I am going to make a bold statement, and here it is: Uber- the tech transportation startup that is growing like wildfire- has absolutely effected the real estate market in Chicago in a profound way. How? Read on…
Open Up More Neighborhoods to Home Buyers
First, until Uber arrived on the scene using cabs to get around the city- if you were outside of the downtown area- was next to impossible. To do so required calling a cab company, waiting for them to show up, and often ended up requiring you to walk to the nearest busy street to avoid pick-up issues.
Now that has all changed. Uber not only makes calling a cab easy but with the fancy-schmancy GPS technology built in the driver knows exactly where you on- live and on a map- without even having to be told. The excuses, delays, and general BS that went along with getting a cab outside of downtown go out the window and the overall experience of calling a cab has become much simpler.
So you’re thinking, “great Scott but what does this have to do with real estate”, well it’s simple. Let’s use me as an example; I am a classic River North brat. For years I have been in the most convenient, easy to get around in via cabs neighborhood in Chicago and I love it for that reason- my entire life is a few steps out my door at most.
Before Uber, if you’d told me that I’d be considering living in West Town or River West- which I’m looking at now- I’d have laughed in your face and thought you were kidding. Fast forward a few years to where Uber is now dominating the Chicago market and that has completely changed.
Why would I mind going 3-5 minutes farther west when I know that I will never have to waste my time waiting outside for a cab or walking to a busy street to actually find one? The fact that the service exists and is so convenient simply makes these concerns go out the window and has opened up an entire new world of possibilities to home buyers in terms of the neighborhoods they’re willing to consider.
Eliminated Safety Concerns
The next major effect Uber has had on the real estate market in Chicago is the effect it’s had on people’s safety concerns surrounding transportation. Whereas before, someone might have concerns about their girlfriend having to walk down a dark street late at night to get a cab or wait on an isolated corner for one to come, now that Uber exists those concerns no longer do.
Further, it also eliminates the concern over what is happening when the person is inside the cab. Uber uses GPS technology to show the exact position of the cab- and the occupants inside- on a map in real time. This system is monitored by Uber staff, which creates a “Big Brother” effect, which absolutely decreases the likelihood of something bad occurring.
Uber has allowed buyers to consider different types of properties in different locations and to not have to eliminate certain properties over those characteristics and the associated safety concerns that come along with them. This effectively has shrunken the city and had a positive impact on the development of many areas outside of downtown.
Client “Wow” Factor
The last thing Uber has done for the real estate business in Chicago is to provide a convenient and impressive way for Realtors to move clients around town. We’ve all been there- your schedule is packed and you’re at a closing downtown with a client and you need to get out of there and meet other clients but the buyers are hoping you can give them a ride back to Lincoln Park- the total opposite direction you need to go- so they can start moving in. No fear- Uber to the rescue.
Instead of being late for the next client- or worse yet having to say no- a simple click of a button ensures a black car- or even SUV- are on their way to your location in a matter of minutes. The “WOW” factor of walking outside the title company’s front doors to a waiting luxury vehicle prepared to take your clients anywhere they want is something your clients will never forget. And of course there are countless similar examples of how this service can help Realtors out of any number of jams while helping them look like rock stars to their clients.
Think of the value perception your client has for something like this. That $25 Uber ride you ordered them is worth hundreds in their mind- you’re treating them like a VIP and they’re sure to let people know about it, which means more clients for you and more referrals down the road.
Overall Uber has been one of the most influential factors on real estate in Chicago in some time and the vast majority of people out there are probably overlooking that fact. Opening up different neighborhoods, eliminating safety concerns, and providing a wow factor to Realtors to use on their clients have all been great outcomes and I can say definitely that this Realtor is hooked and will be using Uber for many many years to come.