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

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 93 of 134

RISMedia's REAL ESTATE September 2018 89 with their peers, and these flexible spaces can also be used to meet with clients." In terms of virtual interactions, En- gels uses private Facebook groups as a chat room resource for agents, while still putting more emphasis on in-person interactions. Is Facebook enough of a cyber communication tool for today's real estate agent? Josh Harley, founder of Fathom Realty in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Tex- as, market, believes that Facebook should be used by agents to "freely exchange ideas, share successes and issues, and encourage each other," but in combination with other tools. "While I do believe brokerage of- fice spaces are going the way of Blockbuster, it will take more than just a virtual community to replace them," says Harley. "It will require a multi-pronged approach to ensure agents have what they need to be successful and feel connected." With more involved virtual commu- nities—as with eXp Realty's cloud campus, eXp World—agents can find cyber office spaces that are more complex and interactive, and that take on more of the features expected in a traditional office set- ting, such as assistance provided by support staff and even team-building activities. "Most agents are used to paying a desk fee for an office they rarely vis- it," says Mitch Robinson, senior vice president of Marketing and Commu- nications at eXp Realty. "Plus, for those who go into the office, they often aren't able to get the real-time support they need. We have multiple people with the same function who can help agents across North Amer- ica. We also don't have desk or fran- chise fees, so agents save money. "Even in a virtual office, it is im- portant to embrace our core value of fun," says Robinson. "Not only do agents do important work with each other and staff; they can drive a speedboat, watch fireworks for the Fourth of July and Canada Day, or join a daily, virtual workout with oth- ers across the country." Are these virtual perks enough? More and more brokerages are amp- ing up their tech offerings in order to transform their office environment, and, yet, the real estate industry is still a human-centric business in which face-to-face meetings are key to building strong relationships. That's why Wendy Forsythe, chief op- erating officer at HomeSmart Inter- national, has zoned in on technologi- cal innovation that blends well with both concrete office space and the cyber world. "HomeSmart has built its technol- ogy on a proprietary platform called RealSmart Agent," says Forsythe. "This software is the combination of all the tools and support an agent needs to run his or her business. Agents can build a brand through websites and social tools, market listings, manage their database, have complete transaction manage- ment and get paid when the trans- action closes. From an agent's first login, he or she has access to a pow- erful platform to market, learn and transact with." How does the industry feel about a completely virtual office setting with customizable avatars, such as those within eXp's cyber commu- nity? Personalization can help to dif- ferentiate users and build a sense of identity; however, while younger, more tech-savvy clients may appreci- ate the imaginative interactions that come with the modern spin on tradi- tion, the format is still new, leaving questions unanswered. Will it take away from the seriousness of tough transaction conversations typically needed to get to the closing table? Will home showings be replaced with virtual tours? And will the agent/cli- ent relationship suffer from a lack of in-person interactions? "My thoughts on this are twofold: Technology is giving us a beautiful way to extend our personal relation- ships, which is a wonderful thing, but there is still something magical that happens when humans share energy in the same space together," says Keith Robinson, chief strategic officer at NextHome, Inc. "There is a reason live events and concerts still draw massive crowds. Sure, it would be fun to listen to a new album on Spotify in your car, but nothing com- pares to the experience of hearing it live, together with your friends in a shared space. The companies that win in the future will use technology for more reach, but understand the importance of an in-person, commu- nal experience." So, what does the real estate of- fice space of the future look like? It depends on who you ask; however, the industry will most likely retain its varied offerings in order to main- tain healthy brokerage competition and appease the various personality types of real estate clients. RE Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. "While I do believe brokerage office spaces are going the way of Blockbuster, it will take more than just a virtual community to replace them." - JOSH HARLEY Founder, Fathom Realty

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine - SEP 2018