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"Stay in the Center of the Real Estate Transaction"


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Brad Inman Photo
12/6/96 Interview with Brad Inman

Inman News Features
5335 College Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
Biography

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How Real Estate Will Be Changed

  1. The ultimate beneficiary of the Web revolution is the public; Realtors will be more productive and offer clients more value.
  2. Information technology allows the delivery of services in a new, more efficient way; consumers are enabled to take more responsibility in the search process so that agents can focus on negotiating the sale.
  3. The cyberspace revolution will hit critical mass when the Internet is taken for granted as the telephone is now - probably three to five years.
  4. The Internet is beginning to be used routinely as a tool for getting around, gathering information and communicating - especially by youth.
  5. In its infancy, television had to develop both technology and content; the Internet is struggling with technology but already has incredible information.
Basic Real Estate Research

  1. Make use of the foundation of information in America - the US Census; it is easier to access via the Web than by calling the Census Bureau - familiarization with the site should take only about two hours.
  2. Accurate market information includes demographics, construction activity, dollar volume going back 30 years and much more; comparison and analysis are easy.
Other Research Sources

  1. For current market information in the commercial area, Teleres aggregates data in useful ways; going beyond REITs, Phil Jennings tries to systematize the valuation of commercial property.
  2. An increasingly important source, Teleres' Web activity is strong, plus they have a proprietary network.
  3. For the residential area, the National Association of Realtors collects resale home price information that is beginning to appear on the Web.
  4. News services such as Inman's provide daily reports on market activity; good coverage on actual deals will be increasing over the next six months.
  5. The American City Journals Web site compiles the full text of 30 local business journals from around the country; these publications are noted for excellent coverage of real estate transactions.
  6. Builder Magazine's Builder Online has just added a research component that puts up statistical information; BOMA, IREM and private brokers are also putting up data and reports.
  7. The best place to begin research is with the major directories such as Pikenet (commercial) and IRED (residential).
  8. Becky Swann's IRED is an excellent residential resource with 10,000 links that can be searched by category, state and key word.
Disintermediation

  1. The word refers to the "removal of the middleman" as consumers go directly to a source; real estate, insurance and travel agents are all threatened.
  2. In real estate, wholesale lenders are beginning to by-pass mortgage brokers, commercial banks and S&Ls for distribution and loan origination.
  3. Toll-free phone numbers began the trend of going direct, which is gaining momentum via the Web; efficiency and added value from lower costs to the consumer result.
  4. However, Charles Schwab in the investment industry is an example that a middleman, through service and technology, can stay in front of the competition by bringing efficiency to the process and value to the customer.
  5. In real estate over the next three to five years, there will be a winnowing of the middlemen, increasing pressure for them to be more technologically capable and responsive; the result will be fewer Realtors doing more business - opportunity for the astute.
Using Technology to Survive the Revolution

  1. Use of the Internet for information is paramount; though the Net is available to the public, Realtors can make themselves useful as public assistants.
  2. Software is streamlining what a professional Realtor does, helping to organize contacts, produce direct mail, self-publish online newsletters, etc.
  3. A new photographic lens that takes 360-degree pictures has potential to make previewing properties much easier.
  4. The laptop will be evolving into the palmtop, ideal for the active, mobile Realtor; AT&T already has a wireless pager and phone combo - eventually even more will be combined into one instrument.
Advice for the Real Estate Investor

  1. Network to find some of the groups engaged online in exchanging and investing; excellent forums exist for big, middle-range and small players.
  2. Be careful to join a legitimate group; screen the biographies and credentials of the people you deal with.
General Technological Advice

  1. Become comfortable with the basics of the technology (Windows or Mackintosh) so that they become a tool and not a distraction; know how to use e-mail, searches, directories.
  2. Don't limit Internet use to direct real estate sources; information can be adapted from other sources to create useful maps (MapBlast), contact lists, etc.; airline ticketing, time, calendars, calculators are all available.
  3. Be sure you and your staff take advantage of Federal Express tracking numbers and UPS shipping numbers, and other time and cost savers.
  4. Switchboard is a site for searching phone numbers worldwide; a name/address can also be searched through MapQuest and Lycos.
Lessons from the RIN Debacle

  1. The Realtors Information Network was an Internet venture sponsored by the National Association of Realtors that went awry; the NAR was unusually sensitive and uncommunicative about this story.
  2. Because of Inman's experience in covering controversial stories, more valuable information on the RIN situation was available through his Web page than from official sources; the coverage established Inman's News Features as a reliable, credible real estate news service.
  3. Computer enterprises can be very risky and very costly; RIN and NAR deserve credit for taking the initiative to get into technology - trying it is the only way to gain understanding; the Information Age is here and demands that everyone pursue it despite its risks.
Advice for Seekers of Financing

  1. Going directly to sources in the investment and commercial real estate areas is premature; opportunities exist on the residential side with companies such as Keystroke Financial.
  2. Dealing directly with well-qualified borrowers allows a lender to give them a better rate; middlemen are freed up to handle the more difficult loans, so the entire operation becomes more efficient.
Contact Information for Brad Inman:

(v) 800 775 4662
(e) brad@inman.com
(w)www.inman.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Inman's News Service
US Census Bureau
Teleres
National Association of Realtors (Resale Home Price Info)
American City Journals
Builders Online
BOMA (Building Owners & Managers Association)
IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management)
Pikenet
MapBlast
FedEx Tracking Service
UPS
MapQuest
Lycos
Switchboard
Keystroke Financial