Coming up for air. Several weeks ago I decided to immerse myself in the world of social media to see what I can see, learn what I can learn and apply what I think is important to my own world of blogs and podcasts and other portals like Twitter and Instagram, Facebook and Linked In. The journey consists of classes at Central Piedmont Community College and workshops at Queens University and even more classes at Superior School of Real Estate.
The word I hear most often is “Overwhelmed”.
Another descriptive word might be “Cumulative”.
And yet another and another , “saturation” and even “super saturation”.
Coming out of The Great Recession and even before, our government spotlighted the recovery efforts on jobs, construction, and real estate. And those who were looking and listening for a star to hitch their wagon to globbed on to real estate. New platforms had been created to deliver more information to a culture already fascinated and enthralled with real estate, to a culture with its short memory, a veritable smorgasbord of information and pictures and details garnished from public records as well as the acquisition of the local Multiple Listing Services, the gold data. No matter that the information could sometimes be incorrect, and those platforms dismiss any responsibility, while charging the same agents who provided the data used for listings a premium. There are of course free limited spaces for the agents and brokers. Those with cash get better position and more space. So I would pay for space while my work in gathering and verifying information comes free.
How serious is this? One executive with the Realtor Association has already jumped ship and gone with one of the larger data providers. It is a squeamish situation. I try to rationalize it. This is the age of Big Data. The information age. As a Broker I verify everything two maybe three times. And sometimes even with that I could be wrong. So what is the draw for the general public?
And before you think you see a smoking gun, I think there are also some good points. I like it that buyers and sellers can busy themselves exploring and learning and checking. They are good team mates, good and willing partners in the process.
And on these sites, the introduction of For Sale by Owners. I participated in this recently with a seller who had a condo in Charlotte, lives in New York and posted his property on one the large platforms, my buyer saw it at 3:36 a.m. called me and within 24 hours we had a contract and the seller paid the full commission. It was a more difficult transaction because the seller had no agent, operated by his rules and not the industry guidelines. But it happened.
So I have concern. I have to be a better teacher for my clients.
Long term, I also have concern, for these platforms will own that information from our MLS and the pictures as well. These platforms are in the information business. Read Big Data.
There is no crystal ball on my desk, but my intuition says, “Caution”. Over and over.