Thursday, July 12, 2018 / by Anne Rose
Realtors have many ways to communicate peer to peer. Office email groups, branded and private Facebook groups, unbranded mastermind groups and more. These alternate methods of communication help us to explore the many curious opportunities that arise each day.
There are also a variety of industry-related news resources that we use to stay abreast of industry trends.
Real Estate News
One such source is Inman News. They recently published an article that could foreshadow a paradigm shift in the way we conduct real estate transactions.
First a few stats. According to similarweb.com, in March 2018, Zillow.com named the #1 Real Estate Website in the Business and Industry Category of Real Estate. Zillow had 189,000,000 visitors in the month of March alone. The average visitor spent just under eight minutes on the site with nearly thirteen page views.
Did I mention Zillow also owns Trulia? They get a few visitors each day, too!
Zillow also owns a company called Dotloop that they acquired not long ago. Dotloop is a digital transaction management software provider that allows agents (like me!) to send contracts and other sensitive transactional documents via secure cloud-based digital signature software. So, “we” as a profession pondered, “why would an advertising platform company like Zillow need transaction management software?”
Automated Real Estate?
To answer the question, many made the following analogy: Netflix is to Blockbuster as Zillow is to a traditional Brokerage. The Zillow footprint in the advertising space is a $17 Billion market. Guess what? They then announced a move into a market footprint of $1.8 Trillion. How? Ibuyer.
The Inman article related that rather than participate in the market solely as an advertising platform for agents and sellers, Zillow will now buy homes offered by sellers on Zillow.com. The details aren’t out, but imagine if all you have to do is post your house on Zillow and they offer to buy it - done. Zillow has said they will never replace the agent in the real estate transaction. After they own some share of the homes for sale across the country, they will presumably need agents (me!) to represent the buyer in making an offer and negotiating the transaction.
The mantra in the industry has traditionally been “list to last," but what happens when Zillow (like Netflix) owns the lion’s share of the inventory available to the consumer? Some people have long surmised that Zillow could become the largest real estate firm in the world overnight if they chose to go down that path. Zillow maintains that this will never happen - but only time will tell.
With the appearance of autonomously-driven vehicles, streaming-video content, and the evolution of online retail (Amazon.com), how far behind is a new real estate model that no longer involves the “check-out line” and commission structure that has been in place since the advent of the real estate professional?
Your Local Real Estate Source
Personally, I believe that real estate is truly a hyper-local industry and that algorithms will never replace the local expertise of your real estate professional.
I do believe, however, that the industry is ripe for change. We encourage buyers to embrace online tools in their home-buying adventure. Use the algorithms to augment your search for a house. Depend upon your local real estate agent to help you find a home.
Keller Williams recently announced that it is now the largest firm by agent count, by units sold, and by total sales volume: the Triple Crown of Real Estate. This is an accolade never-before achieved by any real estate company. Our Wilmington office has grown from a few agents in 2014 to well over 200 in just a few short years, and we are capturing market share every day. If we at KBT Realty Services can be of service, we humbly and ably stand by to serve.