Monday, August 18, 2008

What should the MLS become?

No sooner did I post the entry about Point2Technologies's study of photos in tours, then announcement of the following paper arrived. Usually I wouldn't cover the same company in almost consecutive entries, but this merits it.

“What is the value a real estate professional brings to consumers when information about everything, including real estate, is so abundant on the Web?“

That’s a thought-provoking question Saul Klein poses, then answers, in an industry white paper he’s put together about the MLS and all he envisions it can and should be. Entitled MLS 5.O: The MLS of the Future, you can freely download the paper as a pdf or a word document here.

Klein is CEO of Point2Technologies and the Internet Crusade, and has more than 30 years experience in real estate. So, he has the credentials which lend weight to his insights and interpretation how the MLS can evolve into a more powerful and responsive resource for consumers and real estate professionals alike.

If you’re attuned to the changes technology and the Web have already brought to this industry, and wonder where it’s leading, this is a must read—if only to get you thinking and start conversations rolling.

As he explains in the introduction, “This paper is a summary of the potential that the MLS can bring to the real estate industry and to consumers and, at the same time, it can be viewed as a subtle warning if brokers and industry leaders fail to grasp the strengths MLS currently possesses and employ them in a fast changing world, when consumer alternatives are popping up at every turn.”

Take a look and start the dialog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Some easy answers for tours

Still getting responses from July’s Realtor magazine story on video, now mostly from those with something to sell. In brief, here’s info from some recent contacts

Looking for an easy, inexpensive easy answer to your virtual tour needs? launched last month as a free site where you can create and distribute video tours. With its streamlined approach, users upload still photos to build the tours which feature pan and zoom effects to convey a sense of motion. Editing tools allow users to personalize the tours with text and background music. Distribution to sites like YouTube, Zillow and Trulia is one click away, and tours can be converted in to an ePostcard for display on your site. The services is currently in beta and, again, free. is one of many companies with turnkey tour creation services, starting at $139 for a musical slide show tour with up to 40 pictures. Its Fone Tour option, creates tours specifically for delivery to mobile devices, including smartphones.

Realty Times has put together several video solutions for use online. Branded home tours, $349, combine a home tour, interview with listing agent discussing its appeal, and a look at the latest market trends. See a sample here. Another option: branded video newsletters for distribution each month. An example can be found here.

If you’d rather develop your own approach to free tours Greg Drejza has wriiten a book "How to Create a Virtual Tour for Free" which steps you through the tour building process process. Some practical tips on what it takes for an effective tour on a budget. Available for $10.95 in black and white through the website

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More photos, more interest

While video is gaining momentum, photos still rule as far as presentation of the property on the Web goes. And when it comes to pictures, More means More, according to survey conducted by Point2 Technologies earlier this year.

The sampling of 100,000 active listings throughout the U.S. and Canada analyzed the impact pictures had on consumer activity. Overall the study affirmed a direct correlation between the number of pictures and consumer interest. The study compared how many times each listing was viewed online; interest in the listing, as demonstrated by viewing time and related activity; and the number of leads generated by each listing.

Two key findings:

Listings with no photos generate a minute fraction—less than one percent—of the detailed views that results when a listing features more than 21 photos;

Listings with 21 or more photos generated three times the amount of detailed views, and twice the amount of interest and leads than those with just one photo.

You can read a more detailed report of the survey in the press release here.