Sometimes it's fun to watch what our partners in other parts of the real estate game are up to. I admit that I take some pleasure in watching real estate agents pick up new technologies, implement them and then get distracted like that dog in the well-known kids movie, Up – "Squirrel!!"
I'm not saying that real estate agents are less professional than loan officers. I'm just saying that their world seems to be a lot less structured than ours does. One day they're pulling listings out of phone-book sized MLS books, the next they're competing with the rest of us to find new listings on Craigslist or Google. Who knows what they'll be doing tomorrow?
Actually, that wasn't rhetorical. I suspect that if anyone knows it would be Benn Rosales. He's the founder of AgentGenius
, a blog that caters to folks of that persuasion and one I've been following of late.
In a recent post, Benn was bemoaning the lack of innovation in real estate technology. I have to agree with him. If technology was an inland sea, his industry seems to float on its surface without a sail, drifting where it may. In their defense, a real estate agent is not likely to invest any money in trying to create new technology to run their business more effectively. They're primarily salespeople.
But Benn isn't giving up. He sees a real opportunity for innovation in his part of the business:
"In 2010, if they’re not already, Zillow
, and anyone else who used to lead innovation in the real estate space should be eyes wide open as to what’s happening with Tablet computing
, and even more importantly, the smart(er) phone, and should be tailoring device recognition as well as tailored search with the branded agent in mind- this is, in my opinion, where the action’s beginning in 2010."
What might that look like? He offers us this:
"Imagine a world where you can point your Google device at a home and see completely around the exterior and click in to see the interior via Google Real Estate
on your Google phone- no need imagining it, it’s already here, and would you like some augmented reality with that
I like it. And, in fact, we’re already seeing that something like this could be possible in the news.
Can you imagine an investor rolling up and down streets in a nearby neighborhood, using a mobile device to isolate foreclosed properties and make offers directly to the bank based on information provided in a manner consistent with Benn's vision?
I think that's coming - maybe not in 2010, but soon. I just hope the real estate agents don’t get it before the loan officers do. To beat them, our mortgage technology is going to have to be ready to get those deals started from right where the borrower is at the time, even if that means accepting an electronically-signed loan application sent by a borrower from the curb via a smart phone. That’s Mortgage 3.0.