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Web2.0 Real Estate Reality Check

onlineshopper_500.jpgI’m simply going to break down the anatomy of a real life transaction, my summary may surprise you:

Who shops online?

  • Apparently 88% of consumers shop online for just about everything, including real estate.

When do they shop online?

  • Generally at work. By my own appraisal of my family’s Internet use, we’re using the Internet to Google anything from coffee, restaurants, homes and more. Are we buying? Generally, no. Last year, shopping for my television was a seven month process. My car shopping experience has lasted well over 10 months. Why am I taking so long? I’m a typical procrastinator.

How many folks actually purchase online after shopping there?

  • Great question. Based on my own evaluation of myself, not often.

Why?

  • For my television, I actually had to leave the house- I wanted to see the picture, press the buttons, and decide how it would look on my wall or on my media cabinet.

Did I buy on my first trip?

  • No, I actually bought the very day the sales guy at Fry’s Electronics told me everything I needed to hear- price, quality, and that I was buying a television well under the value I found it for online. He sold me- he closed me, and I let him. Because like most of you, when I’m willing, ready, and able, it simply takes a great closer to box the deal into a pretty package.

What does this have to do with a home sale?

  • Buyers by their very nature are lookie lous. Everyone wants to look at the pretty pictures. Everyone wants to kill that lunch hour; hell, some of them want to kill the whole day, and in between a round of yahoo literati, they take a swing around craigslist, up the road to google, maybe even peruse the all common search phrase ‘search name of city homes‘, they may even pick up the phone and talk to an agent for a minute or less, all while balancing the boss’ needs or answering the other line. The fact is that 88% is just that- a nameless time killer that may or may not be buying sooner than later and at the same time are day dreaming of the new car they’ll search for next.

What’s the point of all of this, and what does it have to do with you?

  • Think back to the last first home buyer you had- remember how afraid they were? How long had they been looking before they hooked up with you? An even better question is- how long had they been thinking about buying? In my experience, the answer more times than not is, “a couple of years.” Other times, the answer has always been, “for a while.” When I would inquire further, I’d ask why they hadn’t purchased sooner (I’m always looking for the answers procrastinating buyers have) and the answer is almost every time an astounding “we didn’t know we could buy.” Credit, leases, income, and more are always in the top three reasons for procrastinating. I’ve met second and third home buyers that fit this same profile, and they’re all simply looking for someone who will relate to them and answer the questions they need answered.

I’m (not) a Realtor by profession, I’m (not even) a real estate agent. Further, I’m (not even) a guy who sells homes- I’m a closer. By knowing my buyers and sellers, I’m the reason they move from Internet entertainment and real estate porn to the closing table. I make their dreams a reality and their fears a thing of the past. I educate, I elevate, I build them into property owners- they are achieving a goal, and even more, they’re living the dream.

I can do what no real estate website in the world can do, I can do more than any a.v.m., I can survive what technology companies cannot. How? By leaving my office and engaging. I will survive down markets, 2.0 or not. Focusing more energy on the state of the real estate union will leave you current on feuds and statistics, but behind on the business of closing.

Web2.0 is only a tool, it is not the answer. 88% of consumers may shop online, but 98% of consumers I meet buy and or sell through me.

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Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Mariana

    October 25, 2007 at 4:40 am

    I am going to memorize this, ok? That was just unbelievably awesome. Thank you.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    October 25, 2007 at 4:42 am

    You know, I didn’t even scroll down to see who wrote this post. I could tell by the read it was you. Great job. And true to life.

  3. J. Ferris

    October 25, 2007 at 5:22 am

    I just sent this to my broker. VERY, VERY good post!

  4. Jim Duncan

    October 25, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Excellent post, and one that all those suffering from the effects of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt should learn from. Technology is a tool, but not (yet) a means to replace the experience of touching, feeling and smelling.

  5. Benn Rosales

    October 25, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Jim, this is as yet as it will ever be. Touching & feeling? There are 5 of those senses that must be pleased to give you comfort.

    An even bigger point is this I don’t think it’s just about the senses as much as it is about ‘affirmation.’ Wrap your mind around that one…

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