The more the real estate industry changes and gets “disrupted,” the more it stays the same. Monday morning is still about trying to get agents to return my phone calls or answer my messages.
It isn’t any harder to ignore messages sent using modern technology than it was to ignore phone calls to landlines twenty years ago.
Some of those agents still say (and do) stupid things. Their clients never bought a house before and don’t even know their agent isn’t very good at representing buyers but is good at convincing people to work with him.
Homesellers have not changed much either. They still want to over price their real estate and see what happens. They still dislike paying commissions, and they hate having to leave during the dinner hour so that potential buyers can traipse through their home.
Buyers remain the same too. Even with so much technology at their disposal, they still want to walk through homes before making an offer.
Homebuyers still believe there is some kind of relationship between the last sale price for a home and the current value. Some watch reality television and expect their homebuying and owning experiences to be like the shows they watch.
There are still many crappy photos on the multiple listing service (MLS) even though camera technology has changed immensely in the last decade or so. Video has consistently been the next big thing in real estate since I have been in the industry, yet most listings are marketed without video.
Modern real estate offices look more like kitchens or coffee shops, but the way the offices are used and what they are used for hasn’t changed much.
Real estate technology has changed, but that is mostly because technology in general has changed. To be honest, I am not really sure what real estate technology is anymore. I can do my job more efficiently now because my clients use more technology (and so do I — because it’s 2018, not 1998).
I don’t own any of the technology I use, and I did not create it. I don’t even own much of my software; I lease it instead. Why reinvent (or invent) anything when I can exploit what is already out there. I use my car a lot on the job, but I don’t need to invent a better car to stay ahead of my competitors.
Planning for the future is important. The world is always changing but it isn’t apparent how or when my business is going to be disrupted. I don’t feel threatened; it seems like there is plenty of work out there.
It kind of reminds me of back in 2006, just two short years before the local real estate market crashed and the great recession started. Business was booming back in ’06, and I had no idea what was coming in 2008. It was the greatest recession ever and we did not plan for it. We adjusted, pivoted, survived and even thrived, but most of us never had a plan.
An elderly couple planned for the future by putting all of their assets in the wife’s name. She died several years ago, and he is still alive. He had to undo all of that planning. He was supposed to die first, they had a plan.
There are ways we can plan ahead but I don’t think we need to plan for a sudden extinction of real estate agents or drastic changes to the industry. We don’t know when our businesses will die or what they will die of. Will it be a long lingering death? Will we try to save our businesses? Will they go on life support or will we unplug them? Will they die peacefully while we sleep?
There are credible threats that could disrupt local real estate all over the country in the form of rising oceans, super rain storms, floods, draughts, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions. Does anyone plan for what they will do if their market place becomes uninhabitable? I didn’t think so. It will be like the great recession all over except worse.
The best way to plan ahead is by always having opportunity money set aside and by living beneath our means. Our savings accounts and retirement accounts should be well funded.
I define opportunity money as cash that can be invested or maybe used to move to higher ground or to a better life or to start a new business.
Sometimes I think we spend too much time thinking about what the next big thing might be and not enough time working to make now better for ourselves, our agents and our clients.