Social Networking is entering the real estate market place casually. It seems that for many agents and brokers, participating in these networks is “nice to have” not “have to have.” It is understandable. Aside from a few dozen isolated examples, social networking has not generated much new business for real estate practitioners.
Today I learned about a new social network titled blip.fm. It allows people to become DJs, sharing music favorites online. To get started you simply create a user name and enter in your email address. Pick a few bands or songs that you like, and blip.fm will instantly connect you to people with the same musical tastes. You can easily add people to your favorites and follow the new music that they share. You can also invite your own friends to join you on blip, and share music with them simply by entering the title or artist – even add messages to go along with the song. If you are a musician, you can even add your own music to blip.fm An activity pane called “stats” allows you to see previous songs you have listened to, comments from others, favorite DJs and current listeners.
Lets now turn to real estate. Does this concept resonate for buyers and sellers?
With Property.RE, people who are buying or selling homes share their property favorites online. To get started, you simply create a username and enter an email address. Pick a few homes that you like and Property.RE will instantly connect you with people who are shopping for, or selling homes with your same tastes. You can easily add people to your favorite buyer or seller list, and follow the new listings that they share. You can also invite your own friends or co-buyers/seller to join you on property.re, and share listings with them simply by entering the address or MLS id – even add messages to the listings to share your personal likes and dislikes. If you are a home seller, you can even add your own listing to property.re. An activity pane called “stats” aloows you to see previous listings you have viewed, comments from others, and favorite buyers and seller friend activity.
From a practical perspective, deployment would require a large real estate association or MLS to build a large enough community to make it viable.
Right now, consumers are writing about real estate listings on blogs, posting to youtube. They are defining real estate on Wikipedia and ganging up on real estate professionals who suck on social networking sites like Facebook. These are all elements of the social phenomenon. Today there is a gap between brokers and agents (usually over 45) and home buyers and sellers (usually under 45). Soon the tsunami of social networks that is storming through the demographic of the under 30 crowd is going to hit the aging REALTOR demographic. Will the real estate industry be prepared to weather the storm, or will it get wiped out?