Real Estate Agents Will Be Obsolete Within 10 years?

97 Replies

I read a post recently on Bigger Pockets talking about agents being irrelevant because of technology by the year 2025. There were very conflicting opinions and I am hoping to see specific examples of technology that will be doing the replacing.

unlikely, I love automation and look forward to it replacing a large percentage of jobs, but I don't think RE agents will be one of them.

Their duties will certainly shift. automation is going to make the buying process far easier and video, VR, 360 cameras and such will make the searching much easier. That said, I think the value of face-to-face non-laborious SERVICE between humans will actually increase.

Small houses that people just want to be transactional on, sure there will be options to eliminate agents, but when there are emotions involved you'll want a person to share the experience with.

As a profession, they already have a high rate of leaving the industry. The strong will survive and adopt to modern changes. About 1/3 of agents are investors. The other 2/3 are clueless:) Investing is the key to survival.

For nearly 40 years people have been saying that, and it hasnt happened yet. The vast majority of the population is so scared when buying their first property, that they need someone to walk them through each step. Unless there is a huge cultural shift, agents will still be here in 10 years, and like any industry will simply adapt to market place changes.

I don't think realtors are going anywhere. You are on a website dedicated to REI... think about all of those people in your personal life that know very little about homes and this business. Do you think they will be buying and selling their own property? There might be changes to the business as with all, but I don't see them going away.

With all of the information available you would think that college degrees would be obsolete. Think of what real value going into a classroom and having someone tell you what book to read brings. Couldn't someone just read those books or learn how to be a programmer/game designer/cop/postcard designer on line? 

People still need someone with experience to guide them when it comes to their career and when it comes to their biggest investments. 

The CEO of Zillow has even said recently that he doesn't believe technology will make real estate agents obsolete. People often compare us to travel agents. It's very different buying a $2,000 vacation versus a $500,000 home. When stakes are that high and emotions are all over the place, people want to hire and work with someone they trust. One of the most important things in this business is relationship building. There will be a select few buyers and investors who won't care about that and will resort to Redfin, Zillow, or some other "new" technology, but I believe the majority will still want human face-to-face interaction.

There will be 'robo-agents' (available from REnbot) in every home for sale who will greet you at the door. They will have a wealth of knowledge & provide full disclosure about every aspect of the home. (They will also act as deterrents to vacant home break-ins). The bot will have an intuitive AI that, upon request, can provide the prospective buyer with a detailed knowledge about any rehab questions complete with a list of materials & up-to-date pricing & no-doubt a list of vetted contractors. 

Gone will be that frustrating agent who comes completely unprepared & has a problem with presenting what they consider 'low ball' offers.

@Pat L.  

Are you joking? It just sounds so Sci-Fi. How long until this technology is mainstream? 

@Ivy Wang People want a relationship? I have a hard time understanding because I am the type of person to definitely choose a robot over a person. You don't think people would opt for a robot that doesn't need to be paid a large commission?

@Cody Evans and you would be a part of the select few who I wrote would not care about the relationship and resort to Redfin, Zillow, etc. I don't think it's a generational thing as well, as much of a preference or the nature of the business. I have plenty of buyers and investors who are millennials and enjoy having a relationship with me, a trusted resource to guide them through the process and provide pocket deals. A robot may be able to list your house and market it, but can't advise you on what to do if you already have $4,000 in concessions, the FHA appraisal came in $4,000 short, and the Seller won't budge on the purchase price. A robot can't advise you on different strategies to win in a Seller's market where there are 30 other competing offers. A robot can't offer pocket listings on multiple units, mix-use, or commercial buildings where your ROI is 6%. This is where agents have their value. If you don't provide value to your clients, then yes, they will resort to someone who will or possibly a robot.

I was being facetious !!!!

But bots are trading commodities, FX, equities & making lightening counter bids in various auctions, all with unbelievable finesse so by 2025 who knows what the RE-bot will be capable of!!!

Haha I thought so but wasn't completely sure! 

@Cody Evans   you have to realize that you have different buyers.

you have retail buyers  buying their first home to live in.

you have investors buying their first rental

you have very experienced investor buying their 20th or more.

each of them have different needs.

but the bottom line is that in the owner occ space.. 90% of the buyers have no clue  as to how real estate works and would be in a high degree of risk just going it their own.. the nefarious folks out there would be ripping people off left and right.. I can see all sorts of Em and deposit  being stolen by fake owners etc.

you need a gate keeper you need someone to explain the VERY basics that unless your in the industry you have no clue.. so that is not going to change..

I just read an article that everyone is going to be replaced in 50 years.  

Every time some new technology comes around, there is an article about how Realtors will be extinct by whatever year.  

I think it's written by the same writers warning of Y2K. lol

shhhhhhh don't tell anyone. I'm already working on this idea haha.

But I think you guys are so wrong. I don't think its about generation, its about income. I know alot of people who are considered in the bottom 50% and they hate that they have to pay 6%. These are the same people who are the DIY type. If they would spend their weekend fixing their car, probably saving 300 dollars. You better believe they would try to save 6% when selling their house. The problem is that zillow doesn't really offer anything. It just shows your house. It doesn't guarantee anything and that's where it would make a buyer nervous. I think a company who could guarantee something would do really well.

Please contact me if you guys want to share ideas. I'm open for business.

I have been investing/flipping/developing for awhile and continue to do so but my “day job” for the past 15 months has been as a retail residential real estate agent. I work with Keller Williams and I target the upper mid range $550k-$1.2m listings and buyers.

Two years ago I would have told you that it would be possible to cut out realtors. After actually walking “regular homeowners” through the process for the past 15 months I will say with 100% certainty that RE Agents are not going anywhere anytime soon. Unless human beings drastically change in the next few decades I don’t see it.

Buying a home to live in is very personal and selling your personal residence is often emotional. It’s the opposite of how we see things as an investor. I see otherwise extremely intelligent and accomplished people (doctors, executives, attorneys, professors, engineers) lose their ever loving mind during the buying/selling process. People are often moving for a reason and often that reason is very emotional. Empty nesters, new parents, death, divorce, job loss, job transfer, etc. This stress triggers some very interesting behavior that is often only managed by two skilled agents/mediators that keep the transaction together. Without that buffer/voice of reason a much higher percentage of deals fall out or are never made in the first place.

I will say that the vast majority of agents (80%+) do not bring much to the table so I can why the investor community (and general public) has a poor impression of RE Agents. I think the total number of agents will shrink significantly because it is no longer easy for sub par agents to sneak by with 3/5 deals a year. The best agents and large teams are grabbing a bigger and bigger market share and are able to deliver better results for their clients. I know many buyers think it doesn’t matter and that the offer stands on its own but I’ll explain it this way:

Let’s say there is a hot property with 4 offers that are close enough in price and terms that a multiple counter situation allows you to essentially pick your buyer.

Offer 1: Redfin agent and Rocket Mortgage pre approval.

Offer 2: Off brand agent with few recent transactions and unknown small lender.

Offer 3: KW/Remax/Coldwell/C21 high performing agent with a competent team and a local lender that you know performs.

Offer 4: Opendoor client with big box bank pre approval.

Offer 3 will win the house 99% of the time. The combination of factors show that offer is the most likely to close.

This same scenario plays out with investment properties as well. The credibility of your agent and lender is a big deal, at least in my area.

With new technology, I believe the trend will be the good agents are only going to dominate more. The bad ones are not going make it. 

Like many have mentioned in this post, most people don't know that much about homes or home buying. I don't think realtors will be obsolete in 10 years, the ones that actually provide a service are going to be around for quite some time. 

People sell things.  Not machines. 

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple years. (Btw- this is my first post).

I think you may all be missing it. Agents aren’t going away, but they could take advantage of tech advances and provide way better service and essentially “hire” (own) the boys that would do most of the work.

Think about it.

You are a prospective buyer. You are searching in a competitive market. The moment a house hits the market you can “walk through” it via your VR headset. You can then submit an offer online immediately, or get the majority of your questions answered immediately.

As the agent, you could list any house anywhere, as long as you are working with a service on the ground that takes the 3D scans and places a security bot (think Google Home with a camera) in the home to open the door, greet any physical walkthroughs, answer questions, play nice music, and keep an eye on the place. You could offer 3rd party guaranteed inspection reports, leaving few to no questions. And because of advanced AI, the price is listed at what it should be. And the process is automated. What’s better, you can offer to only take 4 percent total commissions because of volume and automation. You under cut other realtors, and provide a better service to more people with less work.

The smart big real estate companies will invest in this tech and go this route. In ten years look back- you heard it here first.

Or maybe I’ll be wrong. But it’s fun to think about.

There will always be a space for experts. The thing that I see changing is the MLS. I doubt the Realtor Association controlled MLS will even exist in 10 years.

I believe as time goes by, the better looking people will become more successful realtors.

@Joe Bertolino   on my new construction in Portland I will not sell to anyone using Rocket mortgage I did that once NIGHTMARE..

20 years ago agents were here to show you what properties were available and what their price was. Today you can look that up yourself but now days agents do more than ever. If robots ever take over the real estate game that only means that agents will also need to know programming and electronics.

@Cody Evans , there are definitely a lot of start ups taking shots at disrupting the real estate industry and specifically the job that agents do. That doesn't mean that all agents will become irrelevant, but I could see the possibility of most agents' jobs transforming into something different, and perhaps being paid less (on average). 

If you take Uber as an example, it's not like all the taxi drivers disappeared because of Uber, and Uber drivers themselves are basically taxi drivers except they no longer need the same credentials. In the same way, disrupting real estate agencies, if it happens, won't be about eliminating agents. More likely, it would be about deregulating the real estate industry and changing the relationship between sellers, buyers, and intermediaries (agents). The challenge of course is that the real estate industry is heavily regulated state by state with a powerful lobbying arm. So, getting around that may be tough. 

I certainly agree that there are specific needs that buyers have today, that can only be met with real estate agent relationships. But there could be a future scenario where sellers/buyers can transact without the help of licensed brokers.

Even though I do believe in having strong relationships with good agents, I have to admit that I think they are overpaid sometimes in my market. If you think about it, in the Bay Area their commission checks have pretty much doubled for doing the same job they were doing 5 years ago and selling the same size buildings. And while there's been some compression in commission rates, it's still a little obscene when they are transacting multi-multi-million dollar properties. Plus, most MF properties here are sold off market, so the agents as a group really have a tight hold on the market dynamics in some ways that are outside the realm of a true free market. Anyway, that would be my argument for supporting some sort of disruption in the industry.

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