Sunday, March 06, 2005

Realtors

In today's installment of the Cathy comic strip, Cathy Guisewite hits the nail on the head when it comes to Realtors (you can see today's strip here). She points out that the Internet has completely altered the landscape when it comes to buying a house: The Internet now:
  • Allows anyone to view all of the houses currently available for sale online (including specs, photos and often video tours)
  • Allows anyone to sort those houses by price range, number of bedrooms, location and dozens of other factors
  • Allows anyone to see what the previous sale price of the house was
  • Allows anyone to see what the current tax value is
  • Allows anyone to compare prices in the neighborhood
  • Allows anyone to apply for mortgages and get very good rates
  • Allows anyone to get advice from a thousand online sources
  • Allows anyone to do title searches
  • And so on...
At the end of the strip the Realtor says, "Every aspect of your purchase can be handled from the comfort of your own computer before coming in to see me for the last critical step: Collection of our 6% commission!" And that is so true.

What makes this particular example sad is that, as with the music industry, Realtors are going to fight the inevitable every step of the way. The job of a Realtor is in the process of being rendered obsolete by technology. A Realtor's job is rapidly reducing down to unlocking the doors of the houses that you want to visit. Unlocking doors is not worth thousands of dollars. So we will come up with a far less expensive way to handle that.

The fact that the occupation of "Realtor" is going to vanish is, on the one hand, fantastic for home buyers and home sellers. But it is also depressing to some degree. Being a Realtor has been, up to this point, a decent way for a lot of people to make a living. More than one million people belong to the National Association of Realtors [ref]. Sure, there are some home buyers who will continue using Realtors, but for the most part people are not going to pay someone $10,000 to do, approximately, nothing. So... many of those one million jobs will vanish over the next five to ten years.

We will be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing, especially as the pace of robotic development accelerates. Technology will be able to replace human beings in many job categories very quickly. The Web browser was not invented until 1990. It took several years to get traction, so really the Web has only existed to any significant degree for about 10 years. In those ten years the Web has made the Realtor's job laregly obsolete, and a million people will start the process of being out of work. The Web has done the same kind of thing to travel agents. It will be interesting to see how we begin to adjust our economic models to handle large-scale job displacement like this.

Google

13 Comments:

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Zeb Rice said...

This is so true. We bought a house just a few months ago, and it seems like all the realtor did was open the door for us, and give some likely information (like, the sewer line probably runs out this way, etc.). Oh, and gave us paperwork, too (which, of course, could be done electronically). That was about it.

 
At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt. I found my house online, got my loan online, and wrote my offer from a form I got online... and that was 5 years ago. I can just imagine how things are now- or how they will be 5 years from now. Appraisers are another obsolete realty-related occupation. When I re-financed it really bugged the crap out of me that I had to pay $250 for some guy to "appraise" my house. I'm sure he didn't even set eyes on the place and just looked it up. Ridiculous.

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Ed said...

No doubt. I found my house online, got my loan online, and wrote my offer from a form I got online... and that was 5 years ago. I can just imagine how things are now- or how they will be 5 years from now. Appraisers are another obsolete realty-related occupation. When I re-financed it really bugged the crap out of me that I had to pay $250 for some guy to "appraise" my house. I'm sure he didn't even set eyes on the place and just looked it up. Ridiculous.

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Death to realtors! And lawyers too!

 
At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cracking the Real Estate Code

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger Smiley said...

:)

 
At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It lokks simple but give it a try. Realtors dont make much money the comission is usaaly split 4 ways so six turns into 1.5 for the realtors.

The selling agent and broker split 3

The buer agent and his broker spit 3

you cant advertise your home the way a realty company does.

for sale by owners only sell to nieghbors and friends and sell for 15% less! Its proven fact!

 
At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been nearly 3 years since I bought my house without a realtor. It was incredibly intimidating. The biggest problem was the contract. Not because a contract is complicated or hard, but because we wanted an attorney to do the work. Attorneys are afraid of real estate contracts because they are usually done by realtors. Anyone wanting an attorney to do the job must be doing something underhanded! We went through three attorneys (one of them nearly lost us the house) before we found one who understood why we were there and did the job as simply as a realtor would have.
I am bitter about the lock that realtors have on the market. For the amount of money they charge, they don't do a lot. Sure a realtor would have made our life a bit easier, but the equivalent of an (inexpensive) new car in my pocket for a few days of hassle makes me wonder why anybody would purchase a house with a realtor. What a waste!

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger qishaya said...

is one of the labels that never become outdated. Designing by ed hardy sale one of the best tattoo artists that ever lived, these clothes will clearly deposit the suffering of time- trend sensible. cheap ed hardy Being able to buy clothes that are considered to be forever in tailor is indeed challenging. ed hardy online shop The key to this feat is actually unadorned. ed hardy swimwear You must forever reminisce that in shape, ed hardy hats it is very important that the designs are well-thought of, ed hardy sunglasses and reflects all types of personalities. ed hardy belts If a consumer relates to the mode, then you can be assured that the individual will always feel at diminish with what he is tiresome. ed hardy mens This is the debate why you should actually christian audigier think about what clothes fit your own form before selling them.

 
At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Viagra Online said...

My friend just told me about this and I love your podcast! My sister and I watch ANTM religiously and you point out all the stuff that we notice like Manis' deaf accent and her confused face!

 
At 1:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

July 2011: Funny. I'm working 4 times the amount per transaction as I did a few years ago. My work load has increased; my commission has decreased (because it's a percentage of a sales price which has decreased). I work very hard and very long hours to pull off a single transaction. Just a door opener collecting $thousand$? Puleeze!!!!!!!!

 
At 3:45 PM, Anonymous www.muebles-en-jaen.com said...

It cannot truly have success, I believe so.

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger Learn Chinese language on hanbridgemandarin said...

Hanbridge offers a range of language learning programs from beginner to advanced . These programs are designed to arm you with basic linguistic competency up to full fluency in Mandarin Chinese. To ensure relevancy, Hanbridge will tailor our courses to meet your particular needs and to help you flourish in your daily life in China.



More Chinese learning tags : Chinese Teaching Online | best way to learn Chinese online | Learn mandarin online course

 

Post a Comment

<< Home