Will people soon be heading to Amazon for all of their real estate needs? The e-commerce juggernaut teased a new “Hire a Realtor” page during Amazon Prime Day while people were busy shopping online deals. A “Coming Soon” banner and zip code search field could be found under the Home and Business Services tab for what we can only guess would be a referral-type business similar to Zillow and Redfin. The page has since been taken down, and Amazon has yet to comment publicly about it.
Amazon’s interest in adding real estate professionals to its list of offerings is part of a broader push into the service provider space. The Home and Business Services tab, launched in 2015, connects customers with professionals for home improvement, electronics installation, and other services for a referral fee.
What could this mean for the real estate market?
According to GeekWire, Zillow’s shares slumped from $46.15 a share to $44.54 when reports first surfaced that the retail giant may be expanding into the real estate marketplace. Zillow’s stock has since recovered, but if Amazon does decide to start dabbling in the industry, it could have more of an impact on the way buyers and sellers are connected to real estate professionals and possibly real estate itself.
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According to RealTrends, potential buyers and sellers typically choose agents through personal connections or word-of-mouth recommendations. However, with websites like Zillow, Realtor and now possibly Amazon entering the real estate arena, people are looking for agents and real estate online, while checking out reviews and ratings before making any decisions.
Does this mean that agents are going to be replaced by websites much like travel agents were replaced by online travel sites? While it’s true that technology has made the house buying and selling process easier, real estate agents are much too valuable to be replaced by technology. Not only do real estate agents spend hours taking pictures, marketing homes, and writing contracts, but their biggest value is experience in brokering deals, getting their buyer or seller the best deal possible and pricing homes. In real estate, homes vary – making each transaction different. That’s why experience matters.
So whether or not Amazon decides to dip their proverbial ‘toe’ in the shark-infested real estate waters, one thing remains true — people need people.