NY Real Estate Firm offers advice to Real Estate Brokers for avoiding
pitfalls of Internet's webs By Peter and Angela Hart Hart of New York
Real Estate Company "Oh, What Tangled Webs We Weave When Once We Practice
To-Deceive." One of our most famous writers probably did not refer to
self-deception when he wrote that, but we certainly are deceiving ourselves
if we believe that we have increased the speed with which we are delivering
listing information by using the World Wide Web. In-stead of creating
shortcuts, we are catching New York Real Estate Brokers in a tangled web,
spun of navigational obstructions, which impede our ability to receive
space information on the information highway. There is an illness that
is affecting our industry and it is called the Tangled Web Syndrome. So
far, no one seems to be noticing it. This is probably because we are in
such a strong New York real estate cycle. Woe to those who don't take
a closer look now, before the cycle changes, at what their web-site is,
or is not, able to do. Since owners spend thousands of dollars every year
placing advertising in trade publications, one can assume that New York
real estate brokers are the target audience for these advertisements.
So if the purpose of the site is to function as an informational brochure,
or a tool to be used for public relations efforts and corporate iden-tity,
this is one audience. However, real estate brokers do not have time to
navigate through pretty pictures, architectural and historical facts,
and corporate pro-files, just to find out if you have the kind of space
we need in a specific location. We are in a service business, but in a
sense, we are also the customers. When we accept exclusives to represent
owners and tenants in the leasing or subleas-ing of space, we have a responsibility
to get the infor-mation out there~ and to distribute it quickly and effi-ciently.
This is especially true in this disconcerting market because one must
allow for the necessity of negotiating several simultaneous back-up deals.
Thus, our marketing ef-fort to the brokerage com-munity is still an essential
aspect of an assignment. The ability to dissemi-nate and receive updated,
current product informa-tion is the crux of our business. Without product
information, we have nothing to sell. While the need to pro-mote one's
New York Real Estate company on the Internet is understand-able, we must
question our site's functionality with respect to it being "user friendly."
Perhaps a totally separate web site address, "NY Broker's Listing Page"
for example, could be utilized by brokerage firms strictly to list spaces
to the brokerage commu-nity. These pages shouldn't have photos, download
re-quirements, or other navigational hazards, their pur-pose being simply
to provide data information. Should we have interest in a specific space,
we can then go visit the "General Public Web Site" for photos or plans.
We could actually even call the agent and ask him or her to fax or email
the flyers to us. It's that service thing again, which we forget all about
delivering. You see, we are so caught up in the web-of-deceit that we
forget whom we are servicing, and more importantly, we forget how to service!
We may want the convenience of only having to key in our listing data
once, and then telling the bro-kers to "visit our site" or to "come and
get it" put it in the vernacular. But what we fail to realize is how long
it is taking the brokers to navigate our site. Even after web-sites are
improved for broker accessibility, we don't believe that the independent
spirit of "come and get it" will ever be the most cooperative way to provide
listing in-formation to more than fifteen hundred NY Real Estate brokers.
In-stead of making them visit twenty sites a day, isn't it more logical
to have twenty listing people push one little button on their programmed
fax or computer to send the updates automatically? The Tangled Web Syndrome
causes excessive hours of work for bro-kers in order to receive basic
listing information from your site. We would like to challenge New York
real estate own-ers and presidents to try wearing a broker's 'at for two
hours, (we can't say "for two minutes" because you will have to spend
two hours navigating your site!) Take this test to see if you have the
Tangled Web Syndrome: 1. Inability to limit a search to a size range within
specific perimeters. i 2. Inability to sort by several building types
and New York Real Estate districts simultaneously. . 3. The necessity
to wait forever to upload your site because of all the general public
information, links, ad-vertisements, photos, and floor plans you have
posted on it. 4. Inability to print a survey of spaces which is sorted
by geographical order, instead of alphabetical order. . 5. The necessity
to visit every building in your port- folio just to determine how many
10,000 SF units you have or may have available in Midtown. ; 6. The failure
to provide a reference for brokers to discern if the space is a new listing,
or one that they have already considered. This also causes duplicate calls
to your agents, and waste's your company's time and resources. 7. The
propensity to send space listings to the bro-ker as an attachment that
has to be downloadedalong with twenty others, several times a day. 8.
"Page can not be displayed, try the refresh but- ton." 9. To have more
fun, try taking this test on twenty other sites, every day. We hope that
this article will help some people see the forest through the filigree.
In the interest of providing "real time" listing infor-mation, one of
our major listing service's limits bro-kers to an alphabetical space survey
printout versus a geographic one. Thus a NY real estate broker must do
another job -organize the printout by location in order to work out a
logical tour. . And, while we are on the topic of listing options, some
owners are not aware that even if they do not subscribe to either of the
two Manhattan listing ser-vices, they may list their space for free with
the ser-vice anyway So, why not ask your agents to list available space
with both companies? Recently, we requested a current listing from a NY
re-tail broker and were told that they only provide lists for their brokers,
and that if we had a problem receiving the information from their web
site, we should "call all ten of their brokers to find out what space
each of them is handling!" Can you imagine that? It could take more than
two days just playing phone tag. In the year 2000, having enjoyed the
modem conve- nience of receiving current listing information by fax in
less than two minutes, we have now regressed to having to navigate everyone's
web sites to receive the same listing information in two hours progress?
We don't think so. By copy of this article, we are respectfully request-ing
that everyone add us to their mailing list for up-dates by fax. We also
welcome any feedback from those of you who anticipate making changes in
the way you are providing listings to NY real estate brokers via the web.