Because who doesn’t love blended bass…

Last fall, as I was fighting with the sticky plastic, I ruminated on the difference between simple and easy. It’s extraordinarily simple to put down plastic on a carpet to keep from getting crap all over it, but it’s just not that easy to do it well. I started thinking about this last night while Chrystal and I were watching TV and three (3!!) separate car app commercials came on (plus Capital One!), telling us how easy it is to buy a car with just a push of a button on my phone. It got me thinking about all of the streamlining that’s happening in real estate, and I’m wondering whether or not it’s a good thing.

I have no idea who this dude is but the kids have been trying to get me to say this forever, so…

I think that real estate is coming to an inflection point…our very own come-to-Jesus, if you will. The business as is stands now is too complicated and too difficult. It needs to be one or the other, can’t be both or it becomes some sort of exclusive club that only a few who have the necessary resources can join. We may as well be the Masters Club in Augusta if we’re going to go that route.

As things stand, the process is extremely convoluted. And every year it gets more and more complicated as new laws are passed (and new lawsuits are settled or won). Currently legislators are looking at ADU’s (accessory dwelling units…aka in-laws) as a panacea for the housing shortage. As such, they have passed a bevy of new laws over the past half decade making it easier (and cheaper) to build these ADU’s and eliminating much of the red tape that used to exist.

Last year, Governor Newsom signed AB 345 that requires…requires…local governments to allow ADU’s to be sold separately if it was built by a nonprofit (like Habitat for Humanity) or if there is a tenancy in common agreement (TIC). Can you imagine trying to buy or sell a home that has an ADU with a TIC? What if the home has leased solar? And what if there’s a PACE loan attached to an upgraded water heater, and oh yeah…it’s in a moderate fire danger zone and there’s a farm within a mile and half of the property is within an 100 year flood plain but not the part with the house…

I don’t watch survivor, but…

So, buying a home is complicated, got it. But that doesn’t mean it has to be so difficult. This is where the current FinTech companies are going. They are pouring Billions (yep, with a “B”) upon Billions of dollars into making things easier – which is a good thing. We should evolve and streamline the process. I don’t believe that having mega corporations that lack transparency handle everything is the right way to go, but at least they’re trying to do something differently. They’re eschewing the old models and recognizing that the process needs to be streamlined.

And the process does need to be both streamlined and more transparent. As buyer’s agents, we shouldn’t be afraid to let our clients know how much our commission is and who pays it. But I’m getting off 🛤. The point is that the process is too arduous. There was a study a few years ago that said that people would rather get a root canal than go through the mortgage process. I had one of the best loan officers and his team and I’m still not entirely sure that I’d want to go through the process again…and I’m an agent! I already have a pretty good foundation of what to expect.

FinTech startups and traditional, brick and mortar real estate companies that are looking to change processes have the right idea. We just have to hope that the changes that are coming don’t make a complicated process, overly simplistic, and hurt the consumers in the end.

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