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

by Jason Porterfield

Information with analysis

Whether she’s networking or going through the numbers for a specific neighborhood, Hess makes sure clients stay informed about their options. She keeps buyers and sellers up to date on her strategy and what she’s doing to help them find what they’re looking for at fair market value. She sits with her buyers for a consultation and gives them a flow chart that covers the process through what she calls her Proven Homebuying System.

“It’s a handout that I give them that covers not only the process, but also information about preapproval,” Hess says. “I try to get people pre-approved before we even meet for the first time and give them my resources if they need it. I really help them try to visualize the process as it will unfold for their search.”

Carol Best, a Realtor with Jameson Sotheby’s International Real Estate, also provides her clients with custom feedback to help them with their listings. The homes are rated on a scale of one to five across four or five different categories so that she knows where improvements are needed.

“If something’s a one, we’ll know about it right away,” Best says. “If something’s a five, it means it’s excellent. Let’s say a house has had 15 showings and the interior is a three and the outside is a five. We either need to step it up or adjust the price. We know exactly where the shortcoming is and what we need to address.”

Lori Neuschel, a Realtor with @properties uses statistics to show her clients what’s happening in the market and give them an idea of what they can expect.

“They can go on Zillow and see what sold, but a lot of that information is dated and incorrect unless it’s on the MLS,” Neuschel says. “I set my clients up in front of the MLS so they can see what’s happening as I see it, including homes sold, price changes, reactivated listings and more. I set them up on a search that’s relevant to their property so they can see what’s happening at the same time.

“I also provide statistics for them. What’s the inventory turnover right now in Wilmette and Winnetka, for instance, and in comparable communities? What’s the days on market? Is the trend shifting? How does it compare to last year? I give them a full view of what is happening, and by being on the MLS, I make sure that they’re getting correct information since other websites are sometimes incorrect.”

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  • 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.

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