Fast Company Article regarding how digital maps are enhancing the user experience.
"Traditionally, in real estate, you'd have to go to the county records office or the police station, and pore through dusty file cabinets, to get the information that a Web site such as Redfin.com can display in a couple of clicks. "We want to organize information geospatially," says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, "so people seeking a home can capture the gestalt of the neighborhood." For example, the home seeker can ask why a house is more expensive than others in the rest of the neighborhood, and the seller can respond by adding information to the map about recent renovations, even posting before-and-after pictures. Such features keep the average user on Redfin for an impressive 72 minutes a week. "The map is basically a centerfold--it's pornographic," Kelman says."This -is- pretty cool, but does the geospatial gestalt image capture all the neighbors with toxic loans, or provide a ratio of the likelyhood your suburb will become the next shantyhood?
"From 15,000 feet, the $2.5 million house at 123 Highland Drive in the Queen Anne district of Seattle doesn't look like much. The roof is a nondescript gray square; the yard, a tiny patch of fuzzy space. This doesn't bother Matt Bell, a 33-year-old sales executive in the market for a new home. He is focused on the numbers flickering at the bottom of the Web browser two feet in front of him, the constantly refreshed statistics such as average property value, county tax records, local schools, and previous selling prices. "Eh," he sighs. "It's $538 per square foot, but the neighborhood average is only $420." Opting not to leave a comment on the house's open blog, Bell abandons 123 Highland and zooms back out over the city, the neighborhood numbers blurring to keep up with him."Only $420 per square foot! You've got to be smoking something.
I have two questions. One, how does a 33 year old "sales executive" purchase a 2.5M home, and two, how do you think this crash will impact Redfin? Personally, I like Redfin. Any company that seeks to simplify the home buying process and rid of us realtors deserves respect.