In Times of Change, it Might be a Good Time to Change

Did you ever wonder why change was such a hard thing to accomplish in the residential real estate industry? I have, so I did some research and here is what I learned.

When the processes involved in making something happen are overly complex just doing things the old way is complicated, change seems insurmountable. I just returned from the NAR Mid Year conference and no where are things more complicated than they are in our industry politics. Meeting on meeting to plan the time of the meeting to meet on the next meeting. As I wandered through the halls of the host hotels, I wondered. What happens with all of the results of these meetings? Is anything really accomplished? And if so, where do the results surface and what do they do to foster substantive change?

Then I read Rob’s article and realized something that was not likely discussed in many if any of those meetings.

It was the fact that back on Main Street, the consumer continues to wrestle with our industry’s complex, and highly misunderstood practices, processes and traditions.

While most of the industry fights to maintain the status quo. the consumer is now weighing in on the industry heavily. And as a result, I see the industry teetering dangerously close to yet another “governmental intervention” into our processes. Remember the days of the MLS and IDX feeds? Do you recall the swift hand of the DOJ and the FTC when they stepped in to protect the practices of fair trade?

Well, I do and I attended one of the DOJ hearings in Washington D.C. In comparison to the time needed for the legal battles over price fixing and buyer broker fees that have already been filed, the actions of these governmental agencies are very swift and absolutely laser focused. The question always comes down to this when it concerns the government’s involvement. Is the industry assuring the well-being of the consumer in all that it does? When the answer is suspected to be no, the progression of the investigation of those actions goes something like this:

Speculate > Investigate > Formulate > Litigate > Legislate > Regulate > “Suffocate"

Whether it pertains to the fair provision of settlement services, the open sharing of data, the full disclosure of how fees are assessed, the procurement of proper representation in a transaction or any other factor involved in the practices of the brokerage industry, “big brother in DC” is waiting and watching as an industry reacts and responds - or does not act or respond - to protecting the well-being of the consumer.

You can see my comments on Rob’s article, but more importantly, I think we as an industry should be taking a much more proactive stance with regard to making the changes needed to avoid the experience that will occur if such matters progress passed the “litigate” stage in the above continuum.

There is likely more to come regarding the allegations of the consumer lawsuits that have been filed against the MLS and the NAR, despite the motion to dismiss those charges that was filed today by the NAR.

All I can say is remember the wrath of the DOJ and the FTC that came down on the NAR and the MLS industry. As brokers, we do not need for anything like what happened back then to the MLS industry happen now to the brokerage industry. If there are things that we can do to simplify and clarify what we do, we should do them before we are potentially suffocated by government regulations.

"In times of change, it might be a good time to change."

Have a great day!