Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


A Thousand Tiny Shackles on Innovation


In many cities, real estate agents have tried to restrict access to M.L.S. information or to limit its use on the database. Some have asked state legislatures to pass laws forcing brokers to offer certain levels of service, a move that Mr. Kelman [CEO of Redfin, an online brokerage] sees as intended to squeeze out discount brokers. “It’s a thousand tiny shackles on innovation,” he said.

So closes the first page of “The Last Stand of the 6-Percenters,” a New York Times article about how a number of startups are offering huge rebates on real estate buyer’s agent’s commissions.

Me, I think I’d look to hire an agent buying or selling a home. I’d look for one who was willing to negotiate a commission that helped align our interests. Having an extra 2 points to play with helps make that possible. So there’s a huge opportunity here for more services, better aligned with what home buyers need.

Mmm. 2 points on real estate. Emergent chaos, indeed.