There is no argument that real estate is changing. The question is what will it look like. What it will look like depends solely on what consumers want. G.D. Gearino wrote in a NC business magazine
If ever there’s a field ripe to be made obsolete by technology, it’s real-estate brokerage. There is no objective reason for real-estate agents to exist these days. Buyers and sellers can easily find one another online, and thanks to the endless data capabilities of the Internet, anything you need to know is readily available. From the comfort of your easy chair, you can take a video tour of a home, use Google maps to walk around its neighborhood, check crime statistics for the area, find out what the house next door sold for, etc. At this point, the most useful skill an agent brings to the table is knowing how to open the little lockbox where the key to an available home is secured. Yes, it’s an important task — then again, so was operating a telephone switchboard. When was the last time you talked to a phone operator?
I don’t think real estate agents will ever been made obsolete, but…and I do think this is a big but…the profession will morph or die. There is no disagreement there. Here’s why…
Consumers no longer need real estate sales people…they need real estate advisers. It used to be that real estate agents were keepers of the information…the mighty MLS book. Knowing what was available was what agents were needed for. Remember contracts used to be like two pages long. 6 more pages later and several optional addenda real estate is no longer about knowing what is out there, but what to do once you find it. That part is not as easy as it used to be.
Real estate agents need to know what questions to ask: how to help home buyers conduct their due diligence. Real estate agents need to know what the market is doing: how to help home sellers prepare their homes as a result. If the best that a real estate agent has to offer is “this house is great, let’s write an offer” we will indeed become obsolete. The bar WILL be raised for real estate agents to be more than tour guides. Consumers will require it. As you should.