When true innovation comes around, there's no stopping it.
Innovation doesn't care about the National Association of Realtors, the fourth-largest lobbying group in America that spends billions of dollars to save the scared real estate commission. In fact, innovation doesn't care about the real estate commission at all.
Innovation has never cared about its own consequences -- look at the decline of manufacturing and the rise of outsourcing. We embrace innovation every day. When was the last time you went to a bank teller when an ATM was just down the block? Have you stopped consulting a stockbroker, turning instead to E*Trade?
The history of the modern world is a history of innovation. It's not always pretty, and it's sometimes painful, but innovation has always ultimately led to new freedoms and greater personal choice. Blindly holding on to the way it has always been done is nothing more than a great way to go out of business.
Right now, innovation is rocking the real estate industry. There was a great old marketing strategy of making it look difficult to sell a home-- but this has been exposed as a lie with websites like Trulia, Zillow and Yahoo!Real Estate. Buyers and sellers are starting to see that they can deal directly with each other and save money. Companies like ListingDoor are smoothing out the process, making it nearly effortless.
Here's a secret for you. When a home is sold, only 2 documents are needed in a majority of deals: A purchase contract and a seller's disclosure. That's it. There are plenty of extra documents you can tack on, but many of these are to indemnify real estate agents should they neglect to do their job correctly.
Here's another secret. Advertising has changed forever, and mass marketing is dead. Just look at email. Remember how there was a movie about how exciting it was to get an email? Now we dread how many emails we have in our inbox. Mass emails are spam. Real Estate Firms are clinging on to this with their "NEW LISTING, REDUCED, PRICED TO SELL" emails--they're meaningless and treated like spam.
In a world full of instant but often overwhelming and shallow communication, people are craving connection, and this extends to real estate. Individuals marketing their own home have the capability of giving the process a personal feel. Even in a big city, you feel like you are buying in a small town when you deal directly with an owner. That is the new, functional marketing in the world we live in today. It's all about community, personal connection, and a sense of the unique.
It can feel like there's something reassuring and secure about doing things the old way. Many many years ago, I delayed getting a cell phone because I didn't want to be available all the time. I resisted Facebook and Twitter initially too. I understand that it's comfortable to follow old patterns, but I gave in when I realized that the world was changing. As I said, innovation waits for no one; over 90% of buyers find their home on the internet and 1 in 8 homes is now sold without an agent. There are savings to be had.
I am a real estate agent, and I'm here to do something that not too many of my peers would do. I wrote a book and started a company to tell you that small is the new big-- and you are your own new real estate agent.