When it comes to getting ahead in real estate, data is power. “I believe the more data people have, the better the decisions they’ll be able to make and the less time they’ll waste,” says Patrícia Figueredo, a Miami-based real estate agent with Owners.com. Yet data doesn’t necessarily paint a complete picture of whether a home is a good fit, which is why professionals still rule. “Agents in the field know what’s happening in the market and what’s changing in any particular neighborhood,” explains Figueredo. “We need to give that knowledge to our clients so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
All Under One (Virtual) Roof
In competitive markets like Miami’s, home buyers look to their agents to save them time and money. According to a national survey by Owners.com of 1,000 recent home buyers, two-thirds (66 percent) stated they would value getting streamlined access to additional listings from their agent and 61 percent want to be able to access data such as home appreciation, walk scores and neighborhood information easily in one place.
If you’re looking to provide that kind of convenience, leveraging a mobile app, like the Owners.com app (free, itunes.com), is a good place to start. “It helps clients find the latest home to hit the market and delivers it in real time, right to their smartphones,” Figueredo says. “It’s instant gratification.” Users can search for properties by city, zip code, MLS ID, and even school district, and use the app to speak directly to an Owners.com agent. “It gives them the ability to go see a home quickly and for us to give them instant feedback,” she notes.
The same Owners.com survey revealed that the most tech-reliant home buyers aren’t who you’d expect. Members of Generation X were the most self-directed in their searches — Gen Xers were the most likely to conduct their own research online before getting in touch with an agent (62 percent reported doing so versus 48 percent of millennials). Almost half (47 percent) of the survey’s millennial participants reported relying mostly on their agents during their searches (just 42 percent of Gen Xers said they did).
Regardless of a client’s age, successful agents need to be able to give technology a human touch. “We are taking them through the biggest transaction of most people’s lives, so we must add value and make the process smooth,” Figueredo says. The easiest way to do that? By emphasizing the importance of off-line interactions. “We’ve been in the field for many years and have built up knowledge that you don’t find on a website or blog,” she says.
Sweeten the Deal
In competitive markets, home buyers are digging much deeper into their pockets than they had originally planned. In fact, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, single-family home prices in Miami-Dade County have continued to rise.
With those numbers in mind, the final stages of a transaction are where agents can really shine. Negotiations and closings can be intimidating, especially for new home buyers. That’s why it’s important to have “a true professional on your team so things go smoothly,” Figueredo says. “If they don’t, we can help get things fixed.” The networks agents have built up are also a huge advantage, she points out. Agents “have a team of experts, whether they be lawyers, accountants, designers, or contractors, who can answer any question that a client would ask.”
In other words, it can literally pay to work with a tech-savvy agent. He or she can provide property and neighborhood data, interpret it, negotiate, and address any issues that might pop up during the transaction.
Says Figueredo, “That’s why great agents matter.”
Owners.com is a technology-driven brokerage at the forefront of the real estate revolution. With local real estate expertise, financing and closing services and unique digital experiences, Owners.com and its affiliates offer a complete real estate solution that aims to anticipate and fulfill the dreams of consumers. For more information or to contact a local Owners.com real estate agent, visit Owners.com or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn.