Electronic Devices Take Center Stage
We’ve been dazzled with palm pilots, blackberries, bluetooth, m-life, t-mobile and more. Now the time has come to simplify and integrate all these individual devices into fewer, multi-function, more multi-task-enabled devices. REDtablets, iPods, and GPS devices are just some of the items currently making the news and providing a promise of saving time and increasing productivity. For those who love gadgetry, heaven has a name on earth: CompUSA.
Rebirth of a New Middleman – Lead Generation
Numerous attempts to reduce the role of the agent in the home selling and home buying transaction will continue. The recent strong growth of the lead generation initiatives are raising concern among some, since they feel the existing commission pie is being pre-sliced. Increasing dependency on these leads may also allow for price increases that will further exacerbate the situation.
The Proliferation of Business Models
Competition in the residential real estate brokerage industry is immense and intense. Brokers and agents are increasingly assailed by a large
selection of business models, products, commission structures and Internet options. In reflection, one can see that previous business models and trends significantly influenced the industry. For example, the growth of multiple listing systems in the 60’s, the franchising of the 70’s, the 100% concept in the 80’s, and technology in the 90’s. There can be little doubt that something different will again cause a major shift in the industry.
The Entry of Outsiders
The industry’s current fear of entry by outsiders is not new. Every time it’s rumored that some large player is going to enter the industry “the end” is predicted, and scenarios of how the paradigm will change seems to appear out of thin air. As the industry continues its consolidation over the next few years, very large outsiders may be afforded an opportunity to enter and change the rules of the real estate transaction.
The Growing Knowledge and Skills Vacuum
During the last five years the real estate industry has absorbed an influx of newly licensed agents at a rate and number that has shattered all records. Simultaneously, brokers and agents have been bombarded with new business models, the Internet, bundled services and specialization. The need for true knowledge and fundamental sales skills has never been more prevalent and essential than today.
Impact of Immigrants and Minorities
Many immigrants come with little or no knowledge of the inner workings of the American real estate transaction, nor do they understand the vast number of terms used during the process. In many cases, this is compounded by a lack of proficiency in the English language. Yet, they desire to and increasingly do buy homes. This poses multiple opportunities for real estate brokers and agents.
A Population on the Move
Although our population has always moved and impacted our industry, Baby Boomers have caused or changed more trends than any other group. As a result of the cost of living and the availability of affordable housing, a significant group of Boomers are likely to move during the next couple of years. This potential geographic relocation places us at the initial stages of a huge population shift, one that could have a national impact, redefining cities across the US, and creating opportunities galore for the smart broker and agent.
Integrating and Managing the Real Estate Transaction
While the 2000 dot.com crash rained destruction on the one-stop-shop-parade, the integration of transaction components, the effective management of the transaction, and the drive toward a more seamless real estate transaction is still very much alive. However, transaction management is different today, as title companies lead the way by laying a solid foundation for an automated real estate transaction.
To Those Who Have, More Will be Given
Size, previously considered by many as more cost-prohibitive than effective, has demonstrated to the world just what sheer volume is capable of overcoming. Economies of scale have changed the financial landscape and dominated industries. For the first time in history the residential real estate brokerage industry has a mega company with the power to really effect change.
The Franchising Revival
Franchising is one of the most popular ways to expand your company. The Internet has also fueled the growing need for a recognizable online brand, providing a competitive advantage and increased market recognition. Globalization is an added bonus for franchising. So whether a real estate agent wishes to expand their brand, or quickly acquire another brand, franchising is currently one of the best opportunities to achieve that end.