I love hearing and reading the banter from supposed experts and C-Level commentators as they speculate on the future role of humans in the real estate industry. What I find amazing is how the financial community overvalues REA (realestate.com.au) on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
The financial community is persistently waiting, even expecting, REA to take the next step and disrupt the real estate ‘commission’ industry but what many refuse to acknowledge, or perhaps choose to remain ignorant to is the complexity of an actual real estate property transaction.
But how do you explain the intricacies of an agent’s role in dealing with both the buyer and the seller, to an everyday person not involved in the real estate business.
The truth is, you can’t explain it but as a licensed real estate agent and a former top producer before entering the real estate technology industry in 2005, here’s my take on what a real estate professional needs to make a successful transaction and or run a real estate business.
- Psychology (human behaviour, personality types, dispute resolution)
- Family counselling
- Bereavement counselling
- Suicide awareness
- Specialised valuation (residential, commercial, and so on)
- Trust accounting
- Land law and property law
- Contract law
- Human resources
- Business management
- Business financial planning
- Information technology
- Web technology
- Database management
- Professional development
- Marketing, advertising and copywriting
- Communication skills
- Listing presentation
- Running a listing
- Customer service
While this is a long list and certainly not an exhaustive one, I believe the one skill set that is the most vital to broker a real estate deal is to be an understanding of psychology and to be psychologically minded.
While it’s probably an impossible ask to have real estate agents also be qualified psychologists, it is a vital link between those who are successful and those who are driven to grow as people and the impact it has on their business. Being able to understand people and their motives to sell or buy, and to be able to empathise and engage and create trust is the one thing that an automated system cannot provide.
So what does this have to do with the future of real estate consultants? The McKinsey Global Institute has recently published a report with some very interesting findings about the potential occupations to become fully automated in the coming years.
What is is evident is that the occupations with the least capacity to become automated are those that involve understanding people and information in order to provide their service; psychologists, legislators, statisticians and chief executives.
So if you consider the very makeup of a real estate team or business unit, the senior listing and selling consultant is part psychologist, part businessman, part trend forecaster and more.
So it’s safe to say, that the occupations facing extinction does not include the real estate commission industry.