Michael Wurzer raises some interesting points in a post on how real estate shoppers discuss home listings today.
He explains that real estate is a different animal than the latest consumer gadget, which makes commenting on individual properties more difficult since fewer people have hands-on experience with a property than the latest iPod.
However, it seems clear that Wurzer knows conversations are happening today. Just not on real estate websites:
I do think there are great opportunities for authentic conversations on-line about particular listings and, as Rob suggests, starting gingerly is best. Some of these conversations are already occurring on-line through showing systems that allow the agents to share comments with each other and their clients from particular showings. Expanding on these systems is an obvious way to extend the conversation.
Personally, I think people are having more conversations regarding buying decisions today than at any point in human history. Why? Because more conversations are asynchronous than ever before. Drop someone you know who’s in the know a note via email, SMS, IM, Twitter, etc., and get a response from them when they get a chance.
For example, a friend of mine just shot me a quick question about a grind & brew coffee maker I own. He’s considering buying one as well. Seeing that I was available through IM, he shot me a quick note, and within 2 minutes he had more confidence in his buying decision (which happened to be to NOT buy something he was considering in this case).
This conversation never would have happened without technology. It could have happened via SMS or email, but wouldn’t have happened if he had to wait until the next time he saw me to ask me the question.
Buying doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In the case of real estate, people are constantly passing around information that effects who they’re going to work with, which houses are worth investing time to visit in person, and which companies to use for insurance, title, etc.
Because of this, an agent or broker fails if they only manage to impress a prospective customer with their website. They also need to impress the prospect’s spouse, friends, and family to whom they send links for a 2nd, 3rd – 10th opinion.