Effects of the digital age- real estate sales edition

Yesterday, I was at a round table breakout session at a lovely golf course across town. The objective was to get real estate agents together and to hear what is working. Out of ten tables, only two presenters talked primarily about social media applications. This is quite a turn about from ten years ago. A decade ago everyone was still trying to get their heads around how platforms would impact the real estate transaction. Everything tied to social media was worth talking about.

As is often the case, the early predictions were wrong. Internet platforms did not change how homes are bought and sold, and certainly did not put Realtors out of work. The nature of the service is a bit (understatement) more involved than booking airline tickets. If anything the number of for sale by owner transactions has decreased, not increased.

Here’s how the digital age has affected real estate sales:

  1. Information that took a little work to obtain is now available at a click. For instance, public tax information has always been public, it just required some digging. Now most counties have mapping software that allows one to navigate a geography and click straight through to useful information.
  2. The software and interconnections available for workflow processing are a mixed blessing. Overall it is convenient to load the data and be able to access it through any portal. The form-filling applications are sophisticated. But all the systems do not match up perfectly causing redundancies and the necessity to clean up files. This issue of incompatible systems in an work flow seems to be ever present.
  3. The preferred means of communication with a client is set by them. Call, text, email, messenger- they are all in play. Zoom calls are beneficial on a limited basis. I’ve talked more on the phone lately as people have circled back to the realization that it is pleasant and efficient to talk through logistics. Technology’s ability to link a tremendous amount of information is extremely useful. But when it comes to navigating a decision tree with implications at each juncture, a telephone call is better.

Although advertising on social media still has an impact, it no longer holds the fascination it once did. The early years yielded great benefits to marketers as the audience did not realize they were putting their motivations on display. Once people understood their data was not private, they found, and continue to find, ways to withdraw and opt out of unsolicited offers. At the same time, a social norm has emerged which says it is unattractive to pound out one self-serving ad after the next.

Realtors are here to stay. So find the one who knows how to access the information most vital to your choices, who can communicate with you via the means you most prefer, and who will stay in touch using an agreeable method.