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Decline of the Traditional Brokerage? Where is the Real Estate Heading?

real estate future

The real estate traditional brokerage model is facing disruption in more  ways than one. The industry has been slow to change and adapt, but it is finally being forced to do so by a combination of factors, including new technologies, changing consumer behavior, and new entrants into the market.

Here are a few key ways the traditional brokerage model is changing:

1. New Technologies

One of the biggest disruptors to the traditional brokerage model is the rise of new technologies. This includes everything from online listings platforms to transaction management software to 3D home tours.

Historically, a major role of real estate agents was to provide information about properties to potential buyers like listings, prices and details, but now this information is readily available online.

What’s more, new technologies are making it easier for consumers to transact without the need for an agent. For instance, homebuyers can now get pre-approval for a mortgage online and schedule a showing with the listing agent without ever speaking to a real estate agent. But now, with the internet, this information is readily available to anyone who wants it.

As a result, agents are being forced to find new ways to add value for their clients. Today’s buyers are looking for intelligence and guidance, not just information. This might include providing expert advice on negotiation or helping to navigate the complex paperwork involved in a real estate transaction.  Creating as much measurable value directly for the client as possible will be essential for agents to survive in this new landscape.

2. Changing Consumer Behavior

Another major factor disrupting the traditional brokerage model is changing consumer behavior.

Specifically, there is a shift towards do-it-yourself (DIY) and self-service models across many industries, and real estate is no exception.

With the rise of online listings and other tools, many consumers now feel empowered to handle their own real estate transactions without the need for an agent.

What’s more, many consumers are now more comfortable trusting technology than they are humans. This is particularly true of younger generations like millennial who have grown up with technology.

As a result, agents need to find new ways to appeal to these changing consumer behaviors. This might include offering services that are truly unique and cannot be replicated by technology or going above and beyond to provide an exceptional customer experience.


More and more brokerages, including my own, are beginning to specialize in certain areas or niches. While this might seem counterintuitive at first, it actually makes a lot of sense. In a world where consumers can get information about properties online, the role of the agent is changing from one who provides information to one who provides expertise. Honing specific skills, such as data research, negotiation or marketing, listing management, branding can make agents more valuable to their clients.

Furthermore, by specializing in a certain area, agents can become experts in that particular market and better able to serve their clients. For instance, an agent who specializes in luxury homes will have a much better understanding of the unique needs and wants of luxury homebuyers than an agent who does not specialize.

By specializing in a certain area or niche, agents can more easily show their value to potential clients and stand out from the competition.

Specialization also extends into a company’s ability to better service clients by having a more focused team. When everyone on a team is aligned around the same mission and vision, it allows for greater efficiencies, which can lead to improved customer satisfaction.

4. Competition from Bigger Players

Another factor that is disrupting the traditional brokerage model is the competition from bigger players.

In recent years, there has been a consolidation of the real estate industry, with larger companies buying up smaller companies. This has led to a handful of large companies controlling a majority of the industry.

What’s more, these large companies have deep pockets and can afford to invest in technology and innovation, which small firms cannot always compete with.

As a result, many small firms are being forced to either change their business model or abandon it altogether.

5. Economic Downturn

Last but not least, the current economic downturn is also having an impact on the traditional brokerage model.

As the economy has slowed, so has the real estate market. This has led to fewer transactions and less commission revenue for agents. In fact, many agents are now facing pay cuts or even layoffs.

As a result, it’s become more difficult for agents to make a living, which is putting even more pressure on the traditional brokerage model.

6. New Entrants into the Market

The rise of new technologies and changing consumer behavior has led to the emergence of new competitors in the real estate market. These new entrants are often startups that are built around the latest technologies and offer a more modern approach to buying or selling a home.

In many cases, they are able to operate more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional brokerages, which is putting pressure on the latter to lower their own prices.


In the increasingly competitive real estate landscape, branding and marketing is becoming  more important than ever.

As the industry becomes more fragmented, it’s becoming more difficult for consumers to differentiate one company from another. This is where branding and marketing can play a role.

By creating a strong brand identity, companies can better communicate their value proposition to potential clients and stand out from the competition. Brand awareness is a key benefit of social media marketing: “87% of marketers say that social media has increased their brand awareness” and it gives exposure for their businesses as the primary benefit of their social media efforts, with 74% of marketers citing this as the main reason they use social media.

A well-crafted branding strategy can be the difference between a company that thrives and one that struggles to survive.

 According to Social Media Examiner’s 2018 survey, of more than 5,700 marketing professionals. For example, through use of social media, photography, and video content, some companies are able to create a more robust online presence that can reach a wider audience.

Traditional real estate firms often employ third-party marketing firms to create and implement their branding strategy. However, this can be a costly endeavor. As such, many firms are now turning to social media marketing as a more cost-effective way to reach their target market.

Furthermore, a well-executed marketing campaign can help to generate leads and grow a company’s business.

One of the most important aspects of branding is knowing  your target audience. This involves understanding who your ideal customer is and what they are looking for in a real estate company. Instagram, for example, is the perfect platform for branding and marketing purposes,  as it allows businesses to target a specific audience with laser precision.

When it comes to branding, it’s also important to  stay consistent. This means using the same colors, fonts, and logo across all of your marketing materials. Consistency will help to create a more recognizable brand that consumers can easily identify. Once you have a clear understanding of your target market, you can then begin to craft a branding strategy that will appeal to them.

Some traditional real estate firms are resistant to change and are slow to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. As a result, they are at risk of being left behind by their more nimble and adaptable competitors.

In order to stay ahead of the curve, it’s important for firms to embrace new technologies and marketing strategies. Those that do will be well-positioned to survive and thrive in the modern real estate market.

So, keeping this in mind, while anyone can have a presence on social media, it takes a carefully curated strategy to build the kind of online presence that turns “likes” into sales.


The traditional brokerage model is under pressure from a number of different forces. These include the rise of new technologies, changing consumer behavior, consolidation of the industry, and the current economic downturn.

As a result, many traditional brokerages are struggling to stay afloat. In order to survive, they need to find ways to adapt to the changing market. This may include specializing in a certain area, investing in new technologies, or offering a more modern approach to buying or selling homes.

What do you think is the future of traditional real estate brokerages? Do you think they will be able to adapt and survive, or do you think they will go the way of the dinosaurs? Contact Us Today!

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