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Will Real Estate Agents Be Made Obsolete by 2025?

Will Real Estate Agents Be Made Obsolete by 2025?

2 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Experience
Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Education
Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

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Real estate agents are on their way out. How can they save themselves? Why is this so important for property investors to watch?

Once upon a time, there was no internet. Real estate brokers had exclusive access to real estate listing data. There was hardly any transparency, scale, or speed in viewing listings, checking comps, and making offers. Everything was offline—and very controlled. Things are completely different now.

In a couple of seconds, buyers can see everything on the MLS, as well as online for sale by owners. They can check comps and market trends. Sellers can even get instant offers for their homes.

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Essentially, many of the reasons that real estate agents were needed or had value have vaporized. It’s not unlike many other jobs. Still, this technology shift in the real estate industry is likely to be one of the biggest and most impactful yet.

Related: Is Becoming a Real Estate Agent a Good Path to Investing — Or a Pricey Distraction?

Disrupted by Technology

If real estate agents fail to separate themselves and find ways to deliver value, they will be disrupted and rendered useless by technology.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like and respect agents. I even work with a lot of them. Some are very valuable; others not so much. I wish more could save themselves and their careers by seeing how urgent this issue is and making the change while they still can.

woman with hands on face looking concerned, worried, sad, scared

There are several ways the real estate industry can do this. One is the old tradition of lobbying, creating new regulations, and using legal battles to protect their turf.

There is no question this is happening, and if it is not, it is a tool that should be used. Real estate groups are one of the most powerful, well-funded, and impactful in this area—though chances are, this may not last forever. Look at how Uber and Airbnb are acing those legal battles while disrupting service industries that never innovated.

Related: The 3 Biggest Drawbacks of Being a Real Estate Agent in This Day and Age


agent marketplace 2

Agent Finder

No matter your investing experience or where you’re looking to invest, connect with a local agent who knows the market inside and out and can evaluate properties from an investor’s perspective. Here’s how BiggerPockets’s agent marketplace works:

  1. Pick your market
  2. Share your investment criteria
  3. Match with an agent!

Offer Unique Value

The other way to beat this is to strive to offer more value and service. What can you do or offer to add value to buyers, sellers, renters, and agents? Maybe it is a better experience. Or it could be mastering new knowledge or providing more efficiency and profitability than can be achieved alone.

Right now, two of the areas where agents still add value is managing all of the old school paperwork and processes and acting as a buffer from liability. Of course, these factors are likely to be streamlined by technology, as well.

This is all important to watch for real estate investors, too. To sustain success, you have to be using the best and newest technology. You have to anticipate change and strive to offer incredible value beyond just being able to make offers and advertise properties. You also have to operate incredibly efficiently in order to continue to compete.

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How are you keeping ahead of these trends?

Let me know your thoughts with a comment!