Perhaps they will always be with us.
In this Tuesday April 2, 2013, photo, Christian Bell and his wife Beth Heinen Bell view a home for sale with real estate agent Becky Dickenson, left, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Paul Sancya/AP)
The quintessentially mainstream American real-estate brokerage — Re/Max — went public Tuesday. The housing market is hot enough, its initial filing explained, that raising investor cash could launch it into markets around the country it hadn’t yet reached.
But wait — real estate agents? Wasn’t the Internet supposed to drive them out of business?
The online age has been hard on all kinds of middlemen, after all. Travel agents, for example, were rendered obsolete by Orbitz and Expedia. Soft-goods retailers were outpaced by Amazon. The effect should be similar with people who sell homes: What do they have but what they know? And what of that can’t be better figured out through unbiased, publicly available data, crunched and presented free on websites such as Zillow and Trulia?
This is a piece that asks many questions yet delivers few answers. “It’s complicated” is not really an explanation. And what the heck is Jason’s House? Shouldn’t he be more original and call it Jason’s List? It’s mentioned in a Washington Post article and there’s mentions in Texas media, so it should be really helpful to all our Northern California readership.
It’s Weekend Open Thread time, too. Met any helpful real estate agents lately?