Real Estate Outlook 2012 and Beyond: Consumers Want Data, or Do They?

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Last week was Inman’s Real Estate Connect, the famous conference where real estate meets technology. I go annually to get a look ahead at both tech and marketing innovation coming down the pike, for Dallas consumers and real estate agents. Agents, of course, lap this conference up like a kitten. But consumers, too, can glean a lot of valuable information to help them find the best agents and know they are getting the very best service.

Key topic: real estate data. No doubt it is the role of the real estate professional is to offer consumers usable knowledge in the most convenient way possible. Problem is, there is just so much of it!

Information overload is upon us, said Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer for Century 21 Real Estate. And it’s constant. Which is why I am now gaga over a site called NEWSER.

“There’s an accessibility overload, if you will,” she said.

Here was some refreshing news: Realtors should worry less about providing more content or data on real estate websites, but worry MORE about offering it in the most convenient, easy-to-understand method. I’m sure consumers would agree.

Real estate pros should make it EASIER for consumers to find them and connect with them on all platforms, whether through search engine optimization, search engine marketing, blogging or social media, Thorne said.

And the kind of information consumers want should be on websites, such as neighborhood data. Here on CandysDirt.com, we are about ready to launch our Neighborhood Pages for you, and we will be including all sorts of local neighborhood data for our readers. One agent will specialize in one neighborhood and constantly keep us apprised of what’s happening.

Real estate professionals, said Mark Allen, CEO of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors and its subsidiary 10K Research and Marketing, says Realtors are uniquely positioned to give consumers this kind of information because they have data at their fingertips. But that data must be edited and filtered down to make it easy to understand and meaningful for consumers, just as all good writers do.

In essence, Realtors are becoming local reporters, a trend I notice five years ago when I foresaw the online revolution in real estate marketing and brought it to Dallas. Of course, Allen thinks the best way to apply the data is to make it interactive: touch, swipe, pinch.

People, he says, want to read with their hands, not just eyes.

What does this mean for the Realtor? Get “platform-ized” everywhere, and move away from your basic boring print ads. Consumers? Take advantage of all the gizmos out there, and realize that the best agents — that is, those who can sell your home most rapidly for the highest price, will be plugged in to multiple platforms and always seeking more, whether your home is a Tuesday $200k or a multi-million dollar property.

 

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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