The future real estate broker and the future real estate agent have already arrived, and they look a lot different than the broker or agent of the past 30 years. It is absolutely amazing how rapid changes have hit the real estate business, but it’s not just because of the real estate recession and the economic recession. The dramatic changes to the real estate business, which have huge implications for buyers and sellers, are really the result of a convergence of a number of major factors.
Buyers are no longer using newspaper classifieds to search for their next home. The National Association of Realtors conducted a study which revealed that 85% of all buyers start their search for their next home on the Internet. And guess what they are doing? They are using Google to search for their next home, as well as free online MLS search sites. This means that buyers are searching for their next home and filtering their list down to a practical number of homes, which they schedule to see with their Realtor long before they even arrive in town. These buyers are not subscribing to the local newspapers, and they are not in an area where local home magazines are on the news stands. Real estate brokers and agents know that their newspaper ads are not working, because they are not getting calls and selling those listings. It’s not like it was years ago when the newspapers were the only way to advertise homes.
Because technology and the Internet have given buyers so much freedom and so much control over how and when they search for their next home, traditional advertising is no longer nearly as effective as it was. This is one of the major reasons newspapers are going out of business all over the country. Classifieds are no longer effective. Craigslist has put a major dent in newspaper revenue, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With the growth of the Internet and free consumer resources on the Internet, buyers are loving the privacy and freedom they now have to shop for their next home. The convergence of the death of traditional media and the growth of the Internet have created a perfect storm in which traditional brokers and agents are sinking and consumers, especially buyers, are finding new freedom and power.
The brick-and-mortar real estate office can no longer put agents in cubicles and have them wait for the phone to ring or for walk-ins. The phone no longer rings like it once did, and walk-ins are very rare. Agents of traditional offices are leaving the business in droves. I’ve been buying their lockboxes for half price. That business model is not the future of real estate.
Buyers know this. They have for a while. Sellers have been a little slow to pick up on these dramatic changes, and traditional agents are not doing a great job educating their clients. The way a home is advertised and promoted today to reach qualified buyers is so different than yesterday. Granted, we will have the traditional office around for a while, and agents will continue to advertise in newspapers and magazines, but not because it sells homes like it once did. Agents all over the county and the country tell me the only reason they put their listings in the Sunday newspapers is because their clients expect them to. That’s just plain dumb. Why not educate clients and stop wasting money and time on advertising that is not effective?
The real estate broker of the future and the agent of the future is going to be so different. They will use the Internet and the most powerful technologies to reach buyers and sell homes. The future agent will be engulfed in cloud computing and digital document management in a paperless office. He will use the best ways to connect sellers with buyers, and the best CRM (customer relationship management). This future will also network some of the best real estate agents around the country in entirely new ways to create a brain trust and training and mentoring that brick-and-mortars only wish they could have. The old ways are fading rapidly, and the real estate business of the future is here. I’m loving it, and I’m thoroughly enjoying connecting with buyers from all over the country using these technologies.
Are you taking advantage of these technologies to market your home? Is your agent connected with the most powerful Internet technologies and business model today? Ask me about what I do and how I do it? You might be surprised. You can start by digging around on this blog. You’ll fund almost 700 articles written by me about Sequim and Port Angeles real estate issues–almost any real estate issue you can think of is here. You’ll find the most powerful and easy-to-navigate MLS search tools here. All these tools are free and require no registration. You’ll find educational videos produced by a 20-year real estate attorney and broker. You’ll find audio recordings on a variety of real estate issues I call Traps for the Unwary. You’ll find a free FSBO eBook download, and you can download the Introduction to my upcoming book, Buying and Selling Real Estate in the Rain Shadow. In other words, you will find this is a content-rich site, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more behind the scenes to serve my clients in new and powerful ways. You might guess that my real estate office is a virtual office–the real estate brokerage of the future. Only this office is here today!
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