Google, Garmin and Realtors

Re-purposing a post from my posterous:

Google announced a big real estate move about two hours ago: listings can now be viewed on any Google Map by clicking on the “More” button, a position heretofore reserved for photos, transit information and other overlays.





Being able to successfully represent clients will define the future of this profession. There is much online competition for the real estate industry – Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Google –  that will fragment real estate search. Picking up the pieces by representing clients and their best interests will define the successful Realtor. No amount of online data will replace a walking into a basement and immediately knowing whether there has been water infiltration recently, or whether the wood floors are real 3/4 inch wood or a laminate-type product.

Google changes everything.

Those Realtors who depend on the MLS as their sole (or primary) value-add need to find new careers.

A good (or great!) Realtor offers at least the following:

– Context
– Information

– Local knowledge
– Data Interpretation
– Negotiating
– Counseling, psychology, philosophy, market predictions, market interpretation
– And a whole lot more.

One of the benefits of writing a real estate blog in Charlottesville for nearly five years is the archives.

Looking back at what I wrote in 2005, it looks like Google has improved a little bit:

Limitations (to the former Google Base):
– simply too much information
– mapping aspects of Google are limited; identifying specific property addresses is not accurate. I have had to identify the properties with the town or the zip code rather than the actual property address.

– the search aspect is not yet refined. How can someone search for a three bedroom, two bath home with at least 1800 square feet on at least .3 acres in the Henley Middle School district?

– there is not yet a consistent search criteria used by all posters

– The search results (at least for now) seem to be too easily manipulated by bulk submitters.

More of what I’ve written over the years about Google and real estate.

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  1. Doug Francis November 1, 2009 at 16:22

    I read about the maps in today’s Washington Post… and how Garmin & TomTom stocks tanked. Maybe Google will rule the earth on day, or is that really the future of real estate that you want me to think about?

    I use Google maps, bird’s eye views and more to research neighborhoods… as do my clients. At this point it seems to cut through the top 15% of the process.

    Now, if the folks in Mountain View could just select the home for each person based on a list of simple questions based on an algorithm then people wouldn’t have such a tough time deciding on a home to buy. Just take the people part out of it!

  2. Jim Duncan November 2, 2009 at 07:16

    Doug –

    Thanks for the comment; I think that most Realtors either don’t have any idea what Google’s doing or are terrified. What we need to do is understand that our core competency is no longer finding homes but has become representing clients once we’ve found the home.

  3. Pingback: Who Finds Homes? Buyers or Realtors? |

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