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Steve Harmon - Getting Real In Real Estate

Replacing The Entire Real Estate Model, About Time

Steve Harmon

July 17 · Issue #26 · View online
Beyond the hype, inside the world of venture capital, tech, stocks and trends, from Silicon Valley to Shanghai, from veteran investor and entrepreneur Steve Harmon - followed by many leaders in finance and tech, see more:

Replacing The Entire Real Estate Model, About Time

The Boat Is Sinking, Why Not Fly Instead?
A long time ago in an escrow far, far away the real estate agent ruled the roost, charging 6% and being the gatekeeper to the home of your dreams.
Closing fees.
$30,000 to $50,000 commission later you got the keys.
As a seller you had to play along also.
“It’s just the way it works” was heard in the hallways of Century 21, Keller Williams, Sotheby’s, and so many others.
It was all about control. Not your control but their control.
Even though you were the money, you were the buyer. Supposedly, you are the customer as either mortgage applicant or seller waiting for the wire post closing.
But this is bigger than a commission fee.
It is an entire business and technology model.
Better, stronger, faster, cheaper. Able to leap tall houses in a single bound… ;)
My Friend Founded Century 21
Years ago one of the founders of the whole idea of the real estate franchise system contacted me. Before then it was all family-owned local offices.
Marsh Fisher is a brilliant guy. He reached out to me several years ago. I had already a real estate history in my family as my mother was an agent. My father in law was a top broker in Pebble Beach, California.
I have bought and sold homes and always hated the process. Hated it. Worse than getting teeth pulled. Much worse.
Replacing The Boat...We Know It's Sinking
If we look at the existing technology and business model of real estate it is in what I believe to be the horse and buggy era. Incumbents are trying to keep up with the changes by adding more wheels, more horses, not recognizing that the entire way of doing business is going to be replaced. Not added to but replaced.
Or consider a leaking boat and a team trying to plug the holes before it sinks. They believe it’s business as usual because the plugs slow the sinking. Even the Titanic captain thought the ship was ok as they partied on…
But what they don’t realize is that whether their boat floats or not the model is now akin to airplanes. In other words, even piloting a leaky boat or even a water tight one, didn’t stop air travel from taking over international travel.
Yes, at one time, people sailed, then used steam ships to get from Europe to America and elsewhere. I know, I’ve been on them from New York to Southampton, England many times now.
At one time, 1 in 5 people in America owned a horse and the entire economy replied on horse transport. Everything moved by horse. Now we laugh at that. We even chuckle at a library card catalog…and Yellow Pages? what are those?
Hay Is Overrated
Incumbents in real estate are adding technology to their platforms. Lead gen, CRM, SEO, etc. feeding their legacy model of thousands of brokers and agents.
At one time in America there were thousands of horse stables, hay makers, waste removal crews, etc. The horse model wasn’t sustainable over time. The same goes for the real estate industry now.
In an era of self-serve gas pumping and transparency of data across the world, the idea that $50,000 needs to be paid to a person or office for some basic ground work and paperwork is just outdated.
A whole new user experience is needed and what I’ve been working on now for over a year with my team.
Building And Harnessing The Entire Food Chain
I’ve mentioned my new venture before and the more we go the more value I see in replacing the horse era with air travel. The broker/agent control model with user/customer control.
Of transparency in buying and selling and choice. Not a cookie cutter boat ride but 767 first class at economy prices.
We closed our initial angel round and built much of the platform now. However, we have more to do, more value to harness, until all the pieces of the old way of business have been replaced with what we believe could be a superior platform for buyers and sellers, even brokers and agents.
An inclusive platform with choice and user experience at the center. What at first we thought was a better way has become a platform for the entire real estate food chain.
Expedia did that to travel.
Google did that to search.
Uber did that to taxis.
We want Ditto to do that to real estate.
As we continue to expand our platform to replace the legacy systems now in place I will let you know.
There’s $90 billion market here in the U.S. alone.
And we see international opportunity also.
To my readers and friends in Europe and Asia, feel free to reach out to me and we can discuss those regions with you.
Ideally we would like to have our loyal readers be part of Ditto. Some of you manage funds and family offices. Others sovereign wealth funds whom we are reaching out to.
We’re moving fast but smart here.
And for those just in the buying and selling of a home aspect, we look forward to the day when you perhaps use Ditto as your only platform and enjoy all the benefits of what we believe could be a much better way to buy, sell and more.
Because a home is not a transaction, it’s where you live. It’s not a horse and buggy or leaky boat, it’s a jet.
Let’s fly.

p.s. share your home sales stories with me if you want…
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