The Rat and Mouse interview – Ben Harris, “property geek”

Ben Harris – who blogs at HousingDabble – works daily to help agents move with the technological times. Here, he talks to the Rat and Mouse about new search and old agents.n

So, what’s your professional background?n

20100805BenharrisI began my working life as a negotiator and passed through the ranks in estate agency before leaving to do what I had always wanted to do – become a sales rep! I was lucky to be able to do this in property and in the last nine years have worked on some great products and services for the profession, all focused on bringing additional profits to agents.n

Over at your Housingdabble blog, you describe yourself as a ‘property geek’. What are the more exciting ways the property business and technology are intersecting?n

The most interesting crossover for me is the change in the way people search online for property information. By this I mean not only the type of information they want and how they find it, but also their means for searching and the actual devices they use to do so.n

And presumably it’s creating new opportunities for specialization? Your own work, for example, wouldn’t have existed ten years ago.n

That’s right, many agents simply aren’t technology-minded. For example, recent research has shown that around 50% of estate agents don’t even know how many visitors they have to their web sites.n

The good news is that many of the tools they need are free to use provided they can learn how to do so and can commit the time. The alternative is to outsource some of these tasks to companies that know the technology and the property profession.n

How much of a challenge is it to work with the agents? Estate agency, particular in the UK, seems very conservative and slow to change… and perhaps there’s a reason for this: consumers might be quicker to experiment with new ways to buy smaller-ticket items, but buying a house is not just giant purchase but a long term financial commitment too. Are agents reluctant to change the way they do things?n

Continue reading, after the jump.n

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