Have you noticed that Best Buy is closing 500 stores? Blockbuster closed thousands of stores all over the world too. What is going on? The internet is displacing the "brick and mortar" retail outlet.
Can this happen to our traditional offices? It surely can and I expect to see internet based brokerages under a big brand name like Trulia or Zillow.
The internet based local office has been tried. I worked for a brokerage called Home City that did this in Dallas. The office manager had the equivalent of an executive suite. We all worked from home. Home City still exists but never got past about 20 agents at any one time. They were profitable when I was there with only modest sales for the group of about $14,000,000 a year since there was basically no overhead. A home office in Austin provided support and agents there did have a more traditional office.
So why did this not expand nationally? I would think lack of a national brand and basically little or no imvestment capital has held back expansion plans.
When Zillow and Trulia figure out that all those fans of their websites might want to work with a Trulia or Zillow agent, they might just give the big brands a run for their money.
This does not mean that Trulia or Zillow have to do this alone. They could franchise the concept or have another company just license their brand.
Last, the big brands like Coldwell Banker see the internet coming. I think they are trying to figure this out too.