Home Buyers, that Information is just a Urine Specimen & Retina Scan Away.

Industry Observer

Amazingly, I still see listing information provided on some Realtor sites (both big and small, national and local) accessed in a way that puzzles me. I mean I understand the "WHY" of it, I just don't understand the logic of it. So maybe you can help.

So I look to the realtor community to shed their insight on this perplexity. How does RESTRICTING access to a listing's information and photos on a realtor's web site help a property sell? Why, on some sites, is it still required that a potential buyer first provide private contact information before unlocking a listing's sales information and photos?

While, home staging is what I do, a Marketer is what I am. As a Marketer I have always said, "You gotta market it before you sell it!" Marketer "Me" finds it counter intuitive to lock out and discourage ANYONE from viewing a home's listing information and photos. I can see how once, when the web was a smaller less connected place, this approach may have made sense. But let's face it, time does march on, and as it does, the "what, why and how" of a Real Estate website must be evolve and embrace today's markets, trends & technologies.

In today's world of listing marketing, Realtor websites need to provide access to listing information that takes into consideration the following:

  • Ours is a culture of immediate impatience. Like it or not, we want it now... on our time schedule.

  • The levees have broken and the market is flooded. With so much inventory out there, it is easy for a buyer to click away from the listing and your site, as if saying saying, "No big deal, there's plenty more."

  • That's just "old school" fool. Buyer's are not technological dolts. Every day shoppers freely access information on products and services they are interested in buying from sites in every industry... INCLUDING real estate.

  • We are leery of what is beyond that "SUBMIT" button. Face it, buyers care less about THAT locked listing then they do about their privacy.

  • There are no "tire-kickers" or "nosy neighbors" on the web! Well, there are... but who cares? Its the web.

  • Buyers who take an on-line look will cost you nothing. Not looking could cost you a sale.

I am sure there are plenty more reason why it is a good idea to have open listing information on Realtor websites... but then again maybe not. Either way, I would be curious to get other's spin on this.

But as it stands for me right now, when you strip away all the mumbo jumbo it comes down to this... If you got a prospect (hot, warm or cool) at the door, ringing the bell, wanting to come in to look around, why would you stop them?



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sue Eller 03/24/2009 01:07 PM
  2. Yvette Gardner 03/25/2009 03:07 PM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Stage It Forward...
The Art Of Marketing You
Rainmaking - Internet Marketing Strategies
Online Marketing Help Center

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Craig -- I agree and dont' require registration, but history has proven that one gets more leads, and hopefully, more clients by doing so.  Depends on what one's priorities and viewpoints are I suppose.

Mar 25, 2009 09:07 AM #44
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Agents use their websites for racking up leads.   That's obvious.  What's not so obvious is are the sellers aware that their agent is restricting the number of viewers and potential buyers?

Where is the, as I've blogged about before, fiduciary responsibility ?


Mar 25, 2009 12:38 PM #45
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes

Hi Craig,  As usual, i just love how you present your info... I feel that my own listings should be able to be looked at without signing on, but other listings, I feel should have a sign in - so that you can get their lead information.  I do well with my sign in website.

Mar 25, 2009 02:07 PM #46
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

You are right about that.  If I were a shopper and I had to fill in personal info to get info, I'd go to the next site that gives me instant access. 

Mar 25, 2009 02:36 PM #47
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

First, I have open search on my site... 

But, from what I understand of the people that have actually studied it, the conversion ratios for people that have registered search is higher...

Mar 25, 2009 03:34 PM #49
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I have sites that require registration and sites that don't.  The ones that do actually have several leads from them but are also pay per click and other, so that may be the difference. On my non-registration website, I have had a few leads. One of them did say he liked the fact that I didn't require registration.  I've been thinking about requiring registration a few steps in to the process.

Mar 25, 2009 04:04 PM #51
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI

Lori: Feedback... yup it is a good thing. Hopefully for all.

Markelle: GREAT INSIGHT. I never thought that the "lookers" would end up wasting time with phone calls. That never crossed my mind. Thanks for taking the time to share all your wisdom.

Walter: Well there you go.

Christine: Yup... I am beginning to see what you say to be the case.

Alexsandra: KEWL.... glad to know it is helping. It has expended my understanding.

Jason: Yup... I is getting a whole new spin on all this that I did not have.

Michael: But what DO they want? It seems to be a case of different strokes...

Chris: I gotta say it seems so counter to what I would d.

Virginia: Fiduciary responsibility... that is and should be a BIG concern.

Judy: Hmmm... an interesting approach to what I am calling a "hybrid."

Barbara: Would a high ticket price change the way you operate?

Lane: Hmmm. I am beginning to see a middle ground.

Christine: But are you trying to sell a listing or sell your services?

Mar 25, 2009 04:06 PM #52
Roger Johnson
Hickory Real Estate Group - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

From the comments, here's some questions:

If you require registration, WHEN do you require it?  And what does one get for registering (that they can't get elsewhere)?

What do you consider a lead? I don't think I'd consider every person that registered on my site a real lead.

How are you comparing non-register sites to register sites?  Everyone says that they get more leads (and so, more sales) through their register sites.  So how do you gauge this (traffic from one vs. the other) and do both sites provide the same level of access (as far as getting to them) AND do YOU provide the same level of service for each?

Mar 25, 2009 04:44 PM #53
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

There is no single "right" answer because it depends on the agent's goals.  Are the IDX listings intended to market their own listings?  To capture qualified buyer leads?  To attract return visitors to their website who will hopefully explore other pages of the website?  I've done both (and currently do both, through the great Growth Leader experiment) and no IDX site has ever produced the real life commission-producing buyers and sellers that my blogging has - and that requires no registration. 

My choice... no registration because I'd rather have people contact me at the point of purchase or listing (which they do) than register them and have to nurture them for months until they're ready to do business.  Just my preference.

Mar 26, 2009 12:15 AM #54
Ken Kelly
Benchmark Mortgage - Chesterfield, VA

Amen to that! It continues to puzzle me why some Realtors make their job so much harder than they need to. Either they want to sell their listings or they don't.

Mar 26, 2009 01:05 AM #55
Mark MacKenzie
Phoenix, AZ

This is a really good debate.

There is certainly relevance to generating leads and collecting information from the lead.  This is after all part of our business - to generate and then convert these leads.

I'm not sure if requiring information prior to getting access to properties is the way to do it.  There is no unique selling point with this when there are dozens of other agents that will provide the same information for free.

Mar 26, 2009 02:55 AM #56
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Obviously you made it over to my post.  I have been kicking that idea around for a while now... but I need to amp up my market reports to really make it worth it for a consumer. 

I think the key is to have information or insight that others are not offering... that is worth the price or admission (fee, registration, etc.).  It doesn't matter if you are a newspaper or a real estate agent.  I just don't think listings are unique... and search is everywhere... unless you have a search that is like no other.

Mar 26, 2009 06:05 AM #57
Marci Toliver
438-4642 - Mauldin, SC
Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging

Craig!!!!! Glad to see you back!  Another one of your well written - thought out blogs, for sure!

Mar 27, 2009 07:07 AM #58
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

My former broker was of the mind that buyers had to provide contact info before accessing the MLS.

Would not listen to my suggestion to remove that limit.

Broker is now out of business for various reasons, but I wonder..would they have had more real leads had they opened up the listings sooner?

Mar 28, 2009 07:42 AM #59
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Craig - It is great to have you back in the RAIN.  Kind of like a reunion without traveling!

I always wondered why you had to register on Realtors websites to view their listings.  After reading some of the above comments I can understand why they have a registration.  Still not sure I agree with it but to each his own!

I have a confession to make.......I was checking the listing of one of the Realtors I work with.....I wanted to make sure he was using good pictures of the property I staged.  I didn't want him to know I was "spying" on him so for the registration name I entered Mickey Mouse.....email address  MM@disneyland.com...etc.  :)   Not saying this is what one should do if they don't want to give out their information...but it worked on his site.

PS - I felt guilty and told him it was me!  Guilty as charged. 

Mar 31, 2009 08:17 AM #60
Mike Saunders
Lanier Partners - Athens, GA

Craig - I know many that require registration early in the process, before much information is received at all. Personally, I don't. I don't stay on sites that I have to register, I expect those that come to my site are of similar ilk.

Apr 04, 2009 01:14 AM #61
Julie Ferenzi
john greene Realtor - Plainfield, IL
Julie Ferenzi

I'm late to the party on this one, but I really needed to read this. 

When I read the title, I was 100% all... "What is he thinking... I pay for this!  They have to register so I can lead capture!"

BUT, after reading the comment thread, I'm having second thoughts.  Who cares if someone looks at my IDX link?  Maybe they'll call me when they are ready to buy.  Plus, I can stop getting angry about the buyers who come to my site because their own agents are too cheap/lazy to supply their own link to their site.

Besides, can't anybody just go to Realtor.com and find what they want anyway?

Apr 14, 2009 06:01 PM #62
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Capture leads - that is what is pushed in agent training and that is why you want them to sign in and donate a kidney.

My search is open - let them look - I hope they find something and call me when they want to view it.

Feb 15, 2010 11:39 AM #63
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Craig..I think most Realtors also miss the point that Web sites are also listing tools, Sellers want to see what and how you are gong to show case their home online, such as how many pictures do you post, Brochures, Virtual Tours, Aerial maps, etc etc.

Great Post, congratulations on your Feature again :O))

Hope to see you soon here again :O))

Feb 21, 2010 02:33 AM #64
Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections
IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581 - Canton, GA
Experience the IHI Difference

I use a junk email address most of the time that will never make it over to my computer only because I don't know exactly what kind of garbage I'm going to get.  If I find that I really do want and like the information that you send me then I will hit the submit button with my good email address.  I think folks are just overwhelmed with all the junk that their less likely to hit submit.  But like some others said it really does help qualify the leads..~Bonnie-The Home Inspectors Wife~

Jan 14, 2011 11:42 PM #66
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Craig Schiller

Ask me a question

Additional Information