COPLEY REAL ESTATE - (9/07 - 5/08)

Combining 30 years of Real Estate Experience with the power of Information Technology

Executive Summary

… Just like the many companies which have been victimized by these so called "web design" companies, Copley Real Estate was being charged for web services that could otherwise be free. The business opportunities which were lost from the lack of web development were becoming more apparent. The long-term contracts with additional service charges were no longer cost-effective, and a completly new IT solution was neccessary..

 

Prelimiry Findings and Significant Issues

  1. Desperate need of a computerized database system to house the rental listings
  2. A website that was linked to this database, and one whose content could be cotrolled and changed seemlelly, without additional fees from a third party.
  3. Streamline the internal operations within the company and improve the flow of information with simple and effective uses of technology.

 

Market Conditions

  1. and combination of additional internal IT solutions and external online marketing campaigns would be needed for successful online marketing of this business.
  2. Maximizing technology to enhance relationships and build new ones without compromising the personal touch that is necessary in the real estate industry, will be the top priority

Introduction/Background Information

  • Monlty expense for rent of the office at this location (first floor on Newbury) is/was a fraction of what other companies were paying at the time which enabled them to comptete without any use of IT for many years
  • The working capital that this freed up was spent on the ineffective use of Boston.com , which if properlyoverpriced online adverting (Boston.com) and external website outsourcing (RLS2000), leaving nothing left to invest in any internal IT solutions that this company was missing.
  • Also, the owner had recentl decided to francise out into Weichert Realtors. As a rental office, many of the agents were dissatisfied with the Wichert way, and the franchise fees, and left after the summer of '07.
  • A an effective It solutions package that (increase profitability for half the cost) could only be implementated internally..
    • money for upfront costs was not available at all.
Company Info
 Name  Weichert Realtors®-Copley Real Estate
 Type of business
Relationship based transactions as a provider of real services
Industry Real Estate
Source of Revenue    
Commission based apartment rentals ( some sales)
Affiliates        `  Member of Weichert Real Estate franchise since 2006
In business since 1975
Number of employees    
 3 - 10

Online Information
 Online since
1998
 Alexia traffic rank    
16,180,450 - 9/1/07 7,991,703 - 9/1/08
 Other sites that link to this site:   4 -
real estate diectory, Just Property, Just Rentals, the RE Linker
 Current Online Spending
 Google.com. Boston.com, RLS2000

 

Current Uses of IT

  • Listings managment was all pen and paper with exception of an landlord/owner's list to call in Excel spreadsheet format.
  • Website/MLS intergation/domain hosting service was outsources to a company known as RLS2000, -
    • 2 year contract with a fee of $100 a month that had another 9 months left on it.

    RLS2000 - (the nightmare)

    While the website looked allright (see screenshot), there we a number of issues, namely, the "rental" link on the top did not link to any real listings.... and many potential clients were calling about listings that the agents were not aware of. ... Also..

    * Hidden costs - changes to the top level navigation would an extra $100. Also, charges for reports. etc

    * Additional charges may apply if you wish to customize more, such as adding pages, links or graphics.

    * If you are an exisitng RLS2000 Pro Office customer and you wish to change to another RLS2000 Pro Office template, there will be a one-time charge of $200.

    Top level navigation Issues RED - Dead Links GREEN - Links to RLS2000 BLUE - Useless Content.

     

Methodology - Plan of Action

1. Develop a fully functional datbase system that serviced the needs of

2. Completely New Website - ready to launch in June of '08 when RLS contract expire

Content Managment and Listing Intergration

- Additional CUSTOMIZED content was researched and strategically placed within the website to improve conversion rate and

- The Rental Datbase was intergrated within the new website so that users could brouse though the current listing availability.

- Sales Listings were also intergrated into the website with a MLS search program provided by H3MLS.

Positions Held/ Responsibilities - see attached documentation

maintaining maximum efficiency in level customer service via Information Technology

Online Solutions Created

 

THREE NEW WEBSITES

  1. Company Intranet -
    - http://sites.google.com/a/copleyrealestate.com/intranet2/ - screenshot
  2. Customizable Agent Start Page
    -http://partnerpage.google.com/copleyrealestate.com - screenshot
  3. New Website
    • Simple, clean, easy to navigate
    • Directly linked to internal apartment rental database, and MLS sales listings.
    • Quality of design and functionality with content rich information
    • Upper Level Navigation - targets individual user and category of potential clientele
    • Secondary Navigation - General information regarding Real Estate in Boston
    • Planning of client testimonials, blogs were in the works as well
     
    New Website Screenshots

Additional IT solutions

Improvements Apartments Database Company Email, Intranet, docs, apps New Website
Technology Resources Boston Apartments

Google Apps -
View Demo

In House
Results Website w/Listings Intergration Company Intranet Content-Rich Website
Cost $50/mo FREE TBD

Summary of Improvments -

Further Recomendations,
    • Cost/BEnefit Analysis of Boston.com.. showed great potential if used properly. (see data sheet for more info)
    • Transfer of Domain and Hosting to Servage.net
    • Removal of

Conclusion/Summary/ the Future of this Company

  • Responsibilities of the positions created by the two new contracts were performed and the solutions were delivered on schedule.

  • As solutions were implemented, owner's lack of knowledge and misconceptions of technology would prevent implementation without complete loss of company control, and the relationship was severed after substantial periods of non-compensation were not resolved.

  • Breach of contract by broker/owner and other agents' inability to adapt and use new technology in a timely fashion prevented full execution and seamless implementation of solutions package before the commencement of the '08 rental season.

  • Financial projection analysis would place the future of this company in risk of Bankruptcy without full implementation and adaptation of new technology within the next year or two.

 

 

 



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