Ask An Ambassador: Are You Making Buggy Whips?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747


I see it regularly in real estate Facebook groups.

"NAR should be doing MORE to protect us from _____________!!!!!"

Fill in the blank with the appropriate phrase du jour:

  • Zillow (because they're responsible for all the ills in real estate)
  • Brokerage X  (the latest innovator that is doing to disrupt the real estate world and make us all obsolete, or so we're told)

Okay, maybe I'm being SLIGHTLY sarcastic (where is that special font when I need it??), but the plaintive sounds of various agents isn't an exaggeration.  PROTECT ME!!!

Me personally?  You're not likely to find me begging for protection.  I'm not one for  believing the status quo must be protected.  I don't believe that a single one of us is entitled to employment as a real estate agent.  Adapt or go the way of the buggy whip makers.

IMO there are at least a couple of critical factors to surviving as a real estate agent:

1. Human interaction.  Have you seen a good algorithm for providing customer service?  I can't say (at least at this point in time) that some Artificial Intelligence program is going to be able to destress a seller that just got bad news on a home inspection.  But a good agent?  Been there, done that, dozens and dozens of times, right?  Some people just need to know that an experienced human is there to guide them through the process.

2.  Specialized knowledge.  Online portals and automated programs still lack the ability to differentiate key information the way an on the streets real estate agent can.  You've watched how this street has gone from 2 lanes to 4 lanes and STILL has traffic issues at rush hour.  You know builder X folded in 2009 and builder Y came in to finish the community.  You know the majority of White Blossom was built with Blue Max pipes.  You know that section of the street backs up to a berm and the other side to a park that hosts a Saturday morning youth soccer league.  You get the drift?  Know your neigbhorhoods and you'll provide the consumers what no portal or program can.

My personal recipe for avoiding being a buggy whip maker?  Niche knowledge.  For me, it's numerous blog posts and IDX pages about Cincinnati patio homes that makes the phone ring, then it's my job to lock things down with customer service.  Answer the phone.  Deliver on my promises.  Prove they made the right call.


So as 2019 is knocking on our door, how are you making sure you don't become a buggy whip maker?


 Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help!

Bill of Liz and Bill aka BLiz 


Things change, don't they?



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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Great analogy, Bill. Adaptive Intelligence (aka: knowledge & compassion) will beat out any Artificial Intelligence scheme for a long time to come.

Thanks for sharing,


Dec 18, 2018 07:13 PM #1
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

I had NO idea where you were going with this title, Bill! Definitely something to think about though - we do tend to complain too much about things which are biggger than us and beyond our control. Our approach should always be, "What can I (ME, MYSELF and I) do to make a difference?"

As for 2019, continue building on the successful parts of the business from 2018 and before - of course, adding a few 'new' things to change with the times! I totally agree that niches are key to our success and will out-live any of the things we complain about the most.

Dec 18, 2018 08:16 PM #2
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Although the market changes, the times change, technology changes - the human element isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  These tech real estate companies who have tried to take out the agent have either floundered or changed their business model to be like the more “traditional” companies.  

Dec 18, 2018 08:20 PM #3
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Everything changes. If the business is changing, we can try to change what it is we don't like. Or we can adapt our business. Or we can start a new trend. In my mind, those are three actions that could keep us in business. Being skilled and having specialized information are a "must" regardless of which way we go.

If we just sit still hoping things will remain the same, we're done.

Dec 19, 2018 02:32 AM #4
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

As i always say, the web sites can not take over the personal interaction needed in real estate. NAR has missed the boat, some say they sank the boat by selling off as well. Yes I would like to see a site that Realtors can market their listings that they actually get the leads with out be extorted for great sums of money for zip codes. And if you dont pay they sell the leads to your listing to those who will. As a listing agent, my goal is get more listings and i can use those sites against them and thrive by providing great service and answering and solving the questions that those sites create.

Dec 19, 2018 05:47 AM #5
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

No thing (nothing) is standing still right down to the molecules, cells and the beyonds in both directions. Everything else is caught in the "change" with precision & purpose and humans are invited to this Eternal & Universal "party" to input, feedback & ultimately experience. Some do it better than others....

Dec 19, 2018 08:00 AM #6
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Liz and Bill Spear ~ I agree, change is inevitable.... And it is my opinion that keeping silent and not participating in the politics surounding our business leads us to utter and complete change. Anyway, I'd love to be wrong, I wish I could have a brighter forecast and be as upbeat as you! 

Good news, you are still able to compete, and the wonderful service you provide allows you to earn 2 to 3% per side.... Bad news (IMO) our business is being taken over by companies that have the will, the know-how and the money... 

My bet: You have hopefully 5 more years! 5 years from now it won't be so sunny on your side of the fence... Hope I'm wrong! But if I am right... I bet a lot more agents wished they'd been more vocal and proactive. And if I'm wrong, then you are correct in lampooning those that voice concerns and fears

Dec 19, 2018 12:08 PM #7
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Love your post Bill. Expending so much energy on something or some entity that cannot be changed is a waste of time. I agree with what you're doing. Focus on what you can do with your marketing and blogging and personal interaction!!! Well done.  

Dec 19, 2018 02:48 PM #8
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Bill, you are correct.  It seems our respective organizations are not 'protecting' our interests as they should but we need to adapt nonetheless.  Because apparently, they cannot 'save' us.  From anything...

I was supremely angry at the AIA during the last recession as I didn't see 'our side' being represented, especially the residential architects.  It seemed the organization was there for the commercial guys.

Dec 19, 2018 04:01 PM #9
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I think you are right on target here and it was nto quite what I expected, but in a very good way. I think good human interaction and specialized knowledge about what consumers want and need pretty well does the trick.


Dec 19, 2018 07:46 PM #10
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

No matter what changes come about, some will thrive because they've adapted or simply worked harder. Others will sit back, whine a lot, and fail.

Dec 19, 2018 11:48 PM #11
Tom Phelan

NAR about a zillion years ago should have launched a program to promote via regular TV Commercial Campaign that Realtors are more than residential facilitators helping people List and Buy Homes.

Realtors can also be qualified to recommend rental income properties for their client’s IRA to purchase.

How big is NAR’s failure to promote this point, well there are 45,000,000 IRAs in America collectively worth Six TRILLION Dollars and Wall Street controls 95% while NAR has less than 4%.

Am I complaining? Absolutely and I predict 2019 will be more of the same, Wall Street 95% - Realtors 4%.

Wake up and go after your share of that Six TRILLION Dollars.

Ask yourself, when is the last time, if ever, you asked a client, “What’s in your IRA? Maybe it should be real estate”.

Dec 20, 2018 05:17 AM #12
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I am so completely with you on this and I loved Star Trek IV.

Dec 20, 2018 05:04 PM #13
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RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
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