What’s Next in Real Estate Technology?

What’s Next? For the past three weeks, I’ve been looking back at real estate technologies that are now commonplace that I wanted five years ago. This has been a fun series, if only because my “wants” have evolved in the past few weeks, and the evolution and creation of new, applicable technologies have as well.

Now, what’s next?

Mobile Barcode Scanning. It’s up 700% year over year. Notice the barcode on my signs? We haven’t rolled them out quite yet Nest-wide, but are testing them.

Mobile anything and everything. iPads, Blackpads, Android OS, etc. People are becoming more mobile, and using their laptops and desktops (I haven’t had a desktop in 15+ years!) less and less.

Although broadband use is increasing it has been outstripped by mobile connections. The ITU estimates that there will be 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2010, of which 3.8 billion will be in the developing world. It says that more than 90% of the world’s population now has access to a mobile network.

Mobile is huge. And will be huger.

Video. In every format. MLS’ still are limiting. I would love to do video walkthroughs of all of my listings – they’re useful and practical and buyers and sellers (more buyers) want them. But … MLS’ politics – led by fearful Realtors – are the hang-up.

More information. More data. More need for good Realtors to interpret and guide buyers and sellers through the process. RPR is a start. But there are a lot of impressive tools coming out of the woodwork right now.

More and better mapping. Innovation is everywhere. On the day I was finalizing the second post in this series, the guys at 1000Watt posted about Sharemymap.com. And the week before I finished this post, Estately posted about their new school search. And the week before that, Redfin released clustered results. This stuff fascinates me because it make for a better search experience for consumers and will eventually trickle its way to the Charlottesville market. (and Nest released a new version of our search, and my Charlottesville home search just got faster)

Lifestyle search – I want to find and live in a neighborhood with other people around my life stage – with kids, near a park, 20 minutes to one spouse’s work, walk to a coffee shop and a library, ride a bike to the other spouse’s work, close to a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods, with utilities that are below average in a well-built house, priced lower than the assessed value that is oriented to allow for solar panels, with high speed access, close to the Downtown Mall on a cul-de-sac.

More content creation for and by real estate people – across the spectrum

Geo. Location. Geo Fencing. Whatever you want to call it, real estate is about location, location, location. Now, so is the internet.

What I want in the future:

– MLS technology and politics to be sorted out (note to inlookers: this is impossible. There are >800 MLS’ and 1 million Realtors. Get them to agree. Please) Data Standards, too, please.

– Platform-agnostic everything. I don’t want to worry about my MLS not quite working on my mac, my clients’ PC or my blackberry or Droid or iPhone.

– Better data and analytics. I want to know what’s happening in the real estate market – what people are searching for, what they’re buying, how many foreclosures are out there, how many people are buying houses with ceramic tile, how many with gray-water systems, how many off-the-grid and more. Basically, I want it all. Now would be good.

BG. Beyond Google. Surely the world is going to evolve a bit beyond Google, right?

Facebook . Somehow, much to my chagrin, much of the world is going to go through Facebook. What if Facebook created an MLS of sorts? Allowed consumers to market their homes themselves? And tied in with Mint?-

But don’t miss the huge shift going on.

In the past, to find a business, we’d go to Google and type something like “Palo Alto Sushi.” We’re heading toward a world where you’ll use location-based services to do the same thing.

That is a HUGE disruptive threat to Google.

Limitations – mainly political:

- MLS – 500 characters for public description of the property but seemingly unlimited for the comments to the agents?

Branding & the MLS. I don’t do marketing videos as much anymore because the single greatest director and source of traffic – the MLS – has an obscene aversion to branding. For example: if I put a video up of a property I’m marketing and use my primary youtube account (the easiest way to upload and share video) I can be and will be flagged for “branding” because the consumer can find me via youtube.

MLS – other websites can resize photos. Why can’t you?

MLS – Realtors still take crappy, often misleading, photos. There is no excuse.


- Part One – Real Estate Technology I wanted Five Years Ago is Finally Here – Interactive Floorplans
Part Two – Real Estate Technology I wanted Five Years Ago is Finally Here – Real Estate Video
- Part Three – Real Estate Technology I wanted Five Years Ago is Finally Here – Paperless Transactions.
- Prologue – What’s Next?

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