Deceptive Real Estate Websites and Blogs | Abusive Stealth Marketing

Deceptive Real Estate Websites and Blogs | Abusive Stealth Marketing

Real Estate Blind sites and unbranded stealth websites or blogs

As I search the Internet everyday looking at real estate sites and Word Press Blogs, it is amazes me what you will find!  On many sites it is impossible to tell if the owner of the website or Blog is a licensed real estate agent or broker.  The names of the licensed agent / broker, address of the brokers, nor the state the licensed real estate company is in is no where to be found anywhere!  This includes phone numbers.  This is what is called a “Blind Site!”  You cannot tell who owns or operates the site!  For the most part these sites nationally operate outside the real estate license laws!  What they do is illegal! Most states require real estate licensees to identifying themselves by their licensed name, license numbers broker, broker’s address and perhaps phone number.   The requirements will vary from state to state but the idea is similar!  The state does not want the public to be misled!  For more information check your states real estate commissions guidelines, and your Realtor code of ethics.

These bold agents that think they are clever area really criminal in their deceptive practices.  They take the term “BLIND SITE” or unbranded websites to a new level!  An example of this is an agent or national marketer that operates a “FOR SALE BY OWNER SITE” that markets a mix of MLS listings and BY OWNERS, yet never mentions anywhere in site the agents or brokers name or that they are licensed-to-do business under a broker licensed in the state. Another example is that of a leads generator in an unbranded site! That is highly illegal!  Another most probably illegal practice that violates real estate license law in many states… is high profiled agents branded sites that are very well placed at the tops of the search engines, however in a million years you cannot tell who the agent is licensed with! Their company is nowhere to be found.  Anyone that sells real estate or received real estate commissions as a referral should be licensed.  So this type of behavior is not very smart! I hope for the agents sake and brokers sake that their personal marketing adviser is familiar with their state real estate license law! Some may view branding as bringing out ones creative side, others view it as a violation of law, and non compliance with state real estate licenses law.

Most state real estate licensure require identification with your licensed broker, the address and city you are licensed, and the office phone number.  Brokers are ultimately for reviewing all advertising, but they have totally ignored reviewing their agent sites. 

Example: It is very easy to find out who owns a website easily, and if they are licensed in your state.  Let’s use www.Godaddy.com for the experiment because it is easy to find domain ownership. Start by copying and pasting the domain name of any real estate site,  and then viewing ownership of the site!  Search for a domain names for sale, when it says the name is not available, www.XXX.COM is not available (please click here for info) If they have not hidden their ownership, it will show the name of the website owner. For more information check your states real estate commissions guidelines for compliance, and feel free to review my article below.

Do You Identify Your Broker, Your Licensure On Your Website?” – by Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford is a real estate speaker and trainer for real estate Internet marketing.

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Real Estate Website Building Tips | Before You Publish

Checklist for real estate websites aand blogsReal Estate Website Building Tips for Before You Publish

Most persons get so excited when placing a real estate website on the web that they forget to check out all the basics!  Before you post your website or real estate website or WordPress blog you should have a checklist to ensure your real estate website / Blog can be found by the search engines, indexed, loads quickly, and do the job you intended it to do!  Everything should be working as you expected before you publish!  So with that in mind how about creating a small check list or do a dry run to see how worth your website is!

Real Estate Website Pre-Launch Checklist

  • Determine Who is your Audience and determine if your content matches the target audience.
  • Who are you going to host your site with?  Are they reliable?  Will they be able to handle your expected traffic?
  • Are you going to use and IDX plugin?  Any issues?  Reviews or Complaints?
  • Is your website compatible with other browsers mobile devices, cell phones or I-phones? That means that if a person uses another type of browser other than the type you used to create the website in will your website also work on that browser also?
  • Have you titled your Page (s) for indexing?  60 – 66 Characters that accurately describe your page or work?
  • Have you added a description to your Page? Not to exceed 150 characters and do not word stuff!
  • Keywords – are not too important any longer – however…use wisely.
  • Check all links both internal and external to ensure they are in working order.
  • Proofread your web page or Blog for correct grammar, syntax or punctuation errors and then run a spell check for any misspellings. WordPress has a great Plug-in for this it is called “Broken Link Checker!”
  • Sitemaps – does your website of WordPress Blog have a sitemap?  Do not publish with out an updated sitemap that reflects your new content. Google XML Sitemap / Free XML Sitemaps
  • Check your page load time – resize oversized graphics.  A slow loading page due to content or scripts does not work! Pingdom Tools
  • Optimize your site for optimal Performance!
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Do You Use a Favicon on Your Real Estate Website or Blog?

Do You Use a Favicon on Your Website or Blog?  

Favicons for real estate websites

If you use a website or Blog you should be getting the most out of it for return viewers!  One of the most overlooked tools for a viewer to quickly find your website or Blog in favorites is by the use a Favicon.  A “Favicon” is a shortened phrase for Favorite Icon!  When someone likes what they see on your website or Blog they will often Bookmark it or save it to their desktop.  If your website uses a Favicon ( …and I would suggest having a unique or branded one) that can be easily recognized – your website will be found more easily from many other websites they also stored by the user. As most of you are going to scratch your head and ask what a Favicon is, I suggest a small little test,

Go to http://real-estate-blog.atlantabesthomes.com/ and save it as a Favorite or a bookmark.  Then close out your window.  Re-open.  Go to your favorites, and what do you see for the site you just saved?  Load the URL for http://real-estate-blog.atlantabesthomes.com/  what do you see in front of the URL? It should be a Favicon of a “Georgia Peach!”

Let me know and well discuss what a Favicon is, why I’ve used it for over the years very successfully and how you can add to your own site!

In the meantime here are a few easy Favicon Creation Tools!

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Buyers that Don’t Want to Work with a Real Estate Agent

Buyers that Don’t Want to Work with a Real Estate Agent

Buying a Cow!

“Why buy the cow if you are getting the milk free?”  Have you noticed you are getting less buyer calls in the last few years requesting your services as a buyers agents.  It is not IDX nor is it the changing real estate markets that is causing this!  Have you noticed your buyer showings have reduced greatly, and even though you are showing the buyers what they want…they are not committing to work with you, and there is a reluctance to sign buyer agency agreements?  Why is that?

The real estate industry has made it that way. It is sheer stupidity!  MLS listings on-line now display addresses, maps to the property, tax information, MLS #’s, links to mortgage officers, calculators, what the home is worth, schools etc!  So why would they need you for anything other than opening the door?  They don’t!  Too much displayed data only benefits the listing broker, agent, and home seller only, not the buyer’s agent!  It does not help the buyers agents to earn a living with an IDX or broker reciprocity site that offers up all the information that a buyer is looking for free! It makes no sense at all!  Once buyers have all the information they need they will go directly to the listing agent and negotiate a deal for themselves.  Oh they may call you to fill in some small bits of information they do not have, but they will not use you to close the deal.  Their regular agent may be at work, out showing others or just unavailable.   In other words, as an industry we have gotten so dumb, the potential clients are making the decisions on the free information found online.  The sad thing in that most our business do not understand the nature of the Internet, how to close a real estate sales, or how to convert leads.

Buyer’s that will not commit to working with you are very easy to identify.  All you have to do is ask them a few questions in a professional manner…  if they are elusive or they do not want to answer …then don’t bother. If they are annoyed at the questions, or only will meet you at the property…or if they usually just want to look at one property – those are just a few of the signs. 

Before you waste your time with useless buyers calls – ask them a few questions first:

  1. If a buyer calls in from your website and only wants to view only one property.
  2. They ask for availability on a particular listing.
  3. They do not want to waste your time and only need the address to drive by.
  4. They cannot find the MLS # or the listing agents contact information.
  5. They want to know is the listing is still available or active.
  6. State your policy is to give out the addresses and detailed information to your signed clients.
  7. Ask the caller, have they seen similar homes with their agent?
  8. Only meet prospects at real estate office.
  9. If your phone call keeps being interrupted – yep it’s other agents.
  10. Ask qualifying questions, in a lease…until when, do you have to sell your home first, have you been pre-qualified, by whom?
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Do Real Estate Mailings Work Anymore?

Do Real Estate Mailings Work Anymore?

Real estate mailings are they cost effective?

For those that know me, I used to be known for my mass mailings, and postcards. In fact in our old CompuServe Forum in RE/MAX, I was referred to as “Mr. Post Card!” There wasn’t a subdivision data base that I did not have in my area, and I used to create all my own mailings. We did extremely well with mailings in the 1990’s with them. Other than making an occasional trip to the post office, mailings were actually no work at all. I used the computer to generate the mailings, and mail merges of custom databases to target neighborhoods. It was easy money. Then all of a sudden, it stopped working. Other agents really got into it. There were more agents everywhere, and mailings became very ineffective. So I took a gamble on Internet marketing back in 1996, and received a very handsome return in closed business. It has not stopped for us over the years. I kept moving resources for mailings, print publications and other advertising to Internet only, and have done much better in the long run. Today we do absolutely no mailings, or ads other than the Internet. The Internet is much more cost effective than mailings if done correctly.  We do mail a bi-monthly newsletter to past clients. Even now that has been replaced with email newsletters and updates.  The only other print publications I used are the flyers and brochures that I create for our listings. What I like most about the Internet is that I can target both buyers and sellers at the same time without extra costs.  Whether my real estate marketing is an internet website, WordPress Blog or social media…the Internet ad is a highly effective marketing tool and with the right SEO it is an ad that is live online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and is GLOBAL!  Unlike any print ads you may have used, there is no shelf life on Internet marketing. Unlike a Sunday classified or monthly real estate book, the Internet does not expire until the ad is changed or deleted. My personal experience has proved to me that the Internet continues to be the best way to market our real estate services, for ourselves, and our clients needs.  What about you?

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WordPress Photo Plugin for Slide Show

WordPress Photo Plugin for Photo Slide Show

WordPress Photo Plugin. I recently was looking for a way to display photos on my WordPress Blogs / websites, and I found a great little slideshow generator that was easy to use, install and had some great features . The WordPress Plug-In called “oQey Gallery” I used it create a photo blog with some pictures I’d taken in Cumming Georgia Called “Cumming GA Photos Slide Show – Cumming Georgia Photographs!” What I like most was that the gallery slideshow was easy to install, it was free, I could customize the display, caption, and the size of the display.  Let me know what your thoughts are of if you have any other WordPress slideshow that you use and what are its features.   

WordPress Slide Show PlugIn

Cumming GA Photos and Slideshow

There are many choices for displaying your real estate photos on a slide show or gallery on your real estate website or WordPress Blog, but choose carefully.  Some of these plugins have great features, but keep in mind they may not be compatible with some viewer’s browsers and that can cost you business! Two of the other side shows I ‘ve used are “SlideDeck” and “Wow Slider”!

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