Industry Relations with Rob Hahn and Greg Robertson

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






All Episodes
Now displaying: Category: Real Estate
Apr 15, 2020

Imagine a best-case scenario in which the Coronavirus is under control and the country is up and running by May 1. How have our social norms changed? What do these cultural shifts mean for organized real estate? And how is the industry different in a post-COVID-19 world?

On this episode of Industry Relations, Rob and Greg get relentlessly positive, discussing the post-Coronavirus landscape of the real estate industry should the best happen. They weigh in on the cultural shifts that are likely to occur in the aftermath of COVID-19, predicting which rituals will persist once the current restrictions have been lifted.

Greg and Rob go on to debate what open houses will look like in a post-pandemic world, why showings may (or may not) be restricted to serious buyers, and when we might be back to pre-COVID transaction levels. Listen in for our hosts’ best-case expectations regarding buyer demand as well as NAR membership and brokerage numbers come September—pending a V-shaped recovery. 

What’s Discussed: 

Rob & Greg’s parameters for this potential best-case scenario

  • Vaccine or cure for virus (no resurgence)
  • All restrictions lifted, back to work on 5/1

How the culture is likely to shift in the aftermath of COVID-19

What open houses will look like in a post-Coronavirus world

Why Rob believes showings will be restricted to serious buyers

When we might be back to pre-pandemic transaction levels

Why Greg expects a best-case scenario uptick in buyer demand

Rob’s prediction of a 20% drop in first-time homebuyers

Why Rob & Greg anticipate a 20% decline in NAR membership

How Rob & Greg differ around which agents will leave

The potential for 25% of small brokerages to join a larger team


Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Our Sponsors:

Cloud Agent Suite

Notorious VIP

Dec 20, 2019

On January 1, 2010, organized real estate was still reeling from the recession. Dale Stinton was steering the ship at NAR. Zillow was seen as the enemy of the MLS. Real estate software was meh. Agent teams were rare. Nearly all brokerages took a split. Selling your house online seemed outrageous. And we still signed documents in pen.

On this episode of Industry Relations, Rob and Greg are looking back at the last 10 years in real estate. They discuss the passing NAR’s MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy, debating the significance of the office exclusives loophole and how it might lead to government involvement. Our hosts also express their disappointment around the Newsday investigation in Long Island, Testing the Divide, challenging brokerage leadership to make a strong statement against the egregious racism it uncovered. 

Greg and Rob go on to share their top 10 defining moments and trends with the biggest impact on the industry over the last decade, describing how the rise of agent teams, 100% commission brokerages, the iBuyer model and consolidation have transformed organized real estate. Listen in for insight into how NAR’s decision to fund RPR and Upstream changed the way the MLS saw Zillow and explore how the space has evolved from 2010 through the end of 2019.

What’s Discussed: 

NAR’s passing of the MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy

Rob & Greg’s take on the Newsday investigation in Long Island

How the loophole in 8.0 could lead to government involvement

The 10 defining trends/events in the last decade of real estate

  1. The end of poorly designed software
  2. The rise and domination of agent teams
  3. The transition in leadership at NAR
  4. Opendoor pioneering the iBuyer model
  5. Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia
  6. 100% commission brokerages
  7. Consolidation and the influx of capital
  8. The practice of buying agents/agent teams
  9. The mainstreaming of digital signatures
  10. NAR’s decision to fund RPR + Upstream

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


MLS Clear Cooperation Policy

Compass Pre-Litigation Letter to Bright MLS

Bright’s Response to Compass

Newsday Documentary: Testing the Divide

Rob’s Blog on the Newsday Piece

1000watt Article on Real Estate Software

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan

Ben Thompson Interview with Rich Barton

Our Sponsors:

Cloud MLX

The Red Dot

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



Sep 25, 2017

Stakeholders from every facet of the real estate industry are calling for change. Problem is, that’s about the only thing they can agree on. So what happens when you put a broker, a vendor, a consultant, and NAR leadership in the same room to talk about all things MLS? A sometimes uncomfortable, yet revealing discussion around consolidation, data standardization, MLS fees, and the policymaking process.

Stakeholders from every facet of the real estate industry are calling for change. Problem is, that’s about the only thing they can agree on. So what happens when you put a broker, a vendor, a consultant, and NAR leadership in the same room to talk about all things MLS? A sometimes uncomfortable, yet revealing discussion around consolidation, data standardization, MLS fees, and the policymaking process.

Live from CMLS2017 in Austin, Rob and Greg are joined by James Dwiggins and Sam DeBord. James is the CEO of NextHome, a progressive real estate franchise with consumer-focused branding, technology and marketing. Prior to founding NextHome, James served as Chief Strategy Officer and VP of Realty World Northern California & Nevada. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, James’ impressive resume also includes VREO, a groundbreaking company he co-founded in 2000 to develop web applications for agents and brokers.
Sam is both the managing broker for Seattle Homes Group and VP of Strategic Growth for Coldwell Banker Danforth. In addition, he is a member of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, and he will serve as the Vice-Chairman of MLS Policy for NAR next year. Sam writes for a number of real estate news outlets, and he was named to SP200’s Top 20 Social Influencers and Inman’s Top 101 in Real Estate.

Listen in as Greg, Rob, James and Sam search for a little common ground when it comes to the future of the MLS. James shares his concern regarding a lack of non-REALTOR members in NAR decision-making bodies, and Sam offers his take on the future of the industry. They cover the political barriers that prevent true collaboration in the industry, how the not-for-profit mandate hinders MLS progress, and the value of vendor-inclusiveness. 


What’s Discussed: 

James’ message at the CMLS event in Austin
The ongoing conversation among NAR, brokers and MLSs
The continued consolidation of MLSs
NAR’s focus on broker co-op
The vast differences in how MLSs are run
The challenges around a lack of data standardizationFactors that prevent a common data share
The brokers’ contribution to the technical barriers 
How a common MLS feed might affect membership
How members of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board are selected

-Vetted by leadership
-‘Standard of experience’James’ concern regarding a lack of non-

REALTOR members NAR’s effort to bring in advisors/speakers from other industries to inform the advisory board

Why having your heart in the right place doesn’t mean you are a qualified decision-maker
The challenge of overcoming politics to engage in true industry collaborationNAR’s role in fostering cooperation
How CMLS is setting the standard of vendor-inclusiveness
Rob’s argument that the nonprofit mandate is the biggest issue hindering MLS progress
The pros and cons of raising MLS fees
The excessive fees vendors pay for access to IDX feeds
The benefits of MLS consolidation:

-Less overhead, more profitable for MLS
-Broker costs decrease
-Vendors can reinvest money saved

The painful loss of jobs that would result from MLS efficiency
James’ prediction that it will take outside forces to facilitate change
The value generated by a very small number of agents -Zillow market cap at 7.6B -80,000 agents

Sam’s take on the future of the real estate industry

-MLS will be part of equation (dependent on data)
-Fewer MLSs
-Realtor will remain at center of transaction

Greg’s A Few Good Men analogy
Rob’s theory about the future MLS breakdown
The top barriers to change: 

-Lack of data standards

Sam and James’ advice to MLS execs moving forward

-Focus on broker priorities
-Be flexible, innovative in delivering
-Discuss pain points with vendors
-Work with other MLSs on same process


Seattle Homes Group


MLS 2020 Agenda

CMLS 2017

Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 

Apr 21, 2017

If you ask Wiktionary, to swim upstream means ‘to opt for a difficult course of action when a simpler alternative is available.’ And if you ask Rob and Greg, real estate’s Upstream venture is a prime example of doing things the hard way.

Today Rob and Greg discuss the MLS response to the brokerage community’s push for data sharing and the probability of Upstream’s success. They also cover other hot topics in real estate technology news, including Zillow’s new Millennial consumer brand announcement, the extraordinary capital raised by Placester, and Realogy’s recent changes in management.

Listen in as Greg explains how to think about the ‘real estate ecosystem,’ and Rob outlines the inevitable development of a new brokerage model.


What’s Discussed: 

Zillow’s recent announcement regarding its launch of new consumer brand

Why Zillow is likely adding as a search portal

The real estate industry’s ‘Millennial worship’

  • Half of new home buyers under 36

The stereotypes associated with Millennials vs. the reality

What a site designed for Millennials might look like

The staggering capital being poured into the industry

  • Placester raised $50M in March, bringing its total to $100M

Placester’s recognition of the aspirational nature of real estate

  • Willingness to take any agent

Why Zillow focuses on ‘super agents’ and teams

Placester’s role in the ‘real estate ecosystem’

Realogy’s recent changes in management

How technology undermines the idea of a ‘real estate ecosystem’

The necessity for transformation of the current brokerage model

The mammoth undertaking that is Upstream

The feasibility of Upstream clearing all the hurdles it faces

How MLSs have responded to the brokerage community’s call for consolidation

Rob’s suggestion to add representatives from the broker community to the CMLS Board



“Zillow Group to Launch New Consumer Brand” on RISMedia


“Placester Continues Growth with $50 Million Capital Raise” in HousingWire Magazine


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Feb 18, 2017

Rob and Greg are back with another outspoken discussion about current real estate industry topics. This time on the podcast they attempt to predict how the new POTUS might affect the state of real estate – and how difficult it is to predict what Trump and his administration might do. They cover the evolution of HUD under Ben Carson and his promise to cap or eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction.


Rob and Greg also address the powerful lobby that is the NAR and who might fill the shoes of CEO. Listen in to understand how the ‘Trumpening’ presents a particular challenge for the new leadership of NAR as organized real estate approaches a crossroads.



What’s Discussed: 


The choice of Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

How a real estate developer in the Oval Office might be good for housing

The affordability crisis in the housing market

  • The Trump administration may work to reduce regulations and boost development

The unpredictability of Trump and his cabinet

The lobbying muscle of the NAR

The best argument Greg has heard for getting rid of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the mortgage-interest deduction

  • A fractional equity ownership model would spread out the risk

Who might succeed Dale Stinton as CEO of NAR

  • The perception of Bob Goldberg as Dale Stinton 2.0
  • The argument for #NARGirlBoss

The big challenges of organized real estate that the new NAR CEO must address

The role of personal relationships between the lobby and career bureaucrats

  • Many of those career government officials will leave to avoid being a part of the Trump ecosystem




Andreesen Horowitz’s Fintech Podcast 

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Feb 9, 2017

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Industry Relations, recorded live from Inman Connect NYC. Join Robert Hahn, Managing Partner of real estate consulting firm 7DS Associates, and Greg Robertson, Co-Founder of real estate software company W+R Studios, as they engage in frank discussions about current real estate industry topics.

This time on the podcast, Rob and Greg debate the state of the MLS, the problematic relationship between the MLS and associations, and potential systemic changes. Listen in as these industry insiders argue the critical obstacles facing the MLS – unfiltered.

What’s Discussed: 

Rob and Greg’s take on the problems with the current MLS system

The dichotomy between low fees and great products and services

The need to identify and address the MLS’s that don’t follow the rules

  • Big brokers don’t have enough power in local communities to affect change

Why MLS execs deserve much credit for the tough work they do in furthering cooperation and compensation

How associations might evolve if divorced from governance of the MLS

The role of politics in local MLS boards

  • Making the MLS for-profit would eliminate those conflicts of interest

Upstream’s potential to create chaos in the real estate data marketplace

How emerging leaders in MLS might feel about changing to a for-profit model

The broker narrative regarding the role of the MLS





Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website