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Excuse Me, I Have a Question...

January 10 2011

questionmarkagentYesterday I read a post about an interesting feature that is available on Trulia and Zillow – but oddly, not at all available on any broker website. For some reason, the blog did not mention Ask a REALTOR® from Realtor.com – but I will include them in my thoughts.

The feature is Ask A REALTOR® (http://www.realtor.com/blogs/category/ask-a-realtor/http://www.realtor.com/blogs/category/ask-a-realtor/), Zillow Advise (http://www.zillow.com/advice/http://www.zillow.com/advice/) or Trulia Voice Q&A (http://www.trulia.com/voices/qa/http://www.trulia.com/voices/qa/). All of these services have a common feature set that benefits the site owner, the consumer and the agent.

From the perspective of the site owner, user generated comments provide excellent search engine optimization.

From the perspective of the consumer, the ability to ask a question about real estate and get a pile of answers is a great feature.

From the perspective of the REALTOR®, any opportunity to speak to a consumer about the potential sale or purchase of a home is a desired exercise. It allows the professional to leverage their knowledge in a way that exhibits the expertise that consumers seek in selecting an agent.

The underlying technology for this type of engagement has been around for a long time. It is called a online forum. In parlance, it is a message board for an online discussion site where people hold conversations in the form of posted messages.

Here are a few versions of free, or very inexpensive forums that you can consider for your broker website.

PHPBB – PHPBB.com

Vanilla Forums – vanillaforums.org


For those of you who have a WordPress site – there is a plugin that is pretty popular called WP-Forum http://www.fahlstad.se/wp-plugins/wp-forum/http://www.fahlstad.se/wp-plugins/wp-forum/.  Another alternative is BB Press http://bbpress.org/http://bbpress.org/

In summary – Forums will help the broker website with search engine optimization, provide a valued consumer service, and generate opportunities for agents to sell more real estate……….and the functionality is free or very inexpensive.

Can anyone explain to me why I cannot find a broker website with a forum?

Other articles of interest: AgentOffice | MLSFinder.com