After being a managing broker for three of the largest brokerages in the country I’ve seen and experienced a LOT of corporate crap. Red tape lines the hallways of each corporate office and the bureacracy spewed within the conference rooms can make you ill within mintues. HR Directors are an evil mix of guidance counselor and my bitchy ex wife who just loves to point out how everything I do is wrong.
Not that I’m bitter…
Corporate policy has it’s place, no question, but the dinosaurs of the industry have caused enough people to rebel and gain voice that now the real estate revolution is upon us. The growing inefficiencies, lacking value propositions, and stiff-shirted bullying of “discount” models has finally pushed the consumer over the threshold of what they are willing to accept, and now, finally, something is being done about it.
And we have the dinosaurs to thank.
I was always amazed at how long it takes to “do” anything within some corporate structures. There was always so much (double) talk. Blah Blah Blah blah blah……..
One day at manager’s meeting I suggested a new commission plan for the agents that would cap at a certain level. You’d think I’d just shot someone with the outrage expressed from the other managers. How dare I suggest something that could potentially cost them money. No matter the potential for increased profit as a result of the recruiting we could do with a more agent-friendly plan. No no no- this was over the line talking about such a taboo subject in open space like that- and really, who the hell was I to make such a sugestion? I’d only been a managing broker for seven years- not nearly the twenty or thirty years many of them had.
See, I was still thinking like an agent. Some managers were so far removed from the actual process of representing clients that they couldn’t wrap their brains around the idea of increasing our value proposition for them. Plus, I was the maverik manager who allowed the agents to cut commissions when they felt like they should, or needed to. My spending was out of control with all the stuff I was paying for and, as one manager said in an email to me, “Maybe [I] should focus on getting [my] spending in line before looking for ways to spend more”. No matter my office had broken it’s all-time sales record for the last 8 months in a row and was more profitable than ever- or that I was the top recruiter in the entire company, bringing in over 110 agents in less than 18 months.
Change is scary for some people. And for large brokerages, it is simply not acceptable. Dave Liniger, founder of Re/Max, declares that the internet is “over-valued” because he started Re/Max thirty years ago and hasn’t had to deal with the actual task of finding a client and then hearing that cleint tell him that they don’t want to pay 6% or even 5% to sell their house and then have to decide whether to walk away from the business so you can claim that you are not a “discount” agent to your buddies at the board luncheon, or take that listing at 4% and help these people with their goals of selling their home and collect that “discount” check of only $6500 for his hours of work.
You can’t blame some people for trying to keep things the same- they’ve made a lot of money charging the higher commissions for decades and they haven’t really had any competitive models to challenge them. There are some alternative models from the past, but most of them, I don’t like their models at all, but that’s not the point- the point is they were never a threat to big brokerages because they weren’t very big- or good.
And anytime a new model did come along the big boys would, as Michael Arrington of TechCrunch stated, “Systematically tear them apart”.
But now a smarter, tech-savvy, empowered consumer is leading the charge. And new models are gaining ground and establishing themselves as players within the breadth of the real estate landscape, which has been growing rapidly with the influx of agents and innovation. And there are some larger companies around that are embracing change and increasing their value propositions.
There has never been a more exciting time to be in real estate. And with real estate historically being a topic of conversation anway, there has never been a better time to be someone who likes to talk about it.