Technology disruption

By Vern McClelland

June 8, 2017 12:00 AM

Modern ways have benefited potential buyers

I have written often in this column about the human side of real estate, but today I would like to touch on the role of technology.
Consumers appear to have an insatiable thirst for information.
In fact, many times buyers have told me if there aren’t enough photos online of a property, they will simply move on to the next listing.
This isn’t unique to house hunting, many use the same approach to booking a hotel or vacation.
It used to be having a website was the ultimate a Realtor could offer, particularly if there was an inquiry page a prospect could fill out.
Today we’re expected to be accessible on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, even Instagram.
Realtor.ca, the national website hosted by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), remains the number one destination visited by people researching available properties.
One of its best features is providing relevant information on all for sale homes in a neighbourhood by map location.
But this 24/7 exposure leads consumers to believe they should be able to access Realtors at any time of the day or night.
Just this weekend alone my business partner and I fielded more than 25 phone calls, texts, or e-mails on properties.
And this is in what we consider to be a slow market.
When we met Monday morning for our usual recap of weekend activity, it was determined that none of those inquiries were so important that they couldn’t have waited until normal business hours.
Most people, it seems, believe their interest overrides any sense of respect for our personal time.
After 14 years in the business,  I have come to believe the more aggressive the caller, the less likely they are to complete on anything.
In fact, I think they just want to see how high someone will jump to meet their needs.
Don’t get me wrong, if one of my clients really needs to speak to me on an evening or weekend, I’m more than happy to oblige, all I ask is they leave me a message explaining their quest, and I will get back to them as soon as I am able.
But if you want to get my blood boiling, cold call me Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. asking if I can set up a showing in 15 minutes on your way back from the lake or from visiting friends.
Happens way too often.
The purpose of technology in real estate is to provide more data to an audience so they can make an informed decision.
About seven years ago, our group implemented virtual video tours to complement the usual slide show of still photos.
It’s not Home and Garden TV but we believe providing a walk around helps a potential buyer get a feel for a property.
We have even added footage taken from a drone for certain rural properties.
One of two results normally come out of it—the buyer decides the site won’t work for them or it creates an increased interest.
Either way both seller and buyer win.
The seller doesn’t have to vacate their home just to satisfy someone’s curiosity.
Buyers come onto the property having done their homework and more prepared to like what they see.
The technology exists to provide three dimensional tours, but it is simply too expensive to implement today.
We have experimented with floor plans on resale properties, but again, too time consuming, especially if you want an accurate rendering of the layout of a home.
I still believe quality time spent between a Realtor and their client at the front end of a property search is the best investment of all.
Come into our office and talk with us about what you are looking for.
You might be surprised what your Realtor can come up with!
Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.

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