There will be no online real estate revolution. No tipping point. No tidal wave of change. Just a slow rising tide that swells almost imperceptibly, carrying upon it those who seek, in time, the higher ground. citation
This viewpoint has some synergy to Yale finance professor Robert Shiller’s comments Feb 25, 2008 that lower home prices operate as a net benefit for society. I also agree with Brian that there really is no “killer app”.
But researchers and entrepreneurs are doing great work in creating applications to exploit Web 2.0 communication mediums. For example, this lecture proposes a system for automatically defining communities in social networks, and this lecture details how messaging and surveys could be analyzed to define communities.
Why are these studies important to real estate professionals? Because in about 18 to 24 months the viable models derived from this type of research will see market application. In turn, this means you can then use those models to communicate more effectively with a Web 2.0 audience when the housing market rebounds and consumers–who’ve been feasting on Facebook, MySpace, etc, in the interim–will expect you to communicate with them in a “Web 2.0 savvy” manner.
You either have high home prices or lower home prices and lower home prices are what we want, and people shouldn’t be afraid of that,” said Robert Shiller, Yale finance professor, in a Reuters interview. Most of us care about our children and grandchildren, and these people have to buy houses so why would we want high home prices. We want economic growth, we don’t want high home prices.
So, as the slow ride down continues, what’s happening in the realm of social media that will help you when the ride hits bottom and the ascent begins anew? For starters, Business Week Online in its Feb 21, 2008 issue, is a great source for ideas.
Go ahead and bellyache about blogs. But you cannot afford to close your eyes to them, because they’re simply the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. And they’re going to shake up just about every business—including yours. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shipping paper clips, pork bellies, or videos of Britney in a bikini, blogs are a phenomenon that you cannot ignore, postpone, or delegate. Given the changes barreling down upon us, blogs are not a business elective. They’re a prerequisite. citation
Here’s a tip elite athletes adhere to: remember your competition is yourself and those out there who take the time to do one little extra thing, whether it’s one more hand-eye coordination exercise, or 55 more stairs to run, and it’s that one little extra thing that can separate a winner from a loser.
Ideas circulate as fast as scandal. Potential customers are out there, sniffing around for deals and partners. While you may be putting it off, you can bet that your competitors are exploring ways to harvest new ideas from blogs, sprinkle ads into them, and yes, find out what you and other competitors are up to. citation
Yes, social media will change the way real estate practices are conducted. One way–for the better–is simply to allow you to engage in a more meaningful discussions with clients and potential clients. As a real estate professional, blogs operate as your authority imprimatur. As mainstream media begins to gobble up the blog premise and “commoditize” this presence you will look out-of-date and “old school” if you similarly don’t innovate your mode(s) of communication.
Mainstream media companies will master blogs as an advertising tool and take over vast commercial stretches of the blogosphere. Over the next five years, this could well divide winners and losers in media. And in the process, mainstream media will start to look more and more like—you guessed it—blogs.” citation
Real estate professionals can use similar tactics. For example, on listing presentation collateral, refer prospective clients to your blog, from your blog refer clients to your listings. Why the blog first and not your listings?
Your blog operates as an authority imprimatur where your clients and prospective clients can read about your expertise; thus, your blog operates as a 24/7 testimonial as to WHY you’re an expert. Prospective clients want to know “why” they should retain you. Current clients want a reason “why” they should refer you. Past clients need a reason “why” they should reengage you.