Editor’s note: Inman News is exploring what the next decade may hold for real estate professionals in "2020 Re-Envision: The Future of Real Estate Brokerage," an editorial project that features a survey and related articles. Readers are invited to submit guest essays detailing their vision of the future for the real estate brokerage industry. Send your guest essay to email@example.com by Feb. 28.
When examining something as far as 10 years away, to call it a prediction is a little silly.
I prefer to look at exercises such as the 2020 Re-Envision as a "possibilities exercise." Below you will find one possibility of what a real estate services firm might look like in 2020.
Since it’s only 10 years away I’ve tried to keep the technology limited to things that already exist (or obvious extensions of existing technology). Instead of technology, I’ve focused on the organization and profit centers of a fictional real estate brokerage, New Realty LLC.
New Realty LLC
Matt arrived early for the "all hands" meeting of New Realty LLC. This wasn’t unusual, as he arrived early every month. It was his company, after all.
Jen, the proprietor of the co-working space that New Realty had contracted with for the past nine years, greeted him as he entered the clean, contemporary, general work area with its open floor plan. There was a general hum of activity accompanied by some small talk by the espresso machine.
When Matt first closed his company’s brick-and-mortar office, a lot of folks had hailed him as a bold visionary. Back then he had real estate agents and they never liked doing office hours anyway. The truth is, he had to get out. The holder of his commercial mortgage had more to gain if he defaulted — which made dealing with them toward the end of 2010 less than optimal.
But as Matt was fond of saying, "Mama didn’t raise a quitter." He had swallowed his pride, extracted himself from the commercial space and put a bright face on switching to a couple seats and conference room membership at the co-working space.
In retrospect, it was one of his best moves. He and his staff were instantly in direct contact with the town’s most innovative freelancers and entrepreneurs. They were also, by default, included in an array of networking events he didn’t even know existed before.
"Conference room C is ready for you. The secure data link is waiting your voice-key," Jane said, smiling, giving him the key to the conference room and then returning to a conversation about billing systems she’d been having with one of the several experienced designers who also made use of the facility’s general work area.
Matt voxed in to the secure data feed and organized his notes, still kept in a paper notebook. His need for tangible records may have dated him, but he still thought best with a legal pad at his fingertips. The rest of his team would filter in over the next 10 minutes with coffee, computing devices of various makes and sizes, and likely a few tales of weekend glory.
Once everyone had arrived and was seated around the conference room table, Matt handed out the sociometers. New Realty LLC had been using sociometers in group meetings for about seven years now. The devices were connected to a display that let the group know, in real time, if the group’s process was trending towards polarization or (much much worse) groupthink.
Michael, in his post-ironic trucker cap and slightly disheveled GenX/ForgottenGen2.0 haircut, gave his usual complaint about "Big Brother" as he hung the device around his neck. Michael was a refugee from one of the many failed national news media organizations, a real journalist.
"I hear you Michael, but you know this helps us make better decisions," Matt said. "Remember how long it used to take to get a group to make any decision at all? And besides, these things don’t record the content of our conversations, just basic biology readings."
Matt was glad to have Michael as director of neighborhoods. Michael’s old-school journalism values were a huge asset to New Realty LLC.
"OK, standard format for the meeting: active clients, ongoing clients and then this month’s event. Sam, you’re up," Matt said.
Sam was the lead account executive for New Realty LLC. She always dressed sharply and had a thing for vintage Bapes. …CONTINUED