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Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series in which real estate industry leaders share their insights, hopes and predictions for the year ahead. Part 1 is focused on issues affecting multiple listing services, Realtor associations and real estate brokerages.
Marty Frame, president, Realtors Property Resource (RPR)
What are the top items on your real estate wish list for 2014?
- Focus on innovation in the transaction. So much of our energy as an industry is directed towards customer acquisition, but despite the ubiquity of real estate information online, the business is still driven overwhelmingly by referrals. Meanwhile, opportunities abound to increase the speed and reduce the cost to deliver services during the transaction, automate decisioning, and expose products and pricing through the agent to the consumer.
- Better mobile apps for the professional. For all of the elegant, even beautiful, mobile apps for the consumer, there are very few utilities for the real estate practitioner that are anywhere nearly as nice. Our devices have capabilities that professionals need to do their jobs — really good GPS, cameras, microphones, accelerometers — and our industry has a lot of room to grow in terms of design and usability as well.
- Smaller data. “Big” data — intelligent, inferential algorithms traversing troves of digital artifacts, trying to find meaning — has captured our imagination, but our industry has such a unique and expansive presence at the “point of sale” — at ground level — there are many opportunities to develop a unique and vast catalog of facts and observations, and put that to work to develop a better customer experience.
What do you expect to be the top trends and hottest issues in real estate in 2014?
Someone, with a lot of money — it might be smart money, or it might be dumb money — is going to try to parachute into the real estate industry this year. This isn’t a particularly novel prediction, given past history and the economic cycle that we’re in right now. But it is always interesting to watch and learn from how it plays out.