The word “obsolete” is getting thrown around a lot lately. And with disruptive tech flooding the real estate industry, a little hysteria is understandable.
But is it necessary? As 2018 comes to a close, we wanted some level-headed insight to prepare for a focused, grounded and profitable new year. So we reached out to some of our closest clients, friends and allies in the real estate community with one question:
What’s the biggest real estate trend impacting the industry next year?
Here’s how they responded.
#1 – Human expertise is vital in shifting markets
“As the market shifts, the consumer will value the agent more than ever before.” — Nick Baldwin, Team Leader, KW Premier, COO, Lab Coat Agents and CEO, Nick Baldwin & Associates
Automation is getting smarter and virtual ISAs are getting less expensive and more scalable. But at the same time, better trained and more professional. Speed to lead will be even more important than ever before as we enter a shifting market.
On the flip side, as the market shifts, the consumer will value the agent more than ever before.
As homes will take longer to sell, FSBOs will be fewer. And our commissions will be protected as the consumer will feel the need for more expert advice.
#2 – It’s about quality, not quantity
“The trend in our business is all about how do our systems, service, and advisory positions adjust to make sure our clients are not only advised correctly, but continue to receive the highest level of service” — Ryan Graham, Principal, The Graham Seeby Group
I don’t follow trends unless we’re talking about market trends. And in that case, we’re full steam ahead toward a stabilized market.
While inventory is still low, we’ve seen a seismic shift in how buyers are behaving. We believe as investors pour into the market on the first day of the new year following the holidays, we’ll see a market that looks a lot more neutral than we’ve seen in more than a decade.
The trend in our business is all about how do our systems, service, and advisory positions adjust to make sure our clients are not only advised correctly but continue to receive the highest level of service. Because both advice and service change as markets change. Is that a trend? I’m not sure, but it’s important to us, and at the forefront of our planning process.
#3 – Success will only come with focus and discipline
“Set your goals, set the activities that it takes to reach them and do them daily.” — Lisa Archer, Chief Opportunity Officer, Live Love Homes
Humans, we are our own worst enemies. Set your goals, set the activities that it takes to reach them and do them daily. Until your one thing is complete, everything else is a distraction.
#4 – Find your digital mojo, fast
“Visual marketing….agents who don’t provide it are going to be left in the dust by their more tech-savvy competitors.” — Bill Gassett, Maximum Real Estate Exposure
The use of visual marketing has become more and more important. Consumers are demanding it and agents who don’t provide it are going to be left in the dust by their more tech-savvy competitors. Everything from drone video and photography, interactive floor plans, virtual staging and video tours are essential parts of an agents marketing plan.
Secondarily, more and more agents are seeing the value in having a real estate blog to show off their expertise to the local market. Blogging can set real estate agents apart especially when they have a grasp of search engine optimization and a well laid out social media plan. My real estate blog ‘Maximum Real Estate Exposure’, has been a staple for obtaining business for years.
The key is providing consumers useful information that will help them in their home buying or selling journey. The agent who can find themselves in key local searches will be in prime position to capture more business in 2019.
#5 – Become an influencer, not a follower
“Disruption models are coming” — Ron Howard, Owner, Ron Howard & Associates of RE/MAX Preferred
Disruption models are coming. You have a market shift that’s happening and you have the fact that becoming a social influencer is going to become important. These are really big heavy things that you have to figure out in a declining market and for the first time in seven years, we have a declining market. So you have to figure out how you navigate that. Start by understanding the research and know what’s happening with disruptive models.
#6 – Don’t waste money on lead unless you can follow through
“The choice to be made in 2019 is to look at why you are buying leads at all.” — Donna Stott, Broker/Coach, Your Coaching Matters
Our industry has divided into two ways of generating leads like never before. The easy and expensive way and the harder and less expensive way. These are of course ‘Buying Leads’ vs. ‘Generating Leads’.
I think a conscious decision about those two choices will be one of the biggest trends in 2019.
Most agents dabble in both, yet they require completely different systems and strategies. This has caused confusion as well as profits being moved from the ‘Agent’ to the ‘Lead Seller.’ Most lead purchasing programs have about a 2-5% conversion rate. This means that for every 100 leads worked by agents, only 2-5 will end up in a sale. That’s a waste of time. Another method of buying leads can be in expensing advertising or “SEO optimization” which NAR recently said was a waste of money.
When we go after our own leads from people we know or people we come to know, such as our past clients, centers or spheres of influence, geographic or other “farms” that include networking groups and other groups we belong to, even ‘for sale by owners’ and expired listings — the ratio of wins is astronomically higher than the bought leads. In addition, the transactions are easier because these people trust you and take your advice. While bought leads may not and may just ‘go find another agent’ — there is no loyalty.
We’ve seen thousands of agents buy leads and don’t convert any at all. You know them — you may be them. Money flushed down the drain. Estimates of cost per closed lead range from $3K to 50%. That’s a hefty referral fee for names, email addresses and occasionally a phone number for someone who usually doesn’t even know their data has been sold. And remember — most are not even real leads or not interested.
The choice to be made in 2019 is to look at why you are buying leads at all. And if you want to continue that model (do you have a great system?) or go back to good work with people you know or who come to know you by your efforts. No team needed. No bought leads needed. Just great support — which costs much less than more agents.
#7 – The disruptors are designing the future
“All these ‘Disruptors’ moving into our space and we will see more of this in 2019… As real estate agents, we can’t bury our heads in the sand and not take action” — Joshua Smith, Coach/Mentor/Realtor/Entrepreneur & Host of the GSD Mode podcast
There are several things happening in our industry currently. First, we have a market shift that is taking place. But this is nothing new for our industry, just remember: “there is no such thing as a bad market, it is always good for someone.”
As real estate agents, we need to identify “whom the market is good for” and adapt to serve their real estate needs which is how you thrive in shifts.
The much larger thing taking place, and we will only continue to see more of it, is all these ‘disruptors’ moving into our space and we will see more of this in 2019. As real estate agents, we can’t bury our heads in the sand and not take action — we need to take massive action on this as the future role of the real estate agent depends on it.
First, they exist as the demand is there with their consumers and they are filling a hole that we as an industry fell short on. So, observe what they are doing, how they are doing it, what the consumer likes about it and then look for ways that we can do it better.
Second, it will not be enough to be a great ‘real estate agent’ — we must become great at technology, systems, processes, automation and focus on becoming great entrepreneurs. And real estate is the product we have chosen to build our businesses around.
#8 – Don’t fear change, prepare for it
“That old adage of ‘doing the same things but expecting different results is insanity’ will be turned on its head in 2019.” — Dr. Lee Davenport, Founder, LEARN WITH LEE: Real Estate Coaching & Consulting
According to PWC , it’s transformation and I absolutely agree! Agents and home sellers in some markets are already seeing a slow down in bidding wars and an uptick in iBuyers.
Then, when you couple this with the promise (or threat) of rising interest rates, trade wars, and a changing job market, the clear word is transformation. Right now, I am working with the different agents and firms where I coach to not be blindsided by any of the coming trends but to be prepared.
That old adage of ‘doing the same things but expecting different results is insanity’ will be turned on its head in 2019. For 2019, many of us REALTORS® that do the same things we have always done to grow our businesses will not work the same way. Many may be frustrated by the transformation but again, the key is to prepare now and develop a forward-thinking business plan that transforms with the changing market and times.
#9 – Smart automation is king
“The trend is clear, get technology leveraged and automated for 2019.” — David Keesee, CEO, Keesee Company
I think the biggest trend in real estate for 2019 will be the continued rise of technology.
So many agents and brokers resisted the technology game for so long. But I believe that technology will continue to be an advantage for those real estate professionals that learn and use it.
The reality is, the use of social media and automation will no longer be an option for most agents and brokers. With the explosive growth of video, social media and automation in real estate today, we’ve had so many agents, team leaders and brokers growing their business exponentially. The trend is clear, get technology leveraged and automated for 2019.
#10 – Content is your gateway to reaching new buyers
“Consumers look more to content as the way they find their future agent ” — Jared James, Founder, Jared James Enterprises
Online lead creation is going to trend more and more away from things like PPC as consumers look more to content as the way they find their future agent.
The agents that are creating content through blogging and building their library through videos that educate potential buyers and sellers, are going to win.
#11 – Feel the fear, and do it anyway
“Fear of disruption. Fear of change. Fear of missing out.” — Chris Smith, Co-founder of Curaytor
Fear. Fear of disruption. Fear of change. Fear of missing out. I think the #1 impact on an agents business in 2019 will be if they let fear win and as a byproduct, they lose their focus.