2009 Real Estate Guide
A small modern looking home with a rooftop with foliage and trees on top of a set of house plans
real estate
Tech-savvy agents get results

Search engine marketing (SEM)/optimization (SEO)

"Nationally, more than 90 percent of homebuyers are searching on the Internet," says Romer. "You certainly want your house to be found, and you want it to look its best online." SEM and SEO help an agent or property show up in a basic Google search. Cline writes articles, distributes news releases and has developed a content-rich Web site. All have helped his site to show up well when someone searches on Google for things like "Austin real estate" or "Lakeway real estate."

Web sites

Many agents, including Campano, take advantage of their agencies’ Web resources. Isellyourhome.com, for example, looks like an individually created site but was created using a Keller Williams system. Campano also creates separate Web sites for each listing, with the street address as the URL.

Some agents maintain more than one Web site to showcase expertise in a particular community, such as partners Cecily Lee and Mike Hope of RE/MAX Beach Cities Realty in California. Blogger Mary Hall chose them mostly because of their Web presence. At www.cecilylee.com, visitors can find featured listings, neighborhood reports, a mortgage calculator, a link to mortgage rates from Bankrate.com and real estate news.

Blogs

Blogs are emerging as a way to build exposure and reputation as a legitimate resource, whether as part of a Realtor's homepage, on the ActiveRain real estate community, or on their own.

Weekly, 9 percent of NAR-surveyed Realtors participate in a self-hosted blog. Cline, who blogs at least four times a week, says his blogging goal is "to allow prospective clients to see that I not only know how to buy and sell real estate, but that I keep up to date on the issues that affect (local) buyers and sellers." Romer, who has blogged for about four years, posts blog entries on his own Web site, on sites such as ActiveRain, and also on a Seattle-area real estate professional blog.

Video

Who needs still photos when a property can come to life? "I'm seeing agents not only shoot videos of homes they have for sale, but they're documenting the neighborhoods, parks, local businesses to capture the essence of the community," Bachraty says. Some agents even syndicate their videos to sites such as YouTube and WellcomeMat.

YouTube "has gained momentum ... as an easy, user-friendly, cost-effective way for agents to upload virtual tours and distribute a link in their e-communications, at their Web sites and via social communities such as Facebook and MySpace," says Rick Sedler, managing editor of OceanHome magazine. Marguleas and Madden are two agents who create films for listings and post them to the video-sharing site.

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