By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
During a session yesterday morning at the 2010 Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York, Inman News founder and publisher Brad Inman pressed Sam Sebastian, Google’s director of local and business-to-business markets, about the search engine’s plans to buy Trulia. Sebastian would neither confirm nor deny, but did elaborate that Google is actively looking to acquire one to two small technology companies a month.*
Corporate M&A activity aside, lots of innovative real estate ideas and tactics were discussed at the event. A majority of the 2,000 practitioners and techies in attendance agree that 2009 forced them to do business differently and rethink their plans.
Some tech experts, such as New York Times Editor Sam Grobart, believe tablet PCs are the wave of the future. He noted that Bill Gates made this prediction in 2001, but expects that 2010 will actually be the year they take off with Apple’s long-awaited but yet-to-be-confirmed version of the handheld computer (which would probably irk Gates to no end).
In the coming months, watch out for more applications to integrate social media. Example of this include PegShot, which allows you to upload photos in real time while tagging information about location, and Nabewise.com, which gives users detailed information about neighborhoods.
The dire market has forced practitioners to think differently and drastically cut costs—Jonathan Kauffmann, principal broker/owner of Nest Realty, said his firm has scaled back in office space and now uses virtual assistants.
Also, Ken Baris, president of Jordan Baris REALTORS explained that his office hosted several property tax events in 2009, in which his associates helped their clients lower the amount they owed by as much as 20 percent. He also cultivated a deal with his local Lexus dealership to become the official car of his business. His associates receive a discount on the luxury cars and the dealership sends leads over to the office.
More insights from Inman Connect to come.
*This blog entry has been corrected from the original posting. Google is looking to acquire one to two companies, not specifically real estate technology companies.