This is the answer that was given by a speaker at a real estate convention I attended in Ottawa when asked how his demographic shops for a home in 2018.
“When I am shopping for a home I am shopping for an agent using various social media sites at the same time. If your not on social media you will be non-existent to me. Once I have decided which agent to use I will contact you and if you have not responded to my request within an hour maybe two I will move onto my second choice. I will do all the research for you and I’m not looking for a good agent to build a long lasting relationship with I just want to get into my top three houses.”
This is a post that I am sure that many of you have seen or maybe even posted.
“Who is the Best Real Estate Agent in (insert your market)? GO !!!
Stop for one moment and think how this is any different than going to a friends wedding of 300+ guests and taking the bands microphone and yelling out the same thing in the middle of the reception. Other than the bride probably shunning you for the rest of your life for being a jackass it is really the same…so why does it seem like the right way to find an agent?
The Real Estate agents role has changed significantly over the past 10 years due to social media. But is it for the better for the consumer or are we headed for trouble?
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who represents buyers and sellers in real estate transactions.
I have built my business over the past 17+ years by providing my clients with exceptional service and building relationships to ensure that they would feel comfortable referring me to friends and family and especially using me again when their real estate needs changed, this is not enough. I have marketed the properties that I am contracted to sell using every medium available to me at a cost which is budgeted to be a little over 15% of my real estate income, this is not enough. When looking at real estate with clients I advise them, based on my past experience and market knowledge, on the long term outlook for the home and the expected resale potential should it not be their “forever home”, this is not enough.
I think you get the point. The core fundamentals that you would want in a great agent are no longer enough because how an agent is found has changed.
So how is a great agent found in these days of social media?
The two examples I opened with give you a little insight to the thoughts and process which many new buyers are finding an agent to use.
The first example really just solidified the thoughts that I already had and very well knew but to hear it really bugged me a little. A great real estate agent is not sitting by their phone or computer waiting for a call, text, email, PM, DM, Tweet, smoke signal, you name it, they are out with clients looking at homes or doing presentations and may not see that message inside of that time. A great agent is very busy and probably time blocks their response to general enquiries to make sure they give them the attention they deserve. Now I know there are agents that are notoriously bad at returning messages and that is their problem but is an hour or two really worth not dealing with someone that you have already deemed the agent for you? Don’t miss out on a great agent by setting the expectation that they are doing nothing but waiting on the next cold call.
The second example is one that I have seen way too often and hurts my heart a little.
“Who is the Best Real Estate Agent in Grande Prairie GO !!!
Now I can only speak to my local market but in this market of 225 active agents and the average number of different agents that are mentioned in posts of this nature is 74 !! Is it really possible that 1/3 of our membership are the best agent? I thought all this time of everyone advertising Grande Prairie’s #1 agent was just hogwash…I guess not. The funny thing is many of those mentioned, are a) no longer in real estate, b) have recently been fined for bad practice or bad ethics c) have not done any business in the past 6 months or d) have not even sold a home yet. I do answer back and thank the clients of mine that refer me within the posts as I do take that as a huge compliment but I also suggest to that person that they should make the effort to talk to their closest friends and family members to see if they have had experience with a real estate agent they would feel comfortable referring to them. I always suggest that any one looking for an agent choose 3 agents from different brokerages in their local area and interview them rather than listening to the opinions of 290 acquaintances who may or may not have even used a real estate agent.
The dangerous part of this change in Real Estate that may be the Death of the Great Agent is that the thing we are most passionate about has become the least important part of our value….the Real Estate. What is deemed most important by the new buyers and to some point the sellers now is what your social media portfolio looks like. How many likes you have? How many followers do you have? How often do you post? Can they find you on their social media platform of choice? Somehow social media has become the new benchmark of a good agent rather than a good track record with past clients or even the knowledge and passion they bring to the transaction. My fear is that the great agents with a knowledge and passion to advise the clients correctly will be gone and the social media agent with no knowledge or passion for real estate will thrive by taking orders from a client with the same amount of knowledge of real estate as them.
This scares me because a large portion of a person’s wealth is in their real estate and when they receive bad advice during either buying or selling but especially buying that wealth can disappear quickly leaving them a bad feeling toward their Real Estate Agent. It is not the agents fault sadly but the consumers fault for allowing that agent to thrive based on nothing more than a social media platform.
Choose your agent wisely and allow Great Agents share their passion and knowledge with you. A Great Agent will represent you to achieve the best results possible to increase and protect your wealth but may not be the social media giant in your market area.