In February of this year, I, along with around 150 other auctioneers, attended a two day conference in Atlanta focused on the topic of real estate auctions online. I was surprised to learn that many realtors were interested in the topic as well.
It reminded me of an event I attended four or five years ago. One of the speakers, an auctioneer, was discussing the future of online only auctions. He was positive that in the future online auctions would include everything from personal property to real estate. I, an admitted skeptic, simply did not see this being the case.
Shockingly, today, I know that I was wrong and he was right. Technology has changed almost everything, real estate included. As a result, we have to educate ourselves about this technology. If we don’t we will find ourselves quickly falling behind and losing business to our technological competitors.
For me, this is difficult. I consider myself a bit technologically challenged. Thankfully, I have a teenager who stays up on everything. He has seen me through the change from the VCR to the DVD player to the Blu Ray player. He introduced me to HDTV, iPads, and smart phones. Thanks to him, I even read the news online, which brings me to my next point.
A couple of months ago, I read an article about a couple driving around with their realtor looking at a list of homes the realtor had pulled from the MLS the day before. Of course, they drove by a home that wasn’t on the list and the wife was interested. The realtor assured her that she would get the details on the home when she got back to the office. This is when the husband piped up, “It’s got 2,500 square feet on a half acre lot. 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a bonus room. Listed for $300,000.” He, obviously, had a smart phone, while the realtor didn’t.
Now, back to the point I am trying to make. We simply can’t continue to do things the way we used to. For example, are you still dragging out your laptop to show clients a home they may be interested in or do you have a tablet/ notebook? Do you email your clients or send them a quick text message? When dealing with busy or out of state clients, do you use Docusign or some other type of electronic signature or do you look for a fax machine?
The truth is that we have to be technologically sophisticated to stay on top in today’s real estate market. Yes, getting a listing agreement, putting up a sign in the yard, putting an ad in the local real estate magazine, and listing the property on the MLS are important, but they are just a small part of marketing. Think for a second about EBay and how successful they are thanks to online marketing. In the real estate world, online marketing is crucial for success.