The magic of mobile in real estate

Technology is putting more power in consumers' hands

SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Dollinger, vice president of strategic development for Chicago brokerage @properties, demonstrated the power of mobile and social technology with a simple audience poll.

Speaking during a Thursday session, "Blending Social, Local and Mobile," at the Real Estate Connect conference, Dollinger asked for a show of hands on how many people had used services like Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook to find a restaurant for dinner the night before — and indeed, most everyone in the room acknowledged using one of those services.

"That’s really the power this has given us," he said.

Dollinger said that before traveling to Washington, D.C., he queried Yelp users for their views on things to do in a particular neighborhood. "I had (about) 100 responses. There were all these people waiting to share this information." An online argument even broke out over which eatery had the best empanadas, he noted.

Neighborhood amenities can speak volumes about homes for sale, Dollinger also said. He related that his wife, who works as an agent, has a favorite homework assignment for clients who are selling their homes: Tell me why you love your home and your neighborhood.