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If You Want To Know Your Neighborhood, You're Best Off Going Online

from the ask-the-net dept

As Steve Levitt explains in Freakonomics, the primary power held by real estate agents is their control over information. Bizarrely, he compares them to the Ku Klux Klan (because they also derived their power from information), which is an absurd overstatement that seems mainly aimed at hitting readers on an emotional level. Nonetheless, the point is valid, which is why real estate agents fear the potential for the web to circumvent their control on real estate information. Recently, real estate site Zillow introduced a new offering to provide prospective buyers more information about their communities, while another site, StreetAdvisors, is introducing more tools to deliver the same thing. These have the potential to be significant, since real estate agents are limited legally in what they can say about a neighborhood. Seeing as this is crucial stuff for prospective buyers or renters, knowing that this information is available on the web but not through their agent will only hasten the industry's shift towards the web.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    XCetron, Jul 31st, 2007 @ 7:22pm

    information on everything, everywhere, at anytime.
    A true wonder of our era.
    Now to work on those restrictions

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Overcast, Jul 31st, 2007 @ 7:39pm


    Information is always useful in these types of scenarios.

    But I agree with XCetron - I'm sure the Government and/or Corporations will step in soon enough to protect profits and keep us all 'dumbed' down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    CricketSoda, Jul 31st, 2007 @ 8:43pm

    Crime Maps

    My city (Denton, TX) offers an online crime map. So if you are buying a home you can go online and see all the crimes that have happened in the neighborhood. A blue little dot marks the spot. You can click, and it tells you the date and crime, and has a list on each house that goes back several years.

    I admit it is fun to look at, but if I wanted to sell my house I would hope that most people interested wouldn't check out the map of my neighborhood.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Eliot, Jul 31st, 2007 @ 9:17pm

    Localized Real Estate

    I personally welcome it, being a Realtor mysel. My business is all about my neighborhood. My website, is specifically geared towards listings only located in the same neighborhood.

    The issue at hand isn't information about the 'hood, but more about the professional advise, expertise, hand holding and geographic knowledge a Realtor will have vs what Zillow, or RedFin can provide.

    RedFin can help you buy a house in that specific neighborhood, sure but they can't tell you why they people are moving. Or who the neighbors are, or (in my case) Mr. Ed, and Francis the Talking Mule lived in the Barn in the backyard.

    Its the Realtors job to know the area they specialize in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Aug 1st, 2007 @ 4:27am

    Re: Localized Real Estate

    Unfortunately, there are realtors who only care about making a sale, even if it means lying. Sites like Zillow and RedFin will force Realtors to do better job and will hopefully make the crappy realtors more obvious and force them to change or leave the market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. If You Want To Know Your Neighborhood


    The internet has made a tremendous impact on almost every industry, including the Real estate market.

    Yes, the Real estate industry has no choice but to shift to the internet because it is more convenient and faster researching a real estate deal online than offline.

    Ikey Benney

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jeff, Aug 1st, 2007 @ 6:56am


    Zillow just told me how much my house is worth, apparently I got away with a slight bit of murder upon the purchase of it...I paid about $73k less than what the site says it's worth...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    matt, Aug 1st, 2007 @ 2:06pm

    internet is used as tool not feared

    Savvy Realtors use the web to their advantage and don't fear it. Mobile email, online MLS, the ability to find, solicit, and track clients, company websites and the like have enabled Realtors to accomplish more and offer better service to clients. Real estate websites on a grand scale IE RedFin and Zillow will never be a substitute of equal quality to a local experienced Realtor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    it's in the air, Aug 1st, 2007 @ 3:04pm

    How to really know a neighborhood?

    Spend some time in the area at night listening to a police scanner.
    Then you'll _really_ know what you're getting into.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2007 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Crime Maps

    "but if I wanted to sell my house I would hope that most people interested wouldn't check out the map of my neighborhood."

    So just don't have crime at your house.

    just kidding - just kidding

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Sell My House, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Selling my home

    Good post mate! Took me a while before I finally found a good place where I can sell my house.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Sell Home Quickly, May 20th, 2010 @ 10:49am

    Stop Repossessions

    I agree good post. One of the blessings that the internet offers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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