I woke up early this morning and started my day as I always do. After showering and getting dressed I went downstairs for a cup of coffee and logged on to my home office computer. I checked my Active Rain account first ;), then searched online news headlines, today's weather, my favorite sports teams results, my bank account balances, listened to new music for my radio shows and even bought a pair of sweet polarized Army sunglasses for $50 off retail price, all in a matter of minutes and all from the comfort of my home. I also followed up on Fizber FEATURED AGENT emails, voicemails and queries before heading to the office.
You're probably wondering where this narrative is going. Well, as we get deeper and deeper into online dependence for information and e-commerce I can't help think about how our collective new behaviors and lifestyles have changed so rapidly these past 10 years. Go back another 20 years and you'd think we'd have traveled 30 light years to get where we are today. There's no turning back and in fact, our world will become increasingly more reliant on the internet for information and e-commerce moving forward.
I'm no Nostradamus nor do I play one on radio, but I have to believe the real estate industry is heading for significant changes in the very near future. In fact, the landscape is changing right before our very eyes and what may have been the 'norm' 10 years back or even last year will be a distant memory before too long.
So what does this mean to your potential clients? It means they'll expect to research and purchase homes online just as they shop for electronics, cars, clothing, groceries etc., and sell homes on line just as they can sell many of the aforementioned items. How this affects you and your chances of engaging and assisting a home seller or buyer depends on your willingness to change with the landscape. Additionally, could a working, robust real estate e-commerce platform even threaten the MLS?
Good questions, but one thing I want to make clear here is things WON'T REMAIN THE SAME. On our Fizber site we're finding home sellers succeed 30% of the time selling their homes themselves or with the assist of a closing agent - compared to the 8% street rate shared by the latest NAR figures. This demonstrates just one new opportunity for sellers and buyers to try a different engagement strategy to buy and sell their properties and save; and save they do, sometimes substantially.
Even with these kind of numbers we at Fizber don't see the demise of the real estate industry; only changes and change means opportunity! Much like banks discovered when trying to put an ATM on every strret corner in place of real life bank tellers, it doesn't effectively work and with real estate in particular, there are way too many moving parts to be left solely to an online marketplace; meaning the need for real estate professionals will remain but service offerings offered will likely change.
Back to the questions I asked earlier...how will this affect you the real estate professional? If you haven't already, you might consider shifting more of your lead generating focus to online platforms where the sellers and buyers are engaged. According to NAR, 92% of all home searches start online!! You might also need to improve your social media presence and skill sets; one to attract clients and two and more importantly, to utilize these ubiquitous resources to deliver a successful and closed transaction in an efficient and timely manner. I see social media classes posted by Active Rain members all the time. If you haven't already enroll in a class or two. And by the way, NAR reported nearly 40% of all fsbo homes sold last year were sold to family, friends and neigbors and where can you find most of these folks you ask? You guessed it - on social media.
You might also consider changing your mindset from listing to assisting. I'm not saying give your hard earned expertise away for free, but again be mindful of alternative ways to engage buyers and sellers. We also see there may be a greater reliance on the skill sets and duties offered by Transaction Coordinators moving forward. Get to know the good ones and hire them as they could help contribute to your success.
One last thing...does real estate e-commerce threaten the MLS model? It's too early to tell but we are definitely seeing new and viable alternatives to selling exclusively using it. In this ever changing world we live, buy and sell homes in, now more than ever we need to embrace these changes and position ourselves for the new opportunities that will arise!
Don (James) Shab