Ten Real Estate Predictions for 2010

Here are ten 2010 predictions for real estate. I listed 10 predictions for media in 2010 at my social media blog Media Transparent.

1) Curation is the new marketing

At Media Transparent, I called this "Curation is the new Syndication". Positioning yourself as the community conduit curating local real estate news to your client base is the new marketing.

Mass media used to rule syndication, now anybody can curate and present content across a panoply of social media platforms. Curating breaking news is key to readership – it’s the reason why people follow CNN, Marketwatch or engadget. Twitter has distinguished itself as the forefront application for breaking news, and anybody can use Twitter Lists to curate Twitter feeds by topic, geography and industry. Curation tools, like Outside.in Publisher for hyperlocal news, are being developed for local content publishers.

Curators are the new news editors, and the window is open to create new media properties. Curated local media will be a focus because there’s a media void that both national media and independent journalistic efforts are now trying to fill.

This slideshow describes how real estate professionals and brokerages can leverage curation of local news to engage their immediate community.



2) Facebook is the new website, and it looks more like a Reader than marketing collateral

25% of all pageviews in America today are on Facebook.Although writing a blog is the best way to propagate ideas and expertise, it's only one piece of a comprehensive online presence. More people we will be exposed to and read blog articles through Facebook and their brethren social networks over actually visiting the blog site itself.

Facebook itself does not serve the traditional role of an informational website where people can see what you do and assess whether there is a business opportunity. The consumer decision to form a business relationship will, in part, be predicated by your "lifestream", the aggregate stream of content that Facebook and Twitter continuously display. What you do and say over time is what you are, and that is howpeople will get to know you and your work. It's a revolutionary marketing platform that just came into being.

3) Posterous is the new blogsite

Principally because Posterous makes news curation easy (see #1 above)

4) Video becomes an accepted media of communication

Online video has been a tricky proposition for real estate professionals because viewers have consciously (and unconsciously) setvideo production standards at TV quality levels. Amateurish or adhoc attempts at video production can make a bad impression. The spawning of localized video production companies like TurnHere and more locally, I Sell Boston TV are servicing the need for quality production.


The explosion of personal video propagated by the confluence of mobile video device adoption, instant video sharing apps (12Seconds.tv, a number of Twitter video apps, Facebook) and YouTube, have palpably lowered viewer standards. Video has transitioned from "collateral" media to communication media, where nobody gives a second thought to production quality. The message becomes more important than the media.

Everybody intuitively knows that video is the perfect media for describing real estate, neighborhoods and local news. Video is easy to post on Posterous, Facebook and Twitter, and in 2010, savvy real estate agents are free to use video liberally to deliver messages without spending resources on production.

5) Local business will be live and die on review systems

Review systems are the hyperlocal killer app. Why are reviews at the consumer tipping point? Mobile apps like iPhone's Yelp application make it easy to post reviews on the spot.  Google Maps, Yahoo Local and Yelp (see screenshots) all have commercial utility because they contain enough reviews to be credible. In fact, there are now so many real estate agent reviews, that it's become critical to maintain a 5-star review!


The natural inclination of any consumer search through Yelp is not to find the 5-star review, but to find out why somebody did not receive a5-star review. The problem with a blemish review is simply the doubt that it plants in the consumer mind, particularly one who is comparison shopping. That nagging feeling of second guessing happens to anybody who reads one poor review for a camera or a car, and it forces them to delve deeper into qualifying their choice.  On the other hand, perfection passes with flying colors and has become the standard on review sites. It's a hard reality.

6) Alert systems, like program trading in stocks, become the critical component to any asset transaction.

The real time web is pushing business society into a new value paradigm that rewards those who can react instantly and systematically to opportunities. Mobile devices eventually won’t need “refreshes” to alert; they are always on and by extension, almost coerce its owner to be “always on”.

Remember the quaint old days of 2006 when lead response time was considered a key to success?Customers transacting real estate will demand real time service across the spectrum of the transaction, from discovery (new listing), to due diligence to closing processing. Real estate teams and professionals who systemize the distribution of breaking housing news for their local client base (give), and respond to their requests (take) will attract business. Alas, 2010 will be the year consumers demand alerts from their broker/agents, but very few agents know how to set up simple alert systems for their client base. Reason? 99% of agents still focus on the sale over the service they provide to their clients to get to the sale.

7) Webinar ubiquity

Webinars are social media too. They are already changing the landscape on how people meet for business on the cheap, and worry the airlines.

  2009 British Airways face-to-face campaign

Current webinar systems like Webex are still too difficult to use.Within 2010, some company will develop a simple to launch, one-click web meeting system that can broadcast live discussions across ad hocparticipant groups. Call the concept adhoc webinars. Why will this work? Webinars can become venues like happy hours where groups can meet and share. The key is ease of use, anybody should be able to participate so weekly scheduled meetings can expand as more people know about them. Imagine Robert Scoble producing a one-click webinar party every Friday afternoon to discuss ideas – he would essentially have an interactive TV program that can be produced on the fly without studios and cameras.

Virtual socializing is the natural evolution to social networking because it’s location independent. The best example in the real estate world are Real Estate Tomato produced virtual REBarCamps that aggregate speakers and audience together in a virtual national conference.

8) The recession and the death of retail is altering consumer perceptions on how they do business

It's a foregone conclusion across the media that commercial real estate will continue to flounder in 2010. The recession has gotten consumers used to searching for deals,and the best deals are now online without the retail markup. Retail is resigning itself to accommodating the online buyer with bricks and clicks models that turn retail outlets into showrooms. Retail stress is noticeable...San Francisco's prime Metreon complex has an indoor farmers market on the first floor. Simply put, it's hard for us to imagine the slow disappearance of retail because malls and strip malls seem ubiquitous. Even perishables like grocery shopping can potentially be automated to online service if there is quality control and service standards. Retail needs a new business model that justifies their inevitable overhead markup, and that seems elusive.

It's easy to extrapolate the business of real estate brokerage to the economic climate of downsizing.  The accelerating acceptance of online commerce by the consumer just reinforces the common refrain: "they're all online, so you should be there too".

9) A new era of open social media (the adjective “social” will soon be redundant)

Facebook and LinkedInare closed networks simply because they require confirmation of“friend” status. Frankly, it’s just too much manual clicking to accept a lot of friends. Twitter has distinguished itself as an open network that can amass networks of millions of followers, and is the application closest to a personal broadcast media. Facebook certainly sees the power of massive networks (being the biggest one itself), and in order to compete with Twitter’s broadcast power, will unveil similar broadcast functionality. Simply put, in 2010 Facebook will create an opt-in setting that allows users to open their status updates to anybody who wants to follow them. Becoming a Facebook Fan today is similar but statuses can’t be filtered within the main feed. Once 350+million Facebook broadcast systems are potentially unleashed, they can be curated categorically like Twitter Lists and conversations more conveniently filtered. Yes, Facebook already has Friendfeed as the model, but it needs to be simpler to use, and will likely cede to a new Facebook open network product.

LinkedIn can open itself up the same way. Since LinkedIn is a more industrial network, value would be derived from curated lists developed by users based on industry or discipline. Although LinkedIn Groups encourages industry conversations, they are generally sparse and hard to follow if one has joined many Groups.

Once networks open up, conversations become even more multi-channel than they are today. A Tweet that gets syndicated across Facebook, LinkedIn, and other networks will provoke dialogues characteristic of each network. Clients like Tweetdeck and Seesmic see this coming and have integrated multi-channel monitoring systems. In the latter part of 2010, evolved versions of Google Wave and the Google OS, and possibly Facebook, will provide the same multi-channel operability integrated into their offering.

10) Social networking becomes a true coffee shop experience

Just one year ago, people were complaining about Twitter noise and their relevance of its conversations about what they're eating at that very moment. Then in March, Facebook launched their live news feedthat updated conversations in real time. By year's end, most of the conversations on Facebook are now strikingly personal, with uploaded pictures of that evening's dinner accompanied by a flurry of comments("looks delicious!") and Likes.

I, for one, didn't see this trend. The "coffee shop" conversation is a form of social intimacy that works to cement relationships. Does it work for lead generation? Generating new relationships is what social media does best, so the answer is likely a soft "yes". The only problem I see is the time committed to chatting. The message has now become the media.

I'm making my principal New Year's resolution to join these conversations on a personal level. I'll start with "I liked Sherlock Holmes better than Avatar".


What did you think of this article?

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  • 1/3/2010 11:35 AM Tim White wrote:

    Funny, I almost skipped past predictions 3-10 as I was so eager to comment of your first 2 predictions. I'm glad I read through the rest only to discover your reference to my site in prediction #4. You know I appreciate the plug
    Anyway, I've said before that I think of all the social media experts in the RE.net, you have been hitting the nail on the head more squarely and consistently than any other. I dare say, the virtual "house" that you're constructing is built of solid, state-of-the-art construction materials and design. Keep up the good work in 2010 Pat. Perhaps this is the year the two of us get to meet in person and share some good coffee and ideas
    Reply to this
    1. 1/3/2010 9:21 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thanks Tim, I also wish you the best in 2010; you're the one I can always count on for great ideas based on your knolwedge of both media and real estate.

      Reply to this
      1. 1/4/2010 6:17 AM Tim White wrote:
        Hi Pat,

        Let me know when you have some time to talk. I'd like to share with you my plans for 2010. Also, the image of isellbostonTV is not rendering on the post. It was earlier but not anymore. I checked it against Firefox, IE 7 and Chrome. No biggie, only if you can get to it. Thanks Pat
        Reply to this

  • 1/3/2010 12:17 PM Ken Brand wrote:
    This will be a I'll share and use as a map to "remarkable'. Thanks.

    I was wondering if anyone knew about a plugin I could use to accomplish this: I have a self hosted WP Blog. I have an RSS feed from Twitter, it forwards Twitter Search results for "The Woodlands" (my market). What I'd like to to is set up a blog page that automatically receives the Twitter search RSS feed? Any ideas?

    Reply to this
    1. 1/3/2010 8:31 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Ken, thx mucho... how about this? http://twitter.com/goodies/widget_search

      We use this widget to curate local news in our Breaking News city sites (example: Breaking SF News)
      Reply to this
  • 1/3/2010 12:35 PM Chris wrote:
    Where are predictions 5 - 10?
    Reply to this
    1. 1/3/2010 8:44 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Oops, had a problem with a script gone bad. It's fixed now.

      Reply to this

  • 1/3/2010 5:56 PM Vicki Lloyd wrote:
    Hi Ken -

    I'm doing that with my website and embedded my rss feed from my blog. Check out http://rssinclude.com - it has some code that you can plug in.

    You can do the same thing with a static page on a WP blog - just get the html code and put it in! I did it on my blog with an rss feed of foreclosures - check this for an example : http://livelakeforest.com/index.php/foreclosures/irvine/

    Good luck!
    Reply to this
  • 1/3/2010 7:01 PM Home Mortgage Kansas wrote:

    What a great set of predictions for 2010. I especially love number two. Wow, 25% of all page views are on Facebook, incredible. With that being the case everyone should be involved with Facebook. I see most people going to blogs first, but I think you're right about Facebook. It HAS to become huge in 2010. Thanks
    Reply to this
    1. 1/3/2010 8:43 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thanks... although Facebook is like the new phone book "White Pages", I'm going to say that Twitter is well positioned to serve as the Yellow Pages because it's easier for two entities with a common business interest to find each other and meet on Twitter. Twitter is positioned to be the hyperlocal networking tool of 2010. That should be prediction #11.

      Reply to this
  • 1/3/2010 7:12 PM Ben wrote:
    Pat: You absolutely correct "video is the perfect media for describing real estate..."In this regard, my prediction for 2010 is http://www.propertysyndication.com as the perfect answer to add value, affordability & simplicity to real estate video creation and syndication in this space. Yeah, I have an interest..for sure. Yeah, this is a plug..I know. Yup, we all like to get behind winners!
    Reply to this
  • 1/3/2010 7:26 PM Ben wrote:
    Pat: Just wanted to add..I found this a superb read. Happy New Year Mate!
    Reply to this
    1. 1/3/2010 8:40 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thanks Ben, your plug is approved!

      Reply to this
  • 1/24/2010 1:10 PM Ben Win wrote:

    Great group of predictions. I appreciate you going in-depth with your responses and the links of examples were great. I hadn't thought how facebook has become the coffee shop, but that's a great analogy.
    Good luck in the year ahead.
    Reply to this
  • 1/25/2010 3:20 PM TheRECoach wrote:
    Once again you have confirmed why you are one of my "Human Aggregators" Pat. You rarely miss with a post, or a suggestion of a post I will use this list in my training classes for the foreseeable future, Thanks!
    Reply to this
  • 2/2/2010 2:21 PM Denver Real Estate wrote:
    Although the traditional coffee shop still has a ways to go before its demise, this is probably the most accurate analogy of our social web Great post, I am going to pass it off to my superior in support of our need for a number of social initiatives in 2010~
    Reply to this
  • 2/3/2010 1:10 PM Brooke Sullivan wrote:
    Great article, thanks for sharing! I totally agree with your list, especially the one about Yelp. Every time I look into a new business, I look at Yelp first. I think a lot of people will start to do this more and more.
    Reply to this
  • 2/6/2010 11:51 AM Custom Homes Dallas Larry wrote:
    "Local business will be live and die on review systems"

    So true, I have a friend that is getting killed on his Google maps listing reviews, and he suspects it's just his competition spamming. The bad part is the consumer assumes the bad info is true.
    Reply to this
  • 3/7/2010 6:47 PM Bill Gassett wrote:
    There is no question these sites have changed how we interact and grow our business. Many of these sites mentioned have also become a personal online referral directory for other professionals in the industry who are tach savvy.
    Reply to this

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