The State of our Agent Community is; Calm.
Recently, we have been having discussions with our agents about industry change. Where changes may come from and what if anything agents should be doing now to protect themselves. While it is universally agreed commissions are coming down, none of the agents we spoke to felt it was cause for unnecessary concern.
The biggest surprise from our discussions came from debate about “protecting the buyer’s agent”. I feel the industry’s “third-rail” is in peril. Our agent community does not. But, like most things in life, I wonder if this delta is simply a matter of perspective.
Agents cite the consumers lack of knowledge in how the process works. Agents feel most consumers don’t realize they have options. That is one perspective. My Social circle skews older. These are people who have bought and sold many homes over their lives. As a collective, this group doesn’t like the real estate profession very much. I can’t tell you how many times I have been introduced in a social setting as a realtor only to be told to my have face; “that’s a rip-off industry”. Think anyone at a party would ever tell a Dentist their industry is rip-off?
The point is, because of age, I hear much more anger. Homeowners of a certain age are very aware of the sales process and what effect it will have on their “nest egg”. Nest egg as in the money these people have left for the remainder of their lives. Paying a Buyer’s agent $30K so their client will purchase a home they wanted to buy anyway is not a scenario that plays well with older folks.
If you were buying a car, would you go to the dealership and pay the car salesperson a commission to show you the car you wanted to purchase? No, you wouldn’t. Well…?
If and when the third-rail is ever breached, it will mostly likely be done by retiring downsizers. They are the ones with the most to lose in terms of money. They are also the people who paid $125K for their Buckhead Colonial back in the day and know exactly how popular their neighborhood has become.
Another interesting highlight from our “Change” discussions was the monetization of a of an agent’s services. In theory, if commission revenue goes down, agents can make that money up through a series of paid-for services. This of course led to a discussion of Rhonda Duffy and her business model which has been doing exactly that for nearly 20 years now. Duffy Realty has long been an outlier for change. I encourage every agent to visit her site and study her approach. https://duffyrealtyofatlanta.com/ You will learn something.
A Realty company that puts a services business model on steroids is Rex. https://www.rexhomes.com/ This company touches on everything from handyman services to homeowner’s insurance. Again, a lot of what they do is creative and interesting. But, the truly weird thing about Rex is they work outside of any MLS. They are anti-NAR while operating in NARs backyard. Tip of the hat for guts!
Our most recent discussions ended with a question. What is a realtor? Or, what else could a realtor be?
To answer this, one needs to look outside of traditional thinking. For example, upon meeting Mr Dentist at the party, I’ll bet you probably thought he worked in teeth. Nope. He is actually an X-ray salesman. Teeth are just something for him to X-ray. The entire point for his being, is to sell as many X-rays as humanly possible. Ever go to a Dentist and refuse X-rays? They will ask you to leave, for without their profit margin, you are a legal liability.
As you have been told your whole life, things don’t always appear to be what they are. So, what is a realtor, aside from the obvious buyer/seller of homes? If agents are going to develop client paid “add-on services”, they are going to have to answer that question.
Or, how do agents make their phone ring? Consumers call agents ONLY when they want to either buy or sell something. But, if you are developing add-on services, are you not also developing new reasons for consumers to call you? And they are?
Nobody really has an answer. Or rather, people are still working on the answer. Over the next month Wynd Realty will be having sessions with our agent community about creating alternate channels from which they can realize additional income. The highlights of those sessions will be reported on here.
Our challenge today: What does the successful real estate agent of 2026 look like? Stay tuned!