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Once Again, It Is the Outsiders Innovating

Yup, it’s happened again. Outsiders have out innovated real estate industry insiders. This time it is Redfin’s Agent Scouting Report. Any agent’s entire sale history analyzed and overlaid out on a map. Brilliant.

For an example, take a look at Kris Berg‘s scouting report. I picked Kris because I’ve known her for years and know (hope) she won’t get mad.

Brian Boero at 1000Watt and Jay Thompson have already written about the announcement, and there are some great conversions in the comments — so I urge you to go read both articles. Below is part of my comment on Jay’s post:

“I wish Realtor Associations had taken the initiative to do what Redfin is trying to do here.”

I seriously don’t get how not a single MLS in the country has done this? Diverse Solutions did all the work in august of 2009 in two stinking days (granted, they have a few KICK ASS developers). That was more than 2 years ago. What have MLS’ been doing for the last 2 years? Why hasn’t an MLS gone and bought that technology from Diverse and implemented 18 months ago? Consumers want the data — that’s obvious.

The main complaint I’ve heard voiced thus far is data inaccuracies. Sure, there are data issues to overcome. So what? The first version of any product or idea is seldom, if ever, perfect. This is just exposing the belly of the MLS data issues that have existed for years.

What I find shocking is that EVERYONE saw this product coming a million miles away (the product was on stage at Inman 2 years ago), but no one did a d*mn thing about it. Whether you like it or not, we’re seeing a shift toward more information available publicly, for anyone to see. The curtain is being lifted, and the consumer is driving that process. Whether it be you as an agent, your brokerage, another brokerage, your MLS, an IDX vendor like Diverse Solutions, or Zillow — someone is going to give the consumer what they want. Those that do will be swimming in online traffic. Those that don’t are going to be left squabbling for the scraps. I firmly believe that’s a good thing.

We know consumers want to see median sales price, average number of price changes, and average days on market. We know they want to see all the data on a map. Why don’t agents and brokers lead the next charge and be the ones to put sales history and performance statistics directly on their own real estate websites for all to see?

You can verify the data is 100% correct for yourself, your team, and your agents. So, what’s stopping you?

Some brokers such as Doug Heddings already post every single sale from their entire brokerage for anyone to see. It’s not perfect — it doesn’t have aggregated performance statistics nor are the listings overlaid on a map in a user-friendly way. But it’s sure as heck SOMETHING.

Remember, if you don’t do it, someone else will. However, fear of someone else beating you to the punch is not the reason you should do it. Do it is because it helps consumers make more informed decisions about the agents they hire. Do it because you have nothing to hide. Do it because you are proud of what you do. Do it to drive more business to the agents that view real estate as a career instead of a hobby and are actually performing — and less business to those who aren’t.

And, yes, this industry needs to invest in some innovative companies and individuals.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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