Can Social Media Sell Real Estate?

Searching for a house or apartment can be a daunting task.  In New York, the stress of this process is amplified due to the massive real estate landscape, countless brokers, and expensive moving costs.  Additionally, the commercial real estate industry is traditionally the last to embrace new technology; making the hunt for a new home more difficult.  Today, real estate agents/brokers are starting to evolve and embrace online platforms, in particular social media, to help the consumer navigate the process.

The recent WSJ article, “Real Estate Firms Get a Handle on Twitter”, points out that social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are giving top real estate firms a competitive advantage, by generating leads and in some cases, closing deals.

However, when it comes to the current real estate landscape in social media, these traditional firms are behind the eight ball.  Social platforms aimed at cutting agents/brokers out all together are gaining traction and taking over the apartment hunt process.  RentSocial, for example, is a social platform allowing people to connect directly with property management firms and as a result changing the entire real estate search process.

According to a recent article on Mashable,  “RentSocial appeals to the connected generation who like to share aspects of their lives with friends and family, which is more important in the decision making process.  There are more than 100 million apartment renters in the United States, with about 53 million of them 30 years old and younger.”

My question to the class:

Do you think the traditional commercial real estate model (with the use of agents/brokers) will survive with the emergence of competitive social media platforms?

– Halley Holdsworth

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3 thoughts on “Can Social Media Sell Real Estate?

  1. I think the survival of the traditional real estate system all depends on access. Brokers who have access to better listings will always have clients. I recently moved in Manhattan and initially I tried to avoid a broker’s fee by connecting directly with management companies but I found that in order to stay within my price range and be in my desired neighborhood, I had to work with a broker. I definitely see more and more young users going towards social sites like RentSocial to get apartments but in the end it will depend on the renter’s priorities and needs. In most cases people are willing to pay if all their priorities can be met.

  2. I think it’s a combination – there’s no question that agents/brokers should be using social media in terms of getting their listings out there and meeting potential new buyers, but I think putting too much emphasis on that kind of communication could alienate some users who value more traditional methods. I think it’d be important to strike a balance between the two. I love the idea of RentSocial (love perusing real estate) – but it doesn’t seem to service the area that I live in, and so it seems like these emerging sites still have a long way to go in terms of reach. I have a dream though of one day there existing an iphone app where you can walk through a neighborhood and it will show you where all the open apts around you are and their prices 🙂 Additionally, many major real estate deals never even hit the market officially – they are sold broker-to-broker, so it seems like social media could have a big role in terms of connecting brokers, but I don’t think many brokers with really high-roller clients would need to rely on that.

  3. I think that social media could help bring the agents or brokers closer to their clients, and will not replace them. I purchased a condo this year, and being a first time buyer my real estate agent was very helpful to me in the process. Buying a home is a complicated process, and although at the end of the day the agents or brokers are in for the sale, I do not believe their knowledge can fully be replaced. My agent was able to understand my preferences for not only the type of condo I was looking for, but the type of neighborhood, and the feel of what I wanted from where I wanted to live. Yes, this can be very helpful to investors and experiences buyers but I think that the connection your agent brings you with the neighborhood as well as the home isn’t something that will be replaced anytime soon.

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