A month ago Peter Diamandis wrote an interesting post on disrupting the Real Estate market. It caught my eye mainly because I'm in the process of selling my old house and buying a new one.
Diamandis paints a wonderful picture of being able to use Virtual Reality to browse real estate, and see what your future home might look like with renovations.
The thing is, as much as real estate could benefit from Virtual Reality and other virtual experiential marketing, that isn't the most pressing issue in the process as I see it. The biggest issue is that from start to finish, buying a house is almost universally regarded as a terrible customer experience.
You Need a Sales Funnel as Long as the Keystone XL to Sell Real Estate
I am a big fan of CRM tools, and one of the best things a CRM tool does is help you map out and manage your sales pipeline. If you're lucky, you'll be in a business that has as few as three or four steps in the sales pipeline from inbound contact, to money in the bank (E-Commerce is great for short pipelines).
When you have a simplified, well managed sales pipeline, it reduces sales friction. Put another way, when it's easy to buy something, consumers are less likely to abandon the purchase, and more likely to be a repeat customer. Amazon is the quintessential example of a purchasing process with minimal friction.
In real estate the sales pipeline for buying and selling currently resembles something like Pan's Labyrinth.
During the process, I lost count of the sales funnel steps after about 50. And boy, is the process antiquated. I'm not sure that buying a house today is a whole lot different than it was 100 years ago.
Sign this. Stamp that. Mail that. Spin in a circle. Light a candle. Give your left arm. Now your right. Oh, we made a mistake, do not pass "Go", do not collect $200.
The worst part is that you have to drag mortgage brokers, buyers, lawyers, conveyancers and realtors kicking and screaming for the privilege of giving them your money.
As much as I would have enjoyed looking at a house through something made by Oculus Rift, what I really wanted, was to be able to fork over my hard earned money easily and walk away happy.
What Does Jeff Bezos Think?
I really like Peter Diamandis, and quite enjoyed his book "Abundance." However, I do not think his vision of real estate is the most urgent need. What the industry really needs is a relentless visionary with an obsession for making purchases simple and less expensive.
Amazon's stated goal is to be "The Everything Store." So, how about real estate Jeff Bezos? I'm an Amazon Prime Member, can you hook me up next time?