This article appeared in print as part of “Ask & Give: Female Entrepreneurs Rally in Columbia” Growing up, it didn’t take long for Liz...
As we all know, technology has changed the way most of us conduct business. In sales there is a constant demand to be on top of your game and know about the latest offerings and pricing. This helps you close your next transaction and achieve the best value to your client. This is, of course, no different in the real estate marketplace. Whether you’re a Realtor or a person seeking to purchase or sell a property, you always want to know what your property is worth and which new properties you can truly afford. RE/MAX Boone Realty Realtor Donna Hrdina sums it up quite nicely. “Truly technology in our field is continually changing and advancing, and this can be a challenge for some,” she says. “You have to stay educated and up to date on all the options while working with clients on a daily basis.”
Last year my wife and I decided to move to a larger house to accommodate our growing family. We went to the Web to see what was available in our price range.
We used Trulia and Zillow. These sites also helped us see what our house was worth. Although this was easy and convenient, we still weren’t really sure what we were doing. We contacted Hrdina and had her list our home.
I noticed Zillow had our house priced higher than a price even I felt comfortable with. Hrdina quickly told me that price disparity was one of the biggest issues with information on demand sites such as Zillow in the real estate realm. Although Zillow can be very accurate in some places, other times it is not.
Zillow does do a great job of removing the emotional/sentimental value that sellers and buyers alike have with a property. Hrdina describes how this technology has helped and hurt her way of doing business. “I feel that the emergence of Zillow and other home sites has mainly enhanced our business by educating the buyers as to the large amount of properties that might be available for them to purchase,” she says. “It provides our buyers resources and the ability to gain knowledge about the details of a home quickly. Unfortunately, as professional Realtors, we also spend a large amount of time helping clients and potential sellers work pass the inaccuracies that are present in these programs. This can be very frustrating to everyone involved.”
Despite these shortcomings, technology helps to get the word out in the real estate marketplace. Technology helps Realtors and potential buyers stay up to date on the latest pricing and offerings. Real estate technology advancements have came a long way from manually searching through listings in the paper and requiring you to be current on what other Realtors have listed. Many times real estate sites such as Zillow and Trulia are a great starting point on your journey. Just understand that their potential inaccuracies confirm the importance of seeking out a licensed, local Realtor when you’re ready to get serious about what might be the largest, most important financial transaction of your life.
I don’t want to downplay the role technology plays in enhancing the real estate industry. Successful Realtors use technology daily to improve and market their business, increase their overall influence, communicate efficiently with their customers and build genuine relationships. Realtors need to find a technology partner that can assist them in accomplishing these goals by putting the cloud, email applications, CRMs and mobile apps in place to work for them. But a website cannot offer the personal touch a Realtor can provide or match their experiential knowledge of the local marketplace. This is a great example of how technology increases awareness but will never fully replace people.
At the end of the day, we are all looking for a great “experience” in our buying decisions. A knowledgeable, personable Realtor might be just what you need to take the guesswork out of the process and make your home-buying experience as easy and satisfying as possible. It was exactly what my wife and I needed!