Why aren’t real estate brokers like travel agents?

Brad Stone

You would think the Internet would have doomed the real estate industry by now.  Or, as it has done with the travel industry, at least wounded its denizens.

A long piece on the Bloomberg Businessweek site explores the phenomenon, which has defied most expectations.

Headlined “Why Redfin, Zillow and Trulia Haven’t Killed Off Real Estate Brokers,” the article by Brad Stone notes that the kind of electronic marketplace that has decimated classified ads and taken the swagger out of car dealers “hasn’t dented the fortunes of real estate brokers.”  He continues:

A majority of buyers and sellers still wind up working with traditional brokers, one on each side of the deal.

Stone quotes members of the “housing industry” as contending that “people simply value the expertise and service that agents can provide.”  They also are nervous about venturing out on their own or trusting an online discounter for the most complicated transaction of their lives, he relates.

Put another way, the hand-holding that real  estate professionals provide is something consumers want even if it is expensive to sellers (and indirectly to buyers).

A University of Chicago economist, Chad Syverson confesses to waiting for a real change in the market.  He says there is so much money on the table that someone will figure it out eventually.

“But I will admit,” he says, “I’ve been impressed with the resilience of the old model.”

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

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