SAN FRANCISCO — When Sherry Chris and Brad Inman took the stage to kick off Broker Connect at Inman Connect San Francisco this year, the two real estate veterans had a hefty topic to tackle: What will brokers need to know about the trends taking place in business today — so they can still be in that business five years from now?

Here’s what Chris and Inman had to say (at a very high level).

Mergers and acquisitions

Consolidation is happening across the real estate industry. Steve Murray at Real Trends said that the M&A space is the “busiest ever” in the past few years, according to Inman.

Why? ““Whether it’s Brexit — who knows, there are a lot of reasons,” he said.

But between Fidelity National Title’s acquisition of Commissions Inc., this morning’s announcement about Zillow Group acquiring Bridge Interactive, or a yet-to-be-announced bond, the trend is clear: companies are coming together.

On the fence

Uncertainty is causing hesitation on the consumer side. Inman mentioned a friend of his who has created an “uncertainty index” and listed today as one of three historic times when economic uncertainty was so strong.

The other two? Post-9/11 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

It seems obvious, but when consumers don’t know what the market will be doing, they’re a lot more hesitant to make a major purchase — like buying a home.


Forget about adopting technology, Inman said. “Technology is adopting you, whether you like it or not.”

From Alexa to Facebook chat bots to real estate search bots, robotics are becoming increasingly integrated into the consumer experience, and real estate agents would be wise to keep their eyes on this trend.

New business models

Instant offers. Guaranteed sales. No commissions.

Sounding familiar? These business models aren’t going away, say Chris and Inman.

“I know it’s scary, but we have to know everything,” said Chris.

But those aren’t anything to be frightened of, she added.

Because human touch will be critical in the world of the real estate transaction and beyond.

Email Amber Taufen

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