Dane Ellison discusses the importance of technology in 2015

Agents must master relationship-building to survive

Dane Ellison is CEO of Re/Max Regional Services in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Are you optimistic about the economy?

I believe we are going to be flat from 2014 to 2015 in the U.S. Not bad, but not necessarily outstanding.

The housing market?

Small increase. It is going to take a part of 2015 for builders to catch up to demand.

Your success?

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Our company has done well over the last few years and we are looking for more of the same in 2015!

What are you worried about?

We have to figure out the right balance of regulations versus capitalism.

How much do you fret about global events?

Somewhat. While I understand we have global responsibilities, I think we may spread ourselves a bit thin, and that leads to issues at home.

Will mortgage rates go up or down next year?

I think they will trend up slightly.

Will home prices appreciate next year?

We are anticipating around a 2-4 percent increase.

Will agents be more productive next year?

In terms of transactions, probably not by a large amount; in terms of commissions earned, probably slightly.

Why? Or why not?

While the volumes and commissions have trended up year over year, the transactions are only slightly up. The impact of home prices will raise average commissions a bit.

Will the portals play a bigger role in real estate next year?

I definitely think it is the start of a change in how business is done. They are innovating and making things easier for the consumer, and we, as an industry, have to recognize that and use it to our advantage. The industry is much more consumer-facing now with all the available information, so we have to continue to leverage our expertise.

What will be the biggest source of real estate leads next year?

Referrals and networking! While Internet leads are very important, we have not shifted to online leads surpassing the relationship piece of what we do!

Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business this year?

We are expecting about the same growth as 2013 and 2014: around 6-7 percent.

What is the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming year?

I think it is continuing to understand how technology and relationships become more integrated. Networking is no longer just going to your BNI group, being part of the Chamber (of Commerce) and knowing your community. The world of relationship-building is much bigger now with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. So we have to be poised to position ourselves as the relationship-builder across all mediums.