It’s Not About the Data Image

It’s Not About the Data


An article in the Globe and Mail today outlines new software being developed by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that will allow agents and outsiders alike to build feature-heavy sites using the CREA data.

The article goes on to say this will open the door to lower real estate commissions and more consumers “doing it on their own,” even though the lower real estate commissions haven’t materialized in the United States following the launch of similar software programs and independent websites.

It’s clear from the comments on the Globe and Mail article that the general public sees a lot of value in opening up the listing data – and not a lot of value in the work done by real estate agents. And that is what needs to change going forward.

There’s no doubt the real estate industry is going to change, we’ve been seeing this for some time now with a number of independent marketing-only websites for consumers wanting to sell their house on their own or looking to purchase a new one without the assistance of an industry professional.

As a real estate industry professional, make yourself valuable to consumers. Don’t make it about simply sticking a for sale sign on their lawn. Give them the valuable advice they cannot get elsewhere. Keep the clients’ best interest above your own at all times. Explain what it is you bring to the table that they cannot get from a simple website or marketing company. The agents who do this well will be the ones who remain successful in the industry.

And there is empirical data to support this belief – in summer 2010, RECA contracted a marketing research company to explore consumer knowledge about the structure and regulation of the real estate industry, and to gain an understanding of the expectations consumers have when they work with a licensed real estate professional. Respondents stated they wanted to work with a real estate professional who listened to their wants/needs and was competent to act on their behalf. The desire to access listing information and sales data was not the reason these consumers hired a real estate professional. Rather, the survey respondents saw the value real estate professionals bring in helping consumers navigate the complex process of buying or selling real estate.

The large majority of consumers surveyed completed successful transactions and nearly all confirmed they would use the services of a real estate professional in their future transactions.

If your past clients were to be surveyed, would they have such positive things to say about the services you provided?

What do you do to provide value and remain relevant?