I attended a number of sessions at Inman last week, and one titled Agent 2.0 stood out as offering some interesting ideas for agents to manage their day-to-day business.
Agent 2.0 was a panel discussion moderated by Wendy Forsythe with Eric Stegemann, Strategic Development, Tribus Real Estate, Amanda McMillan, Real Estate Consultant, Prudential Preferred Properties and Ian Watt, Luxury Condo Realtor, Ian Watt personal Real Estate Corporation as the panelists. (Big shout out to Wendy Forsythe VP Broker Services & Product Development, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, who was a fantastic moderator. She kept the conversation on track, and asked relevant, interesting questions.)
Stay out of the weeds
Intentional or not, that struck me as the overarching theme of the session. Rather than solely focusing on 2.0 tools and explaining how to use them, they spoke of leveraging said tools to maximize business and “1.0” activities with clients – i.e. face time.
Realtor and Manager and Marketer … oh my
An agent’s role these days consists of these distinct silos, with a plethora of activities falling beneath each. Here are a few sound bites from Ian, Eric and Amanda on managing the deluge.
Lani has described Ian as the Gary V of Real Estate. If you get the chance to meet him, you will understand why. His enthusiasm is contagious.
“When considering your Manager duties, look at everything you do and outsource everything that isn’t interaction with a client.”
(Very Six Sigma of Ian … removing everything for which the client wouldn’t pay)
- Has a virtual office
- Utilizes Google Apps for calendars and other tools to collaborate with his team
- Each team member has specific, defined roles to manage process
- Prioritizes activities so 100% of his work time is spent with clients (so he can have a life)
- Leverages an off-shore assistant
- Is in the process of building an internal Wiki to house Employee Manual, Procedures, Listing Content, etc. for future reference
Eric is authentic and intelligent, owns one of the largest independent real estate brokerages in St. Louis in addition to a Tribus – which provides a full technology platform to brokerages.
“When considering technology it should boil down to two things: it should either make you money, or help make you more productive.”
- Stopped investing in every new technology that comes along
- Suggests Mobile Real Estate search is the next big thing
- Recommends marketing to clients based on what they are looking at online (very 3.0 /semantic web)
- Believes vendors should “walk the walk” and stand behind the
- Trials new technology (when possible)
Amanda, a self-described “statistics junkie” brings a great deal of compassion to her real estate practice. She’s setting a high bar, and is a genuinely wonderful person. Amanda will soon launch (September) a new website that will “recreate the Agent website as we know it” to provide highly relevant and important information and forge a relationship that extends beyond the transaction.
“Technology is an enabler to the real estate transaction – a part of the equation. You can’t build client love or loyalty in 140 characters.”
- LOVES Altos Research, and leverages the data to provide timely information during the buying cycle
- Will leverage the site to round out more of the buying and selling experience
- Wants to continue to engage the client after the home buying/selling process
- Site will incorporate Yelp, Outside.in, Education.com and Flickr APIs, among others
- Is concentrating on hyper-local stats & info
I did get quite a bit of information from this session, and give huge kudos to Ian, Eric and Amanda for so openly sharing their thoughts.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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