These days, the vast majority of people who are thinking about buying real estate start their search right here. On the computer. And the information they are after is the listings posted on the local MLS.
I hear all kinds of stats. For a while the percentage of real estate searches started online was around 70%, then 80%. Now there are indications that up to 90% of people looking for real estate start online.
So, what has this created?
Real estate agent evolution for starters. Pretty much every residential agent and office worth its salt offers search-able MLS listings on their sites. The general public is essentially privy to everything licensed real estate agents can see, except for some private information that can only be shared between fellow Realtors. This is huge for consumers. The information super highway at work.
So how has this changed the way the real estate industry works? How has it changed the dynamic of the sales process?
Well for one, it has changed the time frames of transactions and the roles the parties play. Now days, by the time a buyer contacts a real estate agent, they are usually much farther toward the end of the buying process than the beginning. In fact, some of them even know what house they want to buy…or have narrowed it down to a select few. This is because they have already done their research online. Most of the time they know what the house looks like both inside and out before they walk through the front door.
After buyers know which property they want is when they contact a specific agent to negotiate and structure the deal And, they usually know which agent they want to work with before they call because they have researched the agent, too. At this point, buyers are ready to buy a house and they are looking for a real estate agent to represent them in the purchase of that home. No more interviewing several agents before moving forward. It’s go-time from the first call.
So what used to consist of a buyer picking an agent 6 months to a year before they buy, has transformed to a few weeks. Gone are the days of laboriously thumbing through listing print outs at the agents office and visiting large numbers of homes that don’t match buyers needs. Those days are over.
Not to say that an agent’s value has diminished because it hasn’t. It’s just weighted the majority of the agents role to the end of the deal. . An agents contribution to a deal is as important as ever, if not more so. Especially in a hyperlocal community like Sun Valley. There is no substitute for local knowledge and key information and experience local Realtors bring to the table. You can’t get that for free online.
Counseling clients, negotiation deals, carefully drafting critical contracts and otherwise facilitating a complicated and significant business transaction is all about the agent. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Buyer and agents roles have just shifted. The back end of a deal is where the agent gets in the game. Buyers do their research up front… on their own. Today’s technology just empowers the buyer to do his house hunting homework sitting on his couch with his ipad…which is what today’s tech savvy consumer wants to do. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can search the MLS anytime and anywhere you want at www.sunvalleylife.com I’ll take y0u home from there.