Prudential Real Estate is offering a new program as part of its existing marketing relationship with Yahoo Real Estate called the "Online Seller Advantage program" (OSA). It"s designed to let sellers" agents convey market information to their clients ("real-time updates") via email. Sellers will be able to receive a range of consumer-related and competitive market data.
Those data include the following:
- How often their property showed up on research results
- How often their property was viewed in detailed format
- How many viewers have saved their property in their portfolio
- New listings and photos in the seller's immediate neighborhood
- Price changes of homes in the seller's immediate neighborhood
- Status changes (sold, pending, price reductions) of competitive properties in the seller's local area
From a buyer perspective, homes for sale will be equipped with a branded 'sign rider' featuring a unique ID number. Buyers can plug that number into Yahoo search and immediately be taken to details about the specific property. This is the most interesting aspect of the announcement from my point of view because it helps connect the online and offline worlds in a very direct way. It's not clear from the available information whether there's a mobile dimension to this, although presumably the information could equally be obtained through a browser on a mobile phone.
Interestingly, the seller tools and data seem to be about enabling agents to manage expectations in a cooling marketplace. As evidence, here's a quote from the press release:
"This is a time when pricing a home right can really make a difference," said Aaron Lewis, a sales professional with Prudential California Realty in Turlock, Calif. "But sometimes, the sellers' perspective of their property's value is different from what the market will bear. The OSA emails they receive daily provide hard evidence to support my recommendations on staying competitive. The OSA keeps my sellers realistic, which helps me help them."
The OSA is going to be available in 47 states and Washington, D.C. The missing three are Arkansas, South Dakota and West Virginia. But the program will be expanded in the near term to encompass those states as well.
Here's a commercial (via YouTube) for Yahoo and Prudential's marketing partnership, though not specifically this offering.
Other sites, such as Zillow offer valuation information and other market data.
The percent of U.S. homebuyers using the Internet as part of their housing search process went from roughly 2% in 1995 to 77% in 2005 according to the National Association of Realtors. The Internet is now the number one consumer resource in the home-buying process.