Real Estate and the Internet

Throughout the last decade, the internet has became a major influence on the real estate market. Groups of websites, such as Zillow and Trulia, aim to help consumers throughout the property search process. These type of websites provide property listings and other relevant information about properties in a specific area, then they connect potential clients with traditional, brick and mortar real estate firms.  Property listings websites have became an extremely common step in the home buying process, with ninety percent of Americans starting their real estate journeys on the web. The appeal of these websites is that searching for a home becomes entertainment, there is no immediate need to browse through countless open houses anymore.

One would be reasonable to believe that this adaption to property search and buying/processes would have a significant negative impact on the industry as a whole, this has surprisingly not been the case. Although almost all Americans interested in buying or selling a home will use one of these websites at some point, these people still desire the support of a traditional agent. The traditional model of a real estate agent has stayed very resilient to the new model of online brokerage. Redfin, a listing website that aimed to eliminate traditional brokerages by offering online/in person services that accomplish the same goals has not had the success that they had anticipated. The company realized that they needed to hire more and more people in order to help people through the home buying process. At first, the founders had believed that people would adapt to having the whole experience more advice based and virtual. What they have found out is that people require far more help, and need their hands held in many parts of the selling/buying process. This is mainly because these transactions are extremely emotional and expense, most of the time being an individuals largest financial decision of their lives. Often, when a problem occurs, clients needs a physical person they can go to in order to get advice and guidance. For now, these new online models do not hold an immediate threat to traditional agents.


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