RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

SEP 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

Issue link: http://remag.rismedia.com/i/1017650

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Page 20 of 134

16 September 2018 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE {The NAR Power Broker Roundtable} Christina Pappas: Cutting-edge tech- nology. Every broker says they have it. But do they? What is cutting-edge technolo- gy? What do we use it for—and is it worth what we pay for it? These are questions worth pondering in a competitive time when it seems as though everybody is on the lookout for the shiny penny that will take their business to the next level. Thad, your company is wholly grounded in avant-garde technology. Are you out looking for these kinds of advances, or are they finding you—and what do you do with all this technology? Thad Wong: Actually, we're building some of our own technology now, because the truth is, when everyone has cutting-edge technology, nobody really has it. We all need different solutions, and cutting-edge technol- ogy at its heart is only what's useful to you. So yes, we're looking into new ways to make what we're doing easier—or faster, or more effec- tive. The bottom line is, "Does this improve the service and performance of our agents and the experience of our buyers and sellers?" If it does, I want to try it—and if I like it, I might be open to investing in it or partner- ing, especially if it's a great start-up product. Rei Mesa: The measurement for us is return on investment. While we're very disciplined about spending, we're always reviewing and evaluating new products. How does this technol- ogy advance our goals? How will it make us better? If we see it as a go, we'll budget for it. JP Piccinini: The question for me is, "Will it make us more productive?" If it's yes, I will never regret the cost. That's an attitude that has never changed for me, not even during the downturn. CP: How do you find these new prod- ucts—and how do you vet them before you buy? JPP: Mostly, the vendors come to us. The hard part is separating the pre- tenders from the contenders. Quality is the first requisite. I want to know who stands behind a product. I want full and ready vendor assistance if we're going to roll out something new. TW: That's one of the reasons we like to invest or partner. I know they'll be there for us all the way, even as they gain a bigger footing, and it's nice to profit from their growth. RM: It's always in the vendor's best interest to stay with us. After all, they're invested in our success. CP: Let's talk for a minute about AI— artificial intelligence. From a chatbot on your website to engage customers to an algorithm that predicts listings, AI is fast becoming the focus of our industry. TW: As it should be. AI is giving us ever better tools to help bring buyers and agents together. At a certain point, the agent's skill takes over, and while that technology can generate a lead and match a buyer with a prop- erty, it can't go with them when they want to tour it or negotiate on their behalf. RM: That's a good distinction, and it brings up another point. No matter how good a product is, if it isn't used, it's worthless. We're always meticu- lous about rollout. We talk about it, we demo it, we make sure the agents know well in advance that it's coming. CP: When rolling out new technology, we host a huge Tech Day every year with a lot of fanfare so that vendors can demo their new products and get the agents excited. JPP: To be successful, you have to embrace change. Whether it's better access to data or cultivating leads, or whatever you need to take it up a notch, in the end, it's still about finding the best ways to improve the real estate experience. As technol- ogy advances and we embrace new tools, it can really be a win-win for everyone. RE 8For an expanded version of this article and other NAR Power Broker Roundtable topics, please visit www.rismedia.com. Cutting-Edge Technology: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly "No matter how good a product is, if it isn't used, it's worthless." – Rei Mesa President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty MODERATOR: Christina Pappas District Sales Manager, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, NAR PARTICIPANTS: Thad Wong Co-founder, @properties Real Estate, Chicago, Ill. Rei Mesa President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, Miami, Fla. JP Piccinini Founder & CEO, JP & Associates REALTORS®, Dallas, Texas The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Christina Pappas, NAR's Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

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