There is no denying that massive shifts are taking place in the real estate industry. Tech-based startups are entering the marketplace at a rapid pace offering consumers a faster, more streamlined approach to the home buying and selling experience; the number of consumers going without a real estate agent is on the rise according to J.D. Power’s 2018 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study; and several of the industry’s top real estate executives and broker owners predict more extreme changes are on the horizon.
I recently watched a video from the Inman Connect Conference in San Francisco featuring Keller Williams Co-Founder Gary Keller. Keller took the stage with Inman Publisher and Founder Brad Inman to discuss the drastic changes coming for real estate, and what prompted Keller’s decision to pivot from being a pro-agent coaching and training company to a technology company. Here are a few of the highlights:
Technology is an absolute imperative
We are living in an age where the new ‘savvy’ real estate customer is taking a seat at the head of the table and demanding a faster, more concise process. They want to be able to decide and act quicker and “the industry must get better, smarter and more transparent to serve consumers’ insatiable and unapologetic needs,” said Brad Inman.
According to Keller, there are two battlefronts emerging in real estate. The first battlefront is agents empowering technology. He went on to list a handful of real estate tech companies, including Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, Opendoor and Offerpad, that make up this category and explained that these companies are not agent-centric businesses. They want technology to be the rock star in the relationship with the customer versus the agent. “These companies would all run their businesses without agents if they could,” Keller said.
Big data and artificial intelligence are the next big game changers
The second battlefront is technology empowering agents. In this model, agents are the fiduciary and technology – fueled by big data and artificial intelligence – is the tool to provide agents with insights that result in a more meaningful conversation with their client. Keller went on to explain that in order for brokerages to compete with these tech-centric companies long term broker owners will need to build a platform in which they own their own software and data.
For Keller Williams that means no longer dealing with what it called “bolt-on” technology. “Bolt-on technology is anytime you use another company’s technology product that you didn’t build and own,” Keller said. Examples given were off-the-shelf CRM systems like Top Producer, CINC and BoomTown. Transaction management systems like Dotloop and Skyslope, and any AVM like Trulia, Zillow, realtor.com, etc.
Keller finished by saying “Who you decide gets to have your data, will ultimately determine how relevant you are in the real estate industry.”
What are your thoughts regarding these two groups? Do you agree with Keller’s thoughts on the evolution of the real estate industry? Feel free to comment below.
PLEASE NOTE: The views and opinions of authors expressed in this post do not necessarily state or reflect those of Cardinal Financial (formerly RedStone Mortgage), its affiliated companies, or their respective management or personnel.