Friday, November 9, 2007

Don't Jump Off The Bridge Yet

Let’s put things into perspective before anyone decides to jump off a bridge over the current mortgage debacle and subsequent real estate decline. At the end of the internet bubble in March of 2000, the NASDAQ composite hit a high of 5,132 and in March of 2001, after the bubble burst, the NASDAQ hit a high of 2,243, a 50% reduction. Yes there was some pain and suffering that came with this but to my knowledge nobody died, some jobs were lost but in the end, most the serious long term investors and industry professionals who serve them are still in the business. The same thing will happen in real estate just give it a minute.

I’m getting kind of sick and tired of what seems like day after day of the media telling me it’s the end of the world and housing is dead. Guess what, as long as it takes this thing to bottom out, when it does, it will take a nice bounce and for most of us in the industry who have no interest in looking for another job in another line of work, we’ll be back to making good money in an industry we know and love. So with all due respect to the media, you think you could move on and find something else to report about because your housing pieces are really starting to bore people and I think you guys capable of better journalism.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New Lead Sources for Agentopolis Featured Agents

Agentopolis also owns and runs a couple of other niche real estate web sites, and . Fortunately for us and our featured agents on Agentopolis, the traffic on these sites is also picking up, contrary to what one might think after reading all the news about the housing industry. When we get a lead from these other sites, we forward them on to our Agentopolis agents, unless there was a client agent on the other site in the same area.
In the past ten days I have been able to forward three leads on to our featured agents. We received two "request to find a home" leads from First Home Guide and sent one to a Tacoma, Washington Realtor, and the other went to a Lynchburg Virginia Realtor. We also received our first "request for market analysis" lead, similar to a "House Values" type lead, to a Wichita Kansas real estate agent.

We are excited about these leads as this is a new business for us and it is starting to take hold which means more exposure and leads for Realtors on Agentopolis.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

MLS and Todays Internet Home Shopper

I was speaking to an agent last week regarding another site I'm involved in called MLS Maps. I was explaining to the agent the benefits of the Map based search technology that is now available to Realtors in most MLS markets and he informed me that map based search was useless and wasn't going anywhere. This seriously caught me by surprise as most of the newer listing sites I visit involve some use of map technology with most sites simply using the Google map API and doing a mash up.

Is it just me or is this agent not keeping up with technology and the needs and wants of Internet home shoppers. What really killed me is that he said he worked mostly with relocation clients and they would have no use for a map based search since they don't know the area. This surprised me even more since that is one of the biggest reasons I give for having map based search on your web site.

Think about, you are moving from Denver to Minneapolis as you have just accepted a job with SuperValu. The HR rep tells you their headquarters and your new office will be located in Eden Prairie, a suburb of Minneapolis which you have never heard of. For most relo clients there are at least a few priorities including a short commute, proximity to good schools, if you have kids, and proximity to other interests you have like maybe parks, lakes, the airport if you love to travel or need to travel for work, etc. I can't think of any better way to find a home in a strange city then by a map and the address of where you will be working, going to school, etc.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you are an agent and you have a web site without IDX broker reciprocity MLS listings, you are wasting your Internet marketing dollars and your time. The single most important thing to an Internet home shopper is inventory, God help you if the inventory on your site consists of your current listings. And remember to keep your eyes open for map based search solutions for your web site that will make your site more sticky and get you way more buzz marketing, especially if you are the first in your market.

Friday, October 26, 2007 disappears, if only for a moment.

I had an agent call me today and ask me what happened to . I am aware of the site and I think it is a good site and in fact I am suprised that it is off line this evening. I only hope that it is temporary as all web sites have certainly had their issues with hosting. If not, please visit our site and encourage your clients to recommend you there, were are up and running!

Best of luck to Home Thinking.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Zillow Quandry

OK so Zillow is getting a bunch of traffic, that's a fact but the question for Realtors is what kind of traffic is Zillow getting and how can it help me? Is Zillow getting hits from potential home buyers, potential home sellers or simply from people who are curious about the value of their home? Oh by the way, there is another big user of Zillow, mortgage professionals who use Zillow to determine if there is enough value in a borrowers home to justify a refinance. I'm thinking a lot of mortgage guys are using Zillow everyday which really doesn't help Realtors or home sellers.

My take on the deal is that most of Zillow's traffic is from people who are curious about the value of a home versus someone actually looking for homes to buy. Think about it, any home buyer that has heard the term MLS and has searched for their local mls in Google has figured out that the mother lode of homes for sale is not on Zillow, Trulia or sites like them who are busy trying to build a national database of home inventory, but on the sites of local realtors. So to think of Zillow as a great place to find buyers is a bit of a stretch. I haven't spent any time looking at Zillows Q&A section yet and in fact there might be some opportunities for agents to engage prospects in meaningful conversations that ultimately end in real estate transactions, but this is the same activity that Realtors are being told they should be doing with their blogs.

So what's an agent to do and how much time should an agent spend on Zillow and, what is Zillows ultimate motive in all this? Time will tell but knowing what I know about real estate and the Internet today, As an agent I would be spending my time build my web presence/brand in my local market using tools like a blog and an IDX broker reciprocity feed which gives my visitors access to almost all the homes for sales in their area. At the end of the day, the agent is still the one who makes it all happen!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Agentopolis to Provide Consumer Facing Blogs for Realtors

Agentopolis in conjunction with Blogging Systems will soon be offering our Realtors an incredible blogging platform. This platform will be different than many of the social media sites out there in that our focus will be on the consumer, people interested in buying or selling a home, versus a community of like minded people, like on Activerain. We will make it very easy for our visitors to search through our blog inventory and drill down by state, city, neighborhood and topic so the visitor gets connected to the most qualified agent for their needs.

We hope to have this awesome real estate agent marketing tool up and running by the end of November and we are very excited to be working with the group at Blogging Systems as they have a lot of great experience in this space.

Stay Tuned and if you have any ideas about any features for our blog, please let us know here or by phone or email.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's About Time

Here I sit, reading The Real Estate Tomato blog as I imagine that someday I might be a great blogger and being reminded again of two things, one, I haven't posted to this blog in a very long time and two, if any of us want to get established as an "a-list" blogger in any industry, we have to blog at least once a week or more.

I keep getting hit over the head with this simple fact as I feed myself a line of bull about how busy I am. Truth is everybody in real estate is busy yet some of us are able to make time to post quality content in a consistent manner. So once again, I am committing to finding a way to create and post good content in the area of real estate and more specifically real estate marketing. As the founder and CEO of Agentopolis I spend more and more time on the net reading blogs, publications like Inman News, Realty Times and RIS Media, and checking out no less than 100 different real estate web sites each week. As a result I am developing an understanding and opinion about this sector that I think can help real estate agents sort through all the noise and start making money from their Internet marketing efforts.

Stay tuned as I review all the new sites and marketing ideas for real estate agents and other industry professionals and try to help agents find and use the best of the best without breaking the bank.

This will also be the place where Agentopolis has an open dialogue with the agent community and keeps you informed about what we are doing next to try to further promote the 1.3 million agents on our site.

My title has a double meaning for me and maybe you too. "It's about time" I got my head in the game, and the answer to my challenge is about time!

See you soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reach Minnesota First Time Home Buyers

If you have homes for sale or information you would like to share with first time home buyers in Minnesota, visit You can post your property listings for free and we are accepting articles from local Realtors around home buying topics to share with our visitors. Your articles will be displayed on our site and you can include links back to your web site, as well as your contact info so you get the calls.

Call Ken Horst @ 952-842-8100 for more information and check out our placement in the big three search engines for the following search phrases;

Minnesota first time home buyer
Google 1st page/ # 10
Yahoo 1st Page/ #9
Msn 1st Page/ # 1

Minnesota first time home buyer seminar
Google 1st page/ # 1 & 2
Yahoo 1st Page/ #1, 2, 3
Msn 1st Page/ # 1 & 2

Minnesota first time home buyer programs
Google 1st page/ # 9
Yahoo 1st Page/ #8, 9
Msn 1st Page/ # 1

Monday, August 20, 2007

New MLS listings website uses map search technology

As the race to build a national MLS rages on, MLS Maps takes a shortcut to the problem and offers visitors links to local real estate web sites that provides free access to MLS listings which are displayed on local maps. As a result, at it’s launch, MLS Maps provides visitors with access to over 1.2 million real estate listings all searchable on local maps, and they expect to grow the number of listings to over 2 million by year end.

Working with agents who are using WolfNet Technologies MapTracks IDX search solution, MLS Maps is able to provide visitors with the best in map search technology, without having to invest heavily in IT development, which helps keep this an affordable marketing program for local agents who want to capture the lions share of people searching for a home on the internets.

Unlike many internet marketing sites which sells agents small geographic territories like zip codes, or single suburbs, MLS Maps allows agents to own entire metro areas for less than what a zip code might cost at some of the other sites.

Horst, founder of Agentopolis, a national directory of real estate agents, said MLS Maps benefits from a simple user interface and fast connections to homes for sale in most major metropolitan areas.

In addition to listings, MLS Maps also provides users with access to school information, city, county and federal statistical information for all 50 states as well as three different ways to get a home value.

Friday, August 17, 2007

REDFIN WINS!!! As differentiation among agents disappears.

I read a horrifying article on Inman News today about public facing MLS sites owned by the local MLS. The article I read referred to HAR in Houston Texas and explained all the fantastic marketing things they were doing to drive traffic to their site including billboards, radio, tv, print etc. and they are talking about syndicating the listings and automatically feeding this info to some of the big internet home marketing sites like zillow, google base, etc. All the things a great agent might also do to increase and protect their market share. If the MLS’s around the country start to act like internet marketing companies, what is left for the listing agent to do besides stick a sign in the yard, and how much commission is that really worth, hence Redfin.

While this may be great news for the struggling agents who list fewer than 6 homes a year, (an agent who might want to consider the Redfin gig as I understand it) It is terrible news for the successful real estate agents and brokers who have taken advantage of technology and the internet to further grow their business by doing a better job of selling their clients listings and building a steady stream of qualified buyers.

Think about it, the best buyer magnet in the business is an MLS broker reciprocity IDX solution. If I am a home buyer on the internet, what is the only thing that is important to me when I stumble upon your site through Google or some other method? Listings!! If you spend all the time and effort to build a nice site and drive me their only to show me your current two or three listings, I’ll be off your site in less than 30 seconds. Smart agents know this and incorporate IDX search solutions into their site. The better listing agents know how and where to place their listings on the internet to provide ever increasing exposure to their clients homes for sale. If the local MLSs start doing all this for you, then how will any agent present themselves as any better or different from any other agent. And if this becomes true, than agents become a simple commodity and the value of their service drops like a lead balloon.

Think about it, if I have a $500,000 house to sell do I want to pay $30,000 in commissions or pay a couple of grand to Pro Source, study nights and weekends, to get my realtor license so I can join the local board and let them to a fantastic job of marketing my home for next to nothing?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What is a Liquidity Crisis?

It was just a short time ago that investors from all over the world were hot for US Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). Historically these investment vehicles performed well as US home owners made good on their mortgage payments. Think about it, in the olden days home buyers needed at least 10% down to even qualify to buy a home. Anyone who could manage to save a 10% down payment obviously had to be very responsible with their personal finances, and this fact played out in the return and relative safety of the MBS.

All of the sudden, there was more money available for people to buy homes than consumers were demanding, a liquidity surplus you might say, and with no room to muscle in on the "A" paper conventional mortgage markets, clever investors decided to create new and different types of mortgage loans to take advantage of all this investor money. Hence the birth of the Sub Prime mortgage industry.

With very little history as to the performance of these MBS, and a very hot US real estate market, investors and home buyers plunged into the market with reckless abandonment, ultimately leading to a person who was one day out of a chapter 7 bankruptcy with only a 580 credit score qualifying for a 100% home loan. (Credit scores range from 350 -850). By all known standards, this was a loan destined for default and in the past, no investor in their right mind would have made this loan. But money kept pouring in and an endless stream of home buyers and now people wanting cash out refinancing kept showing up at their local mortgage companies door and more recently at all the internet mortgage sites that promised hundreds of thousands of dollars for unbelievably low monthly payments.

It took a while but eventually, as history started to accrue for these sub prime loans, there appeared to be higher than expected rates of delinquency and default, which brings us to today and our current liquidity crisis. As more and more investors stop investing in these sub prime MBS vehicles, there is less and less money in the US for people who want to buy or refinance homes. Couple this with the fact that even some of the conforming or non-sub prime lenders are seeing higher rates of delinquency and default, and you have a situation where the mortgage arena, which recently had more available money than it knew what to do with, now is left with only a handful of investors who only want to buy the most secure of the MBS, those made up of people with high credit scores, a good solid track record of income, money in the bank and either a down payment or significant home equity in the case of refinance.

So there you have it, Liquidity Crisis, and if you are a real estate agent or mortgage professional, boy does it hurt!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Recent Google Searches for Realtors

In order to help real estate agents get a better idea of some of the different ways consumers are looking for agents on the web, I thought I would share with you some of the most recent Google searches from the web analytics of Agentopolis. Agentopolis is seeing a growing trend in consumers simply typing in agents names in different combinations in order to get the agents phone number or contact info.
To see the results for any of these searches, simply copy and paste them into Google.

remax canton ohio bartolone

"marsena dixon"

Sonia Hodgin, prudential

lori millard

Dawny Corsaut

"daniel c asleson"

"gary mccoy" +realtor

top 100 real estate agents in san antonio tx

Nelson Sumner realty listings


shelly executive realty milford massach

margaret bouldon realtor, 49230

Jacky Waggoner Realty, Birmingham, ALabama

tracey, anderson , realtors, massachusetts

There are many more everyday. Let me know if you find this information helpful or interesting and I can continue to share from time to time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Changing of the Guard

Many things are changing in the real estate business this year and some things faster than others. Two of the biggest changes are the number of agents that will be leaving the business between now and the end of the year and the evolution and or demise of the web 1.0 companies. The web 1.0 companies have built their business based on the hay days of late, more transactions and more agents competing for their business, and rapid home appreciation across the country. This is a huge problem as today there are fewer transactions and agents, and home prices in many markets are flat or declining which means there are fewer dollars for marketing. Couple this with the fact that consumers are being fed a new expectation, web 2.0 and are less and less willing to pony up their personal information just to have a real estate agent hunt them down.

So what does all this mean?

There will be more good internet marketing opportunities for the remaining real estate agents and they will cost less and reach more and more consumers. Gone are the days of paying hundreds of dollars a month for a zip code and then having to cough up 25%+ of your commission. As Greg Robertson of eNeighborhoods pointed out, "it's the upstart innovators -- "the guys that come out of the garage" -- to watch for in the real estate market these days" These are the companies that agents need to be on the look out for and there are many very good blogs to help you find and keep track of these new real estate web marketing companies.
These garage companies have the advantage of super low over head while being able to match or exceed the technology of the big boys and because they haven't already built their business on having consumers give up their personal info in exchange for nothing, and they can build their companies on a solid foundation based on today's volume of transactions and the shrinking marketing budgets of the agents who will survive this dip.

What this means for agents is that now is the time to stake out your territory on the internet. Anywhere you can, buy up exclusive territories, shore up your domain names, and start taking advantage of new technologies like map based search, that until recently, were only available to the big companies with big budgets.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The “Google Effect” on the Real Estate Agent, (part 1)

Years ago life was very different for real estate agents, listing agents would put a sign in the yard, list the property in the MLS book!, take out a few print ads, talk to some of their peers and eventually your clients house would sell. Buyers agent would interview a prospective home buyer to discover exactly what they were looking for in a home, pour over the available listings and information, mostly available to agents not consumers, pick 7-10 homes and make an appointment to take the prospect out to view these homes, ultimately ending in an offer if all went well. Agents promoted themselves through word of mouth, the yellow pages, print ads with their listings, flyers and post cards in their "farm" neighborhoods, and other low or no-tech advertising vehicles. Today however, times have seriously changed for both the real estate agent and the consumer as, according the NAR, 80% of home buyers are using the internet to find a home.

As I think about how my own behavior has changed because of the internet and broadband connections, I notice things like; I no longer use the yellow pages, EVER, I no longer call 411 for a missing phone number, I pay far less attention to ads because I know that when I am looking for a product or service in my area, all I have to do is Google my request and a qualifying response will come up in seconds, I no longer ask for directions as now I simply map quest everything, I communicate with a lot more people that I might not otherwise because of the ease and speed of email, and on and on and on... No doubt about it, we live in a different world today. So the question for real estate agents is "how am I going to adapt to these changes in order to continue to grow my real estate business and not become a dinosaur?" And one of the most relevant answers to this question lies in search engines.

What conversation about search engines would be complete if we didn't talk about Google? Sure there are other search engines and it IS important to have a strategy to be found in those as well (yahoo, msn, ask, etc.) but the bottom line is that most of the buzz about search and finding what you want leads back to Google. So the trick for a real estate agent or any one else trying to grow their business on the net is getting indexed and found on Google. And all wise discussions about search engine marketing must begin with the topic of keyword research. This is the art and science of determining what people are already typing into the search engines and how these searches relate to you, your company, and your industry. Search engine marketing is then finding ways to make us and our site come up first for those queries. Notice I included the word US.

More and more people are remembering our names but for getting our contact info or loosing our business cards (how many business cards do you have sitting on your desk or in a draw right now that you are planning to organize some day) So what does a person do when they remember the name of their realtor from 5 yeas ago but have thrown away their business card (and that clever post card that you send them every month.) It's simple, they Google your name!

In today's world, if a person thinks they are in business for themselves, realtor, cpa, lawyer, mortgage, mechanics, etc. and they don't come up in a search for their own name on Google, they got a problem. As the founder of Agentopolis, a database/directory to over 1.3 million real estate agents, I can tell you, from pouring over reams of analytical data about how people find real estate agents on Agentopolis, that there is a growing trend of consumers typing in the name of their past agent, or an agent whose name was given to them by their friend, into Google as a search phrase.

Check it out, you'll be surprised by which pages you show up on and which pages you don't. Notice also that the search results for your name are different across the different search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc) This is why it is critically important for real estate agents to make sure their name and their property listings appear on a number of different real estate web sites. If you want to be found on the first page of the biggest search engines more often then not, you must be on many different sites and places where you can be found.

And before you stop me and tell me that you already come up first on Google by your name, understand this, the algorithms the search engines use to determine who ranks where in the search results can and will change without warning. Company after company who was dependent on a first page listing on one search engine for the bulk their business has seen their fortunes change as a result of a slight change in a search engines algorithm which resulted in them now appearing on the 7th page of the search results. Don't let this happen to you. Make sure your name, listings and contact info are on as many sites as possible and be glad that many of these sites like Activerain and Agentopolis are free.

Blogging in-and-of-itself is not that great of an activity unless you simply love to write. Google has changed all that. In part two we will look at how Google has made blogging so important to real estate agents.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Real Estate Agent rating sites and systems

I don’t think anyone will ever build the perfect ranking/rating system for real estate agents, by perfect I mean a system that is all I need to be SURE I chose the best agent. Choosing a good agent will always involve feedback and information from different sources and related to different criteria. Geographic location is important, whether I’m buying or selling a home, I want a local expert. Testimonials are a form of user feedback but as many of you pointed out, it is not hard to “game” the system on most agent referral sites.

That said, I think a simple measure such as “number of recommendations” is slightly more useful than a system that uses only a 5 star rating. Anyone can give themselves a 5 star rating and using a system that uses an email address for verification, if this same agent has 3 or 4 different email addresses, can give themselves 3-4 five star ratings. Even asking your friends to cheat the system for you is going to run dry after a few of your lying cheating best friends anti up their fraudulent reviews. When you see an agent with somewhere between 10 and 40 testimonials, you have to wonder if at least a few of them aren’t real. Also, the longer you have been in the business and exceeding client expectations, the easy it will be for you to get to a higher number of clients willing to take the time to visit a site and give you a testimonial.

As I said above, I don’t think agent ratings will ever be enough to insure a perfect choice but they will always be a part of the process to help you choose.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Broker Brand Versus Real Estate Agent

I saw a really nice TV commercial for Coldwell Banker the other day which seemed to imply that if I use them to sell my home, I would be more successful. They had a “SOLD” sign in all the shots. So I started to wonder, does it really matter which real estate brokers sign is in my yard or is it simply enough to have a great real estate agent market my home no matter which company they are with?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

What's The Big Stink About Real Estate Commissions?

It kills me to see real estate agents or anyone else for that matter getting beat up about their compensation plan. All this talk about the commission structure being antiquated and in need of revision is insulting. All this talk about how the internet has changed the game and given the consumer more control over the process, hence agents should be charging less is intriguing but definitely requires closer review.

To say that ALL agents are worth the full commission would be a lie, but it is also a lie to say that every doctor, lawyer, or mortgage professional is worth their industries average fees. I don’t see this as an industry issue but more of an agent issue. The question isn’t whether or not real estate commission rate are too high, the question should be, “Where can I find an agent who is worth the money and how will I know?”

Listing agents
Good listing agents are worth their weight in Gold! I think it is far more difficult to be a great listing agent than a great buyers agent because, at least in today’s market, it is easier to find a home than to find a buyer. Above average listing agents need to be;
1. A marketing geniuses, both online and offline,
2. An expert in staging,
3. An expert in negotiating and
4. They need to be experts in the markets they serve so they can price the home correctly in order to balance the sellers financial and timeline needs.

The best testimonial a listing agent can get is, “They sold our house fast and at full price!”

Buyer’s agents
It costs money to deliver the best home search technology to their buyers. A good buyer’s agent, someone who is definitely worth the commission, must provide a buyer with at least these three components;
1. Access to technology to help the buyer find the right home, (idx broker reciprocity mls site)
2. Superior negotiating skills and
3. Superior knowledge of marketplace. (i.e. city, neighborhood, schools, etc)

The best testimonial a buyers agent can get is, “The found exactly the home we were looking for and got the sellers to drop the price!”

It is critical that every agent be able to answer the question, “What is my competitive advantage in the marketplace?” or “What do I do as a listing agent or buyer’s agent for my clients that totally justifies my compensation?” When you can answer this question in a way that is relevant to a home buyer or seller, compensation will never be an issue.

At the end of the day one of the best ways for any agent to prove their value in their market place is with agent recommendations/testimonials. I’ll be the first to admit that I hate asking for testimonials, even when I know I have exceeded expectations, so before anyone goes off on me about how this is an unfair measure of value because not every agent is comfortable asking for them, let it be known that I am not saying it is easy. Agentopolis tries to help address this concern by being online and making it easy for agents to simply email their past clients with a link and a simple request, versus having to call each one and ask. (Although the top agents tell me that this call for a testimonial is where they generate a number of their referrals)

Threats by Refin, Zillow and others to change the Realtor profession into that of a hourly wage factory worker makes great news stories but I for one don’t think it will create a wholesale change in the industry. The bottom line is that the internet is changing the way people buy and sell homes but the fact is that the Human Side of Real Estate is not going away anytime soon. People will continue to do business face to face with people they like and trust so my advice to consumers is find a great agent to help you buy or sell your next home and be glad you are only paying 6 or 7%.

One of the advantages to using a recommendation such as Agentopolis’s system is that because of the way we have set it up, only one recommendation is allowed per verified email. (see recommendation process) This prevents an agent from giving themselves 25 glowing reviews. Yes it’s true that every agent can give themselves at least one glowing review with their own email, but that is why we made each recommendation worth 1 point and rank order agents in total number of points. Any agent can get one glowing review from a client but only an experienced agent who consistently exceeds expectations can generate a larger number (see Agentopolis Top 100 Agents)

Real Estate Agent Income Numbers from NAR
Median income was $47,700 in 2006, down from $49,300 in 2004, which had also had declined from 2002. Members license as brokers earned a median of $73,700 last year, while sales agents earned $34,600. During the last two years, NAR membership increased 23.2 percent.
Realtors® in the business for two years or less earned a median of $15,300, while those with three to five years of experience earned $44,200. For six to 15 years, the median was $64,600, while members in the business for 16 years or more earned $76,200.

Clearly Realtors are not getting rich off the public. Once again, what’s the big stink about real estate commissions?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Agentopolis Allows Agents to Manage Their User Generated Comments

Responding to the concerns about unregulated user generated comments on the internet, Agentopolis has changed its recommendation process to include a final step which allows the agent to review the recommendation and decide whether or not to publish the comments before anyone else sees it. Whenever a visitor posts a comment/recommendation for an agent on Agentopolis, the agent receives an email letting them know. The agent can then login to their profile, read the recommendation, and decide whether or not to post it for the public to see.

Additionally, for those real estate agents who may not have verified their free listing on Agentopolis and do not know they have a web presence, if a visitor posts a comment for them, it will not be displayed until the agent responds to the email alert, verifies their listing information, and then reviews and approves the comment. Over 15,000 agents have updated their free listing by adding their photo, bio and credentials, and property listings.

Our recommendation area was always meant to be for "recommendations" and "testimonials" helping the agents put forth their best foot. We rank agents on our site by the number of client recommendations and in many cities an agent can be on the first page of our search results with only one or two recommendations, which most good agents have no trouble getting.

Please visit to check to see if you have any recommendations and how you are ranking in your chosen city.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The "Long Tail" of Real Estate Agents

I recently completed the book by Wired editor Chris Weber, "The Long Tail". As a result, Agentopolis realized there is a "long tail" of real estate agents that has never been made available to consumers. With over 1.3 million agents to choose from, how does a visitor decide which agent is best for them and in fact wouldn't it be safe to say that everyone of these agents is different from every other in a way that is relevant to some home buyer or seller somewhere?

Before Agentopolis came along, the only way a home buyer or seller could search for an agent was by city,state and buyer or sellers agent. But when you look at most of the major metro areas in the US, you find that even when you drill down to a city like Minnetonka, Minnesota, you still have to filter through 458 real estate agents. So how do you decide?

In the old days, before the Internet, a person might use the Yellow Pages to find a Realtor. This worked great for agents who's last name started with "A" as users of the Yellow Pages had little reason to look past the first page of listings as there was no other information to help a user discern one agent from the other. Also, because of the costs to both the publisher of the Yellow Pages and to the agent for advertising in it, this dinosaur of a directory only gave the consumer access to a very small subset of available real estate professionals in their area.

Agentopolis and the Internet have seriously changed that by making a free listing available to every real estate agent who is still in business. (about 20% of Realtors quit the business every year). Initially we simply offered home buyers and sellers a complete list of EVERY agent doing business in their city or market. While we thought we had done a good job of exposing our visitors to the long tail of real estate agents, after reading Weber's book, we realized that we were missing two important pieces of the puzzle, a way to drill into the data/directory in a manner that is important to the visitor (micro niche), and a relevant way to help visitors differentiate between the abundant choices.

We have begun to solve the first issue by increasing the number and type of search criteria a visitor can use to find exactly what they are looking for. We are in a state of evolving in this area as we continue to get feedback from both Realtors and consumers as to what they are looking for in an agent. The initial role out of this is going to feel awkward because never before could a home buyer or seller look for an agent based on social criteria like gender, religion, and sexual orientation all in one place. Agents aren't sure how much information they want to disclose about themselves and consumers are still deciding what criteria they want or need to search by. Through this process, Agentopolis will continue to revise our optional search criteria to better reflect the needs and wants of our agents and visitors.

We are responding to the second issue by allowing visitors to recommend a realtor and give them up to a five star rating and leaving comments and these recommendation are visible to the visitor. This way, when your search brings up 275 agents who, by your search criteria, all look the same, the visitor has additional relevant information to help sort through all the possibilities. In addition to recommendations, the agents have the ability to post, as a part of their free listing, any information about them that may help a home buyer or seller feel confident in choosing them. Most agent are including things like their years of experience, awards, training, results, hobbies and interest to position themselves as the best choice for our visitors.

Going forward, Agentopolis will continue to monitor and respond to the needs of the real estate agents and our visitors in order to insure that Agentopolis is the most useful real estate agent web site on the Internet. Feel free to respond with any questions, comments or ideas you think can help us achieve this goal.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Agentopolis passes 10,000 verified real estate agents in directory

Agentopolis has recently blown past the 10,000 verified real estate agents mark and as of yesterday we had over 10,400 confirmed realtor listings. All this in a little more than 60 days. The feed back we are getting from real estate agents all over the country is they love the site as it is the easiest way to find an agent on the web and the free real estate marketing features we offer are currently unmatched by any other site on the web. If you haven't updated/verified your free listing on Agentopolis yet, simply visit We invite your feedback as we are striving to be influenced by the needs of the real estate agent community because that is who we serve.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Agentopolis Improves Home Search

Agentopolis February UpdateSent to Members only, February 20, 2007

"Home Search" Now Allows Consumers to Search All Property Listings on Agentopolis by City, State, and Other Criteria.

What this means is that if you have uploaded your property listings, they will now be found by consumers who are looking for properties, and for Agents, and hundreds of you already have done this. There is no charge for adding your listings, so login and see how easy it is. Click Home Search now to see our new property search feature.

Add Unlimited Property Listings on Agentopolis

We realize the best way to help out our Agents is to let you upload every listing that you have, so we have made this feature unlimited at every level of membership. Over 500 agents have added property listings in the past 6 days. Try out this new feature, and send us your feedback, we'd love to hear from you.

Silver and Gold Members Can Link to Their Website's MLS Search.
If you are a Silver or Gold member you can and should link to your site's IDX MLS search page. This allows a visitor to leave Agentopolis and land on your website where you show them every listing in your area. If you are already a Gold or Silver member, and have not yet done this, or if you would like information on how to add MLS search to your web site, call Ken at 800-219-9943 to learn how.

According to Google Analytics, is already over 150,000 Page Views in February!

Over 8600 Agents verified their listings, and those Agents have gathered over 1400 client recommendations. Take a look at Texas, Minnesota, Florida and California to see great examples of how gathering recommendations instantly places you at the top of your state, above all other Agents.

New Seach Keys

We are planning to add several new search keys in the next two weeks. Please email us what new search keys you want added. What makes you unique???

Lastly, If you know other Agents that may benefit from learning about Agentopolis, feel free to forward this member email to them. Helping us spread the word helps all of us!

Ken Horst President and Founder Agentopolis

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Agentopolis in The News

Agentopolis, the Internets largest open real estate agent directory with over 1.4 million real estate agents, will deliver it's first national press release Wednesday, February 7th. We will be referring to the real estate agents ability to be ranked first in their state and city simply by have the most client recommendations. The best agents will be raised up by their best clients. In addition to our ranking system, Realtors will be able to include any information that they feel will help consumers choose them over the other agents listed in their state and city. These features are just two of our free real estate marketing tools designed to help the agent get more Internet exposure and more phone calls.

Agentopolis does not require any information from the consumer, instead we give them access to all the information available on each agent and let them contact that agent directly. We do not get between the agent and the home buyer or seller and we DO NOT charge a referral fee to the agent like many of the other existing real estate agent websites. Agentopolis believes that a good real estate agent is indispensable to the real estate transaction.

For more information about our free real estate agent marketing or to find a real estate agent or realtor in your area, visit

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Profile:Charlotte North Carolina Real Estate Agent

I had an opportunity today to speak with a top producing North Carolina Real Estate Agent. Her name is Jean Bridges and in addition to having many years of successful real estate sales, she also has a very good handle on the Internet. Visit her web site at . She and I spent some time talking about search engine optimization and we discovered that according to Yahoo search, Charlotte North Carolina real estate gets searched 8,075 time a day. I had no idea that Charlotte was such a hot real estate market. Anyway, if you are looking for real estate in Charlotte North Carolina or any of these surrounding cities; South Charlotte, Myers Park, Dilworth, Eastover, Lake Norman, Huntersville, Lake Wylie, Ballantyne, Union County, Weddington, Waxhaw, Marvin, Bridgehampton, or Ft. Mill, SC, I highly recommend that you give Jean a call. She is licensed in both North and South Carolina and she ranks in the top 1% of agents nationally.

Here are a few links to help get acquainted with Charlotte;
Charlotte Newcomers' GuideCharlotte WeatherCharlotte TrafficNC Dept. of Motor VehiclesMecklenburg CountyUnion County

You can find Jean and other top ranked real estate agents at .

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Who is Carole Jacoby in Fresno, California?

I had a wonderful conversation today with a woman who had more spirit, and energy, than just about any other real estate agent that I have spoken to in the last 60 days, and I have spoken to hundreds, believe me! I have been taking calls for Agentopolis, a new web start up that allows real estate agents to list themselves for free, and is adding new agents at the rate of over 100 new agents per day. Carole has a great web site, and she is a digital wonder. If you search on Google for Fresno Real Estate, she comes up number 3! Not bad for a web rookie. Here's the deal, I explained to Carole that she could also be listed first, and for free on Agentopolis, just by getting more recommendations than anyone else. She had 0 recommendations as of 3pm today, CST, and she said that she would be first in all of California in no time, to which I answered, "great, let's see what you can do" Well, it is 11pm, CST, and I happened to login tonight to take a look at the California listings on Agentopolis, and sure enough, Carole is tied for the number 1 position out of over 172,000 agents in all of California, with 9 recommendations already. Way to go Carole, when you set your mind to something, you get it done!

Monday, January 29, 2007

What's Agentopolis All about?

I received a call from a real estate agent in Georgia today saying she had found our site and read about the free real estate agent marketing that we offer but she had to ask "what exactly is Agentopolis?". Sometimes it is easier to answer that question by telling Realtors what Agentopolis is not.

We are not like many of the existing real estate agent marketing sites that sell an agent a territory by zip code, city, or county for a ridiculous amount of money each month on the promise of so many leads. Then this company goes out and tries to attract visitors who may be interested in buying or selling a home or are interested in finding a real estate agent. These sites "pimp" the consumer for their email and phone number and turn around and send it or sell it to their participating real estate agent in that territory.

One of the many problems with this model is that Internet visitors are entitled to and are starting to expect the right to choose who they want to work with versus who these sites are trying to force them to work with. The Internet is about open access. Give visitors reams of relevant information and let them decide. The big advantage with this approach is that when a consumer picks up the phone and contacts a real estate agent, they are INTERESTED in speaking with them. Agentopolis is to real estate agents what Linux is to programmers, open source. That means it is free and useful to both parties and it assumes that both the realtor and the consumer are smart enough to come together and do business without the aid of a pimp.

Agentopolis is "the human side of real estate". Let the people choose!

Visit and see the future of real estate agent marketing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Top Real Estate Agent Search Terms

According to Yahoo, this is a short list of the top searched terms for Real Estate Agents based on searches made in December 2006;

Real estate agent 21,172/day
Real estate agent broker 160/day
California real estate agent 155/day
Las Vegas real estate agent 138/day
Century 21 real estate agent 116/day
Find a real estate agent 100/day
Real estate agent web site 92/day
Michigan real estate agent 80/day
Florida real estate agent 76/day
Real estate agent Denver 70/day

Agentopolis has thousands of real estate agents in every state and you can search by city and/or by company name like Century 21, Re/Max or any other real estate company you are looking for.Visit our real estate agent directory at

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Agentopolis gives birth to a blog

Agentopolis is proud to be entering the world of blogging thanks to Google and Blogger. Our web site, , a real estate agent directory, is home to over 1.3 million real estate agents. This blog will give them a voice. Agentopolis will invite our members to participate in this communique in order to bring the most relevant and current information about real estate in hundreds of cities across the US to the millions of home buyers and sellers that use the Internet to help them in their real estate transactions. Feel free to comment or question at anytime as we hope to be your guide and trusted friend as you navigate through one of the biggest events of your life, buying and selling your home.

We look forward to serving you!