Breakdown of Inman Real Estate Connect New York City 2013

Services for Real Estate Pros with Suplari, Inc.

Inman New York 2013 Inman New York 2013  

Breakdown of Inman Real Estate Connect New York City 2013

I just returned from a week in New York City at Inman Real Estate Connect New York City which took place from January 16-18, 2013.  It was good conference with lots of powerful insights.

Inman New York 2013

Key Trends:

  • General market bullishness from ALL CEO's in the industry
  • Increasing focus on mobile, social/collaboration and design across the board
  • International markets are a big opportunity – foreign buyers looking in the US
  • Young aggressive tech savvy brokers are the new top producers for each company.
  • Investors appear to be a key buying segment right now.  Lots of hedge funds and individual investors looking for real estate opportunities.

CEO Summit:

I was lucky to be invited to the Inman News CEO Summit on Wednesday January 16th morning.  The CEO's of every real estate and mortgage company joined Brad Inman at the New York Times headquarters to discuss the current real estate market and key changes in the market.  There is universal acceptance that we are in the midst of a real estate recovery and there is sector wide bullishness.  Shadow inventory is down.  Investor participation is accounting for a large percentage of 2012 home purchases.  Increased lending standards are the main risk to choking the real estate recovery.  

The CEO of Century 21 Rick Davidson lead a discussion around how demographic changes in the US are affecting the real estate industry.  Majority of household formation in the US is being driven by Hispanic and Asian populations.  The real estate industry does not reflect these demographic changes as Hispanic and Asians are a small percentage of the industry today, though growing.  Each of the major real estate companies is pursuing new recruiting strategies to diversify the agent base. 

Mobile Technology:

We are in the midst of a “once in a lifetime” shift to mobile devices, very similar to the Internet in the last nineties.  Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins published a good presentation on the impact of the smart phone.  More than 1 billion smartphones were shipped in 2012 which is 3x more than the PC's shipped.  So, most companies are adopting a “mobile first” product strategy and mindset for their products.  From an agent to consumer perpsective, companies like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor have developed strong and growing mobile audiences.  Very limited viable B2B solutions were present at the conference.  Wearable mobile technology had a strong presence at the conference, especially when Move CEO Steve Berkowitz showed the audience how he uses FitBit to lose weight.   Adam Tratt of Seattle's own HaikuDeck talked about the future of real estate presentations.  HaikuDeck enables agents to create presentations on the fly using an iPad.  Cool stuff.

Transaction Management:

Brad Inman has prioritized creating the “latte” real estate transaction, i.e. making buying a house as easy as buying a latte.  I personally think this is a "nice to have" discussion for the real estate industry.  Yes, there is a lot of paperwork in real estate.  Yes, there are major improvements in e-signature and transaction management.  Given how infrequent the home purchase or refinance is, does it really matter?  I spent an hour filling out paperwork for my recent refinance.  But I am saving $300 a month, so I would do that all day long.

International Buyers:

There were a very interesting series of panels on finding and working with international buyers.   Agents working in marquis cities like NYC, Las Vegas and Miami have up to 25% of their transactions from foreign buyers. The conference was focused on foreign buyers in large cities, but foreign buyers are also buying property in every American city.  The Chinese seem especially active given some recent immigration law opportunities if foreign nationals invest several million dollars in the US.  Working with international buyers is very complex due to the tax and banking rules for foreign investors.  It is a big opportunity, but needs to worked carefully.  The first step with any international buyer is making sure they have a US banking relationship.  Referrals come from networking with personal bankers, jewelers and luxury car dealers etc. in the foreign country.  Immigration attorneys are one of the best lead sources.  All marketing must be localized and translated.  There is no one size fits all strategy.  But there are significant social media opportunities if you speak another language on FaceBook, Youtube, local social media networks, and invest in SEO on Google. 

The "Beta Brokers":

Better Homes & Garden CEO Sherry Chris spear-headed a panel on the best practices of cutting-edge real estate brokers.   Common themes of top real estate brokers include the aggressive use of technology and social media, the elimination of offices or use of small offices, & focus on exceptional service.  In the top real estate franchises, the top producing agents and brokers are 25-35 years old and have been in real estate less than 5 years, which is shocking.   Web site search is core technology focus.  Other brokers are trying to use lead scrubbers to qualify leads and hand off only qualified leads to agents, making it as easy as possible for the agent.

All in all a good conference.  No big announcements from Zillow, Trulia or Move/ at the conference, which is interesting in itself.  

Posted by

Nikesh Parekh

Add Me on Google+, Follow Me on Twitter, Connect with Me on LinkedIn:

Google+ LinkedIn Button   Twitter Logo

Comments (20)

Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Checking out Haikudeck, neat service app. A billion+ smartphones sold in 2012...WOW. Thanks for the breakdown of Inman connect.

Jan 21, 2013 04:44 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

oddly enough, I feel some of those "scrubbed" leads are then turning to non franchise sites to make contact with an agent and buying homes.  I get "that Coldwell Banker girl never called me back" a lot these days.

Jan 21, 2013 05:21 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Thx for the recap.  It is amazing to see the impact of mobile...and we all really felt it last week when we were in Jamaica not being able to use our phones.

Jan 21, 2013 06:41 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

God morning Nikesh,

I really appreciate your run down on the highlights of the Inman Real Estate Connect held in New York City! The mobile technology is amazing and so widespread for general and business use! Thanks for the share.

Jan 21, 2013 08:26 PM
Pat & Steve Pribisko
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West - Westlake, OH

Nikesh, execellent blog.  I especially liked this comment,"There is universal acceptance that we are in the midst of a real estate recovery and there is sector wide bullishness."  That is positive news.  I, also, am interested in your comment, "We are in the midst of a “once in a lifetime” shift to mobile devices, very similar to the Internet in the last nineties."  This confirms what I had found from many sources. 



Jan 21, 2013 09:00 PM
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

focus on exceptional service are what customers are looking for, thanks for the recap.

Jan 21, 2013 10:00 PM
Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate

Thanks for taking the time to give a summary of Inman Connect - Better than being there for me!

Jan 21, 2013 10:22 PM
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Center Moriches, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

What an awesome post... thanks so much for sharing all this great info with us... I plan to pass it on to all of our agents...

Jan 21, 2013 10:25 PM
Sean Callahan
San Diego Business Resources - San Diego, CA
USA homes, communities and businesses

Hi Nikesh,

Thanks for the update - I have been to Inman conferences on the west coast
(San Francisco) and find them to contain many very progressive business

The international buyers are a very big market - Chinese investors in
California being the leading country on the west coast (up to 20% of sales
in markets and areas they invest in) and South American buyers making
up over 30% of total sales in areas like Orlando Florida. In Florida buyers
are coming from Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and more.

I have helped agents target these buyers using Google Adwords and
directing them to lead capture based sites and landing pages. The
traffic coming from these countries is cheap since very few agents
actually market in the international countries the buyers come from.

It is interesting to see brokers doing "lead scrubbing" when 90%
of agents still have problems getting leads mainly because 90% of
real estate websites and website companies still produce template
based websites designed for looks and not lead capture.

I have been in this industry for almost 15 years and with all the
high tech advancement it is amazing to me that there is only
1 real estate website product designed by marketing people
that captures leads when it comes out of the box. (Market Leader).

All the high tech stuff is good for those in a position to take advantage
but the mass number of agents are still working with websites designed
by graphic artists to look pretty with zero focus on capturing leads.

In the last 15 years there has been massive development in many places
but not real estate websites. Most are as useless now as they were the
day they were built and most of these companies are still clueless on
how massive images and graphics kill a website for lead capture and
thus we are still in a world of "pretty but useless" websites for lead capture.

I am looking forward to going to the next west coast convention and
meeting up with the minds moving this industry into the future
especially the development of mobile phone based marketing.

Hopefully real estate website company ownership will start attending
these and realize they are still selling junk products to agents in 2013
that only need minor modifications and a focus on leads and not looks
to be very productive. When agents can actually get value and a return
on the investment for the marketing dollars they spend they will engage
more into technology.

Thanks again for the post!


Jan 21, 2013 10:35 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Most excellent "in the business" sharing and reporting of relevant data....Go ActiveRain...and thank you Nikesh

Jan 21, 2013 10:50 PM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Niki, thanks for the recap. A billion of anything sold is a LOT! I'm gonna check out that app, HaikuDeck. Thanks!

Jan 21, 2013 11:18 PM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Hi Nikesh, this sounded like a productive trip for you and the crew. Every market is different, it is really up to the individual agent to see how they would like to work it.

Jan 22, 2013 12:13 AM
Ingrid Menninga
JOLT Marketing - Toronto, ON

I find it interesting how the future of real estate is in the hands of those that are "tech savvy". I definitely agree that the market is mobile, social and technology is a huge factor in Agents and Brokers success, but unfortunately I also see lots of Agents spending time trying to "keep up" with these trends while forgetting about "working their database", or providing great service to clients.

Great service and great knowledge trumps everything...then comes technology, in my humble opinion. Consumers don't care how well you can use Evernote, Dropbox, or how fancy your listing presentation is on your iPad if you're missing the fundamentals of great service & great knowledge.

P.S. Thanks for the short & sweet update. Very much appreciated!

Jan 22, 2013 01:25 AM
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC

Great information!  Thanks for sharing.  Confirms some conversations that I have had with many people over the last week.  


Jan 22, 2013 02:17 AM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I do see the trend away from large offices.  I don't see the need to have a "bull pen", weekly office meetings, and the high overhead of a huge building.

Jan 22, 2013 07:06 AM
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

Thank you for being @ the conference. Your info makes certain of what I am allready expierencing. Mobile usage is now here. Me with the I 5 plus other gadgets. I just had a French buyer pay all cash on a transcaction yesterday. Things are changing but the foreclosure problem will not go away.  Sincerely, Jimmy Faulkner

Jan 22, 2013 07:43 AM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Niki - Thanks for the update.  I'm not surprised with regard to the emphasis on mobile.  It makes sense.

Jan 22, 2013 02:20 PM
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Great summary Nikki. I saw and heard many of the same things, especially about mobile, and agents who get this will be at an advantage. 

Jan 28, 2013 09:53 PM
Judith Ritter
Dirt Road Real Estate - Prescott, AZ
Rural Land & Homes Specialist

thank you for another great post.  I wish there was someone writing about the trends in Arizona. 

I can feel things changing around me but don't have a big picture.  In one neighborhood in central Phoenix, investors bought up and revamped and re-sold all the available single family homes.  I am just about to list another renovate home there and am interested to see what happens -- if there are any signs of a bidding war. 

Another new trend I am seeing involves the sale of large tracts of land in Northern Arizona.  Parcels have been sitting there for 2 to 3 years but now there is movement happening.  I may be because of the Prepper shows or an idea that the time has come to homestead again.  Tracts with trees and water at drillable depths are in the highest demand.  Off-grid solar installations have come down so much in the last year, that energy independence on these tracks in now within reach of the average family (especially with the continuance of the 30% tax credit til 2016).  It's very exciting. 

Feb 14, 2013 01:17 AM
Freddie Gonzales
WEM PACIFIC Investments, Inc. - Daly City, CA

Thanks a lot for the info Nikesh. I am about to upgrade my Blackberry Torch and debating on whether to get another Blackberry or iPhone5. Market is changing and we have to keep up with it.

Mar 13, 2013 05:45 AM