In 1965, a computer in Massachusetts connected with another in California via the first dial-up internet and in 1973 the first hand-held mobile phone call was made. By the early 1980’s, the first commercially available desktop PCs started filtering into homes, and since then the tickle of technology advances became a constant surge that turned to a tidal wave of Digital Real Estate Marketing Possibilities. This gradual progression has affected everything in our world… including Travel Agents, Airline Ticketing, Retail Spending, Entertainment (music, movies, books, games, sporting events).
Actually, in the last 15 years, the actual process of finding a home has changed a lot. Real estate and the internet have slowly become as linked as anything you can purchase online… I’m sure you know that for many generations, actually since the beginning of the real estate industry, Agents and Brokers were basically the one and only source for all things real estate... for buyers. If you were moving to a new area and had no “inside” track to finding a home, it was nearly a necessity to find a home through a broker or agent. In order to know which homes were available, which prices were fair and comparable, and when all the local open houses were, you had to find a local realtor.
Over the last 6-8-10-15 years, everyday, run-of-the-mill home buyers have gained access to to the very information that was only available through and compiled by real estate agents. It wasn’t overnight, but gradually. Through both technology and knowledge, average home buyers have gained instant access to nearly every bit of information they would need in order to make a decision to buy. Nowadays, interior and exterior pictures, virtual tours, tax records, sale history, crime statistics, school information, water district information, and virtually any information gathered and compiled by anyone for every single property on the market, and also those that have been on the market in the past…
Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Realtor.com, Yahoo Homes, Homes.com, and many others are all big, big businesses, worth Billions of dollars and generate hundreds of millions every year in revenue… yet, homeowners can list their Home For Sale for nothing! How does that work???
15 years ago in 2001, only eight percent of buyers found the home they purchased on the internet and 48 percent had an agent find the home..
In 2016, almost all buyers first saw the home they ultimately purchased on the internet, and only a third had a realtor find the home… and guess how the agent typically alerted the buyers about the home? It’s not that hard to guess… so the role of agents has changed as a result. Real Estate and the Internet are now inter-dependent… Today, nearly every single listing is posted online, many with their own website and placement on hundreds of other sites with 25 or more photos, virtual tours, floor plans and measurements, drone video or pictures and more… all of this is at home buyers fingertips! And with the widespread use of mobile devices in the last few years: they obsess for months on gathering information on homes, parks, public services, utility costs, schools, churches, and every kind of statistic, fact and tidbit of neighborhood information you can dream up, they have committed to memory…After more than 14 years in the online real estate marketing industry, we’ve seen the growth of digital marketing first-hand and there’s really only one thing we can say for certain: if you don’t keep up you’ll get left behind.
The internet has completely changed the roles of the real estate agent. This history of the internet shows how changes have shaped the new tech savvy agent. It is easy to see how today’s agent is no longer the sole real estate information source. Home buyers can get all the data, market stats, property history, past sales information and more off their phone while standing in line at Starbucks!
The Successful Listing Agent today is a combination internet marketing specialist, home conditioning and staging consultant and pricing strategy authority!
Information isn’t just easily accessible…it is easily accessible anywhere and everywhere! Real estate and the internet are simply as connected as everything else in our world today!