State of the Union

Our industry is in a critical transition phase. Brokers are suing each other while stealing each other’s agents, home sellers have multiple lawsuits against the industry watchdog, NAR, the new i-Buyers are gambling wildly and Compass Realty is buying everything with a license. Good times!

For reasons unknown, venture money is pouring into the real estate industry. Rich folks placing their bets. But usually, those with means are a lot smarter. The question every agent should ask; why would anyone invest in a residential real estate company?

Anyone can issue stock. Millions do. Turning useless paper into something others would want to invest in is another matter. When the public buys stock, they expect that stock, or company, to have been vetted by underwriters to certain standards of professionalism. You don’t often see public companies who are; petty in politics, competitive by nature and run like grown-up high schools. Yet, that describes the lion’s share of our industry’s brokerages. Can you name another industry workforce whose own salespeople compete against each other? How does that sales dynamic make for a good investment? 

The Technology sector seems to think the real estate industry runs, more or less, like their industry. And maybe it does in Palo Alto, where starter homes are $4 million dollars. But in truth, the tech sector and residential real estate market couldn’t be farther apart. Neither is better or worse, just wildly different. Treating them similarly is discounting the obvious.

Ask yourself; does publicly trading against other people’s most valuable asset make investment sense? Nobody bemoans the makers of popular products when they make a ton of money. Good for them. They created something buyers want or need, so invest in them. But, Realtors make nothing. Realtors own nothing. Realtors make money by taking it from the equity of the home sellers. So why is real estate an industry for capital markets?

Success in real estate means you have taken a lot of money from home sellers. If agents were to make less, the homeowner would keep more of their own money. Great for the economy. But, if agents were to make less, that would be bad for the stock price. So when you invest in a residential real estate company you are actually investing against the United States homeowner. That’s a bad bet.

The industry is a mess. But, here in Atlanta, little of it matters. Much of the industry discourse involves “Realtors” and how they operate. Never forget, Atlanta has more non-realtors than it does the dues paying “big R” types. Atlanta is home to the largest collection of little “r” realtors in the United States. Strength in numbers brings both power and opportunity. There is NO real estate market in the U.S. that operates like Atlanta, and because of that, Atlanta IS the national test bed for the alternative.

Atlanta’s Wynd Realty is a brokerage OF sales agents FOR sales agents. A collaborative community of different, self-driven realty brands. We see a future of, “whatever agents want to do”. New era realty brokers are moving away from the constant, and costly, self-promotional strategy and into an operational mode of enabling others and their brands.

The only certainty of the future is a tightening of budgets. And, as we all know, every austerity program begins with eliminating the unnecessary. As far as cost go, is there anything more unnecessary than a real estate broker? Yes, we NEED them. But, agents don’t NEED to overpay brokers to perform their background and administrative functions. 

In the next two weeks, Wynd Realty will be unveiling Wynd 2.0. It’s a new and improved, extra strength version of Wynd Realty. Because of Atlanta’s unique status, we are looking to create something that has never been done before by developing a business model that can only be implemented here in Atlanta.

So what does the future of the real estate look like? It’s local. It’s agent-driven. And, it’s respectful of the process and the home seller. What do you think the future will look like?

Any agent who wants to be a part of the future, shouldn’t affiliate with the past. Remember, Atlanta is the calm eye in the center of our industry’s transitional storm. Atlanta’s little r agent community can show the rest of the nation what’s possible. Little r’s—UNITE! You all have the opportunity to change our industry. Your possibilities are endless!

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