There’s big news this week in the acquisition of Trulia by Zillow. Not sure how all it will be spun but I’m sure there will be plenty of analysis from all sorts of angles- as demonstrated in the link above.
The angle I’ll take for my analysis is one of fiction. A fictional future that encompasses not only Trulia and Zillow but also the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Realtor.com®, MLS, Agents, Brokers, Boards of Realtors and buyers and sellers.
In this fictional future the NAR, agents, brokers, MLSs and Boards of Realtors come together around ideas and concepts that better leverage their primary asset- the listing and related sales information. While sites such as Zillow and Trulia have serviced consumer demands for information over the past nine years I believe many in the former group sense it’s time for a reset.
A reset that would involve the revaluing of listing information and the human element followed by renegotiated terms with website owners who benefit from by having the listing information available on their site. Such negotiations will be led by those who have a clear and full understanding of the value of the primary asset. And they'll know how to leverage that value for the greatest benefit.
While all of the tools, maps, calculators, zestimators and other such widgets are handy- even if often woefully inadequate, imagine for a minute how a site’s value might change if the listing information they leverage for traffic and ad revenue was handled differently. What’s a calculator or widget worth to a site? What’s listing information and the accompanying human element worth to a site that primarily exists to feed consumer demand for listing information?
In this fictional future buyers and sellers realize website tools and gadgets are really neat and sometimes helpful but they can't replace the the human element. In this future buyers and sellers work with a Realtor® they can trust because they know they are worth every penny they earn and even thousands more.
If you are considering buying or selling real estate now or later and aren't working with a Realtor® already I'd be honored to refer one to you. It's the one of the most valuable things I do- referring you to someone you can't count on to deliver the value they represent.