by: Nora Hall
In the last year real estate professionals have not only seen changes in the market but also in the economic landscape of the United States. In conjunction with the emerging buyers market, the industry also experienced a greater shift towards technology as a means of communication between agents, homebuyers and sellers. Most people already know the majority of buyers start their property search online, but real estate technology isn't just about web sites.
Real Estate News: Billboard and Cell Phone Technology
In July of 2009, from July 6 until August 2, 2009 Coldwell Banker hosted an interactive billboard in Times Square. Requested home listings, displayed in real time, are driven by cell phone text requests sent by interested buyers on this billboard. By simply using a mobile phone to text the word "homes" and any U.S. zip code viewers could see the highest, median and lowest priced realty in the designated area. In a July 2009 press release Michael Fischer, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC stated, "Consumers want quick access to online listings and this campaign reinforces how easy it is to find listings and information, anytime, anywhere."
Real Estate Channels on Youtube.com
Youtube.com has become a valuable tool for anyone interested in buying, selling or investing in property. All over the country agents are creating Youtube.com videos to educate clients and provide them with in depth details about small towns and metropolitan cities everywhere. In addition, official Youtube channels are being created to make searching online even easier. Some Youtube channels service regions like the Homefinder 100 channel, a Youtube channel that supports a cable channel dedicated to the market in Toledo, Ohio. Other channels feature specific agents like the Sam Valadez Group channel.
National agencies like Coldwell Banker have also created Youtube.com channels. In May of 2009 Coldwell Banker launched Coldwell Banker on Location, a channel "designed to offer consumers a new way to search for and interact with real estate information and listings", according to a May 4,, 2009 press release entitled, "New Coldwell Banker 'On Location' Youtube channel first in Industry to Fully Tap Power of Video for Real Estate Search and Insights." According to the release, "To create On Location, Coldwell Banker closely collaborated with both YouTube, a Google subsidiary, and Google to develop a customized framework and user experience...On Location is the first branded YouTube channel to use dynamic IP lookup to search for videos, which automatically serves up local results when visitors first hit the site."
Innovative Website Design and Online Real Estate Tools
Real estate websites are still one of the most important tools on the Internet today. Choosing an agent, learning about a specific region and reviewing the MLS can be easy with the right website. According to KW.com, in January of 2009 Keller Williams created a "powerful new home valuation tool", which displays home value estimates from both Zillow.com and Cyberhomes.com. An instant price comparison can be generated for any address in the U.S.
Coldwell Banker plans to launch a newly designed website during the first quarter of 2010, the beta version will be released in early December. The new web technology has some excellent features including a more precise keyword search for property results, a more prominent video display for listings, a "You May Also Like" feature and the first totally visual real estate search-BlueScape. The new search technology will allow homebuyers and sellers to come to the agent of their choice much more prepared than in the past. The website is meant to empower buyers and sellers to become even more involved in the property exchange process.
Why Technology Matters in Real Estate
Technological advancement in the industry is important because buying or selling a home is a huge decision. Now more than ever realty professionals, homebuyers and sellers can participate in mutually beneficial partnerships. Buyers and sellers are an essential part of the search and agents now act as leaders, trusted consultants and experts in their market. In addition, online exposure as a buyer or a seller is necessary to achieve success. One of the most well recognized websites, Realtor.com, has approximately 6.6 million unique visitors per month. There is no denying that technology plays a powerful role in real estate these days.