This great line from the movie Moonstruck is my response to those in real estate who are worried about how the disintermediation of information is going to change our jobs. Snap out of It!
My response is based on having gone through this experience in another industry. For 10+ years before becoming a Realtor® I was in charge of product strategy for three different administrative and academic computing companies. My primary projects were helping to design web based interfaces that would provide “self-service” capabilities for students and faculty to data that previously required an administrator to handle.
Take a step back in time if you will. If you are close to my age then you remember your first days on a college campus. You headed to a gym, filled out a schedule (in pencil), stood in the appropriate line and if you were lucky the punch cards for the courses you wanted were still available. If not you started over. Fast forward to today. Before a student ever sets foot on campus they have a login to the campus portal where they can get on line advising, register and pay for classes, buy tickets to any campus event, set up email and find out the assignments for the first weeks of classes. And that is just the start of what they can do. Are there still administrators and faculty on campus? You bet there are. Did they become obsolete as self service technologies became more prevalent? Absolutely not!
Roles changed and opportunities were created to get out from behind the desk and create value added services that could never be found on the computer. As Realtors® it is now our time to be able to showcase our value proposition to our customers. We were only taxi drivers because the buyers didn’t have access to the information they needed to be able to search for homes themselves. Our skills as contract negotiators, relationship managers and deal closers has long been overlooked because for the most part all our buyers ever saw was the back of our heads in a car all day.
Our industry has managed to keep itself locked behind closed doors far longer than most. The “new” technologies that are being introduced in our industry are only new to us. If you don’t articulate your value proposition loud and clear to your customers then you can bet that another Realtor who is two steps ahead of you will. Personally I don’t think the “new” systems that are coming are comprehensive enough. I’ve already starting designing both my ideal “Buyer Portal” and “Realtor® Portal”. Hmmmm, I wonder who would like to build it for me?