by Dan Wolf
on Thursday, June 5th, 2014 at 8:12am.
Real estate innovator David Eraker is back at it again, 12 years after co-founding Seattle-based Redfin. When Eraker helped launch Redfin, they approached real estate from a different direction. Instead of acting as a lead generator, they created a brokerage that focuses on customers and sales. They employ agents directly and tie bonuses to customer satisfaction rather than the normal commission-based compensation. Eraker left Redfin in 2006, however he is back again, starting a new company, Surefield. His new company is once again changing the face of home selling.
Surefield places its focus entirely on the home seller instead of the home buyer. They have created a new technology that changes how people view the homes they are interested in. In the past, when someone was interested in purchasing a home, it was common for them to look online. But once they located a property they were interested in, they would travel there and take a tour of the home. Surefield has designed a way to eliminate, or at least reduce, the need for home tours in person. Instead, buyers can take a virtual tour of the property. Based on the same technology as Google Street View and Microsoft Photosynth, Surefield uses the technology to capture each home in great detail. Then potential buyers are able to tour the home from their computer.
This change in how homes are viewed will possibly change the face of real estate sales and marketing drastically. It will create an entirely new way to shop for homes, reducing the need for traveling, scheduling home tours, and facilitate long distance sales. Home sellers will no longer have to keep their house spotless, with people walking through frequently. The need to put away pets, organize family, and keep personal items out of site can be virtually eliminated. The staging only needs to take place once, with every inch of the home being captured in one day. It is then processed into a virtual home tour.
While this new technology will probably not eliminate the in-person home tour completely, it may greatly reduce the number of homes buyers tour before making a decision. It is possible to buy a home without physically touring a home, but most buyers are uncomfortable with that. What the virtual tour will do is enable buyers to see home in a more in depth way that allows them to be more selective about homes they do want to see in person.
Surefield established a full brokerage for home sellers in Seattle, offering them all of the same services that a traditional agent would offer them. Eraker said the decision was based on wanting to connect directly with the customers and learn about their needs and opinions. However, he has not ruled out licensing out the technology to other real estate operations in the future. Starting small, they only employ ten people currently. But they are hoping to convince home sellers in the Seattle area to give Surefield a chance to list their homes. Their innovative views of home selling may be the wave of the future. Perhaps in the near future, all homes for sale will be viewed virtually.
For more information about how the latest technology can help in selling your home, contact us. We specialize in helping home owners with all their real estate needs.