I’m going to try to do a bit of a stream-of-consciousness “live-blog” here at Houston Association of REALTORS Real Estate Investment Symposium. I put that in quotes because (a) I’m distracted often, and (b) the bandwidth isn’t the best off my little MiFi device.
I’ve already missed a couple of the early presentations from Zillow, Google, and Move, but a couple of interesting things from this morning.
Sam Sebastian from Google suggests that the future of real estate broker is as an ‘information broker'; I asked if he could elaborate on that, since the experience of the past ten or so years is the opposite: information that used to be held by realtors is now all over the public via the Internet. Isn’t the trend more and more towards realtors becoming customer service people rather than information brokers?
The answer — and it’s a good one — basically seems to be (at least interpreting Sam) that by “information broker” he meant something more like an analyst. That the future of the realtor is as an interpreter of all of the information and data that’s all over the place on the Internet.
Interestingly, Google’s search on real estate terms is up 20% year over year, despite the terrible market. Incidentally, I think that’s contradictory to the experience of the other big real estate websites (or at least used to be a few years back), but I haven’t seen recent stats.
[EDIT: This is getting very long, so it continues after the fold. And forgive me for the ugliness of the post; it's the nature of a "live-blog".]