Social Media in Real Estate

Social Media in Real Estate

For the 4th time in my young life, I am shopping for a house. My requirements have changed from the first time I bought (access to schools with foreign language immersion vs. stumbling distance from the best margarita in Austin), but shockingly little else about the process has. Where are my awesome social media apps to make this fun? Not being able to leave well enough alone, I started to ponder why.

  • Some of the earliest examples of social media promoted the collective good – user reviews on restaurants or local businesses benefit the whole because when there is good food, we all win.
  • And then there’s altruism/karma. If I waste $20 on a bad movie or discover a great book, chances are I may write a brief review just to let you know. It doesn’t really benefit me immediately, but I benefit from the reviews of others so its a positive cycle. Like blogging, this also appeals to ego.
  • And then, of course, the fuzzy satisfaction of our ever-increasing digital interconnections. We Link, we Friend, we Match, we validate each other’s existence on the interweb by remarking on each other’s photos and vying for spots on blogrolls and in RSS feeds.

So where does the gnarly world of real estate fall in this spectrum? In most transactions, there is a winner and a loser. Can that dynamic thrive in social media? Trulia certainly doesn’t answer the call – it is little more than another online listing service with some Y!answers tacked on. And the dozens of MLS listing sites are just push marketing.

Frankly MLS

Enter FranklyMLS, claiming to be “The First Wiki MLS“. The wiki is built up by buyer’s agents – not the agents marketing the homes. In addition to the listing info, these agents add their own photos and important factual data that would be strategically missing from a seller’s MLS listing such as homes backing up to busy streets, being located under an overpass, having bizarre neighbors, etc. It is by no means an elegant UI, but the wiki contains meaty data and its sorting an searching features are tight. The FranklyMLS wiki saves the other buyer’s agents a lot of time and creates a great resource for those of us trying to wrap our arms around the concept of commuting 40 minutes to get to a house priced at $500 per square foot. In a recession.

Frank’s schtick “Don’t Buy! Ask Why!” is that listing agents can’t be trusted and you deserve to work with someone who will tell you the truth. The wiki extends the seller vs. buyer divide, but unites buyers and their representatives to share data as they search for deals that meet their needs. So while there isn’t a current solution for all parties to hug it out in social media, Frank has taken a big step for frightened buyers like me and I appreciate it. Now will someone give this great idea a cosmetic facelift?

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