In these times where information is often as available to the consumer as it is to the professional, there was widespread speculation that the Zillows and Zip Realtys of the world would drive down the value the services provided by real estate agents, with the eventual result of eliminating the need for real estate agents altogether.
Oddly enough, the opposite happened—we got even busier. Why? Because in a world where so much information is available, people still need someone to turn to who can make sense of it all and help guide them to good decisions with that information. I have found in my own practice that my role as an agent has evolved increasingly into that of a general practitioner who handles the broad range of transactions (from residential to commercial to business opportunity sales and beyond) while drawing from an increasingly complex network of specialists in each area handled.
This includes memberships in different professional organizations and knowing the right types of contracts, lenders and escrow holders to use for different types of transactions. It means being able to draw from different pools of inspectors depending on what type of situation is being evaluated. And it means having familiarity with the cast of characters and practices amongst the different fields and regions to be able to successfully navigate through whatever waters a given project may lead.
In the end, it comes down to having someone you trust on your side. There is value to having a reliable source to turn to who has the needed level of experience and familiarity to make for better series of decisions and better results than you could achieve trying to go it alone.
It would be a tall order for one person to have the skills to be an expert in each of these fields, but by serving more as a conduit to the right resources for each situation that our clients face, the modern agent has become a kind of concierge for their clients, who knows the right blend of resources to bring in for any specific situation.
A Yelp review is no substitute for a qualified reference based on past personal experience on other similar projects. And a self-driving car won’t be able to tell you a fraction of the community insight that a local knows about the commercial or residential neighborhood you are looking at moving to.
In short, it helps to know the right people.