Being a hopeless real estate junkie, I just got back from my 4th INMAN CONNECT in NYC. CONNECT is by far the most informative and exciting real estate conference in the world, held twice a year in New York City and San Francisco. It’s an ultimate industry event where experts, innovators and disruptors get together to learn and share for five days in a row. Absolute must visit for anyone looking to innovate and grow in real estate marketplace.

Below is what I think will be trending in the world of real estate this year:

  • TEAMS

Сhanges that occurred in the real estate industry in the past 20 years empowered individual agents and gave them tools to become more self-sufficient and independent from brokerages. Eventually, this became a double-edged sword – agents became  overloaded with day-to-day tasks of running their businesses. Think about it: buyers, sellers, preparing properties for the market, marketing, advertising, prospecting for new clients, education, networking, social media. The point is that the era of individual agents is rapidly coming to an end. The task lists of an average agent becomes longer while the number of hours in a day stays the same. Team work – this is where teams come into play and allow for a group of agents to each concentrate on different parts of business. The outcome is growing customer satisfaction, sufficiency, productivity and gives agents free time for education, development and growth of team members. Teams will inevitably also cover more market space than an individual agent ever can by working with multiple area specialists or agents specializing in unique markets. Collaboration and team work will be one of the main trends in 2016.

  • FOR SALE BY OWNER IS NO MORE

According to the National Association of Realtors’ statistics, a number of people selling their own homes without help of real estate agent is down to the record low since 1981. Homes sold by owners themselves in 2014 accounted for only 8% and this number is dropping. Why? Same reason as to why individual agents are becoming obsolete. Too much to handle. If an industry-trained agent with all available tech tools can’t be 100% efficient at selling a property, how can be a private seller who never sold a house before?

  • EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY (THIS TIME FOR REAL)

The time has come – we are no longer talking about preparing for the future. It’s already here and everyone should get on with the groove. No more “Look, I got an iPad and I am going to use it for work!”. Real estate teams, individual agents and brokers who are not using the latest tech solutions TODAY to support their systems, daily workflows and client relations are OUT OF THE GAME. One can argue that there is a small number of successful agents who are still rocking it out old school but we’ll see their business and customer service models decline once millennials start dominating the market.

  • AGENT AS A MEDIA COMPANY

Selling home by uploading the listing on MLS is not as effective anymore as it used to be ten years ago and the roles of real estate professionals are changing faster than we think. Brokers are becoming platforms with support systems for real estate teams which are slowly substituting individual agents, who in turn are becoming part of teams acting as mini-media companies for telling stories about properties, neighbourhoods and lifestyles. MLS databases can only provide a limited amount of information about a property or the neighbourhood. Thus, online MLS databases, once known as breakthrough technology is quickly becoming limited and ineffective. Social media presence and reach should be on the top of priorities list for today’s agent.

  • VIRTUAL REALTY

It’s here, it’s working and it is affordable! Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, Zeiss VR One for starters. Virtual Reality will completely rock the world of pre-construction and international sales first and take on the everyday resale market second, before the end of 2017 guaranteed. 3D tour providers like Toursler and Matterport already have mobile applications in place which allow regular consumers browse homes in VR without stepping out of their office. There are real estate teams out there who are sending VR headsets to their international clients in other countries. Think about global markets and how much more international investment VR can possibly produce. Opportunities for implementing VR in real estate are endless!

  • MILLENNIALS ARE ACTUALLY BUYING

Often discussed and widely popularized topic of Millennials not looking to buy real estate in the nearest future works out to be a myth. As numerous studies and articles have shown, the Millennials in Canada are buying not only sooner than their parents did but they are also buying more expensive properties bypassing typical starter homes. Big thanks to a more flexible and diverse choice of financial products available to buyers today! Millennials in US on the other hand are not as active but not because upcoming world domination of sharing economy. They simply can’t afford it right now mostly due to high levels of student debts. Studies show that they will eventually become homeowners but a bit later, in different markets and for different reasons.

Have something to add or want to have a chat? Give me a shout! Let’s connect over a cup of tea.

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