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A Question of Canaan

April 16, 2008


Marc Davison recently issued what I consider to be an important challenge, sort of tucked away into the dictum of his post called “Exodus from the bondage of 1.0 tradition“:

Like catcalls from construction workers to pedestrians, false bravado, come-ons and innuendo continue to adorn broker websites. They stand as a gripping example of how out of touch brokers are with the times.

It’s getting old.
It makes no sense anymore.
And it’s not what real estate is really about.

Marc then goes on to describe Chase Nation whose website is in dire need of a redesign, and a new search interface. (As an aside, Marc might direct Chase Nation to this post about not mixing Web 1.0 with Web 2.0; that search UI is from like… 1996?)

But that isn’t the important challenge. The important challenge/question is the last sentence quoted: “And it’s not what real estate is really about.”

So since Marc raised the issue of Exodus, I raise the question of Canaan. It’s one thing to leave Pharaoh’s bondage — where is it that Moses 2.0 is leading the community? If the realtor’s obsession with listings, properties, client testimonials, and ‘dream homes’ is not what real estate is really about… then what is real estate really about?

I’m thinking through this question as well, but I have not the vision that Marc has of utterly repudiating the current paradigm of ‘what real estate is really about’. My thinking is fairly limited at the end of the day to changing the way that real estate professionals behave, bringing new thinking to the methodology and techniques of marketing, and applying lessons from other industries to this one. But ultimately, real estate is about matching a buyer to a property to the satisfaction of all involved parties. Nothing more, nothing less.

But then, I’m no Moses, but a mere scribbler.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2008 8:32 pm

    I found your blog on MSN Search. Nice writing. I will check back to read more.

    Eric Hundin

  2. April 16, 2008 9:12 pm

    Several thoughts in response to your thought provoking post.

    The search interface – Agreed. A major challenge for real estate. Truthfully, no one has it perfect. Even the vernacular is wrong. I question whether that exercise is about search or if it’s about find. Or maybe it’s really about answering the question.. can I live here?

    Nevertheless, what Chase has done is big. It’s not perfect. Nothing is. But it’s big. And it warrants a positive discussion.

    2. What real estate is about? I am pretty sure it’s not about generating, capturing and drip torturing consumers.

    I’m pretty sure it’s not about a one-sided conversation that real estate has been having with itself.

    I’m convinced it’s not about any Realtor claiming to be anything they feel like, because it sounds or looks food on a website.

    Moses 2.0 (what a great metaphor Rob) is not about leading his consumers to a promised land of milk and honey only to find Philistines, war and strife. And god knows, no crude oil.

    Moses 2.0 is not about going on and on about all the milk and honey when there isn’t any.

    Moses 2.0 or real estate 2.0 is about removing that firmament of hyperbole and getting down to providing something real, uplifting and better.

    But what real estate is really about … well … the real estate is story is still unfolding. Perhaps it’s best for scribes like us to leave that page blank and let folks like Chase Nation, et al, fill it with a brand new definition, description and story.

  3. April 17, 2008 12:42 am

    Heya Marc –

    I agree with you on search — but then, across every industry, every application, the computer itself, search is not perfect. The quest for ultimate search will consume compsci majors at Stanford and elsewhere for decades. 🙂 All to our benefit, I think.

    I believe that you and I (and others in the can speak alot about what real estate is NOT about. I’m having the same issue in a way — I can talk about what NOT to do much easier than I can talk about what to ACTUALLY do.

    I tell you what, though — I’m watching Redfin…

    Keep up the good work, mate.


  4. April 17, 2008 1:07 am

    Redfin – yes. We’ve written plenty about them. Traditionalists need to stop bitching about them and instead – go to school on em.

    I’m with you.

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