New technology has caused a huge shift in the dynamic of real estate as a service industry. Exceptional service is hard to come by under normal circumstances but the nature of 365 days a year and 24/7 availability simply undermines even the most diligent agent. Brokers are only human and may miss a potential client, thus reasserting that the internet, while faceless, is at least open for house hunting at all hours. Zillow doesn’t sleep. Trulia sloshes through the oceans of expensive internet advertising just to find buyers and they never, ever take breaks. Agents often find themselves behind the flow of data and catch up only when they are notified of the street address of the house the buyer wants to see in person.
Clients want instant answers
Gen X might have led the charge into the foray of greater independence on house hunting and gotten the self service streak rolling with online sites such as For Sale By Owner, but it is the Millenials that will now be first time home buyers. They seek out mobile websites for brokerages, mortgages, house listings and similar that must not only be up to speed on content, but as well as the latest features, including a one click button to connect to an agent (preferably with a text). If there is not an app for that, they will move on to the next one. An app installed is only a swipe away from being uninstalled, so the easier it is to use and provide valuable content, the more likely it is to remain on the user’s mobile device.
Clients want verification
It’s gotten super easy now to never know anything, but verify. Checking out a property on Realtor.com is one way to find an interesting property. However, more people can dig a little deeper on details by Googling the street address and see if it’s been in the news before contacting an agent to see it in person. Rest assured, professional listing agents normally do the exact same thing to get essential information on a property and they don’t want any unexpected surprises on a property listing. Who better to trust, but verify, than Google?
Clients share their findings
Houses on the market today love their selfies. But buyers today not only want to see the gorgeous exterior of a house, they also want to explore the features of the inside of the house, often to pinterest it on their pages, take digital video of it, post it on YouTube, put it to music and digitally photoshop the walls and hopefully whatever else to make it look the way they envision it. Home buyers may not want that home, but they know what they can make it look like. An app such as iCreate’s LTD app for Waterstone Homes, for example, http://waterstonehomes.com/content/new-3D-interactive-app-new-development-marketing.php, allows clients access to a 3D virtual program which runs simultaneously over the live property. The 3D overlay simulation allows potential buyers to virtually walk through it, as well as incorporating changes on the spot and visualize the finished product.
In the end, more real estate agents have realized that they can provide valuable inter-personal service for their clients, of all ages. The good news is that now there are far fewer surprises for clients during the home buying process, a lot less digging for real estate agents to comply with full disclosure and as Google knows, more information is better than less. With a new generation of mobile devices, apps and home buying virtual reality, home buyers have more control than ever when buying their next home.
Jennifer Kinzle is a Realty Biz News Contributing Writer