by Broderick Perkins
Instead of real estate agent, you may need a technological Terminator these days.
If your real estate agent can't hack it in the virtual world, chances are he or she also can't pass muster in the brick and mortar world.
The two worlds are becoming ever more intertwined.
Real estate professionals who want to stay in the game must be ever more comfortable with virtual spaces and have the digital kahunas necessary to meet the demands of the home buying and selling public, as well as "real estate enthusiasts" who exhibit a near transhumanist immersion in technology when it comes to real estate.
There are 30 million virtual farms on the social networking game Farmville, but only 2 million real farms in the U.S.
The 3.6 million Realtor.com mobile apps downloaded to date aren't only in the hands of home buyers, sellers and real estate agents, but also virtual looky-loos known as "real estate enthusiasts" who may not walk the walk, but want to talk the talk.
"I'm handing my iPad over to my clients as we drive along and having them see the listings. It's scary information overload," said Robert The-Internet-Is-My-Office Aldana, a television- and radio-broadcasting Intero real estate agent from San Jose, CA who taps everything from mobile real estate apps to YouTube videos to keep his listings moving.
The Derwent Absolute Return Fund, using Twitter sentiment to predict the stock market, was set to launch April 1 with a firm $40 million in assets, but delayed its launch to sort through unexpectedly high interest from investors who added another $60 million to the stake.
Imagine that. Using tweets from Main Street to wager on Wall Street.
Is your agent in the game?
Check out how your real estate agent stacks up, technologically speaking, with Mashable.com's (a source of social and digital media, technology and web culture news) Mashable Infographics.
Largely using data from Postling.com (a web-based app that allows small businesses to both manage social media accounts and see what people are saying about them), but also from Realtor.com (the world's largest listings database), AgentGenius.com (a purveyor of realty tech news) and real estate agent blogosphere ActiveRain, Mashable.com came up with this insight.
The vast majority, 84 percent of real estate professionals are using social media with Facebook (79 percent); Twitter (48 percent) and LinkedIn (29 percent), the top social networks deployed. Can you connect with your agent on any of these networks? How many networks will get you to your agent?
The vast majority of homeowners (73 percent) say they are more likely to hire an agent offering video. Unfortunately only 12 percent of real estate agents have YouTube accounts. If you agent isn't on YouTube, ask "What's up with that?"
The free Realtor.com App, downloaded 3.6 million times, is a game changer, especially now that it's on Apple's iPad.
Average time spent on the Realtor.com app is 16 minutes compared to 4 to 5 minutes on other realty apps.
Realtor.com app users look at 20,000 homes per hour.
A full 20 percent of the traffic for Realtor.com comes directly from it's mobile app, also available on iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Windows Phone 7.Does your agent have Realtor.com's mother-of-all-real-estate-apps? Do you? Realtor.com's operator, Move.com says it's not just for buyers and sellers, but also "real estate enthusiasts," fans of the buying and selling business.
As the result of consumers' internet home search, 45 percent physically walked through a home, 29 percent located an agent, 21 percent drove by or viewed the home.
Compared to other small business, real estate companies are heavy on Facebook and email alerts from Tweets and wall posts, but weak on Twitter, WordPress and Flickr accounts.
"Judging by the adoption of instant email alerts on Postling (which, for real estate, is 2.5 times greater than that for other small businesses), managing social media by email is one of the preferred methods for real estate industry people who go virtual," Mashable reported.
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