Market Conditions in Chicago>Question Details

Thomas Hall,  in Chicago, IL

Future Trends for Empowered Buyers & Sellers?

Asked by Thomas Hall, Chicago, IL Sat Dec 15, 2007

Redfin & Zillow are 2 examples of companies that empower consumers to lower the transaction costs of buying &selling real estate. In your opnion, what future trends will transform the process of buying & selling real estate? Where are the opportunities?

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Great question and answers! Actually my slogan is "inform and empower"

I think the next generation realtors (obviously I don't mean age) will need to provide value-added services to make the process more efficient and less painful. For example, through accurate pricing we should help sellers sell a home faster and at the best price. How many realtors list a house at a price they KNOW won't sell, but list it anyway? With the internet, sellers will be more educated and they will be able to intelligently discuss pricing. Hopefully this will shorten the process, get them closest to the list price and take non-serious sellers out of the market. Then buyers won't have to go through 50 virtual tours or worse, shows, to find a handful that are 'real' sellers.

Our clients are not buying and selling in the dark anymore. Which means we better know what the heck we're talking about! I think the bottom line is we have to bring value.

Regarding Jim's comment about the first time buyers not wanting to use a realtor, I think we can all agree that that's because they are first time buyers. They don't have a clue as to the amount of work it takes. Anyone who's gone through the process at least once realize the amt of work and when we bring value to the table, I find that people are more than willing to pay for them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2007
I sat through a class a few months ago where an agent of 40 years told us that in 20 years agency will be gone. Everything will be online, and the clients wont need us. I left that class feeling good about life! I thought about this for weeks after that. And this is what I have come up with.

Since the market has been slower in Colorado I seem to be spending most of my time with first time buyers, under 30 making 60k plus. In every case they have said to me, I dont want to use an agent, I will find a home myself and deal direct to get a better deal. In every case I have said the same thing, OK. I give them information for free, answer questions by email. And in almost every case, I am the one that ends up selling them a home. So my take on the future is go with it, don't make them feel pressured to sign a contract to represent them, and go with it. This next generation can find out anything they want, and they will find it. And they dont want to be tied down, but there is always something about service. I have heard agents say " I wont show a house until they sign a contract for me to be their agent for the next 3 months" I say get over yourself, and service the client. Get yourself online, get to know the online services, and be sure to know more than they do.
Web Reference: http://www.altadenver.com
5 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 15, 2007
The opportunities are in adaptation. I brought up the term, web 2.0, at a meeting of top REALTORS the other day and they just looked at me like I was an alien. REALTORS that will succeed will absorb and utilize the changes in business brought on by Redfin, Zillow, Trulia and the others. I try to stay on the cutting edge, and i believe I have a long term market advantage over the majority of real estate professionals who seem to ignore, deny or condemn any change. There are lots of folks out there who would like to go back to the old MLS books.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 16, 2007
I agree with Jim that the internet is changing much about how we do business. With all the information you can find online consumers are becoming more educated about the real estate and loan process. I think fees will be forced down and the process will become more transparent, so that the consumer will know exactly what is being done and how much it will cost. Over time I expect that there will be many less people in the business, but they will be doing more transactions for a lower cost per transaction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 15, 2007
I would say answers 1st, I think sometimes they research a topic, then ask an agent, to see if he/she is honest or looking for a quick sale. So we need to answer the questions, and be completly honest about it (without crossing lines of what is legal).
2nd I would say be trusting, this is hard to explane, becasue I dont think anyone here is going to stand up and say " I am not trust worthy", but we need to understand that we are going to have to earn that trust, and buyers and sellers are just going to blindly give it to us just becasue we passed a test a few years back, and kept up with our classes.
Web Reference: http://www.altadenver.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 16, 2007
Thanks for all of your input! If service is the differentiator, what services are perceived as having the highest value - What services do consumers value most?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 16, 2007
This is a very interesting question. I gave it a TU, along with each of the answers. I have been trying to wrap my head around this issue.
I am one of those people who buys almost EVERYTHING on line. I buy groceries on line, xmas shop on line, etc. I even buy our cars and trucks on line. I negotiate everything on line and the first actual conversation I have with the car salesman is when we show up to pick it up.
BUT:
A car is (maybe) $50,000, not $500,000. And a car is a car is a car. I can get the car serviced anywhere, it is a mass produced item, and it really doesn’t matter where I buy it. Not true of a house.
If you put two exact same cars side by side, the consumer will have the exact same emotional reaction to each of the two cars. Not true of two houses.
Now, I believe that MARKETING, is going the way of the web. I believe that eventually buyers will preview all inventory on line, do drive bys, and then ask to see them. But I don't believe they will eliminate RE agents. I think RE sales in larger cities are more commodity like because, well, the housing is more commodity like. But there is still that emotional reaction.
So I don’t have an answer but look forward to reading more posts on this issue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 16, 2007
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