High Touch vs. High Tech Real Estate

This week is the Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York City. Several of the more prominent real estate agents, at least on the web, have been in attendance for the duration (and forgive me if I missed you on the list:)

The highlight of this week’s conference was yesterday’s keynote session debate between Allan Dalton, CEO of Move.Com (the operators of Realtor.Com) and Glenn Kelman of Redfin. Redfin, as I’ve mentioned before, offers commission rebates to its buyer clients after encouraging the buyers to find their own homes – often by calling the listing agent to arrange a showing. Redfin doesn’t exist here in the Phoenix area and would run into some issues if it did, but that’s another story for another day.

Many of the predominately-Realtor crowd likely were looking forward to Dalton (no relation to either the beagle or me, incidentally) slicing and dicing Glenn the same way he filleted Zillow in a CAR conference last year.

Unlike Dalton vs. Zillow, however, yesterday’s showdown has generated a limited amount of commentary. From what I have seen from my distance of 2,500 miles is there does not appear to have been a clear winner. Here are the posts I’ve found so far:

I’m inclined to believe the debate was a draw as if there had been a clear winner, and if it had been Dalton, there likely would have been some crowing from my fellow Realtors. But if it is out there I’m just not seeing it.

One final note … I have an issue with the conference’s theme of “High Touch vs. High Tech.” The assumption inherent in the title is the real estate industry is going to break down one of those lines, but I believe such an assumption is flawed.

High tech alone is not sufficient, not where human emotions surrounding the largest purchase of someone’s life is involved. High tech can drive the clients to you but the vast majority still are looking for the high touch as well. If anything, high touch can survive to some degree without high tech though I believe prospecting absolutely is going the high tech route.

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Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.


  • Dave Smith 11 years ago


    I think High Tech to High Touch would have been a better title. I agree completely that high tech is the avenue to prospecting. We are getting more and more leads everyday from the internet with the tag team of the website and blog.

    High Touch is what everyone wants. It is that extra service provided that makes the experience memorable. Consumers are using High Tech to find that High Touch experience.

  • jf.sellsius 11 years ago

    Would have been nice to have you here with us Jonathan.

  • Jonathan Dalton 11 years ago

    Dave … you have it right. And the blog helps with the high touch because they are receiving personalization, whether they realize it or not.

    I’ll try for the next time, assuming there will be a next time. Might I suggest a warmer climate? Say … oh, I don’t know … Phoenix?

  • jf.sellsius 11 years ago

    I love Phoenix. Got my bag packed.