Vail Daily column: Will Realtors fade into cyberspace? |

Vail Daily column: Will Realtors fade into cyberspace?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I have a friend who says she is going to get her real estate license and start selling property in the Vail Valley. I told her I thought she was crazy because there are hundreds of agents here already and besides, it won’t be long before the Internet will make agents unnecessary. Needless to say, we had quite an argument. We decided to ask you, although I don’t think you will be truthful about the possibility of your job disappearing. Your thoughts?

Dear Friend of Soon to be Realtor,

Please tell her to sign up for real estate school as soon as she can, if she is a good salesperson, is honest, cares about people and is willing to work and constantly learn throughout her whole career. There is always room for talent and dedicated hard workers. Real estate is a place you can build your own successful business to whatever income amount you want. There are models and systems available to make you successful your first year. Have her check around and find out who can teach her those systems in order to show her what she needs to do, and then have her do it.

As far as real estate agents fading into cyberspace, I believe just the opposite is happening. According to the latest National Association of Realtors statistics on “where the buyers found the home they purchased,” the Internet comprised less than 50 percent (actually 44 percent) of responses. This does not mean that locating their dream home on the Internet kept them from using a Realtor for the purchase. It means they saw the property they eventually purchased on the Internet first.

The next-highest statistic is that the Realtor found the buyer a home they had not found on the Internet, which was reported at 33 percent of the time. In this case, they would not have known about the home they ended up purchasing if it was not for the Realtor they used. The next-highest statistic shows that 9 percent of home buyers find their house through a friend, relative or neighbor. The lowest statistic for finding homes sold nation wide was 1 percent for homes found in print media (I believe that number is higher in our area).

What these statistics don’t show is that in general, most high-net-worth individuals, as well as investors, first-time homebuyers and even local move-up buyers all want to be represented by a professional in a transaction that will demand a large investment of their net worth.

Just because you can go to YouTube to see a video on how to extract a tooth, remove an appendix or file for a divorce, it does not mean you don’t want to find and pay for an expert to do it for you.

The National Association of Realtors statistics support this theory when they report that “87 percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker — a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.” Well educated, professional Realtors are becoming more important, not less. I look forward to working with your friend in the future.

Joan Harned is an owner broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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