My favorite example of a stereotypical Realtor can be found in Oliver Stone’s hit movie Wall Street (1987). Sylvia Miles plays the part of a loud and abrasive real estate agent, selling Bud Fox an ego-increasing penthouse in New York City. Stereotypical as it is, I would prefer to think of that as the Old Look of Real Estate. Today is 2011 and the times have changed. Real Estate, along with the world, has evolved and the way agents assist their clients has changed greatly.
When Bud Fox was searching for his new pad, most likely Sylvia had all the information. He told her what he was looking for, and she found the properties that met his criteria. When Bud stepped foot into that penthouse, it was his first time setting eyes on the place. Today, when we buy houses, the process is more than a little different.
1. The Internet: The amount of data that can be found on the internet regarding homes for sale is overwhelming. Whether buyers use Realtor.com, Trulia, Listingbook, Yahoo Real Estate or Zillow; there is a wealth of options to view homes for sale. Buyers usually know whether they will like the home before they ever set foot inside of it.
2. Videos: Modern day technology has made it so easy to capture video of homes for sale, giving buyers the feeling that they are walking through the home.
3. Time Waiting: Thanks to computers and the internet, information travels fast. Buyers are able to know about a home the second it hits the market due to auto-prospecting email services, and communication timelines between buyers and sellers have drastically reduced.
4. Research: When buyers find homes they are interested in, they now can easily research the neighborhood, the neighboring homes, and any other information they would like to find.
What it boils down to is that today’s homebuyers are educated. What once was a business of giving information has changed into a business of advising. While Realtors still help buyers find properties and do investigative work, buyers have the capability and desire to do much of that on their own. Where the agents role comes into play is in assisting in the transaction. Most people do not buy homes on a regular basis. It is usually a person’s largest purchase, and one they may only make 1-5 times in their life. Realtors help buy and sell homes every day. We are constantly keeping up on current trends, laws and regulations, and changes in the industry. We are there to get our buyers from beginning to end, and to make sure that the process goes smoothly.
On the selling end, our role has also changed. The wealth of technology that can be used to market homes is remarkable. Considering that the number one place that buyers begin their home search is the internet, that is where marketing dollars are most wisely used. QR codes, videos, text services and social media are a few examples of emerging ways of marketing homes. At J.F. Meyer Realty, we are constantly adding new ways of marketing homes through new technologies. We recently introduced our own YouTube Channel where each home we list gets a customized video. It allows us to embed the video through YouTube onto other websites of ours, as well as increase the home’s presence on the internet.
As with any other change, some people are quick to adapt and some put up resistance. Realtors that embrace this change will ultimately be successful. We are living in a world where information is at everyone’s fingertips. As Realtors, we should be doing two key things.
1. Advising buyers and sellers on the Real Estate process, helping them to navigate their way through the copious amounts of information available.
2. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. We have an amazing new channel to market homes like never before, and we should be making the most of it.
If you are a prospective buyer and have questions regarding the real estate process, a seller that is thinking about selling your home, a Realtor that wants to discuss this topic further or just have a general real estate question, please feel free to email me, as I would love to hear from you.
Hayley Tomazic is a Licensed Real Estate Agent in St. Louis, MO under J.F. Meyer Realty. She has 8 years experience in Real Estate and specializes working with first time homebuyers and government assistance programs.