i posted this over on tasty real estate, but i am reposting it here because i think it reflects why i am interested in that business right now. admittedly, my interest is much more focused on issues affecting the industry as a whole, and not on the retail aspect of it so much. and as completely unrelated aside, i feel a LOT better on days when i have played the guitar for at least an hour.
the NAR is in the bay area this weekend for their annual meeting. although the official word out of san francisco is that the focus will not be on the department of justice’s antitrust investigations into the real estate industry, you can bet that it will surely be a hot topic of conversation.
there are a number of good articles out there covering the conference and the controversy. information on the internet wants to be free. especially when the incentive for someone selling a home is unquestionably to get the listing of their property in front of as many eyeballs as possible. fighting technology isn’t good for consumers or for the industry. media coverage of the fight is not favorable; newsweek recently called the real estate industry a “cartel”.
in the end, fighting the internet isn’t good for agents and brokers. they need to recognize the innovations occuring in the business and find new ways to be competitive, rather than having a trade organization interfere and lobby against new business models, making the inevitable change more painful by having done so. j. bruce mcdonald from the justice department is right:
“One of the competitively threatening things about Web-based suppliers in any industry is that they can reach more customers more quickly and save costs, and that may translate into cutting price. All those things are attractive.
“The way we go about obtaining goods and services on the Web is threatening to brick-and-mortar business models.”
the brick and mortar business models won’t disappear completely. but i think they are in for some very real changes. the best thing for the industry and consumers alike is to get on with the changes, think creatively, and continue to provide whatever quality services are demanded by buyers and sellers.