This article by OPP Connect editor Adrian Bishop was originally posted on OPP Connect.
A new real estate website that claims to offer the ideal mix of subjective local information and objective market data has been launched.
The WikiRealty website at www.wikirealty.com covers Naples and Marco Island, Florida, and Milwaukee, Wisc., but it is hoping to eventually expand across the United States and possibly internationally.
Its location-based information provided by real estate professionals and local buyers and sellers linked to property listings is ideal for overseas property investors who are unlikely to have in-depth local knowledge, says WikiRealty founder, and Chief Executive Officer and real estate developer and attorney, Sanjay Kuttemperoor.
He tells OPP Connect, “This is a perfect marriage of subjective content with objective data. It is a pretty powerful combination of information.
“We actually launched WikiRealty on March 6 and we are still in our Beta phase but we are getting some great participation from a variety of disciplines in the real estate industry – from bankers, to lawyers, to residential Realtors and commercial Realtors to engineers, builders and developers. They are contributing great content into the system and we are starting to get some great consumer traffic as well.”
WikiRealty has been described as a ‘virtual town square’ where professionals and non-professionals can gather to contribute and share location-based information on residential and commercial property.
The aim of the site is to provide real-time insights about people, places and property for all involved in real estate by users posting questions or keywords and by seeing hints and tips or articles linked to listed properties.
Property buyers benefit by being able to access the best insight to make educated real estate decisions and professionals gain from participating in the on-going dialogue, building trust and meeting potential clients.
“We have engineers that have contributed in Naples, Florida, about things to consider when buying home regarding radon levels. We have got builders talking about the state of the market of Florida, like things to consider when purchasing flood insurance, so it is a very good variety of topics that consumers can search on when looking for projects.”
Kuttemperoor says there is plenty of objective data in the market place – square footage, price – on real estate consumer websites, but that is just one component that real estate buyers look for.
“Equally important, if not more important, is all of the hyper local information in the area in which you are buying. Things like grocery stores, parks, is it a family-friendly neighborhood, what are the schools like or legal issues – things to look for when drafting a contract, insurance issues. All of these factors, typically consumers, whether buying residential or commercial property often get insights into when they actually go into the market and speak to professionals in that market.
“What we have done is created a platform for the ecosystem –being both consumers and professionals – to contribute to their knowledge, ask questions and we connect the dots for all the participants in the industry by taking all of the information that has been contributed and putting it together in a nice package. People can search using key words and we also take and correlate that information to specific properties.”
The site links relevant comments to property listings, so buyers can find out what professionals and locals think about the area, find out about planning and transport proposals or any other information that is otherwise only available through talking to locals.
The site is free, but users need to register to be able to post content. As a result, they are given a unique URL, which means that site visitors can follow comments by individuals.
“Because its free there is no reason why professionals should not contribute information because they are doing it on all sorts of other platforms today, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or some other social platforms, but WikiRealty is a platform for the real estate industry, it is professional in nature and the content is professional.”
WikiRealty is ideal for foreign property buyers, who may not be familiar with the area where they are looking to buy real estate.
“You wouldn’t otherwise get this kind of information if you were overseas because this information is typically transmitted via word-of-mouth. As an overseas investor how do you really understand the nuances of what is going on in a particular market? Let’s say if you want to buy in Naples or Miami. All these areas have sub pockets that have their own characteristics and nuances and how does an overseas investor really start to garner that kind of knowledge locally? It is very difficult to do so.
“So, on WikiRealty, an overseas investor can look at a specific area in Naples and understand pertinent engineering issues, insurance issues, legal issues, family issues, school issues, park issues – there are a variety of things that they can search for on the application that is all intuitive for them in a manner that has not been done before and will be a tremendous benefit to overseas investors.”
The site is simple to use and links, videos, and documents can be added in less than a minute, says Kuttemperoor.
“Right now our main focus is to bring about a certain awareness of the site, get the industry and consumers to understand the benefits of using WikiRealty as a platform to gather through that long tail knowledge in terms of what is it like in a particular area.
“We have just been live over two weeks and between Milwaukee, Naples and Marco Island we probably already have 400 or more tips that have been entered into the system. We have not really started any PR or marketing. I think the growth trajectory on the WikiRealty community and user base will be really interesting.”
Kuttemperoor hopes to quickly increase the communities covered by WikiRealty – and possibly expand overseas.
“I’ve just launched it in these three markets as pilot locations and I am going to quickly expand to other metros like Miami and Chicago and obviously this will very quickly become a national platform for the US and I think there are applications internationally as well.
“The issues regarding information gathering in the real estate industry are not unique to the US. The same things occur in other countries. Trying to get this underground, real-time information is a very difficult thing … until WikiRealty”
To see WikiRealty, go to: www.wikirealty.com.