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Disruption in Real Estate Tech – 90’s flashback

I’m going to date myself here!! I worked in corporate admin and marketing jobs during the 90’s when the internet was emerging for personal and business usage. Recently in a discussion on Clubhouse about crypto real estate technology, there was a comparison to the internet in the early 90’s and I flashed back….

At that time, I was working in the C-Suite of a successful mainframe based software company in San Francisco. You may not even know what COBOL programming is, but we sold custom built COBOL mainframe enterprise accounting software to Fortune 500 companies.

In the early 90’s as we faced “disruption” from Microsoft, our CEO literally said, “the internet is a fad.” We know how that story ended!

The drive at the time was to create a graphic user interface (GUI) on top of the mainframe COBOL system (instead of the green screen) to compete with platforms offering Windows business software.

At one point, literally half of our COBOL programmers were laid off in one day. Recent layoffs at Redfin and Compass are reminiscent of those early 90’s signs of trouble.

Today’s focus on applications delivered to agents vs revising and modernizing brokerage business structures reflects the same mentality as developing GUI interfaces on top of a legacy mainframe system.

What are Brokerage Tech Offerings?

The value of technology for realtors and consequently their clients has been a key talking point in recent years. Glenn Sanford founded eXp as a forward thinking business platform in 2009 using Metaverse technology and AI, a fundamentally different business model.

For the most part, what agents are offered at traditional franchise brokerages is a patchwork of front end applications for client communication and service. Those front-end applications become the focus of most brokerage technology discussions.

Realtors with eXp have a dynamic, cloud based, flexible and scalable global business model allowing them to invest more into the care and service of their clients.
Access to information is 24/7. Real people here to help.

👉🏽 Related Article – Real Estate Brokerages – What’s the Difference?

What about technology disruption of the real estate industry?

Brokerage leaders and franchise owners started talking about technology disruption of our real estate industry back in 2016. The true disruption is not replacement of the realtor. It’s a disruption of large franchise based brokerages scrambling to be seen as relevant and competitive offering realtors front-end user applications, much like the 90’s GUI interface for legacy mainframe systems. The core business model hasn’t changed.

Brokerage Technology Offerings vs Business Structure

The brokerage is the support structure for a realtor’s business. eXp Realty has that structure. Just like the open cutting edge technology platform, eXp fosters an open, collaborative culture. One unlike I’ve seen anywhere.

Franchise brokerages continue to pressure agents to have a fear based mindset, becoming insular in culture out of protection of their profit margin – not in the best interest of clients or realtors. The Top 5 Myths in the video to the right reflect the disinformation prevalent about eXp.

As realtors, we own our own business. At a time when we are facing economic challenges, global market shifts, and emerging technology that will fundamentally change how real estate is practiced, it’s imperative to take a hard look at your business model, all emotions aside.

There are great people everywhere! However, is your brokerage the right business structure to thrive in the future? Or are they offering you a GUI front-end to an outdated system.

Some tough, but important questions to ask; Where is the profit going? How sustainable is the business model? What’s your ROI on your commission split?

When businesses are running in the red, or at risk of running at a loss, decisions become based on profit for the business owners, not protection of the consumer’s interest. This is a pivotal time in real estate. Just as the early 90’s was for the internet.

The speed of change and complex dynamics of today’s global real estate market are unlike any we’ve seen in the past. Buyers and sellers are mobile, diverse and have multiple destination goals. To serve today’s complex market, realtors need cutting edge, flexible business structures with national and international exposure.

Want to know more? And learn how to maximize the profit generated by your business? Check out the links below and let’s talk!

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Susanna Kunkel

Susanna Kunkel brings her skills from a career in the executive offices of major corporations to her real estate business - treating each client like a VIP. With 18 years of experience as a real estate advisor, you can be confident in knowledgeable, personalized, confidential service. Hear what her clients say -

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