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Yahoo! Program To Court Home Buyers and Sellers

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Yahoo and Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. announced a new program designed to attract more home-buyers and sellers today. AP reported that the program, Online Seller Advantage, will allow a code to be placed on “For Sale” signs that will be linked to details about the property on the Yahoo website. But that’s not all, according to AP:

Prudential agents can send daily e-mail alerts to home sellers with real-time updates on the number of people who have viewed their property online and the latest selling prices for nearby homes. The idea is to help sellers price their homes more competitively.

As part of the program, a Yahoo sign can be attached to “For Sale” lawn signs in front of homes being sold by Prudential. The unique ID number on it will help prospective buyers learn more without having to search through pages of listings.

This gives Prudential an online advantage, at least initially, until Yahoo allows the program to become available to other real estate brokerage firms, as well as Realtor website service companies that already have partnerships with Yahoo. Nearly 80 percent of home buyers look for homes online before getting out to view them, so this program may not be much different than the MLS-IDX solution currently offered by the National Association of Realtors on that stand-point. However, it will certainly move listing follow-up from actual phone calls to automatic e-mails, making it easier for agents to follow up with prospective buyers online and in a more automated form.

The program will initially be available in 47 states and Washington, D.C. The program will eventually become available in Arkansas, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Online real estate services continue to grow, as public demand increases and more Americans and citizens from around the world continue to buy homes and condos to live in, or as vacation homes or investments.

Google, Yahoo!’s chief rival in search, has not yet announced any similar partnerships or programs, but Google Real Estate is currently available in beta form.

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