The Perfect Real Estate 2.0 Company

[photopress:timeYOU_big.jpg,thumb,alignright]If I had millions of dollars like Jim and Shirley Wilson now have (254M Powerball this week) I would create what I feel is a void in market today. I would take a Zillow like property evaluation tool and add a social networking back end to it. This was actually some of the conversations Dustin, Robbie and I had over a year ago when I was first introduced to RCG.

Anyway, what the market needs now is a valuation tool like Zillow that is enhanced by taking in to account neighborhoods, the particular street the house is on, the property’s zoning, the neighbors to your left and right and many many more. Zillow has added features to allow home owners to update their statistics for a closer estimate, but there is nothing out there that allows the brainchild behind Web 2.0’s success… YOU! (also a reason I feel the Web 2.0 bubble is far from bursting).

This would allow owners, neighbors and most importantly realtors to add comments to their communities, neighboring houses and their own house. I can only imagine how valuable this content would be to future home owners. Matter of a face, this would add some type of accountability to neighbors and home owners to be ‘good neighbors’. I guess this would be like a Better Business Bureau for home owners. I am sure all of the tenured agents out there have heard horror stories of their clients having troubles with a new home where the Form 17 disclosures could not provide any protection. This would be especially valuable in multi family communities.

[photopress:my_currency.jpg,thumb,alignleft]San Francisco’s my-currency launched today looking to tap in to this resource. John Cook’s blog talks about it as My Currency takes on Zillow which I understand, but I feel the underlying message here is putting the power in the people’s hand. It is easy for a site to put together stats that combines total square footage by numbers of beds/bath times a special area by area multiplier (I assume this is similar to the formula most of these sites use), but the does that mean someone will actually pay that price? If this were true, I would sell my house today for 200k more than I think it is worth because Zillow says so 🙂

16 thoughts on “The Perfect Real Estate 2.0 Company

  1. Zillow should add a wiki per zip code or per school district or maybe even neighborhood. I wonder with the my-currency model how valuable the public weighing in on house values would be and whether or not the results would do anyone any good. And how many would bother to do so. And do agents really have the ability to guess on a home’s value without being on the inside? I don’t. A house can vary $50000-100000 depending on updating, etc, as we all know, so why would agents even want to compete. It will be interesting to watch the experiment.

  2. It sounds good hypothetically but I’m loathe to think it would really pan out as a way to improve house value estimates. How often would people without some sort of agenda come to add information? Even here on RCG I’ve seen some people complain about how unreliable and over-inflated square footage figures are in listings, while I’ve seen other people complain that Zillow isn’t using their inflated square footage figures. I’m sure the latter don’t think they want something unreasonable or misleading, but if anything that just goes to show the kind of distortions people make when they’re blinded by strong motives like money or pride.

    What’s more, if someone were to say something negative about a specific house – much less a neighbor – that could get ugly very quickly. So, the site would have tons of useless tales of how wonderful everything is in everyone’s neighborhood, along with some negative comments and retaliatory criticisms.

    The capacity in which I could see this working out well is as a place for larger scale – e.g., block or neighborhood – interaction, reviews and information. That is, merge a review site (e.g., Yelp) and Zillow, and add the capacity for neighborhood pictures, stories, billboards, or blogs. Limit or disallow anonymous posts, as well as have a moderation system, to help maintain quality. It could be a great way for outsiders to get a sense of a neighborhood but it wouldn’t affect the property value estimates presented.

    The only way I see online value estimates being improved by agents is if the company that does the estimating goes out and hires agents to independently evaluate properties. Otherwise, it’s just people trying to manipulate figures to serve their own ends.

  3. Lar,

    Did you mean “insightful” as in “suggestive of new perspectives” or was the mispelling a play on words as in “incite-ful”…as in inciting some to riot 🙂

    Thought you were going to whiz that one right by us, didn’t ya 😉

  4. Ben-

    The YOU factor is what will keep this type of site from being littered with false inflated information. Eileen brings up the greatest point saying a house could look the same on the outside (or tax record) but 50k in upgrades could make one home the best of the block and one a fixer upper.

    For instance, my neighbor and I have about the same tax value. If you drove by our houses, you could probably not even tell that great of a difference, but knowing the houses, you see the difference is GREAT!

    So what this TYPE of site would need is exactly what the BBB has… some type of mayor for the community, a block watch if you will. If I go in and say my finishes are A+, a neighbor could then ask me to explain what makes this house A+.

    This site would be a myspace for homes. Each house would have a personality that stays with it through the years and owners. Of course this could be an open door for the tax accessor to set your home value, but in concept i love the idea!

  5. I have a question, not totally related to this topic but to the Form 17. We just had an inspection done and it was discovered that the window seals on our 1978 home were broken in places. The inspection claims that this is an aesthetic problem, not a functional problem, and affects the insulating properties of the windows only slightly. Are we required to put this on our Form 17 if our current offer falls through and we remarket the property? Our real estate agent checked with the legal rep. at his firm, and they said they believed we needed to list this. However, I thought the Form 17 was for listing serious, structural problems with the house, not aesthetic problems.

  6. See Page 3 of 5 Item 4. F “Are there any defects with the following? (If yes, please check applicable items and explain.) Column two, third down “windows”.

    Are there any defects in the windows? If yes, explain.

    Seems pretty clear to me. But you can ask the agent who has your home listed for sale.

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