I published a special report last week, “10 MISSION CRITICAL Questions Every Real Estate Broker Must Be Able to Answer to Avoid a Risk Management Nightmare.“
The following is an excerpt from the guide.
Where are my listings posted and are all my listings legal?
Your listing inventory is a precious asset. Sometimes it seems like everybody wants a piece of your listing assets – listing portals, IDX websites, directory listings, Facebook app developers.
Listings draw traffic and eyeballs. Approximately 38 million real estate consumers surf the Web every month. You want to maximize your targeted traffic, sell your listings, and attract more buyers into your sales funnels.
There’s a lot of discussion in real estate circles these days about listing syndication. Zillow (with Yahoo!) is the frontrunner these days for consumer traffic, followed by Realtor.com and Trulia and a host of real estate destinations on the Internet where buyers and sellers scour their local market listings, photos, and videos to find their next homes.
Listing displays must comply with state and federal law at all times. Leverage your marketing and be sure your listings have lots of good photos that show off a home’s best features. Start with your MLS data. Realtor.com and other portals draw information right from the MLS. If the MLS information is flawed or sloppy, property syndication will magnify your lack of attention to detail and marketing savvy.
Virtual tours engage consumers, so make sure every property has a virtual tour whether it’s a video tour or a slide show.
One of the biggest failings of online listings is the quality of copywriting attached to the property description. That happens at the agent and broker level. Take your MLS copywriting seriously! The property information on a multiple listing entry should not contain a string of abbreviated descriptors – 3BR 4BA home with 3CG.
Appeal to prospective buyers with words that appeal to their senses and their emotions. “Family room has nice fireplace” is boring … it’s a fact with no appeal to the senses and no emotion.
What does a raging fire look like? Do the flames dance? What does the heat of the fire feel like? Is it warm? Does it offer a respite from the cold when you enter the room from outside? Is it a focal point for snuggling and getting cozy? Aim for the senses – sight, hearing, touch, temperature. Aim for emotion – comfort, security, happiness, joy.
Is it a good idea to syndicate residential property listings to major portals?
Yes! It’s a very good idea to syndicate property listings when you have a plan, trustworthy syndication partners, a way to measure your results, and a quick-action follow-up plan with new prospects.
Syndication is a source of concern and confusion and there’s a lot of online chatter about syndication these days..
A small broker in San Diego [Jim Abbott of Abbott Realty Group] made a couple of YouTube videos slamming property syndication to the real estate portals. His anti-syndication videos received tens of thousands of views, sparking controversy about the wisdom of brokers sharing listing data with the big portals. There are news articles, blog posts, and social media entries hailing this broker as a marketing sage and establishing his station as a Pied Piper of the anti syndication crowd.
The San Diego broker made some damning charges against the likes of Zillow and the other portals. He declared portals continue to display his listings “illegally” even after he pulled his company’s listings from the syndication feeds.
I was concerned about his charges and I called the man personally. He did not want to conduct a formal interview because I am on record supporting responsible syndication. (Egad!) He told me his listings keep popping up because portals that “use illegal IDX feeds” without his permission.
That sounded odd to me.
First, Listing portals don’t use IDX feeds for data. Listing portals don’t use IDX technology to build their listing assets.
I did a little research, a little sleuthing.
I found the culprit.
Boy, was I shocked! I didn’t know whether to laugh or scream. The culprit!
Bank of America.
Bank of America is the broker’s own client! Bank of America sends a data feed with listing information about its REO foreclosed property inventory. This broker had Bank of America listings. He removed his listings and his seller was sending them right back. When the data reappeared, he cried, “Foul,” and pulled the listings again, screaming that other agents were posting his listings illegally.
Obviously he did not investigate the case before he made inflammatory claims and charges about illegal listings.
I’ve been watching for his apology. He made a mistake. I haven’t seen a retraction online. Maybe I missed it. Maybe he doesn’t think he owes anyone an apology after calling people thieves. I think it’s wise to issue an apology when you make a mistake online, especially in a screaming hissy fit.
Lesson: Pick your Pied Pipers wisely. A viral YouTube video and a score of Facebook likes does not always point to good judgment about marketing. This same broker does not have the same knack for getting viral with his listings. Combined views on for this broker’s listing videos on YouTube channel amount to fewer than 100. That’s not impressive. It’s a very telling indicator about this broker’s actual level of real estate marketing savvy.
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