If Technology Disrupts the Real Estate Business, We Only Have Ourselves to Blame

I have not been writing much recently on this blog, but Brad Inman contacted me this week asking me to contribute a response to a piece that he wrote for Inman News entitled “Real Estate Disruption May Not Be What You Think it is.”

In his piece, Brad questions suggests that disruption in the industry might not come at the expense of the agent — i.e., a for-sale-by-owner model that actually works and eliminates the agent from the transaction.  Rather, he thinks that the online portals (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, or one still to be launched) could disrupt the agent-broker relationship, displacing the broker but retaining the agent at the center of the transaction.

It’s an interesting and provocative argument, and Brad asked me to respond because he wanted to see what a broker had to say about it.

You can read my response, “No One Can Disrupt our Industry Without Our Permission,”  at Inman News, where I argue that if the real estate brokerage industry is disrupted, it’s our own fault for not refining the value proposition that we give to agents.  But I point out that technology might not be the disruptive force that technophiles might think it is, and that even if the industry is disrupted, it’s likely to come at the expense of companies that shouldn’t be in the business in the first place.

Take a look. If you have any thoughts or comments, feel free to make them at Inman.