How is Technology Changing Real Estate Sales?

Hello All! After a week-long hiatus, I am back to pen words of wisdom in the Real Estate Arena for you and yours. This week I’ll be talking about the ever changing market that is Real Estate, how recent technology has impacted it, and how it will continue to impact it.

Over the past 10-15 years, the Real Estate Sales model has been shaken up by the all consuming force that has changed just about every facet of our daily lives: The Internet. Under older Real Estate sales models, Realtors were the gatekeepers of information. With the advent of websites like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, and Trulia.com (just to name a few), buyers of homes and properties alike are much more informed than they were even a decade ago. Now, a buyer can see a home almost as quickly as an agent can. This is great for buyers overall, and it keeps agents working hard and responsive. Agents have to be responsive to be successful today.

Buyers and Sellers do have to be careful, however, that the information they are getting online is accurate and updated. Not everything you read on the internet is true – who knew!? For example, your “Zestimate”, which is Zillow.com’s estimate of how much you could sell your home for, is typically not accurate. Now, that’s not to say that it’s worthless, but it should not be taken as the Gospel! How Zillow.com gets that information is by comparing your home to similar homes that have sold in the area recently. What they do not know, however, is whether or not you have remodeled the kitchen, tiled the bathroom, finished the basement, or re-roofed the house. These improvements can significantly impact your home’s value, so Sellers are still best off getting a Comparative Market Analysis from a competent Real Estate Agent who KNOWS the market! Additionally, I will often get requests from Buyers to tour a particular home or property they found online, but that home already has an accepted offer. This is super common! The reason is due to the fact that many 3rd Party Real Estate Websites don’t distinguish between “active” and “active offer”. “How do I alleviate this”, you quip? Have me (your Real Estate Agent) set you up on an auto-email search. This is a list of properties that is fed directly from the MLS via your agent to you, and is the absolute most current home and property information you can possibly obtain.

Another area that has been shaken up, in a positive manner mind you, is the marketing of listed homes! In the bygone days that pre-dated the internet, it was common for agents to list a home, stick a sign in the yard, and plop that home into the MLS… and wait. Now, this is no longer the standard. With buyers being able to so easily see all of the available inventory, the homes that go the fastest are the ones that are marketed the best! Marketing homes on Facebook, Instagram, Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, and many others is a MUST! Boosting advertisements via Facebook is commonplace, as is building websites for specific properties. Professional Photography, to include listing videos, drone photography, virtual tours, and panoramic views are considered a must by many agents and sellers. And this is positive. It helps buyers make the most informed decision and helps organized, aggressive Sellers and Agents sell their homes for the most money. My recommendation: Choose a Realtor that knows the technological side of the business. If they aren’t using digital signature technology or marketing properties effectively and professionally on social media, they are not going above and beyond!

That reminds me of my personal favorite new technology: Digital Signatures. It’s 2019. Long gone are the days of faxing offers and counter offers back and forth. And (more recently) gone are the days of printing an offer, signing it, scanning it back in, and emailing off to the other party! Enter digital signatures! I use a platform called Docusign. Here’s how it works: I type an offer, amendment, etc and place the signatures on the lines they need to be on. I email that document to you, you review it, consent to digital signatures and establish your digital signature (easy), click and sign, and it’s sent off to the next recipient. It’s that simple. Think of the valuable minutes of your life you just earned back! Enough for another game of Candy Crush!

Lastly, where do I think the technology will take us next? Well, I think Augmented Reality might just be the next big thing. What is this? Well, essentially it’s a mixed reality where computer-generated graphics, videos, text and sounds are layered on top of your physical view. For example, you could hold your phone up in a vacant room and see exactly how your furniture will fit into the space. Amazing!!

Even as technology continues to build upon itself, there will always be a need for Realtors and Real Estate professionals who are true experts at their craft. We provide tremendous experience and wisdom for the most significant transactions in people’s lives, and the agents who embrace rapidly changing technology will be the ones still working in 20 years. Technology has raised the bar for Agents, and has helped Buyers and Sellers gain more exposure and knowledge of the market. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds and remaining on the cutting edge of useful technology that you as consumers desire!

Feel free to call or text me today to discuss how I can help you harness the power of technology on your next real estate transaction!

~ Tim | RE/MAX Affiliates | 715-529-0239

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