“Being a Real Estate Professional in 2018” The future is here, which can be a scary piece of information to digest. But with this, comes change and the ability to evolve. Real Estate and being a Real Estate Professional in 2018 is vastly different than even just a couple years ago. The rise of the digital and social worlds (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) has made an everlasting impact on the Real Estate Industry, which is not a bad thing. I am here to discuss how these changes can be used to your advantage (if done correctly) and how these changes are making this THE time to be a Real Estate Professional. Real Estate, as an industry, is not going anywhere. Buying a home will always be the biggest purchase that any person will make in their lifetime, there isn’t another purchase that even comes close. And this is why people inherently want help. As of late, help has come in multiple forms, whether it be an app like Zillow or Redfin, or a social media account that is a one stop shop for all Real Estate questions. The days of hidden information are over. Now, nearly every piece of information you ever need is readily available with the click of a mouse. So, why do potential buyers and sellers need an agent?
Potential clients will each have a unique reason for their decision.
The reason will be as unique as the client themselves. If this really is ONE of the biggest decisions in their lifetime, they are going to want all the help and support they can get. And an agent is the resource that can provide exactly that. A well versed and informed professional will not only provide the necessary information, but also the support and comfort of being an expert in the industry. Home buyers/sellers also want someone who is extremely knowledgeable about their local market. The Internet cannot provide all the insider information and current events of a particular neighborhood like an agent can. Clients are going to want every piece of information, from local schools to restaurants, nightlife, accessibility, security, etc. “Homebuyers want to know how the neighborhood has changed in the last five years and they will want to know how it might change in the next 10. An agent needs to be able to communicate information about the local transit system, what time the cafe down the block opens and what time the bars close” (Redfin Real Estate Agent, Nikki Kilmer). In essence, the homebuyer wants to know the past, present, and future and that is something that only an agent can provide no matter how far technology continues to advance.
Real Estate Professionals are as necessary as an attorney.
Home buyers and sellers could technically go through this process alone. They could do all their market research, find most of the necessary information buried somewhere on the Internet, and save a chunk of change not hiring an agent. Similarly, someone who has been convicted of a felony could represent themselves in court. They could use the internet to research the laws they have broken, previous cases, and even what to say and what not to say in the courtroom. They would save a lot of money on expensive attorneys and maybe even win. But the chances are highly unlikely because like Real Estate, Law requires an expert. It requires someone who has done their research, has been in this situation before and knows how to react when they are thrown a curveball. With such a big decision, why would someone try to do it on their own? The same question can be asked about purchasing a home in today’s market. “Executional experience in risk-management, regulatory maneuvering and financial strategy — especially in a hyper-local industry — are not things that alt-brokerages or tech startups can garner in just a few years, no matter how much cash they try to throw at the problem.” To put it simply, real estate requires an agent.
Adapt, or die.
With that being said, clients are adapting and so should agents. Agents need to be current and not appear outdated. If your clients are millennials (who are currently the largest group of homebuyers), it might be smart to speak their language. Clients want someone who is relatable and understands their wants and needs in the modern market. Realistically, social media is no longer just an option for agents, but an essential tool. Think of it as the new way of making a simple introduction. You have the ability to create an online network where you can keep clients updated on new information at the click of a button. You can show clients listings live from your phone without them having to even get in their car. You can prove your legitimacy with previous deals and testimonies from past clients. Social media is one of the most effective ways to generate referrals and, it’s immediate. Millennials are all about immediacy and social media can provide that better than anything else. An agent wrote to Forbes saying, “As I often say, an hour represents a year in internet time; a prospective client who doesn’t hear from you the same morning or afternoon of their attempt to contact you may very well move on, on the assumption that you’re never going to get back to them.” Play the client’s game. It’s what agents have been doing since the dawn of the industry; the difference is that the clients themselves are now changing.
Utilizing your resources, or other professionals.
With change comes a new breed of Real Estate Agents. Young professionals who have grown up in the digital world are looking to utilize their unique skillset in an industry that fears change. This generation has a lot of positive attributes they can bring to the table and a natural ability to be current. However, they may lack the knowledge and experience that some of the veteran agents possess. ONE of the first tips given to a new agent is to find a mentor, someone who has been in the industry for a while and is extremely well versed in what it takes to be a successful agent. The same can be said for a veteran agent. Finding an ambassador to the newer generations could teach you a thing or two. They would be a wealth of knowledge about the generation that will be your future clients. There is a range of agents at your brokerage on every point of the spectrum and each person can benefit from the other’s strengths to create a uniquely successful and current brand. Change is inevitable in anything. It comes with time. The trick is being prepared and having an action plan on how to embrace the change and use it as an advantage. Buying and selling a home is not the same process it used to be, but at the end of the day people will continue to buy and sell homes. It will always be the biggest purchase a client can make and it will always require research, time, and help. It’s a purchase that can be made much easier with the right support. Real Estate Professionals are inherently known for being UNbelievable self-marketers. Embrace the change!