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Q: Marsha, I’m just starting my research to purchase a house. It seems like with so much property information online, real estate agents will soon be obsolete. Do you see this happening in your profession?

A: The real estate profession is evolving with technology, as many services and industries have done. The real estate consumer has access to a tremendous amount of online knowledge. The Realtor provides the consumer with comprehension and the ability to interpret what all this information means.

The modern world is ever more complex. Real estate agents have high expectations placed on them from the consuming public. The era of the part-time agent is gone. Agents are counted on to possess a high degree of education and expertise. They specialize more and more in particular sectors. Technology and artificial intelligence will help them better serve their clients.

Over the centuries, each time a new technology is introduced, the demise of a particular industry is predicted. Often the opposite becomes the reality. The industry absorbs the new technology and grows. An example of this is manufacturing. Since the industrial revolution, manufacturing has embraced technology. Each shift has been decried as the end of employment in that sector. Technology has actually created more jobs and more opportunities. The same is true today. Every business has been affected by the computer and information age. Industries that embrace advancements flourish and grow.

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The internet and social media are now vital to real estate. More than 65 percent of adults worldwide use some form of social media via their electronic devices. Studies also show that more than 85 percent of consumers utilize social networks to help direct their purchases. 

Recognizing in the early 2000s that significant changes were developing, the National Association of Realtors and the Social Media Marketing Institute developed the e-PRO certification for Realtors. This is a two-day course teaching and exploring all aspects of social media, technology, and techniques for working with buyers online.

Buying and selling houses is complicated. Just as you would hire an experienced attorney to handle legal matters, you want a knowledgeable Realtor to represent you through the property process. You can research and acquire legal expertise online, yet most people don’t choose to represent themselves in court. Realtors possess the experience, instinct, and perception that non-human technology lacks.

Active real estate agents understand their market. They follow the policies, politics, and activities of their local area. Agents are constantly networking and learning relevant facts about neighborhoods. They’ve heard the buzz of what local investors are doing. These are subtle situations that bring value to using an agent. Real estate agents are here to stay.

Marsha Gray, DRE #012102130, NMLS#1982164, has been a real estate broker in Santa Barbara for over 20 years. She works at Allyn & Associates, real estate services and lending. To read more Q&A articles, visit She will research and answer all questions submitted. Contact Marsha at (805) 252-7093 or

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