Don’t expect to be shopping for your next home on Amazon anytime soon. While online shopping has become a mainstay for consumers, real estate is one market that’s avoided this technological takeover. Lang Vuong, broker-of-record for Cloud Realty in Mississauga, said the real estate agent’s role can’t be boiled down to an app like Airbnb, or Uber. “The difference with taking an Uber is that real estate transactions could be fraught with a number of issues,” he said. “They can potentially identify any pitfalls — issues come up all the time,” he added.Acting as an impartial advocate, agents are trained to identify any number of problems — from why a home isn’t selling to financing, inspections, contracts and property law. “Every house is different — each have their unique challenges,” Vuong said. It’s a cliche, but as homes are often the biggest purchase one will ever make, the potential for crippling problems is far too great to go it alone, he said. “The home that you’re buying, it becomes your dream house, it’s where you’re going to raise your family,” he said. “That’s sometimes a very scary decision to make, especially for first-time home buyers.”Instead of replacing licenced agents outright, Vuong describes technology as a valuable tool for professionals and homebuyers. “It puts a lot more information into the consumer’s hands, so they can do a lot of the research on their own,” he said. “You can combine what you’ve learned with what the real estate agent’s done, allowing you to work together as a team.” He noted during the 1980s, when open houses were a vital part of selling a home, the best source for up-to-date listings was taped to the front window of the local real estate office. That’s all been rendered obsolete, Vuong said. “People can now go on virtual tours and get a sense of what it’s like, and once they find a house they like, they can book a viewing,” he said. One change that’s become a recent issue for local agents is the release of sales data. In August, the Supreme Court of Canada denied an appeal of a lower court case from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), ordering them to remove restrictions on the publishing of sales and market data online. The decision ended a bitter seven-year dispute between TREB and the federal Competition Bureau, centred around the board’s concerns over client privacy and data ownership.
source: Toronto Sun