Perspective: Let's Talk AI and The Future of Real Estate
Much of the talk in our business of late seems to either be about our inventory (or lack thereof) or artificial intelligence (AI). It’s not really about the ‘if’ at this point, or the ‘when’ - it’s about the ‘how.’ How do we, as agents as a whole as well as individuals and broker owners, deal with AI and high-tech real estate. If we're independent contractor, individual agents, how do we want our brokerages to deal with it?
I’m confident there will be both agents and brokerages who will go the pure AI &/or high-tech route. Conversely, if we continue to show our value, there will always be a market for full-service agents and brokerages. I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around the consumer who can't access a live person with experience when buying or selling their largest asset (or one of them) with the iBuyer model.
What I do know is that agents need to skill-up! Improve upon the relationships with your sphere and learn how to convey your value. Perhaps the iBuyer experience is cheaper but, I can’t imagine how anyone who ‘sells’ this model could sell it as comparable. Think about it - Have you ever tried to complain to any of the big-tech companies like Amazon or Uber? Sure, ‘go away’ and you receive a credit. How is an iBuyer or even a tech-enabled style brokerage buyer (or seller) going to solve big dollar issues?
A little food-for-thought - When flying, you can buy cheap seats - center seats in the back of the plane. You’re miserable the entire flight and always the last one to disembark the plane. You can pay a little more and have plenty of leg room, window or aisle seats and not be limited with your carry-ons on some airlines.
More food-for-thought - Would you use a public defender if you could afford a great lawyer? Why take a chance on getting a ‘newbie,’ inexperienced public defender when you can win the case with a skilled attorney representing you.
At the onset, the iBuyer or Agent-enabled tech models may seem appealing but, eventually the "extras" will come at a price to the consumer, who will pay more. That cost just won't be transparent.
Gradually, then suddenly…
The brokerage of the future will indeed, have some form of high-tech use of AI and may even be heavier on tech than personal service. There are two extremes and most feel that the majority of us will fall into a brokerage model somewhere in the middle.
Predictive Range - Brokerage Models
iBuyer - Z-instant Offers, quick consults - not ‘true’ representation - will remain a lower level player in the market (1-20%)
Agent-enabled tech - Redfin & Purplebricks - Tech is the primary; the agent facilitates the transaction (will be up to 25-30%)
Tech-enabled agent - The primary is the agent - tech isn’t taking over the transaction but, is still a big player. Tech prompts us to contact our clients; use of MLS, use of home search apps. (40-50%)
Traditional brokerage - (10%)
Why is AI important?
Prime example: INDEED is now crushing everyone on the job posting & search platform. Prior to Indeed (who, if you’ll remember, came out of nowhere), we knew Monster (and very few others) for years. How did Indeed crush Monster? BIG data - AI.
Your brokerage will need to own their platform. From high-tech, high-value home search apps, nurturing campaign reminders (and the campaigns themselves) to increased accuracy in AVM systems, you’re going to have some, if not all of these things available to you in your brokerage. If you don’t, you’re going to find yourself behind the eight ball, as they say.
What do we do with this knowledge?
Once again, it’s change to which many of us are resistant. We’re going to have to adapt, learn and even embrace. I believe that we not only need to be with a brokerage that is innovative but, one that owns their technology - and that technology needs to be evolving, constantly improving. Personally, I believe that agents will a brokerage that is ahead of that game as well as one with deep pockets - technology is NOT cheap. Lastly, I believe we need to be evaluating ourselves and our brokerages more now, than ever before.
Are you ready for this change? Have you already made headway in this arena or are you in the ‘evaluation’ stage?
Regardless, it’s not going to be the smartest or most experienced agent who survives; it’s going to be the agent who adapts that will succeed.
© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | CharlotteBroker@icloud.com | Perspective: Let's Talk AI and The Future of Real Estateoint