Usually, when an industry changes its methodology, it does so over time. Today, industry change has been thrust upon us. Companies and individuals alike must re-evaluate their everyday processes. And, for those in real estate, this re-evaluation changes the way we buy and sell.
Many things in our industry were changing prior to the pandemic. Agent chauffeuring clients around to listings, once a staple, had fallen out of favor. It won’t come back. Tire-kickers used to be a massive problem for agents. (I bet many agents still feel that way) Used to be faux buyers wouldn’t think twice about wasting an agent’s entire weekend for their entertainment. Today, not so much. Going forward, look for clients to provide a pre-qualification letters for any onsite property visit with an agent. At least for the time being, agents should really limit their physical interaction to pre-qualified clients only.
How about those mandatory Broker “sales” meetings? Meeting after meeting agents were forced to hear the stories of their peers’ Listings and successes. How this was considered helpful is unknown. Given the 80/20 nature found in most brokerages, it meant these meetings often became nothing more than shame casting sessions on the 80% who weren’t performing. Look for this type of motivational Broker strategy to finally disappear.
Remember “Open Houses”? For several hours, on a Sunday afternoon, owners would abandon their homes and allow anyone off the street to come in and touch all their stuff. Allowing unfettered access to one’s personal space is not a practice we should continue. In today’s world, it’s no longer necessary to conduct “traditional” open houses, to sell houses.
Virtual “open houses” are the future already happening. And, it’s significantly better! Dozens of companies and solutions have popped up that seemingly are on a path of out-doing each other in terms of capability. The number of options to consider are fairly daunting and yet they seem to be changing monthly.
The speed in which we are adopting new technologies for a virtual experience is amazing. An agent’s ability to offer “new era” virtual tours in 3D, will be a differentiation from the old ways to the modern era. Agents must become proficient in technology or they will simply get run over by those who are.
The average age of a real estate agent is 58. Not exactly the wheelhouse age for technology adoption. This means huge changes are coming to the role of a “Listing Agent”. And, this new role will mean HUGE opportunities for the younger more technically savvy agent. New era agents will easily blow away their Boomer counterparts in Listing Presentations every time with technology. Those versed in technology hold all the cards.
Another good riddance to the wildly dated “in-person” real estate closing? Strangers sitting at an unnecessarily large table continually pawing over the same public candy bowl while they pass a mountain of documents back and forth? It’s a time warp to the 1970s. It’s over!
Here in Georgia, Governor “Game Changer”, has signed a temporary order allowing remote zoom closings. And the Genie leaves the bottle! Know this: nothing is temporary about this situation. Once a new convenience is introduced into society, it never goes backward. “Hey, the pandemic is over, now we can finally go back to in person closings! Not going to happen!
In the past when we were asked for Lawyer recommendations for a closing, our reply had been a standard; Yelp. In so many ways, all Closers are all the same. Some charge more than others? Some offer law-firm branded water? End result, closings are dreadful. Checks aside, agents hate them. Buyers and Sellers think of them as a major inconvenience.*
Agents and brokerages must embrace the remote close. Unlike the past, Agents will need to be proactive in developing a relationship with a Closing company/person/firm. Our collective agent mass will help force the hand of the legal community to react to the needs of OUR clients. Imagine that? Lawyers providing services in a manner that real estate agents would like to see them?
Over the next couple of blogs we will look at 2 of these topics; Tours & Closers more in detail.
* First-time home-buyers are the only possible exception to the in-person close. Buying that first home is an achievement worth celebrating. Closings, in a faux legal environment at a huge table, adds drama to the occasion. Kind of a rush to sign document after document while not listening to whatever the lawyer is saying. Either way, it’s the buyer’s agent’s responsibility, not the attorney, to make that special day memorable.