Residential Real Estate Has Already Moved Past The Realtor

We have the discussion all the time as to what role technology plays in Real Estate and what role the Realtor plays in a modern market.  It is hard to really pin point where the two come together but one thing is becoming more and more clear as I manage my company and residential agents.  The Realtor has already been extracted from the selling of a home for the most part and we are very close to finding that the Realtor is halfway out the door on the buying side as well.

I have been studying the market in my area which is a comfortable group of suburbs north of Indianapolis and from a marketing standpoint its hard to tell what value if any a typical Realtor brings to a listing.  This may explain the difficulty many vanilla agents have in finding new listings because other then the technology handed to us, there is very little most Realtors know how to do to sell a home.  Look at the tools we use to sell a home:  Multiple listing service’s, syndicated 3rd party sites(realtor.com and zillow) and social media.  These have all become the automated ways for an agent to list a home and reach the buyer of a home.  Everyone does it the same way.  If we are going to be honest with ourselves we have to look at this as a scary scenario and as a fast track to being irrelevant in the listing space.   You hear agents talk about being able to sell your home the fastest and they do have stats to back this up.  Why are they different?  They target the best selling homes and don’t list if they can’t price them to sell.  Easy as that.  Other then those two things they list just like everyone else and have the same effect on finding the buyer.

So why do some agents have lots of listings and thought of as the best at selling homes?  They market themselves differently and whether or not it is effective at selling a home it sells their services.  Look around at agents that have bad listings or continue to just trickle along and see what they are doing differently.  Nothing.  This is the majority of agents and this is why they are losing ground quickly to technology.  Observe a very busy top producing agent for a few days just on their social media or how they interact with people.  They come across as smart and as an expert in their craft.  They are not desperate for the next deal but spend their time showing you how good they are at what they do.  They know values, sales times and trends that will support them targeting your property and getting you to price it where they want it.  After that they are just like everyone else.  They add it to the MLS and wait for the offers.  This is a very replaceable professional and they are the best at what they do.

So where am I going with this as someone that makes a living listing property and encouraging others to become agents?  We all have to create value somewhere and using the position that you need a Realtor like yourself to sell a home is long gone with all the technology we have adopted over the years.  Not recognizing that anyone with 2 weeks of course work and paid MLS fee’s can essentially do what you are doing every day if they figure out how to market themselves.  I am saying that if as a Realtor you do not have the awareness that technology has replaced you as a salesperson of homes and that you better become an expert or value added agent quickly, you might as well step aside and find a new career path.  Asking a homeowner to pay you a large amount of their proceeds because you just got in the way is a bad business model but creating value as a service provider is the key to a long career in Real Estate.

I would encourage every agent that is struggling to find a niche or is not breaking past the “need a sale” phase to stop and be honest with themselves.  Take a step back and look at what your business model is and what effort you are willing to put into being around for a while.  Then when you are committed, carve out that niche, do the work to become an expert and market those services.  But until you put in the work you will remain just like the other 95% of agents.  The “sell the steak not the sizzle” term comes to mind a lot and as an agent its easy to fool ourselves that we are great at something.  Take the time to evaluate what it is you bring to the table and offer that without hesitation to each and every future client.

-curt

Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage.  He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments.  Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area.  Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time  volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.

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