Technology will never replace real estate agents. here’s why


Jay Thompson is a former brokerage house owner who spent over six years working for the Zillow Group. He retired in August 2018, but can’t seem to leave the real estate industry behind. His Inman weekly column is published every Wednesday.

As expected, last week’s column, Why the comment list is a bad idea, attracted quite a few comments, and a great discussion ensued. I always appreciate the contribution of readers, whether or not they agree with my opinion. The world would be a pretty boring place without differing opinions.

Matt Laricy left a comment that got me thinking. If you don’t know Laricy, he is the management broker for Americorp Real Estate in the Chicago area and leads the Laricy team. It is a power station.

(Laricy may not remember it, but I had the pleasure of speaking with him several years ago when I was looking for successful Chicagoland agents and brokers to participate in a panel at an event. Zillow. He’s one of those people that you can tell within 30 seconds of talking to them that he’s got a grip on himself and when you hang up, think, “Shit, this guy is smart.”)

In his commentary, Laricy echoed what other Inman readers have expressed, long before I started writing for Inman. almost three years ago.

“Essentially all Inman does is promote the fact that agents will soon be irrelevant. Not providing feedback is another example of fueling Inmans fire over real estate agents failing to deliver value.

He then tactfully explained why he disagreed with my position on the comment list and concluded his comment with, “Inman, maybe you should focus less on promoting bad practices and more on promoting bad practices. promoting good. “

While I disagree with (although I understand) Laricy’s thoughts that all Inman does is promote the agents’ impending irrelevance, he makes a valid point. The promotion of good practices must be more frequent.

“Do not do that !” is negative reinforcement, something every parent on the planet struggles with in the difficult task of raising their children. While negative reinforcement is sometimes necessary, it is easy to get into a mode where it is all you do it, whether it’s in the education of children, education, self-improvement or life in general.

So let’s talk about some things agents do well. Why they are worth every penny they earn. Why do agents go never be replaced by an application or become useless.

I can’t think of better examples of great agents doing things right than the ones I’ve worked with when listing or buying my own homes.

Local conditions

We worked with Nick Klintberg on a business move several years before I got a real estate license. As I wrote in To stay in contact! 7 Effective Ways To Maintain Relationships With Former Customers, Klintberg was an expert at maintaining contact after the deal was closed. But what he did in our transaction was more critical.

I’ll never forget when we walked into a list and said, “This is it.” Klintberg started telling us about the neighborhood, not just the house. He knew traffic could be a mess at times due to an elementary school nearby.

He knew that a dairy farm just down the road would send unpleasant dairy farm smells into the house at certain times of the year when the wind was blowing in a specific direction. He knew things that you will never find on the Internet. This in-depth knowledge of his local market has been invaluable to us as buyers.

Market knowledge

There was Ken nash, who we worked with to buy a condo in Edmonds, Washington. This happened long after I got my license and ran my own brokerage.

All of my real estate sales and brokerage experience was in Arizona, and this house was in Washington.

While I knew how different transactions can be from state to state, Nash’s in-depth knowledge of local contracts and processes, the network of real estate service providers, and his ability to communicate with the listing agent. in a tough sellers market has allowed us to perfect home.

Long-distance solutions powered by communication

Rich jacobson Listed this condo after we moved to Texas. Believe me when I tell you that selling a house when you live 2,300 miles away is a pain in the back.

Jacobson’s flawless communication not only between us, but with the buyer’s agent, homeowners association and necessary repair services once again gave us a fantastic experience in a difficult and stressful time. .

Unique real estate know-how

Finally, our agent in Texas, Amy Eubanks, used her local knowledge to help us secure our “forever home”. We had no idea of ​​the ins and outs of buying a waterfront home.

I praised its virtues in How my agent was invaluable during this pandemic. Suffice it to say that Eubanks local knowledge, connections and sympathy – again all not found on the internet – made the home buying experience, oftentimes painful, truly enjoyable. Plus, she saved us tens of thousands of dollars in repairs by educating us on things we didn’t know despite our experience selling real estate.

Go back and read Laricy’s comment on my list comments column. Read carefully and you will discover his “secret” to success – “When you look at people like me, and say how do you sell over $ 300 million a year, I can tell I do things that other agents will not do.

Do the things other agents won’t do. Remember this. Practice.

The vast majority of agents I have interacted with, both personally and professionally, number in the thousands. To be honest, I hear more complaints about realtors from other realtors than from consumers.

Are there any lousy agents out there? Of course there is. Welcome to humanity. But countless agents do incredible work – work that cannot and will not be eliminated or made irrelevant by an app, technology, or the latest industry “disruptor”. Agents are invaluable to buyers and sellers of real estate. Heck, they are invaluable to our economy.

Can you improve your skills, hone your craft to deliver even more value to your customers? Absoutely. Be like the agents mentioned above. Know your market inside and outside.

Build your network of service providers and other agents. Understand and explain every nuance of your contracts, addenda and documents. Do the things other agents won’t do.

In the meantime, keep up the amazing work, never stop learning and take care of yourself.

You are not going to be replaced by an app. You can leverage technology to grow your business, be more efficient, and better serve your customers – past, present and future. Don’t worry about losing your job because of an app or a few people in a garage somewhere planning the next big disruption. You are doing things that only a human mind and touch, understanding and empathy can accomplish. Go ahead and prosper.

Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree who lives in the Texas Coastal Bend, as well as one who spins the wheels at Thinking. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. “Retired but not dead” Jay is talking in the world on many real estate things.

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