Wanted – Real Estate Agents to Blog

Before I bought my current place, Jen and I talked with a handful of real estate agents. We didn’t purchase from any of them. In general, they didn’t feel authentic, connected, credible. Felt like the stereotypical used car salesman. With a housing boom like this – I don’t blame them. Problem is, demand won’t always be this strong, interest rates this low, and the need for agents will only diminish.

At some point in the next year or so, there’s a very good chance I’ll need their services. This is what I’m looking for in the next real estate agent I work with:

  • A weblog that’s about 60% ‘business’ – properties, housing market, interest rates, mortgage stuff. With the rest of it more personal and hopefully completely off topic. Ideally, some posts will cross both sides – likes restaurants and events in the neighborhoods they really like.
  • Yes, the weblog needs to have an RSS feed filled with photos so I can automatically stay up-to-date on the home sales in the area.
  • I’d also like an iCal calendar available, so open houses can be loaded into my things-to-do this weekend.

These 3 items help me build a relationship with an agent, on my terms and without the risk of spam and unwanted phone calls. While at the same time, building the agent’s reputation, credibility, and network. This is very much the agent equivelant of Alex Stenback’s Behind the Mortgage.

Historically, real estate agents have operated in a world where market information is difficult and inconvenient to consolidate. Google Maps mash-ups like DC Homeprices, HousingMaps.com, and ChicagoCrime.org bring buyers, sellers, and agents closer to the same level. Not to mention neighbors with blogs.

Anyone out there doing this today?

Elsewhere: 20 Aug 2008:

“…consumers are accessing agents’ ever-more-common blogs, social network pages or viral video campaigns — all of the burgeoning options that have been called Web 2.0 — to tap their expertise and get a sense of their personalities” – Simone Baribeau, Washington Post Staff Writer

9 thoughts on “Wanted – Real Estate Agents to Blog

  1. Actually, my wife is doing a hint of the shadow of something similar. She’s not a real estate agent (though her sister is), but she’s a… “fully engaged hobbyist” in the real estate market. So her blog (http://ralarson.blogspot.com) is probably, oh, 60% real estate or mortage “related”, but not the kinds of home listings you were talking about.

    By the way, here’s a free search engine optimization tip for you: There are lots of searches going on related to Ginger Alexander from A&E’s Flip This House program. In case you’re looking for a topic to write about and straight-up house flipping isn’t your thing. 🙂

    Anyway, point being, I think “agents who blog” would be an outstanding thing… but I’m also constantly amazed at the obvious marketing things that people -don’t- do, so I guess I’m not surprised that it isn’t more popular.

  2. Actually, the blog is a tool that is slow to be adopted by most agents. There are a lot of exceptional agents out there that have never heard of a blog, but can go above and beyond for service. When looking for an agent, approach an office that has a big presence in the community. Interview the top agents in the office and find out what type of marketing they will do to sell your property. Too many agents work to get listings, but do nothing to sell property. However, the few gems that have a marketing plan for the property can do exceptional work.

  3. Randall,

    I agree with you on all counts. Today, an agent with a blog as part of their marketing plan will stand out from their competition. The relationships developed via their blogging will last much longer than a single transaction and be far more cost effective other marketing methods. In general, the residential real estate market is far behind in providing useful online tools to buyers and sellers.

    As evident by my-house-is-for-sale post, I’m not comfortable leaving the sale of my house exclusively in the hands of an agent. We’re both working toward the same goal – I have inventory to move, and they know the specifics of making the transaction smooth.

    On a related note, I’d like everyone in the real estate business to review the Cluetrain Manifesto. Specifically numbers 18, 31, 32, 76, 88, 89.

  4. I am an agent in Florida currently in the works of a blog. My brother has a blog, http://www.healthhacks.com and has suggested I do the same. I thought it was a great idea. As soon as I put up my blog I will return with the address.

    Good hint from one of your commenters, I actually found this blog looking up Ginger Alexander from “Flip This House”.

  5. I’m interested in learning more about “bloging” – I have heard of it but I’m not sure how to go about participating and how to put together a blog. Any information would be helpful.

  6. I work as a Phoenix agent for Ziprealty http://www.ziprealty.com. We are one of the foremost Web based full service Brokers out there. We tie our retail front end into the Local MLS Databases, for the Market Areas We Service, and share all listing information to anyone wh wishes to register. Yes we will prospect you, but we are very low impact and all you need to do is let the agent know you are looking around. What you will find is once you set up your account, and build some saved searches, you can tie an RSS feed in however you may need by selecting the RSS button on the Saved Search. Did I mention that we share 20% of our BA fee with the Buyer? Check it out.

  7. I think blogging is important for agents to pick up on. I just recently wrote a blog about Real Estate Agents and Blogging on my blog. This is a great tool that I think they should use. Some agents just don’t like change or don’t feel they need to.

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