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Re/Max Wins the Race

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From the Los Angeles Times business section:

The nation’s second-largest real estate brokerage is expected to announce today a plan to pool all U.S. residential property listings on its website, a move that would create a formidable national competitor to industry-backed Realtor.com.

The move by Re/Max International Inc. also could eventually help reduce consumers’ costs of buying and selling homes, as competition with other Web-based brokerages heats up.

Online real estate companies and consumer advocates have long complained about the real estate industry’s efforts to limit access to property listings on the Internet. They see it as an attempt to thwart competition from Web-based upstarts, which typically charge lower commissions or charge referral fees.

Read the whole thing. No announcement at the Re/Max site yet. This is a huge story, but I doubt most news organizations will realize it.

Information monopolies simply cannot survive the internet age and the new consumer’s demand for transparency. Re/Max is wise to brand itself as unafraid to provide its customers with facts.

The other implication is for businesses, like newspapers, that have depended on real estate advertising. Yesterday many folks, me included, linked to LAWeekly’s Nikki Finke’s report that Hollywood is preparing to drastically reduce advertising in newspapers.

Now Re/Max launches an innovation that is sure to reduce newspaper readers’ reliance on print ads showcasing homes for sale or rent. Why will realtors pay for advertising when home shoppers are certain to be using the Re/Max site?

Answer: They won’t. At least not for long. And the savvy ones will redirect that print budget into internet strategies to lure the online home buyer to their web presence.

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