Brokers and Realtors are crooks! Well that may be a bit harsh. But, there are a growing number of homeowners that carry similar sentiments. Frustrated homeowners remind me of Howard Beale (a.k.a. Peter Finch) in the popular 1970’s movie Network, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

The American Dream of homeownership has drastically changed since the 1950’s. Invest in a home, jump on the real estate elevator “going up” and join in the prosperity. Reality has been sending warning signals throughout the decades, mostly ignored until the financial crisis of 2008 when homeownership dreams turned into nightmares. The real estate elevator was in free fall. Home values plummeted. Homeowner equity vanished. Terms like “short sale” and “upside down” became part of our daily vocabulary.

Several experts believe that Brokers and Realtors are largely responsible for the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis; homebuyers bore all the burden and risk, while commissions were dependent only upon the final selling price of a home. One could also argue that consumers allowed an increasingly risky environment to form by indirectly giving up control of home equity with hopes of higher value. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

It’s been over a century since The National Association of Realtors was founded and very little has changed; however there is a new normal. Change is happening at a frenetic rate. Real estate consumers are searching for ways to regain control. They are exposing the hidden truths about the real estate industry. They are using technology to access valuable information which empowers them to a degree that was unimaginable in the past. There are now many companies fueling the change to the real estate landscape.

One company taking a leadership role is Trelora. The word scramble approach to their company name is clever, but I really love the innovation they are bringing to an old industry in desperate need of better ways to serve the real estate consumers of the 21st century. Many real estate companies portray the illusion of providing a team of experts. In reality, consumers are relegated to an individual realtor to make or break one of their most valuable assets. And paradoxically, that individual realtor has the most to personally gain and least to lose. Seems to be a conflict of interest, doesn’t it?

At Trelora, team isn’t hollow marketing hype, it’s a differentiator. They are genuinely about building a team where each member focuses to contribute their specific area of expertise in collaboration with other specialized members to authentically serve the needs of their customer. Joshua Hunt, founder of Trelora, summed it up best when he was quoted in a article by Shannon O’Brien, “When you look at heart surgery, there are 16 people in the room performing heart surgery. When you look at your Chipotle burrito, it takes nine people to make it. Yet we think that one Realtor® is going to facilitate the entire transaction and do so successfully and safely and make sure the client is served at a high level.”

Trelora’s relentless focus on team and establishing the right culture for the team to assimilate and flourish, could lead Trelora to be the Zappos of the real estate industry. Tony Hsieh’s ability to create the right culture was instrumental to Zappos’ success in the retail shoe industry.

Trelora’s growth and speed to market expansion will be dependent upon the teams ability to grow quickly in a controlled manner. Organic growth requires a significant investment in systems, processes, and people to maintain a high level of service. Although organic growth is an invaluable ingredient to ensure a strong company DNA over the long-term, it can be risky if it is the only ingredient.

I’d love to see Trelora borrow some plays from successful openly innovative crowdsourcing companies to augment an organic growth strategy.
99designs is a fabulously innovative crowdsourcing company that enables their customers to source design work quickly and affordably by launching design contests to its community, working 1-on-1 with individual designers.

Why not adapt a similar approach to open up the process of selling and buying real estate making it easily accessible for all? Why not open the door for service providers which may include: market analysts, pricing specialists, home stagers, coordinators, inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, lenders, title companies, closing agents, real estate brokers and agents to compete and collaborate to best serve the unique needs of the real estate consumer? Why not do it in a truly authentic, open, and practical manner that has proven successful in other industries? Who could ever be against that?

Openly innovative crowdsourcing will allow Trelora to establish greater collaboration with customers, unleash an amazing level of customer empowerment, while demystifying the real estate process. I have no doubt that Trelora will continue making the right moves as they relentlessly pursue their industry changing vision.

As an innovator within an industry that is extremely resistant and afraid of change, designed to maintain the status-quo, and has survived for a century protecting itself, Trelora has proven their ability to withstand the severe headwinds and battle the many detractors they’ve encountered. I can’t wait to watch their continued growth and success, which will actually strengthen the industry and most importantly benefit the real estate consumer. To that I say, keep up the good fight!