Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Google Real Estate - a view from The Independent

It's nice to have some of my thoughts quoted on the Google Real Estate revolution in today's Independent.

Graham Norwood has written (another) excellent article on the issue which you can read here.

Yours truly is given the final word which was gratifying as it happens so rarely at home. Obviously space only allowed Graham to pick and choose from the comments I gave him. In full these were:

It's clear that the internet (with Google firmly behind the wheel) is changing the property market from being "seller driven" to "buyer driven" which is it's natural place. Historically estate agents have been all powerful - controlling the flow of information on what's available, how much a property is worth and how it is best exposed to the market.

Property portals and listing sites have chipped away at this over the last 10 years and with Google entering the market the walls protecting this information will soon crumble and fall.

Buyers will be able to use Google to locate the properties available, view exterior photos (and the surrounding areas) and will be one click away from floor plans, internal photos, video tours and other data....where's the mystique now? No more smiling estate agent reaching into his bottom drawer to show you grainy pictures of a house that's "just come on the market".

The really interesting thing will be to see if Google are brave enough to ignore the existing portals (Rightmove, Primelocation etc) and the established agency about a mixture of "hard" Google technology and the "soft" pretty and ubiquitous, face of Sarah Beeny who runs Tepilo (a private sale website). Now that truly would get them spluttering in their tea at the RICS and NAEA.

Estate agents aren't going to die out but I'm sure we'll see a sea-change in the way they work and earn their fees. Expect to see a mad dash away from advising the seller and towards advising the buyer (it is the buyer who has the cash and desire to spend it after all).


Christopher Johnston said...

it is nice to see a move away from the iron hand and control that NAR wields (in the US). I think that Google moving into real estate search will make it better for many of the smaller brokers and agents who right now can't compete with the national and international brokers.

graham downie said...

You could well be right Christopher. Clients will always want to pay for the local knowledge and expertise that we offer.

True "on the ground" information wins out every time.

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