The HAR agent productivity app and other false signs of the real estate apocalypse

Above the effervescence of cheers and applause for HAR’s new agent productivity app, fear and absolutes rise like hot steam. Not all in real estate are hailing Bob’s Hale’s HAR-don for transparency. Many believe publishing agent sales stats will:

  • End the big box brokerage
  • Spell doom for real estate brands
  • Level the playing field
  • Raise the bar
  • Confuse the public
  • Thin the agent herd
  • Create a new brand of superhero agent
  • Leave EBA’s in the lurch
  • Create an unfair representation of what an agent does

I don’t buy any of this. What HAR is doing is important. It’s pure. Inspired. And a long time coming. But game changing? I’m not so sure.

Real estate’s history is replete with disruptive events and dire predictions that never materialized.

Let me jump-start your memory:

1995: “The lion over the hill” is conjured. The Internet was going to replace Realtors.

2000: The stock market crashes. Many predict housing would follow.

2001: The jihad many thought would decimate the real estate market does just the opposite.

2005: The fuse of fear is lit by the Bobbsey twins of real estate, Zillow and Trulia. Sparks flew. Not one ignited.

2007: The bubble bursts. America’s heart is heavy. The real estate agent is painted as the least trusted professional in America in colors millions seem blind to.

2008: The gallop of horsemen trumpeting the housing apocalypse is heard. More doom. More gloom. The industry perseveres.

2009: Real estate’s insipid buffalo is let loose inside the world’s social media china shop. Even I feared the worst. I was wrong.

California sunlight.

Sweet Calcutta rain.

Honolulu star bright…

The song remains the same

If you think HAR’s move is catastrophic, you place too much stock in HAR, too much stock in data and way too much stock in human beings.

In the face of sound advice, oodles of data and stern warnings people continue to:

  • Move to cities high in crime and low in culture in search of 4,000 square-foot dreams.
  • Smoke cigarettes despite the death threat published right on the box.
  • Jam down fast food that bears very little resemblance to its namesake.

Are we to believe people will change their natural tendencies and get all Albert Einstein on real estate?

The truth about people is that we are only lightly motivated by facts and data. Especially when it comes to real estate. Sure, we look around online but we always have and always will buy homes based on emotion and use agents we don’t know and who may not be all that experienced.

The simple truth

HAR’s application will serve to help everyone. Even those agents who do not sell forty homes a year.

Consider this: Agent A has sold forty homes so far this year. Agent B has only sold four. You check with HAR and learn that of the forty homes Agent A sold, the one closest to your home was ten miles away whereas of the four Agent B sold, three were within one mile and one was on your street. Which would you choose? Common sense might dictate Agent B. Then again, Agent A might have a cute dog. And when it comes down to it, as every agent knows, personality and pets tug harder at the heart than common sense.

Let’s not forget that every agent was once a newbie with no experience and no clients. They kicked-off their career with friends, family or through some wonderful coincidence that clears a path to a closing despite the odds – and the data.

This will never change. Ever. Real estate is about me bumping into you at the right moment and you helping me buy a home. And all the wonderful variations of this reality.

HAR’s endeavor, of which I am in full support, is not a problem. It is a bold move from a bold leader that will positively impact – but not upend – a fantastically durable industry.