• Technology to empower agents and exact change are out there; agents need to embrace them.
  • The industry is too focused on sales to fully embrace ways to strengthen the industry as a whole.
  • True industry change will come from the inside, from the professionals who practice the trade.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Last week’s article about ZipTours, a service that provides lockbox access for buyers to tour listings without an agent physically present, stirred up quite the debate about the role of agents in today’s quickly evolving industry.

Combing the comments, some are all for the power new tech is providing buyers. Others find it appalling.

I believe buyer agents still offer tremendous value to consumers. It’s “the others” I mention who need to change.

Not in the way you think I mean.

If agents are concerned about consumer-focused technology products burrowing into their value proposition, then seek personal and financial investment opportunities in solutions that augment it instead of weaken it.

Specifically, there are two products I’ve reviewed lately that have potential to create measurable positive change for agents’ role in the industry.

Cartoonresource / Shutterstock.com

Cartoonresource / Shutterstock.com

These tools were created by agents, looking to find ways to surmount industry challenges with technology.

Neither is perfectly executed; no software is. As users adopt and energize their evolution, the more beneficial they will become.

These tools were created by agents, looking to find ways to surmount industry challenges with technology.

Both soundly tackle the issues “others” find troublesome — primarily, the issue of lack of agent insight into buyer decisions.

The days of automatic assumption of your value are over. Agents have to earn it.

But don’t confuse having to earn it with it not being wanted.

Ultimately, these products are merely examples of what’s possible when frustrated agents turn to technology to address industry concerns.

We need more of this and less concern about what Board bylaws are being violated by an app.


A magician can reveal a trick, but that doesn’t mean you can execute it.

Relola does just that. It uses transparent industry discussion and agent-to-agent feedback as demonstrators of expertise.

From my July review of Relola:

“Compelling, photo-rich property marketing pages are not saddled with reminders of how big competitors’ marketing budgets are, nor do they erode marketing expertise by juxtaposing it with nonsensical home valuations.

Instead, Relola helps agents sell homes by deftly embracing the concept of market transparency.

The company intelligently crafts its approach as pro-consumer and pro-agent. It does not promote a discount model nor will it allow FSBOs.”

The days of automatic assumption of your value are over. Agents have to earn it.

Broker Think Tank

I walked through this app last week. It needs work, but it has all the potential it needs.

This is a hand-held collaborative MLS. It’s orchestrated and executed better than the majority of national Board models. It’s agents talking to agents and promoting properties quickly to serve customers, initiate local dialogue and put agents in the position of market data keymaster. To recap:

” …. it’s what every MLS should be today: a source for experienced real estate professionals to share industry knowledge.

It’s about keeping the data within the industry, not chasing portal inaccuracies, trying to out-advertise competitors or carpet-bombing your peers with email announcements and website links. It’s a post-once, ready-many communications concept.”

I fear too many industry practitioners are losing sight of what they can do amidst their blurry-eyed frustration with what’s already been done.

There are products out there right now designed to add value to agents while providing consumers with the tech-powered, on-demand information they crave.

You still have time to make these products industry names, or maybe some other tool lurking in beta somewhere.

As Brad Inman opined in his piece about the Broker Public Portal, “Give up on the front end of creating another portal and invest in the back end, which should include transaction management, automated closings and seamless touch points for a more efficient process for both agents and consumers. Eliminate the paperwork, centralize the communication, create a mobile closing, push for common data storage and access and give shared tools to the consumer and the agent.”

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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