home please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What do you Expect from a Real Estate Website?

Today I was asked to attend a vendor presentation about real estate websites in my role as Vice-Chairman of the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS Technology Committee. It got me thinking about what agents and brokerages use for websites to speak to consumers. There is a "Web 2.0" initiative going on throughout the National Association of REALTORS. The industry as a whole needs to keep up with the technology in order to stay relevant in the mind of the new generation of consumers.

So, what is it that the "new generation" wants? In the interest of full disclosure, I'm 27 years old. I believe I might fit in the "next" new generation because many people my age aren't yet buying homes. When it came time for me to have a website I invested significant capital in "branding" myself. My first website in the business was nothing special at all. It had a search tool and a mechanism for daily email updates of MLS changes. It had some stock photography and little sections for me to tell about myself. There were no blogs, widgets, ect... In fact, the mapping tool was still Yahoo! Maps which I think stopped being relevant in 1999. Now most sites have similar next-generation map search tools, don't require log-ins, and give you minute by minute updates. So, for my website I decided to tell a story about me. I no longer view myself as the gatekeeper to the property information. You will not come to me simply for property or open house information. You will hopefully come to me because I am a specialist in a very specific segment of the market. My goal is to provide you a window into who I am so you will in turn be able to feel comfortable contacting me.

My pet peeves in agent sites are things like:

Servicing: Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Boston-Allston, Boston-Back Bay, Boston-Beacon Hill, Boston-Brighton, Boston-Charlestown, Boston-Dorchester, Boston-East Boston, Boston-Hyde Park, Boston-Jamaica Plain, Boston-Mattapan, Boston-Midtown, Boston-Mission Hill, Boston-North End, Boston-Roslindale, Boston-Roxbury, Boston-South Boston, Boston-South End, Boston-The Fenway, Boston-Waterfront, Boston-West Roxbury, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, Malden, Medford, Natick, Needham, Newton, Newton-Auburndale, Newton-Chestnut Hill, Newton-Newton Center, Newton-Newton Highlands, Newton-Newton Upper Falls, Newton-Newtonville, Newton-Nonantum, Newton-Waban, Newton-West Newton, Quincy, Quincy-North Quincy, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown
Seriously?!?! Are you "servicing" anything? The site I pulled this from has no picture on it other than a mug shot (a.k.a. an agent Headshot) and has no differentiating content. Yes, this agent is "well known and trusted" just go ahead and take their word for it. They'll tell you exactly why you should live in Allston or Everett or West Newton because that's what their little auto-generated service area message tells you.

So, consumers: What are you looking for in a real estate website? For the many agents who read me: Why have you decided to go with one type of site over another?


top 10% awardAwarded Top 10% in the Nation for Consumer Satisfaction by the Internet Consumer Group
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The views expressed on these pages are the opinion of the author and any public contributors. They do not substitute for the advice of a legal or financial professional. These opinions are not representative of any firm or business. Please always consult an attorney, financial professional or sign a contract with a Buyer Agent or Seller's Agent for specific advice.