Real Estate's Paradigm Shift
Real estate is different now- yet very much the same. Remember the old MLS books Realtors carried around? They were mini-phone-book size and only published every few months. The power of information was in that book, and only Realtors had them.
Now it is estimated that more than 80% of potential home buyers use the internet to educate, research and find real estate opportunities. Consumer access to real estate information caused a paradigm shift with regards to how real estate information gets disseminated and interpreted. It has also raised the bar on how educated and empowered today’s buyers are. Sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin and Zillow shifted the power of initial and basic information to the consumer. The Buyer/Realtor relationship is more of a partnership now, which I think is win/win.
Here is what hasn’t changed: ultimately, a buyer who is working with a local agent, narrowing down their choices, is what gets real estate sold. Buyers need objective advice and learned input from a seasoned agent who will shed light and offer insight that no website can replace. “Facts” on websites are subject to input error, incorrect formulaic conclusions and assumptions that require vetting by a local expert.
Home search sites are great to the extent their estimates and conclusions can be verified or disproven by local pros who know the territory. For example, access to medical information on line has caused consumers to ask more questions and to be more proactive in their relationships with physicians- but at the end of the day most of us wouldn’t self prescribe medication, or perform surgery on ourselves based on what we’ve seen and read on the internet. There are layers and layers of information, subtle and broad based, that an industry professional brings to the table. A home buyer’s best tool is still the local real estate professional she/he selects.
KatieSompleis a 10 year Napa Valley real estate veteran. She can be reached at (707) 235-8585 or