“To be clear, brokerage firms as we currently know them will not exist in the next 10 years. Agent teams will replace the brokerage firm.”

NEW YORK — Agent teams and tech-savvy agents able to deploy state-of-the-art tools like artificial intelligence will replace the traditional brokerage firm over the next decade, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin told a rapt audience at Inman Connect on Wednesday morning.

“When I talk with heads of brokerage firms across the country, they’re terrified about being replaced, and not by technology–but by their own agents,” Reffkin told a standing-room audience during the Inman Connect lecture, “Freed Agents: How Technology is Redefining Roles.” “To be clear, brokerage firms as we currently know them will not exist in the next 10 years. Agent teams will replace the brokerage firm.”

The demise of the traditional brokerage will come when agent teams uncouple themselves from companies by taking control of the lead generation tools, customer relationship management software and Multiple Listing Services (MLS) they once depended on their firms to provide.

“The value that the brokerage firm has created over the same time has not grown with the value of the world around it,” said Reffkin.

Aside from team selling, Reffkin predicted that the deployment of and need for artificial intelligence will grow exponentially as real estate and other industries accrue ever more data.

“Over the last hundred years the most valuable resource in the world has been oil,” Reffkin said. “But over the next hundred years the most valuable resource in the world will be data. That’s because data is what’s required to harness the overwhelming power of artificial intelligence. And think about our industry: the brokerage firms just gave our data away, the most valuable resource in the world.”

“Artificial intelligence is going to help agents make 10 times as much business,” added Reffkin. “Artificial intelligence will transform every segment of our world. To put it perspective, five years from now you’re going to buy a Tesla, and when you go to sleep at night it’s going to turn into an Uber and when you wake up in the morning it’s going to tell you how much money you made. The world’s changing in a lot of ways.”

In November, Reffkin announced an ambitious vision plan, known internally as “2020 by 2020,” in a bid to expand into Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia by later this year. The company currently boasts locations in New York City, The Hamptons, Boston, Dallas, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Orange County, Santa Barbara and Montecito, Aspen, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. Outposts in Dallas and Chicago have launched over the past two months.

Compass’s expansion, ushered along with a record-setting $450 million investment at the end of last year through the Softbank Vision Fund, will run in tandem with plans to create a custom Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform for the company’s 2,000 agents, a targeted digital marketing tool and new solar-powered sales signage.

Robert Reffkin’s 8 trends to expect over the next decade:

  1. Brokerage firms will start hiring based off of culture, not production
  2. Agent teams will take a massive amount of market share from individuals
  3. Agent teams will replace the brokerage firm
  4. Real estate agents will be at the center of the referral economy
  5. There will be an aggressive shift from print marketing to digital
  6. Redfin will take massive market share from traditional agents
  7. Artificial intelligence will help agents make 10 times as much business
  8. Commitment to making fairly priced healthcare a reality for real estate agents

Email Jotham Sederstrom

Read all of our coverage from Inman Connect NY 2018.

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