As I write this, Rex Homes is making a bold claim on their website: 90% of buyers search online for their homes, and 68% of these buyers find their home without help from an agent.
The subtext is clear, if not completely accurate: You don’t need to pay high commissions to an agent when you buy or sell your home.
Real estate is safer from disruptive technology than many other industries. In mid-2019 the British company Purple Bricks abandoned their campaign in the United States and stopped trying to lure homeowners with the promise of low commissions. It just didn’t work.
There are still many things a REALTOR ® does that can’t be replaced by technology. But apps, web portals, and artificial intelligence (AI) aren’t going away. Over the next several years, you are going to see many changes in how you acquire clients, the nature of the work you do, and how you get compensated for it.
Here are three ways to survive, and even thrive, in the face of disruptive technology.
Become a specialist
At the time of writing this, I Googled “Silver Lake Realtor.” All that came up were the usual generic ads for agencies that happen to do business in Silver Lake, a popular neighborhood in Los Angeles.
Imagine if you planted your flag as the “official” Silver Lake agent (or any neighborhood near you). Anyone in Los Angeles could easily own this piece of the market by staking their claim first.
Now think about all the different niches you could fill. In addition to the dozens of neighborhoods in your city, you could specialize in a specific type of architecture, or decide to serve a specific group or community: Hollywood REALTOR ® , REALTOR ® for retirees, Millennials REALTOR ®, GLBTQ REALTOR ®, Victorian REALTOR ®, and a virtually infinite list of others.
This change takes little more than a few tweaks to your website, and maybe a trip to the printer’s.
Use AI instead of fighting it
Some people value the human touch, and will always prefer to work with an agent. Some will immediately flock to the convenience and speed of AI.
The winners will be agents who can provide a personal, human experience and are also adept with AI tools.
You could build a reputation on using AI to find ideal matches faster than anyone else. You could sell homes after just a single open house, because your AI targeted the ideal buyers.
When you represent a buyer, you could give them virtual tours of local homes from a coffee shop, show them what each room would look like with different paint or furnishings, and save hours of time by visiting just two homes instead of five. The tools to do these things are already available, and they’re getting better.
Let the technology take over some of the tedious work, and use it to do things you couldn’t do a few years ago without hiring a programmer. Combine this skill with your smile, your natural charm and your commitment to serving people. You’ll soon become unbeatable and unstoppable.
Decide to be a top performer
No matter what is happening in the industry or in the economy, people in the top 10% always have the referrals, the connections, and other resources to weather the storm.
There will always be clients who prefer to deal with a real live human being for 100% of the buying/selling process. Soon, these clients will be in a position to insist on working with the best.
Make a commitment right now that you’re going to be among the best in your profession, whatever it takes. Keep reading. Go to workshops and seminars. Listen carefully to what your clients want. This alone will make disruptive technologies irrelevant.
The cure for an invasion
If you feel like you’re being pushed out of the market, there are many creative ways to fight back. All you really need to do is think differently about your profession. The cure for an invasion is a vision.
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About Jacob Bear In a digital world filled with endless distraction, the key to success is to become so excited about something that you attack every obstacle and light up the path for your followers. As a copywriter and marketing coach, Jacob has been guiding entrepreneurs to uncover their unique story since 2006. In his new talk, “Finding Your Fire,” he shows you how to cultivate a sense of adventure that brings energy and originality to everything you do. His free Social Media Cheat Sheet shows you how to create authentic, perpetual content in nine steps. You can find the Cheat Sheet and other tools at JacobBear.com/FreeStuff.