The online reshuffling real estate
October 13th, 2009

Many sectors such as travel agencies, the music industry, and these days journalism, have been reshuffled by the internet phenom. As Michael S. Malone describes at edgelings live from Silicon Valley, real estate is responding with big shuffling as well:

But the big tech battle in the real estate business these days, the Apple-Microsoft of the realty game, is being fought across multiple platforms and is for control over the biggest database in the industry: listings. It’s the classic story – ten years, if you were a realtor and you want to list a home for sale, you sent the information and a photo to the local multiple listing service, which printed it up in a book that was then distributed to all other agents in the area.

Needless to say, this paradigm got blown apart with the rise of laptop computers, the Web and smartphones. Suddenly, there was a whole bunch of ways to list a house for sale, including mainstream operations like Craigslist, eBay, Google, Yahoo, and specialty sites like Frontdoor, Cyberhomes, Homefinder.com, and RealEstateBook.com.

But the traditional multiple listings companies didn’t just roll over under this assault. On the contrary, having access to far more information (taxes, liens, etc.) and far more members than the Web upstarts, they responded by virtual themselves, bringing heavy computing firepower to bear to create sophisticated websites that not only claimed to be more inclusive, but more complete than non-Realtor® services. They could also reach out and draw information from their professional counterparts around the country.


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