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.
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.
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 is and making the change while they still can.
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.
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 incredible efficiently in order to continue to compete.
[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.]
How are you keeping ahead of these trends?
Let me know your thoughts with a comment!