Reflecting on how far real estate has come in recent years, I want to share with you some insights to the past and some opinions (yes, personal opinions) about where we are going.
In a recent seminar, the presenter spoke about a presentation he hosted in Italy. He talked about how antiquated their MLS system (or lack there of) is. They are still on a paper system, yes, as in chop down trees / paper system. There is no such thing as an MLS or a Realtor.com, Trulia or Zillow. How many of you remember those days? I certainly do not. With the technology available today it seems an incredible injustice to both buyers and sellers to limit the speed at which information can be accessed.
Let's face it, we live in a fast-paced world. Last week, we took on 2 new listings and within 2 days on the market, both were under contract. This is a scenario which is great for both the buyers and the sellers (ok, we didn't complain either). Would this have ever happened in the old paper system? Absolutely not. Actually, no one would have even know the homes were on the market in the first place.
Lucky for us, we're not Italy. Clearly technology has played a huge role in streamlining transactions. According to the National Association of Realtors, 74% of people use the Internet to search for a home. I actually think that number seems a bit low. Consumers are on third-party sites in droves looking for homes. The number of sites available to the public is substantial. The business of getting people to websites and the selling of lead information is cut-throat. Some have been successful, most have not. All smart phones and tablets have apps to facilitate the process as well. Some will even notify you of a nearby open house. Very slick!
The major issue with any third party site is their ability to get the most up-to-date data from the MLS. I cannot tell you how many phone calls I have received from excited potential buyers about this "hot" property with a great price that is showing up as active on the third party sites. My end of conversation usually goes something like this. "Wow, that is a fantastic deal. Unfortunately, it seems as though someone already has that home under contract. Where did you see the home for sale? Oh, Trulia (or any other website), ok. Unfortunately their data is not always up-to-date, but I can put you on my personal notification list, so you can literally be notified as a similar home comes on the market."
It's never fun bursting anyone's bubble, but the reality of today's technology forces me to. Great deals do not just sit on the market for a long time. They happen quickly. Given today's technology, people still need a cutting edge Realtor to find the best deals for them.
So, back to the big question. Do I think real estate agents will go away forever? No. As time goes on, the third party sites will need to figure out a way to get better data. I know this will happen eventually, but finding the right home for a potential buyer is only a small part of a Realtor's job. The video below says it all.
Real Estate technology is a constantly and rapidly evolving business. We now have the ability to run a completely paperless real estate business. whether it is searching the MLS online, third-party websites, or even getting electronic signatures, technology has certainly made our lives easier, but it will never replace the professional, not in my lifetime anyway.