Englewood Realtor Takes Home Buying Hi Tech

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Florida Realtor takes searching for a new home Hi Tech. The website offers video tours of homes for sale. Visitors can even take a virtual drive down the street and see all the homes in the neighborhood.

Rob Spikol is not your typical real estate agent. In fact this native of New Jersey has a background in online sales and brand marketing that stretch over 15 years. “Technology and marketing have been part of my life for as long as I can remember”. Spikol says. Growing up in the Philadelphia area he was surrounded by family members heavily involved in the industry. His family resume, impressive to say the least includes; his mother, an internet technologist and computer programmer, other family members producing TV commercials in Hollywood Ca., editor of The Philadelphia Magazine and others working New York’s famous Madison Avenue Advertising Agencies, just to list a few. “You could say it’s in my blood,” Spikol said. He first became interested in marketing at a young age and looked forward to holiday family gatherings. “They were always filled with shop talk, exchanging ideas and information.” “I found that all very exciting”, he said.

Keeping within family tradition, Spikol found himself in a brand new segment that would combine the best of all, into one emerging industry. In 1990, Spikol then just 20 years old found himself second in command of a company with over 100 employees developing online marketing and print strategies for the retail floral industry. The company that earlier launched the business career of Jim McCann, founder of 1800flowers.com.

In 2004 while vacationing on Manasota Key he discovered what he describes as an “unfounded paradise.” It only took a few days on the beach to convince him to leave the cold winters of the north, right where they belong. Spikol sold his New Jersey Home and moved to Englewood while continuing as a consultant. Having bought and sold a few residential and commercial properties over the years, “There was an automatic interest in real estate,” he says. He saw what he believed to be an immediate opportunity to enhance the level of service people were receiving from real estate professionals. “I saw this from the customers prospective, and that’s one that should never be overlooked,” he said.

“People getting ready to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a home or property deserve a level of service that could be much better,” Spikol says. The profession is seriously behind the times in delivering information through technology. Buyers are seeking more than just a couple of pictures and a few lines of words. The sellers are realizing the importance of an agent’s ability to market effectively and expose their property to the largest possible number of buyers. Each party deserves to have every bell and whistle that advertising, marketing and technology have to offer, he said.

Spikol, now 37 and with a little encouragement from a friend and local Realtor, began to research the Real Estate industry. “I have never been one satisfied with doing something the same old way,” he said. I wanted to be able to offer people far more than they were expecting. Something he describes as “21st Century Real Estate Service”.

When asked about his choice to enter the profession in what some describe as a slowing market, he became quite excited. “This is when you find those that can truly lead, and those that may only follow”. He pointed out that over 1,600 properties have been sold in our local area in the first six months of 2006. “This is Florida,” he says. “People from all over the world want to live here.”

The market may have less investors than in recent years, but there are still thousands of people that will be buying property in our region within the coming year, he continued. These are times when it is essential to entrust the services of someone that can “get things done.” “We have to make things happen,” he said. Spikol believes that it takes more to sell a property in today’s market then, “A sign on a lawn, a listing in the daily paper or just being included in the MLS,” he said. “This is becoming the reality of real estate.”

Some see a slowing market, he continued. “I see a market of opportunity, for both the seller and buyer.” He pointed out that getting someone’s home to stand out, be noticed and get sold is why people turn to Realtors “That job takes creativity, hard work and someone committed to delivering results,” and according to Spikol; “That job has my name on it.”

According to a May 2006 article in Real Estate Magazine, up to 80% of homebuyers are using the internet to search for their home. This is an evolving trend affecting the real estate market around the world. Doug Whitehouse, owner of Hannett, Wilson & Whitehouse Realtors, in Birmingham Michigan said; “Customers don’t want to see doorways, hallways and wallpaper.” (Referring to pictures) “They want to walk through those doorways and down those hallways.”

Spikol has developed a website http://www.robspikol.com that might just meet the needs of what homebuyers and sellers alike may be looking for. Utilizing cutting edge new technologies of streaming video, we are now able to broadcast 24 hr 7 days a week open houses in full motion, offering a video walk through tour, he says. “A broadcast commercial of the seller’s property.” The video tour gives someone at home in Chicago, a feeling of what it’s like to live in a home by the Gulf of Mexico, in Florida, Spikol calls this “Technology with a purpose.”

The process is rapid, he says. Video shot at 10am can be edited, encoded and uploaded with the broadcast beginning the very same day. Apparently this is only the tip of the ice berg, “We can actually shoot a short video on a moments notice for a buyer in London that wants to see a specific property and send it via email from the driveway of the home, instantly, and we don’t even need a computer to do it,” he said.

“Buyers have been starving for this type of technology,” he says. Spikol received a call from a woman in Delaware after watching a video tour of a townhouse just 36 hours after the listing was added to the website. I have had calls and emails from as far away as London, Miami, Virginia and New York in just the last week. People want to buy here, and people are selling here. “If some consider that slow, then that’s their opinion.”

The technology is invaluable in many ways. Foremost the video in essence pre-qualifies the home by the potential buyer. This will limit the number of inconveniences to the homeowner by un-necessary showings. Furthermore the video marketing is offered regardless of price for the property. “Real estate is not a one size fits all field”, he said. Pointing out that these features will not be limited to property of a million dollars or more. “Everyone, everywhere from every price range are entitled to all the resources that technology have to offer, that’s exactly what this site is all about,” he said.

Not only is the website broadcasting video 24hrs a day online, but he makes copies of the video on DVD and can distribute them to prospective buyers through the mail. The DVD’s are also made available to outside agents from other real estate agencies that may have an interested buyer. “This video can be in the hands of hundreds of sales agents, if needed, very quickly,” he said. Spikol referred to this as, “Rapid marketing,” Visitors to the site searching for homes are also able to take a video drive down the street where the home they like is located. “They are able to see what the neighbor’s house looks like, see the trees on the street and get a feeling on how far the house is away from a stop sign,” he explained.

“It’s not important that an agent have a website or thinks that simply placing an add in a magazine or the MLS is complete marketing.” He said. “An agent must know what to do with the product someone has hired them to sell”. Providing both the seller and the buyer with the most effective tools and knowledge to accomplish their objectives is what is being done here. “We’re living in a global world, and I think it’s important to have a Real Estate Agent with a global reach.”

Robert Spikol, Realtor - Tarpon Real Estate Cape Haze, Florida

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