RISMEDIA, June 3, 2010—I recently had the very distinct privilege of being invited to speak at a meeting that was attended by many of the leaders in our industry. I can say that it was an honor and a privilege to speak to such an esteemed group.
I would like to share some of the things that jumped out at me during this conference.
The first item that really stood out is that there was only one other CEO that I spoke with that agreed with me that the Realtor is our customer. I’m sure there were other CEO’s in attendance that shared my attitude, however only one other CEO came up to me, to tell me they shared my belief. I truly believe with today’s technology that the Realtor no longer needs the broker as much as the broker needs the Realtor. I believe that we as a brokerage are in the Realtor business and our Realtors are in the real estate business and it’s our job as a brokerage to support our Realtors and help them become more profitable.
The second item that nearly destroyed my elation of feeling like we are the future; and that we have the business model of the future, was the technology panel. By the time this panel finished speaking, I felt like a dinosaur. That night I lay awake and realized that our entire industry will disappear eventually. It could be in as little as 10 years.
Let me share why I say this.
I think most of you would agree that within 10 years, most homes will have 3D televisions in them. So imagine if someone creates a channel that any homeowner can place their home for sale on for $200, and then everyone in the world can access that channel and see their home in 3D in their living rooms. With just one swoop, no more listings, no more MLS, no more commissions.
But it gets worse. Let’s say someone writes an application for buyers, where the buyer goes into a site for $200 and gets a security code. The first thing the system does is run a criminal background check on the buyer. Once they pass the criminal background check, the system then runs a credit check. Once the credit check is run the system then sends this information to a couple of different lenders that will be best for this particular buyer. The lender then gives the buyer a security code number and an approval number that says this buyer is approved for the following loan.
The system has already determined what a home will sell for so at this point the system sends all the properties that the buyer qualifies for in the area and size that the buyer has an interest in. The system then makes the appointments for the buyer to see these homes.
A completely seamless transaction. The buyer knows all his or her exact costs from loan amount, to tax’s, to Title Insurance to Homeowners insurance.
When this happens, the entire industry disappears. The Boards, NAR, MLS, websites, Consultants, appraisers—the entire industry.
If you don’t believe this can happen, let me share a little story with you. I flew into San Antonio to visit with our Texas state broker and to drive up to Dallas with him. On our way to the Conference we passed a huge HUMMER dealership. It was vacant.
I rest my case.
James A. Crumbaugh III is CEO of Allison James Estates and Homes and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.