The Washington Post reports that consumers are starting to judge real estate agents by their blogs. Almost 10% of real estate brokers are apparently blogging, a number that is likely to rise faster than that sketchy “up and coming” neighborhood you’ve heard about for years.
No longer must potential home buyers and sellers actually speak to real estate professionals to meet them. Instead, consumers are accessing agents’ ever-more-common blogs, social network pages or viral video campaigns — all of the burgeoning options that have been called Web 2.0 — to tap their expertise and get a sense of their personalities. Some meet agents who quickly feel like buddies; others go with discount brokers and don’t have any direct contact with their agent until they’re ready to put a bid on a house.
“In this type of environment the cream rises to the top,” said Jonathan Washburn, chief executive of ActiveRain, a popular real estate blogging site that boasts membership of more than 100,000 real estate professionals. Traditional advertising provides limited information, he said, but online, agents “get a chance to demonstrate their actual expertise by writing about things that are relevant to the consumer.”
Judging a realtor online takes the same amount of research as finding one offline. Don’t take assertions at face value, and give greater weight to content the realtor doesn’t necessarily control.
For instance, when she was in the market for a home two years ago, Fernandez found a potential agent through some online social networks, and then searched through her LinkedIn account for mutual contacts. She found two of the agent’s former clients and contacted them. They gave him rave reviews, and so she went ahead and worked with him.
If you’re sufficiently web savvy to judge someone’s character by their internet presence, you might want to jettison the broker altogether and find your house through the multiple listing service with Redfin.
Making Connections [The Washington Post]