1000watt Blog

Writings about real estate, branding, marketing, media and technology from the principals of 1000watt.

It’s an amazing time to be a Realtor

In 1998, I joined Club Real Estate.

A few weeks later, I found myself at Inman’s Real Estate Connect conference. It was a mashup of innovation. Technology. Wheeling and dealing.

It was more than just a confab. It was a revolution. Dreamers and visionaries – both from within and outside of real estate – converged. The room buzzed with electricity.

Inside the Hilton in San Francisco, attendees were re-imagining an entire category. Everything was ripe for an overhaul. Nothing was sacred.

Outside the Hilton, the real estate industry quivered.


I recall countless articles written around that time foretelling the destruction of real estate as we knew it.

Many agents and brokers feared the worst. Technology, and the Lex Luthors pushing it, had one goal in mind: replace the Realtor.

This was 1998. AOL was king. Amazon was barely three years old. Google was two months away from launching.

Handfuls of agents had websites. Some were built by hand using simple, self-taught HTML.

Their colleagues, self-proclaimed computer illiterates, thought these people had gone mad.

But even these early adopters were fearful. Their coding and design skills could not stack up against Home Shark, Bid4real, Owners.com and many other “dot-coms” that were offering experiences that seemed space-aged compared to what Realtors could deliver.

And then came listings.

The floodgates of fear burst open.

“We’re doomed.”


In the last 14 years, there has not been a single agent fatality due to technology. But the rows of headstones strewn across the landscape of the dot-com cemetery run for miles.

You won!

And with that win came tremendous spoils: technologies that have simplified your workflow and created an era of connectivity that is beyond anything anyone could imagine 15 years ago.

You’re a kid in an applications candy store surrounded by so many solutions and options that every vendor is now at your mercy.

You control the negotiation. You dictate price. You influence quality.

Smartphones and the app paradigm that followed forced you to learn how to download software and use it in a whole new way. Technology is no longer a mystery. Or something to fear. It’s tangible. Accessible. Friendly. Subservient to you.

You are the master of this domain. The king of the castle.

Regarding dot-coms: no site, app or solution can replace, outsmart or replace you. Indeed, without your assent, none of these things can exist.

They serve you.

As for brokerages, given what I know, many are killing to recruit you. Today’s visionary broker is dedicated to reaching for what’s ahead, not clinging to what’s past. She’s created a culture unlike anything I have seen since I arrived in the industry. Find her. She’s out there.

It is an amazing time to be a Realtor

Over the years, I’ve written hard-hitting, sometimes hit-below-the-belt copy. I shocked. Ruffled. And angered people. It’s what I did to cut through the noise. And hopefully draw attention to a very simple fact:

The good Realtor never had anything to fear, and does not now.

Keep learning. Keep adopting. Try everything. It will make you stronger. More confident. More in control.

Fourteen years ago, Real Estate Connect seemed like a war room. Today, it’s become an armory for Realtors. In truth, it always was. Very few understood that back then.

Today, it is an amazing time to be a Realtor.


[Image via andre.vanrooyen]


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29 Responses to “It’s an amazing time to be a Realtor”

  1. Mike Schoultz says:

    Good column Mark … but the comments simply blow me away. You are a proponent of windmill building. There is always opportunity in crisis or problems of the day.

    Real Estate industry is one of 10 or so industries where the winds of change are blowing strong and have been for a while.

    Guess you have to be prepared to build a windmill or a shelter … its the choice of the day, isn’t it?

    • Bryan says:

      Great article. Great analogy.

      I totally agree. The profession of being a real estate agent will not go way, but real estate agents, like all professionals, will have to adopt, change, and build to achieve continued success.

  2. Tina Fine says:

    Brokers/Realtors/agents will always be needed by those who need help in navigating the purchase/sale. But they are not needed to create the “information marketplace.” Their role in controlling the information market is still tenuous. The matching of owners with seekers can occur without them, and this segment of the marketplace can be disrupted and replaced by tech- it’s just a matter of time. Large search and information companies like Google or Facebook could do it, Trulia/ZIllow can also if they are given direct MLS feeds.

  3. Brian Hickey says:

    I thought your post was written with sarcasm – then I read some of the comments and it appears you’re being sincere?

    IMO, we are just getting started innovating the industry. Just because we’re all fat and happy from all those Spring sales and early Summer closings doesn’t mean the business won’t evolve or be violently disrupted.

    But hey, I’ve been wrong before – only time will tell if the market allows for efficiencies and transparencies that today are not a part of the re deal.


    • Marc Davison says:

      No sarcasm intended. This is my honest assessment and belief.

      Real estate will continue to see disruption. But I’m hoping agents and brokers will use the knowledge they garnered over the past 15 years to content with them in a more positive and confident manner.

    • Marc Davison says:

      No sarcasm intended. These were my honest sentiments.

      Disrupters will continue to disrupt real estate. My hope is that agents and brokers will no longer fear them but rather, meet them head on with confidence.

    • Brian Hickey says:

      A successful Realogy IPO would be a coup and possible game-changer for the brokers – at least the big ones.

      If that does not happen, “hope” is probably the best chance the brokers will have before big change fractures their antiquated model.

      Again, only time will tell.


  4. Catherine Ulrey says:

    I love the opportunity that the internet and technology has provided. However, I do see headstones of agents because of the internet. The ones that don’t make use of this amazing tool!

  5. Robin Fenchel says:

    Bring it on!! I <3 change, and I embrace it all! Thanks for reminding us of where we've been and the road less traveled is where I will continue to blaze a trail :)

  6. Drew Meyers says:

    “The good Realtor never had anything to fear, and does not now.”

    You’re right. Though I think this applies in every industry. If you’re good at what you do, now is a great time. Why? Because you’re smart, motivated, and serious and you’ll adapt, change, and prosper if the industry changes.

    If you suck at what you do? Well, go find a line of work you don’t suck at and get your ass motivated to succeed. If you’re blaming environment factors or other people (who are out executing you), shut up, get off your ass, and go build your business regardless of what others are doing. No one is stopping you but yourself.

  7. IJP says:

    If you want to be a successful Realtor then you need to conquer your fear and adapt with the changes especially with the technology.

  8. Barry Graziano says:

    Great Piece Marc!
    Well said and dead on! Our business really has not changed much, you need to be connected and a master at networking. Embrace technology and implement it into your cornerstone business practices to make it easier at what you know best….networking, marketing your talent and selling homes! I agree, it is a good time to be a Realtor!
    Thanks Marc!

  9. John Wingate says:

    I just started this industry 2 months ago and I love it. I use to be in insurance and financial industry but I needed a change of pace for my career. In Maryland were staying steady but I live close to the beach which is a big help. Condos are becoming a hot market here and I think will continue to be for local and international investors.

  10. Indiana Real Estate says:

    It is truly a great time to be a REALTOR. With the aging baby boomers making their exit and the stricter licencing requirements for new licensees… the thinning for the herd (competition) has begun.

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