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The Uber of Real Estate; Minus Buzzwords

The Uber of Real Estate; Minus Buzzwords
March 2, 2016 Michael Turner
uber real estate

Digital Disruption – one of the thousand new generation buzzwords. Still a skeptic? You’re probably reading this on a smartphone …

The ‘Uber of [Insert Industry]’ is a phrase we hear countlessly, reading news, opinion articles, tech, and social media. But for those with a property centric profession, disposition, or hobby, we hear it used countlessly to talk about Real Estate. Industry Publications talk all the time about the ‘Uber’ to revolutionise the industry, and cynical sellers talk about their rejoice for the revolution that will take over.

But what is it really about? What will actually dictate the digital revolution of the Property Industry?

What is Disruption?

An incredibly overused word, attributed to countless technologies and ideas. Startups pitch themselves constantly as the next ‘disruptor’, and often these are loud with lots of fizzle and no bang.

A new technology is not a ‘disruptor’. A new way of working in real estate is not a ‘disruptor’. A genuine Digital Disruptor requires an overhaul of the entire industry.

What are some key signs of this?

  • Creation of digital tools, programs and data readily available to the public.
  • Mass utilisation of online digital platforms, such as the Cloud and other major platforms we may not even know about yet.
  • Data.
  • Innovation. A dynamic, yet efficient new way of conducting business within the industry.
  • Letting go. A paradigm shift putting the power in the hands of the customer.

Scary thoughts, particularly for some in the industry, often deemed outdated and overdue for change. But the effect of such a disruption is not the exact outcome some desire or expect.

It will not be the end of Real Estate Agents

Sorry, it won’t get rid of agents entirely. Today there already exists tools, companies and programs that allow owners to remove agents from the equation, however the end result is almost laughable.

The reality is terrible advertisements, bad advertising, unprofessional copywriting, bad photography, poor price guiding, incorrect valuations/appraisals and bad negotiation.

The important thing when selling revolves around the concept that (a good) agent is unbiased and neutral. They don’t see the sentimental values around a home, that an owner may, therefore will not unnecessarily overcapitalise items, rooms, and memories within a home as an example.

Buyer’s don’t care about the Roman Stone carved in Italy. A self-represented seller often will, and overvalue it. They need to remove themselves from the equation.

Goodbye Cowboy

The disruption will remove ‘bad’ agents. The fly-by-nighters, the unethical and antiquated agents. Nostalgia as a business model is a flawed one, so we can say goodbye to the very old ways, but also the ‘dodgy’ agents, or the lazy.

From an industry perspective, it is futile to fight disruption, as many other industries have shown before. The best way is to embrace the change. Adapt with the change.

Estate Agent 2.0

The customer will be empowered. Not just by the disruption, but by the agent of the future. The agent of the past had a role, and that was to provide a service that was information and knowledge. Today, a redundant role.

Information is not how the future Estate Agent will operate. Information is readily available to the general public. A buyer, using tools such as Real Estate and Domain, can often accurately price a property even more accurately than a Real Estate Agent can (providing you have all the information).

The agent of the future is technologically trained. Technology, applications, tools and services are used to an agents advantage. Gone are the days of written databases, and signs out the front of the office. Instead mass digital marketing will be at the forefront as well as cloud based databases and assistance technology.

The agent of the future still provides a service, and that is skilled negotiation and top quality customer service.  Talking to a person, like a person, will be at the forefront of the skill-set. The ability to navigate local knowledge, interpret big data, and be able to turn that into dialogue is a skill that all future agents will also display.

Communication will change, Social Media will be prominent, Whatsapp, Slack and Asana are other tools that may play a part in shaping future Agents.

Social Media will change. Not only will posts be about business business business, but rather interpersonal, behind the scenes, and engaging. Work will become virtual, online, the future Agent could be working behind the scenes from their lounge.

The Agent as we know it will morph. They will not provide just one service within the industry, but rather be a portal for several. The industry’s elite will likely morph in a true ‘Professional’ in many aspects.

The common theme here is personable service, and technology. While above could be entirely wrong as we never really know at this point, but the biggest factor we will see is the embracing of tech, and customer service in overdrive.

But wait, you said we shape it. How?

By being Generation Y. You do not really have to do anything. You sit here, reading this article, on your SmartPhone, after having probably seen it on Facebook while you were liking, sharing, commenting, talking to people across the country from your lounge, desk or transport.

The apps you download, the services you use, everything you do that is being tracked is forming the startups, companies, and concepts that the future industries are shaped on. In almost real time.

If you’ve been looking for a property, you’ve been using Real Estate Dot Com, Domain, budget apps, mortgage apps, while reading online web forums, and websites (like ours). Your data has been stored, and tracked. This information is tailoring your search, your web and online footprint, and in the future industry related individuals will tap into this resource and will know all about your criteria even before they shake your hand.

And you prefer doing it that way. You don’t read the paper, look at shop fronts – you’d rather do it from your phone, using tech, apps and new concepts. When you hear of a brand new way of going about Real Estate, you are on it, testing it, providing feedback in the form of a comment, like or share.

We are already shaping the future of the industry, by doing what we are doing now.

The ‘Digital Disruption’ of the industry is not an app, company or idea. We are the true ‘Disruptor’.


Michael Turner - Young Property InvestorMichael Turner is a Partner of YPI, as well as AUD Property Group. He currently manages three other business ventures which have a keen focus on projects, development, residential property and future growth centres. He based in Sydney Metro and can often be heard on various radio mediums talking about Football and Property. You can find him on Twitter @blameturner or email him directly at
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