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December 21, 2007

Back to the future: Real estate search centers 2.0

Recafe_watercolor199507/30/08:  Pull quote re FSBO Cruise, more information coming soon.  Email for advance reservations & special offers for 1st 5 responses:

Looking for coop ad partners and sponsors for three experiments in 2008:  our ice cream van, FSBO cruise, and voice-enabled listing search for cell phone users -- another vision of the office of the future!  As we wrote in September 2007, traditional walk-in real estate offices may be obsolete, as evidenced by the closing of 14 Carlson GMAC offices in Massachusetts.

The lead story last night on Inman News was Real Estate Search Stores - Coming Soon?, a blog post yesterday by Joel Burslem, the visionary behind The Future of Real Estate Marketing.  His enthusiastic support for the concept has re-energized me to update The Real Estate Cafe's business plan. (Part of me is also tempted to add some or all of our b-plan, old photos, and video on our wiki so others can learn from our decade plus experience, on and offline.)

As comments on Joel's post reveal, there have been a number of experiments with walk-in real estate centers over the past 13 years including The Real Estate Cafe (Cambridge, MA), SOMA Living (San Francisco, CA), DeWolfe Direct (Cape Cod, MA), @Properties (Chicago, IL), etc.  We've maintained a running list of them in our business plan since approximately 1994. If there is interest, maybe we can share that content on The Real Estate Cafe's wiki, and invite others, like Gabe Gross, to add local experiments we've missed, like the Cornish & Carey showroom in Palo Alto, CA, as well as their own learning experiences.

Having had two retail storefronts in the past, The Real Estate Cafe is now ready to experiment with the same vision "Portland Real Estate guy" added to Joel's post, "the office of the future or now has 4 wheels not 4 walls. Equipped with a wireless laptop, blue tooth everything, and a Starbucks frequent customer card."

Looking for coop ad partners and sponsors for three experiments in 2008:  our ice cream van, FSBO cruise, and voice-enabled listing search for cell phone users -- another vision of the office of the future!  As we wrote in September 2007, traditional walk-in real estate offices may be obsolete, as evidenced by the closing of 14 Carlson GMAC offices in Massachusetts. 

PS.  We've created a subgroup for anyone involved in a "real estate search store" -- past, present, or proposed --  to network on our Ning site.

Bill Wendel | 10:38 AM in "We" companies, Change Agents, Do-it-yourself, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Market trends, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance | Permalink

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