- Agents need to let go of outdated skills and refine those that are timeless and relevant.
Disruptors are everywhere. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are examples of innovation that will supposedly make real estate agents as obsolete as travel agents.
Stories of futuristic technology coupled with bold predictions of agents disappearing in 20, 10 or five years are enough to worry even the most entrenched agents.
But regardless of the hype, research shows that new technologies actually create more jobs than they destroy.
So whatever happens over the next 10 years, it’s likely real estate agents will still be here in one way or another. However, the skills that agents need will evolve with the transaction process.
Say goodbye to these 4 skills
- Exchanging money: The exchange of money for a down payment, monthly payments or rent isn’t something that takes weeks anymore. In some cases, it doesn’t even take days. In today’s and tomorrow’s market, payment isn’t a matter of checks or even credit cards, but more likely a question of which app. PayPal, Google Wallet, Venmo and Square Cash are all used to pay rent these days. The savvy agent should be up to date on the latest payment technology.
- Printing paper: Although paper continues to hold on, its usefulness will continue to wane. Not a day goes by that a story isn’t heard about an agent closing a deal without even meeting the client face-to-face, visiting the location or signing the documents in person. As deals are done remotely, the need to print out these long documents will will be replaced with the digital version.
- Searching for homes: The basic home search is something that is done by clients before even speaking with an agent. The agent comes in when more specific searches are needed. Clients often use the plethora of websites available to find houses for sale that match their criteria. They contact an agent to help with the finer details that aren’t always available online.
- Driving clients around: To get a feel for a neighborhood, a buyer doesn’t need an agent. Instead, the buyer can again use any of the numerous sites available to dive deep into helpful data to get a better idea of the area. Zillow, government websites and local Realtor blogs all give great information. The savvy agent must use these tools and their personal expertise to give the buyer a more finely tuned image.
Hold on to these 4 timeless skills
- Attending the property inspection: Real people still need to do real property inspections. As of yet, no one is creating a property inspection robot, and that possibility seems to be in the distant future. As such, an agent should also attend the property inspection because it is a major contingency to work through. This post describes why. A proper property inspection requires a real inspector and a real agent.
- Saving clients time: Everyone wants more time, and that requires saving time. Technology can make tasks easier, but for complex, one-time events, like buying a house, it doesn’t always make tasks fast. Even with the best technology, going at it alone when it comes to buying a house can be an extremely complex and lengthy process. Agents can save time for clients by tracking down the seller, staying on top of due diligence, scanning for fine details and managing the transaction to closing.
- Structuring off-market deals: Often times, the best deals aren’t listed online at all. They are deals that only an agent can find. Sellers who enjoy their privacy are likely to perpetuate this truth. Only a human on the ground with a well-established network can find these deals and capitalize on them. Clients will continue to hire agents who are able to find the unfindable and close the deal.
- Making personal connections: At the end of the day, many agents are hired for their affability and for their emotional support. Buying property isn’t easy, and it is immensely helpful to have a veteran as a guide when navigating the difficult process. An agent can decrease the stress involved in the process and make sure each step is done properly.
Although some skills continue to change due to technology, others remain the same. Change up your skills to utilize new technology, and refine the old ones to maintain your relevance in the quickly changing world of real estate.
Jackson Cooper is a writer and real estate enthusiast at Jensen and Company. Follow Jensen & Company on Twitter or Facebook.