Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Industry Relations Episode 49: Why So-Called Disruptors Just Can’t Change Real Estate

For every tech platform that sets out to disrupt real estate, there’s a story of slow evolution to working with brokers and agents. And while companies like Zillow, Opendoor, and Offerpad have brought about minor changes to the home buying process, they always end up morphing into our traditional system. Why is it that these so-called disruptors just can’t change the way we do real estate?

In this episode of Industry Relations, Rob and Greg are exploring why would-be disruptors have such a hard time changing real estate. Greg walks us through his five-stages-of-grief analogy around how tech platforms always end up working with brokers and agents, and Rob compares real estate with the auto industry, reflecting on how little buying processes have changed despite advancements in technology. 

Rob and Greg go on to introduce the idea that the human connection is what prevents tech disruptors from succeeding in our industry, speculating that agent teams have been the biggest disruptor in real estate in recent years. Listen in for insight on how human knowledge and connection factor into making tech platforms successful and learn why the human need for approval is not disruptable. 

What’s Discussed: 

Rob’s take on the two possible reasons why disruptors have trouble in real estate

–System has been perfected over time

–Entrenched infrastructure (need billions to play)

Greg’s five-stages-of-grief analogy re: how disruptors end up working with agents

The similarities and differences between real estate and the auto industry

–Way we buy + sell changed little in spite of technology

–Remember dealership but not broker (agents ≠ employees)

How technology has expanded consumer knowledge around price, inventory, etc.

Greg’s insight that real estate tech disruptors struggle because they lack human connection

Why agent teams have been the biggest disruptor in real estate in recent years

How Zillow has evolved its Zestimate algorithm to include human knowledge

Why Rob believes that our human need for approval is not disruptable 

What makes Zillow the most likely platform to cause true disruption in real estate

The Tom Ferry study around top agents living paycheck to paycheck

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Rob’s Blog on Innovation in Real Estate

TrueCar’s No-Haggle Price

Notorious ROB on Facebook

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