Years ago, before the dot-com era really took off, I remember laughing as companies started listing their web addresses at the end of each commercial. I simply couldn’t believe that all of these businesses were getting online and when it came to being able to actually make purchases with the click of a button, I was amazed.
In the 15-20 years since then, we’ve watched as the world has changed into a connected web of physical storefronts and virtual corporations. As we’ve gained the ability to be online at any time, we’ve found ourselves trying to balance the good with the bad.
In regards to the real estate industry, the internet has made it easier for consumers to not only look for homes, but to engage with agents and other professionals without leaving the house; however, a line has always been drawn between finding a home online and actually purchasing a home online. Generally speaking, the brick and mortar business of real estate—with real estate agents at the helm—continues to be the norm.
Still, according to a recent CNBC article, the U.S. market may be primed for a new wave of online-only real estate agents who have found success in the U.K. Companies like eMoov and HouseSimple have gained a footing through streamlined systems which allow them to charge lower fees for selling a home.
However, after speaking with the National Association of Realtors, the article’s author was told that Americans should be leery of making the transition into a purely digital real estate market, especially since purchasing a home is a lot more complex than “clicking ‘buy’ on a website, like you’d do when purchasing an airline ticket.”
They also make a point to stress the fact that while online companies may save sellers money, they are lacking in their ability to fully understand local markets and will have a hard time helping consumers navigate each step of the transaction process.
At the end of the day, the U.S. real estate industry is all about forging personal connections and providing personal attention. Utilizing the services of an agent who not only has knowledge about the buying and selling process, but the local area is important if you’re hoping to get the best deal possible.
Yes, the internet has a unique affinity for making things simple when it comes to purchasing a product from anywhere in the world; however, how easy is it to make contact if you have an issue with that product once you’ve purchased it? The problem with the impersonal nature of dealing with online corporations is that you’re doing business with people who have no real ties to you, your life, or your community.
The vitality of a local real estate agent is often based upon personal referrals, which means your best interests remain the primary concern. This will not be the case with an online-only agent or company, so it’s worth questioning whether you want to place $200,000+ to someone who has no real ties to your life.
At this point in time, the U.S. market has yet to see a rise in these types of companies, but the wave is coming and homeowners need to be prepared for what types of changes they can expect to see within the industry.
If you’re looking to sell your current property or are on the hunt for something new, I would love give you the personal attention you deserve. Please contact me for more information.
Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789