Attending Real Estate Connect in San Francisco This Week

Later this week, I’ll be in San Francisco for
Real
Estate Connect
. A huge conference for the real estate industry where the big
wigs come together to discuss where the industry is heading.

Each year, the conference has a theme used to tie together what’s happening in
the real estate industry. This year the theme is: Open Source, Open
Data, Open Debate

Which will be explained in the
welcoming
address
:

The real estate process is being turned inside
out as data, social commentary and simple APIs overhaul the arcane process of
buying and selling real estate. Learn what is hot and what is not from the
leading real estate observer, Bradley Inman, Publisher of Inman News.

Real Estate Connect LogoA year ago, Zillow was the
hot topic as their automatic home valuation tool had been on the web for a few
months and was drawing tons of attention and interest. How were real estate
agents who’ve traditionally generated leads through personal home valuations
going to adjust to the reality of publicly available home valuations? While it’s
still not clear, it does seem clear that the genie is out of the bottle on that
type of data.

A year later, the industry seems to understand that the web will continue to be
the a source of new forms of easily consumable data by agents and consumers. In
some cases, this will be data that’s always been available becoming presentable
in more palatable formats. In other cases, it will be the creating of new types
of data.

Blogging is one case where agents are starting to see the positive PR and
marketing benefits of presenting oneself as a neighborhood or city expert in the
field of real estate. However, this is still very immature. For example, I live
in a metropolitan area of 2,000,000 people and know of
four
real
estate
bloggers. I
wouldn’t exactly call that crowded. Perhaps
Hugh MacLeod
will connect
with more than a few bloggers at Connect about the power of
blogging for business.

One issue I haven’t seen addressed at Real Estate Connect, but may see someone
mention this year is: “What happens if
Digg
gets into real estate?”

How would the real estate industry change if every home consumer could vote up
or down every listing in their market? If they could comment on every listing?
If they could easily blog every listing?

Would the quality of the average listing improve? Would home sellers freak out
to their agents if their homes received little or no Diggs while comparable
properties with more photos and better descriptions rose in popularity? How
would the industry respond to such an open marketplace like this? Is this good
or bad? Preventable? Inevitable?

Also, I’m considering sticking around SFO through the weekend. If you’re in the area, send me an email so we can meet up.

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