“Change doesn’t happen without conflict,” said Brad Inman as he kicked off Day 2 of Real Estate Connect. And it was on this day that the continuing evolution of mobile technology and social media — and its infusion into every day business — hit home for many an attendee.
Tom Gonser of DocuSign shared the massive growth numbers of his e-signature platform, now with over 40 million identities saving people 150 million work hours and 2 billion days of turnaround time. Moreover, their mobile signature growth is staggering. “We expect to break the 50 percent threshold (of Docusign contracts signed on mobile platforms) by the end of 2013, many being international,” said Gonser. Mobile has not only led to increased use, it’s now a global standard, with over 188 countries being represented in its user-base.
Gonser continued the “disruption” narrative of the conference as well. “Zero infrastructure companies…” like the startups shown-off during Connect, “…are the new normal.”
Guy Wolcott epitomized the zero-infrastructure ideology while showcasing how he pivoted from a traditional brokerage to tech startup darling. His app, Homesnap, allows a smartphone user to pull all public information available on a home through geolocation by simply taking a picture of it, is one of the most popular real estate apps available for iPhone.
“I wanted a fun, easy to use ‘Shazam for homes,’” he put it, all so that consumers can “do what they want, when and where they want to do it.”
The mobile technology and social media “morphing of industry,” as Brad put it, was then highlighted in Tamara Mendelsohn’s “Building and Measuring the Social World” presentation.
Mendelsohn, the VP of marketing for the event management website Eventbrite, shared her company’s social business blue print; stating that “social media is no longer a strategy, it’s how you do business.” By “knowing your authentic self, humanizing your community, think about your product as an experience, and having fun with your community and brand,” one can now measure the value of things like a “share” on Facebook, to the tune of $4.15 for each Eventbrite event share on social media. By allowing others to speak for your brand and harnessing your message within their own social sphere framework, then sourcing it for your marketing, one can grow their brand’s reach. Bringing “digital communities closer together” as she put it, is something every real estate practitioner and broker should take note of.
Veering back to technology, Continue reading »
At a briefing during the group’s annual conference, NAHB Vice President of Survey and Housing Policy Research Paul Emrath was upbeat about the recovery of housing targeted toward seniors and baby boomers. He noted in particular that builder confidence in new, single family homes in the 55-plus market tripled in the third quarter of 2012 as compared to the same time in 2011.
“Everything is up, year-over-year,” Emrath said. “It’s an indication that we’re starting to dig out of the hole we fell into in 2009.”
In NAHB’s forecast, boomers and seniors are projected to grow their share of the market over the next few years. By 2020, the group expects the market share of U.S. households in the 55-plus age bracket to grow more than four percent, to 46.6 percent.
Yet Emrath warned that the future of NAHB’s reporting on boomer and senior markets is in peril because the Census Bureau changed the way that they collect generational information.
“The forecast that you just saw is at risk right now,” Emrath said. “When I get back to Washington, I’m going to spend a lot of time writing letters trying to persuade [HUD and the Census Bureau] that they were misguided in removing these 55-plus questions from their surveys.”
In addition to the economic data, Emrath hit a few of the boomer and senior highlights of NAHB’s new consumer preference survey, called What Home Buyers Really Want. Continue reading »
Chances are, you have heard of the Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) by now. But what is it, exactly, and how can it benefit you?
More than four years ago, the idea of a nationwide online database of comprehensive, high-value property information was conceived from an idea that came out of NAR’s Second Century Ventures (SCV) initiative. A plan was developed and approved by National Association of REALTORS® leadership to provide this as a benefit to members, and a very knowledgeable team was organized to execute the initiative.
During the past couple of years, RPR has partnered with about 440 multiple listing services throughout the United States. With those partnerships, about two-thirds of all REALTORS® are able to access RPR as of mid-October, 2012.
Even with that high level of access, as a member benefit, part of RPR’s core mission is to deliver this technology to all of NAR’s 1,000,000 REALTORS®. This is important because it allows “all members to take advantage of RPR’s high value tools, features and reporting capabilities,” says Dale Ross, CEO of RPR. To that end, RPR has announced that they are making the system available to all REALTORS® on Nov. 1, 2012.
“The RPR team is very excited about the opportunity to bring RPR to markets which have been waiting for access to the system,” adds Jeff Young, RPR senior vice president of operations. “We’ve been telling members for months that the wait is almost over.”
So what can RPR do for REALTORS®? Here are just three advantages it can provide:
1. Generate data-rich reports: RPR collects loads of data on individual properties and their surrounding communities. You can use the system to generate custom reports that can include as much of this information as your clients want. “I have never heard of any buyers and sellers who do not like the reports,” Ross says.
2. Connect with younger consumers: Homebuyers and sellers from generations X and Y are doing the majority of their property researching online, often before they contact a real estate practitioner. When they do reach out to agents, these consumers expect them to be able to immediately provide even more valuable information on certain homes. With its extensive yet user-friendly database, RPR allows REALTORS® to do just that. “REALTORS® who use RPR will certainly have more information on properties than consumers who do research online,” Ross says.
3. Provide insight into property values: With the fluctuating housing market during the past few years, it is often difficult to get a handle on a home’s value at any given time. But with RPR’s Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM), users of this system will have an authoritative source with which to provide information about property values using tax information, sale history, and comparables and other data sets. “RPR’s RVM offers best-in-class automated valuations which REALTORS® can refine with their local market knowledge to make it even more accurate,” Ross says.
Want to learn more about how RPR can benefit your business? Go to http://blog.narrpr.com/national-launch. Also, be sure to register for a free REALTOR® Magazine webinar, “A Look Ahead: RPR’s Launch to All REALTORS®,” taking place this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.
UPDATE: The webinar is now archived. Go here to download or playback the event recording.
By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Have you ever stood in line at Starbucks and thought about striking up a conversation with the person standing next to you, but then decided against it? Approaching strangers is weird, you may have thought, and they probably don’t need a real estate agent anyway.
But they might be considering buying or selling a house, and even if they aren’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t somehow benefit from the experience of meeting them, says David Topus, sales expert and president of communications consultancy Topus.
Two weeks ago, I met with Topus at the Starbucks on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Topus has a strong background in sales, having worked for years at The Wall Street Journal and other publications before founding his own business, which serves many Fortune 500 companies. He says that you can meet anyone, anytime, and this belief has led him to strike up conversations that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business for him.
Topus says that we have to keep the following points in mind when it comes to meeting new people: Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
Experts from the banking industry, GSEs, and advocacy groups spoke in a cautiously optimistic tone during the Mortgage Liquidity Symposium at the Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. Consumer confidence, job creation, housing demand, and government support are the main four points, panelists said, that will help fix and broadening the availability of mortgage lending.
This video highlights some of the viewpoints presented. Also read REALTOR® Magazine’s news coverage of the forum.
By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A few of us from NAR have been travelling the country to follow the Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour as it visited in Chicago, Denver, and Portland and made stops along the way. I’ve documenting some of these events with video that we post on the Home Ownership Matters Web site.
The truth is, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Would consumers understand the mortgage interest deduction (MID) is being threatened? Would they care about how Fannie and Freddie will be reformed? Do they understand how vital housing is to the U.S. and the economy? At REALTOR® Magazine, we don’t usually interview consumers, and so I wasn’t sure what I would hear. Continue reading »
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
I’m back in Chicago after a weather-filled week spent in New York for Inman’s Real Estate Connect event, and I’ve had the long weekend to digest the tips, trends, and techniques discussed there. If I had to sum up the entire experience in a phrase, it would be this: The changes in consumer behavior over the past few years are nothing short of revolutionary.
Houston Association of REALTORS® CEO Bob Hale told a story about a man who went into a Best Buy store, found an electronics item, looked it over, then checked the price of that same product online using his smartphone. He found it was $40 cheaper on the Web, so he bought it there and left the store empty handed. A couple of days later, the item arrived at his house.
Here’s something else: According to REALTOR.com President Errol Samuelson, 2010 was the first year that more consumers found the house that they ultimately bought than their REALTORS®.
These two examples — and a few similar ones I heard at the conference — point to a transformation in how consumers make decisions in the marketplace. Continue reading »
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
What does it say about a neighborhood or city if the people living there were more likely to rent the Coen Brothers’ satirical film “Burn After Reading” than the classic popcorn flick “GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra”? More to the point, could it be useful in determining local consumers’ tastes in other areas, such as residences?
The thought occurred to me as I was checking out a new feature on The New York Times Web site that allows users to search the top movie rentals of Netflix customers by zip code in 10 metro areas. Continue reading »