Brokers: are you in the real estate business?

Spencer Rascoff is ZIllow’s chief operating officer. A smart guy I respect.

He co-founded Hotwire and was part of Expedia’s management team.

Now, he’s explaining the foreclosure process to homebuyers and sellers.

He’s doing it clearly, credibly and in a manner that at once plays off and enhances the Zillow brand. And he’s offering up a nice little content morsel for the search engines.

Take a look:

If you’re a broker and you’re not doing this sort of thing, you have no right to complain about Zillow kicking your butt on Google, getting their chief economist quoted in your local newspaper, or conditioning the structure of your agents’ listing presentations.



I know some brokers who think of themselves as being in the recruiting business. Others place themselves in the training business. But it is a surprisingly small number who are indisputably in the real estate business.

To be in the real estate business, you must know every square foot of your marketplace. You must be able to answer any question posed by a homebuyer or seller with the easy confidence of the Old Spice Guy.

And sitting in front of a camera for two minutes to explain foreclosure clearly and credibly should be about as challenging as brushing your teeth.

You could get away with not being in the real estate business ten years ago. Sins of neglect were washed away by the cool waters of prosperity. Recruit, rinse, repeat.

Today? Not being in the real estate business is senseless surrender.

Dust in the wind

They say that on a windy day, you can hear the erosion of the Great Sphinx at Giza – the chips of human effort flying off with the wind. So it is with the brokerage that does not place accretive energy behind its value proposition to, and credibility with, buyers and sellers.

“But we serve two masters – the consumer and the agent”


“I suffer from channel conflict.”


“The agent is the customer.”

Cling to these maxims and watch your achievement fade, with every passing day, with every blog post or video from someone else, in every moment you let the gap between you and the marketplace you depend on widen, into a history no one will even pause to appreciate.

You, $500, and the things you know


Good for Spencer. I mean that. He spent 15 minutes in front of a $500 camera talking about something people who come to his web site care about.

Is that too much to ask? More than you are willing to pay to give expression to the knowledge you have stored between your ears?

Don’t let it be too much to ask.

If you’ve got the goods, get into the real estate business.