Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Do you really need a real estate agent?

I was chatting with one of the regulars at my gym the other day and the conversation turned to, "What do you do for a living?"

I said I was a real estate agent. She replied, "Does anyone really need a real estate agent with the internet?"

Well that was a question I did not have a well practiced script for! So I tried to answer as best I could. I told her the statistics show that over 70% of home buying starts on the internet and that the internet is a wonderful tool for getting a feel for homes. However, that a real estate agent lives and breathes real estate every day and can help a buyer understand what the right price strategy is for that home they might originally find on the internet.

I then later told my significant other about the conversation and he could see her point. He could see how real estate market today is in a similar position to where the stock market was when the internet changed how stock brokers worked with their clients.

Full service stock brokers still exist today but they are really providing value add or they do not survive. Is Redfin going to change real estate as much as eTrade changed the stock market?

All I know is that in order to best serve my clients I need to watch the market every day and understand what the market is doing today and understand where it is going or I will not be adding value to the information that my clients have access to already.

So yes you do need a real estate agent but only if they know more about the market than you do. We need to embrace the fact that our clients are doing their research before they find an agent to take them the rest of the way.

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