There was a time when a real estate agent was your only option when looking for a home or investment property. Even in the internet’s infancy people were more apt to turn to a live agent than they were to surf the web. Those times have changed though with Google’s intuitive semantic search, as well as sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. Now it is easier than ever to open up a browser and search for the home of your dreams – or is it? Real estate search engines might be convenient but they really just skim the surface. There’s still a lot to be said for talking to a live person when searching for real estate property.
At first glance the internet seems so convenient. After all, it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Upon closer look, though, internet real estate search engines are very inflexible. Unless you have a very specific idea of what you are looking for, it is rather inefficient. The filtered information options in the search engines are very controlled. If you have special requirements you will find it difficult to incorporate them into the search.
On the other hand, when you are talking to a real estate agent, when you are sitting face to face with a live person, you can discuss nuances that can’t be addressed by a few filters on a real estate site. Agents still have access to the internet so once you tell them exactly what you are looking for – or several things you may be looking for – they will do the work then send you links to the properties they find. It is the best of both worlds.
Even in this highly tech savvy society we still need the human touch. We have self-check outs at the supermarket, but there is still a human nearby to handle problems that arise. The airlines have automated kiosks for check in, but they also have live customer service representatives handy both in person and on the phone. The truth is, we need that human component. Yes, typing in a few terms and clicking a button is easy, but it has its limits. Even Google’s fancy semantic search doesn’t get it right all the time.
When you sit down with a broker you can tell them everything you are looking for and everything you don’t want. You can list your must-haves and your deal breakers, then leave them to find the perfect match. Search engines don’t have that.
A real estate agent will take the time to get to know you. They build a relationship with you and that plays an integral part in how they help you find the property you want. A computer can’t build a relationship with you; it can’t get to know you. All it can know is what you enter into that search box or click on those filters.
An agent can see a house and know right away you would be interested because you love yellow and the master bedroom is trimmed in a pale lemon. They know that your partner is a diehard foodie and the kitchen in the little cottage that just came onto the market is a chef’s dream. They can tap into these things because they know you, they see beyond a set of search filters. They see the human behind the search and in that way, a computer simply cannot compete.