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The future of Boston real estate search

Is that the future, more gadgets?  Undoubtedly there will always be more new Boston real estate for sale websites to empower participants with more information.  Is information all you need to successfully buy downtown Boston real estate?

Let’s break down the Boston-buying process into two steps:

1. Information-gathering/search for Boston condo.

2. Meeting of the minds, and follow-through to close.

It used to be that Boston real estate broker had a stranglehold on the downtown Boston condos for sale via the private MLS, and you needed an agent to be able to find a home.

Now you don’t – and the agents whose skills are limited to Boston condo-searching will be helping only those buyers who can’t/won’t search themselves.  Have you noticed how much the younger folks are addicted to the internet?  Expect that the realtor population will dwindle significantly in the future.

Boston Condo Buyers are able to do their own home-searching

Boson condo buyers are able to do their own home-searching, and educate themselves tremendously about market values.  They know more than the sellers, and usually more than the agents – because the buyers have more at stake.  But is that enough to make the deal?

I say no.

But first let’s note that any home seller can put a sign in their Boston home on the internet without a realtor, if they don’t care about selling for the buyer’s price.  Have you seen a lot of those sellers lately?  Me neither. 

Future home buyers will struggle to achieve a meeting of the minds with the seller at an acceptable price, but  a third-party can assist.  In a down, flat, or better yet a COVID-19 market the buyers are willing to hold out, it would only be in a rapidly- improving market that buyers might compromise on price, and meet the seller’s demands – unless the Beacon Hill was so unique that the buyers had to have it, regardless of price. 

Because the market will probably be choppy for years to come, how will this third-party evolve beyond today’s model?

Three Boston Real Estate Ideas:

1. Specialized buyer-agents with exceptional skills/experience (Nordstrom, Four Seasons)

2. Listing agents who push for dual agency (Wal-Mart)

3. Changing how Boston real estate agents are paid (Internet sales)

All three exist now simultaneously in other industries, and it’s up to the consumer to decide which is the best fit for them. 

A.  If you want personal attention and assistance all along the way, with assurance that when it comes to crunch-time your Boston real estate agent will be there to properly guide you and the transaction, then #1 is for you.

B.  If a buyer is satisfied with their own level of market knowledge gained from the internet, and doesn’t mind getting minimal representation, then going direct will become more popular in the future – primarily because the listing agents will be pushing for it.  

The next step, Part 3, will be how agents get paid.  I don’t think most people mind paying for assistance, it’s paying for what you need that is hard to identify.  There will also be crossover between A and B, above that, if the pay scale was clear, would enable clarity and flow.

Boston Real Estate & Condos


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