Six myths about how technology is changing the industry
Computers, digitization and the internet are absolutely changing how we interact with the world. More technology is being used in real estate than ever before and at first glance, these innovations seem poised to take over an agent’s job. But technology is never the enemy, and these enhancements may actually bring agents back to the heart of their work. Here are six myths about the future of technology in real estate:
Myth #1: Online listings mean that customers won’t need a local expert
FALSE! While online listings certainly allow buyers to find properties they’re interested in and gather information about schools, traffic or local amenities, that data is meaningless without someone who knows what it means. Customers still need knowledgeable agents who can provide accurate information and translate that for customers to help them make informed decisions.
Plus, the best property deals are often the ones that are online yet. Through their networks, agents know which homes are about to become available and can act the moment the sellers are ready.
Myth #2: Artificial Intelligence will replace conversations with real people
FALSE! Real estate is about people, and robots can’t build rapport or make a real connection. Chatbots have become more common over the years for the quicker responses they can provide to simple questions, but nurturing the customer experience from the very beginning is still critical to a sale and machines can’t be programmed to be charming!
Buying and selling a home is one of them most emotional and stressful moments in a person’s life, and a computer simply can’t manage emotions like a real-live agent can.
Myth #3: Social media means agents can’t build real relationships
FALSE! When used correctly, technology will not replace your hard-earned relationships, but instead it will allow you to spend more of your time maintaining those relationships and creating new connections. And what’s more, social media can actually help those relationships to be more transparent and more reliable.
Giving customers the opportunity to share feedback and experiences lets others have a clear view of whether or not an agent can be trusted, and the easy accessibility of social media allows you to provide customers with guidance, no matter where you are.
Myth #4: Virtual reality means customers don’t need agents on the property
FALSE! Buyers will always want to personally tour properties before making a purchase, and that means someone will have to be there to make sure their first impression is a good one. Virtual showings and 360-degree tours give potential buyers a virtual walkthrough of a property, and augmented reality can even let them see rooms to their taste or preview renovations.
But it still takes an agent to create an atmosphere that welcomes and impresses potential buyers. Plus, a lot of home purchases are driven by intuition and emotion, and it takes an agent to pick up on the subtle signs to learn what features are important to a customer.
Myth #5: Video listings require agents to have access to Hollywood-sized budgets
FALSE! High-powered cameras and drones are getting better, cheaper and easier to operate. But even without a stand-alone gadget, agents can use their smartphones to record high-quality video, edit it with professional-level apps and upload it to social media and website within minutes – without having to hire a professional.
This gives potential buyers new ways to experience homes, and agents the chance to increase their property viewings without the time and hassle. Best of all, video allows you to introduce yourself to potential customers around the world, putting your skills on the red carpet.
Myth #6: Automation will take work away from agents
TRUE! A large part of your time is spent on chasing paperwork, entering data or sending files – all tasks that technology does really well. Digital signature apps like DocuSign and cloud-based document storage not only create a more secure and reliable way to manage data, it saves everyone time and improves customer satisfaction.
. Letting technology take away your mundane tasks allows you to focus on adding more value to the customer experience. And since all of these files are now available on smartphones and tablets, you hardly need to step into an office anymore, allowing you to be anywhere your customers need you.
What technology can never replace
Agents offer too much value to customers to ever become obsolete. Instead of being scared by new technology, embrace these upcoming changes as ways to make your business more reliable and efficient.
Focus on your clients’ needs and spend the time you save with technology strengthening your relationships. Remember that the most important skills you bring customers – your empathy and emotion – can never be automated.