The one thing that is not up for debate concerning the pandemic is that it has heavily influenced the real estate industry in so many ways. Stay-at-home orders and safety procedures resulted in an increased use of technology as a way to limit physical interactions. While the industry is no stranger to technology, for years it was an acceptable practice for agents and brokers to pay for technology, but not necessarily adopt it. COVID-19 changed that.
As a result, agents consider the benefits of being a part of a brokerage firm that has access to technology that will benefit their bottom line. Agents look for brokerages that provide tech solutions that eliminate and automate tasks so they can focus on human interaction and personal connection.
Why technology matters
The largest portion of homesellers today in America are Gen X (born between 1965-1979), while the second largest homebuyer group are Millennials between ages 21 and 40. As younger generations enter the market, agents have to adapt quickly to connect with these digital natives.
Meeting buyers and sellers where they are is important. Ninety-seven percent of buyers search online for homes at one point in their process. The good news is that of the Realtors members of the National Association of Realtors, 95% use email and 57% use social media platforms daily. That’s a good start, but the demand for digital solutions is only going to increase — and agents shouldn’t stop investigating new tools if they wish to remain competitive and relevant to clients.
I’ve always said that technology doesn’t replace the agent; the role of technology is to free agents up to do what they should have been doing all along. This is pivotal in the real estate industry, even as agents are primarily working virtually.
What tech brokers will offer agents next
Innovative mobile apps that support real estate agents have been growing in adoption. While providing additional services to agents can have an initial cost for brokers, that cost is well worth it when providing a technology that their agents see so much benefit in actually adopting.
The growing importance of technology in an increasingly competitive market needs to be met with rapid adoption. For agents, this means that they need the latest digital tools to meet consumers.
For brokers, that means they need to remember who their client is and continue to provide these tech solutions for their agents so they can move homes faster. To ignore the shift toward digital is leaving money on the table for agents and brokers alike.
When looking at the future of the industry, it’s important to recognize that agents have many options when deciding who to hang their license with, and brokers need to find ways to demonstrate their value above and beyond their competitors in the same area. Technology is the best possible way for brokers to not only retain agents but ultimately attract more, while increasing revenue for all within their organization.
Jared James is CEO and founder of Jared James Enterprises.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.
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