The Death of Real Estate Brokerages?

In real estate, it’s not the flashy logo, the coolest drone video, or the best location for office space which wins anymore..

It’s information.

The quicker and more efficiently you can get information faster than your competition is what will set you apart.

Attacking the market at the right time with the right information is what will maximize your time, effort and ad spend.

So what kind of information will set you apart?

  • Information on who is selling
  • Why they are selling
  • What kind of life changes are they going through
  • What are their pain points.
  • What questions or concerns do they have with your services and how can you address those concerns and back-up your claims with hard data.

Back in the ‘ol days, information used to travel in little private circles hidden deep in the community.

Agents guarded their information and held it closely in fear that a more charismatic agent would move in on their territory and win over their clients.

Word-of-mouth was king. If you weren’t part of the in-crowd, you simply didn’t have access to information.

Today, in addition to speed of information, there is another term which is often added to the discussion: Experience.

Real estate agents who have been in the business many years have a vast amount of experience.

But, what is experience really?

To me, experience simply means that these agents have gathered and stored a depth of information which helps guide them through future decision making processes.

I ask you, how powerful would you be as an agent if you had this same experience on your mobile device which you could call up at a moments notice?

I’m not saying that experience isn’t a great quality - it is. I’m simply saying to imagine how powerful a “collective” experience would be as a data source you could tap into?

Q/A websites like Quora are wildly successful due to the fact that people are naturally drawn to ask questions and get answers from sources which provide this collective experience.

If this experience were translated into digital form, where users could add/edit/delete relevant information based on past trial-and-error and have this information be accessible immediately, think of how would that level the playing field?

I believe that this information can be extracted from existing public data sources and assembled in the cloud for access to just about anyone. In fact, I’m betting my entire business on it.

Brokerages will be making a shift soon, whether they like it or not.

They will be more like SAAS (software as a service) models which individual real estate agents will simply “plug into” the service.

The whole real estate landscape will soon turn into an arms race - with companies racing to build out infrastructures with the quickest access to information to provide to its agents.

Compass, love them or hate them, is already on this path.

While I like the direction they are taking, I still see a lot of inefficiencies in their model. Most of these inefficiencies lie in their access to local data within specialized luxury markets. These “pockets” of luxury markets have few gatekeepers who are tight-lipped about their client base..

However, I believe that access to the right data will level the playing field and soon open these markets up to a wider base of real estate agents other than the select few.

Up until now, Compass’ solution has been to aggressively go after certain agents in those specific markets and acquire them, along with their list of clients.

The problem with this method is that a certain agents list of clients is only good through that client’s transition cycle - in other words, once their clients buy or sell a luxury home, they most likely won’t buy or sell too much in the immediate future.

So, how will the brokerage continually capture new business in the luxury market?

Again, the one who has the best information, will win.

Real estate is still, and always will be, a people business.

However, the strength of being an individual can and will be magnified by employing cloud technology and services to enhance an individual agent’s mobility as well as their immediate access to information.

This shift will happen gradually, but make no mistake - it will happen. And when it does, technology will indefinitely rule the landscape.