In my short 11yr career in the real estate industry I have had the pleasure (pain at times) to watch how technology has impacted the real estate community. I remember in my first year (99) the company that I worked for was still using the MLS books, they were just beginning to get on line and use MLS software. It is amazing how young the internet is and with age I believe it is only going to get better. Our industry though seems to lag a bit as we are crowd that sometimes resist change. We set up systems and then all of sudden new technology comes along and I find myself resisting it because I have to change the system that was set up and that is painful. Many pundits think technology will put realtors out of job. I completely agree with that position, but the only way that can happen is if we allow it to by NOT changing! So how can we change with technology? Many people have tried to find ways to "monetize" the internet into the liquid gold of lead generation, finding the easiest way to generate leads in the shortest period of time to get more transactions. I have seen websites that all they do is capture leads but they don't GIVE ANYTHING in return except maybe a list of houses for sale or a newsletter written by some marketing agency that has nothing to do with you or your marketplace. Real estate is local folks so if we leverage lead capture technology which probably most of us do we have to give something VALUABLE in return. The biggest thing we can give in my opinion is EXPERT advice, don't be a poser, know your stuff and bring it everyday to those around you. Blogging is a big deal these days, make sure it is YOU doing the blogging and not a repost from another blog. Consumers are smarter than ever and they can sniff "fakes" 100 miles away. I believe video blogging is technology that is underutilized in our industry especially when it comes to using it as a tool to market listings not just your self or your blog. I'm not talking about the canned virtual tours either! We are toying with it and you can check it out at http://lehighvalleyhomes.tv . We use it to market homes, review market data, and connect with consumers who follow us. I see a major shift happening in our business culture from "how quickly can I get leads and convert them" to "how can we use technology to connect with people, offer advice, and lead them to good decisions". Real Estate is about people not transactions. Yes we all need to make $ and feed our families but too many of us aren't using media to ehance relationships but rather leverage them. So we need to change our "lead capture" mentality from what can I get from this lead to what can I offer or GIVE this consumer that will help them in some specific way. That mentality is becoming very popular these days in a culture of poor service. If you know your stuff and give a crap you will make it in this industry. Most people who sign up for things on real estate blogs and sites out there get nothing more than canned marketing. WE can do better guys and gals! I believe that in time if we focus our efforts on giving rather than taking it will revolutionize our industry and consumers will trust US again. Our economy is not trusted right now because the media's voice is louder than ours partially because of our canned "national" messages. You have the media screaming how horrible things are in real estate and you have Lawrence Yun Chief Economist for NAR constantly painting a rosy picture but the truth is found in each consumer's story but we are allowing them to see 2 extremes and their reality is probably somewhere in the middle, our job is find solutions for them...right? Real Estate is LOCAL people, know your market and connect with it. Don't just regurgitate a national blog from today's headlines, connect with people where they are! I may be preaching to the choir here? Let me know if I am.
One other area where I see need for change is with some old technology called...pictures...yes pictures. As a part of our video blog we do a "Properties of the Week" segment http://lehighvalleyhomes.tv/2-11-11-properties-of-the-week/ where we feature 3-4 homes we feel are good buys in our local market place. Sometimes they are our listings, sometimes they are not. We use the pics that the agents take to highlight the features of the home. It literally takes me hours and hours to find properties with good pictures so we can have a good show. Please take good pictures, consumers deserve better than blurry pics, dark pictures, pictures of pets, floors, door knobs, etc. I cannot believe how bad some of the pictures are. You can do better, you get paid to present the property professionally. If you don't know what you are doing buy a decent camera and take a class or find a college kid who is into photography (almost all of them are) and looking for work and pay them $10.00 an hour to go out and take good pics of your listings. For $30.00 you can have some incredible shots. So of all of this to say: I think we can do better with the technology we have. By comitting ourselves to giving I think we will gain the respect and admiration of the public which still needs a Realtor!