In a Digital World, Will a Real Estate Agent Become Obsolete?

With the rapid evolution of technology, jobs that used to require good old-fashioned human attention are now automatic, creating efficiency through high-tech, advanced computer programs. Conspiracy theorists speak of the “rise of the robots,” like something out of the 1990s trilogy The Matrix.
Today, searching for a new home can be as simple as a Google search.  Key in a few target words, and you can find side-by-side listings, complete with features and price assessments. As such, many people may be left wondering: What is the value of a real estate agent?  If sellers can easily put their homes on the market with a few clicks of a button, and buyers can peruse listings from the comfort of their homes, then why invest the time and money to work with a middleman to help broker a deal?

Throughout the past decade, the role of a real estate agent has shifted dramatically.  Whereas once real estate agents were the primary lifeblood of the industry, with their fingers on the pulse of markets, prices and top investments, many of these traditional functions are no longer necessary due to technological advances.

Of course, it’s not that simple.  Even in a world where everything is automatic, a good real estate agent offers a goldmine of expertise.  Like with any service industry, it pays to have an expert to help.  A seasoned expert can help a purchaser navigate the difficult terrain of the home buying process, or can help a seller get the best price for his or her investment.  Part professional marketer, part community expert and part customer service representative, the real estate agent must be able to solve problems on the fly and be able to effectively communicate with clients.

Notably, many real estate agents and agencies have fallen behind in keeping up with technology.  The average age of a real estate agent is 55 years old, meaning that some more mature agents may not be keeping up with the rapid changes in the technological landscape.  Therefore, real estate agents who are able to use a variety of services have a distinct advantage over their competitors.

Rather then expressing concern about their jobs becoming obsolete, real estate agents should instead leverage new technologies for their own advantage.  For example, potential buyers who can see side-by-side listings may not understand the nuances of legal language, discrepancies in prices, or the added value of certain home features.

Real estate marketers who strive to keep up with new technologies can better communicate with potential clients.  For example, a commercial real estate agent trying to build rapport with a foreign investor may wish to communicate via Skype, as the simulation of face-to-face context offers psychological advantages in terms of positive interactions.

Data management tools for realtors can also increase efficiency.  Calendar invitations are superior organizational tools to monthly planners, as they easily facilitate email reminders, mapping features and a host of other options.

The team here at our Florida advertising agency depends on our real estate agents to advise us when making informed choices about home buying and selling.  While some agents may fear their jobs are in jeopardy, we believe that our real estate agents, guided by changes in digital technology, will always be there to offer a personal interaction to help address our real estate needs.

In search of new innovations to assist you in your real estate practice or other small business? Contact our team today to learn more!

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