Technology plays a fundamental role in our everyday life, but it has also become a hindrance in human interaction. From children to adults, we often see this lack of human connection just by looking around and seeing people constantly buried in their phones. I have been doing real estate and loans since before internet became mainstream. Back then, it was just a figment of people’s imagination and, for the dinosaurs of this industry, we can still remember those dreadful days when we had to pull out a Thomas Guide Map just to figure out the directions to our next showing.
We have truly come a long way in technology, but there is a big shift in the real estate industry which is geared towards replacing the need of an agent to find homes just by a click of a button. So, is technology really killing real estate agents?
Technology is a tool that improves efficiency of buying a home and that is exactly what it is–a tool. We all know that the one thing that technology cannot provide is emotional intelligence. Purchasing a home requires more than just buttons to click. A great agent doesn’t only show houses, but they walk their clients through the emotional roller coaster of buying a home. It is one of the biggest purchasing decisions that a person will ever make in his/her lifetime. A realtor can guide them, advise them and sometimes become their confidant. This is something that no technology can ever replace.
The problem is not technology, but it is whether real estate agents are making themselves obsolete by relying too much on technology. The MLS system used to be one of the tools that helped create value when people hired agents and now that it is open to the public, real estate agents need to really step up their game. Even though 50% of homebuyers use mobile and web to search for their new home, real estate agents should not expect their clients to do the work that they were hired to do. The Need to make ourselves relevant by going above and beyond, rather than just showing houses. It is the real estate agent’s responsibility to demonstrate their value as a resource throughout the transaction, and that includes everything from listening attentively to the buyer and identifying the right properties to meet the home-buyer’s goals to understanding what types of programs exist that will help benefit their clients, and walking with the client all the way through the close of the transaction.
Diligent real estate agents with a high work ethic and relational intelligence still bring high value to their clients’ home-buying experience. And technology is a valuable tool that empowers the agent and the buyer with useful tools throughout that experience. However, technology brings the additional function of holding agents accountable because as clients now have the tools to do many of the basic tasks in purchasing their homes, agents must show their worth through higher levels of knowledge and integrity. We as agents must understand that our role is not simply the role of a salesperson, but rather we must take on the responsibility of being experts in our field.