Will Technology Replace the Real Estate Agent?
This thought has been lingering around since the early to mid 90’s. Here we are almost 20 years later and the real estate agent is very central and critical to the transaction.
Yes technology has permeated itself into the industry. Years ago all the listings were in a book, the new book came out every two weeks. If you wanted to see what was available you had to seen an agent. Then the listings went online, there was a big rumbling throughout the land. But instead of replacing the agent it has made agents more productive. The ability to search for homes has made the buyers a little more educated about the inventory when they show up. The ability to take photos, videos, scan, email, color print, GPS and so much more.
Now tablets are stepping up the game a little more, a buyer can look at a house, the agent can prepare an offer and the buyer can sign it on the tablet. The offer can be sent to multiple out of state people, you can have a video conference, each party can electronically sign the offer and that’s it.
So why hasn't the agent been replaced? It’s the human factor, it’s the emotional aspect that technology will not be able to deal with in
the foreseeable future. Home buying, you noticed I said home and not house buying. Home buying is an emotional thing and not logical.
It’s a Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs kind of thing. Most buyers don’t know that they are making an emotional decision. They will convince themselves with a version of logic to justify their decision, but be clear the final decision was based on an emotion.
This is where technology fails. Walking beside a family that has lost a loved one and now has to sell a property, leading a family through a short sale. Helping a young first time home buyer navigate the whole loan and buying process.
Then there is pricing, appraising is an art and not a science. Computers cannot pick up on the value nuances of stigma or that if you can hear traffic that the value is lower...
Because you you have two emotional parties trying manage the process of selling and buying and all the issues that come along with it, the professional agent is very essential. A real pro knows that the clients are wigging out in some form or another, they keep everything calm and on task.