Anyplace has Employed Their First Ever Chief Product Officer, and He Has Massive Plans for the Firm’s Future

In October of 2003, I used to be formally launched to the actual property trade.  I began my first post-college job at Realogy (it was named Cendant on the time, and has not too long ago been rebranded as Anywhere).  My first place on the firm was as a gross sales coordinator for his or her actual property franchise group the place I supplied administrative assist to the groups promoting Century 21, Coldwell Banker, and ERA franchises.  Over the six years that I labored for the corporate my job titles and tasks elevated to incorporate Supervisor of Know-how, Director of Enterprise Growth, Assistant Vice President of Franchise Gross sales, and Vice President of Franchise Gross sales and Acquisitions.  All the expertise was wonderful and the assorted roles gave me a singular perspective which has been extraordinarily beneficial to me all through my profession.  I owe a debt of gratitude to Anyplace for taking an opportunity on me. 

Through the years, the corporate continues to evolve and develop.  Anyplace  has added manufacturers that embody Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty and Higher Properties and Gardens Actual Property, they usually not too long ago began to franchise the Corcoran model which they’ve owned since 2001.  Moreover, they partnered with Residence Companions of America to launch their iBuyer enterprise named RealSure, they usually have made a sequence of additives to their management group.  Their newest govt rent is Tony Kueh who turned the primary Chief Product Officer within the firm’s historical past.  Tony has been tasked with main the Anyplace product technique, innovation roadmap, and expertise investments.  He has had a protracted historical past of success with prior management roles at corporations that embody Microsoft, VMware, Qualcomm and SAP.  Tony joins Anyplace at an thrilling however difficult time for the actual property trade. 

2021 was a file 12 months for a lot of corporations within the residential actual property trade, however that momentum didn’t carry into 2022.  Rising rates of interest, coupled with different macro elements has created one of the vital difficult markets now we have seen in many years.  Many actual property corporations are reporting horrendous quarterly outcomes, and inventory costs for a lot of of those corporations are close to all-time lows.  Stock stays extraordinarily low, costs are dropping, and houses are sitting available on the market far longer than they did final 12 months.  Moreover, because of the huge innovation that passed off throughout the pandemic, and years of low-cost financing, billions of {dollars} flowed into the actual property expertise ecosystem.  This created a slew of latest rivals (with new fashions) targeted on taking share from the trade titans like Anyplace.  And although many of those new corporations are combating the altering market dynamics, the addition of latest rivals continues to ratchet up the strain on the prevailing market leaders. 

Actual property is a individuals enterprise, and the success of an organization is straight associated to the standard of customer support they ship.  Know-how won’t ever substitute actual property brokers, however it has turn out to be the central focus of brokerages and a crucial element of differentiation for corporations on this hyper-competitive trade.  For instance, an Anyplace competitor, Compass, raised $1.5B to fund their development with a big chunk of these funds reportedly getting used to construct their end-to-end platform.   Know-how performs an enormous position in how brokers prospect and talk with shoppers, the best way through which properties are marketed, and the whole lifecycle of offers together with sourcing, open homes, contract technology/signatures, mortgage, title, and nearly each a part of the method.  The brokerage trade operates on razor skinny margins, and the efficiencies that may be achieved with expertise could make a huge effect on the monetary well being and sustainability of an organization.  

I used to be very lucky to have the chance to take a seat down with Tony Kueh and ask him about his plans for this new position at Anyplace.  His intensive background in overseeing Product for main tech corporations shall be extraordinarily beneficial to Anyplace, however I additionally imagine that the truth that he doesn’t come from the actual property trade is a large plus.  The large modifications within the trade require contemporary considering, and his technique gained’t be encumbered by approaching these challenges with previous methods of considering. 

Under is our conversion

In most industries, now we have seen an amazing quantity of productiveness features with expertise. Surprisingly, these features do not appear to have fully translated into the actual property trade. I am certain it is helped a bit of bit when it comes to agent productiveness and the period of time an agent spends engaged on a transaction, however it hasn’t been transformative.  Others have tried leveraging completely different fashions, however on the finish of the day, they find yourself wanting very very like a standard actual property firm.  This lack of transformation has been the largest shock for me once I entered the actual property trade, however it’s also very thrilling as a result of it offers an unlimited alternative for us. 

The highest precedence is to formulate a technique on the place we need to place our bets. At Anyplace, we’re lucky to have the ability to strategically put money into our expertise, even in a difficult market. It is necessary for us to find out how we put money into an environment friendly technique to prioritize after which construct for the long run. Will we place our bets in both construct or purchase? Or which of them will we proceed to associate on, and who will we choose as our strategic companions that we’ll go massive with?  So within the close to time period, it is actually across the alignment of all that. 

One analogy that I gave associated to our a number of model technique is the iPhone. The identical iPhone and iOS that’s utilized by a highschool child is similar system and working system that’s utilized by a billionaire. So why does a billionaire want a unique iPhone? They do not. They use the identical iPhone. They use the identical iMessage app. They use the identical Safari browser, they usually use the identical telephone dialer. There’s numerous intrinsically primary workflows which might be concerned in actual property that do not really want differentiation. Now, we additionally imagine that completely different manufacturers have their very own distinctive model promise to the buyer, and we need to proceed to meet these model guarantees. For instance, digital options and Spanish language translations ought to be customary throughout all manufacturers. Nonetheless, for a extra personalized expertise, it would not make sense for us to start out doing VR/AR excursions with all of the manufacturers proper now because it’s most likely extra fitted to a luxurious expertise.  You’ll possible see us first deploy these options with our manufacturers that focus primarily within the luxurious market, however over time because the expertise turns into extra pervasive and customary, we’ll begin to embed these options into everybody’s expertise. 

We have already got a significant funding in knowledge, however we need to proceed to speed up it.  At the start, we do promise and must reiterate that the info our affiliated agent community offers us is their knowledge.  We act as a custodian of this knowledge and we deal with it as such. Due to this fact, there are limits to what we are able to and can’t do.  The options that now we have in our roadmap will definitely encourage the brokers to share their knowledge with us in order that we can provide them a direct profit.  By aggregating knowledge, we are able to present brokers with extra perception and higher analytics to assist them proceed to be extra profitable. 

For example, we’ll start utilizing clever analytics and machine studying knowledge mining to drive vital worth for our franchisees and agent community. In mixture, I feel now we have an amazing quantity of alternative with knowledge, and that is most likely certainly one of our greatest upsides.   

Within the tech world, there may be at all times a choice to construct.  Then, when you’re behind on constructing a selected answer, you sometimes purchase.  Partnering is extra round an ongoing technique for while you want a particular functionality, so that you typically don’t see many massive strategic companions in tech corporations.  In our world, I feel we have to be extra surgical.  Whereas our expertise funding is a wholesome proportion of income, we’re nonetheless a fraction of what a typical tech firm has. For instance, corporations like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, spend 15% to twenty% of their income constructing and buying tech. They usually have a large income footprint to allow them to be rather more aggressive with their spending.  At Anyplace, we must be much more surgical about precisely what we purchase and construct versus partnering in terms of the issues which might be basically core to our enterprise. Going ahead, we will make it very clear to our associate ecosystem what our plans are when it comes to purchase versus construct, in order that we are able to even have a reasonably wholesome relationship with our companions. The worst factor you are able to do is to associate with any person simply to be taught in regards to the house with out ever disclosing the intent. I feel that simply makes for a nasty partnership. So we have been fairly clear with our companions when it comes to our intent, and what our long run plans are. 

I might say that we actually have one buyer, and two units of companions.  There is just one particular person that may set off the move of cash, and that’s the client.  If the buyer would not purchase or the buyer would not promote, there isn’t a cash to be made for the agent, or the franchisees, or us. The franchisees (shoppers on a unique scale, in fact) and their brokers are finally our strategic companions.  They ship the worth proposition utilizing the model, the instruments, the companies, and the schooling wanted for a profitable transaction.  From this attitude, it is crucial that we guarantee that our incentives are aligned to make sure that the buyer will get precisely what they’re in search of.  As a vendor, the aim of the franchisee, the agent, and Anyplace is to maximise the worth of their dwelling, to stick to the timeframe that they want to promote, and provides them one of the best recommendation on the way to deal with maybe one of many highest beneficial property they may promote throughout their lifetime.  For a purchaser, the aim of Anyplace, the franchisee, and the agent is to guarantee that they’ve full entry to all out there stock of their worth vary and geography, that they get one of the best phrases doable, and that they’re educated on all of the ancillary companies they should consummate the transaction equivalent to mortgage, insurance coverage, authorized companies, and title. 

We additionally must successfully make investments when it comes to actual property transactions to guarantee that we, by way of our franchisees and their brokers, ship the best worth and the strongest worth proposition to shoppers.  As soon as incentives have been aligned, that is crucial focus of ours, and it is actually about understanding the kinds of expertise and assist that our franchisees and their brokers must run an efficient enterprise.  We constantly ask ourselves what our brokers want to ensure they get one of the best engagement with a client.  These are issues that now we have historically performed pretty properly, and we’ll proceed to ship worth to our brokers in order that they’re armed with one of the best options out there available on the market.

Everybody’s trying to construct an end-to-end platform as a result of it is so core to the enterprise. The problem is, simply as you talked about in your query, that the trade is extraordinarily fragmented and that makes the aim of constructing a platform like this extremely difficult.  If an unbiased startup was to go and attempt to construct it, they’d actually spend their existence attempting to resolve that downside they usually most likely wouldn’t get very far.  Organizing all of the disparate knowledge sources is simply the baseline, after which the startup would want to construct worth on prime of it.  I do imagine that constructing an end-to-end platform is achievable, however it might probably solely be achieved with scale.  I do not suppose that you’ll see a startup with $5 million of seed cash get very far resulting from all of the complexities. I’ve been wanting laborious on the query of whether or not or not we should always construct an end-to-end platform, and I feel that everybody wants to take a look at it from a perspective of, “is that this the factor that they need to personal, or is there a associate on the market that may ship this for us?” And if there’s a associate, do they align with the long run, strategic route of the corporate. I haven’t got a conclusion proper now, however my inclination is just like many different individuals within the trade in that I feel that we should always go construct this.  Nonetheless, since it’s a very significant capital funding, if we come throughout another technique to attaining the aim, we would definitely be open to exploring it. 

In the event you take a look at the actual property trade as we speak, youthful millennials and Gen Z’ers signify the best pent-up demand of first-time homebuyers.  COVID has gotten them to give attention to the significance of dwelling.  These are the 20 somethings that used to exit each evening and their dwelling was only a place to sleep. That’s now not the case.  Most of them have not purchased a house as a result of they’re ready for the costs to proceed to appropriate and are available down.  To me, essentially the most thrilling factor in regards to the trade is that I anticipate that we’ll come out of this harder surroundings with some very significant tailwinds pushed by first-time homebuyers. 

I have to admit that I used to be extraordinarily impressed with Tony.  For somebody who has been within the trade for less than a matter of weeks, he has a robust elementary understanding of the challenges, alternatives, and complexities of the actual property trade.  On the finish of our dialog, Tony requested if we may reconvene for a dialog in 3 to 4 months, after he has had extra time to settle into the position, as he realized that his view on many of those matters could change as he spends extra time within the weeds.  You’ll be able to assure that I’m going to take him up on his provide.  I’ll at all times have a gentle spot for Anyplace for taking an opportunity on me proper out of school, and I can actually say that I’m assured within the firm’s future figuring out that Tony shall be main product technique and innovation for the agency. 


I’m very exited to be taking part within the Business Observer’s Future Ahead occasion in Los Angeles on December sixth.

I shall be on the panel titled: Wanting on the Lengthy Sport: Prime Tech Future-Proofing Actual Property Portfolios – together with Kevin Danehy (Vice Chairman: Willow) and Adrian Foley (President and CEO: Brookfield Properties Growth). If you’re involved in attending, please discover all the info at this hyperlink.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles