The Web Bar is Rising

Our 'one-minute' Internet advisors give you the skinny on what's right and what's frightful on the Web.

April 1, 2000

Scott Kucirek president

ZipRealty.com
Berkeley, Calif.
scott@ziprealty.com

What do you like best about real estate sites? The fact that they provide information that consumers can access at any time--a great business enhancement. The best sites provide information about the salesperson, the person's philosophy about buying and selling homes, properties, and bank and loan rates.

What do you like least? Sites that aren't professionally developed. Amateurish sites reflect poorly on practitioners, who may actually be very professional. The bar is being raised higher and higher for creating a professional-looking site.

Also, a lot of company sites don't provide salespeople's individual e-mail addresses.

A good real estate site: Provides neighborhood information as well as content on the buying and selling process in easy-to-understand language. The days of the salesperson handling everything and not educating the consumer are coming to an end.

Best feature seen at a real estate site: Specialization. In the next five years, salespeople will become highly niche oriented, targeting beachfront property, senior communities, or first-time buyers. Successful practitioners will maintain more than one site for different niches.

What's the next big thing? Virtual conferencing-communicating with clients and customers in real time through your PC. Document delivery by e-mail will become more established. And I'm hoping digital signature technology will take off.

Favorite bookmark: NYrealty.com, one of the first real estate sites, provides New York City listings and rentals. The neighborhood info and mapping are incredible. The site works hard to be an Internet solution for its customers.

Why Kucirek is an Internet guru: Founding the online real estate company ZipRealty.com in January 1999 with Juan Mini, his colleague at the University of California at Berkeley Business School, was the culmination of several other Internet ventures. Kucirek and Mini got their Internet feet wet launching four other online businesses, including a vacation listing site and an international relocation service.

Despite his support of transacting real estate electronically, Kucirek acknowledges the critical human touch in his online and off-line team. "There are too many unknown factors. We need people in the field," not just at a computer terminal.

Christina Hoffmann
Senior Speech Writer

Christina Hoffmann has covered real estate and homeownership for two decades, including as REALTOR® Magazine managing editor and HouseLogic.com’s content manager, with added expertise as owner of a demanding 100-year-old house. She is currently a senior speech writer at NAR.

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