It isn’t even December yet, and I’m already tired of the holidays and of reading about what I need to do to be successful in 2014.
Usually the articles are about the three, five, eight, 10 or 14 things that I need to do. Before throwing caution to the wind and taking all of that wonderful advice, I like to consider who is writing it and why.
There are plenty of armchair real estate quarterbacks who just know what we need to do to be successful. They give advice and never have to implement any of the ideas.
Right now I can’t see any reason why 2014 will be very different from 2013. I think the tight inventory of homes for sale will loosen up a bit, and interest rates will rise slightly, as will home prices. Real estate is local, so that last sentence may not apply to your market.
Here are 10 things I think everyone should take into consideration as they plan for 2014:
1. The Internet is not going to replace most real estate agents, and it isn’t going to go away.
2. It is unlikely that anyone is going to have less business because of AgentMatch or any other matching or rating system. But it is OK not to ignore them.
3. The websites that were supposed to replace real estate agents will continue to get most of their revenue from real estate agents. Eventually they will die as the flow of dollars from agent wallets dries up.
4. As the inventory of houses on the market increases, the new cottage industry that is springing up around pocket listings will start to die.
5. As the housing market continues to improve, we will see more online real estate networking sites and groups for agents that won’t do much to help agents’ bottom lines but should provide endless hours of drama and entertainment.
6. The National Association of Realtors will continue to provide products and services that do not matter to most of its members, which it will continue to ignore.
7. Agents who were successful in 2013 even though they did not use video will continue to be successful without video in 2014 through 2016. At that time, I will revisit video, which has been the next big thing since 2002.
8. We will continue to read about disruption in the real estate industry, but most practitioners will not experience anything more disruptive than articles about disruption because they are busy selling real estate.
9. Things will happen throughout the year that will lead some to believe that the sky is falling and the real estate industry as we know it is doomed. Please see No. 8.
10. Big real estate brands will continue to lose traction and be disintermediated as technology allows more agents to start their own brokerages.
This has been a great year, and I think 2014 will be as good or better.
I’m investing in my websites as I ramp up for next year. I don’t have any plans to buy new technology, unless something that I don’t already have is invented next year. I don’t plan on paying for any premium accounts on third-party websites.
I don’t believe the sky is falling, or that there is anything out there that is going to disrupt my business. And no, my head isn’t buried in the sand. I am not one of those agents who is just ignoring a world that is falling apart around them.
I am paying close attention to what is going on, and am always looking for new opportunities in the real estate industry. Those opportunities can be discovered by tuning out generic advice on how to succeed, and tuning in to what clients, neighbors and smart friends in the local business community are saying.
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.