AgentBrokerage

Dale Ross: ‘Who will determine the next evolution of the industry?’

A frank discussion about disruption and change in real estate

Dale Ross is CEO of NAR’s Realtors Property Resource.

Are you optimistic about 2015?

I am optimistic about 2015.

The economy? The housing market?

Leading indicators point to a continuation of appreciation for the U.S. real estate market. Foreclosure rates have been substantially reduced. Existing-home sale forecasts show a likely need for more inventory in early 2015. Time on market continues to be reduced. All of this points to a growing housing market industry, and with real estate’s major role in the national economy, the housing market should add a much-needed consistency to the overall economy.

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As RPR completes its first five years, it continues to see both validations of its products as well as opportunities for growth in 2015. With the release of RPR Mobile in October 2014, RPR has effectively completed one of our major goals: to deliver high-value features and tools for each of our Realtor constituents — agents, brokers, commercial practitioners, appraisers, associations and MLSs.

What are you worried about?

Changes in the real estate industry are imminent, and we are likely to see further disruption in 2015. One of my main concerns is the potential for displacement of Realtors from their vital role in the real estate transaction process. While change is a necessary component to growth, RPR’s core mission is to reinforce the role of the Realtor and that the Realtor continues to be the trusted advocate and local market expert for the consumer. Failure to meet this challenge may provide non-Realtor segments of the industry to fill that void, effectively displacing Realtors from their roles and negatively impacting the consumer.

Will agents be more productive next year?

A recent study completed by The WAV Group shows an increased disparity in the accepted 80/20 rule related to agent productivity. The study notes that in the first half of 2014, just 58 percent of agents logged into their MLS daily. Further, in tracking transactions between January and June 2014, where 50 percent of agents had between one and 10 transactions, only 11 percent had higher levels of productivity. RPR is focused on providing a value proposition that reinforces all levels of activity among agents in order to increase their efficiency in the marketplace. Ultimately, productivity is a result of both training and a return on effort by creating good business practices.

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

As RPR enters its next five-year strategic plan, it’s less about expansion or contraction and more about how to best leverage the investment in the RPR Data Platform. This can best be accomplished through RPR’s positioning as a solution provider to the industry. Through the delivery of the RPR Data Platform, and with its unique role as a wholly owned subsidiary corporation of NAR, RPR is entering a true “what if” phase of its evolution. As a technology platform, RPR’s future role will be to expand its deliverable to provide technology options to brokerage firms, associations and MLSs, and to continue to build valuable products for agents to assist them in becoming more productive with their consumers

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

As previously noted, the greatest challenge to the industry is in defining who will be the determiner of the direction of the next evolution of the real estate industry. Innovation and technology will be the driver of this change, so the challenge will be [determining] who is the driver of the innovation. RPR’s role is to reinforce the Realtor industry segments in order to leverage the RPR Data Platform as the asset and agent of that change. Understanding how the real estate industry stakeholders view the growing industry disruption will assist RPR and NAR in providing solutions designed to support their specific goals in the industry while reinforcing the Realtor at every level.