Real estate is in the midst of a consumer and technology-driven revolution, said three industry leaders gathered at “The Tightrope,” event for real estate brokers and agents early this month.
Opportunities for real estate professionals are more abundant than ever despite the changes, panelists agreed.
The event was hosted by Eave to offer brokerages insights from top industry leaders on how to face the challenges of today’s technology-enabled market.
The three industry leaders at the event were Nick Bailey, CEO of Century 21 Real Estate LLC, one of the nation’s largest real estate franchisees, with 119,000 sales professionals in 8,300 broker offices in 81 countries; Heather Heuer, president and employing broker of Denver based Porchlight, which has 173 agents; and Lindsey Benton, owner of Live.Laugh.Denver, which has six agents.
They spoke before an audience of about 50 real estate professionals on how to modernize agencies. Denver is one of the nation’s hottest real estate markets, with home prices up nearly 10% in the last year, and the median home price at $420,000.
Bailey offered numbers to illustrate how rapidly the landscape for the real estate profession is changing.
In 2011, there were 5.8 million residential real estate leads nationally, which generated 4.5 million transactions, according to Bailey. Last year, the number of transactions had increased to 5.5 million. However, the number of leads was up exponentially: There were 86 million, generated by technology that has made home shopping a pleasure and a leisure-time activity. But only about a quarter are ever contacted by a real estate professional.
To help its affiliated agents manage the number of leads and appeal more to the experiences of all segments of homebuyers rather than the transaction itself, Bailey said, CENTURY 21® recently rebranded and is investing heavily in new app technology to allow for a smooth, more timely and efficient ‘contract to close.’
Rather than focusing on large databases of customer prospects, Porchlight helps agents establish and focus on a referral base of about 50 people that leads to an active pipeline of about 100. PorchLight agents attend more than 40 hours of accredited educational classes and are part of a collaborative and supportive workplace.
“At PorchLight a collaborative and supportive environment is the norm, and our agents focus on their clients’ real estate needs first versus everything else in their business,” said Heuer.
Live.Laugh.Denver takes an intensely personal approach, treating customers like family. “The business is abundant,” said Benton. “The key is to be in front of someone buying or selling a home and establishing a lasting relationship.”
All three agencies are seeing success with their approaches. Porchlight’s Heuer was named managing broker of the year in the Denver market by Denver Metro Association of Realtors and PorchLight was also named #3 Top Workplaces in Denver. One of Live.Laugh.Denver’s agents, Christina Ray, was named top rookie of the year. And Century 21’s rebranding has been widely heralded.
Those changes have been key to recruiting millennial agents who want to serve customers with high-touch and high-technology, said Mercie Curbow, one of the owners of Colorado Springs-based Curbow Realty, a CENTURY 21 franchise. “We went from colors that looked like a yellow jack to a sophisticated gold,” Curbow said. “The brand now fits what we always were.”