In a world with Uber and Amazon, a world of easy and instant gratification, we all want everything that way now. It’s expected: speed, ease of use, and simple to understand. Who even waits on a web page to load anymore? No one. On to the next one.
As a technologist who has disrupted a few things in my time, I am surprised by the lack of useful innovation for agents for things they need to do every day. If I was an agent, I would want 1) to find houses to buy or sell for clients and 2) price those houses quickly and easily.
As an agent, the sooner the transition from selling to sold, the more valuable I am to my clients. Agents today are caught in the crossfire since property technology (proptech) giants like Zillow have taken their message directly to the consumer. They are by-passing the agents, telling sellers they are real estate market experts and their Zestimate® is the accurate house price. Not only do agents have to contend with a completely misinformed consumer but count yourself lucky if you are still getting clients with the advent of “iBuyer” platforms. These are now eating anywhere from 5 to 20% of an area’s inventory.
Real estate agents, their teams and brokers are left with CMA tools, Realtors Property Resource, and online AVMS. These are mostly static presentation tools, and if they are new, they are built of the same antiquated technology. Additional complications occur because CMAs and AVMs each use different data sets and methodologies. As a result, they rarely agree on the same price for a property. This leaves real estate agents trying to explain discrepancies of two flawed pricing tools. Once again, the conflicting price signals—which might also contradict the agent’s valuation of the property—can lead to mistrust, and in turn, damage the client-agent relationship.
We need effective tools that demonstrate and complement our market knowledge. CMA tools handing out static PDF presentations and AVMs only giving single number outputs; this is not enough in today’s world of online solutions and mobile apps. Not to mention that their mathematical concepts are flat out wrong most of the time. The programs and tools currently available to agents today just don’t cut it. We will continue to lose market share if we don’t change and change our tools.