The technology-driven disruption of the real estate industry has not turned out to be as dramatic as many thought it would. The real estate agent is not being replaced by artificially intelligent machines, and my Roomba is not out showing houses for me during the day.
Technology has been a wonderful addition to the real estate industry, but it has not and will not replace the real estate agent. Business models will most certainly change, and the goals of different real estate companies will be redefined.
In the 30-plus years I have been in the real estate business, many startups have come and gone, each one promising to be the “next big thing.” The industry disrupters they claim to be end up doing little to disrupt anyone — except those with unstable business models — and often leave their hopeful clients dissatisfied and confused. For most people, a home purchase or sale represents the most emotional and largest financial transaction they will ever experience. Can you imagine a very personalized business relationship being supplanted by a frustrating discussion with a Siri- or Alexa-style app?
While technology will continue to expand and help us in the real estate industry, it can never replace the boots on the ground that provide nuanced regional knowledge and skill in negotiating in a very emotional environment. Both sellers and buyers can be very emotional during a transaction, and I do not see the benefit of sending the client to an app with a computer-generated voice to help solve their individual problems, or asking them to “press five” to reach a representative in some far-flung office. Can you imagine trying to interact with a chatbot-type app about the most important transaction in most people’s lives? I get frustrated enough with mine when looking for something simple like a restaurant down the street.
The real estate model that I believe in and run my business according to is a client/agent satisfaction platform. If a company takes care of its agents with updated tools, including technology tools that have a shelf life, it will benefit its clients. Our agents are equipped with usable, manageable tech tools that are specifically designed to meet the agency’s needs. Much of the tech we have incorporated over the years benefits the agent and the client at the same time. Our personalized client relationship management and transaction program gives added structure and organization to the agent, and provides the client with complete transparency into our client files — they know what is going on.
One of the biggest complaints that sellers tend to have is not hearing from their agent and not being kept in the loop. As an independent company and not part of a big-box corporation, who have to concern themselves with shareholders’ profits, we can focus solely on the clients’ and agents’ satisfaction — and we have found they generally go hand in hand.
Picture this: An out-of-state seller gets an alert that the alarm has gone off in their home in New Jersey. Who are you going to call? A technology platform, the Ghostbusters or your real estate agent? I’ve personally gone to a client’s home at 10:30 p.m. to turn an alarm off, and I’m not the only agent I know who has.
Real estate is a hands-on business, and while technology can help, it cannot replace a live, caring person who cares about your transaction.
For buyers, the use of search sites has empowered them to look for their own properties to consider buying. However, while in some cases this is great, many of these sites are full of inaccurate information, leaving buyers feeling frustrated when that home is not available, was never on the market or when the online list price is off-base and they lose out on a potential purchase because of an algorithm misguidance. Buyer web search tools also do not include listings that are “office exclusives,” which cannot be seen by the search sites.
I recently saw that a relatively new real estate business called itself a technology company. I don’t ever wish for our brokerage to be anything other than a people business with the benefits of technology at our disposal. As much as I personally love technology and look forward to the many more benefits it will bring, I do not expect that our AI vacuums and robotic apps will take over the work of showing houses to clients.
Buying a home is serious business, and it’s not easy. Many people bask in the idea of owning their own home without realizing all of the details that come with it. This includes in the early stages when someone is looking to purchase a home. There are a number of details that can either positively or negatively impact buying a home and being informed about them is the best defense.
Members of the Forbes Real Estate Council offered some information that first-time homebuyers may not know about. Here’s what our own Thomas McCormack had to say:
HGTV and other programming have done a tremendous disservice to both homebuyers and sellers, but no one group is quite so enthralled by the fiction that has been produced as first homebuyers. Reality TV makes homebuyers think the process is easy, is stress-free and happens like clockwork. What’s missing is the real stress of the search for the right house, the emotional wave of the negotiation process, the heartbreak of losing a house to another buyer and the surprises found during an inspection. The result: too many buyers who think they “know better” and come into the process unprepared and with very unrealistic expectations. Working with an experienced professional will help. Sometimes, a solid dose of reality (i.e. losing out in a multiple bid situation) is the best teacher of all. – Thomas McCormack, Resources Real Estate
As featured on Forbes Council, New Jersey firm Resources Real Estate is now a part of the Middlesex MLS, announced founding partners Carolynn Diakonand Thomas McCormack. This adds to the firm’s well-established coverage of Monmouth and Ocean County MLS, Hudson County MLS and the Liberty Board of Realtors.
“The addition of Middlesex MLS gives us access to listings and sales data for a marketplace that now extends from Mantoloking in the south to Hoboken and Jersey City in the north,” said Senior Partner Diakon in a press release. Managing Partner McCormack added, “Even though our heart is in Monmouth County, we are pleased that our reputation for excellence and our award winning services have taken us beyond our original market area.”
The award-winning NJ residential brokerage firm has been named to the Inc. 5000 and NJ Biz 250, a list of top private companies statewide, as well as had its “innovative and superior marketing” recognized by Who’s Who In Luxury Real Estate.
Sales associates honored at the company event, held on May 2 in NJ, include Carly York (Agent of the Month), Gina Farkouh (Top Listing Agent), Colleen Antoon (Featured Luxury Agent), Allison Gregory (Perseverance Award), Stephanie Ortiz (Rainmaker Award) and Bradley Moore (Team Spirit Award). York and Farkouh also both received the Regency Award to mark a month of exceptional sales.
Carolynn Diakon. Photo courtesy of individual member.
“Our new training center has enabled us to make the training and mentoring process for new agents much more streamlined,” said McCormack.“Our seasoned agents are inspired to advance their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. They, in turn, provide great role models for less experienced, yet eager, sales associates. This all translates to better customer service, better access to properties, better communication with quality buyers, and overall success for our customers and ourselves.”
To learn more about Resources Real Estate, click here.