• Technology and its disrupters are changing the face of a multitude of industries including real estate.
  • The real estate industry is perfectly ripe for a technological revolution.
  • The four ways to protect yourself from new brokerage and technology models.

Technology and its disrupters are changing the face of a multitude of industries. Few are immune to the changing tide of innovation.

Ever heard of a little startup called Uber? In the process of turning the antiquated and highly regulated taxi industry on its head, Uber created a whole new industry now known as ride-hailing.

The real estate industry, which also has been entrenched in traditional methods similarly to the taxi industry, is perfectly ripe for a technological revolution.

This past week, Modern American Realtor filmed its latest podcast episode at Inman Connect in San Francisco, where this tech revolution was the hottest topic on everyone’s lips.

Therefore, it begs the question: How can real estate agents protect themselves from inevitable new brokerage and technology models?

We believe there are four key ways that you can utilize new technology to your advantage to differentiate and separate yourself from the competition.

1. Build a collaborative team

When the tsunami wave of tech disrupters hits, agents who consider themselves to be solo full-service agents will all be but wiped out by those agents who are in some form of a collaborative team.

Aligning yourself with a team enables an environment where you can leverage each other’s best skills, pool the best talent together and specialize in the area in which you are most successful.

The tech world has already taught us that it is far more advantageous for you to see peers as collaborators rather than competitors.

2. Make technology your most advantageous partner

At Inman Connect, we learned about a new tech player entering the real estate industry that could potentially change the entire game.

SoloPro is a community platform that enables a homebuyer rebate of 3 percent for do-it-yourself buyers by connecting them to real estate agents who offer their unbundled services for a small fee.

Essentially the entire commission structure that our industry is built upon is completely dismantled. To many agents, this will make them feel exceedingly uneasy and uncomfortable.

However, don’t see this type of radical change as a negative — rather see it as a great opportunity. Agents who get in on new technology early and become experts in that area potentially have the unique opportunity to make more money doing more of what they love.

3. Diversify

The previous point leads straight into why adapting to new technology can help you diversify your business. Consider this potential scenario: It’s five to 10 years in the future, and the 3 percent commission scale no longer exists, and you’re not making the money that you once did.

Does this scenario frighten you? Good. It should. However, don’t let it scare you into hiding or send you running toward another career.

Instead, see right now as the perfect time to diversify your business and your finances. Never have a single revenue stream. Consider investing in real estate properties, being a property manager or flipping homes.

Most importantly, always be developing new and different skill sets that help expand your knowledge and expertise in the industry.

4. Establish your niche

The final way to protect yourself from potential tech disrupters is to develop and establish your own niche fully. Enter a niche that is too narrow or specialized for tech startups to follow.

If you look at the top tech companies, they create services that have wide audiences and appeal; you, on the other hand, must take the opposite approach.

A few ideas of potential niches is to have a specialty in a particular geographic area, cater to empty nesters or dog owners looking for pet-friendly neighborhoods.

Our biggest takeaway for you to understand is that the new tech revolution will create a greater income disparity between lower- and higher-ranking agents — and even put some agents completely out of business.

Again, don’t let this prospect get you down; instead, let it excite and motivate you to embrace and adapt to new technological opportunities that can catapult you into an even more highly respected and successful real estate agent.

Subscribe to the audio podcast on iTunes and check out the video episodes on Modern American Realtor.

Corey Wright is the co-founder of WingWire, a custom website and blogging service for real estate agents, and co-host of Modern American Realtor, a podcast for the modern agent. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Instagram (@filbertsteiner).

Email Corey Wright.

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