This post has been republished with permission from Mike DelPrete.
Zillow recently announced that it was hiring its own agent employees to service its iBuyer business. At face value, the news is a relatively small shift, but it’s a clear reminder of several megatrends occurring in real estate tech.
An unsurprising move
If Zillow’s announcement caught you by surprise, you haven’t been paying close enough attention. For years, real estate portals around the world — including Zillow — have been moving closer to and getting involved in more of the transaction.
Zillow’s move is a logical next step in this journey. Bringing agents in-house, as opposed to relying on a network of partners, moves Zillow closer to consumers and closer to the transaction. This megatrend — which has been slowly occurring for years — is covered at length in my 2018 Global Real Estate Portal Report.
Ignore at your own risk
With this latest news, some are suggesting that traditional agents fundamentally ignore it and focus on their own business. In other words, don’t worry about the competition — in this case, Zillow — and just focus on providing the best service possible to your customers and clients.
That strategy is only half right. Ignoring what Zillow is doing brings its own peril; just ask travel agents and video store owners (both industries that Rich Barton has had a hand in disrupting).
For the traditional industry, sitting still is not an option. To quote my State of the Industry presentation from January 2020:
“The industry is moving so slow you can look around and think nothing is changing (or get caught up in the hype and think everything is changing). That’s why now – more than ever before – is the time to stay informed, understand the scope of change, and react appropriately.” – Mike DelPrete