I personally think Karen is mostly right although most disagree I'm sure. Realtors have sold out, In 1995 we owned the market, then we went internet but we sold feeds to newspapers, realtor.con, amoung others and now they in turn are selling them and have almost replaced the MLS and that is only 5 to 10 years away at best. These companies sell the leads they get from our inventory back to us much like the airlines and cruise ships used travel agents.
We will certainly have a role but it will be reduced to unlocking doors for safety reasons and charging a lot less, here fees have dropped 2 to 4 % and that doesn't even factored into the discounters.
I just finished reading "What do Realtors and Bookstore People Have in Common?" and it got me thinking..
The comparison was - basically - a Realtor adds value compared to shopping for a home online the same way a brick and mortar bookstore adds value over buying from Amazon. (my apologies to the author for my very brief synopsis)
Borders Bookstore was a huge chain, in many countries, and they went under. In fact, how many bookstores do you remember? Barnes and Noble is about the only brick and mortar left - other than used bookstores.
Are real estate agents going the same way?
Yes, I love going into bookstores, sitting with a cup of coffee and browsing books and magazines. However, when I'm ready to buy, Amazon is my preferred online resource. Quick, convenient and usually less expensive.
And, like it or not, the cyber phenom is here to stay. New generations text while sitting in the same room rather than having a conversation. Really, conversation is what you have to offer them?
My son, of the cyber generation, found a condo in San Diego, while sitting here in North Carolina, on Craigslist. He and his wife later found an apartment in Wisconsin (while sitting here in North Carolina) on Craigslist. A year later, when they bought a home, do you think they sought out a real estate agent? That was a completely foreign concept. They went online, immediately pulled up properties in their areas of interest (no one needed to show them how), and ended up with a great deal on a great property from a for-sale-by-owner.
Are you online where searchers will find you - Facebook, Twitter, et al? If you're waiting for buyers to search for Realtors or Real Estate Agents, you're dead. That's not where they're looking and they have their own cars so they don't need you to drive them around.
Many agents are upset by it, many are offended, many try to justify that the way things have always been done are the way things should be done.
Well, things are not as they were and they continue to morph at lightening speed. Real estate agents must change or they are destined to go the way of the dinosaur - and Borders. What are you doing to survive?