Heard an interesting interview with economist Steven Levitt on NPR this morning. He co-wrote an article that will be coming out in the New York Times Magazine titled Endangered Species – The future of real estate agents. He dicusses all of the innovations going on right now in real estate and how like travel agents we will become obsolete as “all we do is connect buyers and sellers on the MLS system“. Oh how easy my life would be if my work ended at the point I put a listing on the MLS.
A second point he makes in his radio interview is that in spite of the “high commission” most agents don’t make that much money. The reason is there are so many agents chasing the available deals that they have to spend so much time finding new clients. Look at California where 1 in 75 people has a real estate licences. This touches on my pet peeve. If the real estate industry really wants to be viewed as the profession it should be, than they should raise the standards of what it takes to become an agent. I’ve just looked at too many incomplete contracts, had an agent try to force his way (without prior notice) into a rented unit at a duplex I was selling and other instinces that demonstrate an individual with the intellect to fog a mirror but not much else.
It should be an interesting article. So what do you think? Is the real estate agent going the way of the Dodo? Do people really want to buy a house from an “Amazon.com for homes” or an agent that can guide them through the whole process? How about the idea of fee-per-service or hour basis instead of percentage of sale?