- Homeownership is at a 50-year low, but lifetime wealth is at an all-time high.
- Two of the most interesting apps/websites to come up at the NAR convention were ListReports.com and Verify Photo ID.
- In 2016, realtor.com will enjoy the first-ever industry Realtor discovery map that will show who represented the buyers and sellers in different areas.
Two hot topics at every National Association of Realtors convention are the economic update as well as the latest tech tools and trends. In sales, 2016 promises to be a banner year, but economic challenges still abound.
On the tech front, anyone who is not embracing the upcoming changes is about to be left in the dust, clinging to their buggy-whips.
The NAR economic report
This year’s economic forecast had good news. Chris deRitis, Senior Director at Moody’s Analytics, predicted that sales could possibly hit the six-million mark, while Laurence Yun anticipates that 2015 will end with 5.3 million sales, and sales will rise to about 5.45 million in 2016.
On the downside, homeownership is at a 50-year low. Credit continues to be incredibly tight, with the average FICO score of borrowers who have qualified for a loan at 760 as compared to 720 before the recession.
Median income is down from $58,000 in 2000 to $57,000 today. The cost of the anemic 2 percent recovery (as opposed to a historical average of 3 percent) has been $1.7 trillion. That translates to $5,000 per year for every person in the country, or $50,000 per person over 10 years.
Moreover, an expected rate increase could drive a stake in the heart of the weak recovery and the real estate market in particular.
The most surprising aspect of the report was the stunning collapse of the for sale by owner (FSBO) market.
In 1991, 19 percent of all sales were closed as FSBOs versus only 8 percent during the past year. Given that approximately 6 percent of the total sales every year are intrafamily transfers (divorce, death, marriage, etc.), this means that only 2 percent of all total sales closed as an FSBO.
The experts who predicted that the Internet would allow more owners to sell directly without an agent are likely scratching their heads.
The Google bump
Yun wrapped up his session by discussing the Google bump. Rather than being about some interesting economic trend that Google has uncovered, the Google bump describes what occurs in their cafeteria.
The designers specifically placed the tables and the chairs too close together so employees would bump into each other’s chairs as they stood up or sat down. This arrangement forces their employees to interact.
These face-to-face interactions build trust and relationships. More than ever, consumers crave the face-to-face interaction that allows them to decide whether they can trust their agent.
And smart agents take advantage of every opportunity they have, including new technology.
Hot apps to streamline your business and make consumers even smarter
Apps and tech trends are always hot topics at NAR. If you would like a list of the 25 of the most useful real estate apps, visit Jeff Lobb’s site at www.AppsolutelyRE.com and order his free ebook. The list is comprehensive, and most of the apps are free.
Of the 25 apps that Lobb’s book covers, the two that caught my eye were ListReports.com and Verify Photo ID.
Have you ever had to go on a listing appointment when you didn’t have time to prepare? ListReports.com is a tool that will let you breeze through this situation easily.
According to the ListReports website, when you text them any address in the U.S., they will send you a beautiful set of marketing materials.
This will include a property website plus a neighborhood infographics chart that describes how conveniently located the property is to neighborhood restaurants, ATMs, gyms, cleaners, coffee shops and medical facilities.
Also included is a school rankings report plus an outdoor report with data on where the nearest dog park, golf course and hiking is located. Best of all it’s free.
Verify Photo ID
Verify Photo ID is an important tool that retrieves and verifies your prospect’s name, address, driver’s license photo, plus age, height, eye and hair color.
It also checks the person against a national sex offenders’ list. In addition, the app allows you to notify your broker automatically, spouse or another point of contact about when and where you will be working with the client.
A bonus peek at what’s coming from realtor.com
The user experience at realtor.com will continue to improve in 2016. The website’s new technology will allow 3-D flyovers to explore an area. Users can then zoom in to see the houses and the pricing in the areas they want to explore.
Another exciting feature is the first-ever industry Realtor discovery map that will show who the active agents are in various areas. Bubbles on the map will show who represented the buyers and the sellers in those areas.
Users can search by actives, solds — and even by rentals. Make sure you that you update your profile and your reviews on realtor.com as well as their two partner agent-rating sites, QSC and RealSatisfied.com, to maximize any clicks coming from these searches.
Next year promises to be an exciting year with great potential and plenty of challenges as well. Consumers will be better informed than ever, the millennials are finally entering the homebuying market, and the best Realtors will garner more business as new technologies and ratings separate the pros from those who fail to keep pace with the changes.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/