I think all of us have heard over the years how real estate will dramatically change, Brokers who fail to adopt new technology will fizzel etc. I've been in the industry since 2001. I guess some would consider me relatively new. I grew up with my parents owning a real estate brokerage, so I do recall the days of the big fat MLS book! Interestingly enough, when I started selling real estate for Weichert Realtors in New Jersey back in 01' (they truly are a top notch company) it was odd if you found a full time agent, many were hard working folks with daytime jobs, holding open houses on the weekends to build their inventory of leads, trying to get ahead in life and make a little side money.
Then the Boom occurred (2005 forward), everyone and their "brother, aunt, cousin" etc. was selling real estate. A lot of us that put in the blood, sweat and tears felt cheated. We studied, built up our database, made the dreaded cold calls only to have a barrage of "New B's" enter the marketplace barely educated and working under the guidance of volume brokers ( you know the $50/mo. fee) w/ no strings attached? Leaving us to do most of their work, and sometimes gasping at the violation in the code of ethics and all of the other high standards we held ourselves to, (they were oblivious to) and many in fact violated.
We might ask, how could this happen? And what's next?
Many of the fly by night, quick buck agents are long gone...It just so happens, it's not as easy as it looks. However our consumer is forever changed and will continue to evolve as the generations to come have grown up with applications that make the cassette tape look ridiculous.
A wonderful visionary I have followed for many many years is Faith Popcorn. Faith talks about Cocooning and how today consumer wants to be safe, away from it all. This will impact real estate as many buyers and sellers will want to do their research online. Trust is a huge factor for consumers today as is saving money with discounts and coupons. More and more, consumers will be driven to do it yourself workshops ( online tutorials). Trust and saving money will be a huge consideration and the today’s consumer will spend the time to learn in order to save.
Savings...Need I say more? ( economy).
Why is trust so important? Because consumers have been burned. They are fed up with armature web sites. They will scout out sites that have features like online chat, live video conferencing, and lightning speed response time just to know you are real. Consumers will also rely on other’s experience, ratings and knowledge. Consumers will be driven to sites that connect them with the end product (agents); from the privacy of their own home. Listing presentations will be completely customized and online. Your connection with the future consumer will be about added comfort, trust and realness in a virtual environment.
And let’s talk about virtual…In 2008 over 200,000,000 million dollars was spent on virtual gifts. Did you read that? Virtual gifts…Like sending your friend Betty on Facebook a Martini; which is merely an image. The possibilities are endless. This may be overwhelming to the average agent, how do we keep up and compete?
It’s really quite simple. Be real, accessible and online period. It’s everything we did yesteryear only in a different environment. For example, do we still cold call? How about a market update on twitter once a day? Newsletter vs. blog? Newspaper ads vs. virtual flyer ads? Spin your efforts to reflect today’s consumer. At the end of the day, it’s all about human connections we know that…But will they Google your name before they call? Make sure your web presence is profound, Cheers to your success!