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Run Your Own Race

Run Your Own Race

This November marked my 14th year attending the National Association of REALTORS® Conference and Expo. I spent the first 11 as one of the 1,000+ vendors peddling product as REALTORS® go from booth to booth, trick or treating for tchotchkes and the next shiny piece of technology that promises to change their business forever. It is only the last three years I have been on the franchisor side, searching for speakers who inspire and share the latest real estate trends. Attending usually results in lots of lobby meetings, networking with today’s influencers and reminiscing of yesterday’s newsmakers. It’s also interesting to see the many real estate legislators, councils, and state reps debating and lobbying for their own political gain and the protection of those they were elected to serve. While it is an exhausting five days, NAR Annual is guaranteed to be anything but boring!

What I found most fascinating is we, as an industry, seem to be reacting to our fear of people, companies, and technology rather than moving our industry forward. The world around us is changing and evolving at a pace that we are scientifically not able to adapt with. This is a fact. It is said that 65 percent of kindergarteners today will end up in careers that don’t even exist yet. Ten years ago, the title “Social Media Manager” or “Mobile App Developer” would have been an imaginary job. Today, we cannot imagine waking up without checking our notifications or snapping photos for social media or using apps that remind us when to stand up at work, how to get places, how our stocks are doing, and so much more! As a society, we have become dependent on technology to do the simplest things. So why do we as an industry keep circling and repurposing the same topics and fears year after year?

We are all consumers. I would even go as far as saying 10:10 of us could not go one week without internet/WiFi connection. And find me one REALTOR® in our industry who is not happy about the progression of things like email, paperless contracts, UBER, Netflix, iTunes, Alexa, 3D tours, or Amazon. Why do we accept and welcome change and progress in every aspect of our life but fight it in our own industry? As if the buyers and sellers of real estate are not the same?

So while the real estate industry is still sorting out some version of “How do we take our data back? When will Zillow become a brokerage? Are iBuyers the next disruptors? Should we consolidate the MLSs (or remain 690 too many)? Does responding to leads in under 5 minutes result in more business?” and so on… NextHome will celebrate the fact that we are opening an average of almost 3 offices and adding more than 50 NextHomies each week. We will continue to refine our systems to make them better and more competitive. We will continue to expand beyond the boundaries of what everyone says is possible while delivering the very best experience to our franchisees, so they can extend it to their agents who can then extend it to their clients.

What was my greatest takeaway from this year’s NAR Annual? Run your own race, love those running it with you, and do not get lost in the noise. Do not become complacent or stagnant and stop worrying about what your competition is doing. This is a journey with a lot of pit stops and the scenery is changing fast. If you keep pressing forward and moving your business to the next destination, you will open yourself to a world you never knew was possible.

Ready to take your journey to the NEXT level?

Zillow Group: Friend or Foe?

Zillow Group: Friend or Foe?

When it comes to Zillow Group, there seems to be a lot of fear and anger in our industry and it has been this way since the company launched in 2004. I experienced this first hand while working on the portal side of the business, starting with Realtor.com in 2003 and leaving Trulia in 2014. What I learned during these years has provided me insight into what the consumer needs and demands, as well as the fears of real estate professionals across the country.

Fear in business can be dangerous and detrimental. Some of us pull old quotes from Zillow executives and use them today to justify our concerns. Have we never changed course in our business or personal lives? Is it wrong for Zillow to shift direction? If the plan is not working, then perhaps the plan should change but not the goal.

One thing is certain: Zillow has never been shy about their goal of giving power to the people when it comes to making the best decision on the single greatest investment of their life. It’s not as complicated as we have made it over the last several decades. Instead of seeing them as a threat, why not look at Zillow Group as a way to learn and adopt what is working?

Yes, you could ignore them or pull your data as a way to fight against them. The reality is Zillow Group has captured over two-thirds of the total market share of online real estate shoppers and has more than double the audience of Realtor.com, the official site of the National Association of REALTORS®. We used to pay at least five times more for this kind of reach in print advertising without any guarantees readers would even flip to the real estate section. And don’t even get me started on TV or Super Bowl commercials.

NextHome’s leadership team understands that change is inevitable, but transformation is optional. And we choose transformation.

We are focused on transforming the franchise model into something fun and desirable; our franchise owners and their offices into a profitable and enticing place to work; and our agents into the most valuable part of the transaction, so there are no objections at closing time when the commission is paid.

We are also focused on transforming our relationship with industry partners, such as Zillow Group, so our agents and franchise owners are one of the first to be called upon when our partners want to try something new.

Especially if it means we can hold Zillow accountable for providing a service that will need to be successful if they want to get paid. And why shouldn’t they? After all, they are consuming all the financial risk to position themselves as the most visited real estate site in the world. How is it any different than hiring Cartus or paying another broker for a referral, except in this case the referring company is Zillow?

Is this a risky move? Of course! But it becomes a shared risk and without risk, there would be no progress. And without progress, we will not transform into the best version of ourselves.

Always Connected… But Never There

Always Connected… But Never There

  • What does technology have that human connection does not?
  • Why do we crave it so much?
  • Why is technology so important?

These are the questions I ask myself all the time. As a mother of two young girls, technology scares me. It also makes me excited to see how it will forever change their lives and opportunity ahead of them. I see young adults who cannot spell, teenagers who do not have fundamental research abilities, parents who use iPads as babysitters rather than teaching their child to behave at a restaurant and couples who sit through an entire meal without talking to each other. We have evolved into a society of sharing everything, but knowing no one. We are somehow all connected with no interactions. We have hundreds of friends, but know no one. At what point do we stop and truly begin to connect with our family, friends and clients?

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I Thought Real Estate Was Local?

I Thought Real Estate Was Local?

Over the course of my career serving the real estate industry, I have spoken to thousands of agents and brokers and there hasn’t been one that ever said their consumers were “national”. Not one has told me they want to attract a consumer located 10,000 miles away nor have they told me they do not want a local buyer or seller. When you ask an agent where most of their business comes from they will almost always say a referral or past client. This has been true for as long as I can remember, but even knowing this, brokers and agents practically turn inside out when you talk to them about a national portal like Trulia, Zillow or REALTOR.com.

For years the industry has feared the portals and many have pulled their listings, or created focus groups to “bring them down” but the fact remains, these search portals have only grown bigger, more powerful, and even more attractive to the consumer.

But if real estate is local, why does it actually matter what these national portals do? More importantly, how can you make your business more relevant to today’s consumer on a local level?

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My first 90 days on the brokerage side… Thoughts from a former Trulia Executive

Looking back over my last 11 years in this industry, I have seen a lot of growth, a lot of change and a lot of disruption…I have even been a part of that disruption.

Spending my entire career with two of the top three consumer portals, Realtor.com and Trulia, has been nothing less than ground-breaking and controversial. It is with these two companies, I learned the real estate business and had the opportunity of working with some of the greatest minds in the industry on both the technology and the brokerage sides.

I have always believed in the mission of providing consumers the tools and information they need to allow them to make the most sound and educated decision when it comes to buying or selling a home and connecting them to the right agent. I have always believed that my part in this process was meaningful because if I could help a broker provide the tools to his/her agents that enabled them to sell a house to a consumer who never thought it would be possible to own their own home, then we succeeded.

Real estate has always been the driving force of the economy and the way most of the richest people in the America have built their worth. To be a part of that process, for me, was a feeling of patriotism and success far beyond what I could have ever imagined. I felt good about what I did for the last 11 years.

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New Growth And Leadership For Our NextHome Sales Team

I am so honored and excited to join such an amazing group of people. I have had the opportunity to work on the portal and technology side of the real estate industry for over 10 years.  I am looking forward to being on this side of the industry and sharing my experience and knowledge to lead us into the next phase of our success.

I joined REALTOR.com in 2003 after I got married with the idea that it would allow me to have a ‘normal job’ and start my family. Normal is not exactly the way I would describe what I got myself into :). I quickly learned that real estate is not for the faint of heart and that you must earn your place in the “circle of trust.”

When 2008 rolled around I found a new career at Trulia. This is where I discovered my passion and drive for the real estate industry.  I developed very thick skin along with a love for educating and training brokers and agents.  It was my mission to show them not to fear technology, but to embrace it!

The coming weeks and months will be a learning experience that will expand my knowledge of what it takes to be on your side of the industry.  I look forward to learning from the best and brightest in the business. Together, we will accomplish great things, which will be both amazing and rewarding!!!

I hope you are as excited as I am to take this industry to a place many never imagined was possible and with a company everyone will wish they were lucky enough to be a part of!

Charis Moreno
Vice President of Sales