RE/MAX and Trulia – The Phoenix Real Estate Squeeze Continues

images (5)Once upon a time, when I left Century 21 for RE/MAX, I was amazed at the culture at my new company. Rather than Century 21’s push for agents to do all for the sake of the company and the brand, Dave Liniger and RE/MAX were committed to doing everything possible to make agents succeed.

Which makes yesterday’s announcement that RE/MAX is teaming up with Trulia all the more troubling.

Much of my business through the years has come through the interwebs. This is, after all, the place where 9 out of every 10 home buyers begin their home search. The ultimate goal was to make it to page one of Google for Phoenix Real Estate, the online space where giants roamed.

Well, the giants certainly are there now. In fact, the first page of results is crowded by brokerages and advertising sites using listing syndication to bolster their stock price.

An individual agent hardly stands a chance anymore. And more’s the pity.

Most of what you hear about a certain company name signifying a certain quality of agent is, in a word, bullshit. This is a business where 99 percent of brokerages measure success in quantity versus quality, collecting desk fees and figuring the sun’s got to shine on every agent’s head once in a long while.

There’s a reason why about half of the licensed agents out there complete one sale or less a year. They’re hanging around on the edges of the business, working a full-time job and holding a license only so they can help a friend or relative who doesn’t quite realize the agent has next to no experience in handling six-figure transactions.

“Trulia has the tools to help RE/MAX accelerate the success of its agents,” said Pete Flint, Trulia Co-Founder and CEO.

Not really. What RE/MAX and other brokerages can do to accelerate the success of its agents is to step aside, stay the hell out of the way and let Darwinism run its course. What this pact does is give RE/MAX brokerages an additional recruiting feather that can be used to attract agents willing to pay the office fees.

I’ve long past tried to stop arguing with agents who buy into the defeatist notion that “our clients are on these sites, so we better be there too.” It’s an argument for the weak-minded who lack the conviction and determination to pull consumer eyeballs away from the false data and back to where they belong.

To see one of the nation’s big brokerages fall for that same notion is distressing. And sad.

May market stats coming tomorrow … stay tuned.

UPDATE – 3:21 P.M. Just received an e-mail that says my own brokerage, Realty ONE, has done the same. Lovely.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Kim Decker 5 years ago

    Well said my friend. I'm with you on Trulia, Zillow and the like. And your right, it's about the agents success. If the agent succeeds, the company succeeds. Not the other way around.

  • hardwater 5 years ago

    There seems to be an inevitability about it. Never thought I’d see the day Dave Liniger would cave. Must be feeling the heat of change, attrition, destruction of the brokerage model, and from his agents. Truly incredible. BTW, found your post by googling “dave liniger remax zillow trulia”. Nice post.

  • Jonathan 5 years ago

    Dave seemed to want every listing on the RE/MAX site so it would become the go-to place. Which makes sense, except where it doesn’t in as much as it opens the door even wider to the third-party sites.

    Capitulation, it seems, is inevitable. Zillow and Trulia have rewritten the rules however it has chosen and no one seems willing to stand up and fight them.

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