How tech savvy is your real estate agent?

Is your Realtor working in this century?

Or as a home buyer are you getting left behind with them?

I know that sounds like a terrible agist question, but in the current hyper aggressive Indianapolis real estate market, I feel like it is legitimate. In fact, I will go as far to say that if you aren’t asking yourself this question, then you are probably at a serious disadvantage to my clients.

Lets talk about why.

First off, let me be frank. The average Realtor (according to NAR) is 53 years old. That is about 15 years older than the first people to grow up up with household computers and internet. We have all had the experience of teaching our parents or grandparents how to perform basic functions on cpus, tablets, and phones. This scene is played out all day in real estate offices across the country, where younger agents learn about markets from the older agents who for the most part have no idea how to use the myriad of tools which have made this career so much more efficient it is hard to even fathom how they managed to sell homes way back in the 70’s and 80’s. But our focus today is not the miracle of finding the right buyer without internet marketing…its the fact that most of these older agents have no idea how to use internet marketing, or any of the other tools that make this process almost painless for our clients.

Lets start with marketing homes and services. Most of the agents out there know that they need to get their listing on the BLC (broker listing cooperative… or MLS multiple listing service if you are not in Indiana) and they hope that the listing will feed out to other websites and that they will get discovered. Some of them (like my managing broker who is the exception to all of this…40 plus years in the business and she teaches the kids how to interweb), even know to use a paid service that manual feeds all of your listings onto the 900+ third party web sites that market real estate.

Better than half of them do not take this opportunity. That’s right. Just by not understanding how websites spread information between each other and counting on period spider crawls instead of manually (its automated actually but it functions like a manual input) feeding their listings to the world, OVER HALF OF THE LISTING AGENTS OUT THERE ARE LIMITING YOUR HOMES SALES POTENTIAL. It’s sad really, because most of their clients don’t know it is happening.

The same problem exists on the home buying side too. Our BLC has literally hundreds of tools to enhance, narrow, or otherwise modify our home searches. In addition to that, there are multiple tools for sending those home search results to or clients. Some of them (like the drip campaign search that I am so fond of) give our clients huge advantages over someone who are not using them. The less tech savvy agents cannot even effectively use the search, they end up using the commercially available real estate search sites that customers use… and subsequently give their customers all of the disadvantages that they would have themselves conducting their search without an agent.

The biggest of these is the searches being out of date. The plain and simple fact is because of the logistics of updating servers from every individual multiple listing service around the country, all of the commercial sites information is 1 to 3 days behind. In addition to that, they are real estate agent marketing platforms rather than real estate sales platforms and therefore do not clearly identify homes that have been sold, pulled from the market, or that have otherwise become unavailable. Our systems do, and when used well by a tech savvy Realtor, they give a home buyer the best chance to get into a home first, assess it and get it under contract before the less technology driven realty agents can even react.

The last advantage of tech drive real estate agents (that I am going to discuss) over more traditional Realtors is smoothing out the home purchase process. From keeping an accurate database of clients and their personal timelines and needs all the way to the closing table, modern technology has made the home buying process infinitely easier. Lets look at some of the ways this is true.

The mortgage pre-approval process: Most mortgage professionals still prefer starting out with a face to face meeting, just like your friendly neighborhood spider…er, Realtor. The thing is, after that first meeting, you would probably rather not have to visit their office every other day to deliver the one more paper, form, or document that the lender and their underwriters require. Thanks to modern tech…you don’t have to. There are half a dozen ways to transfer those documents back and forth without ever leaving your home.

The home search: Once upon a time, real estate agents had books full of listings that updated every week or so. Every time they updated they had to deliver them to you, or you had to pick them up from the realty office. Now, not only can you search the multiple listing service directly or from a commercial site anywhere you can connect to the internet…your Realtor can feed listings that match your specific criteria directly to your email so you don’t even have to wade through a bunch of listings that there is no chance you would want.

Scheduling home showings: Once upon a time, to see a home that you found after flipping through a catalogue week after week, you would have to call until you got ahold of your real estate agent (no voicemail or text) to let them know what you wanted to see, and then they would have to hunt down the listing agent, to schedule the showing and to get the keys to the house. This might take a week and you know in a housing market as hot as it is in Indianapolis right now, that is 6 days too long. These days we have lock boxes and companies like centralized showing service that make scheduling showings much easier to set up…and just as securely as another agent carrying your house keys around for six months. The crazy thing here is some agents still do not use these services. I don’t know if it is because they are not tech savvy enough or if they don’t feel that selling your home is worth the expense, but I can tell you that my clients miss getting to see more homes do to agents who do not use CSS and are not available to schedule showings than any other single reason.Writing real estate contracts, offers, addendums, amendments, and documenting the realty transaction.

Writing real estate contracts, counter offers, addendums, amendments, and documenting the realty transaction. Lets face it. Even in today’s “paperless” business world, every home sold results in the loss of at least one tree. There are a lot of forms throughout the process, all of them require signatures, and 95% of them have to be written and signed at specific points of the real estate transaction. Unless you are independently wealthy (and probably not then either) you do not have time to drop everything and come to my office and sign a form every time an event happens while you are buying or selling a home. Some agents think it is still ok to solve that the pre housing crisis way of having you pre-sign the forms and just expecting you to trust them to do things correctly. Not only is this fraud, it is also expecting you to place more trust in them than the already considerable amount just committing to working with an agent does, but it also ignores the fact that we can make mistakes and you should see the document (completely filled out!) prior to signing anything. To make matters worse, thanks to the technology these agents ignore (or don’t use well); we have the tools to create these forms, deliver them to you, have them signed, and then to store them for your later retrieval. All of this can be done from a phone, anywhere you can connect to the internet.

Its isn’t hard to extrapolate from there how much all of these modern tools can make the process of buying or selling a home smoother and easier for the real estate client. Whether its in just helping the real estate broker organized so he is serving your needs instead of one of the other seven clients he is working with, finding your new home, getting you in to see the home, researching the home and neighborhood, fighting through a tough negotiation, resolving home inspection issues, communicating with your mortgage lender or the title company, or working on any other part of the process…technology should be working for you in any real estate transaction you are involved in.

The long and short of this is the advantages of working with a tech savvy agent are huge, and working with one who is not can hurt your prospects whether you are selling or buying a home. Make sure when you interview your agents that you are picking one that give you those benefits.

If you want to work with a tech savvy real estate agent in Indianapolis, who strives to give you EVERY advantage in your realty transaction, call Robb at 317-657-8059 or email to schedule your free home buying or selling consultation.

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About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
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