If Realty Sites Get Personal, Take Advantage of it

by : Josh Sloan

These days, probably the majority of people look to the internet first when they are considering buying a new home. It's fun to search around on real estate web sites looking at what's available. The more savvy buyers will know how to access the multiple listing service, but a lot will just type "wherever real estate" into a search engine and check out the top few sites. That's why there's so much competition amongst realty companies to get top ranking on search engines.

What a lot of people might not know is that Realtors pay to have homes listed on their sites. Sometimes they even pay per view. This is why a lot of web sites require a viewer to log in with a name and contact information. This does two things. It makes the viewer a member, and it also gives the Realtor a contact to follow up on.

A thread on a real estate forum I frequent was discussing this recently. Some Realtors were debating whether or not to block viewers who gave them fake contact information. You see, a fake email address will still allow you access to the listings displayed on their web site. It isn't until the Realtor, or their automatic email generator, send a follow-up email that the false address is discovered. Some of the Realtors expressed frustration with this, saying it wasn't right for people to lie about who they are, and agreed that those people shouldn't be allowed to see their listings. Others decided it didn't really matter, and that the mystery viewer could still be a potential customer. They allowed those who logged in with fake email addresses to continue viewing their site on the hopes that eventually that person will contact them, if they see something they like.

I realized that a lot of people probably don't know that Realtors pay for this service. It also made me think about peoples willingness, or lack of willingness in this case, to share their personal and contact information with people they don't know. It makes sense, in this day and age, for the average web viewer to be wary of filling their email address and name into every online form they come across. After all, they just want to see what's for sale. They don't care that the owner of the site is paying a bill for every house they look at, waiting for a lead.

It is important for real estate buyers and perusers to know, the sites asking for your contact information aren't trying to scam you, and they aren't going to sell your contact info-that would defeat their whole purpose of trying to get you as a client. What they definitely will do is provide you with the listings you are looking for. What they might do is send you an email to offer you their services. If you don't want their help, just politely decline it. Very few Realtors will get pushy. After all, they want you to like them. Also, there just might be some free services that are worth taking advantage of, such as receiving emails about listings that suit your specific criteria as soon as they come on the market, or perhaps getting your existing house, if you have one, evaluated so you know how much equity you've got to work with.

Yes, Realtors make a living off of helping people buy and sell homes. That's all the more reason to trust them to help you. So the next time you come across a real estate web site asking you to register, take advantage of it. You will gain more by being open and honest than by being shy and anonymous.