“New normal” is a phrase we’ve become familiar with in this post-bubble real estate industry. It describes the current landscape of home prices that are lower than their peak but still healthy and steadily rising, stricter lending standards, and continued low (albeit slightly rising) interest rates.
But if you think about it, the term “new normal” really just connotes a recent change. I should know, I just had a baby five months ago – believe me, I’m living in a new normal.
So I’d like to point out another new normal: the situation of the Millennial generation.
I’m sure you’ve read reports saying that many young adults are putting off buying a house because they’re strapped with college loan debt (which, the New York Times aptly points out, is due to rising tuition costs outpacing income levels, among other reasons). More Millennials are returning to their parents’ homes after college to save money. They’re delaying both marriage and starting a family. Many of them are still trying to decide if they ever want to get married and/or have children.
But what else do we know about Gen Y?
Yes, they have higher student loan debt than previous generations, but they’re also more highly educated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 66.2 percent of 2012 high school graduates are enrolled in colleges or universities (71.3 percent of young women and 61.3 percent of young men), as compared to 61.7 percent of grads who went to college in 1992 and 49.2 percent 40 years ago. More are seeking higher post-graduate degrees as well. And overall, Gen Y has less debt from material items than older generations, shying away from credit cards and fancy cars.
There’s also one more thing we know about Millennials: They love houses — or at least the idea of a owning a home of their own. Continue reading »
“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 »
Smile. It’s a simple but powerful gesture.
Smiling says something about your character. It puts people at ease, increases attractiveness, and it’s contagious.
“Some of us need to have more peace in our lives. People want to be around positive people,” said Darryl Davis, New York-based speaker, trainer, and comedian who has been in the real estate business since he was 19 years old. Davis presented stress-relieving tips during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando Sunday. “It’s hard to smile and be angry and pissed off at the same time.”
A career in real estate can come with a lot of stress, so much so that it’s often ranked one of the most stress-filled jobs. The amount of endorphins released from smiling actually equals 2,000 bars of chocolate, inducing happy feelings and lowering blood pressure.
So, next time you’re in an argument with someone, just plant a smile on your face. It will either defuse the situation, or you’ll get the better of the other person. Either way it’s a win for you, Davis joked.
In addition to showing your pearly-whites, there are other ways to stress less. Here are Davis’s top three tips:
- Let go of your baggage. You’ve made choices in your business and your personal life; many of those choices were spot-on, and some maybe weren’t so great. If you keep beating yourself up over those bad choices, you’re going to continue living in the past. “It’s like driving a car looking in the rear view mirror. Eventually you’re going to crash,” said Davis. It’s time to accept the choices you’ve made in life, for better or worse, and re-focus your energy on moving forward.
- Be committed to what’s possible. Davis ran the New York City Marathon in 2006. He had never done anything like it before. In fact, he said he was so out of shape, that he only made it 0.33 miles during his first training run. But because he had a higher purpose for running the marathon – raising money for children suffering from leukemia and lymphoma – he stayed on top of his training and completed the marathon five months later, raising $25,000 for charity. The key to reaching any goal, he said, is envisioning what you want and then creating it. Start by painting a picture of your life and career goals. “Your success exists in the future; you just have to figure out how to reach it,” Davis said.
- Focus on improving your skills. People can usually relate to those who have had a similar experience in their lives. If you’re having trouble communicating with a client, try using stories, metaphors, and analogies from your own life to handle objections. Your skills also improve when you surround yourself with positive, motivating people. So avoid the “negative-Nancy” in your office and hang around those people who will inspire success.
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
Sam Foster is a well-prepared real estate professional. But what he likes even more than being well prepared is looking well prepared to his clients.
An executive vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle in Los Angeles, with more than 30 years in the real estate business, Foster’s secret weapon is his 11-page statement of requirement questionnaire.
Yes, 11 pages might sound intimidating, but for Foster it never fails at identifying his clients’ location needs.
Industrial real estate is Foster’s specialty, thus, his questionnaire covers such issues as number of docks and clearance space required, etc. But he also asks questions such as: What kind of hotels do you need nearby? How oven do you make trips to the post office? Do you want a large, impressive lobby that will wow your clients? How are you going to grow?
“They have to think through these issues,” Foster said during his presentation at the Commercial Leadership Forum during the Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. today. “You have to have that conversation.” Continue reading »