I had a conversation the other day with a Boston stockbroker and the topic is how the times are changing so much. Not just the recent social protests and the COVID-19, but how business is changing at a rapid speed due to the internet.
The internet and the changing salesforce
The internet has completely redefined the sales workforce of almost everything in our lives. Big chain malls and even small Beacon Hill Charles Street retailers are closing brick and mortar stores because they can’t compete with online sales. Click a button to make a purchase and it shows up at your door the next day without ever talking to a salesperson.
As our conversation progressed, my stockbroker friend said, If you want to buy and sell stocks on Wall Street, it’s super easy to open a discount trading account that you fully control. Stocks and bonds trade through computers – not people.
Boston real estate doesn’t sell through computers … at least no yet
In the stockbroker’s mind, Selling Boston condos for sale is no different. This where we had our differences.
While it’s true that the internet has significantly changed Boston condo for sale marketing, it has not brought an end to the widespread use of Boston real estate brokers. One reason is that real estate transactions are more complex than trading stocks and bonds. Yes, I believe the main reason is that a human factor is still an important factor. Here’s why.
The big difference between selling stock & bonds and real estate – MLS
It can somewhat be baffling why the MLS has not only survived but also prospered when anyone can list a condo for sale on the internet. Also, considering that the internet has enabled For Sale By Owner (FSBO) websites to proliferate, it would seem that non-commission and discount fee sales methods would now dominate the information high way. But they don’t.
In the conversation, the stockbroker was baffled why so many Boston real estate brokers are needed and making money. He went on the say:
After all… Boston real estate agents don’t issue inspection reports. They don’t transfer ownership deeds, nor do agents approve financing or issue insurance policies. Is it personal interaction? Doubtful, since real estate agents aren’t any more likely to be hugged by their clients than a travel agent. What agents mostly do is make videos, write descriptions, create sales networks, and solve problems. So what gives?
My response, all good points.
I think one answer seems to be that as long as the MLS continues keeping pace with technology and the two biggest players in the game that benefit from MLS use of technology (besides brokers) are the buyers and sellers.
But it’s not just Boston condo buyers and Sellers
For instance, lending institutions don’t make a habit of including FSBO transactions in the comparative analysis. One of the main reasons for this is that FSBO listings don’t receive the same market exposure as MLS listings. The tool these appraiser use that work for the lenders is MLS.
Boston Real Estate brokers guidepost for standards
But the more important reason might be ethics and integrity. Another possibility associated with these high-value transactions is a demand for high ethical standards. We all know there are a lot of shoddy and shady transactions including outright fraud happening constantly on the internet. Fortunately, this does not seem to have spilled over to licensed Boston real estate brokers.
Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line
To a high degree, the continued success of the MLS in the age of the information high way is attributed to society’s continuing demand for transparency and ethical conduct in residential real estate transactions. Bad apples do come along occasionally but close to 100% of the time, these people are excommunicated from the industry in quick order. Boston condo buyers and sellers, and yes even Boston real estate professionals need to take this to heart.