Using crowd sourcing to change the real estate landscape


Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work


University of Baltimore. School of Information Arts and Technologies


University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Information Design and Information Architecture

Citation of Original Publication


This item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
M.S. -- University of Baltimore, 2016
Thesis submitted to the School of Information Arts and Technologies at the University of Baltimore in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Information Design and Information Architecture.


Buying a home is the single largest purchase a person will make in their lifetime and often the most difficult decision. In the past, new home buyers would rely on realtors to assist them in their home search. But as internet usage grows, more and more consumers are taking their home search online. There are now several websites on the market where consumers can view home listings and connect with realtors for more information. 90% of homebuyers start their home search online (National Association of Realtors, (NAR), 2013). In addition, during the home buying process, many consumers will go online to seek advice on topics such as mortgages, the real estate market, the best neighborhoods, and what details to look for during a showing. For many online tasks, users will go to crowd sourcing to help them make their buying decisions. For things such as choosing a restaurant or a book to read, or purchasing an appliance, many users seek online customer reviews or comments before making a buying decision. Websites such as Yelp, Amazon, or Glassdoor allow for customer reviews of their experiences. When it comes to buying a home, realtors and real estate experts have ownership of online listings and real estate advice. But consumers are looking for advice from their peers, and trust online reviews left by users in their community. When it comes to online listings posted by a realtor, the listing can be vague, and include misleading photos that have been photo shopped or use wide angle lenses, and important details can be left out. Advice from peers can be more trustworthy than those of professionals who may not have the buyers' best interests in mind. This thesis is about the research and design of a new, potential website that could change the way users views online listings. The website, which would also include a corresponding app, would allow for users to post comments and photos of real estate listings or neighborhoods in real time. The thesis will be a study of trust in online reviews and real estate professionals, homebuyers' personal experiences, and user testing for a new site.