A few weeks ago, the Department of Justice, Anti-trust Division set their cross-hairs on a local MLS. It alleged in the suit that the Columbia, South Carolina Consolidated Multiple Listing Service (CMLS) rules have caused consumers buying or selling homes in the Columbia, S.C. area to pay more for real estate brokerage services. Read full report of lawsuit.
We all read articles like this one and it makes us freak out. Is our industry doomed to being taken over by the banks? Are fee for service companies taking over? What about flat-fee brokerages? Even worse, what if Lending Tree® gets their hands on our MLS listings? Or Redfin? Or Zillow? Or the real nightmare scenario: what if Google were to enter real estate and any seller could list his home for free and buyers could find them there? What if we no longer had an exclusive on the listings and the lock box anymore? Would we all be out of a job? It’s certainly enough to make one nervous.
But before we all rush to leave the business we’ve grown to love, let’s take a moment to examine our real job security. In any business, whether it be donuts or ball point pens, whether it be cars or houses, those who add value to the transaction do well. Those who don’t, don’t.
So I ask you to consider for a moment: do you add value to the transaction? Or are you simply camping on the exclusive MLS and lock box? In an industry that is rapidly becoming commoditized, what are you doing to really bring something new and useful to the customer? If you aren’t, then you should be worried. If you are, and customers want it, then you should be safe and growing.
Think about all those companies that changed their industry. What did they do? They brought additional value to the customer experience. You’ve heard the saying before: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” That’s adding value. I challenge each of us to consider our business and ask ourselves the tough question: Am I really adding value or am I on the road to extinction? What are your thoughts? Write me a short note off-line or feel free to send your comment for publication.