Let's call it Zulia

Brian wrote this toward the very end of December 2007. I remember both of us flying down to Los Angeles (each from different destinations), meeting at the airport and grabbing a cab to meet with a client. We were throwing ideas around and before long we realized the cabbie was completely lost. In the few minutes I spent trying to get the cabbie back on track with the directions we had, Brian hatched this idea and presented it to me. It was one of those moments when I wished we still had our tech company so we could build an app that enabled our customers to do this. I loved this idea then, and I still love it today. …Marc

On Friday, Davison and I gave a presentation to a group of top producers at a large real estate company here in the Bay Area. At these things, I usually play Ed McMahon to Marc’s Johnny (minus the pre-show hi-balls). I keep things moving and laugh at all the jokes.

But this time I wanted to take a few minutes to share an idea I had with the crowd. I offer it for your evaluation below.

I’ve been thinking that if I were to sell real estate in my neighborhood, one of the things I would do would be to create a comprehensive database of images, sales histories and notes on every single home in the neighborhood (in my case, about 1,200 homes).

In other words, I’d create my own private Zillow or Trulia — or, really, something even more valuable to my clients and prospects. Maybe I’d call it Zulia.

The data would be impeccably accurate, the images would be clear street level views, and it would be frequently and meaningfully updated. Each home would have its own page. Heck, I could even run this on WordPress. Every home would be a post.

But — and the real value would lie herein — all of the data, all of the images, would be complemented by my own assessment of the home. This might include observations taken on a broker tour at some point in the past (“next door neighbor raises German Shepards”; “living room gets very little light in winter”), or notes on sales prices that would make such data much more meaningful than a list of out-of-context comps. I might, for example, note that an unusually low sales price could be attributed an out of area listing agent, not a marker of a market shift.

This database could be used in a couple different ways. I could either use it as a tool for myself and my clients and keep it password protected. It would be helpful in discovering buyer preferences or helping shape sellers’ perception of their home’s value. Or I could leave it wide open.

Either way, I’d be using the Web to leverage my valuable experience and knowledge in a new way that would help clients and differentiate me from every other agent in my neighborhood with a stack full of comps from the MLS.

The agents in attendance liked the idea. But in reality, most were selling super high-end homes and don’t get their fingernails dirty in the nitty gritty of technology. With a more time and effort, this could even be done at a brokerage level.

Your thoughts?

Brian Boero