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Preparing For a Real Estate Tech Migration in 2021

Franklin Stoffer

One thing I'll likely always remember is attending the LeadingRE annual conference in March of 2020. The conference theme was "Wealth, Wisdom, and Wellness," and Delta Media Group® CEO Michael Minard was hosting a seminar titled "Taking Advantage of the Roaring '20s." Why is this relevant to technology migrations? The world was caught off guard by COVID-19 the same way many brokerages find themselves caught off guard when their technology vendor suddenly decides to let their business be acquired.

If there's one major theme in the real estate technology sector over the last three years, it has certainly been mergers and acquisitions. One in particular, though, stood out from the rest. Booj, one of the industry's leading technology firms, who had made their name inside of the independent brokerage circles like LeadingRE®, suddenly became a part of the RE/MAX family. Over 60 brokerages representing nearly 100,000 real estate agents had the rug quickly pulled out from under them and needed to start reevaluating their options. That's not to say that wasn't the right move for Booj and RE/MAX, but it certainly created stress in the industry.

We also saw other major moves such as PropertyBase merging into Boston Logic, Compass acquiring Contactually, and Inside Real Estate acquired by private equity firm Lovell Minnick Partners. The fact of the matter is that unless you have something in writing with your current technology provider giving you some kind of protection in the event of a technology acquisition — like many of our clients at Delta Media Group have — then you need to be prepared to evaluate the landscape of options in this space. 

Any technology provider that has raised funding or is backed by Venture Capitalists has one simple objective above all others. Provide an ROI for the company who invested millions into their business. You can see how this story has played out over and over again in the last 20 years. A tech firm raises money, and within 3-5 years they have sold their business to repay the VC. It means that there is always uncertainty for real estate agencies. That's why truly knowing who you are trusting such a large element of your brokerage's business with is so important.

So, where should you begin?

Read on to get insight into possible 2021 trends, as well as a Q&A with Cutler Real Estate President, Andy Camp and their e-customer Service and Business Development manager Suzi Stepanovich.

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