We live in an age of technology and any Real Estate Broker that wants to succeed today needs to embrace the changes technology brings with it. In the almost 32 years that I have been a real estate professional, I have seen many changes in the industry.
I will never forget one of the first changes I experienced. When I first entered the real estate profession in 1979, we searched for homes using a catalog type book filled with pages of photos and information on homes. I kept track of my clients with a recipe box filled with index cards that had handwritten notes on them. Lo and behold, one day it was announced that we would soon be able to search for homes using a computer! The time a home went on the market until every REALTOR in Colorado Springs knew it was available was shortened from one week to one day. Amazing!
It wasn’t long before Realtors improved communication with their clients by installing phones in their cars. No longer did we have to search for a convenience store or a pay phone so we could quickly make a call to arrange a last minute showing. Along came the fax machine that allowed for a quicker response time for contracts. The 80’s brought the cell phones that no longer had to be installed in the car in order to work, and contact software for computers that did away with the handwritten file cards that held all the client information.
The 90’s and the 21st century brought smaller cell phones and computerized contracts. Computers seemed to get faster yearly and it wasn’t long before we saw contracts that were internet-based with “mouse” signatures and phones that could access the internet. Everyone began to embrace communicating via email until email became to slow and texting became the faster more efficient way to communicate. Twitter and Facebook not only connected you with people all over the world but they also became new ways to advertise homes for sale. These days, you can show a buyer homes via videos and photos on the internet, write a contract on the internet, obtain the signatures via the internet and conduct all the negotiations and the entire transaction without ever meeting either client.
Wow, you might think, this is so efficient and after all time is money isn’t it? The problem with today’s real estate transactions is that we are losing a vitally important ingredient. That ingredient is the relationship. Consumers don’t get to know us and we don’t really get to know them. It makes it more difficult to negotiate when you may have only communicated by email or texting. Why didn’t that Seller accept that offer on the home after it had been on the market only 10 days- it was a “no brainer”. Maybe if you had stopped by to sit down with the Seller, you might have found out that they were nervous that the sale was happening too quickly and that they might not be able to get out on time. Just being there to reassure them of the process or to perhaps offer to tweak the dates a bit to make the Seller feel more at ease could have made that sale happen.
Technology is great but it doesn’t take the place of the face to face meeting and the bond that can be formed into a long lasting relationship. Relationships do matter and those REALTORS that blend technology with the good old fashioned connection of the face to face meeting will see their success rates soar.