Technology has totally and permanently changed the way Americans shop for homes. Thanks to websites like Zillow, Trulia, and the many others like them, potential buyers can now view listings, find homes and filter their search all on their own—without ever calling in a real estate agent.
And with online mortgage lenders showing up left and right, they can even take it a step further, getting pre-qualified for a loan even before they’ve honed in on that desired home.
But even though tech has enabled homebuyers to do all this legwork on their own, in most situations, they’re still required to go through real estate agents to complete the transaction. And those agents? They get the same 3-5% commission they did years ago—for seemingly doing a small portion of the work.
It’s a scenario that frustrates many first-time buyers, especially those of the Millennial group who have grown up buying almost everything from cars to shoes to groceries entirely online and all on their own.
But are real estate agents really doing less work with all this tech? That depends on the realtor, as well as the tech they’re taking benefit from.
The One-Yard Line
It’s well known that buyers are doing most of the home search process on their own. They’re using several apps, websites, and digital platforms to find potential houses and many of them even set up alerts for newly listed properties that match the specifications they are looking for.
But when they finally find that potential dream home, their power concludes there. They have to call in a real estate agent to open the door and show them the home—as well as create and submit their offer.
More Than Just the Home Search
It’s also true that modern and especially young buyers today are doing most of the legwork when it comes to actually finding listings. But that initial search is only a small portion of the overall home buying process. At the end of the day though, buyers generally still need assistance navigating the process, and having an agent’s expertise might be more important than ever.
Leveraging Tech to Better Serve Buyers
While technology may enable buyers to take on some of the more common real estate agent’s duties on their own, it doesn’t have to serve as a complete replacement for a real estate agent; it can in fact help agents to do their business better—and make more money in the process.
Presumably, using the right tools can allow real estate agents to be more efficient by serving more buyers in less time, and consequently, make more cash. Added efficiencies might also improve client satisfaction, another way to boost business. Using tech can also help realtors ease the stress of home-buying for their clients.
Knowledge & Negotiation Skills
Applying the right tech can unquestionably help real estate agents stay relevant with nowaday’s digitally-driven customers, but that’s not the only way they can differentiate themselves. This might also mean having great and professional negotiation skills—and consequently getting buyers better deals—or it could be an agent’s network of attorneys, lenders, inspectors, and other helpful parties that sets them apart.
Having drilled-down expertise in a particular market or area of the business can be also helpful.
While It’s obvious that most homebuyers are adopting technology and taking advantage of the benefits it offers them, most still need the guidance of a professional real estate agent to help save them money, time, keep them organized, and successfully take them through the closing process to get the best deal.