The Sun Valley Geek

For the majority of home buyers today, the search for real estate begins online, and with the growing number of internet consumers, the ability to find the perfect property with both ease and speed is essential
  • 87% of buyers use the internet in their search for a home
  • One out of four vacation home buyers find their home on the Internet
  • Internet buyers spend 60% less of the agents time looking at properties and buy 3 times faster
  •  More buyers and sellers today are finding homes and agents from real estate websites

Turn marketing dollars into prospects and prospects into home buyers or sellers

The Sun Valley Geek offers a complete real estate web system using custom IDX / MLS / RETS integration to produce spectacular interactive searches, picture galleries, virtual tours and interactive maps


The Internet has taken a once closed MLS system and opened it up for consumers to make faster and better informed buying/selling decisions. IDX opened the door for free advertising on tens of thousands of websites.

The FlexMLS "SmartFrame" offers agents a customizable and integrated IDX solution for real estate Agents and Brokers. Automatically display Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Property Listings on your web site.

IDX services provide your clients with the same latest and greatest marketing tool available to real estate agents and brokers! Ease of use, flexible, marketable and search engine friendly to get internet users and clients. When you display these listings on your site, you give consumers one more reason to keep coming back to your site. Your site, and thus you, become a tremendous resource for home buyers in your area. Plus, homebuyers today are looking for information........specific information. Adding IDX to your website can help answer some of the questions about what homes are available in the MLS.

Some of the features of the flexmls IDX smart-frame are:

Lead Generation — The flexmls Web system includes a Customer Portal feature. With this feature, our IDX has the ability to allow your customers to log in to a private customer portal right from your IDX website. The portal gives them options to search, save searches, mark favorites/possibilities/rejects and multiple other functions.

Searching — The smart frame is designed to quickly provide the consumer with access to listings. They can also edit the search to their liking, to search by list #, virtual tours, photos, videos and more.

Mapping/Map Search Our Map tab quickly pinpoints the search results to view by Price/Status/Pr.SqFt. Also provides hovering info bubbles, irregular-shape searching, panning, zoom, satellite display & radius searching.

Search Results The infinite List tab in the flexmls smart frame houses unlimited search results. Rather than viewing just a few listings at a time, the consumer can view all the listings by simply scrolling down the page.

Details From the details tab, there is quick access to listing reports, open houses, tour of homes and calculators.

Messaging The Contact button bridges the gap between the site owner and the consumer. By using the Contact button, your prospect can email you directly and that message automatically shows up in your Messages area on the private side of flexmls Web.

Printing & Directions — Our Print function allows the consumer to print anything that is attached to a listing such as the grid, detail reports, maps, photos, and driving directions.

Photos The Photos tab contains unlimited photos, virtual tours, & video viewing which may be attached to each listing. flexmls Web stores 3 sizes of each photo attached to a listing; thumbnail, report and original.



The RETS option allows us flexability to display your featured properties with a unique and integrated look and feel.

A US standard, RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard) has been implemented for commonality of different MLS system worldwide. RETS is a quickly emerging style for interacting with web-services. With RETS integration, your site is continuously updated from the information and photos you have already added to the FlexMLS database. We collect this MLS data nightly and publish it to your web site. No more dual entry to keep your web site up to date!

The National Association of Realtors® 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

The survey consisted of an eight-page questionnaire sent to 120,038 consumers who had purchased a home between July 2008 and June 2009. Names and addresses were provided by Experian, a firm that maintains a data base derived from county records. There was a 7.9% response rate.

Sellers and agents can both profit from careful consideration of the information about how buyers search for and, more importantly, actually find the home that they ultimately purchase. The data enable all parties to see how marketing time and dollars may be best expended.

In these days almost everyone uses the Internet during the home search process. 90% used the Internet at some point and 76% said they did so frequently. Just seven years ago only 41% of buyers indicated any Internet use at all.

Of course, people looking for a home use more than just one information source. The top five were: Internet (90%), real estate agent (87%), yard signs (59%), open houses (46%) and newspaper advertising (40%). While people used a variety of sources, they certainly didn't perceive them all to be equally useful. When asked which information sources were very useful, the top three were real estate agent (81%), Internet (77%) and yard signs (42%). Ten percent of buyers found open houses to be very useful sources of information while another 25% found them to be somewhat useful.

What agents and sellers should be most interested in is not what buyers perceived to be useful but what, in fact, actually brought the buyer to the home that he or she purchased. This is where it really gets interesting.

36% of buyers found the home that they ultimately purchased on the Internet; another 36% learned of that home from a real estate agent. Over the years, the number who learned from an agent has diminished. In 2001 it was 48%. Conversely, the number who learned of their home from the Internet has grown greatly. In 2001 that number was only 8%. Interestingly, those who found their home as a result of a sign has remained relatively steady. Over the past decade that number has pretty consistently been at the 15% -16% levels. This year it was 12%.

It is interesting that the methods that actually work – that bring the right home in front of buyers – are among the least expensive: the Internet, working with an agent (who learns about properties through the MLS), and signs. 84% of buyers learned about their home through one of these sources.

Conversely, some of the most expensive methods – newspapers, home books and magazines, and television – are among the least effective. Only 4% of buyers found their homes via these media.

There are lessons to be learned from NAR's annual profile of buyers and sellers. and it makes sense to apply them. If I can answer any questions, or provide any additional information, that will assist you with your real estate goals please let me know.

Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2008: The Home Search Process

For one-third of home buyers, the first step in the home-buying process
was looking online for properties.

Eighty-seven percent of all home buyers and 94 percent of buyers aged 25
to 44 years used the Internet to search for homes.

Real estate agents were viewed as a very useful information source by 81
percent of buyers who used an agent while searching for a home.

The typical home buyer searched for 10 weeks and viewed 10 homes.

Six percent of buyers purchased a home in foreclosure.

The Internet plays an increasing role in the purchase of vacation homes...

Nearly a third (32 percent) of vacation home buyers first looking online for properties for sale, up from 22 percent in 2008.

One out of four (26 percent) vacation home buyers found their home on the Internet, up from 21 percent in 2008.

With recent economic shifts and historical bankruptcies, personal real estate websites are realizing decided benefits as buyers move more from brand-driven consumers to relationship-driven consumers.
Several reasons have been given, the rise of social media and the shift to women taking the lead in marketing decisions. Even with buyers looking for that personal touch, as of 2009, only 60% of Realtors had their own real estate website – 11% planning on it, but almost one-third of the Realtors were not looking to invest in their own online marketing.

Recently, well-branded banks and august financial institutions getting serious bailouts or buyouts have caused consumers to not put as much store in national brand names. Replacing national brands in the trust factor area is personal relationships. Real estate websites selling the services an agent or small company versus marketing on the coat-tails of a major brand are benefiting from this market shift.
With a shorter chain of command to give a marketing go-ahead, personal real estate websites with real estate blogs or web-based article manager software can more quickly adapt to market news. In 2009, only 7% of Realtors had a blog, meaning 93% of Realtors were not using one of the easiest to use content management and marketing tools to emerge in recent years.

Adding to both of these benefits is Google utilizing local business addresses to connect local news, blog entries and business websites to search results based on the geographic locations of Internet searchers. With good search engine optimization for local marketing, your blog entries are better situated to bring your real estate website visibility in your local market. Of course, increases in daily traffic also help websites rank in searches outside their local area.

Looking into the statistics, online marketing of real estate services with a website is building your future client base today.
Many Realtors report to the national Realtor survey that most of their clients come from referrals, which may lead people to believe working on referrals is the highest priority. It is a high priority, of course. However, looking at referrals from the consumer side, CAR found that only 18% of traditional buyers used agents from referral and only 2% of Internet-using homebuyers used referrals.
85% of Internet buyers found their agents online, either through a real estate broker website or the agent’s personal online real estate marketing site.
In fact, over 50% reported going online to find a brokerage firm and 67% to find an agent. This works out to somewhere between 67 to 72% of Internet buyers are not just looking for homes online – they are looking for a real estate agent.
Another difference between Internet and traditional buyers: None of the Internet buyers picked their agent from previous transactions versus 27% of traditional buyers. Given the large difference in these two figures, it is more likely that most Internet buyers are first-time home buyers, not that they are in a area or mood that called for a different agent.

This means three things for your real estate website:
1. Get one if you don’t have one or work to get your website up in the search engine rankings if you do have a Realtor website.
2. Your home page and “About Us” page is one of your most important selling tools, and
3. Providing “walk you through the process” real estate information is a valuable online marketing tool for the current online market.

Revealing New Statistics Show that Internet Savvy Shoppers Make the Best Real Estate Clients
Are you marketing to the wrong audience? Here are some interesting statistics that could change the way you conduct your real estate business.
Where did we get this data?
California Association of REALTORS - 1,600 people were surveyed. 800 were Internet Buyers who said the web played an important role in the home buying process. 800 were "Traditional Buyers". This group said that they did not use the web as an important role in the home buying process.

Internet Buyers are the Key to Making More Money In Real Estate
The average internet buyer spends an only 2.2 weeks working with the Realtor to find their home. The traditional buyer spends almost 6 weeks!

So How Many Houses did the Realtor Have to Show During This Time?
Internet Buyers only previewed an average of 6.65 homes while the Traditional Buyer previewed 21.7.

Internet Buyers know what they want and because of this, you, the Real Estate Agent, spend less time educating them. After all, the average Internet Buyer has already invested almost 6 weeks of research before they contact an agent. This is in contrast to the Traditional Buyer who has researched homes for less than 2 weeks before contacting a Real Estate Agent. With this in mind, who do you think is going to be the easier client?

More Internet Savvy Real Estate Buyers Equals More Money and Less Work for You

Interesting Real Estate Buyer Facts:

• Internet buyers spend almost a third the amount of time working with a real estate agent compared to a Traditional Buyer. This means less time carting buyers around in your car!

• Internet buyers interviewed about half as many real estate agents as traditional buyers before selecting a Realtor.

• Nearly three quarters of all Internet buyers first saw the home they purchased on the Internet.

  Start Marketing to Internet Buyers ...

Think about this data next time you spend your marketing dollars
Who are you targeting? The Traditional Buyer or the Internet Buyer?

If your website is not producing for you, then perhaps it's time to take a hard look at your website. It may be time for a complete website make-over or at the very least, a website analysis. If your focusing your marketing dollars to attract Traditional Buyers then it may be time to adjust your marketing budget.