Single Property Web site Documents Provide Transparency and More

Documents for Disclosure
It has been quite a while since I added any content to the single property website category. What I want to touch on is contained in a couple of the posts but not as obvious as it should be for something you definitely want to include on a Single Property site.

Documents Create a Win Win

I first wrote about my search for a scanner so we could easily email documents like contracts, BINSR, SPDS, etc. to clients. I found our solution on the Brother MFC-5460CN Much Less Than a Printer. I mentioned in the post on Single Property Site – Categories of creating a category on the blog for “Documents”.

Here we put them together and scan the

  • Seller Property Disclosure Statement
  • The HOA Info Sheet
  • The Well water Agreement
  • The Septic Certification
  • Any other documentation providing full disclosure.

This really is a Win/Win. Just today I was showing a potential buyer through a listing. They asked a couple of questions about things which are in the Seller Property Disclosure Statement. I told her about the website for the property and what to Google so she could easily find it. “Really, that is all I have to do? was the response.”

We also receive calls from buyer’s agents who have a client very interested in a listing and would like to see the Seller Property Disclosure Statement and any other pertinent documents which might influence their decision. It is very impressive to be able to say to that agent and their client. “Go to this site, or Google the address and all the documents are there for you to read and download if you want.”

No faxing, no scanning and emailing, no late night runs to the office because this might be the one.

It is impressive to the buyer’s agent, it is impressive to the buyers themselves and it is impressive to your clients when they see how well their home is being marketed online. Win, Win, Win.

No Single Property Website?

If you don’t mind blogging about your listings, and I know there are thoughts on this both ways, Then in your listing post include a list of documents which are online for the property in the post. You can reference that post in an email or over the phone to an agent or potential buyer contacting you for this information.

It gets them the information very quickly and introduces them to your blog at the same time. Another opportunity to provide a service and introduce potential new readers and clients to your blog.

RE Web 2.0 is about transparency. Providing disclosure documentation and documents pertaining to the property online is a perfect way to integrate transparency into your blog and business.

Comments

  1. Ryan Ward recently posted about single property websites and he loves them. What you said about blogging about a listing got my attention. I hadn’t thought to point a link at where someone could go to download documents about a listing – great idea.

  2. Hadn’t thought about adding all the disclosures. That would make things much easier.

  3. James Wheelock says:

    I have though about this a great deal. I like the idea of property websites as long as they have enough features for users. What I have noticed is that most do not and many are so templatish that you could run into duplicate content issues.

    I would love to know who the best provider of property websites is and what their fees happen to be. Can people give me their opinions on this one.

  4. James,

    If you self host your blog and comfortable with WordPress themes, I would suggest you take a stab at doing them yourself.

    If you read the category “Single Listings” you should find enough information on setting them up to do one.

  5. James Wheelock says:

    Thanks Dave,

    I will follow your advice and see what I have to work with.

  6. James,

    I think that http://www.openhouseadvertising.com makes the best single listings sites that I’ve seen. Their prices are reasonable considering what the final product looks like…and they do all the work. They are definately a great choice for high end listings.

  7. The slideshow on those sites is about the worst I have ever seen. For $180 you should be able to do much better then what they are offering. If not I need to start a service for this as that is WAY to much money for a couple page website.

  8. Really? The worst you have seen!? Can you point me in the direction of one that is better?

    i think the slideshow is pretty cool. what don’t you like?
    here’s an example of one of their sites: http://417westprospect.com/

    Thanks,
    T

  9. Tony just about any slideshow that lets you control moving to the next photo with a simple arrow or next button is better then that. The sensitivity of the scroll is way to high on the sample sites, seems to be less sensitive on the example you linked to, but still annoying that if you want to see the full photo you have to move off the picture selector and then move back down and try and find where you were to find the next photo. Considering how unsavey most are on the web they would have serious issues with this.

    To add to that the “virtual tour” looks like powerpoint presentations we created back in the mid 90’s. Not that powerpoint has gotten much better, but again not having any control over what you are looking at isn’t appealing. The use of photos looped together to create a virtual tour just doesn’t justify the costs.

    There is nothing there that can’t be achieved for free with simple plugins for wordpress. Heck you could add video tours, virtual tour (equal or better), and a much better photo slideshow. The one item that I would have to look into is the brochure, but that is very easy to upload as a PDF or create a template that you just swap out photos and text for. Everything else on the site is just links to other sites so that is easy to duplicate.

    Not sure why you think these are such great sites, but I just don’t see anything that justifies $180.

  10. All that and still no example of a better site???
    On those sites there is the virtual tour (photos with movement), gallery (easy to navigate – a bit quick for older users possibly), and view all (brings up all photos for easy viewing).

    I saw one of Wendy Lister’s listings and thought it looked great (Wendy is Washington’s #1 Coldwell Banker Agent ~ #10 Internationally ~ … and was Honored by the wall street journal as one of the nation’s top 20 agents).
    http://www.medina830.com

  11. Tony the slideshow is quick for me, someone who grew up using a computer and makes a living with online marketing. There is a good chance it will cause the average online user to leave the site.

    You have done a great job dropping links to this company and it’s users. Do you have a financial interest in promoting this product or company?

  12. Tony,

    Here is one of I designed and used for one of our listing which already sold
    http://www.orovalleyhomes4sale.com/Risky/

    Here there is information on the property
    A viewable slide show of all the rooms clicking the image in the post on the front page
    A slide show from Slide.com
    A video montage of the property
    Floorplan
    The Seller Property Disclosure Statement

    I usually link to a brochure/flyer which can be printed in PDF format.

    I experiment with different things for each one I do. They don’t cost me anything. Some have more documents, ex. If there is a well or septic those documents are available as well.

    The sites are easily found on the web and designed with SEO in mind as well as asthetics. You will also notice there is no need to purchase a domain the way I’m doing it. They are still found easily by address in Google in about 12 hours after creation.

    You can search Risky Drive, Oro Valley Risky Drive, 13232 Risky Drive, Even Oro Valley Hohokum Park. I often include posts and maps which show shopping, parks, etc located near the property.

    The objections I have with the sites you mention have nothing to do with aesthetics. They are pretty. But there are some SEO and best practices which are not on these sites, especially the first one you mentioned for 417 West Prospect.

    It is a matter of choice on the title tag, but the Property should come first and the Agent last. It is the property that is for sale.

    There should never be more than 1 h1 tag. There are 2 on that site. There are no keyword or description meta tags on the site. There is too much Java-script and very little content. However, they were search able by address which often is not the case.

    If you do a site: search on both you will find 7 pages indexed on the first site and 3 pages indexed on the second site. On the one I give as an example there are 10 pages in the site search and the address is in all of them except for the floorplan PDF.

    I have to agree with Ken on the Pricing and the value of the site as a Single Property Listing for sale. These sites are way overpriced for the agent. They fall into the category I call “Vanity Sites” as a tool to get a listing or impress a seller. They have very little to do with marketing the home itself and serve more as a tool to market the agent.

    I do appreciate your providing example sites. It wouldn’t be possible to evaluate the company with being able to see the product live.

  13. This has been an interesting discussion, thank you Dave Ken and Tony for your constructive feedback about my company.

    If you may, let me clear a few things up for you.

    Our product was created based on direct feedback from real estate agents who need single listing websites created for them. Using the web can be overwhelming. Even creating a UI as easy to use as FaceBook or MySpace is quite intimidating to them.

    Our prices may seem high, but every thing is created for the agent.

    However, that being said we are a new company and still in beta. We haven’t even done an official launch yet. In fact, this is the first discussion about Open House Advertising on the web so you could imagine my excitement when I found this.

    Ken,

    Regarding our slide show. The original design was similar to what you are talking about, but based on feedback from agents it morphed into what you see now. I think a good solution is to offer two or even three sideshows because everyone seems to have a preference. Thanks for pointing those out.

    Dave,

    Thanks for dissecting a few of our templates. We are looking into those issues. Regarding SEO, sometimes agents don’t want to display very much information. Their goal has been to create a teaser for online buyers by keeping it simple. When they need more info they don’t want it to distract from the showcase, which is a reason for using java, which also helps keep everything on the same page. You’re points are well taken.

    Feel free to send me an email with any questions or comments, so maybe we can continue this discussion without being a distraction to this blog post. There are many things we do that help market our clients homes, both on and offline

    Owen,
    Owenb at openhouseadvertising dot com

  14. Owen many times agents don’t realize what is best for the masses. People like Tony may find the mouse control selector easy but it will be annoying to the masses. Some agents will find it cool, but buyers don’t care about cool they want function.

    There is a saying that has floated around the net for years, “ugly sells”. Really it isn’t that ugly sites sell better, just that simple easy to use sites that convert better tend to be ugly.

    KISS is the number one rule to marketing on the net. Anything that annoys even a small percentage of users is an issue that should be resolved.

    I am with Dave that this is a “make the seller happy” type of website. It’s pretty and sellers like pretty, but that only because they don’t know how the internet (or marketing) works.

    BTW, you could always have two price points. One for those that don’t know how to use the internet and one for those that can do it all on their own.

  15. James Wheelock says:

    I personally find Dave’s sites a better option to that of what has been posted here. I feel that Dave’s single property websites have better functionality but I wouldn’t mind seeing something that used CSS a little better so it had a higher end feel. I like the theme that Ryan Ward has crafted when it comes to looks. I can’t wait until I am better at using CSS so that I can come up with a design that utilizes both. Here is an example of Ryan’s work. http://www.sandyspringsopenhouses.com/

    James Wheelock ´s last blog post..Humble Single Family Housing Inventory