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Zillow’s hottest new tools for real estate

Tech covers lead gen, mortgages, iPhone

Do you need a place to get good real estate leads, the best rate on mortgages, and a really cool new iPhone application at no charge? You’ll never guess where to look.

It may come as a surprise, but Zillow has stepped up to the plate with three great resources that can help your business. While you may not love Zillow’s Zestimates (their online pricing tool that uses mathematical formulas to estimate a home’s value), you may find these other tools to be very useful.

1. Profile marketing
While everyone seems to be focused on creating leads from social networking sites, there’s a much better approach called profile marketing. Both Trulia and Zillow offer this service. On Trulia, complete a profile and then answer questions posed by Trulia visitors. On Zillow, click on "advice." Next, enter the name of your city and state. To see questions posed by people in your area, click on buyer, seller or a number of other information fields. Zillow aggregates the questions and answers by topic.

What’s cool about this approach is that you can find buyers searching for agents to represent them. Here are two recent posts for Austin, Texas. Note the number of people who answered the question vs. the number of page views the answer(s) received.

Q: How do you figure out the fair market value of a house?
1 reply vs. 52 views

Q: Austin first-time homebuyer looking for buyer’s agent.
2 replies vs. 107 views

Older posts also continue to generate additional page views. The two posts below are a month old.

Q: My rental lease is up at the end of July. How soon prior should I begin looking at homes to buy?
2 answers vs. 203 views

Q: I’m thinking about buying.
4 answers vs. 220 views

Here, the buyers have already identified themselves as being interested in meeting an agent. This takes much less effort than trying to figure out a way to generate leads from Facebook and Twitter. If you regularly provide good answers to consumer questions, you have a high probability that they will contact you. Furthermore, this approach is highly targeted to the area(s) you serve. An important point to keep in mind: Provide a solid answer to the question, but never include the phrase "contact me" or any other type of sales pitch. …CONTINUED