Major change is rarely an overnight event. It takes a great idea, time, and the ability to bring others on board with your infectious enthusiasm.
Revolution requires momentum – once that’s built and becomes entrenched, you either get on board or get out of the way.
Of course, change is also resisted by some – people whose established income streams rely on maintaining the status quo will not only repel change, but try to derail it because it threatens their wealth and power.
And so it’s been in the real estate industry, where we have seen huge changes in recent years. The speed of that upheaval is gathering pace, and the old guard are none too happy.
Think about some of the big disruptions you’ve seen in just the last decade – you perhaps thought of major digital brands like Uber, Airbnb, Airtasker or Amazon.
All these shifts have created multi-billion-dollar businesses built by breaking a traditional mould.
And it’s not like those industries shouldn’t have seen it coming.
Kodak had a 27 per cent market-leading share of the digital space in 1999, that dropped to 15 per cent by 2003.
In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.
So – history is littered with those who failed to embrace positive change. Once momentum towards a revolution has been built, there’s little that can stop the progress.
This is exactly what I’m seeing in the real estate industry today.
When I launched UrbanX – a business that helps agents build their own businesses – almost two years ago, the traditional career path for agents was still to work for a franchise.
Under that old structure the selling agent would give up half their commission in exchange for a desk, a big-box franchise brand, and some admin support.
I believe those agencies were also extremely inefficient. They would lease expensive retail office space, need to cover huge administrative outgoings, and look after running costs like software subscriptions, trust accounts etc.
It just didn’t make sense.
So, what’s changed since the start of 2020?
Well, for starters, more agents are realising the inequities. They’re now aware that they’re the primary generator of income when it comes to earning commissions, but they get little support from their employers.
Agents are marketing themselves in their specialty areas, bringing in potential buyers and pitching for the listing. They are driving to people’s homes (in their own vehicles) to sign up sellers.
They are co-ordinating advertising programs and auctions, and carrying out negotiations to bring about a sale. They are also nursing transactions through to settlement.
Notice that at no point across all these processes is working for a major franchise a necessity.
Proof in the numbers
I know the revolution is gaining pace because I have the numbers.
In the past year alone, UrbanX has experienced 1400 per cent growth, positioning it as the fastest growing platform in Australia for high-performing agents looking to work for themselves, and make (and keep) more commission.
And the revolution is occurring everywhere. From our Brisbane HQ, we now have agents from as far north as Darwin, as far south as Melbourne, and everywhere in between.
They are jumping onboard for three big reasons.
Firstly, they can leverage their name to create their own brand and then market themselves extensively to attract more listings.
Secondly by cutting out the middleman, they keep more of their commission.
And finally, by having the support of a full back-end team to manage all the admin, accounts, marketing, IT, etc. they can focus on the work that matters. It also means outside of work, they can do more of the things they enjoy like spending time with family and friends.
The numbers are growing and any major business who continues to profit unfairly off their agent’s hard work is destined to be left in the wake of change.