When I first made the jump over to real estate after 20+ years in high-tech sales, the biggest shock to me was the realization of how low-tech the real estate industry is. And I’m not talking about the frightening amount of paper we still consume every time a home is sold — the fact that we probably kill a tree with every transaction is a topic for some future post. I’m referring to the power, or lack thereof, of Internet-based tools.
Despite the fact that the Internet was developed right in our back yard, it seems that Real Estate and the Web were never destined become close friends. One need look no further than MLSListings.com, the website that Realtors must use to enter and manage their listings, to know what I’m talking about. The user interface and data mining capabilities of this site are generations old (in Internet terms) — so manipulating data and making good use of all the information contained in the MLS is cumbersome, and the results of which are sometimes of questionable accuracy.
Luckily in the past few years, several companies have dialed into the fact that over 80% (and likely higher in the Bay Area) of home buyers start their home search on the Internet, and have created unique business models and powerful websites that greatly enhance the user experience and even give the consumer different options for buying and selling real estate. Sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin have become the destinations of choice for many buyers and sellers — and for good reason. Even though each company approaches the market with a different goal and business model, they each have pumped millions of dollars into their websites to bring to bear much of enhanced graphical interface and interactivity that has been the promise of “Web 2.0.”
Now comes the audience participation part of the show 🙂
The question I pose to you, readers of the White Oaks Blog, is….. What is your favorite Real Estate Website, and why? Do you use Trulia, or Redfin, or Zillow — or do you have another cool site that you can recommend to the readers? Simply click on the “Comments” link below and let us all know. The beauty of this is that there’s no wrong answer — everyone’s opinion is valuable, and will be treated as such.
Thanks for weighing in on this topic!
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