While the press has said plenty about the impact of stock trading online, there is another, less-studied form of asset trading also worth billions: the selling of homes on the web. Few shoppers would purchase a house without inspecting it personally, yet millions are more than willing to spare themselves the preliminary footwork of house-hunting and the wearisome jabbering of seller's agents.
In the States, consumers are turning to sites such as www.Realtor.com, which offers 1.2 million property listings. It is the epitome of both sophisticated database management and concise marketing design.
Agents post their property listings to this and similar web sites, which in turn help visitors whittle down the bewildering choices into a short list of homes that fit their exact preferences. Looking for a two-floor town house near good schools in Boston, with three bedrooms, a hot tub, and a skyline view? Realtor.com offers you several to choose from, and automatically estimates the monthly mortgage payment for each.
Nice, but agents know sales are in the eye of the beholder, so the 'killer app' is the site's visuals. Going beyond static images, Realtor.com has begun providing 360-degree panoramic videos of the most important rooms and the grounds. At last, a virtual Sunday 'open house' without mud on the carpets.
Hunter Madsen firstname.lastname@example.org.