September 12, 2019

eReal Estate

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Of all the frustrating things that confound a consumer the most, the two biggest headaches have to be buying a car and selling/buying real estate. Where the online economy has made inroads with traditional businesses such as vacation rentals, taxis, online stock trading, and banking, buying and car and toiling over real estate transactions remain mired in the past.

I remember in the 2000s how real estate agents jealously guarded their listings. They saw what was happening with Craigslist and its effect on newspaper advertising. Somehow, they circled the wagons and protected their hold on transactions. My thoughts were how long such a thing could last.

According to an article on MarketWatch, the days of meeting with a realtor may be closing. Online trading of houses could soon be as easy as online trading of stocks.

In a perfect world, that sounds like a great deal: connecting buyers and sellers instantly. I would argue that there’s something about the traditional model that still works in people’s favor. Specifically, people like to see property they’re buying. Even with online real estate adds, you’d be a fool to accept the photos and descriptions and buy something without looking for yourself.

Ditto for cars. Nothing beats a real world test drive: the look, the smell, the feel. You can’t duplicate this experience online.

It’s like buying clothes. Yes, I’ve bought clothes online. I’ve also returned a lot of clothing. Sizes lack consistency and the web page picture lies. Though I still shop for clothing online, I’m extremely skeptical. It’s not a pleasurable thing.

While it would be fun to cut out all the crap that happens when you buy or sell a house, I just don’t see a successful online model taking over. Sure, the current real estate industry can always use better apps and other modernization. But an Uber or AirBnB model for real estate just doesn’t seem like it would work.


  1. Online works for somethings extremely well, Books, Music general entertainment but there are still somethings it can’t do. Buying a Car (as you say), I play Bass Guitar and some retailers are only online now, I am not happy at dropping the kind of money some of them cost without touching or playing the item first. Also ‘online’ you do not get the ability to confront a person when the item goes wrong…

    Comment by glennp — September 15, 2019 @ 3:09 am

  2. Your last point is well taken. Nothing frustrates me more than dealing with online “support.”

    Comment by admin — September 16, 2019 @ 1:37 pm

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