I had a conversation with a young woman who has a senior level position in our industry and almost 12 years of experience in our business. I asked her what she thought about the screaming voices about how technology will kill the industry in some fashion or another. She had an interesting view.
She said, “I don’t think there is a lot of unhappiness with real estate agents or teams. Certainly, they are not all perfect, but most consumers we have worked with or encountered are fairly well satisfied with their agent’s service. Communications could improve, but, overall, consumers seem pleased.”
She went on to say that what consumers aren’t pleased with is the process—the mortgage, closing costs and fees, title insurance, inspections, etc. She says, “Their dissatisfaction is far more focused on the complexity, time it takes, and the number of different parties involved to get a purchase or sale completed. Many young buyers and sellers, I think, are unhappy about that part of the process.
“I think the industry would be well served to use technology to get all the different platforms together into one seamless system that could lower the complexity, increase the access to transactional data and, in some ways, lower the cost of buying and selling homes.”
I think she is on to something. Are we looking at the challenges correctly? Is it perhaps true that it is not the agent where the problem is but rather the multiplicity of service suppliers and the lack of any real integration of each of them that causes anxiety and dissatisfaction? We are launching a consumer study with The Harris Poll folks—with whom we have done six prior consumer studies—to find out. This study will be a continuation of the study we have done for the past 17 years or so with the goal of tracking behaviors and attitudes of recent buyers and sellers.