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RISMEDIA, February 6, 2010—In today’s “Internet Age,” it is crucial that real estate professionals stay ahead of the knowledge today’s buyers and sellers possess. Acting as a trusted and definitive source of counsel is a valuable tool in today’s market. Here, Rick Gregoy, VP Operations and Business Development, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate discusses how real estate professionals can add great value to the real estate process.

Rick Gregory
VP Operations and Business Development
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

If you are like my wife and I, you have likely followed the spread of the H1N1 virus with great interest. You probably spent a lot of time on the Internet making sure that your child’s nagging cough was a common cold and not something much worse. And you may have even cross-referenced many sites before visiting a doctor’s office.

Once there, you may have been surprised to learn that your research was good in places and deficient in others, but always lacking the oversight of a professional. In the real estate realm, there are some similarities.

Of course, the home buying and selling process is not as critical as diagnosing illness, but the role of a real estate professional in the “Internet Age”—as a trusted and definitive source of counsel—is comparatively as valuable.

This has caused many real estate professionals I work with to keep their skills especially sharp to stay ahead of the knowledge today’s buyers and sellers possess. Clients and agents have access to similar information through the Web and social media. The consumer is more aware and educated than ever before of the home buying and selling process. But we know that preparation is only part of the story and we need to provide the rest. The interpretation and “diagnosis” is where we in the profession add great value.

Like a good doctor, we need to be fully aware of the myths and facts floating around cyberspace and be quick to provide context and guidance. In fact, we should encourage clients stay engaged during the fact-finding process and take advantage of the tools available that complement the agent’s expertise. But we still need to know more than our clients in order to give them comfort that we are truly the expert and an important partner in their home search or sale. We can lose credibility quickly if we don’t communicate our knowledge of the Internet resources they are using as well as providing content that goes beyond the information they were able to find on their own.

But, beyond technology, good old-fashioned conversation is still the key and agents should be diligent in staying in contact with the buyer/seller. To that end, it is essential to brush up on your “bedside manner,” so to speak, as it helps establish a strong presence in your client’s real estate transaction process.

Clients need to be reminded that we can help in every stage of the process—from familiarizing oneself with a neighborhood to understanding important legalities or federal tax credits to filling out paperwork. Virtual will never replace the verbal experience.