Technology permeates just about every aspect of our daily lives. Many of us spend our days scrolling, skimming, tapping and swiping. There’s an app for everything, and it’s likely many of you have even experienced some form of virtual reality (often abbreviated as “VR”) in recent years.
The frontier for new technology is always expanding, and every industry — including real estate — must adapt and conform to remain relevant and meaningful to its users.
In our industry, technology is an enabler — not a disabler. It has evolved to support and encourage consumers’ appetite to become more educated about the process of buying and selling a home.
Buyers have access to more information than ever before right at their fingertips — agent profiles and reviews, homes for sale, digital transactions, broker ratings, etc.
That said, technology can get cumbersome at times or even get in the way of traditional means of agent success.
As real estate technology and digitization reaches an all-time high, it will be important for agents to remember to turn down the noise — when warranted — and focus on maximizing a different kind of “volume.”
Real estate success is built upon a high-touch, emotional relationship between an agent and the homebuyer or seller, which we cannot forget. This begs the question: Will technology ever be able to truly replace face-to-face human interaction?
The answer is not a simple “yes” or “no.” Technology should complement human interactions in real estate, but not replace them, given that a home is likely the biggest purchase someone will ever make in their life.
Agents will be continually challenged to strike a balance between both and tune out the noise at times to focus on growth. The reality is that the majority of commissions will still come from mining a database, not the single-digit conversions from the internet.
Here are a few ways you can up your game in today’s connected real estate landscape.
Online reputation management can’t be ignored
Seventy-two percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. Good news, right? Clearly, there is power in having digital clout and highlighting your online rating. But it must be groomed and managed on a regular basis. Work with clients to encourage them to rate your services online.
If a less-than-positive review pops up online, address it quickly.
Forge meaningful, transparent relationships — both online and offline
It can be challenging for buyer and sellers to navigate and weed out misinformation online. This is where the real estate agent relationship can never be truly replaced.
Prospects might find initial information online but will come to you as a trusted, dependable adviser during the buying and selling process.
Additionally, be forthcoming — yet optimistic — about the complexities of the homebuying processes, contracts, appraisals, etc. This sort of candor educates the buyer or seller, all while showcasing your added value and credibility.
Don’t forget about personalization
Homebuying and selling continues to demand technology, but beyond this, it demands personalization. We must remember to tailor our approach to resonate with each and every buyer and seller.
While one might request a digitally advanced process, another might wish for hard paper copies of everything. The key to success is listening and avoiding the assumption that they want it done one way and not another.
Sometimes, you need to put the phone down
Technology has optimized the way we do business with clientele, and many of us have adapted quite well. Maybe you text a client versus calling them if you have something quick to share. That said, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Tried-and-true best practices are not to be ignored.
As noted in this Inman Connect Las Vegas panel discussion about precision branding techniques for teams, the marriage of technology and old-school relationship building is the foundation for a successful, longterm career.
Meaningful outreach by way of brick-and-mortar, face-to-face conversations and open houses might have more of an impact than you might think.
Fiona Petrie, RE/MAX INTEGRA U.S.’s executive vice president and managing director of U.S. operations, oversees all operations of the company’s U.S. regions of the Midwest and New England.