Selling a home is a “shitty process” that desperately needs to become more transparent, fast, certain and less stressful. It’s up to the real estate industry to recognise this and work to revolutionise the consumer experience or suffer as change is done ‘to’ us.
Brad Inman’s clarion call at INMAN Connect in Las Vegas was met with both shocked laughter and a few Amens.
In the US, the industry is being rocked by a class action where the entire commission model is being taken to court for being opaque and unfair. New iBuying models – which make cash offers and very quick sale turnarounds - are starting to bite in more affordable markets, and disruptive franchise models backed with billions of dollars of venture capital are poaching the best agents with lucrative sign-on bonuses and seamless technology platforms that have automated the admin and help agents focus on relationships with their customers.
In Australia, while we don’t have lawsuits, we do have research that shows 34% to 64% of real estate consumers have an average to very poor experience with real estate agents and a general frustration with the time it takes to settle a property.
Real estate is now a consumer model
All of this, says Inman, is a sign that what is emerging in real estate now is a consumer model. We’re moving from an industry that used to manage its customers, to its customers managing the industry.
“It’s good that we’re going to a consumer model,” said Inman. “It will be easier to see a house, understand its condition, easier to make an offer, and easier to close. And in the end, professional real estate professionals will finally get the respect you deserve.”
Inman pointed out that the biggest influence on the industry now is “consumers being loud mouthed critics.”
“Face it, gang - let’s collectively agree that the process of selling a home is shitty,” he said.
“I’ve got to list with uncertainty, I’ve got to sign with an agent who I don’t know very well, there’s no authentication of anyone whose coming into my home, I don’t know how long its going to take and I’m not sure what the final outcome will be, and it could all fall over in the end anyway.”
"The industry is in a process that is arcane."
- Brad Inman
“No one is to blame here. It’s just the way it’s done and it needs to change. The industry is in a process that is arcane.”
Industry is at a turning point
Inman said the real estate industry needed to take stock of what is happening right now and see it as a turning point.
“In our world — and it’s not a little world, it’s trillion dollars of business — it’s a moment in time like when the Mac was introduced and put the personal computer in our laps and on our desks, or when the smartphone was introduced and we started carrying robots in our pockets,” he said.
Our options are to recognise this and take action, or sit on our hands and wonder why it happened.
"What we do to consumers is intolerable."
- Brad Inman
“What we do to consumers is intolerable. We should just admit that. Because if we have that awareness, we can do something about it. The walls need tearing down,” Inman continued.
But in owning the problem, the industry would be able to overcome it.
Time to own the problem
“Real estate agents have the passion. We need to own the problem that we have to face here and overcome it and stop defending the old habits that are insupportable. Push back on the people who want to keep it the same,” he urged the audience.
“We can take a leadership role. Tearing down the walls is hard and difficult, but we need to do it. Is it going to be the courts, the consumers or do we do it ourselves?”
The new emerging models are more transparent, certain, speedy and less stressful, making it easier to find a property, inspect a property, understand its condition, make an offer and easier to close.
“Professional real estate people will finally get the respect you deserve because your role won’t be an admin assistant pushing paper. You’ll be an advisor and a helper,” he concluded.