Salvation … or Sellers of Snake Oil?
You can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting yet another new company, enhanced web site or new product to “help” agents during these lean times. When they release these new or improved products/services/enhancements, are they on to that “thing” that will change the market. Is there a silver bullet that will return us to a vibrant market (or at least one that’s less than dismal)? Maybe.
Are RE Tech companies opportunistic??!!
The bigger question is: are companies taking advantage of agents’ fear of extinction by developing products, websites, software, widgets, etc.? More important, will that new bright shiny wysiwyg truly drive toward solving the core problem? Do the RE Tech companies, or big brand Realtors® really have their fingers on the pulse of what buyers and sellers of real estate need, or are they preying on the fears of agents?
Buyer come back!
People aren’t buying real estate as much now as they were for a myriad of reasons: lack of cash, distrust real estate’s value, uncertain employment, lack of financing options … the list goes on. The bottom line is these factors have created a fearful market.
Fear causes paralysis
Are the RE tech companies and big RE Brokers going the right direction? Is a new widget, blogging tool, a plethora of data (historical, by the way – not necessarily telling as to what will happen in the future) going to instill enough confidence to bring buyers back? I don’t think so.
Nobody has it right. Yet.
How does a blog instill confidence? How does a Zestimate, Trulia Voices, user contributed content, pictures of neighborhoods, walkability, neighbor comments, automated marketing systems, a CMA or software designed to help agents find blue-eyed, left handed investors bring back buyers?
Double dog dare you …
Zillow, Trulia, Cyberhomes, Realtor.com, and big RE brands – Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ReMax – what are you doing to address this? Are enhanced listings or a prettier GUI your answer? Is that honestly enough to reinstate confidence in real estate? The money is out there. No, not the free for all we’ve seen over the last several years, but there are potential buyers out there hesitating out of fear.
Hyundai figured it out
Hyundai’s recent campaign to let people return cars if they lose their income hit the nail on the head. Brilliant example of recession marketing. This struck right at the core of buyer’s uncertainty. Sales of the Hyundai Sonata reportedly surged 85% in January, making it one of the country’s top-selling vehicles.
No, you can’t buy back a house. But, can you offer a buyer’s guarantee? I think it would give me some piece of mind if as a buyer I was guaranteed that after five years my house will sell for at least what I paid (barring damage or changes that devalue the property). I’m sure there are RESPA issues here, and all kinds of arguments about why this won’t work. But, isn’t the idea worth entertaining?
Buck it (the trend, that is)
Come on companies! If a car company can do it, why can’t real estate? Stop worrying about answering to your investors, VC’s, IR or PR folks, and start coming up with real solutions that will give people the confidence to get back into the market!! If we stop worrying about eyeballs, traffic, perceived value, positioning and ego and don’t over analyze or complicate we get to solution.