Browsing Category Technology

Zillow’s Offering Blogs and Real Estate Search. So What?

Not much has changed since 2007 – real estate search is *still* fragmented. And if you’re searching for homes for sale in Charlottesville, read this first.

In 2007 and 2008, not many real estate agents (relatively) had blogs or real estate search; now, seemingly everyone does – and the battle between the big three –, Zillow and Trulia remains as fierce as ever. So today’s news that Zillow is going to be offering cheap wordpress sites with real estate search is yet another sign that real estate listings are a commodity, accessible by almost everyone … and when something is everywhere, its value is diminished.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that real estate agents are always looking for the next silver bullet that will make them successful and profitable without having to work. Hard. Zillow’s going for the masses – good for them.

My first reaction to reading this news was, “thank goodness I have something on my site besides listings.” Everyone and every product is seeking to differentiate itself. If everyone has real estate search, that differentiation is going to be harder to achieve.

So, my reaction to the “Zillow is offering blogs with real estate search” news is a combination of “so what” and “good for them.”

I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and represent my clients to the best of my ability. With or without listings on my blog.

Read More

Search for Homes in Charlottesville by Radius (Proximity)

It’s not often that I get super-excited by real estate search and technology anymore; the last time I got excited was’s app. And sometimes implementing simplicity is brilliant

Diverse Solutions provides the “search for homes” tool that so many people use, and yesterday it got even better with their new release (researching this post, I realized that it’s only been a couple months since their last release).

– Radius search – check it out now! Walkability and proximity to stuff are two of the most important things my buyer clients are asking for.

– Search with polygons (only available on the backend by me for now … what polygons do you want?) and I imagine that soon it will likely be available to users

– Driving Directions

(have you seen that you can search for open houses as well? It’s an older feature but mighty useful!)

I have long wanted to provide the best real estate search tool in the Charlottesville area for my readers, visitors, buyers, etc – my role is a client representative, and I firmly believe that by empowering my clients, we all are better off.

Soon I might do a voice-over, but you really don’t want to listen to me, do you?

I’ll be testing this out myself (and implementing it more widely shortly)

Read More

Choose Your (Social) Friends Wisely – They Could Affect Your Ability to Buy a House

Be warned. Could the time come when “what is your Facebook password” is one of the questions on your loan application?

Beta Beat has an extremely alarming story:

But there’s a nightmare scenario: if banks learn how to use social media, they could gather information they aren’t allowed to ask for on a credit application—including race, marital status and receipt of public assistance—or worse, to redline segments of the social graph.

In other words: choose your online friends wisely, for they may one day determine your APR.

And if you don’t have a Facebook account? Maybe you won’t even be considered for a loan.

Read More

After Nearly Two Weeks with My Nexus, The Verdict is …

I love technology (when it works and adds value to my life – work and personal)

I had a Droid Pro. I really liked it, particularly the keyboard. Now I’ve gone Nexus. Galaxy, that is.


– The screen is fantastic.

– It’s fast. Very, very fast.

– Folders are very useful.

– The panoramic feature is easy and extremely useful. The camera itself is very fast.

– The phone itself feels good in my pocket and hand. Not too light, not too heavy.


Read More

Albemarle County Could Get 4G Mobile Service

While the internet is the new infrastructure, mobile infrastructure is crucial. I’ve had clients in the Charlottesville – Albemarle area choose to not buy property because 1) hard-wired internet accessibility – fiber (very limited), or DSL or cable – is not available and/or 2) Reliable cell phone service is not available (GSM AT&T and T-Mobile) tends to be worse than CDMA – US Cellular, nTelos, Verizon, Sprint).

Charlottesville Tomorrow reports that “The Albemarle Board of Supervisors has voted to pay a consultant to determine if the county’s existing policy on cell towers will impede implementation of the next generation of wireless communications services.”

Infrastructure – wired and wireless is crucial for quality of life, competitiveness and economic development. Let’s hope the County figures this out.

Read More

DS + Zillow = A whole Host of Questions

Warning: this post is not within the real of purely local real estate blogging …

Second, when I saw this news I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. One of the reasons I have so loved Diverse Solutions on my site is that they gave me what I believed to be the best tool out there to search for homes in my market. In part, I’ve been competing with Zillow (not really, they’re huge. I’m tiny) But really, I have been. Now they’re together? Zillow, who makes money (as all of the third parties do) selling agents on upsells for $X per month?

1. Is this the next step in the evolution of Zillow becoming/replacing/supplanting the MLS? Maybe. Maybe not.

2a. Presumably, if I keep using Diverse Solutions to power my real estate search page, I’ll have to update my site’s privacy policy saying that Zillow is likely to start farming my users’ information. That will suck.

4. Listings, and listing data are a commodity . Everyone has them. I’ve benefited by google indexing the MLS listings found on my site, but I’ve never depended on it. I generate unique, relevant, and occasionally good content. Anyone can get listing data.

6. See #4. Those depending on real estate search for their SEO are now SOL. It’s the evolution/consolidation of the tech space, and that’s ok. Real estate is about real estate representation – used with technology appropriately. Technology without competent representation and interpretation is merely cool tech.

Read More