There is a a misinformed minority out there that is of the opinion that the data available on the Internet will eventually render real estate licensees obsolete.
I disagree for many reasons, and I'll give you one good example: People say some pretty dumb things.
I'll be the first to admit that I have heard some licensees say silly things. But at least the stupid things I have overheard were said by one agent to another.
Today, at an open house for a rather upscale home one of my agents was hosting, we had one couple walk through and the wife noticed that the property next door was a multi-family home. She voiced her displeasure, saying that the number of cars in the driveway made it look like a boarding house. I told her we knew it was a two or three family home, and that since it was Sunday that it was likely that they might have visitors.
Then she shook her head and remarked "this isn't a good neighborhood." Now, bear in mind that were were in a home that was owned by a physician, in a rather affluent suburb of New York, in a beautiful section with a water view on almost an acre. Is she entitled to her opinion? She sure is. Would she be able to maximize her chances of negotiating a good deal for herself on her own with that mouth of hers?
Snowball. Hell. Get the picture?
This is not an isolated case. Even educated, intelligent professionals have different skill sets than real estate negotiation. I have a degree from Villanova. Ann went to Columbia and has an MBA. Can we fix a transmission? Meh. I'd feel better if a mechanic did it.
The lady today probably found the house on the Internet and one could assert that she didn't need a broker to find the place. I agree. But brokers are far more than data gatekeepers or door openers. We navigate waters that most people have never entered, the world of negotiating 6 and 7-figure transactions with a modicum of skill. And we manage to do so without antagonizing the principals.
Today's experience was nostalgic for me, as we used to run a company that assisted For Sale By Owners, where we had a front row seat to trainwrecks regularly. We stopped doing that. No regrets. Today reminded me of just how wise we were to end that project. If I want to see a disaster I'll Netflix Godzilla stomping Tokyo and save the agita.