Housing Trends November 27, 2018

Real Estate in the Age of Technology

Are Real Estate Agents Still Relevant in the Age of Tech?

Windermere Stanwood-Camano Real Estate Brokers are deeply connected to the issues that face local home-buyers and sellers. In this series of blogs, The Broker’s Perspective, Windermere Stanwood-Camano Brokers provide insight into current Real Estate market trends and topics.

This week, we take a look at an article from Forbes about Real Estate agents being relevant in the “Age of Tech.” Nancy McClure, a broker from our Terry’s Corner Camano Island office, gives us her perspective on this article.

More Than Just the Home Search

It’s true that buyers today are doing most of the legwork when it comes to actually finding listings. But according to Nick Bailey, president and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate, that initial search is only a small portion of the overall home buying process.

“Historically, buyers and sellers needed data,” Bailey said. “They needed to know what’s on the market, the price and property specifics. Today, consumers need access to see properties and then help analyzing the data and negotiating through a process that is the most complex it’s ever been.”

In fact, according to New York broker Jed Lewin, the “real work” doesn’t even begin until a property is under contract—when things like negotiating, inspections and, in Lewin’s case, dealing with co-op boards come into play.

Still, having buyers already knowledgeable about the market can make the process easier—for both parties.

“Online listings completely changed the way that people interact with their home search, and has led to buyers and sellers being much more sophisticated about the market, which is a great thing,” Lewin said. “People conducting their own searches means that buyers are better informed and therefore more realistic about what their budget will allow, and sellers are more attuned to what their properties are worth.”

At the end of the day though, buyers generally still need assistance navigating the process. Throw in today’s red-hot market and historically low inventory levels, and having an agent’s expertise might be more important than ever.

“It’s clear that while home-buyers are embracing technology, most still require the guidance of an agent to help save them time, keep them organized, and successfully take them through the closing process to get the best deal,” said Daniel Maloney, head of sales at Owners.com. “Technology will continue to revolutionize the real estate market, but consumers still value and rely on their real estate agent.”

At the end of the day, and despite all the tech that’s out there, that’s what it all comes down to: what the agent can offer above and beyond the confines of the web.

“While the internet is replete with information, it’s the agent’s knowledge that makes the difference between mediocrity and extraordinary,” Bailey said. “The irony is that the digital revolution has helped scale the importance of human knowledge and shared experiences. Technology is constantly evolving and so, too, must the agent and the real estate company.”

Read the entire article here. 

Windermere Broker Nancy McClure gives her perspective.

Nancy McClure, Broker, Realtor

Looking at our local Stanwood-Camano market, do you find that when a buyer comes to you they have already done their research online or via mobile technology?  And are they only using your services to show homes they have already picked out online?

Buyers usually come in with a list of homes they have found online, but we sit down together and most often end up changing the list. Buyers may not know what they want based on their online search. Many times when we first meet with the buyer to discuss their needs they realize that they need something more, or different than what they had initially envisioned. Good agents have a knack for reading between the lines and pulling out more of what they are looking for vs. what they are expressing. Although the initial online search provides a great starting place, narrowing down a buyer’s search is really a person to person individual process.

When and if a buyer comes to you with a list of homes that they have found online, do you find the information to be accurate and complete?  

Not always. Some sites tend to be behind; when this happens, the list a buyer brings in to me can be outdated. The local market is still moving fast. Homes can go pending and sold so quickly that a list that was done on Monday can sometimes be outdated by Friday.

Although a lot of information about these properties can be found online, one of the most important things when buying or selling a home is having a knowledgeable local agent. For example, in our area, beach rights, beach access, wells (community and private), and septic systems all have an effect on the value and usefulness of a property. An out of area or “online” brokerage generally will not be able to represent, and more importantly, protect the buyer’s interests the way a knowledgeable local agent can.

There is no secret that Windermere Stanwood-Camano has the market share in the Stanwood-Camano area. Does the online technology provided by Windermere allow home shoppers to search all of the listings in the area easily, including listings from other Real Estate companies?

As this article suggests, buyers have access to a multitude of online real estate searches. Windermere provides complete and up-to-date search capabilities with all of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s information. This means that a buyer can go to any Windermere “home search” web page (agents & brokerage websites) and search through all the currently listed homes regardless of what company listed the home. All Windermere agents are equipped with the same technology access and provide this information to potential home buyers and sellers as part of our comprehensive service.