Uberfication of real estate means delivering professional-grade mobile tools to agents

Insights from MRIS' David Charron

David Charron is the president of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. (MRIS), one of the largest multiple listing services in the U.S.

MRIS and Homesnap recently announced a partnership where MRIS MLS data will power the pro version of the popular home valuation mobile app. The partnership combines the power of MLS data with the intuitive user experience of Homesnap to create a first-of-its kind application for real estate professionals.

Mobile image via Shutterstock.
Mobile image via Shutterstock.

Charron will be onstage at Real Estate Connect San Francisco July 16 with Homesnap co-founder and CEO Guy Wolcott to talk about the new partnership and what it takes to deliver professional-grade mobile tools for agents on the go.

Inman: What’s the most disruptive force changing the economy and consumer behavior and why? 

DC: Mobile rules (as long as its designed, delivered and measured effectively!) When most of us spend extended periods of time away from our desktops, mobile access and the convenience it offers become more critical. The desktop will remain in play but in a markedly subservient position.

Inman: Every day there are more services described as “Uber for X.” Do you think this trend will continue? If so, what’s next? If no, why not?

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DC: Matt McFarland of the Washington Post writes that Uber uses its mastery of technology to steadily disrupt the cab industry. Uber is synonymous with “on demand, as you like it, when you want it, and all at a price you are willing and pleased to pay.” I believe this last issue is one that will resonate with consumers who question the real estate professional’s role and influence in the buying and selling process.

Inman: What’s the one trend you’re keeping an eye on for 2015 and why?

DC: Broker resurgence. On a local level, it could be as simple as the broker’s desire and ability to deliver specialized content; hyperlocalized niche marketing (neighborhood videos) or neighborhood trends and statistics that are regularly updated. It’s about making certain the agent and the brand either initiate or are invited into the conversation with the consumer. On a national level, brokers will experiment with various forms of “coopetition” to ensure the value of their listing assets are maximized. Are they prepared to deliver? This is their opportunity to reclaim some high ground. If unsuccessful, organized real estate will be forever changed.

Inman: What is the one thing real estate needs to do to innovate on the consumer experience?

DC: Look for continued experimentation with data mining and analytics (past and predictive). The third rail could surface, however: privacy. Will real estate figure out (just as politicians have) an effective way to identify who will make their next housing decision and when they will make it?

Inman: What’s the most important takeaway of your talk at Real Estate Connect?

DC: Value of desktop technology wanes dramatically. I didn’t fully acknowledge this until I saw Homesnap at Real Estate Connect New York City. Homesnap can be described as a truly evolutionary product. It’s about making a vertical business better through an organic approach. Connect provided us with a platform to discover that.


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