DIRECT HUMAN INTERACTION--PART II---CHECKMATE!...

By
Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896

DIRECT HUMAN INTERACTION--PART II--CHECKMATE!... 

Real estate today is an extremely complex profession! In today's marketing of real estate, there is a huge void in the interaction between the buyer/seller with the agent.

The relationship between buyer/seller and their real estate agent was sacrosanct in the past decades. This most direct relationship between a client and their agent made a very complex transaction appear to be a seamless one!

An intentional effort to cut the agent out of all institutional advertising and marketing (Unless they pay big-time!) has created a big question mark in the minds of those looking for a simple way to buy and sell their A big question mark....property. 

Both buyers and sellers are told that they can "Do It Yourself" by one “partner” and agents are convinced that they need the Big Corporate Branding by another "partner" in order to reach the most leads.

It is all a ruse; a ruse perpetrated by the urge to make money by huge corporations and Internet Geeks.

And now more than ever there are even more “partners” in a transaction. The disconnect of the agent with their clients and customers has done immeasurable damage. It has literally altered the way real estate is bought and sold and it has affected a healthy profession in the most pernicious way.

We, as real estate professionals, must now answer the question: What went wrong?

 

 

 

  • The first thing that comes to mind is that the websites that sell leads get those leads through a method that is used by most lead generating mechanisms...they ask for it! 
  • They ask the potential lead to fill out a registration form. This form is created by the the lead generating firm to garner as much usable information as possible so they can turn that data into revenue. 
  • These sites then sell that personal data to many other places--like mortgage companies as an example. So, in addition to an outright dishonest way of gathering and selling private information, the potential buyer/seller is left to wonder how their personal information got out there in the nether-world? Meanwhile, the brokerage community has no clue! Most agents do not realize this--the public is just now catching on....
  • Could the disconnect be caused by the persistence of the big, Nationwide listing websites as they try to capitalize on an agent's need to get leads?
  • Could it be caused by greed and a craving for a bigger piece of the pie, the perceived BIG BUCKS of the real estate pie?
  • Could it be by choice on the part of a society gone mad with its technology in the real estate field?

I believe it is of ALL of the above!

Gone is the natural desire on the part of the public to carefully work with a local agent to build a strong business relationship that is able to pass the test of time. The business of real estate now appears to the public as one big information processing plant with personal data gathered, collected and sold to the highest bidder. There is no fiduciary responsiblity anymore to the client--The client (the public) has become a source of revenue--and they are catching on!! They feel it everyday as they watch their personal information being used voraciously by everyone in real estate and its associated businesses.

 

EVERYBODY WANTS A PIECE OF THE PIE!

Because there are vast numbers of people in between the buyer and the seller, ALL of whom are trying to glean revenue from the product (the listing) AND the potential lead, there is a forced change in real estate business relationships.

The greater the number of people involved in a transaction, the greater the distance between the buyer/seller, and the agent! It is almost impossible to build a trusted relationship with that kind of intrusion!

It has become a complicated and very tenuous situation when someone wants to buy a home in this market. Not only is there a concern that they will overpay, but the buying public now has to concern themselves with the handling of the purchase of their property without the good guidance of a qualified, locally licensed agent!

MISREPRESENTATION IS FLOURISHING

Fake listing agents on Internet listings have made the public very wary of our profession. We appear to be trying to take them for a ride with miss-information or a lack of information about a property.

The public sees this as a scam and the listing platform, being a non-licensed entity, just keeps taking the "Pay to Play" money from the agents who don't understand what they are doing!... Or who don't care that they are ruining our profession:

An agent gets a call or email from an interested party on a property about which the agent knows nothing! Their face appears on that property simply because they paid a huge sum to the listing platform.

The scam has begun! Unless the agent tells the buyer that they are not, in fact, the listing agent on this property and explains why their face/name happens to be there on the property, the buyer is left with the sense that they just worked with the most uninformed agent they have ever met! Enormous feelings of mistrust settle in...

After a few bad experiences with agents who are not informed about a property that they appear to represent, buyers and sellers start to build a deep resentment for the entire brokerage business.

Out of the complexity of the current real estate market, trust is replaced by suspicion of all agents and the brokerage business itself.

 

THE MISSING LINK IS HUMAN UNDERSTANDING

As with all interactions with the Internet in today's world, there are huge risks to our privacy and to our established business models. The average person now uses the Internet to communicate almost entirely, (as in FB, Twitter and other Social Media) to stay connected in a disconnected way to family, friends, and others all the while losing valuable physical interaction.

The disconnect is beginning to take its toll on human development of the young---may actually already done its damage to a whole generation of young people who no longer have the ability to cope with normal human challenges like disappointment and other emotions that come from direct human interaction.   

I read a fascinating take on the matter in a column written by someone who does not give their name, (How ironic is that?) The author is called “Medical Student” and I found his/her statements to be profound:

"One cannot and must not neglect the importance of human interaction. Sadly this generation has lost all of its confidence to speak with others on (a) direct basis. Electronic media and social media especially has made it easier for people to get in touch with others."

"Our generation is able to talk to a person far away from them but do not have the ability to talk to anyone face to face. Social media like Facebook and Twitter has made it easier for us to constantly follow the person we want to follow and to discuss their private lives without any regard to the feelings of the person involved. Yet we severely lack the ability to talk to each other on a personal basis. We can ‘’Like’’ thousands of posts and comments of a person but don’t have time and courage to actually talk to a person and hear his thoughts and share information." 

Removing the human connection makes it more and more difficult to give the relationship of "human to human" a place of trust, especially in the real estate business which deals with and handles a person’s largest lifetime investment.

 

IT'S TIME TO START FORMULATING A NEW APPROACH

It is time for brokers and agents alike to take action and try to bring reality back into the world of real estate transactions. And while we do not seem to be making progress in the current environment, I believe, once we collectively see the reality of a business off its tracks, we can begin to make the necessary changes to re-ignite this once thriving profession.

  • "Real estate agents are just another hindrance to getting the house I really want". "If I don't look online first, I am sure to miss out on the newest and best-priced houses"
  • "My home is worth so much more than what that agent told me--I need to get a better idea of prices online"
  • "I don't need an agent to do a real estate deal--information that I need is out there just waiting for me to look it up" 

This is the current state of mind that the public has about real estate agents, forgetting or maybe not knowing about the past years of venerable service we have provided. I have heard comments like this and read articles quoting the public in these terms.

Because of the distance that has developed between the buying and selling public and real estate professionals,  agents are considered a hindrance when searching for a property. This environment of not needing to use an agent in a transaction has been created by Internet sites who now control all real estate listings.

THE DAMAGE IS DONE AND WE MUST RE-GROUP

We can no longer overlook the damage that a rampant, unlicensed lead generating "machine" has wrought. This is the same "machine" who cranks out property appraisals without a license, creates a stir by charging agents for their own listings and has a thumb on the scale of pricing properties (incorrectly, I might add!) in this very fragile market!

We may never overcome the enormous obstacles created by a “disconnect” of brokerage with the buying public. It may already be too late for the bigger brokerages to overcome the disconnect. An independent agent may stand a chance...

However, there is a recognition on the part of serious buyers that they are not easily able to get a deal done without the help of an experienced agent.

Sellers are beginning to see the light as well, especially after they find out that they have been misled in the proper pricing of their homes by the very people who are trying to convince them to list without an agent!

There is no objective guidance without a licensed agent! The real estate agent is licensed by the state to preclude any possible harm to the buying and selling the public. The basic requirement of a licensed agent is to "first do no harm", and that we treat all without bias but with integrity and fairness.

Money out the window!Objectivity and your hard earned money is out the window when you have a profit-seeking Internet platform who has the latest in technology and algorithms with the ability to fleece the public AND real estate agents in the process!

This message needs to get out there to the buying and selling public...

 

Please comment below if you have an opinion on this critically important matter:

 

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direct human interaction
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complex profession
we need to regroup
huge void in human interaction
the young have not learned to cope

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Rainmaker
1,418,066
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Paula,
The fiduciary relationship is more important than ever, isn't it?  Misrepresentation and misinformation isn't just flourishing, it's rampant. 

Mar 31, 2019 09:31 PM #1
Rainmaker
499,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Carol: You bet it is! I don't think it will take much now to see a shift back to the hands-on treatment that agents were accustomed to in years past--Get to your offices...People will come! But this time we need to have a different way to welcome them, to encourage them to come into the "brick and mortar". We need to get the word out and make sure the public knows that WE know how badly they have been treated by a system that does not really have their best interests in mind--I am speaking of the listing platforms that take advantage of the "surfer" who is just trying to get information---If they only knew what the cost really is for the distorted values that appear on these sites! We ALL need to take note of the false representation and the miss-information, ALL of us!! Thanks for your input here, Carol!

Apr 01, 2019 03:54 AM #2
Rainmaker
3,780,269
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Paula. Nice post. I think the personal touch is and always will be the key to a good transaction. If you are associated with a firm with technology great but the burden is still yours to be the agent you want to be. If you can't do that, go somewhere else.

Apr 01, 2019 06:32 AM #3
Rainmaker
499,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Sheila: I agree-- and there are lots of agents doing that right now!--the re-shuffling started last year and it has only increased with this soft RE market. I just read The Real Deal's article on the shuffling of agents in Manhattasn Brokerage and I am thinking how lucky I am to be here in the Hamptons. Instead of working with the agents they already have these city agencies are always increasing their numbers, firing the old guard and replacing them with "hot shot" agents who demand more in their split...there seems to be a disconnect with the public and the way the consumer percieves real estate brokerage! The public seems to have stopped even looking for houses here! Those agents who are paying to play are now questioning what they are paying for--You can't "Create" buyers from thin air! I believe that the old sneaky way for websites to get more agents to pay for leads is to make phoney calls--just like the pay-per-click scandal with Google a few years back, when they hired people to sit and click away on ads just to make the agent believe they were getting legit hits! ...There is enormous room for shabby scams in this kind of market and the Pay to Play agents are getting swindled, IMHO! Thanks for your input here!

Apr 01, 2019 07:43 AM #4
Rainmaker
2,117,248
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA - I couldn't agree with you more! A lot of damage has occurred and I'm sure there will be more. The problem with being motivated by greed is that there is a tendency to overpower the consumers into signing for real estate transactions because of their "used car salesman," approach. Consumers beware. There are many land sharks without credibility! And there are lots of slick recruiters out there trying to capture non-producing agents or making their story about who they are, their broker, and what they can do very convincing. 

Apr 01, 2019 07:58 AM #5
Rainmaker
499,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Patricia: Its as if the idea of using an agent has become so out of date with the public thinking that we had better grab the bull by the horns and repair what we can before it is too late! Lead selling has become the latest gig for those who are in technology--why? Because there are so many agents who don't want to do the hard work (especially now in the soft market) that they are willing to pay thousands of $$ just to feel like they are getting leads! In actuality, the good leads are fewer and fewer and those that do come in are from questionable sources. Just imagine if you will: A real buyer is online looking at houses. They sign in to get the most recent lisitngs and give thier contact info to a lead generator....their information is no longer private and their name and phone # or emal address gets into the hands of how many people? They have no idea--and the initial curiosity that gave rise to giving out their name in the first place is quickly replaced by distrust! Ah, the internet is such a garbage pail---and we are all victims of the slime it generates.

Apr 01, 2019 08:10 AM #6
Rainmaker
2,058,701
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Paula - technology has certainly changed this and every business.  As one auther says we are now curators of information that is already out there and by helping interpret that information for the buyer we are their trusted advisor.  Oh yes, everyone must regroup.

Apr 02, 2019 06:04 AM #7
Rainmaker
499,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Grant: I agree, we are the curators but not for the public---They, at this point could care less what we do. It's the big platforms who are the only beneficiaries. They take our information and take the public information from those who willingly give it up without knowing that they are actually feeding the "Beast" as well! Meanwhile, there is a huge world of information gathering that is thriving while businesses like ours are floundering. I have begun to get emails from companies who collect, verify, disseminate and identify what private information has value and what does not--giving this over for a healthy fee to the websites that we are talking about here! There is a huge industry that has developed over the internets snooping into our business, all the while cutting our legs out from under us! And the public has caught on to our inadequacy to deal with it! I believe we are about to see major sites go down because they can no longer rely on data they are taking from the public--and the public is not stupid! They are reacting en masse to the bad practices on the part of all who are involved---They feel cheated and invaded and misinformed.  FB and the like are simply showing the symptoms of the damage being done to "TRUST" in the marketplaces across the nation. I also think we are headed for a revolution of sorts--where greater and greater numbers of people withdraw from the internets "trap" to gather information. I also think that is what is creating this new next layer of organization designed to identify whose personal information is valid and whose is not--for a fee. 

Apr 02, 2019 06:35 AM #8
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Rainmaker
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Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA

...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons
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