The Era of Transparency in Real Estate

The Historical Gatekeeper Model

Historically, much of the information regarding past real estate transactions (histories, availability, pricing, market trends) was available almost exclusively to the real estate industry. The historical role of the real estate agent was that of the "gatekeeper" for this information. In this context, Buyers and sellers were essentially required to use the services of a real estate agent because the agent held the "information key". When a client would ask about the escrow process or details about the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) , the reply was often; “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of everything”. There was a feeling that if clients did not know the daily activities of a real estate agent or how they accomplished their job the clients would be less likely to want to perform a real estate transaction on their own.

Many agent’s operated under a “The less they know, the more powerful we look” philosophy. Real estate agents with a low level of talent really embraced and perpetuated this lack of information because if their clients truly understood the minimal effort these particular agents put into a transaction, they really would insist on doing it themselves. The best agents of course have always done much more for their clients than simply broker information, but even most of the great agents did not work hard to educate the client because they were too busy working FOR their client.

Educating the client was really not part of the value proposition. It didn't need to be.

The Internet is Changing Real Estate

The growth of the World Wide Web of course changed all of this. The National Association of Realtors© (NAR) estimates that 80% of the public actually begin their real estate transaction on the Internet, and they are far more informed than they have ever been. Today, with access to the Internet, the average buyer or seller of real estate is able to view practically all of the information which used to be the exclusive domain of the real estate agent. There are websites and TV programs telling people how to manage their own real estate transaction and more and more Buyers and Sellers are coming into the real estate transaction

This changing landscape is slowly resulting in two profound changes on the business of real estate. First of all, real estate agents who have relied heavily on the "gatekeeper" business model are doomed. The small value they historically provided by just transferring information is now accomplished through the Internet. Informed Buyers and Sellers are asking the question “why do I need you”? Real estate agents that insist on hiding behind the curtain will not have an adequate answer. Many real estate industry leaders feel this will result in a “cleansing of the industry” by weeding out the less skilled, less professional and low-value agents. This is a good thing for the consumer and will strengthen the real estate profession.

The Era of Transparency in Real Estate

The other profound change has been described by leaders in the real estate industry as the “Era of Transparency". This simply means that even great real estate agents must remove the shroud that surrounds their business activities, hiding the many, many ways that great agents provide value to their clients. The successful agents of the future will need to spend the time and resources educating their clients. They will need to make sure that their clients have a good understanding of the real estate transaction, and how the agent’s unique talents and experiences make them better equipped to perform the many tasks involved in this transaction.

Successful agents will need to back this up with continuing education and training that far exceeds the minimal requirement imposed by the California Department of Real Estate. If real estate agents fail to do this, potential clients will not find the agents value-proposition to make sense and will choose alternatives that do not involve the agent. I embrace this new era and have invested hundreds of hours working to create informative content that is relevant to Buyers and Sellers of real estate in the Santa Rosa and Windsor area. This information is freely available to any person interested in learning more about the details of a real estate transaction in our local market.

My personal philosophy is simple; “The more my clients know about real estate, the better I look”. I will work hard to provide education and personal performance that is beyond competition.

To expand YOUR knowledge of real estate in Sonoma County, go to my Buyer Index, or Seller Index for a listing of articles that will help you EXCEL at your next real estate transaction. To learn more about David Harts Realty, check out our information page for DHR.