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Eavesdrop on this on-line chat in which practitioners tap into a network of ideas.
Whiz! Bam! Bang! No, it's not a Batman rerun. It's the millions of messages traveling through cyberspace.
If you haven't spent much time with your computer lately, you may have missed the fact that thousands of practitioners are meeting and communicating daily through the magic of computer bulletin boards. Here, five of your colleagues "talk" on America Online (AOL)--one of several commercial services--about what on-line activities have meant for their business. For the definition of words in italics, see "Believe It or Not, This Is the English Language,")
In May, Real Estate Today[R] will offer a closer look at how to access and use the major commercial on-line services and how to make the most of this emerging technology.
Why do you use on-line services?
David Reed: I have resources for my mortgage brokerage clients that I didn't have before, and the access to information is instant. In the past, if I had a question for Fannie Mae regarding an underwriting quirk, I'd call the Fannie Mae office and be put into voice mail hell. Now I can access the vice president of marketing on-line.
Becky Swann: Not only do I have the benefit of getting to know other salespeople, brokers, appraisers, and lenders from all over the country, but I can also communicate with buyers in writing--and instantly. And on-line services give me access to information about other markets, which helps me understand incoming transferees.
John Takacs: My wife, Cindy, and I sell as a team, and we always look for ways to be a little more creative. I've used AOL to read articles on-line, and I've used stats from the system in CMAs. We also use it as a resource for newsletter articles.
Swann: Five years ago when I started, I found on-line services were a great way to educate consumers (and salespeople) about agency. I picked up a following of buyers who wanted representation and licensees who wanted to know more about agency. I began making referrals to buyers' agents all over the country. I still do.
How long are you on-line each day, and what do you typically do on-line?
Tom Sanford: My on-line time varies from ten minutes to one hour or more. I usually have mail to respond to, and then I check out my postings on various bulletin boards.
Reed: AOL meets my needs. I like the fact that it stresses noncommercial messages. On some boards, it's hard to determine whether a message is an unbiased opinion or an advertisement. I'm not quite certain this industry has figured out a way to deal with the …