We all know how the internet has changed major industries like music, print media, communications and so many others. It has also radically changed the way real estate agents work. Not only are digital platforms becoming the best places to market homes, the ability for the public to access listings online has radically changed the amount of information available to both buyers and sellers.

In the bad old days, agents had a monopoly on information. “These days, agents have a lot less control over what buyers see, and what homes they’ll choose to see,” Jake says. “Before the advent of sites like realtor.ca, agents had all the control, all the power. Buyers were pretty much in the dark about what was out there.”

As far as Jake is concerned, change is a good thing. “In almost every consumer transaction, the more power the consumer has, the better,” he says. This shift has changed the role of a real estate agent. In the pre-internet dark ages, an agent might put together a tour of homes based on their own inclinations and anything they left off, well – too bad, buyers might not even know other options existed.

Now, many buyers come to agents with lists of homes they’ve pre-selected online. Which means agents have to step up and offer more than a chauffeuring service. “We have to redefine what we provide to our clients, beyond closing sales. We need to share our knowledge – of the neighbourhood, of market values, of sound building structures and more.”

The net has also provided new avenues for sellers looking to avoid agent fees and go the for-sale-by-owner route – and Jake sees that as a welcome challenge for agents to demonstrate their value.“I think genuine feedback from buyers and agents is so, so important and that can be very hard to get when you list on your own.

Let’s say I bake you a cake and you eat a piece. You’ll probably tell me you like it. When you have an intermediary, you’re more likely to get the straight goods.”In addition, of course, an agent will know the timelines for things like inspections, conditions, financing, and closing and should guide a client through that. And an agent will have a plan B, and a plan C and beyond if things don’t go as planned. “When you list at 350K, and it hasn’t sold in a month, what do you do? The answer to that question can really vary. A good agent can find that answer.”

“Selling a home in the digital age means knowing how to make use of, and how to take advantage of, all the new technological tools available to us”. Today’s agent should be well versed in online marketing and the use of various social media platforms. “The old days of sticking a sign on the lawn and maybe an ad in the paper are gone” Jake says. “That’s why our clients get a full array of tech savvy marketing, but we do mix in the traditional media as well. A well rounded approach, with an emphasis on reaching out to where buyers are spending their time is key”.

To get more information about how Jake uses digital platforms in his role as an agent, get in touch – jc@royallepage.ca or call 613-449-6588