People Deserve Real Conversations
I have been serving home buyers, home sellers, home builders and investors with Wilmington real estate since I sold our Wilmington area video and electronic stores back in 1998. One of the reasons I got into real estate was a not pleasant experience I had with an agent who no longer works in our market. This person was difficult to reach, avoided talking to me about challenges and simply did not earn or deserve the money I was going to be paying if my "spec" new home I built ever actually sold.
Fast Forward To Today
Now, let's fast forward almost twenty years and see how things have changed with all of this technology and instant communication. Here in 2017 I find myself as a co-owner of RE/MAX Essential, wich around one-hundred professional real estate agents, which is now one of the top three real estate companies in our area after only six years of opening our doors. We chose the RE/MAX brand as it is the number one consumer real estate brand in the world and the RE/MAX arsenal of tools for agents to help their clients achieve their goals is second to none.
To personally provide for my family I have a small real estate team of eight agents and we sell around 300 homes per year in the Wilmington NC market, which is not a large market as compared to many in the country. But, we have a steady flow of lovely people moving to our beautiful area for the beaches, low taxes, diversity and Southern hospitality. In order for us to serve so many of our customers and friends I am constantly, to many of my teammates frustrations, designing and developing better ways to leverage technology to provide the very latest information, trend analysis, mortgage rate detectors and insurance comparison tools so our customers have the very best opportunity to achieve their goals.
Now is where I get on my soap box, and let me be the first to say that I also have occasionally participated in the very things I can't stand about today's world of being in the real estate business. As I write this blog I am aware of a number of "situations" that may end up with buyers and sellers losing their dream home or possibly getting their home sold so they can finally move on with their life. Do deals fall apart? Yes, buyers back out, houses don't appraise and numerous other things do happen. But, what i'm now seeing is real estate agents and consumers both not having live bilateral conversations. An email here, text there, and everyone expects it to go just like next day prime shopping with no problems, no surprises and live happily ever after. This very "no problem" expectation is exactly where this business has gone astray for a myriad of reasons.
Real Estate Technology Has Its Place
As I mentioned above, technology has its place in providing consumers with access to the latest information about the real estate market. And oh by the way, you can look but don't rely on the big national portals that have misled so many into false expectations as they are good at marketing but not bound to provide accurate local information like a real estate agent or company is. I digress, my point is that it's one thing to use technology for information and some conveniences such as electronic document signing and storage, but it's another when consumers and agents; or agents and agents, try to conduct one of the most emotional and financially charged events that people go through in their adult life with text messaging and email.
In today's real estate world with more laws, contracts, inspections, lending regulations, insurance options and other elements it is a massive disaster to attempt this without having thoughtful and sometimes difficult real bilateral conversations in person, on the phone or live video conversations.
Where Technology Fails
Electronic communication is great for marketing and providing initial information but where a good real estate agent really provides value is to slow things down, create realistic expectations and to have those not easy, but respectful, conversations with customers and other agents alike. I know that while our team provides amazing marketing and information services, i know that after almost twenty years of doing this I make my customers more money through my skills of problem solving, negotiating and thinking outside the box on ways for everyone to walk away winners. And this level of success does not happen by relying on finding the least path of conflict or rejection (i.e. Hiding behind Text bombs, email blasting, messaging or tweating), it comes from the mindset that big issues deserve thoughtful and respectful conversations.