There are many changes currently underway in how real estate is conducted...reflecting overall changes to all businesses in this post-internet world.
Raw data is not information... statistics need surround sound to give them substance...they need a point of view. Information needs interpretation to be meaningful. This interpretive function may be the key to a realtor's role, in ongoing property transactions.
The search capability of the early internet meant a potential property consumer could do a lot of early area background inquiring: schools, neighbourhoods, sports and entertainment facilities, transit options, weather, and so on. The MLS allowed a consumer to seek listings available in an area of interest. Boards (the portal for a realtor to put their listings on the geographic MLS system) tried to control that MLS information, under the guise of protecting privacy, but this is no longer possible. New company models have also explored new commission formats.
Both Zillow and RedFin are now entering Canada, and the previous control by CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) of the MLS system has been erased (challenged in a long court case under Competition Act). "Everything" will now be searchable and the role of a realtor/traditional real estate company models will subsequently be changed forever. The changes to the Real Estate Services Act of B.C., in June 2018, are furthering shifts in a realtor's purpose.
The point of all information is to inform the consumer. Back to that concept of meaningful: how will a consumer know how to judge raw data? Real estate is not the same as buying a car, or booking a holiday, or buying furniture online. Raw data is only a beginning of the process, and it saves time (the scarce commodity in our "always on" world), but it does not give undertone. Real estate has an emotional component to consumer choices...raw data does not express emotional quotients. Real estate offerings are highly personal...one is buying a home and not a house. How to bring meaningful information, in a searchable format, on these intangibles?
Enter the real estate interpreter: it may be, though, that this interpretation will be offered in a zoom or webinar format, and not face to face in an office. An experiential process is possible...AI can be expanded to offer more than statistical data....
In change lies opportunity.
Welcome your thoughts on the changing role of real estate sales and realtors. What is it that you are seeking, in an online real estate search?