real estate transaction

Disrupt

In the 1990s, it was called disintermediation. In the 2010s, we are calling it disruption. Back then, we talked about a “new paradigm” that would alter the real estate business forever. Now we talk about “new business models” doing the same. The names may have changed, but the bottom line is this: I am still waiting for digital real estate transactions to be a common practice, not the exception to the rule.   What has really changed? Next month in early August, like many of my colleagues, I am heading to Inman News Real Estate Connect in San Francisco. It’s hard for me to believe that it has been nearly two decades – twenty years or more than 7,000 days – since the first Real Estate Connect in 1996. Brad Inman held the first real estate + technology confab at his family retreat in the Sonoma Valley. That was in late September 1996. Several months later, I met with Brad in a restaurant next to the Hyatt in Bellevue, WA, listening to him tell me what I missed and what he wanted to do next: a full-blown Real Estate Connect conference at the Hilton in San Francisco. He had a goal of 800+ people in attendance, including the Who’s-Who of real estate and technology leaders, at a sold out exhibit hall and wanted my help. Now I think back to 1996 and 1997 to what real estate looked like then and what it looks like today. Despite all the talk about disintermediation and the gust of wind that Internet 1.0 blew into the aggressive expansion of technology into the real estate space, and the current blitz of amazing innovations, I have to ask: What has really changed? Fundamentally unaltered It’s no longer Homestore that is the invincible giant: it’s now Zillow. But seriously, did Homestore add any real value to the real estate business? Has the consumer saved a dime because of Zillow? Or were both firms simply guilty of redistributing dollars and taking market share from someone else? When I watch a real estate transaction today, I see almost exactly what I see when I bought my house on Bainbridge Island in 1996: the vast majority of folks still use a real estate agent, still typically pay a 6% commission, you still have to turn in a ton of documentation – more now than you did in 1996! – […]

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