Editor’s note: Inman News is exploring what the next decade may hold for real estate professionals in "2020 Re-Envision: The Future of Real Estate Brokerage." Readers are invited to submit guest essays detailing their vision of the future for the real estate brokerage industry. Send your guest essay to future@inman.com by March 12. The author of the top essay will receive a $200 Amazon.com gift card.


Here’s my exaggerated, tongue-firmly-in-cheek take on the future of real estate.

A semantic Web and augmented reality will have a big impact on the future of real estate.

You unroll an iPad on your lap as you push the mute button on your tiny wireless headphones. You look at the luminescent piece of plastic film that went from a rolled-up state to a rigid flat surface and say out loud, "San Diego."

Instantly a cover flow of thumbnails appear before you, and you use your fingers to flip through them. You hold your finger down for a preview and the gorgeous Web adviser that you designed as your personal iPad avatar says, "Good afternoon, Mr. Price."

What follows is a 10-second preview of the local news site you want to view. You double tap to bring up the site and cuss yourself for not ponying up a lousy euro credit to become a paid subscriber. An ad, powered by Goople Gatekeeper 3.5, pops up in the video window.

You’re still giggling at the name that Google and Apple decided on in the Ministry of Fairness-forced merger of 2019, but you’re happy that Steve Jobs was able to get new lab-grown organs and stay at the helm of the newly formed company. Based on the perma-cookies stored in your profile you must view the following interstitial before getting to the sports page:

The ad fades to a family barbecue: dog playing with the kids, man and wife give one another approving smiles. As dad walks through his beautiful home, the paintings change scenes to reflect his happy mood. Walking out the front door of the home, barbecue tongs in hand and blissful look on his face, he walks up to the ornamental mailbox — one of several that line the streets for nostalgia’s sake — and gives it a smiling, eyes-wide-shut hug. The camera pans back to show a sprawling family community.

Cross-fade to a young professional checking out her evening attire in the mirror with an outside shot of an urban skyline, bright lights dotting the evening landscape. She has the same sublime look on her face as she walks through her modern condo. Paintings change scenes as she walks by them, reflecting the successes of her life and scenes of her with friends in hip, fun urban settings. The camera follows her down the elevator to the lobby, where she hugs the doorman and plants a kiss on his cheek as she skips out to enjoy the night life.

Cross-fade to the barely noticeable hum of a high-end luxury electric car leaving the city, zooming back to a sky shot above as it travels winding roads through a community of exclusive estates. The driver winds his way up a long, secluded driveway into the curve and parks directly in the front door of a large luxury home. Smiling contently, the driver walks through the posh surroundings of the home, music plays and — like the other homes — the scenes in paintings change to photos and videos of smiling people on yachts, in resorts, the golf course, etc. …CONTINUED

As he walks through the stunning surroundings of wealth, he ditches his briefcase and jacket, and the tie flies through the air and lands on the floor. He walks outside, where a bare-chested young man is cleaning the pool. He walks up and kisses him with the same satisfied look of a perfect life of "urban girl" and "family guy."

Dissolve-fade to a logo as the recognizable voiceover of Matt Damon says, "Just say, ‘RealHarmony’ to any Web device and complete a secure interview with a RealHarmony Web adviser who will that match the dimensions of your life to the next place you’ll call home. On approval of your InstaFax credit rating and FaceMatch, RealHarmony’s software will match you with a licensed sales associate to handle your transaction.

"RealHarmony will find a buyer for your current home and the LifeCrew with your sales associate’s virtual office will have you settled in your new lifestyle within 30 days, or you’ll receive a deposit of euro credits equal to 1 percent of the purchase price of your new home.

"RealHarmony: real life — real estate. A service of the International Association of Realtors and EHarmony Global." There is a microsecond pause and then a disclaimer in super-fast legal speak; "This ad meets the guidelines of the Media Fairness and Equality Doctrine of 2011."

So you think to yourself, "It’s been over 18 months in the house I’ve lived in and it’s time for a change." So you bark out "RealHarmony," and instantly a 20-something Web adviser pops up and welcomes you to the site. She informs you that she’s a licensed sales adviser with ZipFin International, and begins to ask you a series of questions that confirm some of the things stored in your perma-cookie at GoopleDocs.

A full-screen page pops up with a Goople map. Pinpointed are all of the things that have become a part of your lifestyle. You view the videos and FaceBuzz profiles associated with them and drag a few of the digital coupon offers you get along the way to the icon for your new MacDroid-powered Goople phone. When you double tap the pinpoint for the suggested home, up pops a video walkthrough of the home, replete with photos of all things you already own placed in the home.

You’re really intrigued by the whole process and glad that you don’t have to negotiate, find a mover, switch your utilities … when the ZipFin adviser pops in and says, "Mr. Price, we’re going to need to put your transaction on hold. The banking software system has been hacked again and we don’t have access to all of the information we will need. I will send you a Gmail to schedule another session."

You sigh and think to yourself that you hope this gets resolved faster than the North Korean issue. Even though it’s 25 degrees in July, you decide to walk down to the corner of Al Gore Parkway and Obama Boulevard to use the digital Starbucks coupon you received earlier.

Before you could make it a block, the GoopleAds start popping up on your phone, letting you know you’re only 15 feet from McDonald’s, and if you duplicate the same order you had last week they’ll throw in a free apple pie upon approval of your doctor and your ObamaDocs at the Ministry of Health and Well-Being. You sigh with even more authority this time, wishing you would have just settled in at home with a good Vook.

Michael Price is president of MLBroadcast.com, a real estate video company based in Houston, Texas. He is also an editor for Zillow’s Mortgages Unzipped and Geek Estate blogs.


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