September 25, 2007

Buying or Selling online; End of Days?

We know that the computer has provided a wealth of information and search ability for buyers and sellers. The next question is will it replace the agent? Can a deal be made completely on line and if so, will people trust it and use it?

There are a few sites that are testing this hoping to be the next "killer app" or the next disruptive technology. Disruptive technologies such as the computer or email app or even the cell phone really change our lives and make the early developers rich. You know they will try hard and attract a lot of development money.

Now there are a few sites testing the nets ability to offer a complete transaction without the agent, thereby saving the buyers and sellers money.

Industry stats tell us that 8 of 10 use the net to search for property. This is a good thing, because we all prefer informed clients. They are easier to work with because they know what they want and are less likely to be time wasters.

NAR weighs in: According to an article in the Wall street Journal; "Walt Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, says that's not likely. He says that the trade group's research shows that more than half of Web surfers begin their searches on metropolitan multiple listing sites or on the industry's own For-sale-by-owner (FSBO) sales are at "historic lows" of only 12% -- and 5% of those transactions occur between people who already know each other, according to NAR. Furthermore, he says, no matter what tools a Web site offers, many buyers and sellers will still want a professional to guide them through a home-sale transaction."

The world rarely is a matter of one of two choices. I think that the agent will remain the central focus for transactions, but that we will see more competition from web sites that will offer a variety of ways to buy or sell. Following are some sites that offer competing services to traditional methods are worth looking at:

MLS type sites:



Housing Tracker

Transaction type sites:

Real Umbrella


Real Estate Auctions


Realty Trac

Realty Bid

Thanks for Reading

Howard Bell for Your Property Path

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