For those that don’t know me, my wonderful and fulfilling career is all things real estate. However, when I am not completely consumed by that, my husband and I can be found trekking in the mountains and photographing the beauty and wonder of our county.
In my effort to improve my abilities, I stumbled upon a very intriguing podcast about the ever changing industry of photography. It was called “ The Past, Present and Future of Photography” – By Picture this! Photography Podcast. I think the concept parallels so well with industry in general, and in particular the Real Estate industry.
Thier discussion focussed around the idea that over the years, leaps and bounds of improvements happened to the camera to make it faster, more attainable, and better. Yet, all the while, photographers of the time and generation pushed back, sometimes aggressively.
The idea was that if the medium changed that delivered the product that it somehow diminished the art of photography ( or definition thereof). For instance, the jump from film to digital, once thought unfathomable, then thought a catastrophe and blasphemy, is now considered the standard. Even the way you CONSUME photos has changed. It is an INSTANT process now ( social media) , and available to the masses. This crazy drastic technological advance not only made photos more accessible and versatile, it also improved the final product from the artist. While being more readily available, it did not take away from the artist’s eye, talent, education or abilities. In reality, that is truly what photography was and is today, regardless of the medium in their hands.
So, why am I talking about this on my REAL ESTATE website? Let’s take the “look at the past to explain the future” approach and take a look at the past Real Estate and what that means for what the future looks like!
Talk of the industry changing has been circulating for years, in particular because of the explosion of the internet. Some people consider the ability of consumers to find available properties without their agent ( the MEDIUM of which to view properties) therefore means eventually the need of an agent to be obsolete. I find this idea so interesting (and so far from the truth). There are a couple of ideas in play here – 1) the job of an agent and 2) the process and complexity of real estate transactions.
Sure, in previous years (decades ago) because of the constructs of listing agreements, agents usually provided listings that consumers weren’t totally privy to. This in my opinion, was a huge handicap of the industry. Prior to agreements and the multiple listings service, agents and brokers actually had limited knowledge of available inventory. They would know of their office or if they were lucky, of their friends at another office. So, when buyers or sellers chose to work with an agent they would be limited in the pool of influence the agent had. Over time Realtors® realized this limitation and organizations were formed in order to create camaraderie and therefore ensure each client had the best possible experience and exposure.
By taking this idea a step further and allowing the consumer to view these listings directly, the availability of the listings to the public actually makes my job more efficient so I may focus on the most important aspects of a transaction. If working with a buyer or seller, the work truly begins once the property is in contract – this is where you get what you pay for ( for examples and details, see my previous blog “You need a local agent, period” )
Prior to this evolution in the industry, it was considered standard that an agent would be representing the Seller and would in turn would pursue their pool of influence to personally find a “buyer”. Their obligation was to the seller, and the buyer often times felt as though they were just being “sold.” I find a lot of times, people still assume this is how it works – *!*!* WRONG*!*!*!
In the state of California, Realtors® are a fiduciary to their clients. They are obligated not only to act in good faith, but to put your needs above their own within the transaction. Countless times I have had to explain to clients – “I am not your adversary, I am your advocate” because no one is really aware of the advances, changes, and evolution of our industry to protect the consumer.
In any industry, the older generation of professionals will fight the inevitable evolution, and this rings true as well in Real Estate. When evolution happens, the definitions within the industry also change. This leaves both the professionals and consumers wondering what is it that is changing? When you alter one aspect of an industry, what then happens to the rest of it?
-Technology is improving our industry and solidifying the absolute need for great representation.-
Now with the FLOOD of information and listings available on the internet, it makes the need of a strategic marketing specialist that much more important. A listing needs to stand out above the competition. Statistics show based on recent generation’s attention span and the constructs/algorithms of social media, you have a matter of seconds to keep someone interested.
Now, you don’t need to be savvy to find real estate but to interpret and understand the real estate – takes a consultant. In the age of technology, too much information is the enemy. Consumers are flooded with often conflicting information and there seems to be no way to sift through what is not only accurate ( don’t get me started on Zillow!), but applicable.
For those of you I have begun to bore, don’t worry, I will save you from my soap box and bring this to a close: Now, more than ever, professional and experienced agents are a necessity in your real estate transaction. Although the industry is changing, the evolution is a great thing for all parties. It allows the professional to focus on your protection and asset integrity, and it allows the consumers to view a wide variety of what is available.