As some of you in the Mobsters Lounge may know, I work the Central FL market. This includes Orange County, which is mostly comprised of the Greater Orlando area.

Some of you may also know, if you’ve been in this business for the past year or two, you will have noticed some innovation in real estate technology. Specifically, that Zillow decided to roll out an Instant Cash Offer feature on their website. I’m not entirely sure how this real estate technology operates, but basically they collaborate with other wholesalers (the bigger firms, I would imagine) to get any particular seller 3 cash prices on their house. The program is still in its infant stages but Orlando, my market, was one of the 2 test markets chosen within the Country.

Does this bother me? Not really. Competition has been around since long before my handsome ass came to be, so I’m just going to roll with it and make myself better. I did, however, go through the process with a property we currently have in inventory over in Orlando, and it was pretty cool. They bring you through a very sleek and professional looking menu of pre-screening questions (maybe about 10-15 questions).

Zillow asks all the normal stuff: When did you buy it, what kind of floors, how old is the roof, they present you with their data on the floorplan for your verification, they ask you the condition of the floors, etc., etc. Eventually, you get to a menu where you need to add your own photos. This is where I stopped the process, but even after stopping the process their follow-up has been ON. POINT.

real estate technology vs human relationships

When you stop the process short, they ask you why and give you options like “not interested”, “not at home”, etc. If you select not at home, you immediately get a photo upload link in your e-mail and they politely tell you to upload them when you have time. After that they direct you to a guide for selling your house. You can get tips on staging your home, timing the sale of your house correctly, and so on and so forth. Then I received another e-mail with the subject line: “NO CLEANING NEEDED! <Property Address>…”, and then finally this morning I received a text and ringless voicemail from Zillow’s Instant Offer department.

Now, again, I’m not entirely sure how they’re powering this. Could be collaboration with the bigger wholesaling firms, or they could have a team of VAs processing these requests. After photos are uploaded, it does take 2-3 days to get your Instant Offer from them, so there is a little bit of a delay with this real estate technology.

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As I said, your “Instant Offer” from Zillow comes back in 2-3 days’ time. That gives us local wholesalers a window of opportunity. If you’re new in this business, and doing everything yourself, there is no reason that you can’t get an incoming lead call, pre-screen, go out and see the property, and make them an offer right there on the spot within 24 hours. Boom!

You just made your offer more “instant” than Zillow! You’re a heavy hitter already. In addition to that, you’re forgetting about a very important factor in the business world: relationships, and The Human/Personal Touch.

Real Estate Technology vs. Human Relationships

We live in an age of instant gratification and instant results, but you and I both know that not every single person wants that. I’ll be 32 years old in September. I’m not an old man by any means (although I feel like one sometimes), and I strongly dislike automated telephone messages. 

Connect me to a fucking person! (I’m looking at you Bank of America)! It’s for this exact reason that, despite the size of Zillow’s real estate machine, all of us local wholesalers will still be just fine. Play up the personal touch of your business. Switch to live answer if you’re not already using it. If you have inspectors that you know are covering certain areas, give the seller their first name so they know who they’re speaking with right from the jump.

“Alright, Mr. Seller, Jack will be out to your property tomorrow morning. He’s a great guy, and he’ll take some pictures, get us a rehab estimate, and be out of your hair in less than an hour.” Maybe even call out Zillow in your marketing. “Don’t want to work with robots? Neither do I! Call 867-5309 TODAY for a personal, one-on-one consultation with a local home-buying specialist!” (That probably wasn’t my best marketing headline, but you get the drift).

So, what is the impact of technology in real estate industry?

In summary: don’t shit your pants because of these real estate technology tools. We’ll all be just fine, even in this changing real estate market. Zillow’s size is an advantage, but it’s also a disadvantage. They can’t devote the time and resources to customer service, and deal acquisition, that some of us local wholesalers can. So play up the personal touch, get in where you fit in, close your deals, and make your money. Seacrest: Out!

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