Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

February 9, 2006

A Challenge to Brokers

by @ 6:35 am. Filed under Real Estate

Yesterday’s New York Times reported on two new websites that may pose substantial challenges to real estate brokers and the method by which property has been bought and sold for generations. The most intriguing site is Zillow.com which has $32 million in startup funds and is directed by the guy who created the Expedia online travel site. According to the article, Zillow makes all types of information about real estate - previous sales price, prices of like properties, regional price appreciation or depreciation - available to Internet visitors for free (the site will be financed through advertising revenue, not user fees). The concept is to arm the potential buyer with a great deal of information that the buyer can use in negotiating his purchase. But since possessing this information has historically been the exclusive domain of real estate brokers, this new site invites the question (according to the article’s author, at least) of the future role of brokers. (The second new site is called Redfin.com which will allow potential buyers to bid on properties and to consumate sales agreements on line, but it is limited to Seattle for now). Of course, Zillow may still have a few bugs to iron out. Just before starting this post I visited their site and was greeted by a message that due to heavy traffic their server was down.

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