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Listing Service - FAQ

Some sample questions that one might ask about the HouseFlash Listing Service.

 

Connecting your HouseFlash listings to your site

  • If I have my own website, how do I get it to display my listings, which I enter on HouseFlash Listing Service website?

    Customize Listings

  • If I have my own website, how do I make my HouseFlash listings look like my website?

    Directing Clients to you

  • How will my clients know where to find me?

    Display Listings

  • If I have my own website, how do I get it to display my listings, which I enter on HouseFlash Listing Service website?
  • If I have my own website, how will my listings look?
  • If I have my own website, can I use the HouseFlash page top on my website too?
  • How do I get the price, street address, title, or area to display on the View Listings pages?
  • I can’t get an exact match to my website on the color selection presented on the ‘Extra Options’ page. Is there anything else I can do?
  • Can I continue to display my listings after they are sold?

    E-mail Link

  • Is there a way for the client to send me an email requesting information or to book a visit?

    Hide a Listing

  • Do I have to complete a listing at one time? Otherwise won’t the public see an incomplete listing?
  • Can I hide a listing from public viewing?
  • Can I enter a listing in advance, but only release it when the paperwork is signed?
  • Can I remove a specific listing from public viewing without deleting it?

    Information Changes

  • Where do I change my e-mail address?
  • Can I change my ‘webname’?
  • Can I change my name as displayed on the top of my page?
  • If I change my e-mail address, will I have to change it on each listing?
  • If I change to a different Realty company, what do I have to do about my HouseFlash listings and account?

    Linking your HouseFlash listings to your site

  • If I have my own website, how do I get it to display my listings, which I enter on HouseFlash Listing Service website?

    Map it

  • Why do we capture city, prov/state, and country, if this information does not display anywhere?

    Payment

  • How will I receive my receipt of proof of payment?
  • How do I pay for this Service?

    Pictures

  • How do I get pictures on my listings?
  • What determines where the pictures are placed on the ‘View Listings’ page?
  • Can I determine the order of placement of secondary pictures?
  • What is the graphic format to use for best transmission speed and for quality of resulting photo?
  • What if my pictures are not saved in jpeg or jpg format?
  • What if I can’t save my picture in jpeg or jpg format?
  • I tried to save a photo in the HouseFlash Property Pictures Catalogue, but the transmission timed out. What do I do now?
  • I saved a listing with 5 photos, and it took 15 minutes to arrive at HouseFlash.
  • How many pictures can I store for one listing?
  • Does the original picture have to be any specific size?
  • What picture formats can I send to the HouseFlash website?
  • How do I change my page top photo?
  • Where do clients see the picture title and descriptions?

    Security

  • How often is the HouseFlash database backed up?
  • How safe is my account and listing information?

    Sort Listings

  • What is the sort order of the listings in View Listings?
  • How would I group my listings in View Listings?
  • Can I change the order my listings display in ‘View Listings’?
  • Does the sort order I set in the Update Listings page affect the order of the display on View Listings?
  • How does the sortkey work in View Listings?

    Statistics

  • What kind of statistics does HouseFlash provide regarding visits from the public?
  • Does HouseFlash provide any statistics regarding average time between for sale and sold status?

    Question: If I have my own website, how do I get it to display my listings, which I enter on HouseFlash Listing Service website?

    Answer: To display your listings on your own website, ask your website administrator (or the person who designed your site) to replace the current URL for your listings with the following:

    http://www.houseflash.com/ra/lister.php?agentid=webname where the ‘webname’ is your HouseFlash ‘webname’. This will bring your listings into a frame within your website page; i.e. your listings will be framed by your own page top and/or side.

    If you wish to display the HouseFlash page top and listings; i.e. the complete page, ask your website administrator (or the person who designed your site) to replace the current URL for your listings with the following:

    http://www.houseflash.com/ra/lister.php? agentid=webname&top=yes, where ‘webname’ is your HouseFlash ‘webname’.

    Question: How will my clients know where to find me?

    Answer: If you already have a website, this will not change. If you don’t have your own website, just direct your clients to http://www.houseflash.com/homes/webname where ‘webname’ is your HouseFlash ‘webname’.

    Question: Do I have to complete a listing at one time? Otherwise won’t the public see an incomplete listing?

    Answer: The Update Listing function allows you to set the ‘Status’ of a listing as ‘invisible’ during entry or at any time. Any ‘invisible’ listings will be withheld from public viewing, until you change the status to one other than ‘invisible’.

    Question: Can I hide a listing from public viewing?

    Answer: The Update Listing function allows you to set the ‘Status’ of a listing as ‘invisible’ during entry or at any time. Any ‘invisible’ listings will be withheld from public viewing, until you change the status to one other than ‘invisible’.

    Question: Can I enter a listing in advance, but only release it when the paperwork is signed?

    Answer: The Update Listing function allows you to set the ‘Status’ of a listing as ‘invisible’ during entry or at any time. Any ‘invisible’ listings will be withheld from public viewing, until you change the status to one other than ‘invisible’.

    Question: Can I remove a specific listing from public viewing without deleting it?

    Answer: The Update Listing function allows you to set the ‘Status’ of a listing as ‘invisible’ during entry or at any time. Any ‘invisible’ listings will be withheld from public viewing, until you change the status to one other than ‘invisible’.

    Question: If I have my own website, how do I make my HouseFlash listings look like my website?

    Answer: The ‘Extra Options’ function allows you to set the background colors and title colors to match your own website. To view the color chart, click here.

    Question: How do I get pictures on my listings?

    Answer: Your pictures must already be in a digital format, cropped and edited to your satisfaction.

    Click on ‘Revise Pictures’, on the ‘Update Listings/Property Listing Maintenance Menu’. This brings you to the ‘Property Listing Pictures Catalogue’ page. Click ‘Browse’ to add a picture to this listing. This will open a dialog box with your directories listed. Locate the appropriate photo file and click ‘open’. This will cause the filename and directory information to fill in the filename field. You may identify the picture as the primary, or add/modify title and descriptive data for that picture. Entering numbers in the 'order' field for secondary pictures will determine the order the pictures will be displayed in the detailed View Listings page. If you wish to change the order, simply change the numbers in the 'order' field. If you do not enter a number in the 'order' fields, the photos will be displayed in the order you entered them. When you ‘Save Changes’, the photos will be transmitted to the HouseFlash system, to make them available for display to clients on the ‘View Listings’ page.

    Question: What determines where the pictures are placed on the ‘View Listings’ page?

    Answer: Placement of photos depends on whether they have been designated as the primary picture. The primary picture is twice the size of the other pictures and always displays on the left side of the screen. The secondary pictures are grouped to the right of the screen, and are only displayed on the detailed pages. If you do not specify a number in the 'order' field in the 'Property Listing Pictues Catalogue', the secondary pictures are displayed in the order entered. To change or specify position, you must enter a number in the 'order' field beside all of the secondary pictures. The primary picture is always considered #1.

    Question: Can I determine the order of placement of secondary pictures?

    Answer: Placement of secondary pictures is based on order of their listing in the ‘Property Listing Pictures Catalogue’. The first picture in the list is placed at top left, the remaining pictures are displayed left to right, with additional rows depending on the number of secondary pictures. You may specify the order of the placement of secondary pictures by entering a number in the 'order' field beside all of the secondary photos. The primary photo is always considered #1. You can change the order of the secondary pictures at any time by changing the numbers entered in the 'order' field.

    Question: What is the graphic format to use for best transmission speed and for quality of resulting photo?

    Answer: Jpeg or jpg is the preferred graphic format for pictures.

    Question: What if my pictures are not saved in jpeg or jpg format?

    Answer: Choose ‘Save as’ from your software’s toolbar. When the dialog window comes up, select jpeg or jpg as the format type from the drop down menu. ‘Save’ your picture.

    Question: What if I can’t save my picture in jpeg or jpg format?

    Answer: If you are unable to save the file in jpeg or jpg format, the HouseFlash software accepts many different format types, so we recommend that you send the file as is. If the HouseFlash software does not support your format, the system will display a message to that effect, with a list of over 100 acceptable formats.

    Question: I tried to save a photo in the HouseFlash Property Listing Pictures Catalogue, but the transmission timed out. What do I do now?

    Answer: Some graphic software saves a large amount of detail in their own format type. This can cause your server connection to timeout before your file reaches http://www.houseflash.com/. Save the file in jpeg or jpg format, and resend.

    Question: I saved a listing with 5 photos, and it took 15 minutes to arrive at HouseFlash.

    Answer: Remember that the bigger the file, the longer the transmission times are likely to be, so be patient, especially on a dial-up connection.

    Question: How will I receive my receipt of proof of payment?

    Answer: Payment receipts will be e-mailed to the address you provide to PayPal, if you select email notification for payments in your PayPal Profile. You will also see the payment transaction on your PayPal Account history, and on your HouseFlashSubscription and Payment History page. If you do not see a payment when due, you may want to contact PayPal to ensure that the display of your listings will not be interrupted.

    Question: How often is the HouseFlash database backed up?

    Answer: Daily

    Question: How safe is my account and listing information?

    Answer: Only a person with your password can make changes to your listings and account. Protect your password. Don’t make it too obvious. Do not leave a written copy of it, where easily found. Change it periodically.

    Your financial data is never seen or stored by HouseFlash . All this information is stored and protected by PayPal which is a secure site. For more information re PayPal and its security measures, click here.

    Question: How many pictures can I store for one listing?

    Answer: There is currently a maximum of 10 pictures suggested per listing. As the majority of the population still has slow connections it would be better for your clients if you limit the number to 5 or 6 pictures. The more pictures you add to a listing the slower the download and most people do not wish to sit and wait for a listing to appear. The bottom line is - make it easy for customers to get info from your site and they’re likely to read it all and return.

    Question: Does the original picture have to be any specific size?

    Answer: A good quality 4x6 standard photo is the ideal size to start with. The HouseFlash software will make smaller versions of it to produce the thumbnails and small images. If you use a smaller size the HouseFlash software will enlarge it as well but enlarging pictures always loses resolution (quality) whereas shrinking down pictures can still retain a similar image quality.

    Question: What picture formats can I send to the HouseFlash website?

    Answer: We accept most of the standard formats such as jpg, jpeg, gif, bmp, TIF etc. Jpeg or jpg are generally the quickest to process. The HouseFlash software will convert all of them to jpg format, as that is what will be displayed on the web. There are over 100 other formats possible as well and you can see the help pages for a complete list.

    Question: Where do I change my e-mail address?

    Answer: You change your e-mail address on the ‘Account Information’ page. This will change the address to be used by HouseFlash administration to contact you.

    N.B. If you have entered your e-mail address as one of the ‘Contact Information’ fields, which display in the page top on ‘View Listings’, you should change it there as well.

    Question: Can I change my ‘webname’?

    Answer: Yes, you can do this yes it by changing it on the ‘Account Info’ page accessed from the ‘Agent Menu’. Simply change the field ‘webname’ and ‘Save Changes’.

    N.B. If you have your own website, don’t forget to change your URL there as well to reflect your new ‘webname’.

    Question: Can I change my name as displayed on the top of my page?

    Answer: Yes, this information is easily changed on the’ Account Information’ page accessed from the ‘Agent Menu’. Simply change the information in the ‘Name” field to what you want and ‘Save Changes’.

    Question: How do I change my page top photo?

    Answer: Access ‘Page Top Settings’ from the ‘Agent Menu’. Click ‘Browse’ to select the new picture you want to use. Locate the file photo in your directories and click ‘Open’. This copies the Filename and directory to the ‘New file name:’ field in HouseFlash. When you ‘Save Changes’, the new picture replaces the previous one. You can see the effect by accessing Page Top Settings to view the mini sample setting, or also by accessing ‘View Listings’.

    Question: If I have my own website, how will my listings look?

    Answer: See the sample 2 at www.houseflash.com for an example of another website using HouseFlash property listings.

    Question: If I have my own website, can I use the HouseFlash page top on my website too?

    Answer: Yes, it's simply a matter of specifying a different URL in your website to get either the page top or not. The link to achieve this would be:

    http://www.houseflash.com/ra/lister.php?agentid=webname where ‘webname’ is your ‘webname’.

    Question: How do I get the price, street address, title, or area to display on the View Listings pages?

    Answer: Enter these as the ‘Fields to show in listing headers’ on the ‘Extra Options’ function accessible from the ‘Agent Menu’.

    Question: Is there a way for the client to send me an email requesting information or to book a visit?

    Answer: Yes, if you entered your e-mail address as a means of contact, it will appear on your page top in blue as a link to e-mail. When selected, the system automatically addresses a new e-mail to your address with a subject matter of ‘Additional information request’. The client can compose their request and send it immediately without leaving your site.

    N.B. As the email link will appear in blue, make sure that you're not using a blue background or you might not be able to see it.

    Question: I can’t get an exact match to my website on the color selection presented on the ‘Extra Options’ page. Is there anything else I can do?

    Answer: If you’re trying to match an html color code used on your website, simply bring up the web page you want to match and select ‘View’ and ‘Source’. Look for the characters “color” in the code. Following the color will either be a color name or code which is a number sign “#” followed by 6 letters or numbers. Simply copy the color name or color code (including the number sign), into the color field of your ‘Extra Options’ page. Note there may be more than one color specified in the source of a page so make sure you’re getting the correct one. To view our color chart, click here.

    Question: If I change my e-mail address, will I have to change it on each listing?

    Answer: No. Your e-mail address is part of the top of your page, not the individual listings. You only need to fill out the appropriate ‘contact information’ field, and the ‘e-mail’ field on the ‘Account Information’ page.

    Question: Where do clients see the picture title and descriptions?

    Answer: These appear on the enlarged detail pages in ‘View Listings”.

    Question: What is the sort order of the listings in View Listings?

    Answer: The default sort order is by date within status. All statuses indicating available properties are interfiled with the most recent at the top. All properties with a status indicating they are unavailable e.g. 'Sold', 'Leased' or 'Expired' are placed at the bottom with the oldest last. The listings with ‘invisible’ status do not display.

    In addition, your clients will have the ability to request a specific entry or a revised sort of the listings. The options available to your clients are: Search for: user entered text; list only a specific requested status (except invisible); sort by available/not available, then within these stati, by address; address, descending; area, then address; from most recently entered; most recent status date; sortkey, then most recent status date;status; status date. The user can also change the default of 6 entries per page to whatever they wish.

    Question: How would I group my listings in View Listings?

    Answer: The user has the capability to revise the presentation order of your listings.

    Your clients will have the ability to request a specific entry or a revised sort of the listings. The options available to your clients are: Search for: user entered text; list only a specific requested status (except invisible); sort by available/not available, then within these stati, further sort by the following options as requested: address; address, descending; area, then address; from most recently entered; most recent status date; sortkey, then most recent status date; status; status date(oldest first). The user can also change the default of 6 entries per page to whatever they wish.

    Question: Can I change the order my listings display in ‘View Listings’?

    Answer: The user has the capability to revise the presentation order of your listings.

    Your clients will have the ability to request a specific entry or a revised sort of the listings. The options available to your clients are: Search for: user entered text; list only a specific requested status (except invisible); sort by available/not available, then within these stati, further sort by the following options as requested: address; address, descending; area, then address; from most recently entered; most recent status date; sortkey, then most recent status date; status; status date(oldest first). The user can also change the default of 6 entries per page to whatever they wish.

    You can affect the default sort order through the use of the sortkey. The default sortkey is 999. If you wish to place a listing higher in the list, you can assign it a sortkey less than 999. To place a listing lower than its default order, you can assign it a value higher than 999.

    Question: Does the sort order I set in the Update Listings page affect the order of the display on View Listings?

    Answer: No, this applies to the listing sort for maintenance purposes only.

    Question: Why do we capture city, prov/state, and country, if this information does not display anywhere?

    Answer: This information is used by the Mapquest software, which requires all of this information, along with the street address to choose the correct map to display for your listing. We have noticed that Mapquest is sometimes not updated to reflect recent changes in municipality changes. If you are in this situation, you may have to enter the old municipality names in the city field for the mapping facility to function properly. We recommend that you test the map of your listings when entered. If you do not wish your clients to see the location, you need not enter the street address.

    Question: How does the sortkey work in View Listings?

    Answer: The default sort order is by date within status. All statuses indicating available properties are interfiled with the most recent at the top. All properties with a status indicating they are unavailable e.g. 'Sold', 'Leased' or 'Expired' are placed at the bottom with the oldest last. The listings with 'invisible' status do not display.

    The sortkey can be used by the agent to change the default sort. The default value of the sortkey is 999. If you enter any value less than 999 as the sortkey value, it will cause that listing to display before any listings with a greater value. It should be noted that since your clients have the ability to request their own sort, they can override the sortkey.

    Where there are several listings with the same sortkey and status value, they are grouped together, then sorted by date, most recent first. Sold, leased and expired properties always appear at the bottom of the listing.

    Question: Can I continue to display my listings after they are sold?

    Answer: Yes, when you change the status of the listing to ‘sold’, it will be moved to the bottom portion of the list and sorted by date within the sold status.

    When you are ready to remove a listing, simply change its status to ‘To delete’, and HouseFlash administration will delete the record.

    Question: What kind of statistics does HouseFlash provide re visits from the public?

    HouseFlash currently doesn not provide visitor statistics. There are plans to provide a limited number of statistics in a future release.

    Question: Does HouseFlash provide any statistics re average time between for sale and sold status?

    Answer: The HouseFlash Listing Service is focussed on providing an easy way to display and maintain an agent's listins on the web and currently does not capture such statistics.

    Question: How do I pay for this Service?

    Answer: We currently accept payment through PayPal which lets you pay by Credit Card or Cheques. Your credit card can be billed automatically each month and you may cancel the service in any month to stop further payment. Click here for more info.

    Question: If I change to a different Realty company, what do I have to do about my HouseFlash listings and account?

    Answer: Easy. You can keep your HouseFlash account and only modify the information, which has changed such as perhaps the Realtor logo or contact information.

    If you were using your Realty company’s website to display your listings and are changing to another website other than http://www.houseflash.com, you will have to have the website administrator at your new site to add your URL http://www.houseflash.com/ra/lister.php?agentid=webname, to retrieve your HouseFlash listings at their site.


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