How Technology Killed The Real Estate Agent

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Front Street Brokers

By Mike Turner

Death of a Agent How Technology Killed The Real Estate AgentSales people have forever struggled to prevent themselves from becoming commodities. It feels like the death of your profession when a consumer has no compulsion to use your services over another sales person’s in your industry. 

An even greater threat than failing to differentiate yourself from your competitors is when your industry itself becomes obsolete due to technology. Take a look at what has happened in the music industry and book publishing, not to mention how technology turned the travel agency business upside down.

The real estate industry is in the midst of a big change. One could argue that the change has been going on for a long time and agents are still needed more than ever.  I don’t disagree with that, but I would say that technology, and more specifically mobile technology, is threatening buyer agency. 

The dawn of the smart phone was the first big shift, but now with the tablet phenomenon, I believe it is easy to foresee the impact to real estate agents. It will not be long before it will be rare for someone NOT to own a smart phone or mobile tablet device that provides access to the Internet wherever they go. Consumers will become used to looking up any property they drive by instantly accessing all of the interior photos and videos. Many home buyers already feel that real estate agents are just needed to open doors. 

It won’t be long until an agent on the other side of the state (or from overseas) is remotely opening the front door of a home for a buyer, then video conferencing with them to fill out contracts and give advice.

These changes are coming and will have a huge impact on real estate agents, but change is not always a bad thing. Agents who don’t resist change, but find new ways to adapt to it will achieve more sales success than ever before, because they won’t be caught resisting or ignoring the changes in their industry. There are still many successful and profitable travel agencies today because they continued to fulfill a need to consumers, even through all of the changes taking place in their industry. 

Fearing change is normal and can be good motivation for reaching your goals and improving your business. But a salesperson who ignores or dismisses a huge change to an industry could be left wondering why their phone never rings anymore. 

The access to information and advice on any home wherever a person goes will change the real estate industry from what it is today. Whether a real estate agent recognizes this change now rather than in 3-5 years could be the difference between their future successes or failures as a real estate salesperson.  

Do you AGREE or DISAGREE - please share your comments and opinions below.

Mike Turner - Real Estate Agent in Boise Idaho

 

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**Mike Turner is the Founder and CEO of Front Street Brokers, Host of the Boise Real Estate Radio Show, and Editor of the Boise Real Estate Newspaper.  Mike specializes in Luxury Home Sales in Idaho, and is widely known for his comprehensive knowledge of local market trends and opportunities.

Comments (1)

Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Technology hasn't nor will it kill real estate agents, at least not in my lifetime. Technology has, however, caused them to change and re-evaluate their business. Tech has not killed the music, book or travel industries either: there are still very good travel agents, book sellers and music publishers. But, they had to adapt as tech made it easier for consumers to do things for themselves. Plus, a real estate transaction is quite a different animal from buying a book or MP3, or even a car or a cruise. People will always seek out the opinions and advice of someone they trust and who has superior knowledge and experience. And, a good agent removes a level of risk from them as well. A good buyer's agent is far more than a door opener; their knowledge of the real estate process, contracts, negotiation, market info. etc. will make them a necessary part of the real estate transaction for years to come. But, as you pointed out, if they don't continue to adapt to the ongoing changes in technlogy and apply them to their business, they may find another agent getting the deals they used to get. Just my 2 cents...

Jan 28, 2013 05:18 AM