July 19, 2008: What's the obstacle to a paperless, iPhone-able real estate transaction? The sclerotic real estate industry itself
I carry my digital still camera and my Flip video camera with me wherever I go. I have belt-mounted camera cases, so they're easy to carry, never in the way. I keep those two cameras with my car keys, along with everything else I take with me when I put my keys in my pocket: My wallet, my business cards, my watch, my phone, my Bluetooth headset and my MLS key.
All of these things are small and portable, either pocketable or belt-mounted, but I have almost all of the tools of my trade upon my person when I leave the house. I look like a cop -- not always a bad thing -- but I have my stuff with me so that I can work when I need to.
This is what I want for the iPhone or for some later iteration of the idea of a hand-held computer. A laptop or a notebook computer is luggable, not portable. Even rechargeable printers are luggable, not portable. I might have a laptop and printer in my trunk -- absorbing damage from every bump in the road and cooking in the summer heat -- but I don't have that computing power on my person.
My dream is simple: Everything that I might do on a desktop or laptop computer, I want to be able to do from a hand-held computer. I'm perfectly happy to give up printed documents if I can shoot PDFs in all directions at will. This sounds almost implausible, but I think we might be down to the sclerotic real estate industry itself as the obstacle: Realtor associations, lenders, title companies, and all of the many branches of government.
It's common, when discussing ideas like this, to throw up technical issues. The technical problems are truly trivial. The problem we face in real estate is the dinosaur mentality of our leadership. Properazzi.com has an iPhone interface, as do Zillow.com and Trulia.com. The National Association of Realtors doesn't even have a clue, much less a plan, even though the importance of the iPhone has been undeniable since January 2007.
Greg Swann is the designated broker for BloodhoundRealty.com, a full-service Metropolitan Phoenix real estate brokerage. This article originally appeared in the West Valley regional sections of the Arizona Republic.
Spread the word: Click here for a printer-ready version of this column.
Or: Steal this book: I've written over 200 of these real estate columns. They are consistently one of the most popular features on our blogs. Many of them are dated and/or entirely Phoenixocentric. But many others are timeless and generic. If you want to use any of my columns on your weblog or web site, feel free. Three rules: Don't change my text, credit me as the author and give me a link back to http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/ with appropriate anchor text. Something like this, perhaps:
Am I link-baiting? You bet. The quid pro quo is free content for your site that pulls eyeballs and excites interest.<a href="http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/" target="_blank"> Phoenix Realtor Greg Swann</a> suggested I share this with you:
Why do we deliver so much more value for our clients? For one thing, it's a great strategy for marketing our real estate brokerage. But even before that, we love selling real estate, and we want to do the best job we can for our clients.
About BloodhoundRealty.com: Who we are and how we work
BloodhoundRealty.com is a boutique real estate brokerage working in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and the Phoenix suburbs. We would love to help you buy a home in Metropolitan Phoenix or to sell the Paradise Valley home you already own. If you're relocating to Scottsdale, we'll show you some hi-tech tactics we've discovered to save you time and money. And if your goal is to invest in Phoenix-area rental homes, we've helped dozens of investors realize their financial goals.
We work a lot harder than the agents we compete against. As an example, take a look at everything we do to list historic, architecturally-distinctive and mid-century modern luxury homes for sale. No one does the kinds of things we do, and we're just as detail-oriented -- and exuberant! -- when we work with buyers. Day by day, task by task, home by home, we want to get as close as we can to perfect performance as Realtors -- a virtual virtuosity in real estate representation.
We write, too -- could you have guessed? BloodhoundRealty.com is our main Phoenix real estate weblog, but we also publish Distinctive Phoenix, which is devoted to historic and architecturally-distinctive homes in Central and North Central Phoenix, and Distinctive Paradise Valley Homes, which is focused on the incomparable luxury real estate to be found in Paradise Valley. Our most famous weblog, though, is BloodhoundBlog, our nationally-focused real estate industry, marketing and technology blog -- which puts us in the vanguard of hi-tech real estate brokerage.
But that's all just credentials. We're thoroughgoing Realtors, contemplative Realtors, innovative Realtors, very hard-working Realtors. We're definitely hi-tech Realtors, and the internet, surely, is the second best tool a Realtor can deploy -- and we use the internet better than any of our competitors. But the best tool -- always -- is integrity, and without integrity there is nothing.
We believe in clear, detailed, complete communication. Where other Realtors might hope to dazzle you with pretty pictures, we bend over backward to tell you the whole, unvarnished truth about real estate transactions -- how they succeed and why they sometimes fail. It can be a comfort, at times, to 'leave it to the experts.' But real estate decisions can have very costly, life-long consequences. If you want to know every detail about your transaction, we want to share them with you.
Our passion is to do the best we can do, to find the best house at the best price, to find the best-qualified buyer for your home, to negotiate the best terms, to help our clients reach the best decisions, making the best possible investment. We're not about doing deals, we're about forging relationships. We want for you, as our client, to be so delighted by our efforts that you could not conceive of working with another Realtor.
Above all, we are about family -- yours and ours. And while we might be a small business, there is nothing small -- or small-time or small-minded -- in the way we do business. We want to be your Realtor for life. We will do everything we can to make that happen.
Want to find out more?
You can visit our main Phoenix real estate web site at BloodhoundRealty.com or you can pick up the phone and dial 602-740-7531. (Outside of Arizona? Dial 1-800-508-5430.)
Either way, we're proud Bloodhounds at your command -- devoutly loyal, smart, frisky and eager to please...