The More We Talk About Change in Real Estate The More It Seems The Same

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In a recent post in RealTown, Mike Bowler wrote a post about change in the real estate industry that ended up being more about his preference of educational choices then it was about real change in the industry.

Mike asks the question “Are we at the crossroads where, all companies should just expect agents to go to where the education is being provided versus trying to be all things to all people? ” – and then goes on to say “I think the day of independent contractors depending on the brokerage for any education is nearly gone. Most business models cannot provide all that is needed and should not pretend to say they do.”

He points at the 4000 registrants at the Virtual ReBarCamp saying “it’s obvious that we can learn more from our peers around the country than we can within the 4 walls of an office”. Unfortunately that statement is really a “non-sequitur” – a Latin phrase meaning “it does not follow”. 4000 registrants for a free online experience doesn’t indicate anything more than “if its free its for me” is a philosophy of the masses. And any educator can tell you that the number of people that register has never had anything to do with the quality of the presentations or what the participants actually learned from the process. In fact, since people all learn differently, it would be almost a sure bet that there were as many people that learned nothing from the experience as there were that gained anything from a single channel experience like that.

I think Mike’s perspective may be a little skewed by his passion for some of the new collegial educational opportunities, and I can’t blame him for that. Like him, I’m a big fan of ReBarCamps (not so much on the virtual ones) because they (the real ReBarCamps) are conversations when they are done best – and those conversations are great learning experiences because we never know where they can go , or what we can get from them. The virtual ReBarCamp presentations were, by nature, planned presentations with limited participation from the community, and were in some cases sales pitches for the presenters rather than real educational experiences or collegial education.

As a forward thinking real estate person in a troubled market, change is desired, but is often not what we anticipate. I think some things will stay the same –

  • I believe companies that are large enough will provide training to new agents, and opportunities for experienced agents to increase their skill sets.
    • As in the past, smaller companies will rely on third party tools and educational products to help them bridge the gap for their agents.
  • REALTORAssociations  will continue to provide educational opportunities for their members through webinars, educational opportunities at conferences and business metings and through 3rd party providers like SMMI , the REALTORS Institute, REBAC, etc.
  • National Franchises will provide training for the agents in the offices of their franchisees through a variety of distance learning programs as they are today,
  • The best agents will still seek additional education wherever they can find it , and remember that they should always be seeking new educational opportunities.

Unlike Mike, I believe that independent contractors will continue to rely on their brokerages (among others) to provide them with educational opportunities, and that the brokerages will step up to meet those challenges. Though the additional opportunities for agents will continue to morph and change and take advantage of the newest ways to communicate, brokerages, franchise organizations, REALTOR Associations, and other educational providers will continue to provide educational opportunities for our industry. And that is more about commerce than it is about change.-

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