Having just participated in a couple of house bidding wars, I can see a real opportunity for improving the “user friendliness” of the process.
For those of you that have not experienced it, if you are one of the bidders on a property and the bidding war is taking place at the sellor’s home, you and your buying agent will wait outside the property for an extended period of time that covers initial presentation of your offer as well as any back & forth negotiations and updates to the offer.
While this is not as unpleasant an experience as a long term law enforcement “stakeout”, it is certainly not very comfortable especially in winter conditions.
Why not leverage an existing conferencing technology such as WebEx or LiveMeeting to create a simple remote offer presentation tool (video/audio/document sharing) that would allow each buying agent & their clients to be in their respective offices or homes but able to communicate and negotiate with the selling agent. Obviously a verbal offer is worth the paper it is printed on, but it would be quite simple to have a means of capturing an electronic signature and transmitting that along with offer updates as they are made.
Not only should this make the whole experience more pleasant, but it would likely reduce stress and discomfort on the part of the buying agent and clients which should translate into better decision making.
This sort of technology change would need to be adopted across a full real estate board but the economies of scale that could be achieved by a board purchase would likely significantly reduce the costs to the individual realtor.
If “Up in the Air” showed a possible future state of long distance firing, why not long distance property negotiations?