In life, change is constant, and that couldn’t be truer for the real estate industry.
During a panel presentation at the National Association of REALTORS®’ Broker Summit in Seattle on Aug. 17, four brokers hailing from Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, and Washington touched on what it will take for broker-owners to stay relevant to consumers and in front of prevailing trends.
Moderated by 2015 NAR Vice President Charlie Oppler, CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International in the Jersey City, N.J., area, the panel included Dan Wagner, senior vice president of The Inland Real Estate Group based in Oak Brook, Ill.; Jason Waugh, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate in Seattle; and Leslie Rouda Smith, broker at Dave Perry-Miller & Associates in Dallas.
Covering topics in a speed dating–style format, here are a few insights that panelists had to offer:
Waugh: We’re looking to grow in our market, so we’ve been looking at brick and mortar offices. What we’ve found is that millennials really enjoy collaboration in this business, and they actually like being in the office. And our veteran agents like mentoring them.
Smith: I find that they don’t come into the office. They also don’t talk on the phone. My daughter, for instance, rarely sleeps. She stays up at night stalking the MLS. Millennials are new-age hippies and are minimalists. I’ve also found that this goes for millennial buyers, too, who want small spaces.
Wagner: Millennials are turning commercial real estate on its head. The headquarters of McDonald’s is in my market. They have a gorgeous facility with an Olympic size pool, but McDonald’s leased building space in downtown Chicago to attract millennial workers. Suburban offices are suffering.
Smith: Texas was the first state to address patent trolls. These patent trolls are suing real estate companies for alleged patent violations — for things like a dropdown menu on your website. It turns into a very expensive endeavor, and often, real estate companies just end up settling. We’re all culpable and we need patent reform. NAR is part of United for Patent Reform, a coalition fighting for changes in patent law. When you receive a call for action from NAR on this issue, please participate. We need more involvement.
Role of Renters
Waugh: We’re working with Home Partners of America and focusing on a demographic of people who can’t purchase today but will be in a position to buy in a few years. Home Partners purchases the home, and renters work with us to find a Home Partners home, which they rent for a certain time frame and then have first right to purchase.
Smith: Millennials who are currently renting are going to be coming into the homebuying side more in the next few years. They might not be in high price ranges or need a lot of space, but in Dallas, the transition of renters to home ownership is in a good position.
Oppler: In northern New Jersey, the rental buildings being built have conference rooms and movie theatres. It’s a much different type of environment in apartments than what was built just 10 or 15 years ago. As long as developers make apartments comfortable and upscale, I expect renters to stay there for a while.
Change in Your Company
Waugh: We want to equip folks with the ability to retire and sell their book of business. It’s sad to see an agent retire and lose their income. We are working to partner veteran agents with younger folks, who they can coach and mentor and with whom they can form a mutually beneficial agreement.
Smith: We need to teach agents how to invest their own money. Sometimes it’s not good to have all your eggs in one basket.
Wagner: Commercial practitioners need to engage more with RPAC and with REALTOR® associations at the local, state, and national level.
REALTOR® of the Future
Waugh: Brokers should be more selective about whom you add to your company. It’s also our responsibility to teach agents, help them accomplish goals, help them communicate value, and show them how to be engaged in the business.
Smith: We work in a litigious industry, and REALTORS® need to know what to do with personal data. Education will continue to grow in importance in the future. It’s a good thing we have REALTOR® University, which has great opportunities for agents.
Wagner: If you’re not involved in charitable works, make a charitable cause part of your brokerage culture and community outreach. It’s especially important to millennials and the next generation of agents. They want to be part of a company that makes a difference.
Reprinted from realtormag.realtor.org, August 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright August 2015. All rights reserved. realtormag.realtor.org