August 13, 2018

Remembering our Role in a Changing Industry

You would be living in a cave if you work in residential real estate and didn’t notice all the recent changes in the industry.  It’s almost daily that we read about a new company coming in to the market or a large team jumping from one shop to another.  Everyone is trying to disrupt an industry that has been around for generations -whether through discounted brokerage fees and salaried agents, online behemoths of real estate listings or now, shiny technology to improve the real estate process.

Personally, I love it all.  Innovation means change, progress and growth. It ensures our industry will be around for generations to come.

But, with all this change, are we missing something?  Have we forgotten our roots?

In 2014, we saw the invention of the mobile check-in at hotels with the claims of never speaking to a hotel agent again.  We thought this would revolutionize the industry.  But, four years later, notice that every hotel still has a front desk and we rarely hear of the mobile check-in.  I think it’s because people still want that human connection.  They want to be welcomed to their vacation.  Hospitality is person to person, not person to mobile device.

I feel similarly about the technology shift in the real estate industry.  I welcome it.  I love that companies are shaking up the game promising advancements in market data, CRM systems, even signage.  But at the end of the day, let us not forget the role of the real estate agent.

When we boil our role down to a single sentence it is this:  The real estate agent facilitates the connection of buyers and sellers for the largest purchase (or sale) of the consumer’s life.  There is an enormous responsibility and privilege implied in taking on such a prominent role.

Like the mobile check-in at a hotel, the consumer likes the convenience of the technology that’s available, but ultimately seeks the hospitality in a person to person connection for such an important purchase.  The trust and transparency necessary to guide the consumer with care cannot be replicated by an app on an iPad or a sign that provides a plethora of data from the internet.  It can only be given by the human experience.

Let us use the technology as a tool, but let us never forget the core of our enormous role in a person’s life.