Who owns the real estate industry?

According to this, South African estate agents ‘saved the industry’ by gaining control over print. And now they should guard against ‘unrelated business interests’, i.e. property portals and build an industry owned portal.

source: Property Professional Magazine
  1. Yes it is too late to build a new industry portal. Early adopters have a huge advantage. How long does it take to build a portal, apps, get interfaces up from agents and get enough traction that it can deliver substantial leads to estate agents? Being in the industry myself owning an independent portal, it is a very difficult and expensive road. It does require quite a huge investment and if you want to be #1, be prepared to run at a loss for while. Best bet? Buy an existing portal over to give you traction. Not one controlled by investor who may just one day want a return on their investment and decide to sell to the highest bidder (as in the case of Private Property). Not part of it…. lock stock and barrel. Be prepared to invest lots to play catch up and keep a close eye on similiar attempts worldwide to learn from mistakes.

You had control of print, what happened then?

I wonder why the industry failed to take advantage of their print monopoly years ago, and not invested and continued to push an industry owned portal when the internet arrived in the 90's? Maybe no one had the vision? There were attempts, but you need absolute focus, an awesome team with a vision and lots of cash to make it work. You also need buy in from everyone in what I believe is a fragmented industry. The real estate industry supported and allowed portals to grow and 20 years later people are complaining and even suggesting going back to print!…

Spoiler: Most disruptive businesses are new to the market, not existing players. Think Tesla, Uber and AirBNB. Uber doesn’t own taxis, AirBNB doesn’t own hotels, and Tesla introduced electric cars at a time where industry giants failed to see the opportunity. It is about taking risk and climbing out of your comfort zone as a company. Just have a look at what is currently happening in the USA, see any known real estate franchise names there? Zilch!

It is time for the real estate industry to stop playing victim. Start innovating, stop holding on to the believe that you are entitled to everything, stop trying to control the data. Stop thinking that because you are #1 in sales or number of agents, that you will always be #1. Explore opportunities, but above all, put your focus on the consumer, not your own best interests.

I hope some estate agents in South Africa share my view and see the opportunity. The time has never been better to start disrupting, are you going to be part of it?

I’m the CEO of www.entegral.net, I love working with my remote team to solve real estate problems. Questions everything.