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I took in a good portion of the big realtor conference this morning via livestream.  They had some big hitters on stage too.

Rupert Murdoch delivered a 7-minute speech, and did some Q&A. He comes off as a proper gentleman, and he’s a good speaker for a guy who is 83 years old. But he didn’t deliver any bombshells, or make any big promises about taking on Zillow/Trulia:

Mauricio Umansky, the #1 agent in Southern California, also made an appearance. http://www.theagencyre.com/agent/mauricio-umansky/

He was asked about his experience with Zillow, and he said they did spend some advertising money, but found little benefit.

The average sales price in his Beverly Hills office is $2,800,000.  At that price point, he surmised that buyers and sellers would get referred to a top agent, rather than selecting a realtor who advertised on Zillow.

His office does all marketing in-house (he has 20 people in his marketing division), and agents in his office can pay an extra 5% from their split to have the company produce the marketing for their listings.

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Tom and Mike Ferry were both there too, on stage together for the first time in eleven years.  Tom is Mike’s son, and the two of them worked together for 16 years in building Mike’s realtor training company.

Tom recalled the time he came to Mike with a multiple-choice proposal; to either a) sell the company to Tom (for a good price), b) create a partnership together, or c) Tom to leave the company to go start his own.  Mike chose c), and they have been competitors ever since – and you can sense that it’s still a little chippy between them.

If you are new in the business, check out both trainings – they’re good.

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Zillow and Trulia were brought into many of the discussions, but no new insights really.  Realtor.com will be working hard to put out a better product, and a group of major brokers back east are secretly creating their own portal.

I think the consumers use the portals to get free information about homes, not to hire a realtor.

It’s why Zillow will likely create their own set of ‘preferred agents’ and heavily advertise the benefits of hiring them.  The realtors will gladly pay to receive those warmer leads – throw in some special ‘listing enhancement’ kits and Zillow will have the complete package to sell to agents.

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