The Love Triangle Between Broker, Agent and Consumer

I often find myself in conversations about the dynamics between real estate agents, brokerage owners/managers and the consumer. Frequently I’m asked to debate whether our industry should be consumer centric, broker centric or agent centric. I love a good debate, but picking sides on this issue is a no win proposition. Picking a side would imply putting the needs of one of these parties above the others. I don’t think that would lead to the best outcome.

Instead think of a triangle. What makes this shape special is that it’s three sides are all the same distance. I view the relationship between broker, agent and consumer like a triangle. In other words, equal.

The consumer is on the top and both brokers and agents should be focusing on meeting the consumer’s needs in the best way possible. At the base of the triangle is the broker at one side and the agent on the other. Both need to bring equal value to each other and both deserve to be rewarded for that value.

We saw this relationship get out of balance starting back in the late 90’s. With agent centric business models being adopted by brokerages, the agents kept more and more of the commission dollars. Brokers began offering fewer and fewer services and tools. However, agents expected certain things from their brokers and were often disappointed. The broker and the agent were in a bad marriage with each other. They shared the same house but had stopped communicating and started sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Then the market downturn hit. That combined with the emergence of technology and the changing needs of today’s consumer left the agent and the broker looking at each other agreeing that it was time to work things out.

And that leads us to today. The successful brokers and agents I see across the country have recommitted to each other. They have found a place where they are each offering a mutually beneficial value proposition and collectively as a team they are focusing on delivering exceptional real estate experiences to the consumer.

Brokers and agents are like parents who should be working together to provide the best possible environments for their kids (i.e. the consumer). Isn’t it time we worked as a team?

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