First Ever Notorious Reader Contest!


So… earlier this year, at the T3 Summit, I listed as one of my Black Swans the possibility that the 1099 independent contractor status for real estate agents might go away. The reason, I thought, was that state and federal governments would want MOAR taxes. You know, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, whatever taxes that are tied to “employment”.

Fast forward to the California Association of REALTORS event earlier this week, and Joel Singer, CEO, mentions that this exact issue is one of the big challenges that keeps him up at night. I heard much the same thing from Budge Huskey of Coldwell Banker. There are a couple of lawsuits making their way through California courts that may result in real estate agents being classified as employees.

Here’s the thing. One of the points that Joel made was that if agents became employees, that will be horrible for organized real estate, for franchises, etc., but it might be great for others. And in all of the discussion that followed, I kept asking myself a question… that I could not answer.

A few days later, I still can’t answer the question. So this post/contest. I figured I might as well outsource my thinking to some of the best and brightest in the industry and outside it.

Here’s the deal. Please email your best answer — as long or as short as you’d like — to the question below to I will select a few that I think are the best, then post them on the Notorious Rob Facebook page. The top vote getter (by Likes) will then win.

What will they win, Chuck? The first place winner will receive an all-expenses paid vacation for a week to Houston suburb of Katy in August! The runner-up will receive two weeks to Katy in August! No, not really.

I think $20 gift certificate to iTunes, Amazon, or Starbucks — your choice — to the winner seems about right. Woot! Free cash from Notorious!

The Question

Here is the question/topic for your participation in this lovely contest:

In 2015, Congress proposes changing legislation such that real estate agents would be treated as W-2 employees. Now, imagine that you are speaking to a regular homeowner, not to another real estate professional.

Please provide the best consumer-centric reason why real estate agents should remain 1099 independent contractors, instead of employees. How does the home buyer or seller benefit from having real estate agents be 1099 independent contractors?

Again, your answer may be as long or as short as you’d like. Email them to me. I’ll pick the top few and post them. We’ll give this a week maybe? Then I’ll post the winner. Share with your friends! The deadline for entry will be… Wednesday, July 30th, at noon central time. We’ll pick a winner by Friday.

Here’s wishing you better luck than I had trying to think of the answer to that.


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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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