The real estate journey is a complicated one, according to Aimee Johnson, the chief marketing officer at Zillow. The transaction itself isn’t linear, and on top of that, consumers aren’t just buying or selling a home, they usually have something else happening in their lives.

“When you think about moving, as an end-to-end experience [simplicity] isn’t there,” Johnson said Monday, at Zillow’s Unlock event in Las Vegas. “It’s not as joyful to move as it is to end up in your home.”

To many in the industry, each consumer is a buyer or seller, but Johnson notes that it’s important to remember they are individuals with a lot going on — whether that’s the birth of a child, a recent divorce or empty nesters looking to downsize.

“That’s what’s causing them to want to buy, to rent, to sell,” Johnson said.

Each consumer isn’t exactly a straight forward buyer or seller either, according to Johnson. Zillow research suggests that 55 percent of first-time buyers are also considering renting.

On top of that, an estimated 45 percent of buyers make multiple offers and 40 percent of sellers have an offer fall through. One home could fall through, while the process on another end is speeding up, according to Johnson. The transaction involves the head and the heart and can’t be done in one quick transaction, she explained.

“It’s up to all of us in this room to understand why so we can help,” Johnson said. “What’s the journey? What are the handoff points? How can we be better at talking to each other and the customer over what’s going on because it’s their life and it’s our job to make that easier.”

Getting a better, more holistic view of the customer is just one of four ways that real estate industry needs to change the way it works together, according to Johnson.

“You guys have data, we have data, the customer has data,” Johnson told a room of real estate agents, brokers and new construction partners. “What’s the holistic view?

The industry also needs to work together to provide the right amount of transparency throughout the process, help the consumer find right expert at the right time and work towards creating platforms that tie all of those things together.

Sixty-four percent of consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience,” Johnson said. “We are in a customer industry — that can’t be us.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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