Another Word on the Big Z – Zillow as a Real Estate Portal

Much to my surprise I received this in my inbox last night from an agent whose buyers are purchasing the listing I have in Ventana Lakes: I did not see the Home Warranty offer in the MLS information, however, we do see that it it’s listed in the Zillow Information. Will the Home Warranty offer […]

A Tale of Two Internet Real Estate Searches

At the moment, I have two clients searching for homes on Zillow rather than my own site. I make this admission only so you can see the same thing I have told them, in graphic form. Search for single family detached homes in Maricopa County in Zillow and here’s what you get: For those with […]

When Digital Isn’t Enough …

Today I did something that once had been commonplace in my life but since has become incredibly rare – I purchased a book. Once upon a time, purchasing books was the norm for me – my overflowing living room and office shelves are testament to my fascination with history, Star Wars and other such topics. […]

The $4 Phoenix Home for Sale And Other Trulia Myths

Person who comes closest to the actual number wins a prize. Okay, maybe not. But still, by all means, play along. As of 3:40 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, 2011 there are ______ single-family detached homes for sale in Phoenix Arizona: 18,928 5,304 11,600 The answer, if you happen to put your faith in the […]

Clicks and Mortar All Over Again

Once upon a time while working at Charles Schwab, all of us received a copy of CEO Dave Pottruck’s new book, Clicks and Mortar. In it, Dave discussed the changing face of business and how a physical presence was becoming less and less necessary. It dealt largely with the brokerage front (or so I gathered […]

Google Throws in the Towel on Real Estate Search

Step back in time about five years and Google’s entry into real estate search was heralded as threatening real estate agent’s sites and ushering in the era of the incredibly-overrated national MLS. Google “Phoenix homes” for instance and a search box would appear before any of the site links below, spelling doom on agents who connect with clients over the Internet.

Woe be to those agents and brokerages who did not upload their listings to Google Base, the new home for all things real estate search.

Step back in time two years and you’ll see where Google integrated real estate search into Google Maps. So, if you’re looking for a neighborhood for a coffee shop or what have you, you also would be treated to all the real estate listings in one place.

Real estate agents, long destined for disintermediation by some pundits, finally had seen that day arrive.

Humility, Technology Out of Context Style

When it comes to sportswriting, I’m still a pen and paper kind of guy. I mean, I’m not Jim Tom Pinch with his geezer-codger typewriter, but I’m certainly not working to keep up with new developments in audio recordings as they mean almost nothing to me.

This is the kind of thing I try and keep in mind as I tweak my online presence and try to create a quality experience for my clients. Just because something might seem technologically cool to me doesn’t mean anyone else not in the consistent context of the real estate world will give a damn. And so I focus on more minimalist upgrades, including what I think will be some wicked cool search abilities once I’ve got the time to sit down and work out the kinks.

About the last thing I want to do to folks already somewhat overwhelmed by the thought of spending six figures in the Phoenix real estate market is make them even more overwhelmed by beating them over the head with technological bells and whistles.

Design Upgrade, Part Two

As the tinkering continues, the template for what the individual city pages will be has been completed. Simply click on the Avondale link in the header or click right here since you’re here, and you can see what I’m talking about.

My goal is for these city-level pages to be one-stop shops for information on these featured cities – market statistics, to answer the question of how the market’s doing; the latest listings at the bottom updated as they happen; a map to help those of you out of state figure out where the community might be (for instance, two clicks of the minus button on the map and you can see where Avondale is compared to Sky Harbor airport, answering the universal question of how far a city is from the airport); and a search-by-neighborhood platform, soon to be augmented with a search-by-price.

For the time being, only Avondale is active. The other city links will take you the latest listings. Give me a couple of days and a couple more quarts of egg nog, though, and the rest soon shall be live. And then it will be on to the next project.

Design Change Number One is Live

No, I didn’t do anything different with my hair. But the banner’s got a decidedly different look if you’ll take a moment and look up.

Those cute little pictures will take you to the latest listings in the cities listed. In time, they will take you to a page not only with the latest listings but also some other cool information about the communities and (possibly) direct search possibilities by price, etc.

Yes, there are more than nine cities in Maricopa County – we’re the size of New Jersey, after all. And no, not every city in the Phoenix area is going to be getting the same photo treatment. Sorry, Youngtown.

Space is limited so space was reserved for the places that people seem to be searching more often. Doesn’t make them better – we’re all about the participant ribbons when it comes to rating Phoenix real estate.

Wikipedia, Zillow and Other “Reliable” Sources

I weep when my children need to look up a fact and head straight to Wikipedia. Because, oddly enough for a platform designed and maintained by the mob at large and editable by anyone, there are many so-called “facts” in Wikipedia that are nothing but. Yet Wikipedia is treated like the Encylopedia Brittanica these days (an encyclopedia is a bunch of books with actual facts in alphabetical order. And books, if you recall … oh, never mind.)

My position – if you rely on Wikipedia as your source of knowledge, you only have yourself to blame when it turns out your knowledge base is faulty.

In a similar vein, Brian Boero recently wrote on the 1000 Watt Consulting blog that “we” – meaning the real estate industry – need to do a better job about ensuring the accuracy of our online listings. No disagreement there. However, the example he chose to use was his fruitless effort to look at homes for sale on Zillow.com. It seems one home he saw listed for sale on Zillow actually sold a year ago. And the so-called neighborhood experts that appeared on Zillow, wonder of wonders, aren’t necessarily the neighborhood experts he knows but rather (brace yourselves) agents that paid for placement on the page.