Idaho Real Estate >> ID Real Estate Specialist


Realtors Competition will debut September 25th

I wrote a blog earlier in the year regarding all the new real estate listing sites and asked if these companies were the Realtors friend or foe.  Many AR members thought there was nothing wrong with these sites and thought I was over reacting.

Referring to themselves as the "Future of Real Estate", a site by the name of RealUmbrella will debut on September 25 of 2007 which will allow sellers and buyers to negotiate via this site and cement a contract.

Bryant AKatzen and Michael Updegraff created Real Umbrella and have patented this new process.  Sellers that list their home through Real Umbrella will be able to list their home on this site and view comparable listings to establish their asking price. From this site they will be able to post their homes on Zillow and Trulia, schedule open houses, and attracted buyers for their home.

Once the buyers locate a home they are interested in, Real Umbrella will guide the buyers and sellers through the selling process and assist them through to closing.

Real Estate Journal wrote the story Real Umbrella to debut this a.m. and posted it on the front page of thier site. This is not the first time that real estate sites have attempted to by-pass the Realtor.  This is just another example of how Realtors are "Feeding the hand that wants to destroy Real Estate the way we know it".  I am referring to the use of sites like Zillow, Trulia and others.

I highly recommend you educated yourself on the entire process of Real Umbrella so you will be well versed and be able to answer any question that will come up.  I am sure Real Umbrella plans on launching a huge advertising campaign.

Native Idahoan and Boise Idaho Real Estate specialist serving Boise, Meridian Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell and the surrounding Treasure valley area of southwest Idaho. Specializing in residential, investment, land and commercial real estate. Search thousands of MLS listings at Boise Homes for sale and learn all about Idaho by visiting Search Idaho Homes

Comment balloon 51 commentsGeorge Tallabas • September 23 2007 11:03AM


George - I will have to check out this article you are referring to in your post. I find it very interesting since I am most recently trying to educate myself about the direction real estate is going and to have a greater understanding of the impact of services without an agent. How it will effect my business.

Thoughts come to mind when I hear about companies of this nature and it seems to me that we need to educate the public more and more the 'value' of a Realtor. There are many avenues now for consumers to use companies such as the one you mentioned. I do believe we need to be 'one' voice and help educate the consumers, past clients and current clients that we bring more to the table allowing us to represent them and we are 'valuable' as their agent/broker. This post idea has been stewing in my head for a while...Thank you for sharing this link.  I think you are right on that we need to study up and research!! I have been the second listing agent on a couple of homes I listed more recently after they made their attempts to go with a similar company like you mention.

Posted by Arizona Real Estate Associate Broker (MR Realty) almost 12 years ago
Candace - Thank you my friend for your thoughtful comment and for taking this serious.  I stand by the service we Realtors offer and I stand by the quality service we bring to the table.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
Oh George, what else ? Everyone is trying to cash in on our hard work of getting the listings. I looked at their site, no way will I use a site that bites my own hand.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 12 years ago
Missy - Well siad and I am right with you
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
Hi george! Oh I will go check this out and comment later. I like to keep current on anything going on in the real estate world. Thanks for the links! :) I'll be back.
Posted by delete account almost 12 years ago
Pamela - Thank you and I hope all is well.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago


I'ts a free world but this is just another Redfin angle...I'm not even going to comment further or I might get mad:)

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (Brokered by eXp Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago
Neal - I am right with you my friend.  So many of these sites claim to be the Realtors friend and then look!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
Hi George, thanks for the post.  I'll check it out thoroughly so that I'm familiar.  Recently, during a listing presentation, one of my Sellers brought up Zillow and I mentioned the pros and cons of their Zestimates compared to the CMA that I prepared.  As we all know, it's important to be informed!!!!
Posted by Vickie Arcuri, South Florida Luxury Real Estate (ONE Sotheby's International Realty) almost 12 years ago

George - I read an article yesterday on Broker agent News which spoke about the end of the real estate agent as we know it today. It is not a secret, many have spoke of our demise in recent years and how the internet has changed the need of a Realtor.

I do believe we either need to know the value we bring to the transaction and prove it each and every time - or get out of the business! There is downward pressure on our income and enough news out there about how overpaid we are. The consumer wants to know what we do for our pay.

Now is the time to either know your value and become an expert in a niche market or count your days! This type of online marketing will continue and there will be those who will take advantage of it. It will be a slow growth but I believe they will find impetus in the current market where many are looking for a way to save money since they are already upside down or close to it.

Sorry to be long winded - I feel a post coming on............................:)

Posted by Paula Henry, Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174 (Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group) almost 12 years ago
Vickie - Thank you. Everyone that knows me well knows I have never been a fan of Zillow.  With homes appreciating 6% annually in Seattle Wa., depreciating that same amount in Detroit MI, and the rest of the country somewhere in between, how can Zillow ore any other site accurately value real estate?  They simply cannot and this is a job for a real estate professional!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
Paula - Very well said my friend. Now that many people are upside down on thier homes many want to point the finger at the Realtor and question their value.  Let a few people get burned a few times by pursuing this "Fantasy Tactic" and we shall see how successful they become.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
George - One more thing - I did sign up for *illow (wont give them a link here) but have never put a listing there. When I found out they NEVER cancel or delete a listing - I decided to never put anything up. I am not sure how to get aroung *rulia, since many sites automatically submit there. Suggestions are welcomed!
Posted by Paula Henry, Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174 (Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group) almost 12 years ago
Paula - I have a new Point2Agent site and I can manually select what sites my listings are posted to and you know good and well what I do my friend.  Since the beginning of the year I have refused to feed the hand that bites me!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
George -- good info and judging by an article I just read on appraisals -- its no way Z.... can be accurate. 
Posted by Aziz Abdur-Raoof, Howard Co. Real Estate Scoop (RE/MAX Rewards) almost 12 years ago
George, I certainly appreciate you taking the time to post this info.  There are so many people trying to slice up the real estate business and the problem is that so many agents support these firms.  The most common comment I hear from an agent about this type of firm is "It is not costing me anything".  It is costing them a ton and the rest of us in the real estate business but they are not just smart enough to see it.  If you see any more firms like this please post info and links like you did here.  Thanks!
Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) almost 12 years ago

Aziz - I agree 100% as you can read in the comments

Sam - I could not have said it better myself.  I certainly have tried hard to protect our industry and this is one more of my attempts to contact our peers and wake them up to what is going on around us.  From the beginning of the year I voice my concern about these real estate posting sites that claimed to embrace the real estate industry.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
Very interesting George. As a listing Broker the most important thing I bring to the table, in my opinion, is proper pricing. price correctly is what sells real estate. Personally, I do not believe sellers are capable of doing this on their own. Even though they may have the details for comparable sales right in front of them they are still going to feel their house is worth more. It's just human nature to feel that way. There may be exceptions to this but not many. So what will happen is this site like most other FSBO sites will be full of over priced listings that buyers won't want. After looking they will contact a REALTOR(R) so they can truly get a "deal".
Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) almost 12 years ago
Bryant - I think it is a joke and we shall see where it heads.  My objective was to make as many Realtors as possible of what is going on and to think about what sites they are supporting that are not Realtors friends.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
George,  I actually stumbled across the article and almost wrote a post about it myself til I searched it and found you beat me to the punch.  I have a REALLY hard time believing this is going to fly with all the little things that turn into big law suits when it comes to real estate.  I guess we'll see!
Posted by Shannon Lefevre, Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl (John R. Wood Properties) almost 12 years ago
Shannon - I have a hard time believing the public would go for this kind of tactic but nothing surprises me.  Sorry I beat you to the can get me next time....O.K.?  LOL
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
Hey, I took a snooze and well, that's a-ok.  I just wonder what those first calls will be like when the properties these folks purchase aren't exactly what they expect...not to mention it's not like everyone does real estate transactions the same way...maybe they will in the future...who knows. 
Posted by Shannon Lefevre, Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl (John R. Wood Properties) almost 12 years ago
Shannon - You deserve your snooze and yes, we shall see what the the future holds.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

George:  At the first WHIFF of money (and what is imagined as "easy" money) someone will open a business.  Time will tell if these concerns are friend or foe.

I admire you Realtors who have faced famine and now locusts.  Pioneers you must be, and must remain!  Beyond that, we must educate ourselves, and we must never stop learning.  Knowledge is power; use it or it will evaporate.

That's the second time tonight I've quoted this.  I heard it from Dee Dee Marble at a B&B conference about a hundred years ago.  Her quote stuck with me.  So true.  Like the seven years of French I studied but have not practiced, my ability to wield a curling iron is long gone!

Thanks, buddy.  Always nice to hear you AR "voice".

Cheers! from DC...


Posted by Jaynee Acevedo, Capital Style Home Staging (Capital Style Home Staging) almost 12 years ago
George - the article Paula mentions above is the one I was referring to that I read also about companies trying to change the real estate industry, good quick read. I just don't see it happening, Realtors need to be up on their game and be prepared to do the hard work to be the top agents. I know I am making my plan to do so. Educate, Educate, Educate!! Thanks for a great post again!
Posted by Arizona Real Estate Associate Broker (MR Realty) almost 12 years ago

Thank you for posting this George!  I'm going to check it out. 

Maybe it's these types of sites that will eliminate the part time agents and in the long run help those agents that really do provide service and want to devote all of their time to real estate?

Posted by Ana Connell, Burbank Real Estate Agent (G & C Properties) almost 12 years ago


The companies are entitled to start any kind of business model...whether it will work will....I do not think so...they are just riding on Trulia and Zillo's coat tails...and quite frankly...from what I see of is an interesting site but I do not believe their figures are accurate.

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (Brokered by eXp Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

Hi George,

It sounds like another "Zillow" except this time they really do cut the agent out of the process, not just provide CMA advice.  I'm with Neal - the concept is progressive but I believe all real estate is local and they will have an uphill battle making this business model work.

Posted by Tracy Santrock, Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge (Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. ) almost 12 years ago
Another twist in an already complex market.  This will be very interesting, and thank you for posting this!
Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) almost 12 years ago
Thanks for sharing. I would be scared to sell my house this way, though I am an experienced Realtor.
Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 12 years ago
I'm specializing in a market that requires local knowledge. The more I read about stuff like this the more motivated I get. I think if you do a good job and keep your sellers happy you can stand to hold on to your market share.
Posted by Paul Viau, Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog + Photo Services (Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog) almost 12 years ago

Jaynee - You are always so thoughtful in your comments and I appreciate you.  Have a great day.

Candace - Thank you and good luck with everything.

Ana - We shall see where goes.  I do believe there will always be a place for the true professional.

Neal - I understand your point and I don't give them much chance.

Tracy - I do believe they have an uphill battle and they will never compete with the true Real Estate Professional.

Allison - Thank you and it is good to hear from you.

Gita - Very true my friend.

Paul - This is very true...thanks.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
George - the consumers are hungry for any new idea which in their mind can reduce their costs. In real estate it's particularly pronounced, because there is so much bad press about the field. Unfortunately, it's not just the press who are negative, there is a lot of such feelings in  the public in general.
Posted by Faina Sechzer, Real Estate Expert - Princeton, Montgomery ,Hopewell, NJ (Henderson-Sotheby's International Realty) almost 12 years ago
Faina - Very true my friend...have a great day!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

George, reading everyone else's comments, I just reiterate what has already been said, thanks for bringing this to my attention.

I need to be more proactive, and this will surely help.

Posted by Rob Baldwin, REALTOR, Santa Clarita (US ECO-GREEN REAL ESTATE INC.) almost 12 years ago
Rob - Thank you very much and good luck to you.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago


Thank You for educating us about a new "fad" in real estate.  *illow is an attempt to render the appraiser and the realtor useless.  Now they come up with *eal*mbrella to render the realtor useless again!  We know that most sellers and buyers would not like to do all the work themselves.  They are under the impression all realtors do is locate property and negotiate price, not realizing we negotiate more than price.  The internet has already changed our business.  We are dealing with more sophisticated buyers and sellers.  It is our responsibility as realtors to show the depth and breath of our duties and responsibilities.  I think we may have shorted on this responsibility which is why there is a lot of misunderstanding about the scope of our service.  As a profession, we need to address this shortcoming.  We need to find means and ways as a group of professionals for the general public to understand that we ARE professionals who perform a valuable and substantial duty.

Posted by Marie Kletke, Broker - Long Beach Real Estate (iNet Realty) almost 12 years ago
Consider this.  The real estate transaction is an ADVERSARIAL PROCESS between the Buyer and the Seller.  They have 'their own best interest' in mind.  By its very nature the transaction of 'large values' is ADVERSARIAL.  On occassion we find buyers and sellers that are 'easy' about the transaction but more often than not, they are very concerned about how they come out of the deal.  (That is a 10 page essay all by itself) Another 'real estate site' is very unlikely to change the ADVERSARIAL nature of real estate or large value transactions.  I am sure that if I asked the AR community to list the transactions where this Adversarial atmosphere was apparent, it would be about 90 percent of the time.  You tell me?  IMHO, some folks will successfully complete their own real estate transaction but most never will, IT IS HARD TO REACH AN AGREEMENT WITH AN ADVERSAY.  I think for the most part, REALTORS (and REFEREES) will always need to be there to bring most sales to a successful completion. 
Posted by Dwight Wolfe (Emerald Coast Realty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

At least give them credit for not expounding that our MLS is a public utility to which they have a right of access.

I respect that they are offering a separate service and venue, not promoting themselves as agents, and not claiming a right to negligently enter listings on my local MLS without representation or agency responsibility.

Maybe they will survive well enough to demonstrate that there is room in the business for alternate models, as evidence to DOJ that we are not monopolists.  I wonder how many people will be hurt in the process?

Thanks for posting, George.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) almost 12 years ago

Marie - Thank you and I hope you have a great day.  I appreciate your comment.

Dwight - Very well said and thank you!

Mike - You are gently and kinder that I am!

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
These sites just never will get it....greed only wins out with certain people.  The rest of the intelligent consumer public isn't going to undertake a large financial transaction alone.  The costs outweigh any savings-and if it weren't so, we would have all vanished ages ago.  Thanks for posting the article!
Posted by Leigh Brown, CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC (Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive) almost 12 years ago
Leigh - Thank you and it is good to hear from you.  I agree with you
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
I think that more and more of these same style sites are coming out trying to get a quick buck.  Reality is if a person wants to sell a house, Buy Owner has been around forever and even without them it is cheap enough to get a website for your house, and put it on sites and so forth.  Reality is that people have jobs, families, etc... and do not have the time, knowledge or effort to do the things we do for our clients every day.  So, once people "try" to make a small effort on these types of sites and see no response, see how much work it really is and find out that they don't know enough about real estate, marketing, contracts, laws, comps, etc... then they will come crawling back to a professional.  As with anything, some will have success and some will need to be guided by a professional. Time will tell. I am confident that enough of us are ediucated and will continue to become more and more educated, know the lay of the land, know what works for clients and can show our worth that these sites will only be a lesser first option until they come work with us.  Like the FSBO's who end up listing with a Realtor anyway.
Posted by Anonymous almost 12 years ago
Thanks whoever you are - We shall see what happens
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
Sorry!!!  that was me in the last comment but I was not logged in!!!!!
Posted by William "Billy B" Berthiaume II (Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services) almost 12 years ago

I guess I am the minority here, in that this type of model does not scare me or worry me.  FSBO's have been around forever as have limited representation listings.  This is a new version of this old take.  MOST people want and desire help from a real person.  Real Umbrella will work for some, but not for most.  Most people want more hand holding and advice in the process.

Agents need to remember that our value not lies in putting someone on the MLS.  That is the least skillfull thing we do. Pricing, staging, getting a house ready for sale, negotiating, pointing out obvious defects, issues, resalability, and advising are what we are really paid for.  I agree with Billy B in that people are too busy for the intensity of selling a home themselves, and are willing to pay for someone to do it for them.  I think competition is good for the real estate market, and I am sure Real Umbrella will do just fine.  Last I looked at the NAR stats, 84% of buyers and sellers used a real estate agent.  Real Umbrella is perfect for the remaining 16% of folks. Not a bad niche, but I don't think it's anything to worry about.

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) almost 12 years ago
Melinda - Don't worry about disagreeing.  Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and should be respected.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

There are going to be many buyers and sellers that end up regretting their decision to use this service. There will be some that will do fine with it, but as  Realtor I don't much care for these type companies. I think they decieve people about what they do (and what we do-they certainly don't try and shine a positive light on Realtors).

Posted by Brandon Hoffman (RE/MAX Connected) almost 12 years ago
George it is good to know what others are doing.It's kinds like be half pregnant these guys and gals need to jump in with both feet and be licenced to truly serve the public's interest. I guess is... they will go for a while and when there program does not work for sellers we'll be there, it about relationships and networking(MLS). Who's advising the Consumer? 
Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) almost 12 years ago
George- I was really impressed by the fact that in 30 minutes they can teach a seller how to qualify a buyer to be sure they can purchase, recognize any pitfalls the seller might face from the wording on the  contract and write up a good counter offer  so the deal will close  .. Oh and they get brochures and a sign post.. all for $995.. Hope they also include attorney fees.. 
Posted by Kaye Thomas, e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA (Real Estate West) almost 12 years ago

I find myself wondering just what kind of agent the creator of this site is if he has such disrespect for what real estate agents bring to the table in terms of value?  After all, if he was an agent from ages 21 until now, he must be basing his opinion on what HE brings to the table, correct? 


Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) almost 12 years ago