This blog post has been a few months in the making.
I was invited to a maketing seminar for a real estate coach this past spring and was wondering how he was going to attack this "hot" topic. I shouldn't have been too surprised that he stated that real estate agents should do the same things that he, and many trainers/coaches, have been espousing for the last decade: "Charge what we have always charged but add more fluff to your package to give the impression of more value. Use your clients' homes to post on social media (Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.) to create more business for yourself." They never really say to post it to actually try to sell the damn house, it is always just to "get your name out there." Okay, maybe I'm paraphrasing "just a bit" there. Consumers use social media to be entertained and distracted (especially Facebook), not to search for goods or services and especially not a home or the services of a REALTOR®.
It IS a new world of real estate out there. Real estate consumers have access to more information, data and options than ever before. They want to see everything that is available to them. They no longer want the agent to pick out the best 6 homes and provide a recommendation of the ONE to purchase. Real estate agents need to work far harder for the high commissions and fees they charge. They need to search all available homes and research each and every single one of them.
There is no question that the real estate industry is changing. There is no use burying your head in the sand and hoping that it will go away and hoping that it just won't change. As real estate professionals, we have got to change; we've got to adapt; we've got to bring more value; we've got to do a better job than ever before.
We CAN'T make a consumer buy a home. We CAN'T make a consumer agree to a fair selling price. We market homes to sell, we help consumers buy homes, but we only SELL our own services.
For the typical real estate agent, high commissions communicate value. The higher the commission, the more value we bring to the transaction. I don't think it's unfair to say the consumers just don't see it that way! I don't see it that way either!
The availablitly of information on the Internet has given consumers a false sense of security in the information they have. What they need from real estate professionals is the ability to filter through that mountain of information, filter out the irrelevent information, provide research and facts on the unsubstantiated claims, and to provide incredible insight into the local real estate market. That is adding value to a very complex situation! But do we need to charge what we've always charged – the way we have always charged it – or is there a better way?
What I think the Future of Real Estate Sales involves is: charging a fair fee for services we provide.