Technology or rapport? What is most important in real estate?

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 PA License - AB067198

InternetThere is a lot of discussion in real estate circles about technology, AI, data, iBuyer programs, etc. and how this is going to change real estate. Lots of people are pouring money into new technology that is going to disrupt the real estate field. I remember when my wife began in real estate many of the agents in her office said the internet was never going to replace the trusted MLS book. I get it we don't like change.

I wrote a little about this last week when a comment blossomed into a bigger answer than I intended. But, I have been thinking about this as clients call and I think, why?

Those of us who are active and have been in real estate for more than a few years know where our business comes from. As Mr. Buffini and any good manager will tell you, your sphere is a pot of gold.

Why do those people in your sphere contact you to buy or sell or refer a friend or family member to you? Because they trust you. Over time you have built rapport up with them and because of that they know who to call. They know you are good at what you do, you understand the local market and you put the interests of your clients first.

But, what about all this disruptive technology. Well as I said, the creators of that technology are mostly raising lots of money, and because of that they are answerable to those who are investing in their businesses. That means they are not putting the client first, but the shareholder or investor. 

Should we shun all technology. Many believe so, the Zillow naysayers will tell you that they set out to destroy the real estate business and we should never consider doing business with them. However, I have earned a very good return by advertising on Zillow over the years. Today, I am shifting as I realized things were changing and the quality of the leads was dropping. I tried some data program last year, and have not continued it this year as I felt it did not pay off.

I am working more on my rapport with past clients, friends and members in my community. But, I am not ditching technology, I am exploring it, finding what works for me and applying it where I can.

I have done that all my life, buying a fax machine so I could send invoices quicker, a computer to keep track of inventory and customers, a digital camera so I could ditch film, a combined scanner, printer and fax machine when they became available. That technology helped me to do business, may be some of it is a little tired today, who still uses faxes, but as things improve I am considering them. Today, I use email newsletters, YouTube, Social Media etc. I use a lap top, tablet and smart phone; the Commodore 64 went away a long time ago.

Not every shiny toy works for me, sometimes I find it money well spent, sometimes not, sometimes it is a wash or takes longer to pay off than I am willing to commit to it. I got a call from a lead identified by that data program last year. Having spoken to them several times last year they were not ready to move. Now they are and they called me because I think I built rapport.

So what I really find is that the technology helps me to service my clients better and allows me to build rapport with them. It is a combination, I use the technology to serve my clients, putting their needs first so I can build rapport at the same time.

So, if you are looking for a tech savvy Realtor in the Tredyffrin Easttown area, or along the Main Line, then call me today, Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543,, website I look forward to connecting and getting to know you.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gabe Sanders 03/09/2019 10:00 PM
  2. Kate Steven 03/09/2019 11:14 PM
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Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Technology is a tool which, if used properly and judiciously, help us provide great experiences for our clients. It's the experience the client has, and the rapport we build, that make our phones ring.

Feb 26, 2019 06:13 PM #17
Corey Vandenberg
Platinum Home Mortgage - Lafayette, IN

Loved the Commodore 64 comment. Times are changing. For those new to the field and who don’t have a “sphere,” they are looking for the shortcut. The easy way is to grab on to the technology, buy your way to a client list, and market that. Both ways have their place, it just seems the old way is a little more warmer. Best wishes!

Feb 27, 2019 04:13 AM #18
Cathy Starkweather
La Rosa Realty, LLC. - Celebration, FL

I've been deciding which are the most important technology platforms to focus on that will help me stay in touch with my sphere and help grow new business. We all know the main ones, but there are so many others... not everyone is on FB or AR or Twitter, Instagram, etc... the list continues. It can be time consuming to be effective given the multitude out there. Not to mention, contributing on other sites. 

Feb 27, 2019 06:52 AM #19
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Nick.  All the technology in the world will not replace that rapport that happens between an agent and their client.

Feb 27, 2019 06:57 AM #20
Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

Building the trust with the potential clients is a key way they will remember you.  Follow up and stay in their "lives"until they are ready. Good job!

Feb 27, 2019 07:39 AM #21
Rick Gehrke
Re/Max Executives - Boise, ID

Real Estate has and always will be a people business first. I enjoy building relationships with my clients. The buying and selling of homes become secondary. We help them with recommendations for many other needs they have. Whether they are local or new to the area. 90% of my business is referrals. Being their go-to resource for advice and counseling is the way to run a business. Technology can't replace that. Tech is just a tool to deliver those services. 

Feb 27, 2019 09:44 AM #22
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

Nick, with all this tech stuff it is easy to think you are "staying in touch"  but I think the "old fashioned" phone call works miracles with people.

Don't get me wrong, many of the younger folks like the tech-touch and that's OK, but putting yourself out there and letting them hear the inflections of your voice can build the best rapport with everyone.

Feb 27, 2019 09:49 AM #23
Marilyn Holda-Fleck
Coldwell Banker Residential Broker - Westfield, NJ
Personal service for each and every Customer

It's all about the right balance.

Feb 27, 2019 10:49 AM #29
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Sheila Anderson thank you, I think people are starting to get burned out by the constant demands of tech upon them. 

Kat Palmiotti I agree, people remember you, not the tech and most likely the tech will have been replaced.

Shirley Coomer that is very true and we need to learn to use the tools to their best ability without sacrificing personal connections.

Jean Richer thank you nothing replaces the personal connection.

Peter Mark well said.


Feb 27, 2019 10:57 AM #30
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Erika Rae Albert, Austin Real Estate Expert thank you.

Amanda S. Davidson I agree with you and think many of us are learning that as well.

Robin Wells people want to deal with people, they do want to look in your eyes and know you got their back.

Lottie Kendall very true, it is our job to make that experience outstanding and then to stay connected.

Corey Vandenberg I think many of the disruptors are young and don't think about how the customers think or what they want, they just look to make a buck off the back of either the agents of the sellers.


Feb 27, 2019 11:06 AM #31
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Cathy Starkweather the best technology is the one you use and are consistent with it. It can be a roldex if it works, the technology is really irrelevant, it is a matter of consistency and finding a tool that works for you.

Gabe Sanders that is very true and when we realize that more of us will stay connected.

Rose Mary Justice staying connected is the kicker.

Rick Gehrke you seem to have it right with a referral rate that provides that much business

John Dotson however you do it, as long as you are in touch and communicating it will work. Some like a phone others like a cup of coffee and being face to face.

Feb 27, 2019 11:13 AM #32
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line



Marilyn Holda-Fleck very true, find the balance and give your client what they want.

Feb 27, 2019 11:13 AM #33
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nick a well said post, I agree with you, some clients I have never met until after they became the owners.... other clients I have met and built rapport with them and then used technology to improve the relationship.... so one size does not fit all. Hence I tailor it to the client I am working with.... now some appreciate it others do not but that is life, Endre

Feb 27, 2019 03:41 PM #34
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

We can't be very productive if we don't use some technology, but I think in the end it's the rapport that creates the business.     Time will tell!

Feb 27, 2019 04:27 PM #35
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Although technology increases our efficiency, organization and ability to stay connected with our sphere,  it's the personal nurturing of relationships that creates bonds and business.

Feb 28, 2019 06:17 AM #36
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Endre Barath, Jr. thank you for the compliment. Every transaction is different and every client has different needs relating to technology. Our job is to work out what those are and meet them in a way that builds rapport and create a bond so they use us again and again.

I am not advocating for laying all technology aside, I use plenty myself, but asking the question to challenge us not to hide behind the technology M.C. Dwyer 

Sharon Parisi totally agree, technology allows us to build the rapport how the client wants it to be built.

Feb 28, 2019 06:24 AM #37
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I agree with Endre because it depends, doesn't it, on who your clients are, their expectations and needs? Your assertion that investors come first before clients or customers is troubling since any business needs enough customers or clients that fit their client profile to remain in business, so, it should always be customer first or go out of business. Could be the primary cause of business failure since most businesses fail within the first 5 years. 

Mar 03, 2019 09:02 AM #38
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Kimo Jarrett not sure where you got the idea I put investors before clients or customers as nearly all my clients are not investors but home owners. I always try to meet a cleint's expectation of how they want to communicate rather than pushing them to what is convenient for me.

Mar 05, 2019 07:38 AM #39
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Without doesn't matter to anyone in a transaction that may never be...

Mar 10, 2019 03:20 AM #40
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It takes a combination of both, and knowing when to use each one.  Whatever it takes to get the job done.

Mar 13, 2019 01:36 AM #41
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Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line
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