How Real Estate Has Changed (and How It Hasn’t)

By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

RE BarCampAt the RE BarCamp hosted at NAR’s Chicago headquarters this morning, participants discussed how the real estate business has changed in the past few years, and how it would continue to transform due to technology and consumer demographics. Here’s a rundown of what your peers say is changing, and what isn’t.

What’s Different

The typical real estate practitioner is getting older, not younger.

What’s the Same

Market corrections — such as the one we just went through — usually drive young people out of the industry. Real estate can be an expensive profession, and many young practitioners don’t make enough money to live comfortably and invest back into their business. So after trying to stick it out for a couple of years, they often opt for a salary job instead. More young people may enter the real estate business when conditions improve, but for the next few years, the average age of practitioners will either stay the same or go up.

What’s Different

Consumer expectations: In the age of Groupon and the clearance sale, they’re looking for price cuts, giveaways, and other incentives to sweeten the deal.

What’s the Same

Those methods may bring in new consumers, but it’s still important to emphasize the value of your services and the results you can achieve. Above all, don’t discount your worth by giving away too much.

What’s Different

Real estate pros should redefine their value proposition to consumers. Part of that involves emphasizing a consultative approach over pure selling: While consumers may have more information on specific properties coming in than they would have, say, a couple of decades ago, practitioners can get more info on those properties. Plus, they have a better understanding of local market trends and knowledge of the transaction than consumers. Agents are their guide through the process of buying and selling real estate.

What’s the Same

Salesmanship still counts for a great deal in real estate. Charisma, persistence, and negotiation skills get transactions closed. And lead generation is still at the heart of the business.

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