What are some of the biggest pressures realtors face today? 

Technology significantly changed the lives of real estate agents in the last 20 years.  Many report feeling downward pressure and some question whether national portals or advancing technology will eventually replace the real estate agent altogether.

In our panel Real Estate Technology Trends to Watch in 2018, our panel of experts addressed this issue of what can be done to alleviate some of this pressure induced by technology.

Agents can start by flipping their perception of advancing technology.  Rather than thinking about technology as attacking the agent’s role or value, view technology through the eyes of the consumer.  Consumer demand will drive technology, whether it’s making properties easier to search, personalizing results, or expediting the sales process. It’s not an assault on agents,  it’s an effort to exceed consumer expectations.

Jack Berube, CEO and Founder of Pathway RE, clarified this position: “There is going to be significant downward pressure on commissions.  A lot of the tools people are building – you can build a much faster in today's real estate business.  That will put on a different kind of pressure [on agents and brokers].”

The pressure won’t be replacing or devaluing the real estate agent, rather it will be expediting the entire real estate process. Everything from launching a business to closing a deal will go faster as technology advances. 

“There are faster and cheaper ways to get things done than how we do it today,” Berube said.  “A real estate agent [today] is compensated based on a percentage of the value of the home.  That is not mainline anymore.   Agents who want to stay competitive must be able to build their business quickly and stay focused on client-facing activities.  [That is what will] distinguish between the have and have nots in the next 6-8 years.”

Agents should focus on how to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.  They will likely need to do more transactions at a faster pace in the coming years.  The agent’s role will  still be critical, but to succeed they “must treat their business like a real business.”

The entire panel agreed that speed was going to be the main change in the coming year.  Technology has yet to address the efficiency of a close, which is the next area to tackle according to Aaron Kardell, CEO and Co-Founder of HomeSpotter.  “Where we still have a long way to go is the time to close, which is still quite high,” he said.  “This is really an area where we’re still in the very early stages.  There are regulatory reasons that it is this way, but when you see new players like Open Door that are making an offer to close a deal in a few days, that’s really an area where we might see some big changes in the future.”

REALTORS are facing new pressures with advancing technology, but according to our expert panel, it might not be where they think it is.  It’s not an effort to alleviate the role of the agent, rather it’s an effort to expedite the entire real estate transaction.  To keep up with this accelerated pace, agents must get more efficient with administrative tasks, stay in front of clients as much as possible, and be willing to do a higher quantity of transactions at a potentially lower rate.

The is the second part in our series of Real Estate Technology trends to watch in 2018.  If you are interested in getting the monthly OnBlog talk delivered to your inbox, sign up to our blog.  Feel free to reach out with questions or comments below.