31 October 2010
Nero fiddled as Rome burned…
On Friday, November 5th, the National Association of REALTORS® will kick off it’s annual love fest. This year it is in New Orleans. Billed as NARdiGras 2010, the event will feature 4 days of speeches, lectures, classes and exhibits all designed to educate REALTORS®, fete REALTORS® and separate REALTORS® from their money in the Exhibit Halls.
I am not a fan of events like these, but I can see that they provide some value for many who attend them. The website http://www.realtor.org/convention.nsf/ has links to the educational offerings as well as links to the trade show exhibitors. If you are going, you may want to take a peek at the site and pre-plan your activities.
As I look at the schedule, I can’t help but think “that Nero fiddled as Rome burned”. I say that because if this year is like previous years, most attendees will be wandering the exhibit halls loading up on tchotchkes when they should be in the classrooms loading up on some much needed knowledge.
Here’s my reasoning:
The 2010 NAR Member survey had this to say about REALTOR® technology usage:
- Only 52% of REALTORS® are using social media in any form
- The October 2010 NAR Technology Survey claims that 84% are using social media.
That’s a huge disparity. Who knows which one of these recent surveys is correct so from my own observations, I would say that only a few percentage points are actually using social media in any business sense. Just having a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account doesn’t count.
This year’s celebration will have over 25 workshops and classes on social media and other business technology topics. This is an unprecedented opportunity for attendees to get up to speed quickly…if they would only attend them.
All of that is well and good, and maybe some will come away with a resolve to start using the tools, but I fear that it is already too late. Here are some numbers from the NAR 2010 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers which will be released on November 5th:
- The very first step taken by 36% of all buyers (who responded to the survey) is to look online for information on the home buying process.
- Only 19% contacted a REALTOR® for that information. Last year that number was 36%…
With so much information about listings available on the Internet, it’s only natural that consumers go there first. But what hasn’t been universally available is information on what it is like to ACTUALLY live in the neighborhoods that a consumer may want to live in. That was information that was really only available from people who lived in the neighborhood, or from someone who specialized in the neighborhood. Like the REALTOR®.
Typically a REALTOR® would disseminate that sort of information during showings as they drove the consumer from house to house on a home hunting tour.
Some forward thinking agents do try to duplicate this experience through photos and videos of the neighborhood on their blogs, but most REALTORS® have been content with just posting information on their websites relating to properties or their own achievements.
It was only a matter of time until an entrepreneur saw the inefficiencies here and decided to do something about it. That day has come. Enter NabeWise. Although they are only in San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Chicago and New York at the moment, they have plans to expand. Here is what they have to say about their service:
NabeWise allows you to understand any neighborhood as if you’ve already lived there, so you can explore the world on a local level, discover new places, and find the neighborhoods that are right for you.
People moving in particular want to find a place that fits their identity, lifestyle, and values. The average American moves every five years, and while choosing a neighborhood is as important as choosing a home, there has been no resource that helps people easily understand neighborhoods.
There are over 80,000 neighborhoods in the US alone, and they are all distinct in their people, setting, and culture. Many people want to know what different neighborhoods are like including, people moving, people traveling, and even curious locals.
In other words, they propose to do some of what REALTORS® do.
All is not lost though if you are a REALTOR®. They go on to say that they recognize that you need better tools to help you educate buyers, so they have made a widget available for you to put on your website. How nice.
But, couldn’t you have done the same thing? Couldn’t you have been shooting neighborhood videos, videos interviewing local merchants and video interviewing residents and placing those videos along with pictures on your blog or website?
Or is it more important to go to NARdiGras and load up on tchotchkes?