|Edward Swinarski - Broker/Owner|
Before I tell you the story of how and why Cyber Smart Real Estate was created, let me first tell you a little about my background. Upon being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force in the early sixties I took a position as an IBM trainee. In those days anything relating to computing was dubbed "IBM". Concurrently while training as a computer operator I was taking evening courses at New York University in one of the first ever offered degree programs in Computer Science. The sixties was a period of upheaval, not only socially but in business as well. Burgeoning computer technology was reshaping the way businesses operated while at the same time creating new business opportunities associated with this fast growing and ever evolving technology. Part of my technology career (8+ years) was spent as an executive in the Radio and Television advertising community. This aspect of my life's training instilled in me a profound appreciation for the impact of effective marketing on the general public. I learned that marketing is not only an art but very much a science. The study of human psychology and the role that emotions play in our decision making, create the foundation for much of the marketing we are exposed to today.
Little did I know that my training and experience as a computer programmer, systems analyst, and Information Technology executive, plus my 8 year tenure in Radio and Television advertising would uniquely qualify me to create Cyber Smart Real Estate. Over the last seven years I have seen an amazing metamorphosis occur in Residential Real Estate. My observations coupled with my experience inevitably lead me to the conclusion that the way the Real Estate community went about the task of selling residential real estate need a major overhaul. Real Estate is a service oriented business and I was not seeing the home seller serviced as effectively as they needed to be. Everything around us was changing and yet homes were being listed, marketed, and sold the same old way. . .
The basic marketing principles that have been distilled over the years needed to be employed by today's home sellers if they want to be as effective and successful as possible. After having spent 35+ years in the computer technology field, I still find it hard to believe that many of today's small laptop computers have more computing power than those large (IBM) mainframe computers that required their own room with special climate control and sometimes more than one operator to function properly. When you couple the power of today's personal computers with the incredible accessibility to the vast amounts of information that the Internet affords, you start to get some idea of the empowerment all of us have been given. When I left the computer technology field over eleven years ago I knew the Internet would create many profound changes in business, but like the old saying goes - "you ain't seen nothing yet!"
The Internet has changed the face of business. I don't think anyone will disagree with this statement. The Internet as we know it has been around for over 20 years, but it really didn't come into its own until about 10 years ago. It was around that time that the general public started to embrace the Internet in ever increasing numbers. Shopping on the Internet only five years ago was extremely limited as compared to today. This was primarily due to the fact that the general public was not as secure then as they are now in today's e-commerce society. Automated shopping, shipping, and not requiring expensive showroom floor space and its attendant staff that the Internet allows has proven extremely cost effective for many businesses. These efficiencies and cost savings that businesses of all kinds have been able to achieve has in-turn manifested itself in the Internet becoming a safe, convenient and very cost effective way to shop for the consumer. This evolution (or maybe we should say revolution) in Internet shopping has created an air of confidence in the use of the Internet. More and more people are paying bills and banking directly on the Internet. The use of the newspaper classifieds for listing household items for sale has given way to such venues as eBay.com and Craigslist.com. Job searching is now done with Monster.com. If you need to find something, or require information about anything, simply "Google" it. The way we think about information, buying, and shopping has been fundamentally altered. These changes in how the general public perceives and uses the Internet has dramatically affected many industries, but none more so than the Residential Real Estate industry.
Prospective home buyers in ever increasing numbers are primarily searching for their new home on the Internet. The latest information from the National Association of Realtors indicate that over *85% of home buyers shop on the Internet. The way home buyers search for homes has changed the way home sellers need to market their house. The single largest source of available homes for sale on Long Island is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This font of available homes was at one time (prior to the Internet) only available to Realtors. Home buyers had very little choice other than to go to a local real estate office to find out what was available in a particular area. Today, all Long Island Multiple Listings are available to perspective home buyers by simply going to MLSLI.com. Prior to Cyber Smart Real Estate, you needed to be listed by a full service real estate broker in order to have your house listed on the MLS. If you wanted to sell your house on your own you were relegated to only certain advertising venues all of which fell far short of the exposure offered by MLS. When we were in a very strong Sellers Market this had much less impact on your ability to move your house. However, today's home selling environment is the extreme opposite.
Today's home sellers are caught in the middle. Prior to the Internet, listing with a full service broker was the best way to sell your house because they controlled the buyers. Now, home buyers are using agents much differently. They call a real estate agent requesting information and/or a showing on specific houses they find on the Internet. Because of the diversity and amount of information and the variety of homes for sale available to them on the Internet, most of them with numerous pictures and even virtual tours, they are less likely to stay with one agent. The Internet has given buyers the freedom to search for a home on their terms. However, there is one notable exception. An increasing number of home buyers are hiring an agent to act as their Buyer's Agent. In the past most every agent was working for the seller, either directly as the listing agent, or indirectly as what is known as a sub-agent. A sub-agent was any agent showing the house to perspective buyers (other than the listing agent) that was not a Buyers Agent. The default relationship is sub-agent, unless the buyer has a special written agreement to the contrary.
Today's home sellers must be aware of what it means to them to have a Buyers Agent negotiate on behalf of the buyer for the sale of their house. A sub-agent is prohibited by law from advising the buyer or assisting them in any way during the negotiations, if such advice and/or assistance would in any way adversely affect the seller's negotiating position. According to the latest *NAR statistics, 64% of buyers reported that they worked with an agent who represented their interests alone. Long Island is woefully behind the rest of the country in utilizing Buyer Agents. However, this situation is fast changing. The Internet has educated buyers to the home buying process and as a result the number of Buyer Agency relationships on Long Island is increasing rapidly. Home buyers have finally realized that they are paying the entire bill but getting none of the critical representation. This one facet alone is of considerable importance to home sellers who decide to sell on their own. In the past most every real estate agent involved in the sale of a home was working for the seller. Even the agent who brought the buyer. In this parochial environment the seller was protected, even if they didn't realize it. The ever increasing use of Buyer Agents by home buyers is jeopardizing this security.
I recognized many years ago that the Internet would change some industry fundamentals, and that it would have a major affect on how future business would be conducted. But, I never dreamed the impact would be so dramatic. In fact, the word change is not strong enough to effectively express what has happened and is happening to the real estate community. A much more appropriate term would be *paradigm shift. Revolution is another word that comes to mind and in fact is quite appropriate. The Internet has revolutionized how home buyers search for their new home. And in turn, this has required home sellers to radically rethink and alter their approach to the marketplace if they want to be successful.
*Paradigm Shift A radical change from one way of thinking to another. It's a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by the agents of change . . .
Cyber Smart Real Estate was developed to give home sellers the options they need in this new Internet environment. It has become increasingly obvious that the "old way" of doing business needed to be changed. Home sellers needed more support options available to them. To an increasing number of home sellers, listing with a full service Broker was not appropriate and thus not an acceptable option. They realize they needed assistance but were reluctant to pay such a high price for something they believe they could pretty much do on there own. Everyone has varying skills, education, abilities, and circumstances. As a result, not everyone needs the same level of support in selling their house. Offering home sellers a scaled array of support options is the hallmark of Cyber Smart Real Estate.
Our mission at Cyber Smart Real Estate is therefore:
To empower home sellers with all the information they require to make an informed and educated decision as to the level of support service they require, while at the same time offering options to enhance their level of support as circumstances may require. All this while maintaining a cost structure that is commensurate with their required level of support - use only what you need and pay for only what you use . . .