Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Virtual Real-Estate Kiosk

Signature Real Estate of Culpeper, in conjunction with Aware Concepts LLC of Front Royal, unveiled a "Virtual Realtor" kiosk Tuesday at Manassas Mall.

The kiosk, which is in front of H&M and PacSun clothing stores, is aimed at encouraging shoppers to check out real estate ads, get tips on buying and/or selling a home, all at the touch of a screen.

The machine features two large display screens, with a 16-inch by 12-inch upper full-color display to show home listings and pictures much larger than in any print advertisement.

People can enter their contact information at the kiosk to inquire about a listing or express interest in selling.

After information is entered, the person can get a quick response from a Signature. The machine is updated 24 hours a day through the Internet connection.

The machine immediately sends, via a wireless Internet connection, an e-mail and text message to the agent connected to a listing so he/she can respond almost immediately.

The machine also offers home-selling tips, including when is a good time to sell, first impressions, myths, moving preparation and other pointers.

The main goal was to educate people about the real estate market in a non-threatening mode.

Norma Mayo, co-owner of Signature, said she thinks the kiosk will get her company more exposure in the community.

Mayo said she found out about Aware Concepts at a state Realtors Association conference and has been working with the company for several months on designing the machine.

Maria Fay, Mayo’s business partner, said what’s good about the kiosk is that it will help people get much quicker responses to requests, as opposed to answering or placing an ad in a publication.

Anyone who uses Signature’s real estate services will have their home listed in the kiosk at no extra cost, Fay said.

Aware Concepts placed its first virtual Realtor kiosk at Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester, but the one in Manassas Mall is the company’s first custom-built machine.

Company plans to place more kiosks in other area malls in the near future, including Fair Oaks Mall, Springfield Mall and eventually the Potomac Mills mall.


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