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The Beauty of Uniqueness
In a world of data overload, real estate is an industry that has one of the highest rates of data exposure to its clients. That can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.
A Realtor’s website typically relies on the same data as all of the other real estate websites. For Realtors, that makes it harder to distinguish themselves since they don’t have access to privileged information like many other professionals do. But each website can be as unique as the Realtor that owns it. With so much information available to work with, there are many options to highlight certain data and to allow one’s personality to shine through.
In one regard, we look at websites as tools to help with some of our business functions – providing information, inviting feedback and hopefully, starting a relationship. As much as possible, we anticipate clients’ questions and make it easy for them to find information. Then, when it’s time to take the next step, we want to give them several contact options according to their preference.
We recently had the opportunity to build a few websites that display real estate listings from the local multiple listing service (MLS). One included all property listings over a certain value, one displayed properties from a few custom categories and one integrated Facebook buttons to allow visitors to share information. These all started with the same core functions that you would see in most real estate websites and then we tailored them to each Realtor’s needs.
Core functions for a real estate website include:
- - Import property listings from a MLS
- - Display selected listings on the real estate / Realtor’s website
- - Browse function that allows a visitor to discover properties
- - Search function that allows a visitor to narrow their options
- - “Send me more info” link for a specific property
- - Contact Us link for general inquiries
- - Mobile number for immediate assistance
RealConnect, realtor MLS software by Birch Studio, allows you to do this with ease.
The Beauty of Standardization
In the early days of the Internet, Internet Data Exchanges (IDX) were built in the way each MLS felt best. This usually meant that there was no way for one MLS to communicate vast amounts of information with the other MLSs. That caused fragmentation in the market and, for companies that dealt with multiple MLSs, meant that they would need to build their website several times over to accommodate the different information protocols.
New websites are built using the RETS protocols. Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS) is a framework developed in the early 2000s by the National Association of Realtors to address the issue presented by many MLSs having different ways of disseminating information. The market was fractured, causing the need for websites to be developed, essentially, in different languages simultaneously.
According to the Real Estate Standards Organization: “RETS means having to write programs to use only one language … in order to work with many different MLS systems. This means lower costs, more products … and faster implementations of new systems, all of which directly benefit people who work with real estate information as a living.”
The Unique, Standardized Solution
Birch Studio has developed a solution that can be applied to any real estate website quickly, yet can be customized to meet any Realtor’s needs. This allows real estate websites to take advantage of the powerful features provided by the data, but also remain unique at the same time. Please contact us for more information.