Twitter: The Next Big Thing for Realtors?

My brother-in-law, our real estate agent for two purchases and one sale, is now on Twitter.

I must first concede that I haven’t seen my brother-in-law in a couple of years; however, I don’t recall him being the “alpha geek” type. Capable on computers? Yes. Curious about new technologies? Yeah… I guess so, but more golfer than geek.

Where am I going with all this? Twitter is mainstream. Heck… Oprah is doing a show on Twitter tomorrow!?! (Note to self: Prepare for massive fail whales tomorrow.)

Which leads me to wonder – is Twitter the next big thing for real estate agents?

For most good realtors, word of mouth is extremely important. Many have a dedicated list of followers and are anxious to work those realtionships to acquire new listings, referral marketing on current listings, and – ultimately – to sell more homes. And these are exactly the types of relationships that can be created, nourished, and expanded using Twitter.

For example, a realtor could EASILY tweet new houses for sale with a link to the listing website… or snap a cameraphone pick to post as a TwitPic… or post the location using Brightkite or a GPS capable Twitter app, etc… or… all three.

When a realtor sees a new listing that would fit a motivated buyer, send a direct message: “Just found a 3BR split level w/ pool. Great for you. Great community. Flexible seller.” As a buyer, (1) here’s a house I might want to buy, and (2) my agent is getting me great access to this listing.

But its not just about nurturing and expanding relationships, right? At some point, you need new relationships. And here’s where twitter could be really handy. For example, I just ran a quick Twitter search for “austin realtor” and it returned 14 tweets, including three people who were preparing to meet with a realtor soon. If you’re monitoring a similar search in your market via Tweetdeck or similar search-enabled Twitter app, you could easily engage these potential customers.

Now… grain of salt… I know nothing about the real estate industry and I have never been a realtor. But if I were… I sure would be using Twitter.