Listing homebuyers & publishing click streams to generate reverse offers from sellers


Insert image:  RFP Clickstream (Tweet)

So pleased to see one of the leading real estate bloggers beating the drum again for one of the cornerstones of the next decade in real estate:  the ability for homeowners to identify and contact potential buyers as easily as buyers currently find listings. Like fellow real estate innovators, I believe that evolution is not only inevitable, but that pieces are already in place.  Database of homebuyers already exists in silos across the industry, from Craigslist’s real estate wanted section, to reverse prospective databases within MLS’s like MLSPin, to the back-end of any VOW / IDX system inside real estate offices.

So the question for me, isn’t whether buyers will list searches, but how that change will be evolve and what impact it will have on the existing real estate eco-system, particularly the traditional role and compensation of both buyer agents and seller agents.  As new and existing sites allow buyers to create and OWN their own search profile, why would any buyer list their search profile on any single site, particularly a traditional real estate brokerage which would effectively “tax” their search with a real estate commission?

Rather than being aggregated into controlled databases, my guess is that an open standard will emerge so any of the Top 20 real estate web sites, or the smallest one person shop can list buyers.  How will buyer listing services compete when there is an open search, what services will agents provide after the match has been made, and how will agents be compensated?  Will first-movers come from within the existing industry, new players, or grassroots network of local homebuyer clubs?

Regardless, my prediction is that listing buyers will create a demand for unbundled real estate services, and fee-for-service real estate consultants, like The Real Estate Cafe, will see the demand for their services grow.  So we’re highly motivated to collaborate with innovators like NationalBLS, and have been planting our own seeds, encouraging vendors at real estate technology conferences to enable buyers not only to list their searches, but to publish their click stream.

Towards that end, we’ve been using Twitter to publish buyer search profiles and  to seed the functionality we’d like to see:  an open standard that enables buyer to aggregate and publish their individual searches cross any listing site, MLS or FSBO, so buyers can make reverse offers (see screen shot above).

This three minute video clip, recorded at REBarCampNY, January 6, 2009, predicts that within the next two years real estate agencies will start listing buyers.

If any readers are working on buyer listing services, either individual tools, apps, or more comprehensive C2C real estate platforms, please join this group and help us breath life into the Google Wave group we’re launching for reVRM:  Vendor Relationship Management in Real Estate.

Is real estate ripe for VRM?  You can learn more by reading this real estate manifesto.

PS.  As some long time industry observers know, and their founders will admit, NationalBLS is the latest player in a decade long trail of attempts to create a PUBLIC database of buyer searches.  The Real Estate Cafe published it’s first list of buyer searches in a newspaper ad in 1996, and wrote a business plan to list home buyers in 2000 which seems more timely than ever!

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