How do you assess your agent’s tech skills?

Inspired by a comment on this post, I wonder: Do buyers assess a prospective agent’s tech skills? If so, how? It is common knowledge that consumers are turning to the internets to do research. How does one assess whether a buyers’ agent is tech-savvy?

For prospective sellers, the question is easier: do you have a website? How many? How are they ranked? What tools do they offer to prospective buyers?

For buyers, there is more to the equation than, “Do you have a Blackberry”? (no, no I do not) What is most important to the buyer?

On a related topic: I wish I could find the site where I read this (paraphrased) quote some time ago. I think it was an Active Rain blog. “When choosing an agent, at least choose one who blogs.” I would rephrase that and say, “Choose one who blogs well.” Why? Simple – a good real estate blogger will be better prepared for the task at hand.

A “good real estate blogger” : one who writes original material in a transparent way, one who updates his blog frequently, one who reads other blogs. This agent will be more aware of the local market than her competition, and in turn will most likely offer better representation)

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  1. JR Jackson November 3, 2006 at 11:14

    Following up on my last comment, here are a few things I look for when initially speaking to an agent, and they’re definitely not all technologically driven:
    1) Presentation. Are their marketing materials professional in appearance with no misspellings, typos or grammatical errors. You’d be surprised at how many Valley Realtors fail to meet this rather basic hurdle. If they don’t take the time to run spell-checker on someone’s listing, it makes me wonder what other corners they’re cutting.
    2) Market knowledge. If the extent of an agent’s commentary on market conditions is “real estate is always a great investment!” I’m out the door.
    3) Website. I need to be able to Google your website and find it without a great amount of difficulty. I shouldn’t have to put in a dozen search terms to find the site, and once I’m on the site, I want to see that effort is given towards presenting “featured listings” beyond simply redirecting to the lousy MLS page. And it sure would be nice if the “Map” links on the page actually showed perspective buyers where the listing was located. If not (new development, etc), provide a textual description of where the property is located. As a perspective buyer, I don’t call a Realtor for more information on those kinds of properties, I move onto another listing that someone else actually wants to sell.
    4) Communication. An agent need not carry a BlackBerry, but he or she better do business by email so that I can communicate with them on MY BlackBerry. Sending me a packet of information by US Mail is a quick way to get ignored.

    Maybe my demands are unique, but my sense is that Realtors who are either trying to defend their turf or are unwilling to get with the times are going to be left behind over the next 5-10 years. Educated people in their 20s and early 30s are accustomed to living their lives on the Internet – everything from buying cars to staying in touch with friends. Realtors in NoVa and increasingly in Charlottesville seem to get this, which is encouraging.

  2. Jim Duncan November 3, 2006 at 20:46

    JR –

    What you have laid out is a structure which most agents could use and benefit from. Thank you. My Waynesboro site will be up in the near future. If you have the time, check out my newer local site does it meet most of your needs?

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  4. Loren Nason November 11, 2006 at 02:50

    Jim and JR,

    Another thing that many realtors fail to realize is that their email address also reveals to their prospective customer their tech experience level.

    It used to be that just having an email address was fine and it didn’t matter what it was.

    That has changed now and it matters what your email address is. If your email address is you will be looked down upon as someone that has no idea what they are doing and should not be in business for themselves.

    I brought this up on my new blog
    Future of Real Esate Technology.