The rise of the robot real estate agent

Will technology change the entire relationship consumers have with real estate professionals?

Agents need to adapt, but their value remains critical to the transaction

It’s no secret: money talks. And the money being poured into alternative technologies and business models in efforts to upend traditional real estate transactions is now too much of a deluge to ignore.

For example, many see Opendoor’s recent $300 million funding round as its official arrival, with the right amount of a financial boost to ensure no one can sleep on growth of the ibuyer platform.

And when Zillow Offers was announced, few were surprised. Still, it wasn’t greeted by the industry with what anyone would define as glee.

Thankfully, there’s also plenty of money directed at technologies that don’t bypass brokers and agents. Instead, these advancements make them more capable of serving more clients, more efficiently than ever.

From CRMs to chatbots, agents have more computing power at their disposal than any industry analyst would have believed just a decade ago.

In this era of big data-driven apps, analytics, and automation, agents are armed and ready to combat the ibuyer model, and to demonstrate to consumers that while relationships are indeed changing, a real estate license is worth far, far more than the paper on which it’s printed.

How to embrace automation without becoming an automaton

Around the country, housing markets are gripped by inventory shortages. Homeowners are staying in place longer, mortgage rates are rising (twice already this year), and home prices are following suit.

With fewer listing opportunities, agents are under increased demand to ensure they market and sell a home without a hiccup. After all, listing agreements don’t last long. Meeting those demands can jeopardize the time agents commit to buyer clients and finding new listings.

Thankfully, sales automation tools, including web and Messenger chatbots, automatic drip campaigns, and even retargeted online advertising, can work in unison to track down and cultivate leads, often without any form of manual intervention — until it’s time to sign an agreement.

While the machines are doing their part to find leads, agents can focus on existing listings and relationships, easing the pressure of balancing the search for new business with servicing current business.

How to become a true real estate consultant

Technology has made consumers into the owners of market information. But can they wield it responsibly?

In this way, technology will indeed change the relationship between agents and consumers. It will turn real estate agents into more service-oriented, strategically-minded professionals. And this is a good thing, because consumers will realize how complicated it can be to apply market data to an actual buying decision, further cementing the need for a trusted advisor with expertise.

For example, it’s not unreasonable to assume that agent-less showings will pick up steam, as live video tours and augmented reality immerse agents and buyers in properties from afar, and consumer websites share volumes of data on neighborhoods.

Traditionally, conducting buyer tours was largely about procuring cause. However, there’s no reason technology can’t determine this, freeing up agents to let buyers see homes on their own, relay information back, and then allow the agent to help them decide how it fits in their search.

No industry stakeholder is immune to the impact technology is having on the consumer-agent relationship—it is indeed changing, but into what, no one is sure. We do know that consumers now have real alternatives to the traditional model, even if time is needed to shake out the wrinkles in the ibuyer platform.

But as those ibuyer bumps take at least a couple of years to smooth out, software developers and savvy, web-forward agents will continue to leverage marketing data, automation platforms, and big data to perpetuate the value of a real estate license. The day of the robot real estate agent is not yet upon us, thankfully. And by continuing to be a valuable and trusted resource to their clients, agents can hold them at bay just a little bit longer.

One of the fastest growing companies in real estate technology, Adwerx automates digital advertising for brokerages to delight the seller and increase agent satisfaction. Working with over 100,000 real estate customers, Adwerx helps individual agents promote themselves and their listings online, with custom ads optimized for Facebook, mobile and the web. Learn how easy digital marketing can be here.