Can Real Estate Agents Remain Relevant?

The Agent Profession at a Crossroads


A recent report by the National Association of Realtors and the Canadian Real Estate Association titled Danger Report highlights the top issues threatening the real estate agent profession.

Of the ten dangers highlighted in the report, the ones I found most important were the ones that centered around the agent client relationship.  Specifically:

  • Masses of marginal agents destroying reputation
  • Commissions spiral downward
  • The decline in the relevancy of agents
  • The agent is removed from the transaction

While at first glance the risks above seem independent, I believe that they’re actually symptoms of a bigger problem in our industry. That real estate agents today are not adjusting fast enough to a world where:

  1. Our clients have as much data as us
  2. Buying and selling their home on their own is easier than it has ever been
  3. The expectations consumers have of a real estate agent are very different than they were 20 years ago.

It is our industry’s inability to adjust to this changing market that hurts our reputation, puts downward pressure on commissions and makes agents less relevant.

Twenty years ago, home buyers and sellers had no access to any real estate or neighborhood information. We lived in a world where data and information where asymmetric Рthe realtor had all the information and the consumer knew very little.  Fast forward twenty years and many of the value-added benefits that a realtor used to offer have been replaced by websites that enable our clients to do on their own what real estate agents used to do for them.