COLUMN: Amazing real estate solutions for 2011

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By Steve Levine

For some agents and home owners, 2011 will be defined best as the year that things went truly high-tech, in the biggest single leap on innovation since the internet. Back in 1992, as the phenomena we now call the Internet, which back then we called BBS boards, began to grow some legs, things changed at a pace more rapid than most would have ever imagined. That year, as I was taking classes on how to write Internet code, something which my colleagues thought was crazy, we saw merely a handful of so-called “websites.” Within three years, however, the web was all anyone could talk about, and the affect it had on real estate marketing was inestimable. By 2008, agents first dared to run open houses with strictly internet based advertising, and concepts like print media faded into near oblivion.

This year, we'se seeing yet another major push towards the next level of real estate marketing through the use of high-end virtual tours, one-off domains, and QR codes. Virtual tours have been around for a few years, but over the course of the last few months I have really been taking these to an entirely new level, with true custom audio and video, and a built-in marketing engine that cross posts the tours to dozens of websites, from Craigslist, to YouTube and a host of other amazing marketing spots. After all, it's all about visibility, and creating the optimum first impression for the consumers out in the marketplace. Along with the virtual tours, I'se begun augmenting listings with unique, one-off web domains, which will brand the property in a unique manner. For example, when you have a moment, check out www.75maincircle.com or www.9slocummeadow.com. In each case, you'sl see a custom website and domain that I created by hand expressly for the purpose of marketing these individual properties to the consumers.

While both the tours and domains are very cool resources, the job of tying both of those ideas together goes to the QR codes, which stands for “quick response, as shown in the image at left. To some, this image may look like a poorly done psychological test, but to those who understand what QR codes are and how they work, it's a wealth of information. In short, it is basically a three-dimensional bar code, and when you take out your smart phone and turn on the free QR reader

application, and point it at the image, it will take you directly to the custom website set up for the property, which you can scroll through on your cell phone. Over the course of the next six months, you'sl see more and more of these appear in the local market, on signs, brochures and even television ads.

As the markets have tightened over the past few years, the top agents haven's sat idly by and let the world pass. Instead, they'se identified new and exciting things that they can bring to the table to provide value added service to their consumers. That's why they are the survivors I suppose, and why they should be the ones you reach out to in order to ensure that you do as well as you can for your family.

Speaking of innovative programs, we also put together a new short sale program this year which provides a full legal team with tons of experience negotiating with lenders, at no charge to our clients. If you'se facing a potential short sale and need help, ping me an e-mail at [email protected] and I can tell you more about that program, as well.

Until then, enjoy the first few weeks of spring, and lets find time to chat really soon.

Steve Levine is President of Steve Levine Inc., and an agent for REMAX Prestige. He's been recognized as the top agent in New England for 10 years, and can be reached by phone at (508) 735-4663 or by email at [email protected].