Recently the news has been full of stories about the referendum in the UK where voters decided – albeit narrowly – to leave the European Union.

There were a number of reasons for the “Brexit” vote, and while I am not an expert on British politics, one of the driving issues was that people were fed up with granting decision making power to remote bureaucrats who did not necessarily understand their concerns or have their best interests in mind.

Closer to home you need only look about 100 miles to the north, and you see the ongoing crisis with Lake Okeechobee and the algal blooms wreaking havoc in many waterfront communities. 

There is a compact – a bond of assumed faith and trust – that occurs when you cede responsibility to someone. You do this conditionally; on the assumption that a collective decision will be wise and accretive to value for the greatest number of people. But when that compact is broken, people will ask whether the scales have tipped and the costs have become greater than the benefits.

You may think this has nothing to do with real estate, but in it lies a very important message for anyone in the market to buy, sell or invest in real estate here in South Florida.

Under the traditional model, information was closely held and anyone in the real estate market had to cede a great deal of control to outside experts, at a high price.

But now things have changed. What was once closely held is now more plentiful and available. Oftentimes colleagues tell me that buyer/investor customers do a great deal of the work themselves.

Will there be a Brexit vote or a battle of Lexington and Concord? Probably not. But the rumblings are out there. The value proposition is changing.  An industry changes along with it or it is disrupted by outsiders. 

There are 65,000 Realtors in the marketplace between Miami and West Palm. How many do you think are seeing this, and are worried about it?

There are two incontrovertible facts:

First:  Information is free and plentiful; knowledge is costly and scarce.

And second:  When given a choice, a client would rather have something done for them, than to them.

No, there probably won't be a dramatic vote at the polls, or a secret gathering where people sign a list of grievances and declare their independence.  But change is going to come to the real estate industry.  Buyers, sellers and investors will demand it; you already see the outline of the new paradigm.  Will Realtors and related professionals adapt, or be just as out of touch as bureaucrats in Brussels or a Hanoverian king?


James Oaksun, Broward's Real Estate Geek(SM), is a Licensed Real Estate Broker in Fort Lauderdale. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).