Editor’s note: The following excerpt from the Inman News Blog opens a discussion about the future of small brokerage firms in the real estate business. A reader wonders whether smaller firms will gain an upper hand with buyers as the housing market slows and they seek more aggressive representation from a firm that doesn’t have an agent on the other end of the deal. Click here to share your opinion.

Debate: Will small get bigger in real estate?

Many large real estate franchise companies have spent years building world-class brokerage brands through television advertising and traditional brand marketing campaigns. And it paid off. Realogy (formerly Cendant) brands alone (Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA, Sotheby’s) touch somewhere around one in four real estate transactions. An Inman News reader now asks: “In a falling housing market, has size become a competitive disadvantage, particularly for those mega-firms that try to serve both buyers and sellers (i.e., practice dual agency?)”

Bill Wendel, from the Real Estate Cafe, starts off the discussion by saying:

“Size was arguably an advantage in overheated housing markets where there was fierce competition for scarce listings. Now that larger, well-known names are overloaded with inventory in falling housing markets, price-conscious home buyers are hiring exclusive buyer agents because they know dual agents can’t negotiate aggressively on in-house sales. That’s why Seth Godin’s mantra, ‘Small is the New Big,’ is a rallying cry for exclusive buyer agents and the home buyers they serve.”

The other side of this, though, could argue that buyers are more aggressively using information available to them on the Internet and therefore don’t need the services of a buyer agent as much.

What do you think? Click here to join a discussion on this topic.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription