In the spring of 2018 in Palm Springs, California, a diverse collection of real estate innovators, leaders and influencers gathered to hammer out a manifesto for changing the real estate industry. They were guided by the mandate of creating a better and more certain consumer real estate experience.
Incentivize real estate agents to focus on quality and service over volume and sales by obsessing over the needs of the consumer to drive innovation and best practices.
We must make the transaction smoother and simpler throughout the process. Create more transparent transaction management tools to give consumers a better and more certain experience.
From associations/MLSs to brokers, brokers to agents, and brokers and agents to consumers, we must hold the industry to a higher standard of service, transparency and responsibility. The core of accountability is transparency across the industry.
We as a profession owe it to the consumer to establish — and maintain and enforce — the highest standards of ethical behavior. We must invest in mid-level real estate manager training; refocus culture and policies toward quality and service above recruiting and retention in the brokerage; and establish better peer-based enforcement mechanisms to weed out bad apples.
We must take ownership of competency. Create better and more experiential educational systems such as apprenticeships that allow unproductive agents to learn from peers, as well as higher and more meaningful standards in licensing/accreditation. Ensure more transparent information to consumers to allow them to evaluate real estate professionals and be more selective in choosing an agent.
We should create a culture and process that ensures every association member has an equal opportunity to be fully informed of key issues and to lead the organization. Focus money and effort on creating a healthy real estate market. Simplify the association’s role to a focus on creating opportunities for agents to sell more real estate. Encourage agents to take a more active role in their communities to make a difference in housing costs and community quality of life.
We should create a world where property data can be used, reused and broadly distributed. Remove artificial and overly protective barriers to property data access and utilization via a universal licensing agreement. Remove artificial barriers to new ideas, inventions and business models that improve the real estate experience.
We must create an industry proudly known for inclusion and diversity. In the boardrooms, in the executive suite, on stages and in strategy gatherings, the industry at the top must reflect the overall diversity of business. A new generation of leaders are ready to take over and they should be celebrated and empowered to do so.
We must bring key stakeholders to the table including builders, policymakers, associations and real estate professionals to build more entry-level units and mixed-housing projects to create more balanced, affordable markets and bring relief to the many Americans on the verge of homelessness.
We should use our influence as real estate leaders to give back and advocate for and support education (even if it means higher taxes), marginalized communities and policy that will promote affordable housing and access to homeownership in the long term.
We must recognize the importance of building service into our companies, organizations and our brand to authentically give back to the world beyond our own community.
The industry must stand up for sustainability and commit to disaster preparedness. The industry should equip their clients with the knowledge to be responsible in using natural resources wisely and supporting a sustainable community. We must make sure that our teams and their clients have taken the steps to be resilient in the face of extreme weather events and emergencies. We must be transparent with clients about the threats of nature, fully disclosing changes in the environment.