Industry Relations with Rob Hahn and Greg Robertson

The Notorious R.O.B. and Greg Robertson discuss organized real estate in a disorganized manner.
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Industry Relations with Rob Hahn and Greg Robertson




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Now displaying: June, 2018
Jun 13, 2018


1-2 cha-cha-cha. 3-4 cha-cha-cha. DOJ. NAR. FTC. MLS.

There was a dance of sorts held in DC on Tuesday, June 5, when the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission hosted a ‘workshop’ to discuss competition in residential real estate. But while NAR and industry players prepared for the fox trot, bringing their best arguments for maintaining the status quo around data access, the DOJ put on a little salsa music and shifted the discussion to commission transparency and coupling.


Rob and Greg are reversing roles this week, as Greg spins conspiracy theories regarding the government’s intentions and the potential consequences of its intervention in the real estate industry. They speak to organized real estate’s nothing-to-see-here approach to the discussion and review the range of views shared in the Developments in Real Estate Fee and Service Models panel. 


Greg explains why decoupling would effectively end the MLS, and Rob covers the paper prepared by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggesting conflicts of interest due to coupling. They address who would benefit if buy-side commissions went away, how such changes would impact portals like Zillow, and the surprising number of industry players who support decoupling. Listen in to understand why Rob and Greg are calling for NAR or CMLS to move on this and start leading the dance to develop solutions around commission transparency.


What’s Discussed: 


Organized real estate’s nothing-to-see-here stance at the DOJ/FTC workshop

The Developments in Real Estate Fee and Service Models panel

  • Reps from Realogy, Purplebricks, Glass House & TRELORA

Greg’s take that the industry was caught off guard

  • Prepared for data access and transparency
  • Discussion of commissions, decoupling

How decoupling cooperation and compensation would end the MLS

The NBER paperon realtor commissions and conflicts of interest

The theory that real estate commissions are high due to coupling

Rob’s concern that the DOJ has already made up its mind

Why the industry needs to move on commission transparency

Why real estate is the only industry in which the seller pays the buyer’s rep

How the potential changes might impact portals like Zillow

Who would benefit if buy-side commissions went away

The leadership opportunity for NAR, CMLS to address DOJ/FTC concerns

The surprising number of people in support of commission decoupling

Public response to the previous NAR budget transparency discussion



DOJ Residential Real Estate Workshop

Rob’s Blog on the DOJ/FTC Workshop

Brian Boero’s Buzz Saw Blog Post

‘Conflicts of Interest and the Realtor Commission Puzzle’


Our Sponsors

The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite


Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Jun 7, 2018

Critics of Zillow bash the accuracy of the Zestimate, but the fact is that a home’s worth hinges on what the market is willing to pay. And with the advent of Instant Offers, Zillow is backing up the Zestimate with a check. Consider the fact that Zillow has a platform to help themselves sell homes quickly and it is easy to see how Instant Offers is a game-changer with the potential to create a ‘market-maker system’ of real estate.

Rob and Greg are back to discuss the recent GeekWirepieceon Zillow’s first home purchase in Chandler, AZ. They comment on the irony of the agent’s intention to lean on Zillow for branding as well as the company’s original business model as an auction site. Rob explains the concept of an insta-flip and how it benefits Premier Agents, and Greg offers his take on the one thing that is still missing from the Instant Offers model.

Rob and Greg speak to Zillow’s data around the number of shoppers in a particular zip code and the target market for the Instant Offers model. They address the potential profit Zillow might generate from Instant Offers, the listing lead flow the program will generate, and the possibility of discounted as-is purchases on the platform. Listen in to understand how Instant Offers is likely to foster competition in the space and learn how Zillow continues to change the game of real estate.

What’s Discussed: 

Zillow’s first home purchase in Chandler, AZ

The agent’s intention to lean on Zillow for branding

Greg’s questions around double-ending and fees

How Zillow is creating a ‘market-maker system’ of real estate

  • Provides mechanism to help sell fast
  • Every home could have bid, ask price

Zillow’s original business model as an auction site

The concept of an insta-flip and how it benefits Premier Agents

Greg’s take on what’s still missing from the Instant Offers model

How Zillow’s Instant Offers further validates Opendoor

The target seller for Zillow’s Instant Offers model

How Instant Offers differs from We Buy Ugly Houses

The listing lead flow Zillow will generate through the program

What traditional brokers should do in light of Instant Offers

The potential for a discounted as-is purchase through Zillow

Rob’s insight on the possibility of Zillow offering seller financing

How Instant Offers is likely to foster competition in the space




‘An Inside Look at Zillow’s First Home Purchase’ on GeekWire

‘Opendoor is a Bigger Deal Than Zillow’ in Inman

Our Sponsors:

The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite


Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Jun 2, 2018

As Peter Parker will tell you, great power comes with great responsibility. And there is little doubt that NAR has a great deal of power. With Bob Goldberg at the helm, many have anticipated a ‘kinder, gentler NAR,’ an organization that rules with a warm embrace rather than an iron fist—serving its membership with open discussion and greater transparency. Does the recent drama over the dues increase demonstrate a more-of-the-same-old approach from NAR leadership? Or is the perceived crisis around the budget an overreaction? Is there evidence that the culture at NAR is really changing for the better?


Rob and Greg are back in the ring on the heels of the REALTORS midyear legislative meeting, going toe to toe over the recent controversy around NAR spending. They start with an overview of what went down, beginning with the Houston Association of REALTORS opposition piece in Inmanand the subsequent op-ed credited to Jim Harrison of MLSListings. Rob and Greg walk us through the retractions, rebuttals and apologies that followed as well as the board of director’s vote in DC.


Rob offers his take on NAR budget priorities, sharing the questions he has around spending on things like zipLogix, RPR and advertising to protect the REALTOR brand. He goes on to discuss the way NAR handled the spending controversy, framing it as a missed opportunity to embrace opposition as a catalyst for discussion rather than ruling with an iron fist—which may discourage membership from speaking up in the future. Greg offers his defense of NAR, pointing out that the SMART Budget Initiativeis clearly outlined NAR’s website and citing member engagement as an incredibly complex issue. Listen in for Rob’s insight around NAR’s responsibility to its members and decide whether NAR is, indeed, using its power for good.


What’s Discussed: 


The Houston Association of REALTORS’ opposition to the dues increase

How the controversial op-ed credited to Jim Harrison went too far

The questions around NAR’s spending on zipLogix, RPR and advertising

The line items Rob would like to see NAR prioritize in its budget

  • Advocacy
  • Professionalism

Greg’s perspective that there is no evidence of an NAR crisis

How NAR might have handled the spending controversy differently

  • Could have offered ‘warm embrace’
  • Opposition as catalyst for discussion

NAR’s postponement of the 2.5% annual dues increase

Rob’s take that NAR’s iron fist will discourage others from speaking up

Rob’s concern about the lack of explanation regarding NAR spending

Greg’s defense of NAR as being more transparent than ever before

  • SMART Initiativeoutlines spending objectives
  • Elizabeth presented proposed budget at T3
  • Communication with membership is difficult

Rob’s belief that NAR’s power gives them a higher level of responsibility




Houston Association of REALTORS Member Survey

HAR’s Dues Increase Opposition Piece in Inman

Jim Harrison’s Op-Ed in Inman

HAR’s Apology

Harrison’s Apology

NAR’s SMART Budget Initiative

Rob’s ‘Crisis and Opportunity’ Blog Post


Our Sponsors:

Cloud Agent Suite

The Red Dot


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website