Homeowners Now in the Driver’s Seat with Real Estate Technology

Less than three years ago, user-friendly online technology advances, aggregated information, and open-source platforms were just getting popular with consumers looking to buy and sell homes. Now it’s standard fare in the real estate industry.

Realtors® want their annual surveys to reflect that MLS is still the more effective listing space. But what their numbers don’t reflect is how many homes in the MLS system are being sold with flat fee services or sellers completely opting out of the MLS system. When you break out those numbers, the number of FSBO listings are soaring. MLS is bombarded with flat fee listings that many MLS systems have had to add a separate “owner” category for appointment phone numbers. The evolution of FSBO is now an unstoppable trend–a fairy tale comes true for home sellers.

The commission model is continuing a downward trajectory. Let’s explore the three top reasons driving these changes:

  1. Cracking open the AVM (Automated Valuation Model) vault
  2. Zombie Realtors®
  3. Zillow overtakes MLS

Change #1
Cracking open the AVM (Automated Valuation Model) vault

Agents have lost their monopoly on automated valuation searches to third-party websites. In doing so, they lost their title as the universal go-to source for housing information. Real Estate clearinghouses like Zillow and Trulia capitalized on features and tools that are feeding buyers’ and sellers’ insatiable addictions to fine-tuned housing data. They’ve become the Pinterest of home listing and marketing.

Since the vault was opened, agents and brokerages have been losing ground as buyers and sellers trade brand loyalty and agent-assisted home sales for free and unlimited access to automated valuations. Now mathematically modeled property valuations combined with real-time comparable property databases can calculate a property’s value at the click of a button on your home computer.

Change #2
Zombie Realtors

The decline of Realtor® face-time. When any business moves from offline to online, the middleman is going to be eliminated. The same thing has happened to auto insurance, stockbrokers, and lawyers. They’ve steered themselves into a corner because they’ve adopted the same technology and automation the general public now has access to.

Is it any wonder why more than 60 percent of all real estate transactions are automated and over 80 percent of all homes are on a lock box. With agents wanting to automate, removing themselves further and further from face-to-face contact, buyers and sellers realize that since the agent’s role is diminishing, why pay a commission to zombie realtors when they can handle it themselves?

The separation between Realtor® and homeowner is probably also responsible for the decline in agent quality. With the average agent having less training than a manicurist, this business model tends to attract those that could not make it anywhere else in the industry.

Change # 3
Zillow Overtakes of MLS

Two-thirds of buyers and sellers admit they have become addicted to online property searches on real estate platforms. Name anyone confessing an addiction to MLS; it’s as vanilla, as a US government website.

Models like Zillow and Trulia give out bells and whistles of the “hood” democratically and for free. Unlike with MLS, users can determine commute time to work, search by specific schools – not just school districts – and so much more.

Third-party sites are also smarter. They don’t discriminate. There’s a welcome place for FSBO and agent-assisted homes alike. They are the go-to source for home searches because they list ALL homes. With 1 in 8 homes being sold FSBO, that’s a huge market MLS is missing out on.

A FSBO Platform With “The Works”

Phase 2 of the real estate evolution is the birth of full-service FSBO solutions for homeowners in need of a creating a professional offering for their home. The recent launch of ListingDoor.com is a great example. They take the best practices of real estate marketing, strips away the commission and the corporate inefficiencies, and offers it up on an easy-to-navigate DIY (do-it-yourself) platform to price, market, and sell their own home.

ListingDoor.com is actually the first online customized platform dedicated to homeowners who are selling their home 100 percent themselves. As described by Sissy Lappin, ListingDoor’s co-founder,

”We came together with top programmers in the real estate space because we felt it was time to democratize the tools homeowners needed to sell their home. ListingDoor makes selling your own home easy and efficient. We’ve integrated user-friendly services the way E*TRADE or TurboTax does for your stock trades and taxes. We believe the most efficient way to sell a home.”

Sellers need great marketing materials, not the cheesy throw-together ones you’ll typically find with other FSBO support services. We offer great visual marketing, so sellers have the tools they need to sell their own home fast and for top dollar.

Sellers don’t have to settle for a red and white generic yard sign. With drag-and-drop ease, you get custom signs, color brochures (all ready for pick up at their neighborhood FedEx), a mobile-friendly web page that’s 100 percent about your home, a pricing report that walks you through the pricing process, and a knowledge base written by top brokers. With ListingDoor sellers can have all that for as little as $429. Can a Realtor® even come close to this offer?

Unlike the traditional real estate process, with ListingDoor, everything is about your home—not an advertisement for the real estate firm. Before ListingDoor, sellers had two options: go with a FSBO company that gives you cheesy graphics or pay a 4 to 6 percent commission to a company that still gives you graphics that devotes more attention to their brokerage firm than your home. Homeowners are starved for an affordable and effective solution to sell their home.

Once the vault is open it stays open—no going back. We are seeing companies like ListingDoor leverage technology and know-how – and improve upon it. Companies like us are helping consumers understand the selling process and make selling easier so they can walk away with more money in their pockets. When it gets right down to it, technology aside, isn’t that what the home seller ultimately wants?