I’m day three of five into the SXSW Interactive “Festival” in Austin. Though I wasn’t at first certain that a convention like this would be a valuable use of time and money, I am now convinced it is, and I know exactly why I’m here.
I’m here because I want to gain insight into new and emerging technology and how we as humans, and business people, interact with that technology. Also, as a professional in an industry that has been chronically and predictably behind the curve and late to the party on almost all new and emerging internet technology, I can’t rely on real estate workshops and conventions to keep me up to speed. In a way, at this point in history, SXSW Interactive is more relevant to my real estate business than any real estate convention could be. It’s causing me to wonder if I shouldn’t attend more non-Realtor related educational opportunities.
So, below, are some initial observations and insights about my experience thus far.
SXSW Interactive Attendees Are Definitely in a Different Tech League than Realtors
The contrast is palpable. This is revealed in the level of conversation and discussion I am experiencing not only in the workshops, but also at the lunch table with people I’ve met. I spoke for 30 minutes this morning with a guy launching a startup to better connect job seekers with jobs that match their needs. His niche concept is very interesting, and I thought it even more interesting that his business, like mine, is essentially one of matching people with a solution to their needs.
Realtor.com has a nice iPhone specific url that allows you to view real estate listings from your iPhone. I’m not sure what percentage of U.S. listings are fed into Realtor.com, but I would be suprised if it isn’t most of the major metro area MLS listings. And they are all at your finger tips with your iPhone.
OK, so what? Big deal. Who cares? What problem is solved by having access to nearly all of the Realtor listings in the U.S. through an iPhone? Why not just go home and log in from your web browser if you want to surf listings?
Well, I’m with you. I’m not impressed with “gee wiz” technology just for the sake of technology, but I can think of at least two ways in which this technology benefits me personally and professionally.
First, it’s not uncommon to be showing houses to buyers, and they ask about homes we drive by that are not on our list. This happens all the time.
Normally, if it’s not on our showing list, it’s because it didn’t fit the parameters of the search, or I eliminated it for some other reason. But I don’t always know or remember at the moment the question is asked. If there are flyers, we get one and find out the price and specs, but flyer boxes are usually empty, and sometimes the price isn’t printed on the flyer (because the agent wants you to call and ask, so they can convert you to a “buyer lead”.
I can also call the agent number on the sign, but what do you think the chances are that the call will be answered? Not good. Realtors hardly ever answer their phones.
So instead, now all I have to do is enter a quick search and pull the listing up, complete with pictures and basic details. The screen shot above is the home page you’ll see if you visit iphone.realtor.com with your iPhone.
Let’s walk through more screen shots and see if this is cool and useful, or not. Oh, and I’ll get to reason number two of why this isn’t a complete waste of time eventually, but for now, let’s just see what you can do with Realtor.com and an iPhone.