...to paraphrase a quote.
Welcome to my little corner of the social network. I'm drawing a blank as to what to write about at this time.
Except for this...
The National Association of Realtors revealed that 90% of potential home buyers who viewed a home had previewed the home online first. In the same study, the NAR revealed that ONLY 30% of Realtors use the internet. You can do the math, there are a LOT of homebuyers and sellers not being serviced properly by the "average" Real Estate professional.
Why is that?
I live in Florida, the Orlando area specifically, and my wife and I got our real estate licences just as the Florida Land Rush went "pffft", right at the tail end of 2005. Instantly we both realized that the days of putting a For Sale sign out in front of a house and having people "wrassle" over the privelege of submitting an offer were now gone, and we as a service had to go back to the nuts and bolts of salesmanship: marketing. Right at that time Apple's video-enabled iPod had JUST been released, and the phrase "podcasting" was being batted around by the technogeeks as a buzzword. We (actually my wife Caroline) thought it would be a fantastic marketing tool to be able to load the iPod with pictures about a house, and be able to "show the house" to a potential buyer without actually going out to see it. Since we're both just over 30 we understand the power and almost necessity of finding anything online without having to go out to a storefront, browse around, and wait to have someone "help you out". We wanted to find our own home that way as well, but it was not possible at the time. What if WE did it?
Taking my wife's idea a step further, I suggested adding a voiceover on top of the pictures, telling about the house - describing it in great detail - focusing on the special features of the house, etc. I did that and came up with a product that was nothing like any virtual tour we'd ever seen. A month later, in October of 2005, we started marketing our little company. We're about to complete two years of building these "virtual tours" and leading the Virtual Tour Revolution (Hence the name - VTRevolution.com)
The actual point of this story was actually NOT to tell you about our company - I'm glad I did anyway - but rather to point out that it has taken almost two years before ANY percentage of real estate agent has begun to realize that there MUST be a better way to do this. With 90% of current buyers searching for homes online - and most of them simply do NOT have a whole afternoon to look at houses, let alone a whole day - this seems like a no brainer.
It still seems that a vast majority of agents (and I'm sorry if I'm stepping on some toes, but keep in mind this is only a gross generalization) still have their own agenda to maintain. I have seen many a potential homebuyer or listing be turned off by an agent because THEY the uninformed have brought their agent a list of the homes that they would like to see - only to be rebuffed by the agent, as a parent will sometimes do to a child ("Awww... isn't that CUTE? You brought me a list? Well, that's so special, I'm going to hang it on the fridge over here and show you the homes that I picked out for you.")
Now granted, I do have my license, and I DO understand that because of the classes I took I happen to know a lot more about this field than a potential customer might. But as a service salesperson, which I consider the Real Estate field to be, I must remember that the customer will know exactly what they want because they know what they need. If they give me a list of homes, by gosh, we're going to look at these homes. My job is just to navigate through the legal mumbo-jumbo as far as they are concerned.
Look, I have grown up with the internet. I buy everything online whenever I can, merely because it's much more convenient to sit in my pajamas and look for whatever it is I need than to have to traipse all over town just for a $2.59 item. Or a $15,000 one like a car. Or finding out about different roasts of coffee and the machines used to brew my perfect cup. Etc., etc., ad nauseum. This to me makes sense. So if I am a homebuyer and I'm looking for a home, and my wife and I have found 8 or 10 homes, it's because we have done our homework already. We have researched the schools in the area. We have researched the neighborhood. We know where the grocery store, post office, restaurants and 24-hour drug store is at. These are the homes that make sense to us. And so many more people in their mid-30s and younger are quite used to that. Does it make sense to continue marketing these people in the same way as the last generation. In my opinion, no. So anyway, the floodgates are open. Let the debate begin. Or not.