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Industry Relations: Rob & Greg’s 2018 Real Estate Industry Forecast

by Greg Robertson on December 29th, 2017

What’s in store for the real estate industry moving forward into 2018?

Some might consider this a supplement to Rob’s article on Inman News, 7 predictions 2018: Disco Fever.  But it was recorded before the article was published.  In this episode Rob and Greg try their hand at anticipating what’s ahead, offering predictions around the outlook for the MLS, Bob Goldberg and the NAR, the housing market, brokerages, technology and the culture of the industry. They begin with the ‘Blame the MLS’ debate caused by Bob’s response to the Inman Upstream article and Greg’s subsequent South Park blog post. Next, they offer an overview of leadership changes among major industry players and work through the big mystery surrounding RE/MAX’s failure to report Q3 earnings.

Rob and Greg speak to Facebook’s entry into real estate, discussing the differences between the social media powerhouse and Zillow as well as the potential for a syndication deal with Facebook in the coming year. They cover how MLS of Choice is likely to affect the industry, the continuing trend toward the tech-enabled brokerage model, and how NAR’s success in making changes to the tax plan might play out in the 2018 campaign season. Listen in for Rob and Greg’s insight on how the cultural phenomenon that is #MeToo might rock real estate and who will make the biggest splash in the technology space this year.

What’s Discussed:

The tendency among industry players to ‘blame the MLS’

The mystery around RE/MAX’s failure to report Q3 earnings

Facebook’s entry into real estate

– Match vs. search

The potential for a direct syndication deal with Facebook in 2018

Real estate as the ‘last frontier of disruption’

Greg’s insight around the rise of virtual MLSs

How MLS of Choice could trigger the first ‘hostile takeover’

The likelihood of non-contiguous consolidation activity among MLSs

Rob’s take on how HAR could leverage MLS of Choice

NAR’s big win on Capitol Hill regarding the tax plan

NAR’s increase in political spending in 2018

The trend of brokerages to adopt a tech-enabled model

–  Keller Williams culture of freedom
–  Agent adoption not a given

Mergers and acquisitions in the vendor space

The probability that #MeToo will rock real estate in 2018

Who is apt to make the biggest splash in real estate tech this year


Andrea’s Upstream Article in Inman

Bob’s Email Response

‘Blame the MLS’ on Vendor Alley

Rob’s 7 Predictions for 2018

Everybody Wins: The Story and Lessons Behind RE/MAX by Phil Harkins and Keith Hollihan

Mike’s Breakdown of Facebook vs. Zillow

Inman Article on Using Facebook for Lead Gen

Brad’s NAR Article in Inman

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

  1. That’s us, TRIBUS over here making noise!

  2. Great job guys. I took some notes while you were speaking.

    On the Facebook entry into RE – they have been in the space for a very long time and are absolutely crushing the game in terms of Realtor dollars and engagement. Most of all, agents like them more than Zillow. Full disclosure – Facebook is putting together some significant programs for brokers that are awesome.

    I also recall from the Inman CEO Connect event at Facebook a few years ago that Zillow has staff on the Facebook campus. No details on the nature of collaboration between the two companies. IMHO – Facebook is likely ahead of Z in total advertising dollars in real estate already (as Borrell suggests and our in-house research confirms. Facebook has long passed Z in lead volume for our customers more than 3 years ago and cost per lead is less than $5.

    Z continues to offer candy for sellers and #voyers – like Homes and Land Magazine. For the 100,000 or so agents that actually pay Z – the churn rates understandably high because the lead volume is low and the costs are extreme. Good news is that there is always another agent lining up to be one of the Zillow Premier Agents in their zip code. Heck – there is also a secondary market for Z leads. Some agents buy zip codes, nurture leads, and refer them out. We find that top agents and firms allocate their spend to Facebook first then Z and others after that. But take my word for it – Zillow is doing great, they are well managed, innovative, revenue is building, and they are a long way from any signs of failure.

    On the Grid – the rules are still domiciled with the local MLS – but they have common RESO Platinum Data – and IDX and VOW rules are pretty standardized. There is also automation for easy approvals – its an alternative to brokers doing Data Aggregation across multiple MLSs – the biggest benefit is that it is owned by collaborating MLSs and they do not need to wait for a vendor (or group of vendors) to make updates to the RETS server (guess we cannot call it RETS anymore – new name needed).

    Thanks for the heads up on the Palm Beach and NJMLS merger – wink wink.

    Interesting note about the Tech enabled brokers – what many do not understand is that the fundamental component of a tech enabled brokerage is their data. If your data house is not put together – you die the death of a 1000 cuts managing broker data and software integrations – sure – the MLS does a great job of serving data – but it is usually to a broker’s vendor rather than to the broker itself – siloing data in many systems – replicating data everywhere – increasing the cost of managing data and reducing the ability to leverage it as an asset. It simply makes no sense for every broker to have in-house IT staff managing their cloud based data storage – collaborating on a central repository is super cheep and the broker retains 100% of the sovereignty over their data. It will take a while for non-technical people to grasp this – Upstream is a good move. To your point about Keller Williams Cloud – Keller Williams has built their own version of Upstream – Realogy has Dash (new name for CREST) RE/MAX has their own stuff – Home Services has their own stuff – It does not may any sense for each of these firms to duplicate the effort, expense, etc – One to many is the solution that will benefit the entire brokerage community.

  3. Great read over the holidays. Thanks for effort in putting it together

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