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The value of a real estate sales agent is unquestionable. There are dozens of interactions during the course of representing a buyer or seller that a realtor proves her worth. It is well established that a home purchase is typically the largest purchase in any American’s lifetime and yet the value of a sales agent is being called into question as disruptive online digital platforms such as Purplebricks and Rex begin to enter the New York Metro area.

These digital platforms have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in their efforts to enter markets and most of the value is thrown in marketing to gain brand and platform awareness. You may have noticed the television and radio ads from these brands flooding the airways of North Jersey in the past few weeks. Their marketing promises to save thousands with their flat fee sales approach. The CEO of Purplebricks boldly states that “traditional real estate agents have been charging too much for doing too little for too long.”

Both Purplebricks and Rex have created their own exchanges. They do not subscribe to or participate in the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) that exist throughout the country. Instead, they offer exclusive listings within their own platforms and are betting on enough volume in the future to create a robust market. While they do point out that there are shortcomings to the archaic MLS systems, these are the industry standard that provides the greatest exposure for a listing and the greatest selection of properties for buyers.

In the midst of these emerging technologies, it is important to you as an agent to know your value to buyers and sellers and learn how to consistently communicate your value. Your knowledge of neighborhoods can be invaluable to a growing family. Your experience with negotiating home inspection issues, appraisals and mortgage issues can’t be replaced by online data.

There is an old story about a man who calls a plumber to fix a problem with pipes in his home. They plumber listens to the man for about 10 minutes and looks around. He then takes a wrench and hits a pipe 3 times in the same place and the problem is quickly solved. The plumber then hands the man an invoice for $200. The homeowner can’t believe that he could get charged so much for such a quick fix and demands that the plumber itemizes his charges to justify the invoice. The plumber itemizes the bill as follows: 
  1. Hitting the pipe with a wrench - $2.00;
  2. Knowing what the problem was and that the pipe needed to be hit with a wrench - $99.00; and 
  3. Knowing which pipe to hit - $99.00. 

We sometimes struggle to capture value when we believe that only one part of the value created by a sales agent is the only value. In the story of the plumber, knowing where and how to hit the pipe was the real value. His experience and subject matter expertise actually saved the homeowner in the long run by avoiding wrong fixes and the wasted time to figure out both the problem and how to fix it.

Online platforms may seem like cost savings to sellers and buyers but they lack the real value of a sales agent’s experience and wisdom. Your value can’t be overstated.

The real estate professionals at Joseph James Real Estate in northern New Jersey are treated like the highly valued experts in their field that they are every day. Join the team and know you are valued.

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