With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn’t a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. With every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are “attempting” to be applied to the real estate industry.
We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike, but the attempt of replacing real estate agents by sites like Zillow and other third party resources can lead to disaster. You can use your mobile device to quickly place an order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to health issues, you’ll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home or look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional’s input. It’s fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect, but here’s where the issues begin. The data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling, the same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries. You’d still expect to get a professional’s diagnosis.
Although a real estate agent isn’t quite like a doctor, our industry with all of its legalities, contracts and processes are similar in the sense that they need to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional’s guidance come after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of with the price? Most importantly, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? There is a lot more to the sale of your home than just agreeing on a number.
The next time you’re combing through public sites for homes for sale and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A VERY general idea. After you’ve found the perfect house or you’ve decided that the numbers make sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting parts. When you’re in the middle of a contract and the buyer’s loan is falling apart or negotiations can’t be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, you’re going to wish you had put down your laptop and had your agent an agent by your side fighting for you. Use the internet, have fun with it’s amazing resources, but don’t let it replace your agent. We aren’t in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional realtor can.