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Social bookmarking for home search. Will it work?

This has been in draft mode for a few days now since I commented on this at Mashable. That’s just as well since Benn over at AG was able to get a look under the hood which changes my feelings about this new bookmarking app for home lookers. (now in beta testing)

I’ve been a big fan of using Delicious for my own personal research for a while now. It offers a simple way to tag, take notes, and store in the cloud what it is I need to understand about something I’m curious about so that down the road I can either share that information with others or keep it private to myself.

Dwellicious puts forth the effort to do this for home search. As some of you may remember, this has been tried before with little success (if at all) for some reason. My take at first blush is that it’s something that users will be hard pressed to adopt. I have worked with several tech savvy clients who have done their own home search with the tools to share information and what I have found is that they are very reluctant to share anything about their decision making process. People hold their cards close to their chest when purchasing homes and often don’t even know what it is they want until they see it. So, for note taking purposes, I don’t know that it will be much help, but it’s nice to have the option.

It’s too bad you don’t see a consumer based search site that has all of the inventory data with a few solid consumer centric options like saving, RSS updates, and sharing without all the advertising, hierarchy of ‘featured listings’ and sponsorship options getting in your way. Bookmarking while weeding through various sites seems to be a chore few will have the know how or patience to handle. Another problem might be the slowness of updating on these sites to make any timely use of RSS. It could be a rewarding experience for those to venture another step into being their own agent, yet there are still a few bricks in that wall, that are still in place.

One step closer to better is what this should be as the robust portion of the pie seems to be where you’ll find at least 8 API’s built in help aggregate a variety of related information from sites like Zillow, Walkscore, Cyberhomes and Panaramio. Now that’s something the advanced home searcher can sink their teeth into. On the other side it would be cool if there were a Kayak type of search engine to pull in all the listing data to pluck from, but then again Real Estate technology is nothing like Travel, now is it?

Watch and see.

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  • 7 comments

    7 Comments so far

    1. Eric Blackwell November 26th, 2008 10:26 am

      Brad-

      Interesting post. Here’s my quick take on why I think it is doomed from the start.

      If I REALLY like a home and want to purchase it….what’s my next step? NEGOTIATE. That means getting that home for as little money as possible. This means I am not going to bookmark it and tell people that I think it is the bomb.

      If anything, I am going to point out its flaws. I have NO problem bookmarking websites, since sharing ideas is great and does not cost me anything.

      But why would I promote my short list to the top of these sites so that others could bid on them and drive my price up?

      Thoughts?

      Eric

    2. Brad Coy November 26th, 2008 1:13 pm

      @Eric

      As a home buyer I might want to share this information with my wife, my agent, and maybe my friends. What everyone else thinks amounts to gossip. Maybe I’m a bit too skeptical, but how private my sharing might be could be another reason for me to give pause.

      As a listing agent and a home owner I would love to hear somebody walk into a crowded open house and share their affection for the place. What I would not like is for that same person to ask to sleep on the couch while I market the property as people through rocks at the windows from the bushes.

      What I think everyone would hate to see is opportunities to ‘game’ as system like this. But I don’t have much faith that this would happen either. Social media sites that allow for anonymity as opposed to disclosure are all a failure IMHO.

    3. Ken Montville November 26th, 2008 1:50 pm

      In your post there is a key phrase: “I have worked with several tech savvy clients…” (emphasis mine).

      Believe it or not, there are tons of home searchers bouncing around on the Internet who are just about up to speed on how to search for homes on the Internet. Asking them to get involved in bookmarking and entering into the who social media thing for home search may be a bit optimistic. Tags? Most Realtors don’t know how to use them.

      This may best be categorized as “ahead of its time”. If, indeed, its time will ever come.

    4. Danilo Bogdanovic November 26th, 2008 4:19 pm

      I see Eric’s point. I’ve had buyers ask me not to upload interior pictures or make complimentary comments on sites such as FranklyMLS.com (wiki search site which allows buyer’s agents to upload photos and comments about properties) because they don’t want other buyers to know about how great of a deal the house is and potentially end up competing with them.

      Great idea and seems like good execution, but it may very well be ahead of its time. Crappy old R.com is still the number one RE search site in the U.S. We’ve got a long way to go before a critical mass of consumers starts utilizing something like Dwellicous.

      Here’s a question I have for fellow agents/brokers…as a licensed agent, is posting the listing on my Facebook or MySpace profile a violation of rules which state that I can’t “advertise another broker’s listing” outside of my broker’s/my IDX/MLS feed?

    5. Ken Montville November 26th, 2008 6:40 pm

      Danillo,

      I would think advertising listings other than your own and, by extension, your Broker’s is treading on thin ice. I’ve seen lots of listings advertised on Facebook either in Marketplace or LivePads or CribFInder but I’m assuming the people who place those ads are listing agents representing the Sellers or, perhaps, FSBOs. Who knows? It’s always better to err on the side of being ethical.

    6. J Boyer South Orange NJ November 26th, 2008 8:06 pm

      “It’s too bad you don’t see a consumer based search site that has all of the inventory data with a few solid consumer centric options like saving, RSS updates, and sharing without all the advertising, hierarchy of ‘featured listings’ and sponsorship options getting in your way. Bookmarking while weeding through various sites seems to be a chore few will have the know how or patience to handle.”

      It already exists, it is called a IDX feed on a REALTOR or Brokers website in the area you want to buy a home in. Forget trulia, zillow, realtor.com you can have it all, and no adds.

    7. Brad Coy November 27th, 2008 1:33 am

      @J

      “It already exists, it is called a IDX feed”

      From what I see where I’m at (and yours may differ) I’ll give you saving.. kind of. RSS updates and sharing? No RSS at all and “email to a friend” sharing, yes.

      I know MLS systems vary greatly. On my turf it sucks big time! We use a VOW that has a very clean interface and a few nice bells and whistles, but it’s still lacking.