I actually think you are on target with SOME of the things you say. But, you donâ€™t know enough about real estate to solve the challenges of the industry; and I mean no disrespect when I say that.
When I entered this business, I assumed, wrongfully, that because I had a very strong corporate marketing and sales career, that selling real estate was going to be easy. I contend that my background gives me an edge, and makes me a better Realtor because I blend the skills, training and knowledge from my prior career. But, I had to unlearn and relearn much in the real estate business, because incorrect assumptions are easy to make. I had plenty of misconceptions. Staff members who have ever come to work for me from outside of real estate all say, â€œOh, I had no idea that all of this was involved.â€ The failure and exit rate for real estate is high because people enter with misconceptions. Enough said? Real estate just isnâ€™t what people assume, and concluding your own sale is not the same as servicing the needs of a client, or building a customer base. I canâ€™t say that louder, clearer, or enough.
There is much truth to your statement that there is a need for the industry to achieve greater efficiencies. Where you and I will disagree is how these efficiencies might be achieved. Your solution is that agents simply adopt and better use technology. While I agree that technology offers some solutions, the challenge of productivity in real estate is not about automating a virtual tour. Itâ€™s about changing how business is done, and much of desperately needed change is beyond the scope and power of the individual agent. The real estate business model itself is inefficient, highly personal, and labor intensive. These are all components that drive costs. Agents can strive to increase their productivity, but they canâ€™t change the business itself, which is, inherently inefficient.
I can liken this to a sole mechanic building a car from scratch, instead of having a factory and production staff build cars. Even if we give the individual mechanic state of the art hand tools to let him work faster and smarter, the approach of building one car individually is inherently unproductive. Simply because you give the agents a few tools, you have not achieved efficiency in the business.
In many ways, technology has actually increased Realtor costs, added to the hours worked, and added layers of confusion in real estate. Yes, there are many positive changes borne out of technology. Gone are the MLS books! Can we applaud loud enough for that? I am a strong technology advocate, and frequent early adopter. The adoption of several technologies in real estate have brought benefit to the consumer, but frequently with a cost without benefit to the agent.
Roll the clock back 10 years, and an agent input a listing into an MLS system, and the MLS photographer went out to the property, took the photo, and added it to the MLS. Gosh, that seems a lot less expensive and time consuming for agents.
Agents used to have only MLS, the weekly paper, and signs. Now, we have added electronic subscriptions and services for email campaigns, online listing presentations, virtual tour services, websites, IDX services, photo equipment, blackberrys, laptops w/ aircards, 800#â€™s, ACR systems, digital cameras, videos, and the computers and software to process all of this and more. Oh, and our sellers still ask about their newspaper ad.
These free sites that consumers use to shop for real estate are funded by agents, who pay for listing enhancements, banner ads, feature listings, virtual tours and floor plans. Agents made the consumer experience easier, faster, better. But, in order to do so, the agent took on more work and added expense.
As Realtors, we often do for our clients what may be wasteful and unproductive, because they want or expect it. I see agents commit to tasks in order to secure the business. Is it a waste to send that email campaign? Maybe, but if the seller likes the agent proposal, but this seller â€œknowsâ€ that just listed post cards, and emails are going criticalâ€¦the agent may simply agree to do them. Thereâ€™s way too much waste that goes on in the name of seller appeasement. I have agents request worthless ads because their seller wants it.
Yes, Myke, you are right about waste and inefficiency. I will vote TU for you on that statement.