MarketWatch’s weekend edition has a spiffy article on the impact of the Web in buying or selling real estate; Virtual Vindication for Real Estate Agents.
In case you’ve missed it, there has been a….spirited discussion over the impact of sites like Zillow and now Reply! coupled with web based fee for service brokers. Some agents are concerned that they are now being made obsolete with this free flow of information. Others have argued that the agents that feel most threatened by Zillow are the ones that rely on technology and software to arrive at a price point for selling a home.
Frankly, my short answer to this debate is simple: technology in real estate is a tool. Just as a shovel will dig the hole the tree is to go into, technology begins to organize, simplify, and quickly disseminate the information an agent collects. Relying on technology to (or believing that technology can) arrive at a price point for your clients is placing too much trust in technology. After all, garbage in, garbage out. And if you can’t validate the data going in, you shouldn’t trust the results.
Back to the spiffy article. Virtually Vindicated? Ok, maybe in the consumer’s eyes, but this agent has always seen the fiduciary responsibility to his clients as primary to all else. And that usually entails having an informed conversation about the state of the real estate market, new web/technology innovations that better expose my sellers’ homes across the Web, general thoughts on Zestimate’s and why the numbers are what they are.
The advent of real estate information “in the wild” on the web, or aggregated in a Zestimate, gives the consumer and agent the opportunity to learn more about each other. For the consumer, this is your key to see how much your agent knows about what is happening with regards to technology in real estate; could be a very good indicator of their tech savvy when it comes to marketing your home. For the agent, this is an opportunity to have an educated discussion about the market, the neighborhood, and how you market your listings. For both parties, it allows another avenue for a meeting of the minds to occur.
What is vindicated by this article is the magical combination of an agent’s experience and their level of technological savvy. Putting these two qualities together will give the consumer (buyer or seller) a marketplace advantage over their competition.
Zillow – Keep it up folks! You make the education process fun and easier!