Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted. I've been on vacation, which has coincided both with the only hot weather of the summer and our new puppy's arrival. That's kept me busy, but I did just finish reading Free by Chris Anderson, which is a book about all the things that we now get for free (mostly on the internet), and how that has changed business. Our industry, of course, is a great example.
When I started in real estate, all the information about all of the properties offered came in a printed book that was published every two weeks by our local Board of Realtors. Customers couldn't take it out of the office, so they had to come in to look at what was for sale. We controlled all the information, and thought that that was our salvation.
Fast forward to today: Our website gives away everything that we know about a property, and it does it without requiring payment or loyalty or even identification. We now map properties, so that you know where they are located, we tell you approximately what your own home is worth, and we post all the things we can think of that you might want to know.
What happened? Our role as Realtors has changed. We are now consultants, negotiating between buyers and sellers. We no longer work only for the seller, and we no longer rely on information as power. And what we've found is that people who use us, which they are no longer almost forced to do, get more for their homes, or pay less as buyers, than those who go it alone. Also, we save time, hassle, and costly mistakes. Are we worth it? You bet! Most people who buy or sell without a real estate agent say that they wouldn't do it again. There certainly is value in experience, expertise, and local knowledge. And we can still put all the facts on the Web. So take advantage of that, and log on anytime!