The Disruptors Are Knocking

Posted by Lino Arci on Thursday, December 27th, 2018 at 5:05pm.

The Disruptors Are Knocking. Here’s Why the Real Estate Industry Needs to Open Up!

Technology has disrupted virtually every service industry, from banking and retail, to taxis and travel. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t used Uber, Amazon or Airbnb in the past week – if not in the last 24 hours. So, what’s the difference between these trailblazers and others offering similar services? Quite simply, their customer experience strategy is all about being convenient, user-friendly and easy-access.

Change is also bubbling beneath the surface of Canada’s real estate industry, and big data is the catalyst. With the arrival of Zillow and Purplebricks in Canada, and most recently, the public release of sold data, you can be sure that our industry will look different one year from now.

Change is often accompanied by fear, and in this case, the fear is that publicly available sold data will spell the end of the real estate industry as we know it. Instead of fighting the inevitable, I encourage agents and brokers to see this as an opportunity.

Let’s get real – people who are active in the housing market already know what the house down the street sold for. The fact is, sold data has always been available at public land registry offices and from agents directly. Now, it will also be accessible through password-protected web-based brokerages. With this information in hand, consumers will be better equipped to do their own research – and I’m a firm believer that a well-informed consumer is the best kind. is already Canada’s most-comprehensive real estate listings site. When coupled with sold data, it will be a powerhouse. Similarly, the websites that offer more information will get more traffic and generate more leads. The real estate businesses that don’t give consumers what they want (recall: convenient, user-friendly and easy-access), will fall off the radar.

So, if real estate agents are no longer the gatekeepers of sold data, what’s their value proposition?


Sold data has been publicly accessible to consumers in the U.S. for more than a decade, and FSBOs represent a small fraction of sales – just eight per cent, according to this 2016 National Association of Realtors study. The study also found that the typical FSBO home sold for $190,000, versus $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales. How’s that for customer value? Other FSBO challenges – and agent benefits – include:

  •  setting the right price
  • selling within the planned
  • understanding and performing paperwork
  • preparing/fixing up home for sale
  • having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale

In real estate, customer service and consumer experience is everything. Members of this industry who perform sub-par work are only serving to tip the consumer’s scale in favour of alternative services to buy or sell a home.

The key takeaway: it’s time to up your game.

This column was written by Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region

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