The Impact of Technology on Today’s Realtors

The Impact of Technology on Today’s Realtors

The real estate industry has seen rapid changes in how it does business. Homes for sale have gone from a monthly printout of local properties for sale to consumers having access to thousands of properties locally, statewide and internationally. That is quite a leap! The impact of technology on today’s Realtors has been increasing in the industry over the past decade, and it is continuing in an upward spiral.

This new way of doing business has taken hold all over the country, and South Florida is no exception. It has weathered the storm, literally, and the city of Pembroke Pines is one of its hottest markets because its location is central to several tourist attractions, parks, golf courses, and entertainment sites. Homes for sale in Pembroke Pines are near major airports for easy accessibility. The digital era has positively spurred sales in this family-friendly area which touts positive educational opportunities for its citizens.

As the industry has been revolutionized through the technical advances in how, when and where properties are viewed or negotiated, Realtors have had to adapt. Whether they live in small cities, like Pembroke Pines, or large metropolises, like New York City, the push is the same. Some of the advances that appear online are:

– MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
This service is now available online for all to see. Various apps can be downloaded to facilitate the viewing of properties. Not only do you see the property, but the vital statistics are also given, such as taxes, square footage of the property and lot, the condition of the property, purchase history, and pertinent information about crime statistics in the area. All of these factors help purchasers make a decision about whether they want to view the property or not.

– Reviews
Sometimes it helps to see another person’s perspective. Reading the comments of others, who have viewed the property or have had experience with a particular agent, allows potential buyers an opportunity to have feedback.

– Marketing
Realtors can market to a much larger audience through the various social media platforms. They can build their own website and drive traffic to it through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and countless other digital accounts that potential customers will likely frequent.

– Virtual Reality
Giving clients the ability to “walk through” a property without ever leaving their own home is one of the advancements that many clients may value. Perhaps because of time constraints or lack of mobility, they can appreciate this feature. A Realtor can enhance his or her offerings with this technology. Drones provide aerial photos of properties and their surroundings. Clients may see the topography of the area, proximity to other structures, neighborhood areas of interest, and a bird’s eye view of a community at large. Hopefully, the result will be faster closings because clients will not waste time physically going through properties in which they have no interest.

– Efficiency
Agents spend less time on paperwork and culling properties that meet client specifications. They can devote that time to putting together a dynamic presence online that will impress prospective clients. This can also increase an agent’s chance of acquiring new business because it presents potential clients with an image of a self-confident person who can take care of their needs in a professional manner.

There are many profound ways in which the impact of technology on today’s Realtors is changing the game and it’s nothing short of miraculous. Just a few years ago, none of these advances were possible. With the advent of technology companies, whose sole purpose is to analyze and track the development of data that will enable agents to be more effective, traditional realtors find that they must evolve along with the industry. There is no place in the new world of real estate for dinosaur methods formerly employed by veteran agents.

Digitalization has its benefits, but it may have drawbacks as well. While it is certainly more efficient, it may also reduce the human interaction, which can be pivotal to closing a deal. An online list of homes for sale is expedient, but people still like the personal touch. If an agent can bring individuality and personality to the table, it may be just the thing that will clinch the listing or sale. People like to feel that they matter and that they are not just another means to a paycheck. Character and integrity are still very much sought after and appreciated. Going the extra mile to assure that clients are happy will only serve to increase an agent’s popularity in the neighborhood. Done well, he or she may become the “agent for the area.” Of course, this requires a great amount of diligence and forbearance.

Streamlining the process of home buying or selling makes a positive impression on clients. Things such as e-signatures save clients the time of driving to a title company or making time for the agent to come to their home. While this is a popular time saver, the agent should still be knowledgeable enough to explain what the clients are signing and its effect on a successful transaction.

Artificial intelligence is the next big customer service indulgence. It will help relieve the agent of many of the mundane tasks that a dedicated personal assistant would do. One new app on the market is the electronic notary. Clients can securely and legally have documents notarized from their home computers. Its functionality is another step in the digitalized world of the modern agent.

One caveat for the Realtor is that he or she does not want to become so distanced from clients that personal experience and knowledge lose their position in first place. With the click of a mouse, potential clients can perform tasks to which only a Realtor would have had access in the past. Today’s buyer still needs the guidance of the professional. Just because they have access to lots of information, it does not mean that they have the wherewithal to handle the process from start to finish. Numerous people have to come together in order to have a successful transaction, such as appraisers, attorneys, lenders, and title agents. The Realtor is the one who coordinates all of these people as well as having the information about the property that may not be online. After all, that information is gleaned directly from public records. There may be something that is not publicly recorded that the client may need to know. In addition, the agent’s relationship with fellow colleagues can help secure a deal.

Exciting technologies that are still evolving give Realtors the opportunity to be on the precipice of a new frontier. Consumers want to be instantly gratified. Agents who can make quick connections with them will be the early bird who gets the worm. The market is pretty competitive, and new and veteran agents alike still need whatever edge they can use to keep business from flowing through their fingers.

Redefining the role of agents in the process of buying and selling properties is the main thrust of how property is explored, listed, monitored, advertised, negotiated and sold. An agent who can address all these concerns and can work with lenders to make the circle complete is worth his or her weight in gold. Online mortgages are available to consumers in some cases. This can be a tremendous advantage for clients who want to know if they qualify for a particular property and what down payment they will need before contacting an agent.

If agents are not as well-informed as their clients, they will find that their confidence quotient goes down. The biggest take- away is this: Knowledge is king when it comes to successfully joining and remaining in the new digital world of real estate.

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Should I Rent or Buy a Home?

Should I Rent or Buy a Home?

Choosing whether to rent or own a home is not an easy decision. It requires you to carefully examine the factors and costs associated with each option. Which is better? That depends.

Your unique economic situation, lifestyle and goals play the largest part in deciding what is better for you. It’s important to go into your calculations with open eyes. As much as you want a home, you may not be able to afford it. Or it may not be the right decision for the way you like to live.

Factors To Consider When Buying/Renting a Home



The following four points are the largest factors to consider when weighing the pros and cons of home ownership vs. rental.

1) What are the total costs?

Many people look at the economics of home-ownership as a mortgage payment only. In reality there are insurance, repairs, property tax, homeowners association dues etc. that all have to be factored in to your monthly costs. Check out this calculator from the New York Times to see more.

Use a calculator and compare to see if:

  1. The monthly cost as a homeowner is less than renting.
  2. You can afford the monthly cost (if it works out more than renting in your area)
  3. Saving a 10-20% down-payment is feasible for you.

If owning a home definitely the way to go for you, you need to be able to answer the above questions definitively.

2) What is important to you?

Are you more interested in building for the future, or reducing your financial risk until you can figure out a plan? You may want to own if you are thinking about starting a family. But as someone who is single, you may enjoy your freedom and having less financial debt. (Even if it is building your net worth in the long run)

Undoubtedly, buying a house only makes sense if you plan to set up roots. If you plan to move within (or every) 5 years, your transaction costs will likely bring the equity you build in your house to zero. Thus diminishing your upside while carrying all of the liabilities that come along with home ownership. Owning a home is a smart decision if you plan to stay for 10 years or more.

3) What is your preferred lifestyle?

Do you want to build a career in a specific city or travel around? Do you have long-term goals in mind? It’s okay if you don’t. The most important part is being aware of where you are at. You may want to get some international work experience or try your luck in another part of the country. Or not.

Really think about what you want. You could lose some serious money if you buy a house and sell within a few years because you decide it isn’t for you.

4) What are the opportunity costs?

Think about the pros and cons of home-ownership. On one hand, you will always have a home base. On the other, you have a property that ties you down to a geographical location. Can you make more money in another city? With a home, you can’t move to pursue those opportunities.

If rent is equal to monthly payments as an owner, think about the opportunity costs of having all of your money tied up in the house. For example, some investors may rent and opt to invest their money in the stock-market or other investments in their portfolio. Can you make higher percentage returns yearly with the money you would be using for a down payment?

Rent vs Buying



The above were things you will want to consider. If you need to be realistic to make the right decision about renting vs owning a home. The below two situations may help if you aren’t able to come to a conclusion.

When is Renting a Home Better?

Despite popular belief, owning a home is not always the best decision. Let’s not be black and white. It depends on your particular situation.

You may want to rent if:

  1. You want to travel and set-up shop in different places every few years.
  2. You do not have the job or financial security to (realistically) guarantee payments for years to come.
  3. You have demonstrated the ability to make better financial returns through other investments.

There are other factors. However, this is a good starting point to help you determine your argument for renting versus owning a home. The benefit of renting is not being tied down to a geographic location and being able to leave when your lease runs up.

When is Owning a Home Better?

Owning a home is the long-term game. You need to have your goals in mind and understand if you can afford it.

You may want own if:

  1. You are okay with staying in one place for 10 years or more.
  2. You have the financial stability to afford the home (and float payments if you lose your job)
  3. You want to leverage your home as an investment property down the line (through rental)

Owning a home gives you an anchor. It helps you stay grounded by having a home base. At the same time, you can increase your upward potential by leveraging the home as an investment property.

In Conclusion

Choosing to rent or own your home is a big decision. It depends on your individual situation and vision for the future. In short, owning is traditionally the better long-term strategy. However, that’s not to say that you can’t do as good or better with the right investment portfolio.

Before jumping into anything, analyze yourself. Think hard about where you are and what you want for the future. Speak to a realtor and see if they have any advice for your individual situation.

If you are looking at purchasing property in the area, give me a call. I’d love to discuss your options and see if buying is the right path for you.

Get the most from your holiday rental

Get the most from your holiday rental

I believe that. In fact, I know that. Starting my start-up career at Zillow (see this for some perspective) was a very good and very bad pre-cursor for my entrepreneurial journey over the past few years.

It was great in the fact that I now KNOW building a technology business at massive scale is possible; I’ve seen it done from the inside. Most people seriously question whether building something that reaches millions of consumers is possible, because they haven’t seen it with their own eyes

It was bad in the fact that, prior to starting my own company

I thought start-ups were easy. As an employee at Zillow, sure there were challenges, but from my perspective there was never any real risk the company wouldn’t succeed. That’s why I took a personal loan when I left in 2010 to buy my options; I knew there was basically zero chance I’d end up on the short end of the stick (and I didn’t). Of course, Zillow’s not the average start-up. Most start-ups don’t have $6 million in funding pre-launch, a team of 50+ without having shipped a product, or a founder with a multi billion dollar company that transformed an entire industry under his belt.

They seek product feedback and strategy. They want to know about problems and incentives for agents as well as consumers. They are looking to get a handle at how to gain adoption, traction, and partnerships in this massively complex and wide-reaching industry we operate in.

Many have no prior history in the industry. Others were agents at one time or another. Still others grew up in a real estate family.

I’ve seen 10 years of what has worked, and what hasn’t. When I hear a pitch or play with a product, I tell it how I see it, regardless of whether that’s what the founder wants to hear. Sometimes, it doesn’t validate their strategy.