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The Groupon of Housing

By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

In April, Dream Town Realty in Chicago and Groupon tried to bring the daily deal phenomenon to the real estate market.  Only 219 consumers purchased the $25 Groupon, which offered a $1,000 cash incentive to buyers who purchased with the brokerage by April 9, 2012, or sellers who listed by the same date.  Although the deal didn’t attract the thousands of purchasers that the site is known for, it did generate national publicity for both Groupon and Dream Town Realty.

Groupon is a site popular for deals at local restaurants and retailers. As the daily deal phenomenon grows, consumers are becoming cautious about paying full price — something that was discussed at Real Estate Connect July 28 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. During a session entitled “Daily Deals are the New Opportunity,” Tigue Bonneval, co-founder of  HouseTipper.com, talked about how there is space for a home-related deal site.

HouseTipper.com offers a variety of deals, including savings on solar panels or appliances included with the purchase of a condo from a developer.  “Most of our deals have tipped,” explained Bonneval, which means that there were enough people interested in the offering that the deal becomes available for all.  However, if enough people don’t purchase the deal, then it doesn’t “tip.”

After the valuation of Groupon came in at a $30 billion and they are reportedly planning for I.P.O, it’s no wonder that so many want to jump on the online deal train.  Time will tell if it works just as well for real estate as it does for moving inventory out of Gap.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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