Real estate news isn’t usually very juicy, we admit that.
But this week, the unthinkable happened – Amazon announced that it might just want to get into the real estate business. That’s the kind of real estate news that sends Zillow’s stock tumbling, and causes brokers and agents (and franchisor CEOs) to start crying in the streets.
According to multiple news outlets, at some point, while Prime Day was breaking records, a “Hire a Relator” link suddenly appeared on Amazon’s website. The page, which was later taken down, was reportedly located in the Home and Business Services section, a part of Amazon’s website dedicated to connecting customers with experts in home improvement, electronics installation, and various other services.
So we can see why this kind of real estate news would burst Zillow’s bubble, but maybe you’re not clear on why we think this is bad for agents. Let’s take a quick look at the normal Amazon methodology.
- Pick a target market. Doesn’t matter if it’s books, groceries, retail goods, or flying pigs.
- Determine how to disrupt this market in the most efficient manner while gaining the most for Amazon directly.
- Calculate how to expand into said market after disrupting it and making further long term gains for Amazon.
Bezos is a genius, he hires other geniuses. And when they turn their evil eye to a segment of the market (with a few exceptions, like the Fire phone, lol), the company generally has enough firepower and capitalization behind it to decimate the status quo, reorder the world, and take it over (have you seen Walmart online these days? It’s a cringeworthy imitation from a company that used to be the largest destroyer of the real economy) to remake it in an image more fitting for Amazon than anyone else.
But I love Prime Day!
Yes, of course you do. As does Bezos and his evil genius crew. Secretly the people working at Walmart and Macy’s and Sears all love it too, since that’s when they do their personal shopping… while their companies are flailing around like hooked fish on a boat deck, running out of whatever the fish equivalent of breath is, in a spectacular fashion.
And it would follow, that just like other “brokers” of goods and services on Amazon, you’ll be able to continue to work in your chosen field, although there will likely be some sort of “Best Price” rankings from the realtors in your area, with cut rate commissions on offer in exchange for being the first contact onboard the Amazon listing.
NAR is going to lose it with this one.
If the big, competitor gobbling Zillow weren’t enough to almost make the collective NAR heads explode, this latest bit of real estate news should be enough to send the upper management off the rails and straight to the bottom of a bottle of arsenic.
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Real estate agents and brokers – the good ones – work their a**es off, on a day in, day out, basis. It’s worse than the post office – “neither rain, nor sleet, nor terribly picky customers who can’t really afford to buy these houses they want to see” – keeps a good agent at home when there’s a showing to be done.
Sadly we are training an entire universe that price, low price, is the only thing that matters. And when we’ve low priced ourselves out of being able to survive on anything else – unless you happen to be in the miniscule percentage of people that don’t need to worry about prices, period – we’ll sit and wonder what happened to all those nice people that used to be in the service industry. And where the service industry went to, anyway.
What’s a poor real estate agent or broker to do?
Heck if we know, really. Between Zillow squeezing you, Offerpad trying to take away your entire business model, and now Amazon wanting to put a hand in your pocket (because we know they aren’t doing it for the good of the little people who are paying those realtor commissions), there probably aren’t 5 more good years left in the business.
Sadly, here’s the initial proof of concept –
If you want to finish what you started, we would suggest that you start looking at cheap tools that will help you list and sell more properties. Maybe you’re going to be able to cut your commission rates as time goes by, but it’s only likely that you can survive it if you have more referrals and a much larger client base than you have at this moment.
Sucks, doesn’t it?