At NAR, focus is on real estate customers and technology

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Last week my colleagues and I were lucky enough to attend the REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego.  The conference hosts 20,000 realtors and guests in just four days and is considered the largest real estate industry trade show all year.  Real estate professionals from all over the US traveled to California to experience the latest trends, ideas, and technology in real estate.  Here were some of the big take-aways: Getting Closer to the Customer – Certainly in the agenda, everything from Decoding the Customer Mind to Buyer Preferences were on the minds of those in attendance.  It seems that with the latest trends in buyer habits, more agents and brokers are working toward staying relevant to today’s consumer.  Providing outstanding customer service isn’t only a good way to stand out from other real estate professionals, it’s a great way to win loyalty among your customer base.

Some interesting trends include a focus on a greener home, proximity to parks, and environmentally friendly features becoming more important to home-buyers today.  The group seemed to feel that understanding what matters to customers and having the ability to educate them on properties based on their preferences was important in today’s sales process.

Staying with customers through their entire buying process was also important and was discussed more in the technologies coming out of the conference (below).

Cybercrime – The conference included a Risk Management Forum on Friday dedicated to this subject.  When dealing with client information, discretion and security has to be a priority.  Melanie Wyne, NAR’s senior policy representative on technology issues, said: “Small businesses have become the low-hanging fruit for hackers.”  It’s a risk agents can’t afford to take.  When there’s a breach in security, you lose trust, loyalty, and ultimately revenue.  It can be tough to rebuild.

With data being more ubiquitous and customers sharing more information, it’s even more important to stay diligent when it comes to privacy policies.  During the conference many people discussed how to get better at preventing these types of cyber attacks using everything from password protection to storing sensitive data on private servers.  More information on what was discussed can be found here.

Technology – The technology featured at the conference continued to impress.  Ways to attract visitors, engage potential buyers online, and move people through the sales process using a combination of technology and data seemed to really propel the home-buying process to the next level.  There was an Emerging Business Technology Forum and a Technology Accelerator session, but the highlight continues to be mobile accessibility as more and more prospects conduct their home-shopping on their smart phones.

We were impressed with some of the companies at the expo too.  Companies like Placester, Nerd Wallet, and even BombBomb are doing some interesting things with technology and real estate data that allow agents to present a new level of sophistication online.

Bottom line seemed to be that we need to get closer to the consumer:  understand what’s important to them, respect their privacy, and utilize data and technology to get this information to them seamlessly.  A combination of all these highlights will help move real estate into the future.  And as Onboard continues to hone in on solutions that nurture a relationship, not just a transaction and engage a consumer over a lifetime – we feel like we’re in the perfect spot to propel these trends forward.

If you’re interested in learning about our latest nurture and engagement system, please contact me at wbaum@onboardinformatics.com.