Will the Next Generation Brokerage Scrap Agents for Employees?

Nine years ago, my boss, along with four other company employees, jumped ship for a boatload of stock options from an Internet-based real estate firm that promised to dismantle “old economy” companies like ours and, quite simply, take over the real estate world as we knew it.

About a year later he and the others were out of work, their promises unfulfilled.  I kept going and growing at my stodgy old economy company as I would for many years afterwards.

During this time, countless threats to the very existence of our industry have garnered media and public attention, many with the promise of being that one “new” model that will change the game completely and wipe everyone else off the planet.

And, of course, before my time there were similar pronouncements.  I don’t need to list them as it doesn’t matter; this story is hardly unique to our industry.

Since no one model has been that all-encompassing game-changer, it’s easy to get complacent and fail to take seriously the next challenge, especially when there seem to be so many coming so often.  The fact is each new player has changed (and continues to change) the “traditional” players to some degree – some more than others – and each new one will as well.  There is adaption and evolution or there is death.

But which deserve the most attention?  Is there a true game-changer out there?

In my most recent post, a spirited discussion on a model whose idea is hardly new was brought up by our readers: the employee-based brokerage.  Some believe that the time is perfect for this model to be the game-changer that will knock the complacent traditionalists on their keisters.

I think this deserves exploration in our consideration of the “Next Generation Brokerage.”  For reasons discussed in my comments, I am not convinced that this model will overtake all others but I’ve been wrong before so I’d like to hand it off to you to argue both sides.  To get you started, here are three sets of questions and one survey to consider:

  • For brokers: do you believe employee-based models will change how you do business in the next five years?  Why or why not?
  • For agents: what would it take to get you to work as a salaried employee rather than as a commissioned independent-contractor?
  • For consumers: do you believe your buying or selling experience would be better, worse, or the same if you were served by employees rather than agents?  How so?

[poll id=”21″]

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