It’s easy to look back & think “how did they FAIL to see that coming”?
As we moved into the information age, so many intermediary business sectors seemed to be blindsided when the Interwebs made them non-essential. A couple examples include travel agencies and stock brokerages. Gadgets also are disruptive. For example, how might Kindle impact book sellers?
Are realtors/agents failing to see it coming?
Right about now, Redfin may come to mind. But, is Redfin truly a disruptive technology? Or do they replicate the same processes virtually? Disruptive technologies change/streamline processes. Certain elements of process, now automated by technology, are made obsolete. Typically it’s the middlemen that are jettisoned from the process.
The internet continues evolve, it makes sense that we will see transformation and change that offers great opportunities to buyers and sellers of homes, but also great risk to agents.
In defense of agents
Agents provide great value. Agents provide guidance in the complicated legal aspects of the transaction: contract preparation, negotiation, etc. to avoid pitfalls on both the buy and sell sides. (Yes, that’s watered down)
Take off your agent hat
Imagine knowing what you know now, travelling back to 1990 and chatting with an attorney. You talk of a day not too far in the future where people can form a corporation, get a divorce, prepare a will and more without meeting attorney and often for about $500. Wouldn’t he/she cling to the argument that their knowledge of the transaction can’t possibly be reduced in value? That it’s not wise to neglect their counsel?
Ah yes … but you counter “But, Mr(s). Esquire, over the next two decades, information will be indexed, searchable and commoditized. You will no longer be able to justify your current fees for certain services”.
In the transaction examples listed above, an attorney is involved, but acts more as a review and filing service. Could that be the future role of agents?
What’s that leave for agents?
Local expertise? That begs the question: Will an agent, whose value could be marginalized by future disruptive technologies, offer enough value in the process to warrant 3%?
Again, take off your agent hat. This time, put on your futurist hat. By compiling data, it’s safe to assume there will be technologies that offer real estate indices than marginalize the value of neighborhood expertise. Such indices cold be derived via an algorithm, and be used for pricing, and future values by taking into account not only empirical data, but also a weighted version of the subtleties and attributes of a neighborhood. The possibilities are endless.
Tell us below: What not-yet-invented technology do you see as the biggest threat?
The times are changing
We are in a time of transformation that may be regarded by future generations as one of the most significant periods in history.
How agents respond over the next decade will either bring praise for their acuity or have them wondering why they failed to grasp the evolutionary necessities so obvious to them, like the travel agents and stock brokers before them.