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“I hate to start out with COVID, but last year, our fiercest enemy was COVID,” Inman News Founder Brad Inman told attendees at Inman Connect during his opening talk on Tuesday.
“What saved you as a real estate professional was your dedication and your digital armor,” he added. “Like the Avenger Tony Stark, you were suited up to do battle for your customers.”
And suit up is exactly what real estate professionals have done for the past several months amid a deadly pandemic and one of the busiest markets industry veterans have seen in their lifetimes.
Inman noted that their quick tech adoption and dedicated work ethic has helped real estate professionals to thrive during a period full of uncertainty.
“You did not roll over and take a lot of naps, you charged up and embraced the opportunity and stepped up to your duty,” Inman said.
Amid adversity, Inman added that people across all industries have innovated in order to meet new challenges. But for real estate, “I see the beginnings of a new housing dynamism,” Inman said.
As the industry has pivoted and billions of dollars have been invested “in every corner of the real estate process,” Inman noted that it’s easier now than ever before for people to have access to houses and participate in the real estate transaction with ease.
Inman then made a call to action to real estate professionals, to continue the work they started of making real estate more accessible.
“This is not the time to look back at anything”, he said. “Something new and exciting is ahead of us.”
As a society, we’ve transitioned to doing most things online, from shopping, to conducting meetings, to signing legal documents, Inman said. In the real estate industry, it only took between six months to one year to get widespread adoption of virtual showings, paperless transactions, virtual notaries, customer tracking, livestreaming of client meetings, digital money collections, parceled data apps, and more.
While those are all great accomplishments for the industry, Inman said, there’s still more to be done.
“First, the process is still not integrated — mortgage, title, real estate, contract and escrow,” he said. “We must continue to break down the silos and create an end-to-end experience.”
Furthermore, Inman noted, there’s still a great deal of room to enrich virtual client interactions. And, real estate professionals should work to expand the reach of the digital revolution further to apply to community problems like affordable housing and fair housing, he added.
“Failing to confront these challenges will be our second undoing,” Inman said.
In closing, Inman reminded attendees that technology isn’t what really solves problems, it’s the people behind the technology that help bring about lasting solutions.
“We have always know that technology does not solve problems, people do,” he said. “But when we are enabled by tech innovations, we become better at being human.”