realestatebookwebpageThe new Real Estate Book website provides and excellent value to their print advertisers – extending the effectiveness of print advertising to the internet.  They support consumers who start their buying or selling process by picking up a magazine.  They support their advertisers by providing a website that effectively competes for online consumers against the top sites for search engine optimization.

The had me from the word Arroyo.  The best online forms automatically ‘guess’ what you are typing as you enter each letter of text.  I love this feature – it makes me believe that the machine is thinking ahead for me.  Hello  As I began to type in my city name, it auto-filled.  And, what to my surprise did appear below as a featured listing?   A home, in nearby Pismo Beach!  Alas, I thought, someone is finally using browser intelligence in real estate to populate the page with listings around my ISP address.  “This site rocks,” I thought.  After a few refreshes of my browser, I realized that the Pismo Beach listing was a fluke – random luck.  Too bad, so sad 🙁

The search results for my city, Arroyo Grande came up very quickly.  Along with it came some featured agents and agent banner advertising.

Great stuff, but the execution of agent photos in the ads showed issues with automatically sizing photos incorrectly.

Agent and Broker branding are nicely displayed on the site – giving preference to the agent over the broker, since the agent is likely responsible for payment of the ad.  All of the customary lead tools are in place – contact the agent, save a listing, cool social networking sharing tool.

There was a gross amount of listing detail missing on the listing – despite having the property address, they did not auto-populate the school information, nor did they use public record information to populate lot size, square footage, taxes, etc..  It seems like they publish whatever information the advertising agent or broker provides with no augmentation from other available data sources.  Garbage in, garbage out – but this is easy to fix with some data licensing.

Some other nice features are included in the website.  The URL structure of each listing includes the property address, “1529-Hillcrest-Dr-Arroyo-Grande-CA,” which is important for two reasons.  First, the agent can point to that domain as a virtual tour or easily provide the address to their client.  Secondly, this URL structure is excellent for Search Engine Optimization – the listing came up number two in Google for an address search, immediately behind and ahead of Trulia and Zillow.

To me, the SEO ranking is pretty interesting.  The result for took me to the 1529 Hillcrest property – but it was not the listing information that gets from the Central Coast MLS, it was a public-record listing page with photos from Google Street view.

The Trulia search result took me to a listing down the street at 255 Hillcrest that recently sold for $585k – but there was no information about the subject property.

The Zillow link directed me to their home page for the town of Arroyo Grande – with all 115 listings.

Yahoo produced a real search result like the Real Estate Book and took me to the listing

It took some work to find out the real story about 1529 Hillcrest.  I visited the agent’s website by following the link supplied by the Real Estate Book, which had no information about the listing at all.

To dig into the story of this listing, I started by visiting Century 21’s website – – there was no address search available, so I had no chance to find the listing – so I bailed.

I then went to the Broker’s website – Century 21 Hometown –, I went to the agent page for Tim Riley to see if the listing was active.  I found a very cool feature implemented by Wolfnet that I had not seen before – there was a link to view this agent’s sold listings – which is where I found the subject property.  All brokers should be implementing this feature – very cool.

The home was listed on October 23rd, 2009.  It was on the market for 14 days, closing on 11/9/2009.  Tim Riley is an impressive real estate agent.

Tim Riley a top real estate agent in San Luis Obispo and is dedicated to providing the finest service available. His awards include:

  • #1 Century 21 Real Estate Agent in San Luis Obispo County
  • Top 1% of Century 21 Real Estate Agents in the US
  • Top 20 Professionals Under 40 in San Luis Obispo County 2006
  • Top 30 Realtors under 30, Realtor Magazine 2005

Overall findings from my morning exercise:

The new is a great benefit to their print advertisers.

Sold data lags at, and for this lisitng.

Sadly, the and still present the home available for sale.

Tim Riley is an excellent REALTOR who is selling homes in 14 days!