SOURCE: HouseValues

April 24, 2006 08:15 ET

Advice From Top Real Estate Agents: Use the Internet to Do Your Homework to Find the Perfect Home and Dream Neighborhood

Hosted by HouseValues, First-Ever National Consumer Real Estate Conference Call Explained Emerging Technology and Urged Callers to Start Putting It to Their Advantage

KIRKLAND, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 24, 2006 -- In a unique conference call with consumers coast to coast, two top-producing real estate agents -- Laura Dickenson from Brentwood, Tenn., and Don Allard from the Minneapolis, Minn., area -- minced no words to would-be home buyers and sellers: rapidly emerging real estate technology can help you find your next dream home, and also increase the chances of selling your home faster by showcasing it to a larger pool of buyers.

"There's a ton of information on the Web for consumers," Allard told consumers during this week's "Home Shop Talk" conference call sponsored by HouseValues (NASDAQ: SOLD). "Just by going online, consumers can get a market evaluation of their home, get comparables sent to their e-mail boxes and even get pre-approved for a mortgage. It's all available, it's totally free, and it's just a few clicks away."

With the nation's busy spring home-buying and selling season officially underway, consumers this year are tapping into an unprecedented lineup of online services and tools to help in their searches, from aerial photos and mapping technology, to programs that put detailed information about schools, parks and nearby restaurants literally at consumers' fingertips.

Many top real estate agents are urging their customers to become familiar with the burgeoning array of online tools available. Hence HouseValues' decision to host the "Home Shop Talk" conference call, a free and first-of-its-kind event that was designed to help familiarize consumers with emerging online technology.

Responding to a caller's question about the effectiveness of the Internet in aiding the home-buying or selling process, Dickenson said: "Online tools are more important than ever before. Sellers need to have their properties listed on the Internet on a national site because it brings more buyers and creates more competition. Ultimately, this will bring a higher price and better terms.

"For buyers, the Web and sites such as HomePages provide all the information on one site -- from school information to viewing neighborhoods to seeing what's available in terms of shopping areas."

Introduced last fall by HouseValues, HomePages is the first service of its kind that combines virtually all of the key home-finding tools and related detailed information about buying and selling homes entirely on one site. HomePages enables consumers to find and view photos and read detailed listing information about hundreds of thousands of for-sale homes across the country.

"The Internet is a great way to use aerial photos and mapping technology to research homes and neighborhoods, and it's also is a fantastic way to save time and money," Allard told callers. "It's unbelievable how much information is available for free."

Dickenson advised, "Get to know a real estate agent and see if they're the right professional you want to be working with -- no matter whether you're going to be buying a house within the next few weeks or several months from now," said Dickenson. "It's a consultative process, and you need to develop a relationship.

"Consumers should focus on finding their dream neighborhood, not necessarily their dream home. There are always going to be things about the home you'll want to change, and that you can change. It's easy to change the home's details, but not the neighborhood's."

About HouseValues Inc.

Founded in 1999, HouseValues Inc. (NASDAQ: SOLD) provides consumers and real estate professionals with the information and tools they need for success throughout the home buying and selling process. The company's flagship consumer products include™, a lifestyle and neighborhood-centric home buying and selling service;, a service that provides current and prospective home owners with competitive mortgage and refinance quotes from leading lenders;®, a service that provides home sellers with market valuations of their current home; and™, a service that alerts home buyers as soon as new homes hit the market that meet their criteria. Learn more at


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    (949) 646-6966