As I mentioned in the previous article, The Perfect Storm Rages On, the real estate market has been hit, and hit, and hit, one after another for more than three years now and even through all of that, many of us have managed to keep our heads above water. Yet now the evidence is becoming clear that technology is the latest culprit in a long list of offenses against us, and it could be the one that will drive some -if not many- of us out of business.
The technology that I’m talking about here isn’t new, not by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful, nor does it soften its impact on the industry as a whole.
Let’s all take a moment and consider the technology of the Internet and how it affects and impacts our world of real estate. For many of us, the Internet has been a boon to our business, but for a majority of those in the real estate business, it poses a greater long-term threat than most of us have been made aware. While the technology of the Internet has opened up doors for us, connected us with clients and potential listings that we otherwise wouldn’t have found, the very things that make the Internet such a powerful tool also makes it a competitive monster.
Consider the brand name of the real estate agency or brokerage firm that you work for. That name has been built over years and years of positive interactions and sales, closings, and deals. People within your local community know and generally trust the name for real estate listings. Maybe your company has been using the Internet for years to spread its influence and brand out wider.
Well, now you are no longer competing with just local affiliations, local agents or brokers, and more; you are competing with anyone who has a website, and a license, from anywhere in the state and perhaps even in the country, or worse -the world. Competition is about to become much tougher than it ever has been in the past. Are you prepared for it? Are you ready to deal with it?
Government’s slow feet
You can’t expect the government to step in and regulate this technological advance. Not this year and not next. Maybe within the next twenty years to government will stop dragging its feet, staying well behind the pace of technology and actually pass laws that will work to the local business’s advantage, but that’s simply not going to happen now, or anytime soon.
We cannot wait for justice or fairness to take effect; we need to step up to the plate and swing at the pitches that technology is serving us, whether they are legal or illegal, and keep our businesses alive and well fed. We can’t stop, even for one minute, and complain that something is unfair.
The competition will come from everywhere
With the ever-changing and rapidly expanding technology, we are going to be faced with a plethora of competition. Many of these new competitors won’t live in our communities, but will be representing homebuyers, relying on local agents to show houses and using other proxy versions to be their physical faces to their clients. 3-D virtual tours will continue to evolve and become visually stunning depictions of homes, realistic enough for homebuyers to buy without setting foot within the homes.
The technology can be expensive, but the cost of failing to keep up with it can be far more expensive in the long run. It’s time to embrace technology and if you’re not willing to do so, then it may be time to seek out a different career. The Perfect Storm will continue and even when its over, the technological race will have altered the real estate landscape forever.