The world of real estate is in constant flux, ebbing and flowing with today’s global events, technological breakthroughs, and financial market shifts. Amidst all the ambiguity, one thing is for certain, and that is that change is inevitable. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a part of the real estate industry that has not been affected by any of these influential factors.
Whether you are thinking about buying a home or you are focused on growing your real estate empire, know that the status quo is constantly changing. Real estate agents, in particular, are faced with the overwhelming task of keeping up with all of the recent trends.
It can definitely be challenging to sift through the latest news, but even more so, the difficulty is in figuring out which trends are important and here to stay. The answers to these questions, though often left without confidence, will dictate strategic decisions from today’s biggest investors, agents, and brokers. The ones who pick right will be separated from the rest of the pack.
I spoke with the CEO of Nan & Co. Properties, Nancy Almodovar, about how she sees the 5 biggest trends among real estate agents coming in 2018.
Here are some of my favorite pieces of what she had to say:
1. Online brands will dominate
2018 is finally the year where real estate agents will not only be encouraged, but rather expected to have built up an online brand and portfolio of their work. “Buyers and sellers are looking online first,” Almodovar says, not only to find out your contact information, but also to “see your credentials and digital footprint.”
With information accessible from anywhere, commercial and residential investors will be able to make faster and more informed decisions on where to allocate their capital. This transparency, while an overall good thing for the industry, will hold every player in the space more accountable. Increasing access to information that was once hidden to the everyday consumer will further differentiate the best agents, those with good track records, from those who have made lots of mistakes in the past.
2. Mass market everything
With social media becoming a more and more powerful tool for broadcasting messages, real estate agents will be expected to heavily invest their time and resources in building their online presence. Facebook. Snapchat. Instagram. Linkedin. There are so many options and so many different interfaces you can choose to learn. With all of the different platforms to choose from, which is best and will win out?
Almodovar tells me that “Facebook” is the winner. “Due to the massive number of people on Facebook, your content can reach such a large audience. People can learn more about home buying thru casual post online, whether it’s information about the home, a video tour, photos, or info on how to reach you. It is one of the best ways to market a home.”
3. Smart home automation
We have been talking about it for years, but perhaps 2018 is finally the time for smart home automation to take the spotlight among American consumers. Agents, brokers, and investors will need to stay ahead of the curve, rethinking how they can integrate new gadgets and gear into their home displays.
We will see both niche pieces of tech, like shading and light automation, as well as more fundamental parts of the home, like security and hardwiring, made more affordable for middle class homeowners.As the cost of this type of super useful technology goes down, we will continue to see more players enter the space and try to pave the way for smart home automation to get mass appeal.
4. More specialization
In the past, real estate agents have been generalists, able to “sell anything” because the process has basically been the same across verticals. Now, the best agents differentiate themselves by specializing, and paying attention to the small nuances that most others leave out. The little things matter, whether you are selling a multi-million dollar mansion or small condo actually makes a big difference in how you want to present the home.
Almodovar goes on to explain the difference between the two, “There are more moving parts in multi-million dollar properties. There’s more to consider and finer details to perfect because of those luxury home features. When selling a million dollar property, you have to think like one and market like one.”
5. Generation Z is almost here
For years, microeconomists have debated and analyzed the tastes and preferences of millennials, the most powerful and eclectic group of consumers to date. But now, there is a new cohort, Generation Z (born since 1995), that is quickly taking over.
While some of them are just now leaving college, Gen Z is gaining influence really quickly. Generation Z is expected to reach 2.56 billion individuals globally by 2020. With that comes a ton of consumer power over brands and industries.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.