Part I: Background
Just when I thought I was getting a handle on the players in the future of real estate search, today’s news unleashes a whole new set of opportunities! “Homestore, Inc., the leading provider of real estate media and technology solutions, today announced that Elevation Partners, a private equity firm, has agreed to invest $100 million in Homestore…”
Since I’ve been covering real estate search, I’ve had numerous emails, chats, conversations, etc. from real estate agents who think that I should highlight more of the companies that are working to improve the MLS instead of the companies that are looking to replace it!
More than anyone else, Homestore represents the hope that someone will provide an awesome, nationwide, competitive real estate search based on the current MLS system.
Why? Homestore already operates the largest real estate database, i.e.the database that operates Realtor.com.
Now mix together (1) the only complete nationwide MLS database (that I’m aware of), (2) $100M to improve operations, and (3) some VERY accomplished tech visionaries, and I’d imagine that expectations are set very high.
For Homestore, Elevation Partners brings a former Apple star, a former Electronic Arts star, a Silicon Valley star, and of course, a rock star… There are enough opportunities to make one’s head buzz… I’m thinking:
- Real estate listings on my iPod
- Simcity interface for home search
- Home listing videos done MTV-style
Okay, so maybe my head started spinning a little too much! Back on planet earth, I’d say that all the players (Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Google, etc.) building innovative home search tools should keep a close eye on Homestore. They already “own” a complete and nationwide set of real estate data (ownership in the sense that they have “possession”!). Should they start putting together some innovative tools, they have leverage that others are going to find hard to beat!
Part II: Where the Streets have No Name
I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name
Part III: Your Mission Should you Wish to Accept It
Imagine that you’ve been invited to 2800 Sand Hill Road to discuss the future of real estate with Roger McNamee, Fred Anderson, Bono, John Riccitiello, John Doerr, and Joe Hanauer.
What do you tell them? What features do you want to see in real estate search? If you are an agent, what is the biggest pain that someone could fix with a technical solution? If you are a buyer, what are the major gaps you see in the current system? What information do you wish you had?
I know that some of my readers have some great ideas. Please share as much as you’re willing. Remember that these guys want to work “within” the current system (i.e. cooperate with real estate agents!), and, most importantly, these people are thinking huge… $100M huge!