Technology can’t replace real estate brokers

Castles in the Sand

Technology has done as much to change the real estate industry as Henry Ford did to change the production of automobiles. However, where Henry Ford brought the cost of cars way down with his technology, the real estate industry hasn’t adjusted their fees. But before every real estate broker within 50 miles of Anna Maria Island starts calling me, let me give you the pros and cons of this debate.

Yes, it’s true that house hunters can go online and see virtually every house on the market in their chosen area. It’s also true that buyers frequently call brokers after they have sifted through the online housing inventory and are ready to get inside the property. And yes, it’s also true that brokers are saving a lot on gasoline by not driving customers around for days on end as we all did years ago. But none of this tells the real story.

Let’s start with selling your home and determining a listing price. It’s pretty easy to gather a bunch of comparable properties that have sold in your area from realtor websites and county records, but are they really comparable? You haven’t been inside these properties, so you don’t really know how they compare. Active local brokers have been in a lot of closed properties and they have the ability to analyze selling prices and recommend where your house should be listed. If your house sells fast because it was priced correctly, you’ll quickly forget about the real estate commission.

How about showing your home. Do you want to field calls and schedule appointments with buyers who may not be qualified financially or who may just be kicking tires? And don’t dismiss the importance of negotiating once a buyer comes forward with an offer. No matter how successful you are in your business life, negotiating real estate offers are a different animal, the element of emotions when you’re negotiating on your own home can’t be overstated.

Finally, here in Florida, it’s not uncommon to be selling to an out of state or out of country buyer. Navigating the details of these transactions can be tricky unless you have someone who has been through it. Not to mention selling a property from out of state that needs to be cleaned out and ready for sale, another job that Florida brokers are set up to do.

What about buyers, why do they need to call a broker after they’ve done all the work on their smartphones. If you’re sitting in New Jersey in February looking at beach properties on Anna Maria Island they all look great. You really need the advice of a local broker to educate you especially in a specialized area like Anna Maria Island.

Are you relocating permanently and need advice about schools, are you buying a second home and need advice about rental possibilities, or do you simply want to know the quality of the restaurants in the area? All of this, the really important and the really not so important is where someone with years of local knowledge becomes crucial.

I love the real estate technology available to everyone today, I love that you can see every property that’s on the MLS, but this technology has been around for about 10 years and real estate professionals are still going strong. There must be some reason, maybe the brokers just decided to get out of their cars and realigned their priorities. Just like Henry Ford, technology is meant to enhance not replace.

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