Another game-changer – drones coming soon!

Drones in Real Estate: Soon, But Not Yet

The excitement around drones is increasing, and for good reason: The technology is steadily getting to the point where many commercial applications are possible, including for use in marketing real estate. Being able to hoist a camera up on a drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle, has the potential to be a cost-effective way to get dramatic shots of listed property, particularly for large, high-end homes or big expanses of land.

But while the technology is falling into place, a lot still needs to be done on the regulatory side. Drones present very real and very difficult issues, including safety and privacy. The safety issues are clear: People operating drones have to be trained, and systems have to be in place to help protect people nearby should something go wrong. On privacy, a regulatory system has to be in place to help reduce the chances of drones being used to take unauthorized photos and video.

Along with these two concerns is the bigger national security concern, since a weaponized drone is a danger of national importance.

Read more…

3D Printers: The Game-Changer?

This 3D Printer, Capable Of Building A House In A Day, Could Change Construction Forever

Imagine being able to lease a 3D printer to build your entire house.

The technology, called Contour Crafting, is already here and can build a 2,500-square-foot home in 20 hours.

The massive robot printer was invented by University of Southern California professor Behrokh Khoshnevis, who says that the technology is so versatile that it can be used to build homes in slums or human habitats on Mars.

The technology is ideal for the world’s slums and areas destroyed by natural disasters, claims Khoshnevis, because the robot’s construction is cheaper, stronger, faster, safer and more eco-friendly than manual construction.

Read more…

Homebuyer helper…

App intended to streamline homebuying process

Users can organize notes and photos of for-sale faves

Inman News, Wednesday, April 11, 2012, link

Inman News®

Screenshot courtesy of iDreamAgentScreenshot courtesy of iDreamAgent

IDreamAgent, a new iPhone and Web application focused on helping home shoppers organize their favorite for-sale properties, launched this week.

The app, available on the Apple App Store for $4.99, was designed to streamline the homebuying process and help a home shopper drill down to the house he or she wants to buy, said a iDreamAgent representative.

“We aren’t replacing the agent with this application. It is meant to help manage the data around the homebuying process,” said a company representative.

Users can add details for each home they’re interested in, like asking price, photos they take of the home, and notes for the home as a whole and for specific home features, such as living rooms, kitchens, etc.

Users can then share the home info by email. The app also gives the user the ability to create a Web page for each personalized listing, which can be shared via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Zillow is wrong.

It’s true. And they’ll tell you so themselves. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article (not that an article had to uncover it – the site clearly states this itself), valuations of homes on Zillow are oftentimes 20% or even 50% higher than an eventual sale price (see article).

It’s no surprise that “today, before a shopper ever meets an agent, he can check out neighborhoods and sales on sites such as and take online video tours to narrow down houses” (see article). Together, cites the Wall Street Journal article, “four of the biggest sites that offer home-value estimates get 100 million visits a month, with web surfers using them to determine what to ask or bid for a home, or whether to refinance.”

With Zillow, Trulia, and the like drawing the first attention from home buyers, it’s perhaps surprising that they can get away with being so inaccurate. However, Zillow will be the first to tell you that these estimates are not calculated by humans, but by algorithms that have a wide margin of error. Traditionally, an appraiser will determine the value of a home using comparable homes within a certain area; however, with simply raw data to go on, these algorithms are just not as accurate.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cites one consumer saying what some people might think Realtors are worried about, namely that, “The scary thing that the industry needs to be careful of is that the consumer knows more than that practitioner because of these devices” (see article).

However, what needs to be remedied is the over-reliance on online estimates by consumers because, as any of them will tell you, nothing can substitute (nor will it as it pertains to loans and other legalities) a human calculation of a home’s value. Zillow is an amazing resource – it lets you surf homes and take a first look as you being to search for your new home. Keep in mind, though, that searching for a new home takes more than a first look – it takes in-depth research, reliable data and statistics and a professional savvy enough to help you navigate the market.

So as you’re looking around on Zillow, soak up all that it has to offer, but take those Zestimates with a grain of salt.