There is a current assumption that real estate agents are soon to be a defunct class of service provider. With the advent of online listing sites, more sellers are opting to forego hiring an agent in a bid to save on commission, and many buyers are happy to contact sellers directly to arrange viewings or make offers.
However, a lot of these DIY-ers soon realise that they’ve possibly bitten off more than they can chew, as navigating the legalities of buying or selling a house can be a minefield for anyone not well versed in things like property law.
Similarly, arranging viewings, responding to queries, and all the other admin that goes into showing and marketing a home can be really time consuming. In other words, while it may be tempting to cite the advancement in technology as bringing about a real estate agent apocalypse, the reality is far more nuanced.
How tech hurts
The biggest disruption that technology has brough about for estate agents is the ability for sellers to list and market their properties without an agent’s help. Sellers have access to various online property listing cites that are user friendly and oftentimes entirely free to use. They can also harness their social media networks to market their properties to a broader pool of potential buyers.
It is also similarly possible for buyers to find properties and make contact with sellers via online platforms without ever contacting an agent. As such, there is the potential for the sale of a property to occur without an agent even being aware that the property was on the market.
How tech helps
While technology adoption might be challenging estate agents in some areas, it’s actually aiding in others.
For one, thanks to technological advancements, buyers and sellers now have greater power to compare real estate agents with whom to work. This means that far from becoming superfluous, agents who can prove their value through making good sales; offering tailored services; and being knowledgeable about the industry, area, and related laws, are likely to become more in demand – especially for clients who do not have the time, knowledge, or energy to conduct business themselves.
For another, as much as technology can be useful, people still ultimately prefer interacting with people. Therefore, while buyers and sellers may adopt technology for certain parts of the process, fully technologically-based experiences have led many to realise the value of the guidance and support offered by a good estate agent.
Technological development also means that agents themselves have more access to big data; financial and trend calculators; marketing avenues and online viewing options; and all kinds of information and programmes that can actually help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
This, then, speaks to the reality that estate agents are not likely to disappear any time soon. Rather, technology’s disruption of the industry is actually highlighting agents’ value and forcing them to actively offer greater assistance and quality services to their clients.