As house hunters look to their devices more and more to help them find the property they want, Realtors are left to wonder how to compete — and some are predicting that real estate agents may be facing extinction. After all, if patients research their symptoms and self-diagnose health issues online, if cooks leave their nightly meals to the internet browser, why wouldn’t they turn there to shop…even and especially for a home?
In the age of Zillow and other digital house-hunting products, how can flesh-and-blood real estate agents show their value above and beyond a site and a screen?
It is possible. True industry professionals bring both hard and soft skills to the table, and when it comes to buying or selling a home, both can be extremely valuable. And there are many skills that simply outmaneuver even the best of websites, apps or digital products.
Here are some of the ways that Realtors can stay relevant in the age of the digitized real estate market.
Buying and selling homes comes with a significant amount of stress and anxiety at times. And simply put, a smartphone can’t hug it out. And even if your version of humanizing the experience includes a simple handshake and a compassionate, listening ear, you’re leaps and bounds beyond the browser.
At its core, the real estate world is still about relationships, and although many of us spend more time with our devices than our spouses these days, there’s a lot to be said about the human touch. Artificial intelligence has got nothing on you.
Your connections can do much more than an algorithm ever can. Be sure you are leveraging your connections for the good of your clients, and you’ll be better than the internet. Because while an app can tell you what’s for sale, your network may have the inside scoop you need to get someone into a hot property before it’s even listed…or the all-important deal-breaker details that are omitted from a web listing.
The internet may have photos (sometimes misleading ones at that) and tax history and HOA info, but you have something better. With your experience in the world of real estate, you’ve developed a keen sense of what works and what doesn’t, whether a property is listed well over its appraised value, what a buyer can expect throughout the process, negotiation tactics and much more. The nuances of real estate can derail a deal, but because you’re on top of it, you can anticipate issues before they happen and offer that value add to your clients. No digital platform can do that.
Staying relevant in the midst of the digitized real estate market is not only possible, it’s what your clients want and need. And as soon as they see you in action, and the value you bring to the process becomes clear, they’ll close that browser window and be grateful for the unique expertise you have as a Realtor.