Attention, Real Estate Agents: Stop Worrying About Job Disruption and Start Investing NOW

by | BiggerPockets.com

I’m hoping this is a wake-up call for all the real estate agents out there.

I say this because the real estate industry has not been disrupted to the same extent as some of the other industries. For example, the auto industry has seen massive change with Tesla, Uber is shifting transportation as we know it, and Amazon is absolutely taking over.

There is a lot of cool stuff happening out there, where amazing ideas are being put together by amazing entrepreneurs. But with that, a lot of people are losing their jobs to tech. I feel that real estate is not quite there yet, but we are living in very exciting times. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on, and I’m not sure how many of you have been following it. But I urge you to take a deeper dive into the real estate brokerage world.

Changes in the Brokerage World

The traditional broker split commission days, where a real estate agent joins a brokerage and has to split their commission with that broker, are gone. To be honest with you, that is the dinosaur age. There are a lot of 100 percent commission brokerages that a lot of real estate agents are flocking to. There are a lot of brokerages that are offering these multi-level type recruiting platforms, which I’m not a big fan of because I feel it’s a little sleazy. However, those companies are growing at a rapid pace. Nowadays, you can make money for not even selling real estate, but simply referring other agents to join the company.

The other thing I’ve seen scaling at a rapid pace is a thing called “iBuyers.” These are brokerages that will acquire properties from consumers or sellers, list them on their platform, and sell them to prospective buyers though tech that they created. They are able to market the property via their platform. So there are a lot of iBuyers out there from some of the biggest institutional companies in the world. It’s a new way that real estate brokerages may be moving.

The Real Estate Agent’s Decreasing Role in Transactions

Now, I’m saying all this to you because of the big change in the real estate industry, particularly when it comes to real estate brokerages and real estate agents. The way everything is structured, it may cut the real estate agent our or decrease the real estate agent’s exposure to the transaction.

Personally, this pisses me off a bit because I’m a big believer in people. I feel that people buy into people, and I feel that a good real estate agent is going to be the one to sell your house or not sell your house. So it’s very important that you have a good real estate agent. I’m not a fan of eliminating real estate agents. I know that everyone in the industry looking to revolutionize the industry is going down that path. For instance, Zillow’s initial concept was to cut the real estate agent out and for Zillow to have this monopoly where buyers and sellers would join together to conduct a transaction without having an agent involved. I still think that is what they are trying to do to this day.

Related: Will Real Estate Agents Be Made Obsolete by 2025?

Look, I’m not going to get into the blockchain and crypto thing, but I also think that this is going to play a role in real estate long-term. My belief is that the actual role of a real estate brokerage will be eliminated. I think that is going to happen very soon. So my prediction is that you, the real estate agent, will not have to put your license under a brokerage. Instead, you’ll be held accountable through blockchain and tech on a state or nationwide level.

With all of that being said, I’m trying to scare you in any way.

Real Estate Agents Make Perfect Investors

I want to tell all the real estate agents out there that you are in a prime position—a better position than any beginner real estate investor or anyone looking to start investing in real estate or even is in real estate right now. You are in a prime position to take advantage of all the skills you have when it comes to real estate. Don’t forget you went through the whole real estate license process, you finished your exam, you worked with a broker, you might be a broker, and you’ve worked with buyers and sellers. You’ve worked with top performing real estate agents, you’ve worked with title companies, mortgage companies, property management companies, and probably construction crews. You’ve been out in the community and you’ve talked to people in the community.

What I’m encouraging you to do is take advantage of all the knowledge, expertise, and networking you have done over the years and start investing. Start buying, fixing, and selling homes. Start, buying, fixing, and holding homes. Start your own property management company because you have a real estate license and can do that. If you start investing in real estate right now, I think you’re going to do great long-term, despite potential job disruption.

I wouldn’t worry too much about all of the commotion happening in the industry right now. I want you to have multiple streams of income. Work as a sales professional, work as a real estate investor, whatever it takes. Just try to do as many things as you can in real estate. Don’t be tied to just being a real estate agent.

What are your thoughts on the changes that are happening right now in the real estate world?

I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below.

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora, the Real Estate Dingo and your favorite Australian, quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at the age of 18. From there, he began to invest in real estate. He now owns real estate all over the world and has bought, renovated, and sold over 500 properties. He is currently in the process of launching an ICO that will “Decentralize The Real Estate Industry.” He’s also known for giving houses away to people in need and his crazy videos on YouTube. His life’s mission is to be remembered as someone who gave it his all and gave it all away.

15 Comments

  1. Jennifer plowman

    Love this! As a Pittsburgh agent AND an investor- I could not agree more. Looking to host an informational session in my office to discuss with agents the benefits of passive income and supplementing agency income for whatever the future may bring. So many agents list and sell homes but really have no background in real estate investing- and they could make the best investors with market knowledge and lead generation on their side. Spot on- thanks!

  2. Douglas Larson

    Very good article and shifts are definitely ahead. I personally expect another credit crunch in the next 2-3 years which will affect real estate in the commercial and residential space. RE agents becoming obsolete… that’s not happening anytime soon with SFRs. Maybe transactions could be streamlined and automated in huge multi family condo projects. But with single family homes, there are just too many moving parts. Buyers and sellers still need a lot of handholding through the process with loans, title work, inspections, etc. A good agent still earns his keep.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks for your comment Douglas,

      “People buy people” and I agree, I don’t see agents being eliminated anytime soon.

      The world sure is an interesting place with so many changes happening in real estate.

      We need to have an open mind because anything can happen.

      Thanks again and have a great day

  3. Greg Parker

    I thought real estate agents would disappear when the internet started booming, then when FSBO sites sprang up, then when Zillow came around. I never liked those guys making all that money by sticking a sign up in your yard. Then I finally realized, they are not going away. So, I got my license a couple of years ago. I should have done it 30 years ago!! The roles may change, but an expert in their market will never be obsolete.

  4. Carol Rambo

    I am not saying this is a bad thing, but it is an iteration of the “gig” economy. Not that enough gigs cannot pay off nicely. What is the difference between a realtor and a wholesaler? Both are hooking up the deal between sellers and buyers. All you are doing here is suggesting realtors get proficient at more gigs, and to draw on the skills they already have.

    BTW, I am so new to this (deeply considering buying the house next door to me to rent out), I should probably not comment for fear of shooting myself in the foot accidentally. These are my impressions, never-the-less.

  5. Jeremy Gulish

    I’m an agent with a decent real estate business in NJ. I’m not arrogant enough to believe to know what will happen but I agree that the role of the traditional agent is set to change rapidly in the next 5 years. I think agents will still exist however AI and tech companies will eliminate much of the role and the number of transaction an agent will need to do with the tech support will lead to fewer agents with lower commission but more deals per agent.

    With all that said, regardless of the outcome, I’ve done as you emphasized and bought several investment properties over the years. It is an absolute no brainer and has made me a better agent and resource for my clients. In my experience I’d guess less than 5% of agents actually invest in real estate. This has always scared me as most either don’t see the value in what they sell, or don’t have the financial means to make it a reality. Either way, it is a bleak outcome if the role of the real estate agent dramatically shifts in the next decade.

    Cheers to the great content!

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