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May 4, 2007

Questions and Answers About 'Do-Not-Call' Laws and Building Web Sites

Q. Can I call a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) that appears on the "Do Not Call Registry?"

The cold-calling activities of real estate professionals were dramatically changed after October 1, 2003 as a result of the requirements of the federal Do-Not-Call registry. Many states also provide their own requirements. In the case of calls to for-sale-by-owners (FSBO), first, determine whether the purpose of the call is to solicit a listing or whether it is to obtain information for a buyer client with a potential interest.

A real estate professional is prohibited from initiating a telephone call to a FSBO whose phone number is listed in the Do-Not-Call registry in an attempt to obtain the listing on the seller's property. The rules prohibit anyone from making telephone solicitations to telephone numbers that are registered in the database, and a call initiated to obtain the listing falls within that provision.

If the real estate professional represents a buyer who might be interested in a FSBO property, then the buyer's representative can contact the FSBO owner about the buyer client's potential interest in the subject property even though the owner is listed in the Do-Not-Call
registry. This is not deemed to be an objectionable telephone solicitation. It is important to recognize that the buyer's representative can only discuss the buyer client's interest in the property and should not use this discussion as an opportunity to obtain the listing. Real estate professionals should not call if their purpose is immediately or ultimately to solicit a listing of the property.  -- -- John Reilly, e-PRO, SRS, Vice President of Publishing of Real Estate Electronic Publishing, home of RealTown. 

Q.What company should I use to build my website?

This is one of the most common questions asked by real estate agents in the RealTown community. In the past, there were three basic options –- buy a template website from one of the many providers available, hire a professional designer to build a custom site, or design one yourself using one of the several software programs available on the market.

For most real estate professionals, building their own site is not a viable option due to the time and money that needs to be invested. For years, the choice between template and custom sites was difficult. You wanted your site to look special, but you also needed to get it up and running quickly. Template sites could be created in less than a week, but they all looked the same. Custom sites were expensive and took a long time to build, but looked great and functioned extremely well. Today, the gap between the two is shrinking.
 
Before making a decision, here are a few things to consider. First of all, remember that content is king. There is more to owning a website than merely having an online presence with your name on it. A good and resourceful website requires content so that your visitors not only come to your website, but they keep returning to it as well. A real estate website should contain not just information about the agent and property listings, but also local information about the area to keep the return visits coming. This means keeping the site updated with its content so that there is a reason for visitors to return.
 
Today, agents have the best of both worlds. Template sites have come a long way in design, content and the ability of users to make changes. Websites can be created to allow for what is referred to as Web-based editing. This type of site can be edited from anyone's computer and can be done by a novice with little or no Web skills. It allows for what some are referring to as Web on-the-fly-changes that can be made instantly without waiting for a programmer and without paying programmer wages. Many real estate agents and brokers today are taking advantage of this technology.
 
The real question is: "Is your time better spent working on your website or selling real estate?"
 
RealTown provides you with a variety of options through our Approved Vendor program.
 
If you want to start the work yourself as part of the learning process, we recommend Point2Agent’s standard starter website that is free. Go to http://FreeWebsite.RealTown.com to get started.

 
If you are looking for a turnkey solution that provides plenty of consumer-oriented content, a quick turnaround, and excellent customer service, AdvancedAccess.com may be your answer. Go to http://AdvancedAccess.InternetCrusade.com for more info.
 
If you are looking for a customer solution, another Approved Vendor is Summit Web Design owned and operated by Win Singleton, a longtime community member. Go to http://SummitWeb.InternetCrusade.com for more info. -- Rich Hudson, Director of PR/Marketing, InternetCrusade

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