By Michael Stark
Declining prices, a credit crisis and millions of
foreclosures pushed the real estate market to the
brink. Commissions are under attack. Sellers try to
connect directly with buyers. Investors crave to know
about deals before they hit the MLS (multiple listing service).
And consumer frustration makes matters worse.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on May 12, 2009,
that first quarter sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59
million homes and condos sold. The population of prospects is enormous
when you add in all of those struggling to sell, buyers on the
fence, approximately 1.1 million realtors, and countless lenders, escrow,
insurance and home improvement contractors. The real estate
vertical seems poised for a gold rush.
Current tools used for marketing this depressed market — PPC advertising,
banners and even e-mail — are not working as well as in the
past. There is simply too much inventory. Therefore, claiming your
stake in the virgin vertical of real estate means moving your
covered wagons across a great divide. This new land of opportunity is
ready to settle, and it starts with forming long-term relationships with
those steeped in the industry. When the housing market rebounds, this
will put your business in a position to fuel the impending boom.
The first obstacle is to understand that people are not leads. Investors,
sellers, realtors and lenders are real people involved in a very
long business sales cycle. Enterprises that can help these individuals
and businesses through the process, while serving up products and
services will gain trust, respect and profit. Your site will bookmark,
brand and build if you educate, enlighten and enable individuals.
OPPORTUNITIES ALONG THE WAY
Pioneers scouting the real estate territory should understand its five
sub-verticals, with some sites blending two or more.
- Sites that allow MLS search. Most agent sites provide a local service.
Realtor.com is great nationally.
- Sites that deliver blogs and news. A good blog can provide important
news, featured listings or valuable resources. Curbed.com is a
- Sites mashing up census, neighborhood and lifestyle content such
- Sites providing valuations and sales data, such as Zillow.com.
- Free and paid sites that assist FSBO (for sale by owner) sellers. Free
sites syndicating postings to other sites and search engines are the
To grow your prospective or existing real estate business, contact
the top sites in each sub-vertical, and entice them to sell your products
or services on a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) or CPL (Cost Per Lead)
basis. You might find that some site owners ask to be compensated for
access to their database and audience.
Even more opportunities can be found by exploring the angles involved
in each real estate transaction. With some creative thought and
planning, the list of possibilities grow. For example:
- Buyers are interested in loans, investments strategies, foreclosures
and sales data. Any one of these topics could make for a nice side
blog to your website, or consultancy work.
- Sellers want tools beyond yard signs, flyers and print ads. They need
websites, e-mail, SEM and SEO services, and help engaging
prospects — social media strategies and video production.
- When a property doesn’t sell in a timely manner, rental options are
needed. This involves prospects, community organizations, and even
- Contractors are always needed in every real estate market to make
repairs and prepare properties for selling or renting.
In the foreseeable future, times will continue to be tough for real
estate buyers, sellers, realtors, lenders, contractors and insurance professionals.
But now is the time to connect with this demographic. Show
them how your product or service will improve their life, and you’ll
discover a huge new source for customers — now and, more importantly,
in the profitable times to follow.
About the Author: Since 1999, broker realtor Michael Stark has enjoyed being a pioneer with his many real estate portals. PostYourProperty.com is a free FSBO property
listing syndication service with thousands of postings. He also owns a banner network on over 600 other real estate sites. Contact him at