Clearly the Internet, public demand for transparency and the push for information sharing has impacted all business sectors, but perhaps none more than the real estate industry. Thirty years ago, real estate agents could not envision a time when the real estate market data held close to their vest would be accessible with the click of a mouse. The term mouse paired with house conjured up a different image entirely…
The evolution from giant listing books dated soon after print and delivery to real-time data on the Web began slowly at first. While search engines were trying to gain a foothold in the real estate market, brokers continued to train newbies on traditional sales techniques and armed them with a briefcase full of listing presentation materials to bedazzle the customer and secure the agent’s position as the sole source of and savior from documents and details. The mystique that shrouded the real estate market was evident by proprietary market data, cautionary tales of competitive bids, and a language of its own. There was no Internet option to search comparable data, understand the concept of short sale, learn and compare mortgage options, research the credentials of inspectors and attorneys or access a satellite view of neighborhoods.
Today all of those options (and more) are available via the Internet. Agents can quickly and efficiently share data and information in real-time to buyers, sellers, lenders and all other parties involved. There is no doubt that the real estate market in the digital age has been challenging and rewarding. There always has been and will be FSBO (For Sale by Owner) properties, especially now that resources and tools are bountiful on the Web to support that effort.
Real estate professionals who felt threatened during the transition and resisted the new machinery most likely did not survive the change compared to those willing to keep up with the changing times and technology.
However, there is one thing that most definitely has not changed – the remaining fact that real estate is about building relationships through quality customer service, commitment and loyalty to your clients.