Real Estate 'Bots' - Convenient, Fun, and...Absent
Real Estate ‘bots’?
Yes. They’re out there.
If you can open a door to a vacant home by texting a code to a number and receiving a code back that unlocks the door, you are interacting with a Real Estate Robot.
Our lives are busy and getting busier.
Research now shows us that the lives of average Americans are exponentially more complicated than the lives of average Americans 30 years ago. So much so, we buying shampoo and other essentials from websites instead of brick-and-mortar stores because we simply do not have the time to physically go and shop.
Portland, Oregon is #2 in the country when it comes to the number of residents who work from home. Working from home has many advantages; convenience, no frustrating commuting, we use less gas, we can often toss a load of laundry in while we are on that conference call, or search the RMLS one more time at 11:00 p.m. without having to drive to the office.
But one of the disadvantages of working from home for many telecommuters is that they tend to work longer and more often than they did when they left their job at the office at 5:00 p.m. And because of that, along with living the rest of our lives, we are far busier.
This means looking for a house with a Realtor may seem as though it might take more time or be more of an inconvenience than just going by ourselves on the way to meet friends, using an app to have a quick look on the fly, and leaving.
I agree! It does SEEM as though that works a little better for our lives today.
But imagine for a moment you are a home-owner who is selling your home. You’ve hired a bot Realtor to help you sell it. You are sent disclaimers and forms that tell you how this easy-peasy process works and the claims of crazy-savings are touted, and you think, “This is going to save me thousands of dollars! This is awesome!” When has saving thousands of dollars ever been a bad idea?
Until the un-escorted person is in your home (vacant or occupied) and your property is harmed, damaged, stolen, or, worse yet, the viewer leaves your home un-secured (unlocked), or worse yet, does not leave at all because they need shelter for the night.
Licensed Real Estate Professionals have to go through a process of education, they have to pass a State and Federal exam to be licensed, they have to pass background tests to ensure they do not have a criminal history, they have to answer to a oversight board if complaints are levied against them, they have to continually educate themselves to maintain their licensure, and they do not get paid until your house is sold or until you buy your house.
We are professionally and ethically bound to advocate for, and to protect you, throughout a very complicated process.
Example (because everyone loves case studies!);
1) What happens when you are purchasing a home and your agent drives by the home four days before closing, just to check on it and make sure everything looks okay, and she notices the front yard is torn up? Concerned, she knocks on the next-door neighbor’s door and the neighbor tells her a utility truck tried to turn around in the yard and got stuck in the rainy weather and spun out. Unfortunately for the Sellers, that torn-up yard is the location of the septic drain field for the house you are about to own. The agent then calls the utility that owns the truck and tells them the situation, the driver of the truck admits his error, and the agent advocates for her client so the problem is addressed, so they can flush their toilets after they move in.
She even offers to delay closing until the issue is addressed, to incentivise the Sellers to act quickly. Her Buyers did not know what they would have done. But she knew precisely what to do. This is an agent in our office and she is amazing.
2) What happens when the pool at the house you are dying to buy is cantilevered out over a creek and there may or may not be some settling of the soil down below? Your agent will call several structural engineers and geo-tech engineers to come out and give an analysis so the value of the home you are about to buy is not only justified, but also protected. That agent knew just what to do.
3) When a Buyers’ Agent writes up an offer, after your home has been on the market all of two days, and the offer is $47,000 below list price, also asks for the three story deck to be completely torn down and replaced, and it also asks for all the stager’s furniture to be thrown in for no added money, do you get upset?
Your agent won’t. He will know precisely how to respond professionally and courteously.
4) Want to sell your home on your own? Do you know all the forms that are State and Federal requirements, that must be provided to the Buyers within specific time periods and have their own inspection periods attached to them? What about those Federal FIRPTA forms?
Your agent does this every day and knows what needs to be provided to whom, by when, which inspection periods are running when, and what you need to do by when.
5) What happens when you are looking at homes with your agent, you all enter a vacant and staged house, and your agent sees signs someone may be squatting in the home? She knows what to look for, what to do, and how to calmly get you out of the home without causing upset and without putting you in harms’ way.
6) When a home you are purchasing is being inspected by your inspector, which items are big deals and which ones aren’t? Your agent knows the answer to this.
7) When its 9:00 p.m., your kids are finally in bed, and you have questions and 10 houses you are interested in, will the bot answer your phone call? Your agent very likely will. That is our job.
These are all real scenarios that Real Estate Professionals encounter as part of their every day jobs. We pay for our licenses to be maintained, we pay for required memberships to specific boards, our local MLS, organizations that help keep us ontop of the latest trends, we pay our brokerages that cover our E/O insurance and business insurance, and we continually educate ourselves in the newest trends, loan products, scams and phishing schemes, and State and Federal regulatory changes.
There are things we buy online; shampoo, widgets, speakers, bikes, maybe even shoes, clothes, etc. But if you are planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the largest investment you will ever make, there is nothing simple or uncomplicated about that process. There are far too many moving parts to keep track of for it to be described as ‘simple.’ This is a process that includes seeing, touching, smelling, finding out, assessment, [big] decisions, and you need an actual human to be there with you throughout the process.
Choose your real estate human wisely, and you will be very happy you did!