A recent interview between internet and real estate entrepreneur Brad Inman and Joseph Rand, a managing partner of the 30-office, 800-agent company Better Homes and Garden Real Estate – Rand Realty. They explored several current threats posed to real estate professionals in 2016. According to Rand, the top areas of weakness for realtors are: poor consumer perception, a lack of consumer education, and squabbles over market listing data.
#1 Threat – Consumer Perception
Unfortunately, many buyers and sellers are under the impression that real estate agents are little more than salespeople. According to Rand, real estate agents must do a better job of showing buyers and sellers what they do behind the scenes. Around 90 percent of a real estate agent’s time is spent counselling people through complicated transactions.
#2 Threat – Consumer Education
Which brings us to the second threat: a lack of consumer education. The first threat is consumers’ ill-conceived perception of real estate agents, but just as problematic is that many real estate agents aren’t doing enough to counter those perceptions. This is especially important in today’s market, where new people and new technologies are challenging real estate agents on their pricing model. The market is ripe for disruption. If real estate agents don’t educate consumers on their value propositions, both face-to-face and via marketing efforts, sellers will be all the more likely to forsake traditional and have someone throw their home in the MLS for $500 bucks.
#3 Threat – Control of Listing Data
Multiple MLS s are negatively affecting both real estate agents and consumers, and companies like Zillow have stepped in and benefited from the confusion. Zillow is smart, they have highly developed marketing platforms and a consumer-friendly brand. They’re inserting themselves into more and more transactions, and brokerages will have to adapt. Upstream, which has been marketed as a tool to make real estate professionals more valuable—not to replace them—is likely to become the single point of entry for all listing information. In the end, it is highly unlikely that Zillow and Upstream will replace real estate professionals. What they will do is force real estate agents to sharpen their skills, expand their knowledge of the markets they work in, and communicate these differentiators to consumers.
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