Real estate search is only half the story

By Phil Thomas Di Giulio
January 20, 2013



People love a good story. Whether a young child cuddled up in a blanket by Mom's bedside, sitting around a smoky campfire with friends, or seated w/ popcorn in hand at a theatre, we all remember what it felt like to experience those emotions.

As the writer and filmmaker best known for his work on "Toy Story" and "WALL-E", Andrew Stanton knows a thing or two about storytelling. His TED talk above - which I highly recommend watching if only for the opening monologue - got me thinking about the presence of emotion and storytelling in real estate search (or lack thereof).


Search: Logic vs. Emotion

Take a moment to visit any real estate search or brokerage website and it's strikingly obvious our industry believes the customer searches for properties by specific criteria (size, price, etc.).  While this may be true, is this what consumers are really looking for in a home? As a real estate brokerage or professional, are you tasked with helping customers find a piece of artwork in its final form or an empty canvas from which to create future memories? If the latter, is a search resulting in a couple photos, maps and statistics the best we can do?

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Decision-making is a cognitive process where the outcome is a choice between alternatives. We make many decisions, and sometimes we are more or less logical about them. And it is arguable that all decision are, ultimately emotional. - credit changingminds.org

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Deciding where to live involves both logic and emotion. Yes most of us want to live in a x type house with y number of bedrooms and baths. That said, we also want to find a place that gives us the greatest potential for joy and fulfillment in our lives. Search by numbers and keyword has largely improved. Simply determine the # of bedrooms,baths, price, and so forth on MoveTruliaZillow or brokerage site > narrow your selection of listings > begin visiting for closer inspection. For most, however, we can't really feel '4 Bedrooms', 'Hardwood Floors' or '3 Acre Lot'.

While looking at the pictures on MLS, craiglist or real estate search sites you are largely measuring the space NOT experiencing an emotion. A 'home' is a feeling. A home extends far beyond the materials that surround and protect it. A home becomes the backdrop for your life, a setting for the thousands of stories waiting to unfold into your future. A home is NOT a well organized web site with pictures, graphics and charts. A home is this...


Storytelling with video (i.e. community videos, agent profiles, property tours)

Filmmakers help create narrative and capture the essence of their subject matter - they are natural storytellers. Working with filmmakers, brokerages and real estate marketers can now leverage video publishing to help improve the entire search experience - help us find a new town, an agent we can trust, the home we will raise a family and create memories to last a lifetime.

Search starts with storytelling.


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