If you’ve spent anytime at all online recently you’ve likely read about the growth of something called “Real Estate 2.0”. In general, this refers to the gradual move toward the web but, more specifically, to websites where rich information takes the lead with the sales focus either muted or eliminated. Or at least that’s what it once meant – Redfin in Seattle since has purchased the trademark.
The 2.0 is meant to indicate this wave of real estate blogs and AVMs is the second major revision of the real estate sales model. (If anything, the first major revision in real estate took place with the introduction of buyers’ agency, so we’re well beyond 2.0.)
There is a certain conceit built in to the label – an unspoken theme that those who fail to catch this wave will drown in the wide ocean. This, of course, is somewhat ridiculous in its face.
Don’t get me wrong. My entire business plan has been built on technology and driving prospective buyers and sellers through the Internet. Blogging has become an increasing part of my efforts – call it Real Estate Farming 2.0.
But blogging is not an exact science. What may work for one person may not work for the next. And technology only will take someone so far.
As I’ve argued in the past, real estate often is a beauty contest with agents being chosen for their marketing photo, their ad in the movie theater, their cute dog. (Which is why I hired the beagle to look pretty.) Explaining our value as individual agents is easy enough, but the explanations often fall on the deaf ears of a public willing to help out their nephew who just got his license and hasn’t been inside any house other than his own.
One of the sidelights of the RE2.0 discussion is the notion of disintermediation, that with enough information available to the general public, there will be no need for real estate agents just as there seemingly is no need for travel agents in the current age. This notion largely is bunk and even those companies who trivialize an agent’s value still are in the business of writing contracts for homes and helping buyers with their purchase.
Never underestimate the importance of the human element. Twice in the last week I’ve received calls from folks trying to find a local golf clubhouse. Wednesday was the Legends at Arrowhead Ranch. Today was the Arrowhead Country Club. (Google “Arrowhead Ranch Golf” and you’ll see why.)
The web caused these folks to call, albeit for reasons I never anticipated when I started my Arrowhead Ranch website. But what happens in the future, if anything does happen, isn’t going to be a function of technology. It will be a function of this real estate agent for a few moments becoming the neighborhood tour guide.
Maybe nothing will happen … or maybe when it comes time for these folks to choose an agent to help them find a home over here, they’ll remember there was someone willing to take the time to guide them to their tee time.
Mixing long-tail searches with intense personal service – call it Real Estate 3.0.