Good Things Come in Threes (And a Little More)
In a recent post on Inman.com, the author asked Matthew Shadbolt – director of real estate products at the New York Times – to list the three trends agents should look out for in 2016, and Mr. Shadbolt kindly replied with these items:
1. Virtual Reality: “We’ve reached a tipping point with virtual reality,” says Shadbolt and goes on to explain that he believes this technology will gain traction and have a significant impact on the business landscape at hand. He suggests this technology will be especially valuable to buyers who are relocating and adds that he foresees agents sending VR headsets to buyers to streamline the search.
2. Peak Content: The availability of information continues to grow – especially due to online media platforms and social networks – thus the challenge to determine what should and should not be shared continues to grow. Shadbolt suggests that an effective strategy for brokers is to “digitize what’s in your agents’ heads” to display their “unparalleled knowledge of neighborhoods.”
3. Curation: Much like the challenge presented in point #2 above, since consumers can access so much data online, that amount of data can be overwhelming. Agents should seize this opportunity and help both the buyers and sellers to receive the information that is most applicable to their needs – he calls this the “key point of differentiation between an agent and a portal.”
I believe Mr. Shadbolt is a really smart guy (the fact he left a very successful brokerage – The Corcoran Group – to go to work for the New York Times MIGHT cause some to question that), and I agree with the insights he shares above . . . to an extent. The second and third items he says are trends to watch out for in 2016, in my opinion, are things that good and great agents have already been doing for the past year or so – nevertheless, their importance will undoubtedly grow and those who embrace these behaviors will increase their ability to stand out from the crowd. I do, though, have a slight tweak to his prediction concerning virtual reality.
Even though technology and its availability to “the masses” is increasing by the day, I still believe it’s a bit cost prohibitive to have a number of headsets just lying around waiting to be sent to Mrs. Johnson in Akron, OH, and Mr. Daniels in Boca Raton, FL, to “view” a house here in our backyard. Sure, for the higher-end properties and the brokerages that represent those sellers, this is closer to being a reality than for the sizably larger group of homes that are listing at $250,000 in a middle-class neighborhood. There’s an alternative, though.
I recently met an agent who can take 3-D photos of your clients’ homes and publish them online so potential buyers can walk through the entire home – without the need for a VR headset. The pool of properties available to “walk through” for people looking to relocate just went from “kiddie” that can be filled with a garden hose to “Olympic”. Diving is allowed!