It appears this story’s byline by Diane Sawyer notes the incredible ease with which nosey neighbors can snoop around your property by looking up everything online. I can’t believe this is a story today, but ABC News saw fit to publish it with Diane Sawyer no less as the writer. It looks like to me a bit of a promotion piece for some potential advertisers – real estate web sites.
For those who don’t know my background, I spent nearly 15 years in the advertising field – specifically technology media…the internet was certainly part of it. While much of the economy is suffering, page views in two certain categories are doing well – real estate and job sites. The proliferation of real estate web sites continues but it is dominated by a half dozen majors and then a few others. ABC News does a nice job of promoting the following real estate web sites in their article and if you look at the layout of the article, you can see that they clearly allow lots of white space so they can’t be missed:
Tools to Research Your Property Value Online:
Ms. Sawyer then goes on to make sure she gets a quote from someone who says you can’t trust real estate agents because after all, they are getting paid to make the transaction happen. Oh, okay, so these real estate sites have no sake in your searching to try to find a home value for your property. If you think that way about real estate agents, don’t hire them. Also, if you have that attitude, don’t buy anything else for that matter…your doctor has a stake in your care, your attorney has a stake in your law suit, your grocer has a stake in what you buy, your lawn service company has a stake in how many treatments you buy. I could go on and on, but this kind of sap from the mainstream media – ABC News and Diane Sawyer – is pathetic. Everybody’s selling and if you don’t believe that, I have a mountain view property to sell you in Minneapolis.
Lastly, the drivel about the concern that people can look up information about the seller once the property goes on the market is more nonsense. You can find out plenty from public record and county databases. It’s not hard folks. In fact, I have worked with many very savvy buyers who look up all kinds of information about the sellers so that we are much better prepared when it comes time to negotiate. So I guess this is a warning to sellers…your life is public, but it may become very public once you list your property for sale!
My one thought that I had when I was reading this is perhaps the government in conjunction with the National Association of Realtors and the big real estate sites (Zillow, Trulia, Front Door etc) could institute a new registration requirement and national database that would require real estate peeping toms (i.e. all people looking at real estate sites) to register and log-in first so that the powers that be would know exactly who is looking at which property and if it turns out your nosey neighbor is looking at your property, perhaps the system could default and only allow them one look and after that, it becomes a paid site – kind of like porn. Maybe real estate could learn something from the pornography business. Perhaps I’ll write more on that another day.