Fifty-one years ago, if you were looking for a new home, you had to get in your car and actually go look for one. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed homebuyers in 1964 and found that about 40 percent said they read the newspaper for home listings, and 7 percent drove through neighborhoods looking for “open house” or “for sale” signs.
In 2015, my homebuying experience began with a visit to the app store. My wife and I downloaded apps, looked at photos, bookmarked homes we liked, and used Google Maps to tour neighborhoods.
NAR survey data shows that these days, more than 40 percent of consumers looked online first when trying to find a home. But even with all the technology at our fingertips, homebuying can still be a confusing process, and real estate agents are very much in demand—especially in a hot market like Dallas-Fort Worth.
That 40% is an interesting statistic, because I have read that it is closer to 90%. Of course, we have been all about the digital experience with real estate here at CandysDirt.com (and our sister blogs) since the very beginning of digital time. Thus I found the article a wee bit amusing, but informative:
Real estate agents typically reach the market via a multiple listing service (MLS), a private database of brokers sharing home listings in a standardized, predictable way. There are more than 800 MLSs across the U.S. and, in large regions like Dallas-Fort Worth, a few overlap with one another.
To access an MLS, a real estate agent must be a member of the local realtor’s association, like the MetroTex Association of Realtors, which was established in 1917. For agents, becoming affiliated with a real estate brokerage, like Ebby Halliday Realtors, allows an independent agent to get that coveted MLS access, along with technology support, administrative help, training, education, and so on—in exchange for a percentage of their sales.
With so many MLSs, real estate consumer apps are a mixed bag. Some MLSs feed limited listing information to various consumer apps and websites. But two different apps could get a different level of depth of information about DFW listings, and each one might compile and display the data in a different way. The younger, more Internet-savvy buyers are armed with more information from a greater number of sources than ever before. And a lot of it is wrong.
That “limited listing information” is the listing data that goes to Zillow and Trulia, known as the third party listing portals. There is also Realtor.com, which is owned by the National Association of Realtors, so it’s a little more complex. But hey, Phil’s point is that we consume real estate very differently today, vastly differently, and the technology out there is changing faster than the established structure can keep up with. Eureka! That’s why we are here!
“The real estate industry has a communications problem,” says James Bohan-Pitt, co-founder and CEO of HipPocket, a Dallas-based real estate tech startup. “They’ve sat back on their laurels and everything has to go through a big database. That’s so 20 years ago.”
James Bohan-Pitt of HipPocket, a Dallas-based real estate tech start up? You mean, OUR James Bohan-Pitt and Clay Stapp, broker extraordinaire of whom we have written extensively?
That is exactly who that would be! I love it when the digital world scoops print!
HipPocket, as we have told you, is a social network and mobile app that allows agents to post listings immediately from their phones, pre-MLS, in order to connect agents with other agents easily, cleanly, and rapidly:
“The realtor community should be able to generate leads and business with one another very quickly; they have qualified sellers and buyers,” he says. “But they’re simply not connected to one another.”
HipPocket also aims to provide a way for agents to feed the various social networks with their new listings so they’ll spend less time re-posting the same info over and over. Eventually, the HipPocket app could even feed an MLS, since the info is coming right from the agents. In the future, Bohan-Pitt imagines matching algorithms that pair a buyer’s needs with new listings. He also envisions the capability to connect one agent with others who have a track record selling the kind of properties that buyers are seeking.
Isn’t that cool? So dang proud of these guys. Bohan-Pitt says more than 700 licensed agents in the DFW area signed up, and I know he and Clay were in San Fran this summer at Inman Connect, showing off the app to agents from everywhere. It won’t take long.
Now here’s a few words of sage advice for Phil: check out Realocator (an Uber-like app to see homes fast, also created locally by Agent extraordinaire David Maez) and then… how could you not report on The Unlisted??????