In the December 2015 issue of REAL Trends article, “Why technology will never replace REALTORS,” author Steve Murray details the ways in which automated valuation methods and tech companies will never fully engulf the worthiness of a REALTOR:
“…the unique nature of homebuyers and sellers and their relationship with real estate agents and brokers. A transaction that is infrequent, complex, and fraught with downside when things go wrong drives consumers to use someone who knows how to reduce their fears, doubts, and threats and help them get a result they want: the smoothest transaction possible.”
But is that what you are, as a REALTOR for your clients? What you truly deliver day in and day out with each transaction and each appointment?
Is that what you received with the REALTOR you hired? Enlisted as your advocate to represent your goals and hard earned money?
To me, it boils down to the fundamental role between a man or woman in a suit, and their license number on your documents: Are they acting simply as Facilitator or Counselor?
In my opinion, counselor agents often have a higher, more fulfilling production number, tend to invest in their education or skillset with continuing education, and have systems in place to advance their capabilities. They understand the market, the lay of the land, the history of a community and bring more to the transaction and client because they are engaged.
Facilitators, on the contrary, process. They are less engaged and don’t tend to invest their energies in their business, relationships or expertise. They tend to resist technology and are out of touch with the market and areas they work within.
So, while many would thrill in the idea of job security that Murray describes, I think it can only truly be attributed to Counselors.
It’s long been my opinion that the bar for real estate agents to get licensing is far too low… many an agent jumped in the game after catching a glimmer of the lifestyle, the income and not the knee-deep involvement of it all. And because of this, the industry has been flooded with ‘facilitator’ types. And these are the types that I feel, in one way or another, run the very real risk of being replaced by technology.
Real estate is fun. It’s the most emotional of purchases a person makes, and ties up more money than any other purchase in their lifetime. But it’s mechanical. It’s paperwork and calls. Visits and due diligence. Research and probing. And for this, technology absolutely excels for repetitious tasks. Buyer or Seller could easily fill out their own paperwork, hire their own photographers… Even Agents and Brokers in the biz have implemented technology ‘cheats’ by outsourcing their handling of matters to transaction coordinators, or their property valuations overseas to someone sitting at a desk in the Philippines. Facilitators can be replaced. Dare I say… must.
But it’s so much more than that.
It’s high stakes. It’s logistics. It’s moving and negotiating and crisis management. It’s finding the people to contact for the answers needed. It’s research at the city to see what site plans dictate an empty lot will be used for. And for these, and more, algorithms just won’t work.
I strive month after month to be the Counselor that I didn’t have when I purchased my first home. The one that cared. That stopped to explain. That worked both best-case and worst-case scenarios. That informed me of what my rights were with regard to each and every element, every step of the purchase. The one to hold a hand when the going gets tough. The counselor who cares.
So, it’s not simply about statistics, graphs, presentations or the car that they leased. It’s about the role they play in your life, and the connection you have with them as an advocate for your goals and needs.