The Real Estate Online Revolution Isn’t Universal

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate Agent

Before there was Active Rain, there was RealTalk – a listerv (or e-mail distribution list) for real estate professionals to share advice, best practices and, as often as not, to vent.

What separates RealTalk from Active Rain is a lack of public access. What’s written on Active Rain can be seen by anyone. (Yes, kids, the public even has been known to come across “Members Only” posts by registering themselves.) That difference often leads to a substantially different voice.

Take this nugget that I found on RealTalk last Friday afternoon in a discussion of online real estate …

I find that people who surf the net are nothing more than bottom feeding wanna be investors looking for unaware sellers.  Oh there are a few that pan out but not worth the time weeding out the fakers from the takers.

First off, I’m sure there are many agents in this misguided soul’s market who would be happy to work the “bottom feeding wanna be investors.” No referral need to be paid as its clear this person doesn’t believe anything will come from working with someone who had started their real estate search online.

But more to the point, it’s hard to believe this attitude regarding using the Internet in real estate sales still exists in 2007. True, 90% of all real estate agents who own a real estate website have no idea why they have one and likely will generate zero business from it.

That doesn’t make the platform unviable. It makes these agents unable or unwilling to either do the work to make their site a business generator, or at least to pay someone else to do it for them.

The above agent also said that his sellers, at his advice, opt out of advertising their homes through the IDX search offered by his local MLS. Why? Becuase there are no real buyers on the Internet – just the bottom feeding wanna be … well, you get the drift.

“Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I could post your home in the IDX search so that it could be seen on other agents’ sites as well as Realtor.Com, home to the most listings in online real estate. But I’m not going to do so.

“My secret? Merengue cookies at my open houses. True, only two or three potential buyers will come through each weekend, meaning only two or three potential buyers will see your home while thousands of other homes are viewed online.

“But the way I look at it, I don’t want to see you inconvenienced by all of these wanna be buyers online who only are looking for desperate sellers. I’d rather see you out of your house for several hours every weekend so your neighbors can come get my business card for when they want to sell prospective buyers can walk through and get a cookie.”

But, as I’ve said, there are customers for every business model. I may not be a fan of the “shhhh, don’t tell anyone you’re selling” school but that doesn’t make it wrong.

“Now about those photos. Can you shake this Polaroid to make it develop faster while I go shoot the upstairs?”

[tags]Phoenix real estate, real estate marketing[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Maureen M. 10 years ago

    Now you make me want to start reading RealTalk again… Nah…

    Real estate is local, maybe in that particular market it is better to keep your listings a secret, for some reason, not put them on IDX or use the myriad inventory marketing options available today.

    I read on another forum on IC that ActiveRain is the “water cooler” of the real estate world, without even going to the trouble of creating a fake account consumers can read the inside scoop from the industry but to get local business you need to start a blog on

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    I read the same about Active Rain. But I don’t understand why you would have to have a realtownblog to get local business.

    I’ve got the utmost respect for Saul, John and the boys but that sounds too much like a paid advertisement.