How can real estate agents demonstrate their value in the digital age?

by Jason Porterfield

Today’s homebuyers have more choices than ever when it comes to buying or selling a home. The internet and popular portals like Trulia and Zillow provide rich veins of data for the prospective homebuyer, including information about neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, walkability scores and more. There are tutorials for prepping a home to sell and guides designed to help consumers find the home they want at a price they can afford.

Consumers are growing accustomed to doing much of the research and initial legwork that might have previously fallen to the agents. In 2016, 44 percent of homebuyers began their property search by looking online, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 report Real Estate in a Digital Age. Typical homebuyers looked at websites and mobile apps featuring listings, photos and information about the purchasing process before getting in touch with an agent. In previous decades, newspaper searches and personal connections were primary means of finding new homes.

In an industry that has been so strongly affected by digital technology, agents have to show their value to their clients in many different ways. Creating sound strategies for navigating the search process, negotiations and the details that come before the signing is completed can give agents a boost in proving their value to clients and developing professional relationships that could stretch well into the future.

  • Vanessa Willey says:

    In 2003 when I started selling real estate, I was sure that I would be replaced by technology within five years. This was based on articles I had read in the Wall Street Journal and other publications about technology and real estate. The assumption was that buyers and sellers could manage the entire real estate transaction with a keystroke. Information, carefully guarded by generations of pre-computer real estate agents, would be readily available, making Realtors obsolete. Today, buyers and sellers have ready access not only to home addresses, but comparable properties and estimates of value from multiple computer generated algorithms. Yet, the real estate industry is still relevant. Why, because not only do clients have more information, the real estate industry itself is data rich in a way not possible before computers. For the first time we can track multiple variables that lead to value, as well as the easy to quantify characteristics like square footage, and the number of bedrooms and baths. This rich data is brought to you through the hard work of real estate agents, who create and maintain the information that makes up each multiple listing system.. We are no longer just the guardians of addresses wanting to be sold. Good realtors know how to successfully navigate through a sea of information, adding perspective and context, which only comes from practicing their craft and becoming an expert in the real estate industry.