In Commercial Real Estate (CRE), technological advances have eliminated a great deal of tasks that real estate agents used to handle, and placed large amounts of information in the hands of their customers. Generally, the availability of this information is a good thing, but there are a few issues that prevent agents from becoming obsolete:
The available real estate information is only as good as the person who inputted it. I’ve personally experienced grossly inaccurate information on commercial and even municipal websites. All information (especially when it concerns investment-grade real estate) requires vetting, which leads me to point #2.
One of the reasons for hiring a real estate professional still remains: time. While the data may be available, it still takes time to search through it all, analyze it, and make decisions. If you have a lot of free time and the desire to do so, you can absolutely do it yourself. But if you are like most people, you are busy running a business or otherwise gainfully employed, and hiring a professional will allow you to focus on your true strengths and priorities.
All the information in the world, no matter how accurate, can never take the place of experience. Over the years, my team and I have seen countless things go wrong during real estate transactions all over the country. We’ve seen mistakes made, crises avoided, and obstacles overcome. This experience, which many seasoned real estate professionals possess, is absolutely invaluable. It can quite literally save buyers and sellers millions of dollars in errors and failures.
Ultimately, despite rapid advances in technology, availability of massive amounts of real estate data, and better informed customers, real estate agents (good ones anyway) will adapt to the changing landscape and continue to provide value to their customers.