If you remember the days before online listings, virtual tours, and e-signing, you understand just how much things have changed in the real estate industry. Clients focus has shifted towards marketing, content creation, and overall responsiveness of agents which makes the ability of modern realtors to keep up with the move toward mobile more important than ever.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, a statistic that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001. While tech hasn’t replaced the need for an agent, realtors need to be fluent in industry advancements (and the client demands that come with them) more than ever.
A Real Estate Agent’s Changing Role
Jeremy Wacksman, Chief Marketing Office at Zillow, commented on technology in the industry:
Before, you spent a lot of time doing information gathering, collecting, and responding. The internet really opened the doors. Agents are freed up to help get the deals done. But now they have to be an agent, negotiator, price setter, and a community resource.
Glenn Orgin, CEO of the real estate tech platform Richr, would agree. In a recent interview, he stated that, “The introduction of virtual services allows sellers to stage homes in virtual reality, so buyers can easily view homes from any location”. With data being made more accessible than ever, Orgin sees technology shifting the role of a realtor to a local market expert and service provider. Realtors will need to take advantage of new technology to help their team become more responsive when keeping up with their clients. As the role of an agent strays from the traditional, they will need to offer on-demand services including hosting open houses and in-person consultations, managing offers, and conducting document reviews. Orgin notes that, “buyers and sellers will determine agent value on an as-needed basis.”
Success Lies in Service
Michael McGrew, treasurer at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and CEO of McGrew Real Estate commented that, “Consumer’s ability to educate themselves is a net positive, he says, but there’s still an important role for agents, especially when it’s time for financing”. He goes on to say, "It’s one thing to go online and get curious it’s another thing to look at financing options. People realize they can learn the alphabet and language, but they aren’t necessarily fluent”.
While the overarcing success of a realtor lies in their service, new innovations have made responsiveness more important than ever.