Remember when the Realtor® became obsolete? Collectively our careers were over. The consumer no longer needed us. It was time to hang up our hats and go looking for another job. Oh wait. That’s right. That never happened. The industry disrupters of the time sure did want us all to believe the sky was falling though. Sound familiar? It’s still happening. That doom and gloom message has always been coming from the nay-sayers. 

In the beginning, there was the MLS book, and it was good. The MLS book looked like a phone book, but it was full of black-and-white photos of properties listed in that multiple listings service market. The Realtor® was the sole keeper of this sacred tome. If a consumer wanted to do more than cruise around seeking for-sale signs or digging through newspapers, he or she needed to consult the oracle… You know, the all-seeing, all-knowing Realtor®. 

But then tragedy struck (insert gasp here). Suddenly all these coveted home listings became openly available on the world wide web. We were no longer the keeper of the Precious! Our lives would never be the same.

And they weren’t. 

Consumers came to us armed with knowledge. They arrived with specifics of what they wanted, knew what was available, had an idea of prices, and often even came to us pre-approved. Let’s pause for a moment. Notice that they saw the homes online and still came to us? We were no longer the keeper of all the secrets of the real estate universe. Why, then, would they possibly want to consult us?    

In 1981, 22 percent of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home, and eight percent used friends as an information source. In 2018, 44 percent looked for properties online first. Also in 2018, buyers worked with an agent 87 percent of the time to find their home, so trust in a REALTOR® is still king.” -Real Estate in a Digital Age, 2018 NAR Report

Certainly, some Realtors® panicked as the industry disrupters fanned the fire. We see the same thing today with headlines touting the market’s pending crash or of the iBuyer just annihilating the industry. Many more real estate pros take this sort of news with a grain of salt, though, and continue moving forward with their businesses. We all know the true killer of our business is the moment we stop warming prospects and pause our usual work of lead generation and connection with our sphere.

The reality:While affordability has been sliding, it is still better than we saw in the year 2000. This is due to much lower mortgage interest rates today. With strong job creation, wages are growing at a faster pace. Lawrence Yun said at NAR’s 2019 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington D.C. “Finally, wages and home prices are aligning.

Leveraging technology as a tool to improve consumer experience is our focus as Realtors®. Our role has changed since the day of the old MLS book. We are real estate concierges who are trusted advisors, spam filters, and stress reducers. We help our clients cut through the noise. We overcome the overabundance of information, and even misinformation to help our clients make better purchasing decisions and reduce their valuable time spent. 

The Realtor® Code of Ethics holds us to that standard of trust and sets expectations of us for our clients and colleagues, and it always has. We have earned trust. That doesn’t go away, and that’s the key to our longevity. Buying a house is one of the most important purchases in a person’s lifetime. Consumers understand the magnitude of that statement and will not leave their home transaction to chance. The iBuyer is just another option for a very specialized type of seller. 

As our industry continues to evolve, technology will open even more avenues. Embrace it. Make it part of your vernacular and your unique value proposition. Position yourself to better serve investors and international clients by utilizing the many new facets of technology. It’s not something to be feared. Technology is a tool, and it can help grow your business by providing additional value to your clients.