Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog

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

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?

Me

Comment balloon 63 commentsCraig Schiller • March 25 2009 09:53AM

Comments

I agree totally, Craig!  It discourages potential buyers and sends them to other listings, someone elses listings.  I am curious to see if there is a reason, something I'm not familiar with, to explain why they still do it.  Great question!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 11 years ago

I've questioned that philosophy before, as well.  From agents that do it, I get the 'standard' response of lead capture.  Great, but does it work?  What you get then is a "YES" it works because I've got X number of leads since I've done it coming from my website.  My argument there is what you've got is a WAY to gauge the leads from your website now, not something that is generating business.  What you don't have is a WAY to gauge what potential business you lost because you didn't make the information easily accessible.

I find it hard to believe that many people would sign up to view properties on an agent's site UNTIL they have some sort of "feeling" if you will, about that agent.  Listing information is too easily accessible from other sites in the first place (can anyone say Realtor.com?) to require log-in to be able to view it on your site.

My opinion.

Posted by Roger Johnson, Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate (Hickory Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago

What I have personally done when faced with that situtation, is get the property MLS number and go to another site that does not require my demographic information to access more information about the property. Is that cumbersome and annoying? You betcha!

Posted by Linda Sticklin (Home Staging & Organizing) over 11 years ago

Craig ~ Love your title! I agree.  When I have to enter a whole bunch of information to get information from a site, I leave it.  I'm pretty sure it's because they want contact info, but I don't want people to contact me - I'm just doing some research.  I find this on other business sites as well, not just property listings. 

Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) over 11 years ago

I'm in complete agreement on this and hope your post will bring this to light with the Realtor community.  In the past I've been known to use my dog's email address just so that I didn't have to give personal info ~ and that's a pretty silly thing to have to do LOL.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 11 years ago

Today's market savvy Internet consumers will simply not tolerate a lot of 'log-in' registration hoop-jumping. In our microwave, drive-thru, glasses-in-about-an-hour society, the patience level has dwindled to mere seconds. Unrestricted flow wins clients, not log-jams.

Craig, nice to see yet another post from you!

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago

Craig, in addition to all your other gifts, you must be psychic.  I was just having this conversation with one of my sellers not an hour ago.  He wanted to know why I couldn't force potential buyers to sign in before giving them access to information about homes.  I explained that the only thing I would accomplish by doing that was to keep possible buyers from seeing all the information about his wonderful properties.  The Internet shopper, I told him, is protective of his/her identifying information, preferring to remain anonymous until he/she is ready to interact with the purveyors of that data.  I've done it myself. 

Long a believer of having a transparent site, in which the consumer can gather facts, explore options and then decide whether or not to work with me, I've had countless messages from buyers and sellers over the years thanking me for all the information I provided them.  Part of it, I suspect comes from the fact that I don't care whether they buy my listings from me or anyone else of their choosing.  I'm hired to do a job and I want to do it in the best way I know how.

Posted by Geri Sonkin, Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert (Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103) over 11 years ago

Sharon: Sometimes I think were are too close to our stuff to actually see it for what it is or is not. (Hmmmm sounds a lot like staging.) I hoped that by asking the question... it might create an insight that a Realtor may have never considered. Good for them if it does!

Roger: Your opinion is MY opinion too. Just think about it. What if we all required people to read sign in and sign up to read the marketing materials we produced call blogs. I bet there would only be a handful of real estate bloggers out there if we did.

Linda: Yupp done that too. But a home buyer does not always have that info to go and look elsewhere. And if they are interested... then THAT was an opportunity lost.

Kathy: Ya... I hoped  that title would stand out in a crowed. I try to "stage" my blogs... working hard on the title, graphic and the content.

Maureen: Let's hope so... even if one gets it... the better.

Rich: PLEASE if you are gonna say it say it. Don't pussy foot around!

Geri: HEY YOU... so we meet again. Hmmm. I guess its time you just forward this post on to that client.

Posted by Craig Schiller over 11 years ago

Oh you hit a nerve with me! I drives me nuts (NUTS!) when agents don't do their job. Let's face it, that's what you are talking, about isn't? Posting pictures and writting descriptions are part of our jobs. Access to the propety is part of our jobs. I just finished booking showing for this weekend. Out of the four properties I want to show, 2 had more than one picture. Access is going to be a pain on all 4.

Back to basics folks- sell the property!

Posted by Dena Stevens Coriz, Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004 (Rocky Mountain Realty ) over 11 years ago

Amen!

Posted by Sue Eller (Realogics Sotheby's International Realty-Sequim) over 11 years ago

Hi Craig, Good to see you my friend.

No registering on my site. Come on by and search for what you want.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 11 years ago

I'm with you too Craig.  If they need my information, then they don't really want me to see the property.  I move on or like others find another way to get to the information and that agents loses out and forms an impression in my mind! NOT a lasting first impression.

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) over 11 years ago

Yup, yup, yup!   So great to see you back here my friend.

Posted by Lori Kim Polk, Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento ( Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services) over 11 years ago

Unless the house is unbelievable, from the teaser photo, I do not sign up, and just keep looking.  it is SO annoying!  We purchased from out of town, a couple of years ago.  I did all of my searching on the internet, and then drove over to see my  choices.  Even if I wanted do a drive-by, so as not to waste the Realtors time, I couldn't do that in some cases! GGGRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr

Posted by c m over 11 years ago

Hi Craig, When I had to re-lo a few yeas ago, if I had to sign up before I could it look up, I passed it up.

Posted by Cynthia Bartch over 11 years ago

Dena: Basics... makes it wise and EASIER.

Broker B: Good to be splash around again. I figured this was your style. Hugs to TLW as she recouperates.

Ginger: Ya... I agree more of a turn off then I think people think. It suprises me to still see it happen.

Cheryl: Are you saying some realtors are "control freaks"? Naaaa that just can't be so.

Cynthia: It is the fear of maybe being pestered, spammed and telemarketed that keeps us from filling out that simple little form.

 

Posted by Craig Schiller over 11 years ago

Craig....

So many folks don't understand that by making it harder on the Consumer that Consumer can never as in ever become a lead. The door is closed they aren't going to just stand there and keep knockin' . Duh :)

Good to see you my freind. Wish it could be under better circumstances but we both know. the bad goes with the good or we stupid humans wouldn't be able to the difference between them :)

TLW...ROAR!

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

I had this happen looking up a property to see current photos prior to staging about a month ago.  Now I receive annoying e-mails daily from the agent DELETE . . . DELETE . . . DELETE . . .

LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING MORE OF YOU IN THE RAIN, CRAIG! :-)

 

Posted by Karen Dembsky, Atlanta Home Staging (Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA) over 11 years ago

Hi Craig,

Excellent post. I just commented a few days ago on another blog that was trying to convince people that requiring sign-up was the only way to go. I think all but one of the comments said they just click away from those sites. Again, great post.

Posted by Michael Cole (CPG Tours) over 11 years ago

I have been called stupid by other agents on another forum for not requiring registration to look. I see it as IF the consumer does not want to register, they will just go to the next site.

Who cares if they are just lookers? They are adding more traffic to my site and they may someday become buyers. Until then, look to your hearts content.

Posted by Mark Brian, Anderson SC Realtor (Silver Star Real Estate LLC) over 11 years ago

I couldn't agree more!  When we were shopping for a new home a few years ago I left many a website, after finding them high in rankings, because I couldn't just see what I wanted to see... first I would have to plug in my name, address, phone number, email address, so on and so forth.  While I understand that they are trying to get my info to market directly to me - suddenly I would be a warm lead - the one who actually got the deal was the one who allowed me to access the info without having to put all that info in first.  When I was happy with what I saw, I contacted them directly.

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 11 years ago

I agree with the idea of having an open website. Anytime I have to register to get into something, I either leave it or register with ficticious information.

If it's my listing, who cares if they know where it is and what it looks like. They're are either going to have to call me or use their own agent to see it or buy it. Either way, I make the sale.

 

Posted by Kimberly Luna over 11 years ago

Man, that is not even Web 1.0, it's Web -5. Great headline that makes you read the post. I used to have Number One Expert, and they were fanatic about restricting access so you could get demand an email address to go further. They said don't worry about the email address people like joe@youareascumbag.com. I still know people who do paper flyers that have no price on it. People have busy lives and don't need to be played with. Plus, I would rather have full disclosure and information, so my $400,000 listing is not wasted on a $150,000 buyer, or someone who wants to see the insides of a home and has to call and ask what the rooms look like. I am a very descriptice person but let's face it, the pictures are better. Thanks for the reminder.  

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTORĀ® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 11 years ago

I have both, register and non register sites. Last month the site that I request registration on made me money and the site that I let people look for free did not. Hmm is what I say. I will always have both I guess.

Posted by Jo Olson, Retired - HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt (HOMEFRONT Realty) over 11 years ago
Search mine anytime and dont register anything!
Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) over 11 years ago

I dont give out my information as a consumer online or offline.  Mindy

Posted by Mindy & Jay Robbins, Expect Excellence from Robbins Real Estate (Robbins Real Estate) over 11 years ago

I understand and provide as much information as I can. There are too many other places they can go. If we don't provide the information the sellers and buyers will go to the sites that do.

Posted by Norma Brandsberg (Marks Realty Co. Inc., Lynchburg, VA, 540-586-9496) over 11 years ago

This is contrary to what everyone is saying, but I'm with Jo Soss - I have multiple sites - the ones that require providing some information bring me client after client.  The ones that do not require registration bring me... nothing, literally.

I've been on the web since 1994 (real estate sites) and I've tested (and continue to test) all the various theories, thoughts, etc.

While I agree that information should be open and not require registration - quite simply, I create more clients when some form of registration is required.

I continue to run all of my sites giving many options - but people still keep using my registration sites, in higher numbers every single month.

Posted by Christina Ethridge (The North Idaho Dream Team powered by SKE Realty Group) over 11 years ago

I totally agree that requiring people to register to get the info they want probably only pushes lots of them to provide bogus info - making people feel like they must be deceptive isn't exactly the ideal way to start a relationship of trust!

Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA over 11 years ago

Jo and Christina,

How do you require registration?  Is it to get any information at all or is it to get more information on a property?  What have you found works best to get qualified clients?

Posted by Carol Fox, Helping You Discover Charlotte's Best Small Towns (Allen Tate Company 704-905-3935) over 11 years ago

Great post Craig & it's the complete truth - I like the line "Buyers who take an on-line look will cost you nothing. Not looking could cost you a sale."

Posted by Dan Magstadt (Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc) over 11 years ago

Like Jo and Christina mentioned above, I have tested both methods, and we do require registration.  Thankfully, it has resulted in the majority of our website-based sales since 1998.  It may seem old school to some, but it is WAY more effective in our experience.  When we opened it up and allowed people to search with zero registration, we did get leads that were more loyal/committed, but the volume of leads plummeted big-time. 

While I would love to throw open the doors for this stuff, it just doesn't seem logical to do so at this point, at least in our case.  Of course, I am saying that as someone who is ranked #2 for "austin homes" and #3 for "austin texas real estate" on Google.  The key is the sheer amount of traffic, I suppose. 

When my business partner and I closed two multi-million dollar sales from the registration a couple of years ago (one at $3.4 million and one for $4.1 million), I guess that made it even harder to change my mind on this topic.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 11 years ago

Loved your Blog...I always said you needed to submit your DNA profile before getting information pertaining to some listings.  I have always believed that full disclosure is the key to winning over customers, clients and winning in real estate.  The public knows more than the average Realtor anyway so why not treat them like an equal...not the enemy.  Making friends is the key to any top producing agent. 

Marty

Posted by Marty Sorrentino over 11 years ago

Interesting comments.  I'm doing a trade show in May and was toying with the idea of having the agents fill out a questionnaire so I could gather some relevent data about them.  I will offer a draw to help entice them.  When I spoke to one of my agents she told me that they just won't bother to take the time to fill out a questionnaire.  She told me to have them drop their cards in a bowl as agents always have their cards on them.  As a buyer I would feel the same way, why bother filling out information when you can go to the next agent and see what you want easiily? 

I also don't understand "exclusive" listings.  What does that mean.  I've staged homes for people and their agent doesn't even put the property on mls, what is that all about?  Do they make more commission if they find a buyer "exlusively'?

Jason, why do you get better leads from having people register?  I don't get it!

Anne

 

Posted by Anne Bourne (StagingWorks) over 11 years ago
Craig, interesting concept, making the potential buyer jump through hoops to see the information. You've gotta' really want access. Don't know that's the way to get serious buyers, though. I'm surprised some realtors have had better experience screening their lookers -- maybe high end, as in multi-million $ properties.
Posted by Andrew Haslett, Heartland of Kentuckynulls, Best Home Inspector (Van Warren Home Inspections, NAHI CRI) over 11 years ago

Misty (aka TLW): As I read more of the comments I think it may be a personality thing. For some it makes sense and it works. Other people thing it is a bad idea. I like the discussion. Oh... and heal baby heal!

Karen: I agree... and I missed being here. Life gets crazy and so do I.

Michael: THANKS glad you liked it... I really didn't get the logic and was hoping for input.

Mark: That is the way I see it too... but others, with differing points of view, ar chiming in.

Melissa: I think we (stagers) are jaded as we use these sites to go an look a properties. Jumping thru hoops is a pain.

Kimberly: What you do makes perfectly good sense to me.

Joe: You would think... but there seems to be some diehard  / old schoolers out there that it works for. Hmmmm.

Jo: I checked out your site... yours is kind of a hybrid. Offering both free access to info AND the option to sign up and search. CLEVER. I never have noticed that.

Laura: Kinda like? Drill baby DRILL?

Mindy: I do... but I am VERY selective. 

Norma: That is what I thought... I figured that asking for too much is a bother and an invasion of privacy. At least early on in the search process.

Christina: I tried to find where on your sight you had people reg-ester. I did find open access to some of your listings. Could you be a "hybird" site to that allows either registration or free access?

Nancy: Agreed and I never even thought of the busy work it may create answering questions by tire kickers.

Carol: Good question!

Dan: Glad you liked it. I really find this perplexing and frustrating... so I brought it here for discussion.

Jason: Really? They would only search if they had to sign up? So are you saying you do this to get SELLERS but not sell a listing?

Marty: Just pee into the cup and leave it on the sink. LOL

Anne: If you gotta ask what it costs... you probably can't afford it.

Andrew: I agree... that's why I said times change. I could see it for a super high end home... but for the everyday Joe. Still seems odd to me.

 

Posted by Craig Schiller over 11 years ago

Craig- Great post-----creating lots of feedback which must be the reason for the Feature-Congrats!

Posted by Lori Bennett-Davies, Essentials Home Staging (Essentials Home Staging) over 11 years ago
Craig, you asked why, and here is my theory: The prospect who is willing to give an accurate, correct name and contact info on a guest book is a Five Star Candidate: They aren't afraid of Realtors, they are willing to share their information, they must have some motivation to give their contact info, they welcome a phone call, and they contacted YOU for more info. Versus the alternative: The lookey loo who spends more time looking at homes online than most Realtors, calling every Realtor in town asking questions but never taking that step to hire a Buyer's Agent. These types of prospects are exhausting to even the most hungry Realtor, and the guest book sends them scurrying to the competition, thank goodness! Yes, the buyer pool has shrunken in most areas, but this does not mean you need to work with every Jane, Suzie and Jim who come down the line, regardless of willingness to share information? Motivated prospects are always a little more...friendly? I don't think you're doing a seller a dis-service, any potential buyer with half a brain knows how to log into Realtor.com & Zillow, where the information is not locked, and you're still the listing agent on those sites (well, you'd better be on Zillow!). If they can get a mortgage, then they can probably figure out how to work these other sites to gain the information they are looking for. And guess what? If they can't, and you're the listing agent, guess who they're calling? When I had my own Realtor web site for home searches and listings, I loved my guest book because my past clients would sign in every once in a while to take a look at inventory. It was awesome! I had been sending them info with my web site and keeping in touch via email and snail mail, but I may not have known they were actively looking for real estate had they not signed my guest book first. I had many sales from the guest book alone. Can I say I would personally do it that way today? Probably not; but to each his own. That's what makes Realtor entrepreneurship so fantastic, we can all go in our own direction! We don't always have to do 'what everyone else is doing', and my favorite 'just get your name out there!'. Out where? But that's another topic...
Posted by Markelle Harden, Digital Marketing Specialist (Classy Inbound) over 11 years ago

Before i was a realtor, i worked with a bunch of them selling homes that i buit as the contractor. I had an agent tell me that they didnt like to put out brochures because it would limit that amount of people that would want to look inside. In some cases maybe this is true, but i say bull, If people look at a brochure and that made them not want to see the property. That tells me they werent going to buy anyway!

Posted by Aaron Poling, Working to get YOU the BEST Deal! (Long & Foster) over 11 years ago

Craig - I think to some extent it depends on your market that you're servicing.  I know that several of my clients here in Southern CA (agents) seem to use the registration feature because it allows the potential clients to create their own searches and then get automatic updates to those searches via email.  It definitely let's you know who is serious about working with you on your terms...probably similar to those agents that are comfortable with the buyer's agent agreement...I'm not one of those - but I do think that when I put my own real estate website active again, which will be in just a couple of weeks, that I will have both options available: a free access to MLS area as well as a registered customizable search feature.  It will be interesting to see which way gets more play!  Great post.

Posted by Christine Wade - Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Proud to Serve Your Real Estate Support Needs (Christine Wade) over 11 years ago

I'm really likeing this conversation.  I haven't made up my mind either way -- and go back and forth.  I am updating the website and trying to make a decision!  So I bookmarked this post so I cn read at my leisure.  Thanks for a personally timely post!

Posted by Alexsandra Stewart, Broker - Portland Oregon Real Estate (Remax equity group) over 11 years ago

Craig - Your response was a little confusing to me.  You said "They would only search if they had to sign up?".  Well, probably not, but we do require it in order to leverage the amount of traffic that we receive and capture SOME real information.  When we tried opening it up completely, we rarely heard from anyone, because they would do their own research, then contact the listing agents directly.

As for sellers, I have found that sellers are much less likely to search online for a listing agent.  Our typical demographic for the website is buyers, more specifically buyers that are relocating to Austin.

Christine makes another point in comment #40.  Our system does allow for saved customized searches, etc. and this is only possible with a real email address.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 11 years ago

I find that it needs to be a balance of giving information to get information. If you give them what they want, they will give you what you want and the information will be of better quality because you helped them first.

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 11 years ago

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 ?

 

Posted by Virginia Tatseos (Stage-Show-Sell) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Judy Greenberg, Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes (Coldwell Banker Long Grove) over 11 years ago

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. 

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

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...

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 11 years ago

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?

Posted by Craig Schiller over 11 years ago

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?

Posted by Roger Johnson, Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate (Hickory Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Ken Kelly (Benchmark Mortgage) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Mark MacKenzie over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 11 years ago

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

Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) over 11 years ago

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?

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) over 11 years ago

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. 

Posted by Janice Sutton, Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta (1st Stage Property Transformations ) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) over 11 years ago

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?

Posted by Julie Ferenzi, Julie Ferenzi (john greene Realtor) over 11 years ago

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.

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 10 years ago

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))

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) over 10 years ago

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~

Posted by Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections, Experience the IHI Difference (IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581) almost 10 years ago

Participate