Where the Real Estate Industry is Headed – A Week at Inman Connect 2019, New York

Key takeaways after spending a week with the leading minds in the real estate business.

As the Polar Vortex descended across North America, residential real estate leaders flocked to Midtown Manhattan for Inman Connect 2019. Over the course of five days the brightest minds in technology and real estate shared their wisdom, expressed their views and offered their opinions on where we are today and where real estate is heading. While I doubt Inman knew it would playout this way, the week largely centered around three core topics.


Real Estate Tech is Here to Stay

The first topic was all about technology disruption and it’s main theme: Tech is here, and it is impacting agents and brokerages today. Core Takeaway: If technology isn’t impacting you yet, it will be soon. You need to be aware of the technology and embrace it. It will not be going anywhere and it’s time to adapt.


Agents and Brokers Need to Reimagine the Consumer Experience

This led to our second main theme, a question: what should be the role of the real estate agent in the face of new business competing models? Core Takeaway: Agents and Brokers need to reimagine the consumer experience, including beyond the transaction. It is a long held National Association of REALTORS® stat that 88% of our clients say they will use us again right after a completed sale, yet only 12% actually. What if the next repeat client uses technology instead of a real estate agent? At Inman, industry leaders were quick to point out that this is happening today. OpenDoor, Zillow Instant Offers and more are here and they are offering consumers an alternative when it comes to completing the transaction. If real estate agents want to continue to compete, they need to reimagine the value offered beyond the buy and sell.


Data is the “New Oil”

Our final theme of the week surrounded data, who controls it and what can we do with it. Core Takeaway: Data is being called the “New Oil” and at minimum, you need to know more. The technology companies have data, the MLS® has data, even our fridges have data. We need to understand this data and be able to synthesize it for our clients as we continue to strive to offer more on-going value.


“When it happens’ has shifted to “It is happening”

The three themes weren’t new to Inman this year; however, the tone was new. At previous conferences attended over the last four years, the conversation surrounding technology, the role of the agent in the future and data was held in future-tense. This week, “when it happens’ shifted to “it is happening”. Agent’s commissions are being driven down by new players. Google and Facebook are in real estate. MLS’s are being consolidated. The fables of conferences past are now here.

What does this mean for agents in 2019?

What does this mean? All is not lost and there are many positives on the horizons, the question is, will we take action and adapt in the face of change? The stakes are high but fortunately the choice to take action is ours.


About the Author

Mike McAra has been is a former REALTOR®, MBA graduate and CEO of RealOffice360®. Prior to his time at RealOffice360® Mike worked with several energy focused startups across North America and Australia.

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