It seems like every day, new technology is weaving its way into all facets of industry. If you follow technology blogs or industry news, then the idea of technology eventually replacing face-to-face interactions altogether probably doesn’t sound that far-fetched to you. But, can the same be said for the real estate industry, which is still largely based on human connection?
For the foreseeable future, real estate agents aren’t going anywhere. Redfin made waves with its online-offline approach to the industry—where a technology-savvy agent and a prospect hoping for a no-fuss process can meet in the middle to hopefully have a seamless experience. But, even with the Redfin model, the agent is still there. There might be less face-to-face interaction, but, they are around to handle the little tasks involved in the process of buying and selling.
Artificial intelligence has also found its place in our daily lives, whether or not we’re aware. The information it protects (credit card transactions), and suggests (ads on Facebook and shows on Netflix), illustrates just how much we’re affected by this technology. But in real estate, there are a multitude of possibilities for AI. Virtual tours have already become a common feature for house hunters. Not only can this streamline the process of looking for a home, it also makes it a more mobile-friendly undertaking. And while looking at homes virtually is an efficient way to narrow down your search, a REALTOR® is still needed to see it through to the end.
The human connection is valued for the simple reason that people need someone to show them the ropes—in the case of real estate, to help them do more than list their property or sign their purchase agreement. Technology has yet to take over the importance of trust that a human provides in these types of life-changing situations. Plus, an agent gives emotional support almost just as much as they provide their real estate expertise. Some things can be automated, and we will surely continue to see a more digital approach to these processes, but not everything can be done artificially.
The real estate agent can rest assured knowing that the value of what they do has yet to be completely taken over by computers and robots. The impact of technology isn’t disappearing, and agents should embrace the changes coming their way instead of trying to fight them. People selling, buying, and renting still require a human presence to the get the job done, and, more importantly, to be a confidant throughout these transformative moments.