The question of how technology and the internet is impacting real estate is a hot question that has a lot of agents, especially new agents, asking if the real estate agent is making Realtors obsolete. This question is especially controversial right now because of the launch of Zillow's Instant Offers and the controversial Stop Zillow movement. (http://StopZillow.com)
I love technology and the internet. They are amazing tools for our business. And the answer to the tech vs Realtors question is: NO.
Here is why Zillow and the Internet isn’t going to replace agents…
Don't think they aren't trying. RICH BARTON, founder of Zillow, was also the founder of Expedia.com who were leaders in taking out the travel agent industry all the time claiming that Expedia was friendly to travel agents. So be clear about this, tech companies can win if Realtors do nothing to stop it. And if they win...the biggest losers are our clients...homeowners, buyers & Sellers because they will be making huge financial decisions with no skilled representation.
Here are the two dominant reasons why technology will not replace skilled, ethical, professional agents:
1. Because Selling or buying a house isn't like any other online sales transaction.
Buying and selling a $250,000 house is not like booking a flight, renting a car, or getting a ride to the airport. It is a sum transaction. You know exactly what you are getting. whether a human or a website facilitates the transaction: Uber (a ride), Expedia (a hotel etc.), Netflix (a movie). It's simple and no surprises.
A house is totally different. There is deep complexity and many facets that make the transaction and the acquisition of a piece of real estate a big dial. The financial repercussions are huge when someone closes a real estate deal and in their life, everything changes because they are moving.
2. Because we are agents, which means we represent clients as a FIDUCIARY.
Car salesman, insurance salesman, retail salesperson, and almost all other sales...represent the company, the manufacturer, the store...ONLY.
Their job is to sell you on a product or service and make money off you for the company. Period. Representing you is not even a consideration.
An agent's job is to serve the best interest, protect, guide, help the client first and foremost. Your expertise in that process has tremendous value to a client and can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to them or more. And it can save them tons of grief and regret from making a bad decision. The key is that you as an agent have to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you're just after a commission, you are no better for the client than an online technology portal...and maybe worse.