Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Industry Relations Episode 42: The Incumbent Wars Have Begun!

What does organized real estate look like in 2030? Who is winning? 

Incumbent brokerages are betting on the recruit-and-retain model that has worked for the last several decades, doubling down on the agent’s sphere as their primary source of leads. Disruptors are betting on a world where the agent matters less than the brand itself, where realtors are only responsible for service delivery and leads are generated entirely through the institution’s online platform. Who is your money on?

In this episode of Industry Relations, Rob and Greg are discussing the themes that came up at Inman’s CEO Connect and the confidence incumbent brokerages have in their ability to outlast market disruptors. They cover the advantages incumbents boast in terms of scale and profitability, exploring whether industry giants are truly all-in on technology and the iBuyer models—or if they’re adding those initiatives simply to overcome agent objections. 

Greg and Rob go on to consider a potential decline in the number of agents by the end of this decade and explain why agent teams continue to pose the greatest threat to brokerages. Listen in for insight around how key players in other industries have leveraged the power of incumbency to compete with disruptors and place your bet on either the agent-centric incumbent brokerages OR the institution-focused disruptors.

What’s Discussed: 

The advantages incumbent brokerages have in terms of scale + profitability

Adopting new tech as a marketing ploy to bolster a brokerage’s value prop to agents

Why many brokerages chose to partner with rather than acquire iBuyers

Why successful brokerages can do everything right and still lose market leadership

How key players in the automotive industry have leveraged the power of incumbency

The fundamental difference between real estate incumbents and disruptors

-Agent-centric, focused on recruiting/retention vs. institution-centric 

-Agents as lead source vs. service delivery only

How the future of real estate will continue to be dominated by agent teams

Why the number of agents is likely to drop to 400K by the end of the decade

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Inman Connect

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen

The Straight Pipes on YouTube

John Campbell on The Notorious Interview

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  1. Fun to listen to. My head was spinning with questions and responses.
    But, I think a great guest to have on would be Art Carter to answer MLS questions of investing money. Maybe a combo interview with Rob Larson to really get into the tech side of MLS.

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