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RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos is betting on data — not just multiple listing service info but everything from market insights and geospatial intelligence to historical trends — and encouraging all real estate professionals to do the same for a competitive advantage.
As Contos said at the “Data-Driven Competitive Edge” session Thursday at Inman Connect, data allows brokerage leaders to look beyond the flurry of everyday transactions and get a wider picture of what a given market needs.
“Our job in this industry is to provide good, succinct, accurate data that is not fragmented or conflicted quickly to the consumer via the agent and the brokerage,” Contos said. “We took a look at it from all these different angles and thought ‘How we can be the best that we can be for agents, brokers and the consumer in everything real estate?'”
That led RE/MAX to a strategy in which they aim to get information from two different angles: what consumers are coming to them and what properties are available and being sold.
To do that, the company has made a number of high-profile data-related acquisitions over the past five years. These include First, a tech startup that uses machine learning to suggest the best time for agents to reach out to clients who may be considering a purchase, and booj, an end-to-end technology that integrates websites and apps for more efficient lead generation. Even more recently, RE/MAX acquired Gadberry Group, an Arkansas-based location intelligence providing geospatial information.
“You can’t help people if you have fragmented or incorrect data, just can’t get it or have conflicting data,” Contos said. “You’re trying to provide clarity, trust, professionalism and expertise to people in order to help them, but you’re also wondering ‘okay, is this stuff right?’ There are big differences in data techniques and tactics in the industry, and as we get better at this in our industry, we have to realize there’s always a better way to help people.”
While the type of technology one should invest in will vary greatly depending on factors like the size and market of each company, Contos encouraged all real estate professionals to take a look at their customer base and see what information would be useful to serve them better.
A data-centric approach will not only offer leads or help score deals but also allow agents to better serve their clients by providing them with relevant information. The key isn’t to memorize a particular market or to keep one’s eyes glued to the MLS but to, as Contos, said “have your arms around this evolving situation,” which means having a clear understanding of everything from trends to interest rates and regulatory law changes.
“When 99 percent of the globe was shut down by this pandemic, [we had a chance to] take a step back and say ‘what do you need, what can we do to help you and how can we all step forward together in order to ensure that we’re continuing to provide this intrinsic human need of shelter?'” Contos said. “When we started talking about clarity and direction to the agents, people asked ‘well, how do I get clarity and direction?’ Information.”