July 9th, 1996
Real Estate on the Internet

07/09/96 RMIUG Meeting Minutes - Real Estate on the Internet

The 27th meeting of the Rocky Mountain Internet User Group started at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, July 9th with Dan Murray (dan@rmiug.org) as moderator. There were about 60 people in attendance. The person traveling the furthest to reach the meeting received a free RMIUG T-shirt.

Incidentally, this RMIUG meeting was covered in the Boulder Daily Camera's Business Plus section on Tuesday, July 16, in an article about local computer user groups.

Some personalized news/email services were mentioned at the start of the RMIUG meeting. Per a request from the audience, here are the URLs for these services.

Individual, Inc. personal news service: http://www.individual.com
Pointcast free news via screensaver: http://www.pointcast.com
Mercury Mail free news/weather/sports by email: http://www.merc.com
Juno free email service: http://www.juno.com
Freemark Communications free email service: http://www.freemark.com

The following were announcements from our members:

  • Carroll Blend (cblend@tde.com), the RMIUG librarian, announced the addition of books from several publishers. Please send Carroll an email if you have an overdue book.

  • Computer Edge is looking for a weekly columnist. If interested, please contact Kevin Farrel (email KBFarrel@aol.com) or 770-9909.

  • Paul Tenorio of P3Co (info@internetbusdir.com) offers discounts to RMIUG members both for purchases of the Colorado Internet Business Directory and for advertisers. Just mention your RMIUG membership during transaction.

  • The Boulder Chamber of Commerce announced the "Telecommunications Reform & Competition Symposium" Wednesday, July 24, 7:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. NIST Auditorium, 325 Broadway Boulder. Cost: $10 members/$15 non-members. On-line registration: http://www.indra.com/misc/telecom/

Dan introduced the first of our featured panel of speakers for the evening. Craig Plantz (cplantz@corealty.com) Craig brings 8 years of real estate experience to Corealty. Corealty started in 1995 employs 10 people, has grown to 9000 listings. That's 60% of the listings in Colorado, and 39% of the Real Estate offices participating. The goal of Corealty is to provide the consumer means to make educated decision in buying a house and choosing an agent. Corealty provides access to expanded MLS listings through their search engine using keys such as price range and city. There is no cost to the consumer.

Corealty contracts with individual offices, helping agents understand the benefits of using the Internet, and bringing offices on line. This activity coupled with individual real estate agents contracting with Corealty for an individual web page funds the consumer portion of the web site. The keys to Corealty's success include: 8 years of real estate experience, educating the real estate companies on how to use and the benefits of the Internet, ease of use of the web site, and their customer service.

Craig answers our Member's questions:

Complete mapping is available for locating houses. Working on adding sub-division section to help identify neighborhoods. The return on investment depends on how offices use their page. Working on transaction based operations - appraisals and mortgage purchases. 4000 Realtors are on-line and Corealty charges a flat fee to offices, not a cost per listing. We suggest Realtors put their URL on all advertisements where phone numbers appear. "Virtual Realtor" email alert service will be added soon to notify people of available properties. Realtors kick and fight, but for most part they realize the marketing benefit and see results. We provide the Realtors some analyses of web page activity and email activity.

Our second speaker, DB Wilson (dbwilson@csn.net) is foreign to the Internet. DB talked about he early days when land passed down within the family. It was the railroads that first employed agents to purchase land for the right away of their tracks. The practice passed to the public sector, first within a town or city then across country. The early days of the modern real estate agency saw agents keeping the listings to themselves. The move to the MLS was a result of trying to provide better customer service. The current phase, putting the listing on the web page, is just the latest in the knowledge sharing between the agent and consumer.

DB shared his favorite real estate related web sites:

http://www.realtor.com & http://www.realtorads.com -- half the US with over 300,00 listings
http://www.teamera.com/ -- ERA realty member only site
http://www.eraonline.com - ERA on-line listings for consumers
http://www.pruflorida.com/ - large conglomeration of sites in Florida, mostly vacation type homes
http://travelersonline.com/guide/ - Great location for what to think about when buying a home
http://www.amrex.com/ - Register with this site and there is
demographics available for many markets. They also send a newsletter. http://reinet.com/ - leasing and sales worldwide.
http://www.reipa.com/ - Information provider of public records
http://www.dataquick.com/ - alliance with 38 of 50 states. Limited public record information with assessor and foreclosure information
http://www.bigbook.com/ and http://www.geosys.com/ - maps
http://www.mapquest.com/ - address mapping
http://www.fractals.com/ -- 100 different locations in California
http://www.baynet.com/ - San Francisco bay area information
http://www.windermere.com/ - northwest and Canada
http://corealty.com/ - Colorado listing and Realtor information
http://www.homes.com/ - homes and land magazine
http://boulderco.com/ - Boulder ReMax
http://www.datatrac.com/ - Bringing real estate transactions together
http://www.homebuyer.com/ - real estate listings for fifty states with links to state home pages
http://www.cyberhomes.com/ -- searches of selected cities
http://homescout.com/ -- Over 300,000 homes from 122 different real estate web sites.
http://www.ired.com/ -- International real estate directory
http://www.owner.com/ -- For sale by owner site
http://www.ulist.com/ -- For sale by owner site

DB shared some of the success stories about his office and the Internet. One Realtor completed two transactions in first two months. One transaction actually initiated prior to posting a sign in the seller's yard. Another positive for the Realtors is the ability to receive email during he day while traveling. This is more efficient that retrieving phone messages. Another success was the ability to keep the on-line listing up to date rather than having old, possible sold listings, in some of the magazines

DB answers our Member's questions:

MLS will still exist in five years, in one form or another. There will always be room for a third party to help the buyers and sellers, and many people need to touch, feel and smell a house prior to purchasing. Virtual reality will be most helpful in new homes where model is not available. ISDN and telecommunication information are currently not available as part of listing. Buyers' agents will soon are currently taking advantage of the net. There are currently for sale by owner sites, but DB could not remember the locations. DB is trying to get everyone at his office to use email, because he feels is important to have consistency. It is difficult as some people will never change, and in some cases people are quitting rather than join the electronic age. DB is currently not tracking the number of sales resulting from network access. In most cases it is difficult, however; when a home sells without an MLS listing or a sign posted in the yard, it is quite obvious where the contact initiated. The office attempts to migrate Realtors by offering classes, performing presentations, building satellite network and arranging discounts at local computer stores. Six or so Realtors work virtually. Colorado real estate commission is struggling with how to make sure licensed brokers are providing guidance required by law in a virtual setting. Soon he hopes more of his agents are carrying laptops to be able to show what listings are available. In order for the Internet to be more effective, it needs to be faster. It takes too long to perform transactions and to bring down images on a 28.8 modem. The mentality of the agents is "full speed ahead" and waiting for Internet speed is an issue. The MLS is the database to use when kept up to date and the Internet is what the consumers can use as a selling tool.

Dan introduced our third speaker, Jamal Pilgers (jpilger@photoad.com). Jamal's background in real estate is in the periphery. Jamal set up Photoad to address automobile sales and went into real estate in 1994 and took it on-line in 1995. Photoad print media went well and in 1995 he realized the place to be was in web site development. Part of the reason Jamal entered the real estate arena was because when he went looking for a house, he could not find any on-line resources. He decided to develop a site built on the consumer's perspective. The key to Jamal's web site is that every listing has a photograph. One agent in particular was quite successful using Photoad.

Photoad is the official web site for the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association (CMLA). This is a major feather in Photoad's cap as they are now working with the mortgage lenders to build sites and helping develop business for companies wanting to join the CMLA. The key, in Jamal's view, is to make the web business a win-win situation for Photoad and the mortgage companies. The objective is to provide information to consumers and put the different CMLA companies in the public eye. There will soon be an interactive mortgage calculator available on Photoad's web page.

Jamal answers our Member's questions:

Photoad does not list mortgage rates. The CMLA decided they did not want to post that information. Ten clients have developed web sites and Photoad is working with others. Photoad will charge about $100 to setup a web site and $50 per month maintenance. Photoad will link to a mortgage company's existing site, for a fee. Photoad uses "Web Site Pro" and "Windows NT".

All three speakers entered the stage and the following is the Q&A session.

How long before the shift is complete within the Real Estate office?
Some are converting now, and some are getting out of the business rather than convert. The real issue is there are so many other things to do; there is just not enough time to focus on converting.

Is there fear of people losing their jobs?
Many people go the other way and see more possibilities for leads. There is becoming more reliance on buyers' agents.

Is commercial real estate moving as quickly to the Internet?
They are moving much slower because they do business differently.

Can you list directly through the Internet?
There is still the need for an agent to come and meet with sellers and help asses the property.

Since stock pricing and trading is available over the Internet, removing the broker from the transaction, how long does the real estate broker have?
The Internet is putting pressure on the broker to become more knowledgeable. As long as people need a third party and as long as the agents are knowledgeable, there will be agents. There will be a reduction in agents and more for sale by owners.

Dan closed the meeting and drew business cards for a giveaway of eight copies of the "Internet Business Directory"

The Tuesday, August 13 meeting of the Rocky Mountain Internet Users Group (RMIUG) will feature a presentation by William Horton on "The Good, the Bad and the Bleeding Edge in Web Page Design." Mr. Horton is an internationally-known author, teacher and consultant to Fortune 500 companies and high technology firms. The meeting will be Tuesday, August 13; 7-9 PM; Department of Commerce in Boulder.

RMIUG wishes to thank XOR Network Engineering for maintenance of RMIUG's WWW site and email lists, Internet One of Boulder for continued sponsorship of refreshments and NIST for the use of their meeting room.

Suggestions/comments/feedback are always welcome -- please email these to rmiug-comm@rmiug.org

RMIUG has 3 email lists for its members. Send an Email to rmiug@rmiug.org for an auto-reply message with more information or check out our Web Site at http://www.rmiug.org/rmiug/

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