The Brokerage of the Future

The real estate industry has many detractors. Reporters, consumers, pollsters, bloggers — so many eyes inside our business, so many fingers quick to point out flaws. The volume of commentary is extensive. It dates back long before I took on the challenge of bringing a new brand to real estate.

I take the criticism to heart. But given my tenure in this industry, given the many positions I’ve held, the roles I’ve played and the two countries in which I have served the real estate industry, based on what I have witnessed, I have to admit I understand it. In fact, on many levels, I agree with it.

I know many of you do as well.

Lately, members of the real estate industry have begun to speak up on issues. We are the new composers of criticism, insiders frustrated by the past and inspired by the future. We have swept our baggage under the rug for too long. It haunts us. And prevents our companies from progressing forward.

The issues are many. But what stands out clearly for me is the reason why this particular industry has been the subject of so much controversy. It’s simple really. At the core, what we do is important. Real estate is vital to our global economy.  And it affects lives profoundly.

We have portrayed ourselves as experts. Caretakers of the most important financial decision ever. And then what? We’ve run our brokerages poorly. We’ve diluted our brands. We stood by while others outside our industry ran circles around us technologically.

Today, because of the many factors surrounding us, we recognize that change needs to happen.  And it needs to happen now.

There’s been so much talk about the brokerage of the future and its various incarnations. As a member of the “traditional industry” I wanted to do something about it. I accepted a position with the largest real estate franchisor in the world, was offered the opportunity to launch a new brand from the ground up assembled a completely different type of executive team and took steps to create a version of what a future brokerage would look like.

For us it was a mixture of convention and tradition mixed with transparency – and a healthy dose of risk.

Think about it: A real estate brand CEO blogging, Facebooking, attending Barcamps and Twittering with agents, sharing ideas, doing everything to learn about things I did not grow up with. Who would have imagined it five years ago? To be honest, not even I. And that’s the point. It’s doable. It’s real. And it’s working.

We are thinking here, out loud and publicly, about what the next steps may be. We’ve learned there are many paths, many possibilities. It is not going to be a one size fits all future. So we decided to create a place where others can join us in this thinking. It seems right. It tends to the collaborative spirit we feel the future brokerage will be about.

In the ensuing weeks and months we will be blogging about the brokerage of the future and I invite you to share, comment, borrow, question and use this information as you will.

We’re in this together.

View Sherry Chris’ Inman Presentation: Next Generation Brokerage

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