Over the past 12 months, real estate professionals have faced significant market disruption and increased competition. Meanwhile, real estate tech innovation exploded, prompting strategic agents to learn how to leverage for the benefit of their business in 2023 and adjust their strategies to better meet the needs of increasingly savvy home buyers and sellers. It was a year of highs and lows and unprecedented change as we settled into a post-pandemic world.
Looking to the year ahead as interest rates continue to climb, agents have no choice but to let go of an attachment to legacy business practices, lean into technology for increased business and consider how to expand their capabilities to serve even more clients. With new brands and financial models continuing to disrupt the industry, agents and brokers have choices they have never had in the past, but it can be daunting to consider where and how to focus.
Here are my thoughts on the five trends agents, teams and brokerage owners should consider in 2023 to find success:
Continued market consolidation will drive the need for an easy-to-use tech platform built for end-to-end real estate processes
As M&A activity continues, brokerages need to prioritize strategic technology investments to attract and retain a high-performing team of agents in an increasingly competitive market. Standardizing your tech platform will encourage enterprise-wide adoption and streamline the entire real estate process, saving valuable time and money. Empowering agents with innovative tools — from CRM to IDX, lead gen to marketing automation — will help alleviate traditionally arduous processes and automate mundane tasks, freeing agents to focus on revenue-generating activities to expedite growth. Consolidating these essential tools into an easy-to-use, scalable platform will help agents work smarter and not harder. This kind of investment will set your brokerage apart and not only attract and retain more strategic and high-performing agents but fuel a more profitable pipeline, faster.
Capitalize on massive, untapped equity within an existing database to grow business and ditch the legacy, top-of-funnel-only focus
Only focusing on the top of the funnel is an antiquated solution to a persistent problem. There is a massive amount of untapped equity trapped inside your database and it’s been building for years. For example, the average consumer has no idea what their house is worth. Position yourself as a resource in helping your contacts better understand the scale and scope of their investment opportunities — from rental properties to vacation homes. If you spend time nurturing the database that is already at your fingertips, I am confident you will grow your business faster without incurring significant costs.
Develop a strategy for agent recruitment and retain powerhouse teams in an increasingly competitive market
With competition at an all-time high, building and maintaining a powerhouse team has never been more important or challenging to achieve. To do so, strategic brokerages must prioritize and implement an active agent recruitment program, one that is consistently nurtured to fuel a healthy pipeline of qualified candidates. Intelligent technology designed to capture high-priority candidate details is essential to streamline the process and provide decision-makers with the insight needed to focus only on those qualified candidates.
Like all leads, candidates need to be managed and nurtured for maximum output. Apply the same strategic thinking to prospective agents in the market who could be instrumental in helping you build your business.
Don’t sleep on the property management market; identify opportunities to extend reach within a booming industry
At the recent NAR iOi conference, there was much talk among attendees about the increasing importance of uncovering opportunities within property management — an industry with a total addressable market three times the size of traditional residential real estate. Post-pandemic, many consumers have turned to rentals or rent-to-own options to kickstart the homebuying journey. And today, less than 25% of real estate professionals work in this space. Opportunities abound for strategic real estate professionals to extend their reach and build out their sphere of influence to support this booming market.
To be effective, brokerages should consider investing in complementary technology solutions to support this effort. There are property management tools available to help landlords and real estate professionals track leases, residents and maintenance tasks, as well as collect rent and manage finances to reduce costs and streamline operations.
Prioritize social media management. News flash: this is where your target market lives!
Let’s make 2023 the year we apply a growth mindset to the industry-wide (often paralyzing) challenge — social media!
Buyers and sellers are increasingly savvy and use the internet to support their homebuying process. Capture the mindshare of those browsing social media to assert yourself as an expert, build your brand and gain the trust of potential buyers. View social media as an effective platform for expanding your sphere of influence and populate it with meaningful content to encourage engagement.
Leverage social media management tools to help automate the process and make it easier to integrate into your daily activities. Social media doesn’t need to be daunting, you can start small, but you must invest the time and critical thinking into an overall strategy to reap the benefits. Those that don’t consider social media a top priority for 2023 will find themselves scrambling to compete.
Although the industry is bracing for impact over the next two years as inventory dips and interest rates rise, there is still plenty of opportunity for forward-thinking agents and brokers, supported by innovative technology, to be successful.
In fact, it is my belief that we can be stronger than ever. What do you think 2023 holds for our industry?
Stuart Sim is head of industry development at Chime Technologies.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.
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