Home shoppers do their hunting online - who needs a Realtor?

Services for Real Estate Pros
 A recent USA Today article “Home shoppers do their hunting online” details the journey one couple had purchasing their home online. It is an interesting article on many levels.

One of the first observations made in the article:

"Technology is shifting knowledge and power to buyers and sellers."

This is a sentiment that has been gaining steam over the past couple of years. We are just now seeing what is truly possible online and the real estate markets are taking notice. As more shoppers have easier access to the Internet, it is transforming the way they shop for their home. Besides the adoption of technology by the baby-boomers, the younger generations rely primarily on the Internet to find information.

Another point the article made is:

"The Internet is a significant threat to Realtors, who in previous decades have had iron-grip control over all necessary information for those seeking to buy or sell a home."

While it is true that information is now easily accessible, I would not consider it a “threat”. I guess the only Realtors it would threaten are those who don’t adapt to the changes being made. In every industry, technology will bring about great change. You either have to evolve and use the tools to your advantage or you will be left behind. I don’t believe the advances of the Internet will render our services useless, but it will change what services we provide.

The good news for Realtors…advances in technology and the prevalent use of the Internet to search for homes provides the opportunity to showcase your homes to the masses at a low cost. In addition, when you manage your Internet leads properly, you will see a noticeable increase in sales. No longer do you have to wait for the walk-in traffic. You are actually able to generate interest and tap into buyers across the US.

Just as the couple in the article, there are many buyers out there who need a home and will make informed decisions quickly when they have the right information at their fingertips.

How have you adapted to the change? Are you threatened?

Continued Success,

Mike Lyon

Read my Online Marketing and Sales Blog


Comments (13)

Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
Finding the home, in my opinion, is just the beginning.  I think there are a lot of ways in which the consumer can be helped by a professional.  Our next job is educating the consumer -- both buyers and sellers what additional value added services we bring to the table to reduce the risks involved in purchasing real estate.
Jun 08, 2007 02:58 AM
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland
Staying current with Real Estate Law. The Skills needed for negotiating a successful contract. Keeping the eye on the Ball and not letting emotion stand in the way during the negotiation process. Preparing and evaluating the property as it relates to value of other like properties for your client. I could go on all day as to what valuable skills agents bring to the table for their clients. Anyone can find a property, negotiating the sale is where the skill of the Real Estate Professional comes in.
Jun 08, 2007 03:20 AM
Springfield, MA
Finding a home on-line is one thing but making a deal stick together and getting the best value for your money is a whole different animal!
Jun 08, 2007 03:25 AM
Marty Van Diest
Valley Market Real Estate - Wasilla, AK
Your Alaskan Realtor

As stated above, the job of a Realtor only begins with finding a home.  The real work is successfully guiding the deal from the contract to he closing table.  Every deal is different, that's where the human touch is needed.

And really, finding a home on the internet is  entirely different from walking into the home, smelling the air, looking at the neighbors back yard, turning on the showers to check the water pressure, trying out the kitchen drawers.  Pretty tough to do that on line.

Jun 08, 2007 03:38 AM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
As a Buyer working with a Seller's agent, who is representing YOUR best interests in the transaction? Did they have an inspection? Who did the inspection? Who recommended the inspector? Was the listing/offer price comparative to market value? So many unanswered questions...more power to those who want to take on such risks...
Jun 08, 2007 03:39 AM
Kelley Eling
Fathom Realty Group - Sonoma, CA
Realtor Extraordinaire
This is all relatively new.  Just wait until the lawsuits start getting filed.  Then they will wish they had a Realtor on their side from the beginning.
Jun 08, 2007 03:48 AM
Vera Gleason
KW Vaca Valley - Vacaville, CA
Determined to Move You in Solano County

I agree, finding the home is only the beginning.  If they are out of town, do they know the neighborhood?  Can they get inside to take a look?  Do they know for sure they have truely found everything that matches their criteria?  Did they find the best lender?  Do they know what they need to do if a home is already under contract with an agent? 

Buying a home is a huge investment, why risk going it alone when there are so many things that can go wrong?

Jun 08, 2007 04:02 AM
Blue Ridge Ga Real Estate >> Real Property in Blue Ridge Georgia
United Country Landmasters - Ellijay, GA
Being Internet savvy and using pictures, video and more has really helped me spread the word about my listings.
Jun 08, 2007 04:03 AM
Ricardo Bueno
Diverse Solutions - Los Angeles, CA

I always try and direct interested parties to the resources on my website. If they call me, it means that they are willing and ready to transact business today. And if they don't, I did my part in extending my services. I'll continue to help them in any way that I can but I won't hound them for business, that would sound desperate. Instead I wait patiently, making myself available.

When they call, I know their in.

Jun 08, 2007 04:15 AM
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

I agree that technology is not a treat to agents who are willing and able to take advantage of it.  As mentioned above, finding the home is only part of what I bring to the table.  I don't mean to sound conceited, but I bring over 23 years of experience to the table.  I have been involved in THOUSANDS of transactions and have learned a thing or two during this time and with this experience.

A buyer going into a home purchase without an experienced, competent agent is similar to the guy trying to sell their home by themselves.  With FSBO's I ask them how many houses they have sold in the past 20 years.  Usually the answer is somewhere between 1 and 4.  I then ask them if they would have hired themselves as an agent with this level of experience!

Going into this complicated a transaction without expert assistance is like representing yourself in court, you'll have a fool for a client!


Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc.

P.S.  One of the reasons that the public feels that they can do as good a job as the average real estate agent is because the average real estate agent isn't a whole bunch more experienced and trained than a member of the general public.  We as an industry need to tighten our requirements for becoming and remaining an agent. 

Jun 08, 2007 04:27 AM
Greg Cremia
Shore Realty of the Outer Banks - Nags Head, NC
There would not be homes for sale on the internet with reliable info if it was not for us. They forget who put the info there when they write these articles.
Jun 08, 2007 08:34 AM
Mike Lyon
Edmond, OK

Bob - good call! Highly trained Realtors won't miss a beat. The internet will just make it easier to sell.

Jun 11, 2007 08:46 AM
eric manthey
Vid2r - Denver, CO

Mike ,

try video!!! its's a good way to "stand out from the crowd", and make a lasting impression w/ future buyers!



Jun 11, 2007 03:51 PM