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Why Today’s Agent Is MORE Important Than Ever – A Millennial’s Perspective

June 18 2015

lwolf agent importance millennialI am a millennial. I turned 30 last year and, yes, everything does begin to hurt more. I read blogs, posts, articles, etc. daily about how important my generation is to the housing market. Too many of us live at home with our parents, too many of us don't work at all and, most importantly, many of us are nowhere near buying a home. I come from an especially tough market – just outside of Seattle, Washington. $400,000 here doesn't get you much aside from a home twice as old as me and, unfortunately for my generation, most of us aren't very handy, so if something goes wrong and YouTube can't tell us how to fix it, we're in deep trouble.

So let's get to my story and why today's real estate agent is more important than ever. With so much technology out there, I often hear from real estate professionals that companies are trying to make them obsolete. Those who have been doing this long enough know how ridiculous this is, but it's a very real fear for agents. If agent aren't busy worrying about their client getting in touch with another agent on some portal, they worry about whether their tech expertise will impress clients – especially these young, know-it-all millennials.

I am here to tell you just how important you are – and why embracing technology is essential. I had the pleasure of working with Barb Sullivan, a long time John L. Scott agent. She is a family friend and of my 30 years here on Earth, she has been a part of 25 of them. Here is what I didn't need Barb for: technology. Here is what I did need her for: everything else! As a millennial, I know where to get information. I didn't need Barb to help me find homes... I think we can all name five different portals to help me do this, and Barb didn't care one bit that I used them.

My home buying journey has taken me over two years. My story began with a $425,000 three bedroom home that I was in love with but was ultimately outbid on. My story ended with an accepted offer on a $390,000 three bedroom town home. What I want to highlight are the things I learned in between from my Realtor that I NEVER would have thought about before, and some of the reasons why today's agent is so essential – especially for my generation. As it turns out, looking at beautiful homes on Zillow, Trulia, Redfin etc. isn't the only piece to buying a home.

Property Viewing

Barb and I looked at roughly 20-30 properties, but there was one I won't forget. We walked up to a three bedroom rambler and it looked nice from the outside. On the inside, it was remodeled but just wasn't big enough for me. We walked out the front door and I figured this was one I could consider. Then Barb knocked on the siding. She said, "Vinyl, let me give you some pros and cons to think about." Of course I asked, "What the heck is vinyl siding?" It turns out that not all home exteriors are finished with wood or brick/stone/cement. In Seattle, it rains often and you don't want moisture getting behind your vinyl siding. This is something I never, ever would have known without her. Barb also told me to get a good inspector to check a property to find out about these types of things.

Market Analysis

Sure there are a lot of websites out there that tell you they can give you a CMA or provide you with neighborhood details, but only an experienced Realtor actually knows what is going on in their area. Barb and I went to view a home in North Bothell, which is about 20 minutes outside of Seattle and on a very popular freeway. On the way home, we got stuck in a backup. Barb explained to me that, in her experience, everybody she talks to and all of her incoming clients want to live in the other direction. The reason why is there are now two freeways that are about to be tolled – The 520 bridge and 405 freeway, adding time and cost to peoples' commutes. People want to live on I-90 so, while I might get a bigger home, my resale ability and growth might not be as large because the demand isn't there.

Negotiating

We looked at three townhomes in the complex I ended up buying in. The first one just had a price increase to $398,000 (only a 10K increase). Barb explained that was a Realtor strategy to make buyers think they need to move quickly. The second townhome was listed at $390,000, was larger, had a green belt backing up to it, and had a better layout. That one sold the night we looked at it. The final one we looked at was listed at $419,000. Of course, we loved it. Barb said we should offer $390K because it was vacant and on the market a little longer, and another unit had sold for less on a green belt. We offered it, they accepted the next day. A 30K decrease in this market is tough to do!

Emotions

This might be the most important to an experienced Realtor. I had no idea how to handle the process, and it's very stressful. I lost out on three homes I really wanted and thought about giving up many times. It was my agent who kept telling me that the right home finds you, and when you know it, you will get it. She knew exactly when homes would come on the market and which areas to look. She encouraged me to wait for Wednesdays/Thursdays because Realtors tend to put homes in the MLS those days. Without her, I would have stopped looking and missed out on my new home! Her experience can't be understated here.

The point I am trying to make is that technology has helped this industry, but it can never take away from the timeless value added by a Realtor. Every agent needs to have a website with IDX so that their buyers can view homes. If buyers are looking at other portals, trust them and encourage them to reach out to you right away. Educate them on the pitfalls of listing portals. When evaluating any new technology, whether it's a CRM, lead generation, drip marketing, etc., think about what gap that technology fills.

Whenever I am on the road, I always ask agents what is missing. If you are short on time, but busy with clients, get a CRM. If you are just using your company website, go get your own. But at the end of the day, technology can't replace the agent. As a Realtor, your focus should be on how technology can make your life easier. What gaps are in your business that a new technology could help mend? It's out there and it will never replace you, but it will make your life easier!

I'm here to tell you that millennials don't need to be impressed by your technology; we need to be enlightened on all the things we think we know and don't!

To view the original article, visit the Lone Wolf blogLone Wolf blog.