There is no doubt that the Internet has literally changed everyone on this planet, one way or another. There have been many life changing events that have taken place that would never have happened without the Internet. For example, how many people do you know who have found love on the Internet? Notice the question was “how many” and not “do you know anyone.” We all do.
There seems to be an overwhelming majority of Americans who use the Internet for everyday tasks, that only a decade ago were only trusted to trained, and often licensed, professionals. Today, the question is who do you know under the age of 70 that does not do some — if not all — of their banking on the Internet? Who stops at a florist anymore when you can go online and pick out a perfect arrangement and have it sent anywhere — just by looking online and pulling out your credit card? Wait, what’s that — you have your payment options stored on your computer or smartphone so you don’t even have to be inconvenienced looking for a credit card.
So yes, the Internet has not only touched every one of us but typically changes the way we live today, in so many ways.
NOT ALL CHANGE IS GOOD
Sure, change happens — the only constant we share as a society is change. We all get that. There is the really creepy stuff that goes on — anyone who has ever seen an episode of Datelines, “To Catch a Predator” knows what we’re talking about. But there are other changes as well, much less subtle.
For example, 10 or 15 years ago, everyone had pretty much written off travel agents because they had been replaced by websites like Expedia, Orbitz and Hotels.com. After all, who didn’t like the idea of clicking the mouse a half dozen times and planning the perfect family vacation in the comfort of their own home, at any hour of the day and saving hundreds of dollars doing it? Seemed so simple.
Today though, you may notice that real bona fide travel agents are back. Sure, they may be working from home and not in expensive retail spaces or professional offices — but real travel agents are available to help you plan your trips for either business or pleasure. Why you ask? Simple, they know what they are doing! They are trained professionals that know about special deals that you’ll never find on your own and they are experienced at trip planning. Even with the commission they earn on each ticket and accommodation they sell you, chances are you’re still saving more money than if you tried to do it all on your own.
YOU HAVE THE TOOLS
Today, you and I have equal access to all of the tools we could possibly use to figure out just about any problem we’re faced with. We have more computing power in our smartphones than NASA had to send a man to the moon.
The problem with all of this information and power is now we have the responsibility to use it properly. How many apps on your phone or programs on your computer do you NOT know how to use properly? So if you can’t master the basic stuff that is given to you, why do people think they can become a self-taught expert in an industry they rarely deal with, just by using some free tools found on the Internet?
Sure, we have access to the airlines, ground transportation and accommodations and every other conceivable website at our disposal; but I for one like having an EXPERT at my disposal that can weed through all of the information and put together a package that I can understand and implement without going crazy. How about you?
The truth is this is what is happening in nearly every industry that the Internet has “fixed.” Sure, you can get some really great deals on books at Amazon, right? But if you are looking for a book on an unfamiliar subject, isn’t it great to go into Barnes and Noble and ask for some assistance? Personally, I still like the “brick and mortar” business model.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE REAL ESTATE AGENT?
When we first saw a decline in traditional travel agents many said real estate agents would be next. Zillow, Trulia and Homes.com rolled out and promised to make everything easy for anyone looking to either buy or sell real estate.
The truth is that buying and selling real estate is the single largest financial transaction most Americans will ever make. It is stressful, time consuming and one wrong turn can lead to permanent financial disaster. There are dozens if not a hundred or more intermediate steps that each can potentially blow up in your face and force you to start all over again. (If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to start over again.)
The stress of the purchase and sale negotiation process, jumping through every hoop imaginable just to arrange the financing, or reading and understanding every single document that is several inches thick by the end of the months navigating the windy road known as a transaction, without a professional to guide and share their professional expertise, is just unimaginable to almost everyone. Then imagine if you’re simultaneously selling one property and buying another and coordinating two escrows at once — it’s just ridiculous to think what that will do to your stress levels.
You can believe that the more information available to the typical consumer will only continue to boggle their minds and ensure that the real estate agent will always be a part of the landscape. It’s true for travel agents and it will always be true for real estate agents.
Now stop by a local florist on the way home, ask about their local flowers and pick up something special for yourself or a loved one. Don’t forget, you did not get where you are today alone. So, please continue to “give thanks” and pay it forward throughout this holiday season and beyond.
Call us today and get the information you need to make the right decision. The info is free, call now! (951) 296-8887.
Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact me, [email protected] Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Board of Director of your Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR), Traveling State Director, California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.).