Buying a home before the internet era was a completely different experience to what we know today. It was so different that it could even be considered foreign to younger home buyers. Those of us old enough to remember the ‘old days’ can look back and clearly see how the internet has drastically changed the game.
It goes without saying that the internet has revolutionized every aspect of modern life. There is no escaping it. The internet impacts everything from how we communicate to how we shop. It impacts how we buy and sell homes too.
The Rise of Online Listings
Perhaps the Internet’s most profound effect on home sales is observed in online listings. Back in the day, you could only get your hands on listings in one of two ways. First was to check the local newspaper on Saturday mornings. Most newspapers published a separate ‘homes’ section on that day, complete with every local listing. You could find addresses, property descriptions, pictures, and real estate agent names.
The other way to get your hands on listings was to contact a real estate agent. Doing so offered the benefit of working with somebody who knew the industry inside and out, but it also limited you inasmuch as you could only see those listings your agent thought appropriate.
Today, you can browse thousands of listings online without ever talking to anyone. Listings include all the vital information: location, price, square footage, taxes, etc. If you are internet savvy, you know how to take that information and apply it to public records online. It is amazing what you can find out about a house in a matter of minutes.
From the agent’s perspective, online listings are a great tool. Take CityHome Collective for example, a Salt Lake City real estate broker. They can reach many more clients in a shorter amount of time via online listings than they could using conventional methods.
Agents Have a Different Role
The rise of online listings has directly impacted the role of the real estate agent as well. Where agents used to be tasked with matching clients with appropriate houses, their main priority now is to look into those properties clients find on their own. The modern real estate agent is more a property investigator and less a sales professional.
Today’s agents also have to be more technologically savvy. It is not enough for them to know how to bring up MLS listings on the office computer. They have to be proficient enough to find records, communicate with clients, manage documents, etc.
Social Media and Online Reviews
Social media has changed the real estate game by providing new venues for buyers, sellers, and real estate agents. For right or wrong, modern consumers trust their social media pages as reliable sources of accurate information and recommendations. Real estate agents who understand the power of social media use it to their advantage.
Then there are online reviews. They can make or break a business with ease. Thus it behooves real estate agents to encourage their clients to leave positive reviews. And when negative reviews do appear, it is in their best interests to address said reviews in a meaningful and constructive way.
There is no getting around the fact that the internet is an integral part of modern life. It has changed the real estate game by putting more power in the hands of buyers and sellers. The internet has even changed the role real estate agents play in the process. That is not a bad thing, as long as agents know how to play the game by its new rules.