I’ve had a week to process what I learned in Vegas at the Inman Connect Conference.  There is no doubt that enormous change has come to the US real estate industry (and will continue) and that Canada will not be far behind.  I know that this invokes a lot of fear in REALTORS® and while I won’t say those fears are irrational, I believe I can guide people who are truly committed to our industry through the changes and help them emerge as the leaders of the new real estate environment.

I listened carefully as CEO after CEO of the big companies took the stage and were interviewed by both Brad Inman and Clelia Peters.  They were asked the hard questions and their responses were coherent, confident and powerful.  There is no doubt that they want to lead in the real estate space.  With $100 Billion in real estate commissions on the line and untold trillions in property appreciation, real estate is a massive pool of opportunity and the world of tech wants to own it.

Who Leads Matters.   If tech leads, the REALTOR® will be reduced to a pawn who takes care of the emotional needs of the clients while tech does the rest.  If the REALTOR® leads, tech will be a set of amazing tools that REALTORS® and their clients can use to help make the process of buying and selling easier, more efficient and less expensive.  I believe that we will see both models emerge with many hybrids in between.

If the second model appeals to you, let’s get to work building the skills you will need.  It won’t be easy.  You will be competing against some pretty compelling companies who think you aren’t worth much.  It’s going to take grit, determination and hard work but more importantly, it’s going to take high-level leadership skills – the kind that insist you dig deep inside yourself to build.  The REALTORS® who take this path will be a small percentage of the market but I believe that they can carve out a beautiful niche for themselves as trusted advisors who help their clients manage the complicated world of real estate including the technology that’s emerging.

If the first model feels more comfortable to you, great, but don’t be complacent.  There will only be room for what one tech company calls Bionic Agents.  While I don’t know exactly what that looks like, I do know that they won’t suffer fools in their models.  They will only work with REALTORS® who are motivated, skilled, service-oriented, loyal and fiercely committed to the success of both the company and the company’s clients.

The days of the REALTOR® as an independent contractor making a living putting a handful of deals together is coming to an end.  The new world of real estate will ultimately be much better for the consumer.  The REALTOR® who holds on to the old model will find themselves missing out on the opportunity to be an integral part of the new world.

In Canada, we have some time.  Time to develop the necessary skills and time to watch the models emerge but the time to get started being ready is now.

I’m off for a five-week cruise around Vancouver Island on my Sailboat Reepicheep.  I’ll try to post from the Ocean for the weekly blog but you may get a few re-posting of popular older blogs from my team.  I’ll be working on some exciting new leadership programs for those that want to lead in the real estate space.