Alex Samant is the Co-Founder and Marketing Manager of TitleCapture, based in Miami, FL. Besides having a vast marketing expertise as a result of over 15 years of hard work for companies in various industries, he also handles product development, with a huge focus on front end development, user experience, customer behavior and interaction.
The mere mention of the name Amazon, in the context of real estate is enough to drive shivers down a real estate professional’s spine. And the recent news about Amazon’s partnership with Realogy was no exception. An air of disruption and sudden change was being felt. “The real estate market as we know it is going to change”, “omg, what are we going to do?”....
For the few of you who missed the piece of news, Amazon has this partnership with Realogy, currently available in 15 cities nationwide, where the homebuyer who works with a Realogy agent, also gets between $1,000 - $3,000 in home appliances and whatnot from Amazon.
Not that world-changing. But for some reason, some people hear the name Amazon (and think Facebook, Google, etc) and because they’re stepping into real-estate... well .... “they must be cooking something big”. Disruption panic ON.
If you think about this, this partnership means NOTHING in the long-run. Here’s why:
1. This is simply a partnership driven by sales. It’s not strategic or game changing. It allows Amazon to increase its market share among homebuyers looking for home products and services. It also boosts Realogy’s brand and market share with that extra traffic / leads coming from Amazon.
2. The real battle in real estate is between the likes of Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin VS traditional brokerages. Its the “find yourself a home” vs the “call us and we’ll find you a home”. This war is and will be for as long as people will be people and not robots. Some people like to do things themselves. Some like to be taken care of. Brokerages that can use technology to place themselves more in the middle of this chasm will probably win over the more traditional ones. Amazon has no place in this other than compete with Zillow & co. Not sure if decisions about buying a home are as easy as buying a $15 book...
3. The real problem is declining homeownership. Amazon, and particularly Jeff Bezos, wouldn’t make a long term investment in a market that is fundamentally shifting from purchasing to renting. If you ever had to endure an 8 mile commute from West LA to Downtown LA, on I-10, and its taken you 70 minutes, you clearly understand that job mobility in urban areas growing ever more dense are not a great fit for owning a home .... and having to flip it within a year, only to move 15 miles to the east, closer to the office. So, Amazon betting on homebuying and selling as their long game .... nah!
The real lesson here, however, is that for whatever it’s worth, the Amazon + Realogy partnership is going to be a profitable one. The reason, both companies understand the value of great customer experience. Going above and beyond to offer a seamless homebuying experience is going to put some real money into their coffers. And good for them!
And if you’re not the title company offering the best client experience to your real estate agents and lenders, you should start thinking about this now.
And one more thing. The future is going to become more coagulated. Partnerships, mergers, etc. This means that your title company will deal with less and less realty companies and banks. And your only chance of survival will be to hold on to your existing agents and fighting for any new one like nobody else. And your main weapon: customer experience!
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