experts: real estate column Friday, April 26, 2002

How can we cope with all that 'input'?

No, technology is not going to do away with the real estate professional, but a real estate professional with technology may well do away with the professional without it.

By Ozzie Jurock

This article appeared in The Vancouver Sun on April 20, 2002

A few years ago there was a wonderful movie (Short Circuit) about a ‘robot come human’ in which the robot says, “I’m number five and I’m alive.” In a mad dash to become human he looks for “input”, “INPUT”, “IIINPUT”, and consumes everything in sight: television programs, newspaper. He reads FEROCIOUSLY, he absorbs, and he comes alive!

I wonder how many investors, businessmen and entrepreneurs are feeling the same way today. Only the “input” is not obtained by choice, it is pushed upon us, forced into our heads. And all of us are left wondering how we can cope with all that “IINNPUT.”

This is particularly true in the real estate investment industry. There are three sets of people in the real estate investment community and/or the brokerage community. On the one end of the spectrum we have (a small group of) people that are blissfully ignorant. They don’t know they don’t know and they don’t care. They think the world will be as it always was and make no more effort to learn.

On the other far side spectrum we have the techno-wizards that make the Internet work for them, themselves and their family. Some of these are so far ahead, they are like Tarzan in the trees and leave the rest of us looking up at their feet as they swing from tree to tree.

But the vast majority in the middle most of the business people/investors/managers/ salespeople is still somewhat befuddled and bewildered. We also KNOW that we could do with a heck of a lot less “input” than we are getting.

Even those willing to learn and grow into the new world, the amount of often conflicting - information is TOO MUCH, the advice is confusing and the options leave many helpless.

Options on what kind of computer to buy, what kind of programs to put in, and for data-mining, viral-marketing (WHAT?) what kind of a web environment or solutions to create and finally how to make money with it and then find the time to do it all. We understand the benefits, but have yet to learn to get the payoff.

And yet - the New World has some great benefits for the real estate investor and the real estate professional alike. Survey after survey points out that the consumer searches for his real estate and her realtor on the net. However, buyers and seller demand much more from their advisors.

The year 2002 is all about truth and facts and reality and less about bluffing your way through or coping. So, better to understand, that if you are not the originator of the information, the only way you are going to be paid is to interpret the information in a new way.

Today's buyer expects fully well to have answers to all of the questions, he or she cannot readily obtain via the net - from the professional. And if one professional can’t give the answer ... quick, merciless on to the next go the buyer and the seller.

This New World of real estate investment shows a buyer how they can construct a real estate investment portfolio worldwide. A virtual apartment building portfolio consisting of an apartment in several major cities. Or, conversely, get all the information about the property just around the corner by surfing and identifying it on the net, then driving by, by walking the route, and by educating themselves to what is additionally available. The pressure on financial institutions from that new educated buyer has been enormous. Mortgage ‘buyers’ shop on the net for the best mortgage rate, use mortgage brokers, and check out the terms and the deals. They have forced lenders to level the playing field from what before was the best rate to only a “high volume customer” to now anybody can get the best rate.

The same is about to happen in the real estate industry, where buyers not only look for the properties but also choose their Realtor, select their real estate company based on how they present themselves and their expertise on the net. Expertise expressed in terms of know how, in terms of the ability to interpret the information in a specific unique high quality and personal way.

No, technology is not going to do away with the real estate professional, but a real estate professional with technology may well do away with the professional without it.

So, if you are in that middle group, don’t despair. Personal relationships still rock - don’t throw away your golf clubs. If you do not have or own the original information, become the indispensable interpreter ... build those relationships, create trust and bonds.

The net is shrinking, combining information, local portals are appearing. Localizing, centralizing information, that is relevant to YOU. Get advice, quality professional advice.

If you are a real estate investor, life has become easier. There is better research (free resources for statistics, forecasts, and economic interpretations) better quality info (actual listings, colour photos, virtual tours) and it is easier to do it from your home - at first. If you are a professional, the net allows you to present yourself and your company in the best possible light, your service call visible and checkable. The net will generate hundreds of quality leads, your ability to strike up personal relationships will determine your success.

In the meantime look up some local resources for real estate:

  1. BC Real Estate Association Great info, well organized:
  2. Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board
  3. Fraser Valley Real Estate Board
  4. Kamloops & District Real Estate Association
  5. South Okanagan Real Estate Board
  6. Greater Vancouver Real Estate
  7. Victoria Real Estate Board
  8. Realestatebc.ca - jurock.com 800 links to real estate investment websites.

In the meantime have a wonderful year of more IINPUTT!

Ozzie Jurock is the publisher of Jurock's Real Estate Insider an independent real estate advisory service. You can reach him at 604-683-1111 or e-mail ozzie@jurock.com




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