Has Technology Allowed Lazy Real Estate Agents to Become Order Takers In A Hot Market?

The term efficiency is thrown around a lot nowadays. With the advent of automation in most facets of life it is an increasingly hot topic. At the Yoffie Real Estate Group, we are continually working on improving our efficiency as it relates to increasing our effectiveness on behalf of our clients.

Real estate automation, however, needs to be looked at more critically. Automation, by definition, removes human interactions and replaces them with digital tools. This risks commoditizing your home in the name of “efficiency.”

Lazy real estate agents

At the Yoffie Real Estate Group, we run our business focused on selling your home as quickly and efficiently as possible while getting you top dollar. We do this by distinguishing your home from others on the market, by making your home unique and special in the eyes of buyers.

Automation risks turning your home into a widget indistinguishable from the widget down the street. This is antithetical to everything about how we market your home.

Technology has allowed many real estate agents to confuse laziness for efficiency and it is becoming increasingly common. Much of this happening behind the scenes, so it is likely you are not even aware it is happening. It is something I suggest speaking about with your real estate agent.

Here are some of the more common automation tools being used in the residential real estate market:

Scheduling Tools

Tools for scheduling showings have become so important to the real estate business that Zillow just paid $500 million to acquire ShowingTime, the leader in the space. Tools like ShowingTime, Calendly, and others allow agents to “efficiently” schedule showings of your home online or via a phone app without having to speak with the listing agent.

Makes things easier, right? So what’s the problem?

ShowingTime App

Easy isn’t always the right answer!

Isn’t your agent’s job to SELL your home? And, since you are going through the inconvenience of leaving your home for hours, or even for the day or weekend, to accommodate showings, shouldn’t you expect that your agent is making sure that potential buyers are both qualified for and interested in a home like yours?

It is amazing to me how many times we schedule showings using these automated tools when the listing agent doesn’t even take the time to call me in advance to ask about my buyer, tell me about the home, and begin a sales conversation!

I am now regularly scheduling showing for buyers without ever even speaking with the seller’s listing agent!

Scheduling tools. Efficient? Or Lazy?

Lazy. These tools can never replace a qualifying conversation between a showing agent and the listing agent.

With the rare exception, we will never allow a showing to be scheduled at your home until we have spoken with the buyer’s agent and learned everything we can to not only qualify the buyer, but also to begin sharing with them all the features your home has that meet exactly what the buyer is looking for.

Lock Boxes

Lock boxes are nothing new, they let your agent leave a key to your home in a secured box that only other agents should be able to access. This in turn lets your agent allow other agents to show your home without your agent needing to be present to let them in.

Lock boxes are used all the time, so what’s the problem?

Supra eKey Lockbox

Do you want your agent to greet the buyer’s agent and potential buyers at the door, tell them about the home, answer questions, and entice an offer? Or, are you OK with the buyer’s agent and buyer walking through your home on their own without a clue as to what makes your home special, how you determined the price, and other crucial information that most buyers are looking for when they tour a home?

Lock boxes. Efficient? Or lazy?

Lazy. By the time we put your home on the market, we like to think we know almost as much about the home as you do. And we all know an agent or buyer walking through for the first time will never see all the detail we can share with them when we are there in person!

There are occasionally times when no one on our team is available to show your home. When that happens, we might prefer letting an agent show the home without us rather than miss out on a showing. However, we have no doubt that our presence during showings will help your home sell faster by making sure it shines at its brightest in the buyers’ eyes! We make every effort to always show your home in person!

Automated Follow Up

The software behind scheduling tools and digital lock boxes can be programmed to automatically email and/or text the buyer’s agent following a showing. This allows the listing agent to request feedback on the showing and perhaps entice buyer to submit an offer. The better tools can even repeat the process if the agent fails to respond to the first message.

Great, you want feedback and offers, right? So what’s the problem?

Here’s what an automated follow up looks like:

“How did you showing at 1234 Main Street go?”

It’s not personalized, it doesn’t reference the buyer, or me ,the buyer’s agent. Since the showing was booked through an app, the listing agent has no way to reference what he might have learned had he spoken to me in advance of the showing. And, when I responded to it? The klisting agent coun’t even be bothered to say, “Thanks for the feedback.”

Automated follow up. Efficient or lazy?

Lazy. How are we as the listing agent supposed to be able to advise you if we aren’t even speaking directly with potential buyers’ agents after they show your home?

Our Conclusion

We are in an incredibly hot sellers market right now. There are more buyers than there are homes for sale and many homes are seeing multiple offers and some are even selling above asking price. We are in the kind of market where a lazy agent might quickly sell your house for you, but are they doing the best job and getting your top dollar? If your home were a widget and everyone was selling widgets, automating the sales process would be fine.

You home isn’t a widget! For most sellers, their home is among their most valuable assets. It represents years of family history and memories. It has unique characteristics that make it special and valuable. To get top dollar, all of that is special about your home needs to be conveyed as many times as possible to as many qualified buyers possible. Anything short of this isn’t sales, it’s order taking. And it is doing a disservice to the buyer and to you,, the seller.

Our Promise

It is a point of pride and built into our DNA that every one of our clients gets our full attention and the highest level of service. The value of your home does not determine the level of service we offer. Nor does the speed in which homes are selling determine the level of service we offer.

We promise the highest level of service to every client!

Automation is not necessarily bad, but given that it is inevitable, we must remember that whenever we use technology, we’re making a trade off. 

We believe that selling your home requires our active participation that automation removes from the process. Automated tools will never replace the human interaction and personal service that creates value for your home and makes for a smoother transaction all around.

You are paying for professional service. We promise to deliver.

We promise:

  • We will make every effort to personally speak with every agent who wants to show your house before they show it.
  • We will qualify buyers in advance and pre-sell the home before they view it.
  • An agent from or team will be on site to show your home in person, tour buyers through the home, point our your homes unique features, answer questions on the spot, and, when appropriate, make very effort to entice an offer.
  • We will call every agent that shows your home to determine the buyer’s interest level and get their feedback on the home.
  • We will do everything in our power to sell your home quickly and at top dollar while making the process as easy and stress as possible for you.

We know that our efforts make a difference for our sellers and buyers – they’ve told us so themselves!


We’d love to talk further! When is a good time for us to call you?