Real estate abstract
An Internet-based method and system permits users to list their
real estate properties on a respective web site, edit their site,
and create new web sites for additional listings. A feature of the
invention provides for registering a domain name file for each new
page and for E-mailing a request to register the new domain names.
Such web site creation and editing may be made whenever the user
wishes by simply accessing a home page, entering a corresponding
service function such as editing an existing web site or creating
a new web site. The user can then carry out the selected function
from a personal computer over the Internet. The domain name may
correspond to a parameter of the property such as its street address.
Real estate claims
1. A method of advertising a property having a unique property
address by automatically creating a unique web site having a domain
name that incorporates the unique property address accomplished
via an administrative web site, such unique web site having seller
changeable parameters rendering it desirable for a seller to frequently
modify the unique web site to keep the advertising current, the
method comprising the steps of: A. verifying a seller at an administrative
web site; B. the administrative web site offering the verified seller
a selection from a plurality of service functions, said service
functions comprising at least: an automatic creation service function
permitting the creation of a new unique web site; a. the administrative
web site providing the verified seller who has selected said automatic
creation service function a link to a web site creation page, said
web site creation page comprising data entry options including at
least a new web site layout and a unique web site domain name, whereby
data related to said added property may be entered; b. the verified
seller providing payment data to the administrative web site and
the administrative web site verifying said payment data; c. the
administrative web site providing the verified seller a link to
a final page for finalizing said unique web site creation, said
final page permitting the verified seller to update appropriate
database entries, and permitting the verified seller to obtain access
to a file folder corresponding to the new unique web site; d. the
administrative web site sending a message to an appropriate agency
requesting registration of said unique web site domain name thereby
registering said unique web site domain name; e. the administrative
web site automatically building the unique web site comprising the
new web site layout; and f. the administrative web site automatically
associating the unique web site with the unique web site domain
name, wherein the unique web site becomes accessible via the Internet;
and ii. an editing service function permitting the amendment of
an existing unique web site; a. the administrative web site providing
the verified seller who has selected said editing service function
a link to a web site editing page, said web site editing page permitting
the verified seller to modify at least one seller changeable parameter
of the unique web site, whereby the advertisement is keep current;
and C. providing a posted sign on the property, containing the property's
unique web site domain name, wherein a potential buyer may view
said property's unique web site and access advertisement information
relating to the property on the Internet.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising sending a message
to said verified seller acknowledging said new web site creation,
whereby said message is an e-mail.
3. The method of claim 1, whereby the message the administrative
web site sends to the appropriate agency requesting registration
of said unique web site domain name is an e-mail.
4. The method of claim 1, whereby said verified seller may frequently
modify the unique web site by selecting said editing service function
via the administrative web site or via a link provided at an URL
located on the unique web site.
Real estate description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to advertising and selling
of real estate and, more specifically, to online advertising and
selling of real estate by enabling sellers to create individualized
web sites for individual properties for sale.
The proliferation of personal computers having access to the Internet
has significantly altered the way sellers and buyers can find each
other to effect a mutually beneficial transaction. The buyer has
the benefit of numerous search engines that can find web sites based
upon selected words or phrases. The seller has the benefit of using
one or more web sites with numerous pages and links to describe
products, receive buyer information and selections, and effect the
One particular area of commerce that gains significantly from the
technical innovations of the Internet is the real estate market.
Buyers employ the Internet to search for available properties in
particular neighborhoods, having certain features they desire, being
offered within selected ranges of price, and so forth. Sellers,
through their brokers, can offer their properties at a web site
which can be used to present relevant data such as price, number
of rooms, size, age, construction and to provide photographs of
the properties. Such web sites are particularly useful when the
product data remains relatively stable over time because changing
the content of each page of a web site on a frequent basis such
as every week or even every day, can be relatively inconvenient
Unfortunately, real estate offerings inherently undergo a rapid
rate of change. Properties are sold or enter escrow and are taken
off the market. New properties regularly become available. Prices
of available properties change often to attract more potential buyers.
Terms change such as whether a seller may be willing to carry a
second mortgage and at what interest rate or the amount of earnest
money required to hold a property during the escrow period. In any
event, it is evident that the way real estate property is advertised
and sold is not amenable to an Internet system in which relatively
fixed web site presentations are inconvenient and costly to change
or create on a frequent basis.
Various prior art patents provide real estate-related system and
methods that are computer and/or Internet oriented. Of particular
interest in this regard are the following references and examples:
U.S. Pat. No. 5,794,216, Aug. 11, 1998, for Method And System For
Data Acquisition In A Multimedia Real Estate Data Base, is a system
for data acquisition in a multimedia real estate database. The database
contains textual information for each house for sale, an exterior
image for each house, an interior image for each house, and a parameter
indicating a portion of the exterior image corresponding to the
interior image. All of the foregoing is in a common database format.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,754,850, May 19, 1998, for Real-Estate Method And
Apparatus For Searching For Homes In A Search Pool For Exact And
Close Matches According To Primary And Non-Primary Selection Criteria,
is a real estate method for searching for homes in a search pool
according to selection criteria. Selection features are selected
and each item in the database is examined to determine if an item
has a given search feature. If an item is an exact match to a given
search feature, then that item is assigned full points. If an item
closely matches the search feature, then the item is assigned partial
points. Items with the highest total points are displayed.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,584,025, Dec. 10, 1996, Apparatus And Method For
Interactive Communication For Tracking And Viewing Data, is a system
for acquiring and displaying information relating to a specific
industry such as real estate. The information relates to a particular
property, community, financing, demographics, et cetera and can
be accessed by real estate agents and end users. When, where, and
how often an advertisement and/or property is viewed is instantly
recorded by the system. Viewership and response patterns can be
retrieved by advertisers.
However, none of these prior art disclosures provides a system
or method that is real estate oriented and which addresses the aforementioned
problem of rapidly changing data including the need to frequently
delete sold properties and add newly available properties.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In one aspect of the present invention, a method of advertising
products and services through at least one web site on the Internet,
such products and services having frequently changing parameters
rendering it desirable for a seller to also frequently modify the
web site to keep the advertising current; comprises a) providing
a home web site; b) determining at the home web site whether a user
is an existing customer or a new customer and linking to either
of at least two alternative second web sites depending upon the
determination; c) if the user is an existing customer, presenting
user log-in data entry at the corresponding second web site; d)
verifying that the log-in data is valid; e) offering the verified
user a selection from a plurality of service functions, at least
one of the functions being the creation of a new page for advertising
an added product or service; f) linking the user who has selected
the creation service function to a site creation page and permitting
the user to select a new site layout and to enter data related to
the added product or service; g) providing payment data entry to
the user and verifying the payment data; and h) linking the user
to a final page for finalizing the new site creation, updating appropriate
database entries, and obtaining a file folder corresponding to a
domain name for the new site.
In another aspect of the present invention, a system for advertising
real estate on the Internet and permitting a user to add new linked
web sites corresponding to additional real estate properties offered
by the user comprises a plurality of computers each having an Internet
browser and being connected for communication through an ISP to
the Internet; at least one web server having a corresponding data
base and being connected to the Internet, with the web server and
corresponding data base having account and web site data for a plurality
of users, each such user being assigned at least one web site page
pertaining to at least one real estate property; and the server
having a device for receiving data corresponding to a new real estate
property listing, generating a corresponding new web site page,
and creating a file having a corresponding domain name.
These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present
invention will become better understood with reference to the following
drawings, description and claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a flow chart diagram of the method of the invention for
use by existing customers; and
FIG. 2 is a flow chart diagram of the method of the invention for
use by new customers.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
It will be understood hereinafter that while the present invention
is particularly useful and advantageous in the advertising and sale
of real estate properties over the Internet, the invention is applicable
to a variety of commercial transactions where descriptions and other
data relating to the offered commodities change frequently.
In general, the present invention provides a simple, but unique
and elegant solution to Internet-based advertising and sale of rapidly
changing commodities including real estate properties. In contrast
to past methods and systems, the present invention enables a user
such as a seller of real estate property to create a Listing Domain
such as 555MainStreet.com. The Listing Domain is a seller-created
web site that permits frequent updating of such information, and
allows a prospective buyer to view the information over the Internet,
either through a central portal or separately from such portal.
An embodiment of the system and method herein also provides for
account creation, log-in functions, and user administration functions.
In yet another aspect of the present invention, users can create
or modify web site layout and information at any time they wish
over the Internet, pay for such services such as by providing credit
card information, and subsequently receive verification of such
services such as by E-mail sent to the user over the Internet.
Referring to the drawings and particularly to FIG. 1, there is
shown a flow diagram that contains the steps of an embodiment of
the inventive method. The steps shown in FIG. 1 are those that may
be carried out by an existing customer or user having access to
the invention by means of an Internet connection. It will be understood
that such a connection typically involves a personal computer that
has been programmed to provide an Internet browser and that has
a communication interface such as a phone or DSL modem that is connected
to a suitable telephone system. Further, it will be understood that
the customer or user has access through an Internet Service Provider
(ISP) to the Internet and its World Wide Web to display and interact
with any web site having a registered Domain Name including a suitable
Uniform Resource Locator (URL). In view of the well-known characteristics
and operation of such apparatus and software, they need not be described
herein in detail. Moreover, other and more recent innovations for
Internet access, such as wireless access through PDA's and cell
phones, are also contemplated for use by customers and users of
the present invention.
It will be seen in FIG. 1 that a user begins the process by entering
an Active Server Page (ASP) called "home.asp". An ASP
is a dynamic HyperText Markup Language (HTML) device that combines
HTML and Visual Basic (VB) script and generates HTML on a web server.
If the user indicates that the user is an existing customer, the
user then attempts to log-in by entering a username and password
at the site "login.asp". If the username/password combination
is valid as determined at the site "verifyuser.asp" (i.e.,
already in the server database), the user is then permitted to select
at the site "selectaction.asp" a service function to perform,
such as to create a site, perform administrative work (i.e., changes
to existing web sites or Listing Domains), et cetera.
In the illustrated embodiment, if the user selects the site "administer.asp",
the user is then able to add and/or edit property information at
"createsite.asp" for existing property sites or Listing
Domains such as modifying price status or edit customer information
at "custinfo.asp". The user may also view, post and remove
material such as reports regarding site visitors and the like. Upon
completion of these administrative functions, the system may return
to "home.asp" where the user may start the process anew.
Alternatively, if the user wishes to create a new site or Listing
Domain, the user may go to "chooselook.asp" to look at
an existing site and then to "createsite.asp" to select
a new site layout and provide other information regarding the newly
presented property. The system is designed to sense errors and determine
when an entry is valid.
The user then proceeds to the site "pay.asp" where credit
card payment for the new site may be effected as well as providing
additional verification of the user's identity. If the credit card
transaction is successful, the user gains access to the site "finalizeorder.asp"
where the user may finalize or complete the new site or Listing
The "finalizeorder.asp" site automatically serves a number
of functions. In the illustrated embodiment, these functions include
adding a property.com folder for a domain name corresponding to
the newly created site for the newly displayed property. Thus, for
example, a new Listing Domain such as 555MainStreet.com is created
by the inventive system to correspond to the new order for a property
having the street address 555 Main Street. The server database is
updated to reflect the new site and the entered information. The
user is sent an E-mail acknowledgement of the new site order. E-mail
is also sent to the HostPro to set up the domain association for
555MainStreet.com. Finally, the method provider, in this instance
Properties Online, is notified of the new transaction by E-mail
as well. The system then returns to "home.asp" in the
event that the user wishes to amend or create another property site.
FIG. 2 illustrates a flow diagram that contains other steps of
another embodiment of the inventive method. The steps shown in FIG.
2 are those that may be carried out by a new customer or user. More
specifically, as shown in FIG. 2, upon entry to the web site "home.asp",
the user indicates that he or she is a new customer and is sent
to the site "custinfo.asp". At this site, the new customer
fills out all needed information to create an account including
at least a username and password. Other information, such as the
name and address of the user's agent, may also be provided for convenience
The system of the present invention then verifies the provided
information. Such verification may include the steps of ensuring
that the customer does not already exist in the server database
and of ensuring that there are no username conflicts. The new customer
is then added to the database if there are errors needing correction.
The system then returns to the site "home.asp".
In application, a seller of real estate may create a Listing Domain
that contains pictorial and textual information about a property
for sale or rent, as an example. Selling terms and/or property features,
as an example, described in the Listing Domain can be continually
accessed, added, deleted, and changed by the seller. Likewise, the
Listing Domain can be accessed by potential buyers, as an example,
either indirectly through the "home.asp" site (i.e, central
portal) or directly to the URL of the Listing Domain. Consequently,
and unlike prior systems and methods, the present invention enables
buyers to locate real estate, as an example, without having to first
locate the "home.asp" site. In other words, the Listing
Domain may be advertised on a posted sign on the property for sale,
as an example, so that a potential buyer may see the URL and go
directly to the Listing Domain without first having to go the "home.asp"
It will be understood that what has been referred to herein as
a "web site" or "site" is also commonly referred
to as a "web site page" or "page". It will also
be understood that utilizing links to each web page after "home.asp"
are carried out automatically in response to entries by the user
on the previous page. Furthermore, while the embodiment disclosed
herein illustrates use of the invention for advertising and selling
real estate properties, it will be understood that other commodities
may be advertised and sold using the method and system of the invention.
In fact, virtually any type of product or service involving frequently
changed data, particularly where users are the preferred or most
convenient source of such changing data, can find advantageous application
of the invention with appropriate modification for the different
products or services.
Accordingly, although one embodiment of the invention has been
disclosed by way of illustration, the scope of protection hereof
shall be limited only by the appended claims and their equivalents.