The real estate industry made a mistake: We let companies come in from outside the industry and offer what we should have offered the consumer for years. Instead of focusing on the evolving consumer needs, we got in our own way.
We didn’t want the norm to change. We got stuck in conversations where everybody brought their own initiatives and problems to the table. That’s how we let an outsider get between us and the consumer.
Today, we have an opportunity to move back into the driver’s seat, supporting our consumers. They deserve to get their information directly from the people who list and sell homes, not ads. But to serve the consumer, we must avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Broker Public Portal With Homesnap We’re in charge again with the Broker Public Portal (BPP) with Homesnap. In less than two years, this industry-born initiative has exploded from 200,000 agents to more than 1 million with access to the technology.
Agents have reaped thousands of free leads worth tens of millions of dollars by using Homesnap technology, yet industry professionals continue to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars every month to a company that competes with them.
The new initiatives that BPP with Homesnap is bringing to the table give the real estate industry the ability to serve consumers in remarkable new ways. The dangers are myopia and self-interests. We cannot let our industry squander these new opportunities by going back to old habits of bickering and squawking about what “could” happen. Don’t forget what did happen.
If You Knew Then What You Know Now In July 2013, the head of Zillow was interviewed by Motley Fool and said, “We are not a brokerage. We sell ads, not houses. We don’t intend to compete with brokerages.” Last April, Zillow announced that it would begin buying and selling homes directly to and from homeowners, and, most recently, said that it will let consumers tour a Zillow home without an agent.
What does our industry do? Agents, brokerages and loan officers continue to fund Zillow with their marketing spend because they’re hooked on the leads, continuing to subsidize Zillow’s growth. Zillow is not our friend. Zillow is our competitor. Zillow is between us and our customer, and now they’re taking our customers away.
Serving the Consumer Brokers often think they’re serving consumers because they think that a consumer would do what they would do.
Brokers have to stop saying, “If I were a consumer…”. They’re not the consumer. They’re not in the middle of a life-changing experience that’s emotionally challenging. That means we also have to stop our old business ways. We need to listen to consumers and do what they want.
Quit Waiting to Align With a Win BPP with Homesnap is bringing us bold new opportunities to take back the consumer. Let’s stop pointing to reasons we can’t do something and find a way to do it.
To those MLSs and brokerages not supporting BPP with Homesnap: Quit waiting to align with a win; align with a purpose. Stop sitting on the sidelines until we’ve won. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, because if we’ve already lost, it’s over.
It’s time for this industry to bind together and back this intentional, purpose-driven initiative. Let’s come together as an industry and take the consumer back.
Craig McClelland is COO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers, Georgia’s premier real estate brokerage with 26 offices and more than 2,400 REALTORS® throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia, and serves on the Board of Managers for the Broker Public Portal. For more information, please visit www.brokerpublicportal.com or www.homesnap.com/bpp.
Note: This column originally appeared in the June edition of Real Estate Magazine and online at RISMedia.com