October 11, 2011

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Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 6 – SMS and Email Yard Signs


Welcome to the sixth in our series of technology trends from the NAR Conference held in San Diego, California from the 13th through 16th November.

In the previous installments, we wrote about realtors having a mobile presence, the continued existence of video and virtual tours, low cost websites being offered to realtors in the US, the use of local information on realtor’s sites, and the rise of listing syndication.

In this second last installment, we look at the rise of businesses offering listing information delivered to your handset after entering a code from a yard sign.

The advertising and promotion of a house is all about generating leads from both buyers and sellers. The usual methods for generating leads are to advertise the listing in the paper or online and then collect the phone based or email based leads as they come in.

One method for collecting leads that made its debut around five years ago is to promote a special code on a yard sign and then potential buyers can SMS this code and receive back details of the house. However realtors who used this technology when it first appeared more often than not claimed that they didn’t receive too many leads.

However, with the rise of the Internet browser on mobile phones and the increasing 3G coverage, these applications may be coming of age and providing agents with another method to collect leads.

At the NAR Conference, there seemed to be a dozen or so providers of yard sign SMS and email technology. These providers allocate a special number to each house and then when this number is SMS’d or emailed, the providers quiz the MLS and return detailed information about the house to the phone.

If a consumer uses this approach, they are immediately providing the realtor with a phone number that they can use to follow up the consumer.

Of course this approach only works if someone is outside of a house and is interested in more details about that house. The approach also falls over as if someone has a browser enabled phone, they can also just open a browser and quickly search the realtor’s website for the listing – thus saving the cost of an SMS.

While this technology looks and sounds sexy, I am still sceptical about the true efficacy of the approach and whether the realtors will ever generate enough leads to warrant the investment in the technology.

Two of the providers showcased at the NAR conference were txt2look.com and mobilerealestateid.com.


Related posts:

  1. Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 7 – Social Networking
  2. Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 5 – Distribution to Multiple Portals
  3. Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 4 – Local Information
  4. Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 1 – Mobile Internet
  5. Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 2 – Video and Virtual Tours
  6. Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 3 – Low Cost Agent Sites



  1. [...] In previous installments we looked at the rise of mobile access, low cost agent sites, video and virtual tours, the importance of local information, distribution to multiple portals, and most recently, the use of SMS and email based yard signs. [...]

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