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Keller Williams agent makes mark with Internet

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by Clarissa A. French

SBJ Staff

Talking to Larry Daniel, of Billy Long Keller Williams Realty, you get the feeling he's pretty darn proud of his Web site.

As he should be: He designed it, and he maintains it.

"I've been into computers since the '70s. When I learned about the coming of the Internet early on, in the early part of the '90s, I thought it was something that would be very worthwhile and it has been," Daniel said.

He said he sees Internet use by real estate companies and agents as a growing trend. But while more people are getting involved with e-mail and Web pages, "our response time is better than most others, and that's a competitive edge."

"Or it will be until this (article) comes out," he said with a laugh.

In SBJ's brief survey on Internet use by real estate professionals (see pages 15 and 28) Daniel stated that about 30 percent of his business is generated by his Web presence. He has two sites,

www.kw.com/daniel

and www.cland.net/~realest8,

and has plans to offer more.

Daniel, with wife Marilyn and fellow agent Ron Steffes, offers residential and commercial properties and vacant land under the Billy Long Keller Williams flag.

Daniel offered some tips for those considering their own Web page. No. 1 was maintenance. Just having a site is "not the best way to go. You need to have some fresh information on the site from time to time," he said.

Fresh content, especially about the properties for sale, is important. Updates for this information should be frequent. Other information, such as agent resumes or services offered may not need to be updated more than once a year, he said.

Regarding the investment of time and effort in establishing and maintaining the site, he said outsourcing it "probably wouldn't have been a good investment" initially, "but at this point in time, by doing some educated shopping, you can find a Web designer and provider" to do the job at a reasonable cost.

Because a higher cost does not necessarily translate to a more effective Web site, "you can't just throw money at it and expect it to work," he said.

Daniel said he promoted both his e-mail address,

daniel@kw.com,

and Web site address early on because at that point, "a lot of people had e-mail, but no access to a graphical browser."

The strategy worked. "We got a buyer who e-mailed us from Uganda, (eastern) Africa, and bought a home here a year and a half later."

The buyer saw Daniel's e-mail address in a magazine.

Regarding his use of the Internet, "I think we'll continue using it, and probably have additional sites, also," he said. And with more sites will come more offerings and information for site visitors.

As with other Internet commerce, Daniel said he thinks real estate transactions will increase as people become more familiar with cyberspace.

"As people become more accustomed to shopping online, they'll be more likely to make contact and proceed to purchase via the Internet," he said.

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