If you hop on to Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon TV; you’ll run into many documentaries covering the many disruptive forces of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the takeover of many industries by robots. The common theme is that robots are here to stay, and they are taking millions of jobs with them. The future looks bleak for many workers, but the future is now for the manufacturing industry as well as retail. AI/Robots are disrupting all industries from Legal, Medicine to Real Estate.
Are The End Of Days Here for Real Estate Agents?
The morphing of the agent is going to come from forces within the industry that has been engaged in the industry for the last 10 years.
In real estate, AI is already well entrenched, specifically on the data front, and if we’re honest, seems as if the death of the real estate agent is nearly upon us. But, it’s not that ominous! While the “job” of a real estate agent is going to drastically change (sooner than 99% of agents would like to admit), it’s not going to be taken over by robots or AI! The morphing of the agent is going to come from forces within the industry that has been engaged in the industry for the last 10 years. The change is coming from behemoths who currently make their profits of the backs (wallets) of agents. Most agents, especially newer and younger agents, are utterly blind to the disruption coming from within the industry. They are distracted, spending too much of their time posting stories on Instagram; their focus zeroed in on the desire to become social media celebrities. And while agents are asleep at the wheel, companies like Zillow and Redfin are charging hard to divide and conquer the industry. Zillow and similar companies are the disruptive force that will forever change the face of the sector- not robots. You can’t blame the zillows of the world for doing as much. The truth is, agents are making it easy for these behemoth machines to do so because agents are not focused on what’s valuable to clients in the current market as the perceived value of an agent is more commoditized every day and clients spend more time online researching real estate.
What Is The True Value Of a Real Estate Agent?
Zillow and Redfin have made it far easier for consumers to gain access to data and analytics, which is a great thing. This has commoditized the industry to the point of no return. It’s gotten so bad that many consumers can’t identify the actual value of a real estate agent. Heck, most agents can’t determine their own benefit! Many agents, especially lazy ones, are not developing their skills, nor are they building up their arsenal of knowledge + experience. For years agents were able to coast by merely giving access to data and touring clients around through property. Now that the information is readily available online for clients this has wholly shifted the role for a typical real estate agent. The demand of what an agent should deliver is much grander than ever now. Agents must have a depth of knowledge and experience that can be a resource for clients. Many are the skills a real estate agent should have to be considered a professional. Two of the tops skills/talents agents should have are:
1. Strong Negotiations skills
2. Deep Knowledge/Expertise to make sense of the details and all of the moving parts in a transaction.
Trust me, clients don’t care that an agent had 100 likes on their Instagram picture of a donut, nor that they are hosting a catered open house! Clients want and need an agent who is a genuine consultant and advisor to help them win in the real estate game
Real estate is a competitive business and in areas like San Diego, where there are a huge demand and limited inventory (due to a severe housing shortage) it can become challenging for agents to find success in the business. Most agents fancy themselves to be entrepreneurs- owners of their business, but honestly, they just own their jobs… And they really do treat it like a job, they clock out often distracted by so many non-essential things. Agents who are seasoned and are committed to developing and growing in their craft are the ones who are real resources for their clients!
*** Miguel Contreras is NOT an analyst, and this is solely an opinion piece ****