Meet the New Realtor: Google

Although it is in a fairly primordial stage, this new home-finding tool from Google may turn out to be as formidable a challenge to Realtors as the Department of Justice. It does little more than aggregate public information (as is Google’s wont), but when the public information in question is the listings of homes for sale in any given city, there is the great potential for upheaval.

(Hat tip: Matt Hawke)


editorguy

The new G-man cometh.
But I can't wait to see a massive, humming Google home search. With links to public records relevant to the property? Are you kidding me?

frankenduf

realtors are leeches, anyway

Global.Maniac

Videos, phonebook, blogs, patent search, scholarly paper searches, and now real estate, what's next for the Internet Empire? Supermarket produce searches? Encyclopedias? How much is too much for the modern-age Rockefellers?

Chewxy

Well, at least then you would know whether a real estate agent is screwing with you

furiousball

This is excellent, after buying a few homes, I'm convinced that Realtor is actually Latin for "do nothing".

TheQuitter

This tool was out a while ago I thought... but google is still just crawling realtor's websites. All they're doing is collectively pooling all the realtors website into one central location. You still end up dealing with those insane fees.

wk633

What's been out for a while is housingmaps.com which is a craigslist/google maps mashup. Another similar one is zillow.com. Frankly, zillow seems to work a bit better, although last time I checked it wasn't Firefox friendly.

I'm sure google will accept private listings, if not now then in the near future.

limlom

Nice tool, but for the possibilities of revolutionizing real estate don't things like weblo and secondlife have the edge.

Once we see google maps or mashups of these spaces appearing, then things will start getting interesting.

RFook

Because I come from another country, I think the home real-estate business in the US is insane - from the realtors all the way through to the lawyers. However, I haven't been convinced that the alternative approaches have reached critical mass yet. I eagerly look forward to the day when buying and selling a house becomes a truly commoditized service, with proper protections for the buyer and seller.

smili

FWIW, Zillow works fine on Firefox here. Love the site.

Dugdale

I am in the rental industry which is also affected by the Google Base feature. I gotta say I love Google, but sometimes they scare the hell out of me when they do stuff like this.

microcars

My wife is a Realtor so I see the kinds of people that use Realtors to help them both buy and sell a home.
If you can buy or sell a home on your own, go for it. But every one of my wife's clients is way too busy with work/family to make any informed decisions on either buying or selling their home.
Its a very traumatic experience for many people. My wife ends up being their "Real Estate Therapist" for the duration. You couldn't pay me enough to put up with some of these people.

KimMcGuinness

Google has done a good job tackling Real Estate across the entire country, but in New York they are still lacking a lot of listings and information. Sites like www.streeteasy.com and natefind.com give me a more detailed view of the local market. Hopefully google is working on filling in that gaps of information.

Pagoda

There are actually a number of sites competing in this area.

Google and the other big players have a very long term view of this service, while the everyday realtor doesn't think more than 45 days out.

Combine the different business goals with increased competition and a poor market and we have a really fun drama starting to unfold.

microcars

OK I am confused.
How is this a bad thing for Realtors?
They already have their listings on their websites.
Google makes it easier for people to find the listings.

I've got more people finding my wife's Real Estate Listings through Craigslist than via her website.

If you want to talk about "formidable", bring Craigslist into the mix.
I am astounded at how many people are using Craigslist to look for homes.
Especially people that are in another city looking to relocate.
When I first started formatting her listings for Craigslist, she thought it was a waste of time.

ctomsons

The Social Science Statistics Blog points to an interesting visualization tool: "a time series of real housing prices represented as a roller coaster, which you can ride". Here's the link to the post.

joshmjensen

Google's offering is not the first or best. My favorite is Trulia (www.trulia.com). www.redfin.com is good in limited markets (plus offers a disruptive offering of low cost realtor services). www.homepages.com is ok - the site is bloated, and they are in bed with realtors, but it has real MLS listings rather than crawl results.

kah

At least in Takoma Park Maryland, I have noticed that most of the really good real estate agents (i.e. the ones whose signs in front of houses typically say "Under Contract") use Craigslist in addition to normal insider advertising. Of course the FSBO listings are on Craigslist too.

My impression locally is that the houses on Craigslist tend to be more appealing than the ones that have front-yard signs "For Sale" but whose agents don't put them on Craigslist, but this is just a vague impression.

Would be interesting to see a study on what kinds of houses end up on vs. off various advertising formats.

tkolber

The MLS has the most accurate information about properties period. The third party information sites are just there to make money. I am personally trying to help create a public version of the MLS that anyone can access here in Southern California. I belong to two of the largest MLS's in the Country. Yes, it is hard because the old school realtors still want the mls to be a broker cooperation tool only. I keep telling them if they insist on hoarding that information from the public they will resent it and use these bloated inaccurate sites for their property searches. I want people to go to the MLS for their information because they will learn more about the market. The more they know the better choices they will make and they sure are a lot easier to work with when informed. I am doing this by myself, (my company only against the traditionals, i.e. Re/Max, Coldwell, C21 etc.) and it is not easy. But, those third party sites are not updated like the MLS and they are full of stupid ads that have nothing to do with buying a home. The MLS's that I promote have nothing but homes on them. No ads for realtors, loan brokers, weight loss crap etc. just homes and pictures of homes. I am pushing for this to be the future of home searches for the internet savvy. The people that have realtors drive them around to look for houses, or force them to have open houses and advertise the property in the Left Angeles Times deserve to pay whatever commission the realtor is charging and I'm okay with that. It is just when the client does most of the work, by finding the property on their own that I believe my business model works better. Check it out and please give me your comments. Reference this blog. Thanks in advance for your time.
Todd

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editorguy

The new G-man cometh.
But I can't wait to see a massive, humming Google home search. With links to public records relevant to the property? Are you kidding me?