Real Estate Fun With Visa Concierge

A couple of days ago, I read this post on the Four Hour Workweek blog about a guy’s attempt to find out the limits of free credit card concierge services.  He had the free concierge do things like help him with a crossword puzzle and book space travel.

It’s a hilarious post and I learned that I do in fact have an extraordinary resource, seeing as how I have a Visa Signature card, which comes with a free Visa Signature Concierge service.

So I got curious.  And ran a couple of tests to see how much the Visa Concierge could help me in the world of real estate.

Test One: Find me a house

I login to my account and send the following email:

I’m considering moving to Austin, TX and am visiting the city next week.  I’d like to be able to visit a few houses for sale while I’m there.  Could you send me a list of about a dozen homes for sale within these parameters?

  • Close to downtown
  • 3+ BR
  • 2+ BA
  • Under $300K
  • Near a park, or a hiking trail
  • Swimming pool is a must
  • Built after 1995
  • Finished basement is a major plus

Thank you very much!

I figured one of two things would happen.  Either someone would send me a bunch of links to homes for sale in the Austin area, or I’d get ignored.  What I got back was this email:

Dear Robert Hahn,

Thank you for using Visa Signature® Concierge. The information you requested is provided below.

House Information

Unfortunately, your specialty request falls outside of the scope of services we provide. We would be happy to research realtors in the Austin, TX area that would be able to assist you with locating a home on your behalf.

If we can be of further assistance, please call Visa Signature Concierge toll-free – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – at 800-953-7392. Or if you prefer, you may email us at XXX@XYZ.com.

Sincerely,

NAME

Visa Signature Concierge

I left out the email and the actual name of the concierge.  It seems I couldn’t use a Visa Concierge as a sort of free pseudo-buyer’s agent.  But they did promise to find me realtors!

Test Two: Fine then, find me a realtor

So naturally, I respond back thanking them for their work, and asking them to find me three realtors in Austin.  I wanted real local experts, who are tech-savvy as I like to work via email and web, and work often with relocation buyers.

Several hours later, I get this email in my inbox:

Thank you for using Visa Signature® Concierge. The information you requested is provided below.

Realtor Information

Please find below a selection of realty companies in the Austin, TX area.

Option 1:
Company Name: Ely Properties
Address: 608 West 24th Street; Austin, TX 78705
Phone: 512/476-1976
Website:http://www.elyproperties.com/

Description: They are a full service real estate company in Central Austin, specializing in sales, leasing and management of real estate throughout the Austin area. Ely Properties was founded in 1991. Since then, they have brokered more $300 million in central Texas real estate. Each transaction is unique, and their agents have been the key to their success in each transaction. Their team approach to real estate helps make each transaction as smooth as possible

Option 2:
Company Name: 512 Realty
Address: 600 West 28th Street, Suite #101; Austin, TX 78705
Phone: 512/322-0512
Website:http://512realty.com/public/index.php

Description: Whether you are looking for a home or apartment to rent, or to buy a home in any of central Austin’s hottest neighborhoods, they can help. All their services are free to you. Their fees are paid by the property owners. 512 Realty provides three separate services to those looking for property services: Leasing and tenant locating, property management, and sales.

Option 3:
Company Name: Realty Pros of Austin
Address: 104 E 31st Street #B; Austin, TX 78705
Phone: 512/401-3330
Website:http://www.realtyprosaustin.com/

Description: Established in 2009, Realty Pros specializes in the University of Texas, Downtown, South Congress and surrounding areas. They are a small firm that works with great efficiency and values personal relationships. Their brokers, realtors and agents are familiar with traditional and innovative methods of finding on and off market properties. They realize the process of buying, leasing or selling a home can be an intimidating process but they work hard to keep it simple. At Realty Pros, they do their best to give you the advice you need and the results you want.

If we can be of further assistance, please call Visa Signature Concierge toll-free ˆ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ˆ at 800-953-7392. Or if you prefer, you may email us at blah-blah-blah

Sincerely,

XXXXXXX

Visa Signature Concierge

How cool is that?

Of course, I’d love to know the methods by which Visa found these three companies.  Was it just a Google search, taking the top three links?  When I did a Google search for “Austin TX realtors“, I saw that both Ely Properties and 512 Realty came up very high in the search results — right next to the little map, as a matter of fact.

But Realty Pros didn’t show up on the first page of search results.  Some of the other companies that showed up high on Google didn’t make the cut of the three companies Visa would send me to: Uptown Realty, University Realty, etc.  And none of the major national brands made Visa’s list either, despite Austin being the home of Keller Williams, and a paid search result for Century 21 being right there on the right.

I know you can’t put anything into a fun little experiment like this, but it’s interesting nonetheless.  Figured I’d share the experience with y’all.

And does anyone have any idea how Visa Signature might have decided to pick those three companies?

-rsh

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  • http://www.SanDiegoJeff.com/ jeffreydouglass

    Rob, Find me 3 REALTORS®? They found you 3 real estate companies.

  • http://www.bestkapitiagent.co.nz/ real estate

    If you bought your home 3 years ago you probably paid more than you will be able to sell it for today. Contact a couple real estate agents and have them do a Comparative Market Analysis and then have them prepare a Seller’s Estimated Costs which will show you how much you will “net” after the sale and paying commissions, mortgage, other closing costs. You may see that you will lose money and have to bring money to closing.

  • http://twitter.com/rachnicole Rachel Rusnak

    This is great Rob. When I read the original article I was blown away by the extent of the Concierge's “advice” and helpful nature, i.e. crossword puzzle solutions, giant tub of cheese! Also agree that it would be very interesting to find out how/where they found the results they provided you with…. Perhaps a follow-up email to them inquiring?

  • http://www.SanDiegoJeff.com/ jeffreydouglass

    Rob, Find me 3 REALTORS®? They found you 3 real estate companies.

  • http://www.bestkapitiagent.co.nz/ real estate

    If you bought your home 3 years ago you probably paid more than you will be able to sell it for today. Contact a couple real estate agents and have them do a Comparative Market Analysis and then have them prepare a Seller’s Estimated Costs which will show you how much you will “net” after the sale and paying commissions, mortgage, other closing costs. You may see that you will lose money and have to bring money to closing.

  • http://twitter.com/rachnicole Rachel Rusnak

    This is great Rob. When I read the original article I was blown away by the extent of the Concierge's “advice” and helpful nature, i.e. crossword puzzle solutions, giant tub of cheese! Also agree that it would be very interesting to find out how/where they found the results they provided you with…. Perhaps a follow-up email to them inquiring?