More than 70 percent of real estate consumers begin their research on the internet, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). So, how can individual agents capture their attention?

“Don’t think a web page is going to bring people to you,” says Cincinnati-based real estate trainer Sheila Bell. “A web site is a billboard in the middle of nowhere.”

That’s where e-Pro certification can help.

The revamped NAR internet business course teaches agents how to integrate technology into their business plan. It helps organize and polish e-mail practices, develop better web marketing strategies, and ties in PDAs, digital cameras, smart phones, virtual tours and other technology to an agent’s business.

Jim Basquette of Huff Realty Western Hills was certified an e-Pro in February. He keeps stats like this at his fingertips: One in every four buyers wants a response from an agent within 30 minutes.

Basquette says e-Pro helped him build his web site ( and integrate client alerts that are sent to his phone. He also prepares multimedia property info in PDFs to send to clients on a moment’s notice.

“If they’re looking and don’t get a (fast) response, then they move on,” he notes.

Of Ohio’s 32,000 real estate professionals, fewer than 3 percent — 821 people — are e-Pro certified, according to the NAR. About 290 people in Kentucky and 300 in Indiana have earned the certification. It is a four-module online course that costs $359 (tax deductible), and must be completed within six months, according to www.epronar. com. Sheila Bell adds that the program has an online community to exchange technology ideas.

Brad Knapp , executive vice president of residential services for Henkle Schueler Realtors, was named president of the Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR), the state’s largest trade association. Knapp began his real estate career in 1979. He has served as an OAR director since 1985, and as OAR district vice president in 1996 through 1997. Knapp is the first resident from Warren County to serve as president of the association, which was founded in 1910.

Miller-Valentine Commercial Construction won the “Star” designation from the state of Kentucky’s OSHA Department for superior safety programs, including extensive training. Among recent M-V projects in Northern Kentucky: Two expansions of L’Oreal facilities in Florence, and the Chas. Seligman Distributing Co. distribution center in Walton.

Deborah Corson of Apartment Realty Advisors represented sellers in two big multi-family apartment deals recently. CWCapital LLC sold its 392-unit building on Buckhead Drive in Fairfield to Domain Equity for $12.5 million, or about $31,887 per square foot, records show. Meanwhile, AIMCO sold a group of multi-family buildings on Hunters Creek Drive in Cincinnati to Berkshire Realty Group LLC. The sale price was $7.9 million, or about $54,110 per square foot.

Mike Hartmann and  Bob Ryan of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker represented UBS Financial Services Inc. in lease negotiations that relocated the firm from its downtown Cincinnati offices to the new Kenwood Towne Place. UBS leased the top floor — about 32,000 square feet — of the 585,000-square foot building now under construction at Interstate 71 and Montgomery Road. Building developers are Bear Creek Capital, Neyer Holdings Corp. and DOV Ltd.

In other news at Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, Kimberly Bertke and Andrew Sellet were promoted to senior associate. Bertke specializes in leasing industrial properties and representing tenants, especially in Northern Kentucky. Sellet focuses on acquiring, disposing of and leasing retail properties, as well as representing tenants, primarily in Ohio.

Grubb & Ellis West Shell Commercial recently named Melissa Wilhelm to its Retail Advisory Group and Matt Hitzeman to its Office Advisory Group. Wilhelm was research services manager for Grubb & Ellis since 2005; she is a University of Cincinnati graduate. Hitzeman, a Xavier University alumnus, was director of leasing and property management for a downtown Cincinnati office complex. He is currently vice president of the Cincinnati Real Estate Club.

Nine mortgage servicers signed a nonbinding pledge to help Ohio officials stem the tidal wave of foreclosures. Gov. Ted Strickland touts the “Compact to Help Ohioans Preserve Homeownership” as the first of its kind in the nation. The agreement is not legally enforceable, but officials say it is a step toward solving the real estate crisis. The Compact’s signers are: Carrington Mortgage Services, Citi, GMAC Rescap/ Homecomings Financial, HSBC Finance Corp., Ocwen Financial Corp., Option One Mortgage, Saxon Mortgage Services, Select Portfolio Servicing and Litton Loan Servicing. The pact says servicers will work with the state in making every possible attempt to prevent default loans and foreclosures in Ohio.

Construction is expected to wrap up this summer on the hillside condominium development, the Palisades of Mount Adams. By June, the first of 10 units in the seven-story building are expected to be finished and ready for occupancy. Located on Oregon Street, the $14 million project is being developed by lawyer and developer Charlie Postow and Don Rahilly, retired president of the S. Rosenthal & Co. printing company and a partner in Northern Kentucky-based home builder Adare Development Group. The condos are priced from $1 million to $2 million, and floor plans range in size from 2,700 to 3,700 square feet. Each condo comes with off-street parking for two cars and terraces with views of the Ohio River. Architect John Senhauser designed the building, and Lockland-based Reece-Campbell construction is the general contractor. A web site has been created at www.palisadesofmtad which details floor plans and features for potential buyers.

Huff Realty honored Tom Singer  with a first-place award for team listing volume and earnings in 2007, and Marilyn Breier  with a first-place award for individual listing volume and earnings. They were among 350 Huff Realtors and managers honored for individual and collective accomplishments last year. Huff also gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to Mike Parker.