OK, not quite. But in what’s officially the first of what will surely be a long line to come (and no, I’m not talking about the folks lining up for an iPhone), UK property search engine Nestoria has just released a Nestoria Facebook Application.
It’s not a huge technical leap, but I’m impressed. Adding the Nestoria’s Flat Search application to your Facebook account allows you to search directly in Facebook for property to buy, rent or share. Kind of a no-brainer, but it works as promised. Listings are pulled from Nestoria’s database while outbound links are still passed on directly to the property manager or listing agent’s website.
Some neat interactivity in the app lets you share the listings with anyone else in your network. Presumably this could be a good way for roommates or even a husband and wife team to collaborate on finding a new home.
The Flat Search app also returns a chronological listing of all the places you’ve searched, which is displayed on your profile, under your “Wall” (Facebook users will know what I’m talking about). Nestoria says this so your friends can see what you’ve been searching and offer you advice on the areas. Not sure how useful that is, but then again I’m not sure how useful half the things in Facebook are – but it’s still fun. Thankfully, you can turn it off if you want.
Like I said, I suspect this won’t be the last real estate app we’ll see in Facebook (see Facebook Could Make or Break Real Estate 2.0). I’m sure Trulia, Zillow and the other Real Estate 2.0 players have their eyes on the FB demographic and we may even see some of the more innovative real estate brokers dip their toes in the water too (see Coldwell Banker Opens Office in Second Life).
Moreover, you’re starting to see real dollar transactions take place in the Facebook environment. Lending Club, which bills itself as a P2P (person-to-person) lender has closed over $100,000 in loans to Facebook users.
This is pretty interesting. It’s not that much of stretch to see that that at some point, real estate transactions could be conducted through a virtual environment.
Sure, it’s a long way’s off before someone will closing the sale of a house in Facebook, but it’s not inconceivable to think that you couldn’t find your home, prequalify for a mortgage and line up all your inspections inside a social network, leaving you only to tour the house and sign the final paperwork in “meatspace”.