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Can Technology Replace Estate Agents?

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The peak home buying years are between 25 and 45 years old, and the sheer size of the Millennial generation should mean a peak in home sales and a good time for realtors.

According to Salomone, technology is central to the Millennial generation and, as they’re the primary home buyers, their reliance on tech is dramatically influencing the way property is bought and sold.

Tom Salomone, President of the National Association of Realtors in America (NAR), says there are now even more millennials than baby boomers. Census records indicate 92 million millennials versus 77 million baby boomers in the USA.

Salomone discussed this at a recent seminar hosted by Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA) in Cape Town

According to Salomone, technology is central to the Millennial generation and, as they’re the primary home buyers, their reliance on tech is dramatically influencing the way property is bought and sold.

“Agents are increasingly finding more value in advertising on the property portals, as opposed to taking out newspaper ads as the buyers are online,” says Jan le Roux, Chairman of REBOSA.

“At the moment, making use of tech like portals and social media is quite advanced in the US, and it’s been very informative to learn how estate agents there are incorporating this into their marketing and sales.”

Real estate is a relationship-centric business

While it is imperative that agents become tech savvy in order to reach the millennial generation, Salomone says the biggest question he is asked wherever he goes is, ‘Will technology render the role of an estate agent obsolete?’.

“The answer is always a resounding ‘no’, there’s a new threat every day - sometimes it’s a start-up looking for more home buyers by undercutting agent commission rates, or by offering an online transaction platform that by-passes the need for an agent altogether,” he says.

“And we’re only at the beginning of this transformation where new technology and business models seek to make inroads into gaining consumer trust, in managing the most important transaction in their lives.”

According to Salomone, even though 50% of buyers in the US start house hunting online, 90% will use a real estate agent by the time they buy. 

Salomone says it is at this junction where estate agents have won the game for years, and will continue to do so because real estate continues to be and will always be a relationship-centric business.

“Practitioners must never underestimate the importance of the human factor in the transaction, and that’s where we all need to master our skills,” says Le Roux.

He says relationships cannot be replaced by algorithms and technology platforms.

“We need to prepare for it by continually updating our knowledge of new technologies and concepts and finding the piece of the puzzle these advancements can’t perform better than a human,” says Le Roux.

“As REBOSA we firmly believe in providing our estate agents with the best information and inspiration, and are delighted to be able to share insight from someone like Tom Salomone, with the backing of the NAR.”

Author: Property24

Submitted 06 Sep 16 / Views 1197