Sunday, April 02, 2006

Open Sunday

I'm thinking half-heartedly about buying a condo: not serious enough to get in touch with a broker, but when the weather is nice, I'll walk around the neighborhood and check out the open houses. Today there must have been 20 of them within a 3-block radius of my apartment. The problem is, the signs outside don't tell you much about the units for sale. Just now I saw a 250 square foot studio and a multi-million-dollar 3-bedroom.

So, where should buyers go to find out about open houses in their target neighborhoods? Realtor.com says there are 115 condos for sale in my zip code, but not which ones are available for public viewing today. Washington City Paper has 10 open houses listed in its classified section - that's for the whole city. But there are that many signs on my street alone. WashingtonPost.com is more like it: 49 open houses in NW Washington DC. But the list is sorted only by price, not by location.

Maybe buyers and sellers alike could use a repository of event-based rather than property-centric listings?

(a) Realtors and/or sellers submit listings for open houses

(b) Prospective buyer performs searches by specifying geography boundary, price and date/time range. Site outputs list of properties, calendar and map. (Have you seen how Trulia incorporates maps in its real estate searches?) Searches can be saved so that buyer receives updates of new listings.

(c) Buyer can sign up to receive follow ups from seller - or he can just show up/browse/leave anonymously. In either case, listing owner receives report of how many unique visitors have viewed his/her event.

Such a system would save buyers time by pinpointing opportunities to visit price/size-appropriate properties within their desired timeframe. It would also help sellers promote and track ROI from open house events. As for the business model... Motivated sellers could likely be persuaded to purchase enhanced listings. Realtors and mortgage companies might also be eager to capture the attention of buyers. Local businesses, too, could be interested in advertising to prospective new neighbors. Maybe?

1 Comments:

Anonymous florida real estate said...

If I spent as much time working on my own real estate sites as I do slogging thru blogging, I'd probably make more money. But I enjoy a good read. Thanks for the break. Stop by my site if you can.

1:15 AM  

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