Google and Real Estate Search Do Not Quite Get It!!
Google is an amazing tool for so much of seemingly everything on the Internet. Not many will doubt this in my opinion and therefore for me there is no need here to elaborate too much.
But what about real estate search? Google obviously would like (love) to win the real estate search game. As far as I can see so far, to their dismay they are far from this goal. With all the technology out there and a few prominent aggregate sites such as Trulia and Zillow, Google is stepping up with a pretty simple result in property search...a red pin designating the location of a property on a map. If you are a consumer/client looking to move within or to a new city and want to learn about specific neighborhoods, schools, the soul of an area beyond just a swiping snapshot of the town, how is a map filled with little red dots designating search results helping the consumer out? It is not!!
Trulia and Zillow have Google beat and local agents with good websites and blogs have even this beat. Google so far has provided no better solution to real estate search as far as I can see. Content around what consumers are searching for is what is key. In areas such as Santa Barbara CA. people are searching for information on neighborhood specific areas such as San Roque, The Mesa, The Riviera etc.
Red dots don't provide value added information about these areas.
Location has an identity and overall snapshots of towns are great. But this is just a starting point and Zillow and Trulia have done a good job at this already. What Trulia, Zillow and now Google are not able to understand (or simply can not do) is give the consumer information about what makes a particular property/area unique, desirable, a one of a kind. How does a little red dot convey the enormous significance of LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION and life in this location? The content around the search is what is key for the consumer.
Consumers are seeking a home and a good life and not just a house. They are looking to find out for them what evokes the emotional response? A view? The neighborhood feel? The possibility of walking to a farmer’s market on Saturday...while passing the local coffee shop and bakery? Good pictures, a street view, these are all necessary...but it does not define an area's personality. Linking the characteristics of a specific neighborhood and/or location to the attributes of a property can only be done by a hard working local Realtor. When a search result can personify a property’s location, consistent with how a consumer will view their personal life there, the red pin and/or aggregate sites will come alive. To me though this seems too much to ask. Outside of pure investment, real estate is personal.
For my view, use Google, Zillow and Trulia as starting points and then find a local real estate agent with a hard working site.
For information on Real Estate here in Santa Barbara, Montecito and/or our surrounding areas, as well as any other aspects of life in our area, please don’t hesitate to contact Kevin Schmidtchen at Berkshire Hathaway.
Thank you for reading. I hope you find Santa Barbara Real Estate Voice informative. Please feel free to contact me or comment below with any thoughts.
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