Google Wave will change the way real estate transactions are conducted online

Services for Real Estate Pros with RealBird Inc.

First, please watch this YouTube video by Epipheo Studio explaining why Google Wave will revolutionize email communication. Then see how it will change online real estate transactions and sales cycles for the better, by making it integrated, manageable and streamlined. 

Most of what I write below is based on my expectation of the exact features of Google Wave without actually having access to it and to the API sandbox (Google - please send us an invite already, will you?) 

As you can see from the video above, Google Wave improves email communication by solving the mess, that the back-and-forth, multi-participant email communication creates. Any process (business or other) that has a relatively long timespan and involves many participants are a pain to conduct via email. That applies to the management of a web design project as described in the video above, planning a wedding or a corporate event, and true for real estate transactions as well. Since real estate transactions and the real estate business cycles are 1) lengthy by nature and 2) they involve many stakeholders besides you and your client (inspectors, assistants, insurance folks, lawyers, interior designers, vendors etc.), it is very well suited for improvements by the Google Wave platform.

What is Google Wave?

At its basic level it is:

A communication platform, that combines different features and benefits of

  • email
  • threaded discussions
  • media-independent sharing (any digital object - text, video, PDF etc. can be attached to the Wave)
  • real-time chats
  • open, standard extendability

If we dig deeper into its capabilities, it will clearly show that the sum of all these things is bigger than what the individual features by themselves can deliver:

The real estate business cycle consists of 4 major components:

  1. Self marketing and prospecting
  2. Servicing active clients 
    Listing marketing (etc) for sellers and home finding (search, showing etc.) for buyers
  3. The closing process
  4. Customer retention (CRM, farming, newsletters, market updates etc.)

Even though, during the last decade or two, most of these processes became computer aided and many of them went online, integration of individual business processes are still cumbersome if at all doable. 

Google Wave has the potential to change this. You will be able to set up a Wave, invite all participants to communicate in one communication channel, attach all information to one thread and you and your clients will be able to track progress, communicate decision points all within one environment. 

Let's talk about Extendability:

I believe, that Google Wave will become an overnight success for many reasons, but the emphasize on extendability can not be stressed enough. Theoretically, you could imagine that one software vendor could create a service for you that supports the whole real estate business cycle via their proprietary system, but in practice a system like this can be prohibitively expensive and always lacking and slow to adopt to new requirements. Alternatively, you could ask the many vendors supporting your individual business processes to pick up the phone and start talking to each other and integrate their systems (IDX and eDoc and marketing tools and lead management and CRM etc.) but quite frankly, the chance of this happening is close to zero. The cost and risk is too high for the vendors and their interests overlap and collide. This is where Google Wave extendability comes to the picture. Wave is designed from the ground up to be a platform that provides the infrastructure for 3rd party vendors to add their own custom functionality to it. It is a centralized standard that vendors will adapt and you will be able to replace an under performing vendor by simply signing up with a competing one WITHOUT jeopardizing your overall service.

Via the Google Wave's robots and gadgets specification, software vendors like us at RealBird and Zillow, Cyberhomes, Altos Research, Trulia and many others will be able to create extensions that interact with your Waves and enhance them with added functionality and information.

The easiest way to imagine how a Google Wave application will look like is to take all the scenarios where you or your visitors or your clients initiate an email conversation. Replace the email communication with Wave and imagine how much better the whole process will be when other stakeholders and 3rd party information can be attached to the conversation thread.  

For example, take a RealBird single property website. Some prospective buyer finds it through syndication or search engine marketing and is interested enough to share it with his or her spouse. Currently they send an email using the built-in email tool. We will provide an option for them to not only send an email but create a Google Wave - which eventually invites the spouse to join the conversation via email. They start their discussion about the property within the Wave. Let's say they decide that they want to see this property, Currently, they would send you another email, a step which starts breaking down the communication process to unconnected channels. With Google Wave, they will invite you to join the existing Wave as a participant. With the built-in permission system, they will be able to add you to the conversation without disclosing what they talked about before. Once you joined the Wave, you will be able to add calender events and todos to the conversation (maybe using a 3rd party Wave extension gadget) and attach more information such a disclosures, floorplans and any other info that you think will enhance the process. Let's say, your prospective buyers like the property and for the sake of argument, let's say they have their own buyer's agent already. At this point - or maybe earlier - they invite her to join the Wave. Again, with appropriate permission control. Eventually, they make up their mind and make an offer. Let's say the offer is accepted. From this point the Wave will turn from a prospecting channel into managing the closing process. You will be able to add new 3rd party "robots", maybe one from DocuSign or other eDoc providers, and you will invite title and escrow people etc. You get the point: the Wave - with it's core platform and with its 3rd party applications - will help you cross the current boundaries and disintegration points of the business process, melting them into one, easy to manage integrated environment.

This is just an example process, simplified for the sake of the example, but I think it's good enough to show the power of Google Wave to manage business processes. This particular one shows an example from the buyer's perspective, how they can add stakeholders to the process, but you can take other processes and apply the same exercise with you being the "chairman" of the thread. Or imagine a Wave for a home search, with RealBird Property Search "robots" participating and posting matching listings into the Wave. Or conducting office collaborations. Or open house marketing. Only the imagination is the limit. 

Google, if you are reading this post, please send us an invite already, we can't wait to start developing Wave robots and integration points for RealBird. Will you? Thanks.


-- Zoltan




Comments (57)

Los Angeles, CA

Thanks for posting this. I've requested an invite also. Do you know when it will go LIVE?

Oct 07, 2009 04:56 PM
RealBird Real Estate Marketing
RealBird Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
All-In-One Real Estate Marketing Toolkit

Christine - Your concerns are valid of course. Privacy, confidentiality etc. are very important . My example might have been too specific in terms of the business process, I just made up a fictitious scenario in the post (i.e. involving people from different sides of the deal). I do not have access to the Wave so I am not sure how exactly it works in terms of permissions and how intuitive it is to manage them but I am pretty certain that it is a major consideration of Google when designing the final product. Whenever more than 2 people interact on the same platform, it should be. I found more technical and architectural details at It's a good read.

Roland - Thanks for the reblog. 

Ami - Unfortunately I have no idea when it will go live. Hopefully before the end of this decade.

Oct 07, 2009 07:11 PM
Nicholas Goraczkowski
Aurora, CO
Your Mortgage Resource - (720) 83-RATES

Google is coming out with such great stuff lately. From Google voice to the new wave. What's next?

Oct 08, 2009 03:27 AM
Michael Myers
King-Rhodes & Associates - Cherokee Village, AR

I am jazzed by Google Wave because of what it can do from people I have read on what it can do. I can see how it will help business especially in this electronic world we live and clients all over the place. By the way, if I could take my fax machine and throw it out the window, I would, but unfortunately too many are still relying on it. {Insert one big long scream here}

Oct 08, 2009 03:29 AM
Beverly Fast Sinclair
Keller Williams Realty - Carmel, IN

Waiting on my invite from Google Wave... :(

Oct 08, 2009 03:38 AM
SEO Expert: Michael George
Phoenix, AZ
Real Estate and Law Firm SEO

Very interesting post and video.  Thanks for letting me know about this.  I often miss the new stuff until everyone else already knows about it...  Just too busy I guess!

Oct 08, 2009 04:24 AM
Kathryn Gorham
Green Key Realty - Emerald Isle, NC
Emerald Isle NC Crystal Coast

Yes, Yes Yes - after the first paragraph my mind was filled with images of "messy communications" that can and will be vastly improved by google WAVE - catch a wave - sitting on top of the world!

Oct 08, 2009 12:17 PM
Don Anthony
Don Anthony Realty ~ - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte & Triangle NC Discount Realtor

Glad to see that someone is reinventing email!  It's really about time, so I'm looking forward to the change. 

Don Anthony Realty Signature -

Oct 08, 2009 03:06 PM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA
I have been hearing aobut this for a while now and cannot wait to start working with it with my clients! Do we have any idea when it will be ready?
Oct 08, 2009 05:13 PM
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Hi Zoltan,

I agree with all you have said.  I have my Google Wave Invite.  I also used to work the back end of real estate transactions, from contract to close, for eight years and so understand vey thoroughly how this would make sense.

One thing though, and this is crucial and key, adoption.  There have been companies in transaction management for years and the rate of adoption was quite low.  So the parties in the transaction have to have the will and then take action in order for Google Wave to be viable.  The fragmentation in the industry will become even more distinct once Google Wave users invite participants.

That's not me being negative, just realistic.  We have to get people to understand the importance of response and communication tools FIRST:)

Oct 10, 2009 02:00 AM
RealBird Real Estate Marketing
RealBird Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
All-In-One Real Estate Marketing Toolkit

Jirlus - I am not sure when it's going to go public. I would assume, based on all the reports from people who already got the invite, is that it will take a few more months at least. It's not yet ready for prime time.

Rebecca - You are absolutely right. Tehcnology capability is one thing, having wide-spread adoptation is another. But if anybody, Google has the mean to make it happen. This invitation only approach is way more than just beta testing, everybody is buzzing about it and by the time it's ready, public awarness will be huge. We'll see.

Oct 10, 2009 04:47 AM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA
Zolton, Good update. It pretty much sounds like I would have expected it to work. It is truely going to change the way we do business. No doubt about it. Now, if the NWML would give us agents individual IDX access so we could do what we want with our buyer clients, that would be a change I would welcome as well.
Nov 18, 2009 03:06 AM
RealBird Real Estate Marketing
RealBird Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
All-In-One Real Estate Marketing Toolkit

Jurius - No comments on the MLS :)

Google Wave is truly a utility and as a technology it has a lot of potential. It is important to note, that it is open in two ways:

  1. Google Wave can be extended via 3rd party robots - so even your MLS might develop some extensions to it to e.g. push new matching properties into a Wave that you set up with your buyer client (or hopefully they at least let us software vendors do it)
  2. It's also an open specification. Just like with the email protocol, the core Wave platform can be implemented by 3rd parties. E.g. your ISP or Facebook or anybody else can create their own core Wave platform, just like they can create their own email platform (POP, SMTP, IMAP protocols) 
The importance of the 2nd option is that it will allow additional innovation and can help this become the new messaging standard and eventually replacing the email protocol. The final product may or may not look like the current Google Wave UI around the core technology. I can only imagine what might communication as a utility will look like 10 years from now

-- Zoltan

Nov 18, 2009 03:33 AM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA
Zoltan, I guess you had the only comment you could have on the NWMLS here in the Pacific NW. REally a drag on our independence.
Nov 18, 2009 03:53 AM
RealBird Real Estate Marketing
RealBird Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
All-In-One Real Estate Marketing Toolkit

:) and :(

Nov 18, 2009 05:19 AM
Courtney Cooper
Cooper | Cartwright - Seattle, WA

just got my invite finally  - feel a little like I did with Twitter at first but I can definitely see the value in it.

Nov 29, 2009 02:39 AM
Courtney Cooper
Cooper | Cartwright - Seattle, WA

just got my invite finally  - feel a little like I did with Twitter at first but I can definitely see the value in it.

Nov 29, 2009 02:50 AM
RealBird Real Estate Marketing
RealBird Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
All-In-One Real Estate Marketing Toolkit

Hi - Welcome to the Wave. In my opinion, there are still a lot of things Google has to work out before it's ready for prime time, but very interesting technology nevertheless. There are some 20 real estate professionals who are connected on the Wave and we are trying to figure this out together. If you wish, email me your Wave account address and I add you to the discussion, it's better to surf in a group :)

-- Zoltan

Dec 03, 2009 07:08 AM

Hey Zoltan,

Pls add me to the wave.  It would be interesting to see this in action


Dec 04, 2009 11:42 AM
RealBird Real Estate Marketing
RealBird Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
All-In-One Real Estate Marketing Toolkit

Sandy - I added you to 3 Waves. You should see them when you login with your own account. Welcome to the conversation.

Dec 04, 2009 12:03 PM