Disintermediation has become a heated topic among real estate agents in the past few years. For some/many, disintermediation is synonymous with the apocalypse experienced by the travel industry. Seemingly almost overnight, travel agents across the nation and the globe saw their livelihood dwindle to embers in a field that had seemed so certain.
Within our society, fear has swept across the board and become second nature for even college graduates uncertain about the security of job stability. Fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers have been displaced by outsourcing, corporate reorganization, and the pace of the information age. Understandably, agents are scared that technology will make fossils of them. Accustomed to protecting listing information as a method of protecting job security, such action is seen by Realtors® as akin to a tech company protecting proprietary information.
Great deception exists in this position, however. A successful agent today is not marked by how well they “guard” their listings. Even the ability to get listings successfully proves this point. A Realtor’s® value lies in their great wealth of information and expertise regarding market area, negotiating strategy, and the smooth ride they provide clients. Take the Realtor® away, and none of these can happen. ActiveRain has testified to the greater real estate community these specific points. Without the Realtor®, the transaction would not be smooth, buyers and sellers would struggle far more in the negotiations, and a great deal of the intimate market area knowledge would be lost.
Our next goal as an industry should be to testify to the irreplaceability of the Realtor® in the home sale transaction. The communication ability offered by the Internet should be used to ratify Realtor® worth in the mind of the buyer or seller. The sooner we as agents realize that our fight against disintermediation enforces the stereotype that we have nothing to offer, the sooner we can stop defending and instead turn our energies to promoting that kind of worthwhile expertise that only Realtors® bring to the table. By so doing, we will change the tide in the customer perception and bring integrity and pride back into the industry, ensuring the Realtor’s® role in the purchase and sale transaction.
(Note: I will be flying from New York to Seattle today, so I will not be available to respond to comments.)
(Second Note: Right after I left my hotel for the airport I realized that I should have titled the post differently. The old title was "The changing Realtor® value proposition)