• SPONSOREDAn open letter to brokerages facing pressure from disintermediary technology and alt-brokerages

    Today, we announced the creation of NYC Buyer Graph. This marks the first of many city-wide initiatives that aims to establish market level collaboration around buyer data. Seven leading brokerages in New York City — Bond Real Estate, Brown Harris Stevens, Douglas Elliman, Engel & Völkers, Halstead Real Estate, Stribling and Associates, and Warburg Realty — have all agreed to adopt a common home search solution in order to securely share select homebuyer demand information, facilitating invaluable collaboration among their agents.

    This unprecedented level of cooperation has the potential to change the essence of the local real estate market and will allow these brokerage firms to deliver the next generation of real estate services to consumers.

    So how did seven of the biggest rival brokerages decide to come together to found this collective in one of the most competitive markets in the country?

    To answer that question, let’s take a quick look back on the industry…

    Looking Back

    It’s been almost 2 years since I began speaking to the industry about the power of networks in securing a broker-centric real estate future. I argued that brokers and agents are drastically under-valuing their most important asset: their network of clients. By collecting and leveraging that network, and the data it generates, brokers and agents will secure a powerful and evergreen competitive advantage.

    Collecting + leveraging a client network is the critical first step toward securing market dominance in the face of disintermediary tech and alt-brokerages.

    Many of our brokerage partners have embraced this thesis, implementing RealScout as a way to lock-down their buyer data and leverage it for better deal-making within their brokerage. By doing so, these brokerages are taking the critical first steps toward securing their market dominance in the face of disintermediary technology and alt-brokerage models.

    The Future, Beginning Today

    Fast forward to today’s announcement. The NYC Buyer Graph is the first initiative that takes this to the next level by opening up deal-making and analytics capabilities to all participants. The NYC Buyer Graph brings together seven of the largest NYC brokerages, enabling them to:

    1. Lock down their buyer data by engaging consumers on the brokerage’s own branded home search experience
    2. Utilize that data for better deal-making within their brokerage companies
    3. Begin to collaborate, for the first time, with other brokerages around securely shared, anonymized demand insights at the market-level

    In practical terms, this means NYC Buyer Graph brokerages will be able to intelligently match their listings with buyers from their fellow member brokerages, and to gain market-level demand analytics never compiled at this scale in real-time.

    NYC Buyer Graph brokerages will be able to intelligently match listings with buyers from fellow member brokerages and gain market-level demand analytics.

    For example, a listing agent will be able to walk into a listing presentation with a detailed understanding of buyer demand in a particular neighborhood (e.g. how many buyers are looking at specific price points, which features and amenities are most desirable, etc.) and subsequently identify and contact buyer agents with matching, active buyers.

    These features double-down on the unique agent-client relationship in order to keep shared data secure, yet useful, to all participants. No identifiable information about a consumer is shared with a 3rd party, but member agents will be able to effectively cooperate with  the relevant consumer’s agent to broker transactions.

    The Buyer Graph’s value proposition is a natural extension of what brokers and agents do all the time – hunting for the most current data and the most relevant connections to facilitate the best deal possible for their clients.

    With the backing of a major proportion of New York City’s real estate market the consumer benefits are taken to the next level.

    Securing the Industry’s Future

    One of the key elements of this initiative is the fact that multiple leading brokerages have agreed to align in order to create this Buyer Graph. By bringing their networks together, these brokerages are greatly amplifying the strategic value of their individual networks, much more than if each brokerage adopted RealScout independently.

    The Buyer Graph is a classic example of a network effect, where the entry of a new participant increases the value of a platform for all participants by increasing the transparency and data for every member. By kicking off the initiative with substantial scale, the Buyer Graph will be the leading platform in New York City, and will continue grow as it attracts and welcomes more and more members.

    Of course, the power of network effects isn’t lost on companies competing with the traditional brokerage model. An explicit network-effects-driven strategy is at the core of almost every alt-brokerage and distinermidiators. Often, the hundreds of millions in capital raised by these companies are deployed in an attempt to kick-start their network effects.

    But with the reach the NYC Buyer Graph has already achieved, no single startup or alt-brokerage can simply manufacture or purchase the network-driven value of the NYC Buyer Graph.

    No single startup or alt-brokerage can simply manufacture or purchase the network-driven value of the NYC Buyer Graph.

    Fortunately, New York isn’t unique in this sense.

    In the vast majority of markets around the United States, when compared to alt-brokerages and distinermidiators, traditional brokerages represent the vast majority of consumers in the market. Brokers still have the opportunity to jump on this lead and solidify their market position by locking-down their buyer data, and coming together with their peers to build robust market infrastructure in the form of a Buyer Graph.

    One thing is clear: If brokerages don’t lock down their network effects, it’s only a matter of time before someone else will.

    Our Commitment to this Vision

    The NYC Buyer Graph is evidence that key stakeholders in New York have decided not to sit still. In the day-to-day struggle to build a thriving business, it’s easy to take a healthy, well-functioning market for granted. It takes the proactive participation of visionary thinkers like the founding members of the Buyer Graph to initiate this type of necessary evolution.

    RealScout was founded over 6 years ago on the simple commitment to build the future of real estate around a collaborative ecosystem of brokers, agents and consumers. This wasn’t a convenient branding slogan, but a concrete vision to empower real estate professionals to assert their value proposition in a changing environment.

    Only a close and agile partnership between real estate professionals and technology will guarantee the scales are tipped towards a prosperous future in the brokerage business. RealScout’s mission is to be that good technology partner.

    Only a close/agile partnership between real estate professionals & tech will guarantee the scales are tipped towards a prosperous future in the brokerage business.

    The time for brokerages to align is now.

    If you are a broker with the vision and scale to help lead a Buyer Graph in your market, please reach out to me personally.

    Andrew Flachner – RealScout