A Web-based real estate network that features audio reports is giving a voice to local real estate markets.

Launched in Canada, the TuneinRealEstate.com network will soon be expanding to include U.S.

A Web-based real estate network that features audio reports is giving a voice to local real estate markets.

Launched in Canada, the TuneinRealEstate.com network will soon be expanding to include U.S. markets, said creator Rick DeClute, a third-generation real estate agent in Toronto.

The Web site couples real estate agent blogs with links to audio broadcasts and the ability for consumers to subscribe to audio podcasts for specific market areas.

“The whole idea for this and the way it’s going to spread is simply that it will be market-based, and people will seek it out because it’s market information only,” said DeClute, a part of a family real estate team at Toronto’s RE/MAX Hallmark in Toronto.

There are dozens of agents actively reporting on specific market areas in Canada, DeClute said, adding that he plans to expand the network into the United States this year and has also been exploring an expansion into Europe. The site was launched in beta form in January.

The system costs about $20 per month plus a $69 setup fee (in U.S. dollars) and allows participating agents to phone in their audio presentations. The audio content is then posted to the agent’s page at the Web site. Some agents also choose to post text with market information alongside the recorded audio content. The system is designed for agents’ on-the-go lifestyle. DeClute said, “I can use it if I’m in my car — and phone in on the cell.”

Audio broadcasts can be a very personal form of communication, as voice tends to be more expressive than text on a Web site, DeClute said, as the audio broadcasts can give consumers a better sense of an agent’s personality. He recommends that agents keep their podcasts short and fresh, with frequent updates. “They should be … a couple of minutes, but frequently updated. One every few days or once a week is fantastic.”

Foreign-language broadcasts can allow agents to reach different groups of consumers in their native tongue.

There is no doubling-up on market areas allowed, DeClute said, so there can only be one podcaster for a given market area in the network. But DeClute noted that market areas can be neighborhood specific. The location of agents in the network is displayed on an interactive map at the Web site.

As the network matures, statistics on listener traffic will be passed along to network participants, he said, and there will be a feature that allows consumers to rate the broadcasts.

DeClute said that video podcasting capability may be introduced to the network later, though he said the audio broadcasts are easier to produce. “I don’t see an agent sitting at a desk doing a (video) podcast in front of a Web cam,” he said. “Agents who would spend the time doing that aren’t going to be in the market effectively reporting it.”

Some real estate professionals are using video podcasting technology to bring listings and other information to consumers. MLPodcast.com, for example, is a site that offers video podcasting services to real estate professionals.

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