Not an App

By Nic Schlueter | Friday, May 5, 2017

Update September 20th 2021

In the more than 4 years since I wrote this article a couple things have happened:

  1. The video was removed from youtube, so in turn I removed it from the site.
  2. A bunch of companies have come into existence to shake up the processes of buying and selling houses. OpenDoor is trying to shake up the market by buying and selling houses directly. They are also becoming more and more vertically integrated by taking over more parts of the process.

The process of automating home buying is going to be slow because it is something that most people do very infrequently. That means it is hard to see changes. but I still think they are coming.

Original article

Look in any direction and you will see that automation is changing the face of employment, whether it be factory robotics or tax preparation. Blue collar workers and white collar workers alike need to start preparing for the future. But recently, Century 21 recently put up a commercial so out of touch with reality.

Basically, they are trying to point out how awesome it is that they have real people. 🙄

This has been coming for a long time with real estate agents. According to an academic article from 2013, titled "THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO COMPUTERISATION?", real estate agents have a 86% chance of losing their job to automation. Other parts of the real estate process are even higher. I am not writing this with any emotion, be that anger, sadness, grief, and definitely not glee. This automation is coming, because it is too lucrative not to. It is best to prepare for the inevitable future rather than fight it.

Century 21 is in a very difficult position. If they try to start pivoting their company to focus more on automation, they risk their best agents getting angry and leaving in the short term. Since, most agents get (or used to get) work by word of mouth, the specific agency they work for is largely irrelevant.

Realogy (the company that owns Centry21), has thousands of employees and a trove of great data. I assume they have someone leading the charge to automate much of the work that real estate agents currently do. They are one of the best positioned companies and if they don't automate … well you know what I think.

Back to the commercial seemingly made from another universe. Since Realogy is so big, I assume they give Century 21 a big enough budget to keep the wheels on while they try to figure out what is next. Or they might have no idea what they are doing. 😉

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