Dinosaurs or Early Adopters?

May 16, 2007  |  Michael Wurzer

Real estate agents and brokers and MLSs often get tagged as dinosaurs in terms of technology, so I thought this post from Greg Sterling (who is outside the RE.net) was interesting, describing real estate agents as “aggressive and generally savvy . . . (relative to the general population)” with regard to technology. So, which is it? Personally, I think Sterling is closer to the mark. On a per capita basis, real estate agents and brokers are more tech-inclined than the general population.

4 Responses to “Dinosaurs or Early Adopters?”

  1. I think there is a difference between technology use in the utilitarian sense versus the leverage sense. Most Realtors are familiar with the technology underpinning their jobs — they know how to get in and out of the MLS, they (most) know they need to have a website to be successful, and they know to keep an eye on the competition. Beyond those necessities, I think those Realtors who embrace advancing technology (as an integral part of their business) are far, far fewer.

    To a degree, it’s understandable. The mean average Realtor age is still around 57, and for those folks the conventions of software are completely foreign. I’ve seen many Realtors freeze up like deer in headlights looking at Microsoft Publisher. As a real world example, we offer an “Advanced CMS” option for our VOWs that uses a hierarchical publishing model and, in 18 months, fewer than 2% of our clients use it over the basic five page editor (usually only changing Home and About Me). Also, only a dozen or so have asked about integrating blogs.

    I think they do what’s needed to remain competitive, but few strive beyond that.


  2. The question, however, is whether the few who strive beyond are greater as a percentage of the agent population than the few who would strive beyond in other populations. The difficulty is defining “early adopter” in terms of specific technology. Anecdotally, however, perhaps there are more agent bloggers per capita than, say, bankers or maybe even programmers. That would be an interesting survey.

  3. Interestingly, I saw the NAR profile today and the mean age is now 51 — a big drop for just a year. Then again, 25% of Realtors are part-time, which dilutes not only income but statistical relevance. I’d be interested to see how different a profile of full-time Realtors would be.

    One issue I have with Agent Bloggers is the number who merely post sales/market statistics: I wouldn’t call that blogging, yet they’re the most linked from sites like RealtyTimes.

    I doubt Realtors blog more than programmers (by volume or per capita), although I would venture that they probably do blog at a higher level than most other industries by volume, and certainly when compared to any other pure sales vertical. The per capita number is tough to judge, because there are millions of Realtors — comprising roughly 1% of all workers in America. Even if there is a disproportionately high volume of Realtor blogs, it may be a deceptively meager percentage of the actual Realtor base.


  4. I’m curious about the sales/market stats issue. Aren’t stats and market info what buyers and sellers are mostly interested in? I agree that some analysis needs to accompany the numbers, but I think that stats are very valuable. Jonathan Miller at Matrix has a hugely successful blog and it’s pretty much all about numbers.