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Sarah’s Takeaways From Inman Connect NY 2020

Inman Connect New York kicked off the conference season this past January! It’s an exciting time of year when real estate companies, tech companies, and other interested vendors gather together to further our goals of improving our industry. Beyond the intense networking that goes on, you will have a lot of announcements of new products as well as exciting presentations on new customer service initiatives.

I was fortunate to be named one of the moderators for this year’s Indie Broker Summit. This breakout is focused on the needs of independent brokerages that operate in the real estate space unencumbered by large, unyielding national firms that are typically slower to react to innovation, tech, and other advantageous initiatives. It was awesome to be privy to such a robust discussion of trends affecting our industry.

Introduction of New Brokerage Models

Coming from Phoenix, which is widely known to be the epicenter of disruptive business models, I am much less shocked at the introduction of new brokerage models. Even though I’ve built a thriving business because the old brokerage models are falling off, there’s always something new to discover when you are around the best minds in the business at Inman Connect.

Some of the exciting ideas I learned involved an intriguing profit share model for top performing agents. I also learned that some brokerages are operating under a team model and are facilitating the disbursement of full-service leads. I am not particularly fond of new concepts that tend to eliminate prospecting as a key role for the successful agent but that is a blog for another time.

There were plenty of flat fee and traditional split models and everything in between, including referral-only based companies that are combating the MLS and operating separately from the National Association of Realtors. That’s going to be interesting to watch!

Consumer Transactional Real Estate Startups

I also saw at the conference that certain new developments in our industry are struggling to get traction. and Purplebricks are both discount to consumer transactional real estate startups that have failed. Super skinny margins simply don’t support providing a great customer experience. I’m not dancing on anyone’s grave quite yet but the tech that scared us all into thinking we’re doomed as brokers hasn’t exactly had a great deal of success thus far. Realogy is shutting down Climb Real Estate after acquiring it a couple of years ago. It was positioned as a growth mechanism for the brand so I found that to be interesting. I was surprised to see that it did not work out as Climb seemed to be in a favorable position.

Finding The Right Fit

Overall, Inman Connect reiterated that there are many ways to operate a brokerage and each model caters to a different kind of real estate agent. For agents, it’s all about finding the right fit.

If you own a brokerage or run a real estate team, it’s time to take a close look at the marketplace. It just doesn’t make financial, emotional or rational sense for the majority of brokerages to remain status quo. It’s time to align yourself with brokerages who are scaling in tough markets and teams who are figuring out ways to continually educate and motivate their agents.

Change is inevitable. At Tru Realty, we are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve. We offer a model that is beyond competitive while still being able to provide education, tools, and services to a diverse group of agents with varying degrees of experience. Tru Realty does it all better and at less cost than our competition.

If you’re serious about leveling-up in 2020 and getting outside the box, I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at

About the Author

Sarah C. Richardson is one of the preeminent leaders of residential real estate in Arizona. As the CEO and founder of Tru Realty, she is responsible for both the daily operations and oversight of the multiple growth strategies that the brokerage carries out. Sarah launched Tru Realty in 2010 as a way to serve a marketplace that was seeing a shift from auction centric fix/flips to an MLS flow. She is now rethinking the way her brokerage uses technology to better serve clients and agents alike.


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