Is the role of Realtor becoming defunct?

by Olivia D'Orazio05 Dec 2014
The widespread use of technology is effectively pushing agents out of the equation, say industry players arguing clients are increasingly finding their own dream home.
“The role of the Realtor is definitely changing,” says Carl Langschmidt, the founder of, and “It’s not about finding a home and educating [clients] on the prices. When it comes to selling, you’re selling your marketing skills and your expertise in negotiating. They know the price of their property, they saw what the house down the street sold for.”
In 2001, Langschmidt says, eight per cent of buyers found their own home. That number jumped to 42 per cent last year.
“My clients have a ton of information coming to the table,” says Ricky Chadha, an agent in Toronto. “They’ve done all their research, they have access to all the information, so they’re very well-prepared. It makes it more important for agents to be equipped with that knowledge as well.”
“Ten or 20 years ago, the role of the agent was to educate your clients,” Langschmidt. “We were more the gatekeepers of the information, but now buyers are educating themselves.”
That shift in the value proposition of an agent means sales reps need to work even harder to develop a personal relationship with clients. Older agents, though, who have built a business based on referrals have seemingly slipped through the digital world, and escaped unscathed on the other side.
“I think seasoned older agents typically have a very large network and I’m surprised at those agents who have very little online presence but who have large numbers,” Chadha says. “If you’re a younger agent, though, it’s imperative that you’re online.”
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  • by End of Era 12/5/2014 11:18:06 AM

    Seasoned agents will be fossils soon too. Schooling for post secondary is going online .... agents think their model won't fail!!! Naïve!!

  • by Mike Basler 12/5/2014 11:34:25 AM

    The digital age has certainly had an impact on the Real Estate Industry. Access to information is greater than ever before. I believe the only Realtors that are at risk are those that limit their value to simply "finding houses" or providing a gatekeeper service. I believe more than ever the value of a Realtor is needed. Qualifying and prioritizing information available to clients digitally is required to enable quality decisions to be made by buyers and sellers. Information can be deceptive if not interpreted properly. To my knowledge there is no regulatory body that ensures web information is accurate. Many Sellers may also interpret list prices as sold prices as in, "that house is going for..." and mistakenly believe that the list price was the actual sold price. Buyers and sellers are able to gather a tonne of information that can be useful at the top end of the funnel. Technology effectively pushing agents out of the equation??? I don't think so. We may need to evolve but this is a good thing. Without change there can be no growth. It's been my experience that astute buyers and sellers enlist the services of professionals to help them navigate the entire process maximizing their returns, minimizing their stress and optimizing their time.

  • by Nothing so constant as change 12/5/2014 11:48:09 AM

    "End of Era" may be a little strong. Your rationale suggests we may no longer need the services of Teachers, Doctors (save surgeons), Lawyers, Financial Planners, Dentists and any other knowledge based profession. Yes we all have access to knowledge but 80 % of our decisions are made by emotions 20% through logic (knowledge). Where people are involved and decisions are needed then guidance, objective advice, and negotiation will continue to be valuable. - If you'd like to save a few hundred dollars and you need a tooth pulled. Check youtube - I'm sure you can find a clip that shows you how to pull your own teeth. This article speaks to people "finding " their own home but fails to address the number of homes sold through licensed Real Estate as a comparison to "self serve". I believe these comparative numbers have remained unchanged over the last 30 years - See NAR Stats. This is curious given we've had internet since the late '80's

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