Will Realtors even be necessary in the future?

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Will Realtors even be necessary in the future?

Picking up the thread…. New post-Covid protocols for showing and selling real estate have hastened the demise of some older industry traditions that were already on their way out.  No more driving people around or handing out flyers for starters. If the threat of the coronavirus persists other longtime industry practices could easily end up on the endangered species list as well. Right now in Phase Two of California’s roadmap to recovery,  here’s what real estate’s new normal looks like:

COVID-19 pictographs and safety plans for entry are prominently displayed on the front door of every listing. Masks are worn during every showing and wipes are provided. Buyers are not supposed to touch anything when touring and houses are supposed to be cleaned and sanitized between every showing

Every showing is by appointment only and extensive paperwork has to be competed by both buyers and sellers prior to any/every showing.  Buyers are strongly encouraged to view properties virtually rather than in person.

There are no in-person open houses on the horizon. A growing number of virtual open house options are filling the gap

Initial listing appointments are being held via zoom.  Offers are being signed electronically and presented via zoom. Disclosure paperwork is being delivered and signed via electronic signature platforms.

There are no in-person sign offs at the Title Company. Instead, they are being done remotely using mobile notaries without the presence of an escrow officer, Realtor or loan broker.

Drive-by appraisals are becoming more the norm. Grant deeds are being recorded electronically at the County.

The use of digital marketing tools has increased exponentially: Virtual staging as a substitute for actual physical stagers,  I Guide Floorplans, 3D Walk-Throughs, Drone and Video Presentations, Individual Virtual Showings, Social Media Posts, Email Flyer Blasts, Single-Property Websites etc.

Reading through the above almost sounds like a wish list designed by one of the many would-be I-Buyer platforms that have periodically surfaced over the last ten to twenty years. The ones who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to disrupt the people-centric and relational parts of the real estate business by substituting digital algorithms that boil the listing and buying of homes down to a simple transactional event.

Next Week: Will Realtors even be necessary in the future?

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